Status: In Progress

Breakable Me

Chapter One

The burning sensation throbbing throughout my thighs did not even bother me as I peddled even faster up the steep hill. All I could picture in my mind was today’s date, January 31st, circled in black and gold on my calendar. My backpack was digging into my shoulders, a heavy workload for tonight; the harsh winds were making my lips chapped, and I felt like my bike was about to slip down this just salted hill. However, it was all worth it as hope was at the top of our Appalachian mountain found in the presence of Mr. Goodman. Our mailman had an evident smile on his face; the result of the sizable envelope in his hand. “It looks like good news,” he said with his smile growing larger. He never could hide his expression very well, especially when it came to an interesting piece of mail in our small town of Norwood Hollow. Everyone here was pulling for me. Vanderbilt was the only college I really desired to go to. To be a Commodore and nothing else since I had learned that my idol, Granddad, had once attended the same school.

I gently took the envelope from the Mr. Goodman’s hand before dropping my bike in the front lawn, running inside our house, up the porch steps, through the creaky screen door, and straight to the living room where I would always find my grandparents after school. Grandma in her comfy, retro-patterned chair re-watching her favorite black and white movies, this time She Done Him Wrong with her favorite actress Mae West, partially who I was named after. An actress who I believed embodied the crazy woman my grandmother was when she was younger. She had always said she could see where my mother had gotten from her rebellious side from, and wondered when mine would show up. Grandpa sat in his own reclining chair, tuning out whichever movie was on, working on the daily crossword puzzle from the Norwood Daily newspaper. However, they both looked up once they heard me come in. “Well Callie Mae, I’ve guessed you’ve gone and done it,” my grandfather said before putting his pen behind his ear while he examined the large envelope in my hand.

Grandma paused the movie, “Shh, Warren she hasn’t even opened it yet.” My grandfather brushed off her comment before edging to the brim of his seat. They both were as excited as I was.

The seal came off with no problem, and there were the words that I had been waiting for in big bold letters: On behalf of the faculty and staff of Vanderbilt University, it is my pleasure to extend congratulations and notify you of your acceptance for admission. I could already feel tears in my eyes before I could even read the rest of the letter; they began to fall from my face as I tried to contain my excitement. My grandparents made their way over.

“I’m so proud of you, Mae,” Grandma kept repeating as she kissed my forehead. She gathered my frizzy auburn hair and placed it out of my face. My mess of a hair was now wet with tears, some my own and some not. Grandpa wiped off his reading glasses on his cotton shirt before taking the letter and placing it an arm lengths away to read it. He kept his arm around me the whole time, giving little squeezes to show his pride. I was going to follow in his footsteps, just as we had both always wanted.

Once the acceptance letter was taped onto the refrigerator, everything began falling into place. Finishing out senior year strong, getting enough financial aid, finding a roommate in the dorm I wanted that didn't seem completely crazy, and most memorable: coming home everyday after school and listening to my grandfather's college stories. The second I walked into the room everyday I could see the large smile on his face as he set down his crossword puzzle. "So where are we up to?" Granddad would ask as I plopped down on the couch beside him and grabbed my eyes large as if that would help me remember ever detail my grandfather said.

Before I could reply, as I remembered exactly where we stopped, Grandma would shout, "Can't you see I'm watching a movie?", but afterward she would laugh. Soon the volume on the T.V. would decrease until it was barely audible. She may love to hear Granddad's stories more than her favorite movie, just maybe. They met after he graduated anyway, so many memories are new to her too. I had heard some of the stories before, the big ones like when he went streaking at 5 am after a big football win or the first time he tried cooking on his own, but some stories it seemed like he was saving for me until I got accepted. All of the stories, the homecoming parades, the football games and the great professors that left made such an impact on his life and his future decisions made me want to leave more and more each day.

However, when I was standing on my bedroom, I couldn't help but to feel sad at how empty it was. All of the pictures off the walls, most of my clothes, the bedding and even some of my favorite books, which I planned to read if I ever got lonely in college, were all packed in the car. With each mile closer to Nashville, the feeling of tears only got worse. I couldn't cry just yet though. My grandma had been on the verge of tears for weeks, and if I let one fall, I know it would all be over. It would be a huge waterworks fest, and they would be upset all the way home, maybe too much for my grandfather to even drive without getting in an accident.

So when I watched my grandparents drive away from Murry Hall and across the Commons in their old station wagon I was able to let the tears fall. I could picture Grandad hunched over the steering wheel with Grandma soon to be asleep beside him. Most likely dreaming of them when they were young and in love. The same classical music would be playing, easy for anyone to fall asleep too. The car that was once filled with many boxes and bags of clothes was now empty and commencing the five and a half hour drive back to Norwood from Nashville.

