Debra Sue Brice
~ Chapter One ~
Back up the train. You are probably wondering who ‘we’ are. During college orientation I met this awesome girl named Marika Skars. An unfortunate last name growing up, for sure. Marika was probably one of those nerds in high school, but a cool one. She is as smart as she is beautiful, and I don’t envy her one bit. I’m happy with my average looks and just as average smarts. I don’t think I could live up to always having to know the answers to everything. That’s what I imagine it is like for smart people. They need to know the right answers all the time. Other people depend on them.
Don’t mark me down for that. I’m totally okay with not knowing the meaning of life, or even the numbers that make up pi. When do people actually use that in real life anyway? I can just hear it now, “Oh wait, let me pull out a really long, unending number to multiply your equation by so all will be well in the world.”
Did I mention my parents had to put up with a lot of sarcasm when I was growing up?
Speaking of pie, the cafeteria has the best desserts this side of Omaha. I would know. I have always prided myself in the ability to find the best dessert restaurants around. Which is what led to me taking a culinary class this past semester. What a blast, and best part of all, it was an easy class. There will definitely be more of those in the future.
I thought being a pastry chef or even a professional cake decorator could be possible career candidates for the rest of my life. I did have a thing for sweets and my awesome metabolism allowed me to eat freely without too much worry.
So anyway, Marika is majoring in Cognitive Science (loosely translated to psychology) and I instantly knew that behind all those brains was a fun girl ready to break loose and enjoy my college experience. She and I became best friends the minute we met, allowing me to concentrate on finding a career instead of finding friends. Marika was enough for now.
Marika’s older brother, Maxwell, also attends the University. He is a junior studying Criminal Justice. Another brainiac in the family. Must be a tough household to live in with all the smartness oozing from everyone. I would never survive one day with their family.
Maxwell’s girlfriend, Jasmine, was studying to become a fashion designer. She was super nice but didn’t quite seem all there most of the time. Her loyalties were first and foremost with the cheerleaders, which really wasn’t that surprising to myself or Marika. Stereotyping. I know. Jasmine was a nice girl though.
The four of us - Marika, Maxwell, Jasmine and myself, strangely did a lot of extra curricular activities together. Movies, donut runs, more movies. Unfortunately, there was not a whole lot to do in our small collegiate town. It was nice to see that Max and Marika were such good friends. You didn’t see that too often in siblings, especially two of the opposite sex. I wouldn’t know of course as I was blessed with being an only child.
Maxwell was very well liked around campus and he knew how to handle himself around others without being too cocky or arrogant. I admired that character trait about him the most. Besides his outwardly good looks, his insides were just as attractive.
Speaking of attractive, there was one guy on campus that everyone swooned over and adored. Well, at least all of the girls swooned over him as he passed them in the halls or sat next to them in class. Even Marika was drawn into his charm. Drew certainly was quite the ladies man and as a member of Theta Kappa Gamma he could have any girl he chose on campus.
That makes him sound a bit obnoxious, but truth be told, he was. I could have been one of those ladies, but I knew better. Boys like Drew were not the type of people I wanted to hang around or be associated with on a regular basis. At some point in time, the person closest to him was bound to get hurt. Or in trouble. I was looking for neither of those things. Remember, I was still looking for a career choice. My parents always told me I was responsible for taking care of myself. I didn’t need a man to do that for me.
I certainly was not in the market for a man, but I was closer to finding out what I wanted to be when I grew up. Journalist was sounding pretty good, so I took some classes on how to become a better writer. Little did I know that I would need to use those writing and reporting skills sooner rather than later. And all thanks to Drew.
That leads me to the present day. Second semester and I finally think I have a good handle on life. I have friends and a solid plan for my education. All I was missing was some good, wholesome entertainment.
“There’s a party tonight at Theta Kappa Gamma tonight. I think we need to go,” Marika smiled. She wasn’t a party animal but I knew she was getting bored with our dorm room movie nights.
“The only reason you want to go is to see Drew. You and a million other girls of course,” was my snarky reply. Going to a frat house was not my idea of fun.
“Oh come on. Max and Jaz are going, too. We’ll have fun. I promise,” she clapped her hands as if she were ready to open presents on Christmas morning.
“Fine,” I begrudgingly moaned. “But when I say it’s time to go, we're out of there. I don’t want to be a part of any shenanigans.”
“Yes!” She said, leaping across the bed to give me a hug.
Who knew this socially dysfunctional evening was going to be more miserable for Drew than it was for me.
Scroll Down For Chapter 2
It was disappointing, really. There was no twist in the end. No nail biting cliffhanger. The suspense certainly wasn’t killing anybody. Well, nobody except for Drew. All this and it was only my freshman year of college. Who knew college was going to be so exciting?
Let’s start back at the beginning. It will help you better understand my complicated, problematic, and quite truthfully undecided life a bit better.
Ah, the word undecided fits me like a pair of spandex shorts fits a toned, ripped runner. My name is Julia Stone and I am a forward thinking, backward moving, full of life teenager who wants nothing more than to be happy for the rest of my life. All throughout high school I was given the nickname Jewel Stone, something I rather liked being called truth be told. I wasn’t popular, or nerdy, or a sports freak. I just got along with everyone and everyone got along with me. My adolescent school career was quite successful and fulfilling, and I would have been completely content finishing my academic career at my high school graduation, diploma in hand with tassel properly placed to the correct side of my graduation cap. Unfortunately, I had to go to college. It was a rule my parents strictly enforced.
My parents are the best people on this planet and I would never want to do anything to disappoint them, especially since they just spent the last eighteen years putting up with my quirky, odd, and completely off the wall personality. I certainly owed it to them to gain just another piece of paper saying I had spent x amount of dollars to do something I had no desire to do in the first place.
So off I went.
It was the beginning of my freshman year at college and I had absolutely no idea what I wanted to do when I grew up. I mean, come on. At eighteen years of age who really knows what they want out of life except to become a millionaire and never work again.
Nobody gets that. Unless you were lucky enough to be born into such royalty.
I was not.
I was raised in a small town in the middle of a state that no one cares about. No really. Do you know anyone who is dying to visit the state of Nebraska? I didn’t think so.
My family doesn‘t have a fancy house or expensive ritzy cars. We enjoy shopping at the Salvation Army because you could literally get so much more for so much less. No one ever knew we weren’t rich nor did they think we were poor. We just were who we were. Plain and simple.
I liked plain and simple, and even more, I liked for things to go according to plan. The plan was to finish college, find a job that was not going to take up too much brain capacity, and travel on the weekends.
Yes, I had thought of becoming a travel agent. I had also pondered vet tech (too much science), architect (too much math), pharmacist (too much school), and even thought about becoming a teacher. I nixed that one right away. Why would anyone want to be stuck in school for the rest of their life?
So, undecided is what I checked off on my college application. It felt wrong not to know what I wanted out of life, but on the other hand, I didn’t feel trapped into one area of study either. It was somewhat liberating knowing I was in charge of my own destiny and that at any point in time I could become whatever I wanted or dreamed I could do. Well, at least I had control over my own class choices.
I signed up for my core classes, you know, the ones practically every freshman has to take in order to be “college ready.” Western Civilization is certainly not going to make me a well rounded student. What it did make me was addicted to ibuprofen. That class was such a headache. Perhaps it was just the professor’s inability to speak in something more daring than a monotone voice.
So my future as a historian was crossed off the list as well.
Theater buff, I was not. Crossed off the list.
No habla espanol. I barely got through it in high school and I really wasn’t looking for a career working with immigrants. No offense, of course.
Now, exchange student, on the other hand, was looking pretty appealing. I would take my inability to make a decision abroad and live an undecided life there as well. It sounded exotically rewarding and challenging.
Somehow I didn’t think my parents would find that idea very entertaining. So my random classes continued on throughout the first and second semester of college. I was having fun living the life of a well rounded student. That is when we met Drew.
Suddenly, my whole career path changed.