I was proud of myself that I didn't cry. Not even when we had to say goodbye, as I focused on I encoded into my memory Grandma's soft embrace and the crooked smile Granddad couldn't wipe from his face ever since he started the drive to Vanderbilt. They had done their job though and could go back to their daily routines with smiles on their faces. After all, they thought they could begin living this life eighteen years ago before I was presented at their doorstep with pleading eyes from my young mother.

“Callie, it will be alright.” Ronnie came over a patted my shoulder. My roommate, Ronnie Haynes, who I had only met 45 minutes ago was different than anyone from Norwood. She was from just outside of Atlanta, so she was used to looking around and seeing skyscrapers and highways instead of mountains with snow covering the tops.

I quickly wiped away the tears, embarrassed, that she had come back so quickly from taking a shower in the common bathroom down the hall. I didn’t expect this to affect me so much. As this was the place that I had always wanted to be. All summer the thought of late night chats with my roommate, watching free movies on the great lawn, and exploring Nashville would keep me awake I was so excited. Although, I figured that many people didn’t have the same bond that my grandparents and I had. Most people were more than eager to leave their parents as I noticed when I walked by the halls with others barely realizing their parents were waving goodbye, already caught up in a new exciting life.

“I’m fine. Thanks though.” My accent in my town wasn’t even that strong, but it sounded extremely Southern in comparison to Ronnie’s. I turned around and saw her ruffling her wet black hair in a towel. It was obviously dyed black with a perhaps unintentional purple hue as you could barely see the blonder roots coming through. She had three piercing on each ear, and a tattoo of a small horse on her left shoulder. If anyone even got a tattoo in Norwood, it would be the town’s latest scandal.

I walked back over to a box of my things as I placed a couple of the picture frames I brought on my desk. They were the pictures from home: my friends from high school on graduation day, a picture of my grandparents after we had climbed Grandfather Mountain, a picture of me at prom in my favorite silver dress, and a candid one of my mother laughing on a mountain top.

“Well good,” Ronnie said while pulling on a pair of jeans and putting on some make-up. I realized then how much make-up she was wearing now, and we weren’t even going anywhere. She looked so much better before, but I knew that she wouldn’t want to hear that from me. “What do you want to do now that you’re all settled in?” Ronnie asked as she finished the last of her make-up.

“Um..” I paused as I tried to think of all that I wanted to know about my unfamiliar roommate. Over the summer, I had several questions lined up, but right now all I could think of was, “Are you excited for your classes to start?” As soon as I said this, I smacked myself mentally. Of course, she wasn’t.

Ronnie just laughed, most likely assuming I was being sarcastic.“ Yeah I don't want to sit in here and just chat either. How about we go out and meet some of our hallmates? We got a few days to party before classes start, so better make the most of it.” Before I could reply, she was already hopping around the room, throwing her iPhone, chapstick, and pepper spray into her purse as I just stood there taking in her fast-paced actions. I had only spoken to her once on Facebook before meeting right now, but I could instantly tell she was a lot less naive than I was about the world. She made it seem like she had been here for months.

I had hoped that we could have gotten to know each other a little more, but Ronnie had different thoughts about us. It didn’t seem like we wanted to talk about the same things anyway. We walked outside our room and noticed that the girls in the room next to us were already talking to two attractive boys in the hallway.

“One question, are you single?” Ronnie asked as she locked our dorm behind her. “If you are, we should so join those girls chatting up those two hot guys over there. They will eat up your southern accent; they are definitely city boys, look at those polos.”

“Yes,” I said almost too quickly. I wasn’t sure if I was ready to be as bold as Ronnie was about talking to boys. I also was unsure if I should go ahead and tell her now or...

Ronnie’s smile widened as one of the boys looked our way, she licked her lips in a seductive way as we slowly shuffled forward towards them. I saw the other one staring at me, but I instantly looked down. It was almost an instinct to avoid eye contact with attractive boys. “I need a good rebound after my last boyfriend. He was so great in bed, but such a jerk. You know those,” Ronnie assured me. She shyly looked down from the boy before fluttering her eyelashes for him once again. I realized that was something that I could try. However, I figured I could never do it as effortlessly as Ronnie just did.

Truthfully, I knew very little about boys. I had grown up with the same fifteen that were always in my class and could never find them sexy after remembering all the poop jokes they made or how they would eat worms on the playground. There were attractive boys, sure. When they would take off their shirts at the watering hole, it was easy to see they had changed quite a bit. Their tanned skin from working outside would glisten in the water and their toned abs were just an added viewing bonus. I was usually too embarrassed to take off my shorts and T-shirt, afraid to show my incredibly pale skin to the world and round tummy. So I would just admire instead of jumping into the water with them like all the other girls. Instead of telling this to Ronnie, I let out a slight chuckle, to show that I agreed.

“Well hello girls.” The taller boy called out to us. The two girls they were talking to instantly turn around and glared at us, most likely upset that the boys had been more interested in talking to someone new. However, it seemed like the guys were just trying to talk to as many girls as possible. How nice it was to start with a blank state, something I had to remember. No one here knew my dating past was nonexistent.

“Hi, I’m Ronnie,” she said while doing a little wave.

“Callie,” I said while trying to maintain eye contact, but I couldn’t help looking down.

“Eric.” The taller one that first spoke told us his name.

“Bryan.” The other one said with a slight smirk on his face before sticking out his hand for a handshake.

The girl on the left seemed more friendly than the blond who still seemed angry about the decreased attention she was receiving. “I’m Tory. Do you live next door?”

“Yeah we do.” Ronnie said before catching a glance at Eric. “Figured we go around and introduce ourselves to everyone.” She obviously was already into him even though she only knew his name; however, he didn’t seem to mind her either. It seemed that she instantly had a weird power over boys. If Ronnie was boy-obsessed, it would be an interesting friendship.

Tory nudged the blond to get her to speak. “I’m Juliette.” She said with a slight smile to us.

“Nice to meet you Juliette.” I chimed in. My voice sounded small and weak against everyone else’s. They seemed to all have very dominant personalities.

Juliette responded with a small smile. “We were doing the same,” She responded to Ronnie’s comment. “The second we walked outside we found these two nice gentlemen from down the hall.” Juliette responded putting on her obvious natural charm.

“Yeah, we were just telling them about this party at my brother’s fraternity house tonight. Would ya’ll wanna come too? The more the merrier.” Eric asked, but I was sure the question was referred to Ronnie more than myself.

“We’d love to go.” My eyes widen as Ronnie practically shrieked at the idea. I hadn’t heard too much about frat parties other than that they were crazy, and everyone was extremely drunk. I wasn’t sure that I wanted to go, but I was trapped now.

“We were going to go too.” Tory said with a sweet smile.

“Good, it should be fun then. The first night of parties is always the best, or so I’ve heard. How about you girls give us your numbers, and we’ll text you when we are heading over that way.” Eric said while already getting out his phone. The three other girls instantly pulled their phones out of their pockets already typing in names. I patted my shorts and found that I must have left my phone in room.

Bryan stuck out his hand waiting for me to hand it to him. “Uhh...” I said nervously. “I think I left my phone back in the room.” It felt like my Southern voice was echoing in the hall as everyone looked at me like I was crazy.

Bryan chuckled. “Well that’s alright.” He handed me his phone. “It’s better when girls aren’t obsessed with their phones all the time anyway.” I could feel myself blushing. “Just add your number in there.” My cheeks got even brighter. I realized that a guy that I didn’t know had never asked me for my number before. I handed it back to him with a shy smile. “Hope to see everyone tonight!” The boys said before they made their way down the hallway with smiles on their faces.

The girls turned to each other and began giggling once the boys were far enough away. “I guess college is starting off right!” Tory exclaimed. Her statement took me a second to grasp. Did she only come to college to meet boys? I was excited about the classes and the opportunities, the boys too of course, but I figured that was something that would come later. Maybe I had it backwards though..

“Callie,” Ronnie smirked. “I like your shy, innocent approach. Those guys ate that up.” Juliette rolled her eyes at this comment. She definitely enjoyed always being the center of attention.

“I don’t try.” I spoke softy, trying to deflect the attention off of me, however, this just caused them all to laugh.

“Well, I need to get ready. First impressions are the most important.” Juliette flipped her keys around her fingers as she turned around to open her door.

Tory sighed. “It’s only 4:30! Anyway, you girls are welcome to come get ready in our room whenever. We made sure to get a big mirror.”

“That sounds great!” Ronnie exclaimed. However, I still didn’t really want to go, or have anything to wear. All the while, I didn’t want to just sitting alone in my dorm room on the first night either. The boys expected all of us to go too. College was about new experiences as well. Frat parties was not what I envisioned, but I guess that was what everyone else did.

Juliette turned around with her blond locks whipping to her other shoulder. “That would be fun. I could do so much with your hair.” She said while looking at me. I chuckled, but didn’t really know what was wrong with my hair. All I ever did was brush it and it seemed fine to me, it was only extra frizzy when it rained.

“See you soon!” Ronnie said while grabbing my hand and leading me back to our room like a kid on Christmas. I only imagined the many different outfit choices roaming through her head.

So much for meeting our hallmates, I thought.
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Thanks for reading! I've gotten a lot of comments about the layout, and honestly I am clueless about how to work the new layout maker properly. If anyone has any hints, they would be greatly appreciated. (: