Paper Dreams

i need a ride

A collection of his drool was pooled on his pillow, the saliva sticking to John’s face as he blinked awake. He didn’t even get an opportunity to close his eyes again in an attempt to fall back asleep before the headache began beating at the front of his skull. The feeling ricocheted through him as the hangover spread through his body, running down his spine and into his stomach. John hated the hangover that came with drinking; it always had a way of forcing him awake too early for his liking and left him feeling nauseous and lethargic for the day. Although determined, he knew it was unlikely that he’d be able to fall back asleep even with a few Advil to subdue the pain in his head and stomach. His eyes glanced to the clock and a sharp groan left his lips in response to the numbers, as they hadn’t even ventured into the double digits yet.

He didn’t even realize there was arm draped over his waist until he sat up and it fell into his lap, distracting him from the throbs in his head for a moment. If it hadn’t been there at all, John would have completely missed the girl sleeping beside him all together. This wasn’t part of the routine. Usually, the girl was the one to wake up first, and John wouldn’t even bother opening his eyes enough to watch her slip out his bedroom door. He never had the opportunity to glance back at the girl after the fact, the idea seeming awful at first, but then he couldn’t stop himself from doing it anyway. There was something different about this girl, he was sure. There was no way that any of the others could have ever looked how she did and the longer he looked, the harder it was to not let the smile creep over his lips. She looked so delicate, an arm wrapped over the pillow and her hair draped across the other side. John’s eyes traced down her exposed shoulders and bare back, the sheet cover the details of lower half of her body but he continued to followed over her hip and down her leg, the smile spreading wider at the sight of her bare feet hanging out from under the sheet. There was a side of him that simply wants to curl up beside her, grazing his fingers over her skin and press enough kisses to her flesh so she’d wake up smiling.

Luckily, his skull was throbbing enough to keep him from doing any of that, motivating him to climb from the bed and find one of the pill bottles he and Kennedy had stashed throughout their apartment. It’s what pushed him to steady himself on his feet beside his bed, and start searching, almost blindly, through the mess of his dirty clothes, to find a pair of shorts to slip into so he could step out of the room. He was frustrated by how long it took, how many shirts and pairs of pants he had to toss aside and how just leaning over those few degrees caused twice as much pain in his head as when was standing upright moments before. He stepped into the first pair he found, relieved, as he could slip outside the door now and leave his thoughts of the girl in the room with her.

The hallway was dark as he made his way through it, stopping at the closed bathroom door and hovering his fist near the wood, listening in. Her voice was so familiar as she hummed the same tune she did every morning and John could only smile, not bothering to be frustrated as he decided against interrupting her. Kennedy’s fiancé, Alexis had spent almost every morning in his apartment over the last two years, and John had never minded as they had always got along so well. They’d grown up together. He was the one to introduce her to Kennedy, and she was the one who helped him through everything over the last few years. John just pressed on, as he knew there was a second bottle in the kitchen; his headache worsened as he made his way into the bright room, his hand immediately moving to shield his eyes from the sun shining through the windows.

Kennedy’s back was to him as he rounded the corner; the familiar and comforting smell of coffee taking over his senses. Coffee was, in John’s mind, the cure-all for any aliment or illness, and now it was acting as his new motivation to move through the kitchen, to ignore the sunlight as he reached for a ceramic mug and pour the dark liquid into it. When he brought it to his lips, he allowed the hot, bitter liquid to ground his spinning mind. Coffee was his everything. It was a drink that could occupy his thoughts without the heavy feeling that alcohol would leave in the morning.

“You should thank Lex for waking up early to start that pot for you.” Kennedy dragged John’s attention away from the beverage and he looked over at him with a scowl. As always, Kennedy looked too happy to be awake and that just irritated hungover John more.

John kept his nose centered over his cup, allowing the coffee to fight the pounding in his head. “She was probably already awake knowing how you snore.”

Another smile spread over Kennedy’s lips, “Actually—“

The squeal started at the doorway, blocking out Kennedy’s words and amplifying the pain in John’s head. At first, he gritted his teeth, unsure of what was happening, but then he caught the word tied into the sound and he couldn’t bite back the toothy grin. The two watched the little girl take a step further into their kitchen, her hands on her hips and a scowl across her face in a way that reminded him of her mother. Guilt knotted in his throat as her hands dropped and she giggled, stepping closer to Kennedy to give him a high five. He’d forgotten. In the midst of dealing with the hangover, he had forgotten why he wasn’t supposed to go to the party the night before and why there wasn’t supposed to be a second occupant in his bed. It was a weekend, Ruby time, as Alexis had it labeled on the calendar by the fridge. Even his roommates seemed able to remember when his daughter would be visiting, and yet he, the man who fathered the girl, couldn’t keep it all straight.

“Hi, sweetie,” He pushed himself to smile as she stepped towards him now, her hand extended out now to give him a high five as well. As he dropped his hand to accept the gesture, he couldn’t help but remember when he taught her that as a toddler when he was home between tours. Her eyes twinkled in delight, the way he always remembered; it was something he knew she got from her mother.

“Hi, Daddy.” She giggled back, thrusting her arms up higher in front of him now, a gesture she’d done since before she could walk. Sara always told her it was rude, that we use our words when we wanted to be picked up, but John really didn’t care either way, it always reminded him how much she loved him.

John set his coffee down on the stone counter behind him and leaned down, his eyes connecting with Kennedy’s for a moment as a knowing smile spread over his lips. There was a certain comfort John found in hold his child, hugging her close to him and feeling her breathe against him. Once she rested at the right spot against his hip, John moved his other hand to brush the bits of blonde hair that’d fallen from her messy ponytail away from her face. “Did Mommy drop you off?” He asked softly, his attention on her.

Her smile towards him didn’t disappear, making his guilt worsen. Ruby nodded her head as she wrapped her arms around his neck and rested her cheek against his calvicle. “She’s getting Dory and Janet.”

“Who’re Dory and Janet?” John asked, the confusion in his voice making her giggle into his neck.

“My new puppies!”

His eyebrows rose in surprise. “Mommy got you more puppies?”

Ruby shook her head this time, her hair tickling over his bare skin. “No, Grandma got me them.”

“And you named them Dory and Janet?” He asked, that teasing tone to his voice caused her to lift her head so her eyes could meet with his. John watched her lips part, but he smiled. “Wait. Let me guess, okay?” Pausing, he waited for her to nod in agreement, before he continued. “Dory is named after your favorite fish in the whole world.”

“Good job!” She squealed, the noise making his head hurt again but he ignored the feeling.

“And Janet?” The fingers of his free arm brushed over his lips now out of habit. He was certain he’d heard the name from her before, but not enough that it stuck. “I give up. Where’d you get the name Janet?”

His daughter shifted in his arms and his attention drifted away for a moment as he heard the front door slam and craned his neck to the side to see. However, when her hand pulled at the bottom of his jaw, bringing his eyes back to hers, he gave the three year old his complete attention. “Ms. Janet is my teacher at school, Dad. Remember?”

John heard the heels clicking across the living room floors in that way that made him almost sick. He knew that sound. Ruby was still talking into his ear but he couldn’t help ignoring it, as he dreaded her arrival, knowing the looks she would give him and the way her voice would add to the mess of pains in his skull. Seeing Ruby always brought a smile to his face but seeing Sara only had the opposite effect. He knew she would be able to see the hangover looming in his features and it wouldn’t make his morning any easier.

The frown was already thick across her face when she stepped into the kitchen, her eyes immediately landing on him. She was dressed up in a navy suit, and John knew she’d be spending her day at the bank, banning people from getting the loans they needed and forcing them to pay too much interest. He could see her anger and he wasn’t sure what had already left his ex in such a foul mood but he wished he wasn’t the one who was standing in front of her now, as he knew he was going to receive the brute effects of it. There was a time when he loved her, that he knew, but now it was so different; John hated her and everything she’d put him through since Ruby’s birth. She controlled his time with his child and he was always worried what she was saying to the girl while he wasn’t around. There were times when John hadn’t been the best parent, touring controlled his life for the last three and a half years but that didn’t change the fact that Ruby was his child and he still felt every bit as responsible for her as Sara did.

She didn’t speak as she stared at him. He could feel the tension growing between them in the room, even as Ruby hummed softly in his arms. Kennedy waited by, unsure of if he’d have to take his unofficial role as referee and John just hoped she’d wait a few moments until Alexis came out of the bathroom and could take Ruby out of the room. The silence was overwhelming, the uncertainty building as he didn’t know what to do.

“Nice suit.” He managed to say, the words rough and heavy leaving his mouth, the joke was missed completely he was sure, as she didn’t laugh, not even a smile emerging from under the scowl.

“Nice hangover.” She countered, setting the duffel bag on the island in front of her. “Glad to see you’re doing such great things with your time.”

It made him uncomfortable as his daughter was still in his arms, listening. He knew how she remembered things; it was why Alexis had instituted the ‘swear jar’ after Ruby had repeated a series of words she’d picked up from the apartment in her school. She seemed occupied, tracing over the letters of his tattoo inked into his collarbone, but they both knew better. Even with the television on in the other room, the three year-old didn’t miss much. He was proud of how observant she’d become, but the way she regurgitated everything so easily and to anyone who’d listen made him cautious about what to allow the girl to overhear.

John pressed his free hand to his daughter’s ear, holding her head to his chest. “How do you even know I’m hungover?” He whispered, determined to keep from exposing the girl from the word again.

“You’re the father of my child, John. I, unfortunately, get the awful privilege of knowing everything about you.” Her tone was too sharp and she seemed too serious about what she was saying. It was always how easy the crudeness fell from her lips that hurt the most; he knew he could never speak like that towards her and he just wished he could receive the same respect.

He wasn’t sure what to say to her, knowing everything he thought of wouldn’t work. A compliment wouldn’t please her as she’d simply mock his words, and anything else would spark a fight. All he wanted was it all to be easy, for him to mutter a few words, for the two to laugh at some joke Ruby told them and then for her to leave with a smile on her face. But he knew better, that wouldn’t happen. She was too determined to make this simple exchange into something frustrating and difficult. Biting on his lip, he waited for either her to speak or for the right chain of words to fill his head for him to say.

“Mommy?” Ruby muttered as John dropped his hand from her ear, allowing her to sit up completely now. There was a certain level of relief that washed over him, as the child was the one who broke the silent barrier. When his ex hummed in response, his daughter stared across the kitchen at her, the smile wide across her cheeks. “What’s hangover mean?”

“Great! Thanks, John!” Her voice rose as she looked at him. It made him defensive and frustrated. It never seemed to matter to her whose fault it actually was, if John was there, John was to blame.

“I didn’t—“

She didn’t give him a chance to even speak before her attention snapped to the girl in his arms as she waited for Sara to answer. “It’s when you get sick from being bad like Daddy.” Ruby accepted that, nodding and leaning back on John’s shoulder again.

Had his daughter not been in his arms, he was certain he would have yelled at her. He didn’t care anymore about not fighting, not after that comment. This side of her made John so enraged, knowing how easily she could talk him down to her daughter. While he made it a point to never purposefully talk her about her to Ruby, Sara lacked any filter on her putdowns regardless of if his child were around or not. He just hoped she didn’t do it as easily in private, when his daughter’s ears were even more open as she was twice as impressionable. Even if there were times when John lacked in his role as Ruby’s father, he didn’t deserve to have her say such things to their child.

A small wave of relief hit John when Alexis stepped out from the hallway, her hair still wet from the shower and the familiar maroon apron draped over her arm. No one even got a chance to greet her before the girl in John’s arms was squealing out her name and pushing away from his chest in a frenzy. The group watched as she slipped down John’s body and when her feet touched the floor, she smiled more and ran across the kitchen floor and into Alexis’s arms. Now kneeled down, Alexis hugged the girl back, pushing her blonde ringlets away to glance up at John. He was always so thankful for how well his roommates understood the situation; they were both so willing to help him with his daughter and stand by him through the turbulent times like these with Sara.

“Hey, Ruby?” Alexis spoke now, interrupting the deafening silence. John could see the concerned smile on her lips as she pulled away, keeping her eyes on the girl now. “How about me and you grab some juice and go watch Sesame Street in my room? How does that sound?”

Ruby agreed, lacing her hand with Alexis’s as she stood up. John watched as the two pulled open the fridge to grab one of the juice boxes he’d purchased the day before and made a stop in front of the coffee maker so Alexis could pour herself a cup. Before the group’s attention was dragged back to the painfully large elephant situated in the middle of the room, they watched as Alexis stopped in front of Kennedy, leaning forward to mumble a quick ‘good morning’ and press a peck to his lips, and the two stepped towards the hallway.

“It’s your job to make me look like a complete joke to her, isn’t it?” John snapped before he was even certain the two had made it far enough that they wouldn’t hear it.

Sara’s eyes darted to his, her jaw tightening at his words. “No, John. I think you do that just fine on your own.”

The timing was truly impeccable. At first, John was certain he could win this fight; that he could prove to her that she constantly put him down around their child and needed to stop. That was, until he heard his daughter’s voice from down the hallway, sounding as cheery and loud as always. It was enough to pulled Sara’s attention from the unraveling fight; her head twisting over her shoulder to see what John seemed to keep forgetting. Her footsteps were soft and one of the shirts he had kicked aside this morning was covering her shoulders now. John grimaced then, not in reaction to how she looked as he hadn’t even given his mind the opportunity to look at her in such a way, but more so, his expression reflected how easy it was to see the evidence of what the two had done that night in her appearance.

His ex’s attention fell back to him then, the knowing smirk slowly rising across her lips. “Thus, proving my point,”

“Oh, uh-s-sorry. I-I was, just, uh, l-looking for you, actually—“ The girl stuttered, directing her attention to John; her hands wrung nervously in front of her as all the eyes in the room stayed on her. “I-I, uh, can go wa-wait…if you’re b-busy…”

He wished it would be that easy, that he could simply push the girl away and the memory would leave with her. Except nothing could ever be that simple if Sara was involved.

“It’s okay,” He cleared his throat, pushing himself off the counter and closer to where she stood. “Uh, this is Sara”—He gestured quickly to his ex behind him, introducing the girl to his ex first—“and Sara, this is—“

“Celeste,” She filled in quickly to John’s relief. He couldn’t recall what she had slurred her name to him the night before now, and it would have taken far too long to remember it.

Sara’s smile grew, her eyes connected with his as her lips parted, “Well, I’m John’s child’s mother.” Her hand extended slowly to the other girl’s waiting for their palms to meet, “And it’s a pleasure to meet you!”

“Nice to, uh, meet you too,” She mumbled, keeping her focus on John as she sent him a confused look.

Sara sent a smirk to John. “And how old are you?”

A blush spread over the girl’s cheeks and she looked at John. A pang of guilt hit him then that had nothing to do with what they’d done the night before, but more over the fact that he had no way of stopping Sara. He knew she was doing this to use against him but in the process, she was embarrassing the girl. Sara’s grinned spread wider when she followed the girl’s stare to John’s, seeing him send her a slight shrug.

“What? Nineteen? Twenty?”

Celeste straightened her posture, fingers tugging at the bottom of his shirt again. Twenty-one.”

“That’s cute, John.” She smiled sweetly, John sending her a glare in response. He watched as she took a step back, giving Celeste some room within the kitchen. “Doing some after school tutoring, I see. How sweet of you, helping these kids out.”

“Shut up, Sara.” He sighed, forcing himself to ignore her and pushing his attention back to the girl he shared his bed with the night before. “You needed something, C-Celeste?”

“I need a ride.”

Sara scoffed, “Didn’t you get one last night, sweetheart?”

“Shut up!” He snapped again, louder this time.

“Do you go to ASU?” Kennedy interjected, breaking up the quickly approaching fight to John’s relief, and the girl nodded in his direction. “Uh, my girlfriend works right near campus, I’m sure she can give you a ride.”

The girl smiled at Kennedy, “Thanks.” Her attention going back to John as she gestured at the hallway she had come through moments before. “I’m gon-gonna go, uh…”

He only nodded his head, thankful that she was returning to his room and out of Sara’s firing range. The group watched her turn around and step back into the hallway, hands still attempting to pull the back of his shirt down to completely cover herself. John couldn’t stop himself from tracing over her once more, forcing himself to bite back the bit of a smile. He didn’t understand the feeling he got and he wasn’t about to put a lot of thought into it with Sara’s glare aimed at him.

It was still silence as Kennedy took a step forward, brushing past the two. “I’m gonna go get Lexie,” His words were more for John, a sort of ‘you’re on your own for a few minutes’-type look centered for him. “I’ll be right back.”

“That’s why you couldn’t pick her up last night?” Sara snapped at him.

“No,” He looked away from the now empty doorway, his hopes that his friend would stay began to fade. “I was with Alex, th-that— I didn’t mean for that to happen.”

His ex scoffed, “So you accidentally fucked some girl?”

John’s jaw tightened,“Sara, just stop. Okay?” His words were sharp and loud “She’s here and she’s fine and—“

“God, if your father weren’t the best damn custody lawyer, every judge in this state would know what a shitty dad you are.”

“I’m a good father.” He spoke stronger now, jaw tight and fists tight.

She scoffed again, belittling his point. “Your three year-old daughter just witnessed her first one night stand, no thanks to you.”

“I’m sorry!”

“Maybe you should apologize to her, John.” She glanced up for a moment, her expression softening at her words, “She almost cried when I told her you weren’t picking her up from school yesterday.“

Nothing bothered him more than hearing he disappointed Ruby. He’d done it enough over the last three years with all the touring and all the phone calls he’d forgotten to make, one would think he’d gotten use to the feeling. Yet there was still something about hearing that he upset her that could make his stomach drop. John never wanted to be a bad dad, it was the only job he knew he’d get to have for the rest of his life and he remember what it was like to grow up with a father figure but without the parent actively involved in his life. When she was born, he made that promise to her as she slept in his arms for the first time, his body huddled over hers in the hospital chair. He was going to be the best parent he could be. Sara made it clear right now, he was failing at that promise.

“I’m gonna make it up to her this weekend.” He insisted, his voice soft now too as he looked down at his feet in order to avoid Sara’s confused look. “Nate had this ceremony thing—“

Her eyebrow rose in disbelief. “A party?”

“No. He was getting some award and there was a ceremony and Dad couldn’t make it, so I went.” John explained.

“You picked some girl up at an awards ceremony?”

“There was a party after—“ John sighed, his hand running through his hair. “And I got a little drunk and, well, you remember what happens when I drink at college parties.”

If anyone knew John’s history at parties, it was Sara. It was how the two originally met; she was a sophomore, attending her friend’s fraternity party and he was a freshman, just looking for a good buzz on his weekend. Both were frequents at these parties and it didn’t take long before they knew each other and quickly realized their compatibility. John couldn’t help but smile, remembering the days when he’d sneak over to her dorm room or they’d spend the whole night out. He knew he loved her then but he was glad he never married her now; she wasn’t the same Sara he’d met all those years ago.

“I was smart enough to not sleep with you the first night.” The nostalgic smile wasn’t stretched over her lips like it was over his, a frown settled there instead. It was what ruined John’s as well. “I never should have.”

The sets of footsteps in the hallway stopped the conversation again. Neither John nor Sara looked at each other after her words, her attention now completely focused into her purse and his gaze moved so he was looking through the opposite window as the sun was setting higher in the sky now. Her words hurt him a little. Their relationship and all the fighting never mattered to him, he didn’t regret having a daughter he loved and was proud of. They were young and stupid and he knew that, but Ruby made it all worth it.

“Daddy!” Her arms wrapped around his legs again as his eyes shot down now, refocused on the situation around him. “Kenny let me play with his TV!”

John leaned down, forgetting the harsh words as he picked her up and hugging her to his chest again. “Really?” He fakes a gasp, and she nodded her head quickly, her hand pushing the blonde hair from her face.

“He let me change the channel!” Her smile was wider now, making all John’s anger towards Sara dissipate. Ruby twisted in his arms as Kennedy and Alexis walked back into the room now, their own grins stretched across their faces. “Didn’t you, Kenny?”

Neither of his friends were paying attention, too caught up in each other. Kennedy’s arm were tight around Alexis as he pushed her into the room and backwards against the fridge. Ruby stared at them for a moment, letting out a heavy sigh and sending the couple a glare. She proceeded to say his name again, this time sterner, in a way she must have picked up from Sara, to capture his attention. Immediately, his friend twisted his head away from Lex, looking at Ruby now. “Didn’t you?” She demanded.

“Didn’t I, what?” Kennedy’s arm slipped from where it was around Alexis’s waist and he took a step backwards so he could stand up completely. John couldn’t resist the smile now as his daughter let out a huff, repeating her words for him.

She didn’t give Kennedy a chance to response afterwards, instead her eyes stared behind him as the girl walked through the doorway again. As John scanned over her this time, the blush covered his cheeks. Seeing her dressed this time in the same outfit from the night before forced the memory from his hungover brain. He had been the one to approach her, to make the first move, and to invite her home. When she caught his eye, sending him a small smile, he looked away quickly, the blush worsening.

“Hi, I’m Ruby.” His daughter spoke, interrupting the silent conversation happening between the two. They’d taught her manners from a young age, to always greet company and introduce herself. It was something his mom had insisted she learn to keep her from shying away too much from adults. Except the idea seemed to backfire now as Sara shot John a heavy glare, scolding him for allowing his child to meet the girl.

“Hi.” Celeste mumbled back, forcing a thin smile across her lips.

John could see Ruby preparing herself to say something else, to talk to her as if she were any other member of the family. There was a certain panic that hit him and his eyes shot to Alexis, hoping she’s save him.

Alexis stepped forward from her spot beside Kennedy. “You needed a ride, right?”

Celeste nodded, a hint of relief filling her eyes. He couldn’t help but feel the same way, knowing the girl would be out of the scrutiny of his ex and curiosity of his daughter. The two exchanged in a quick introduction, leaving out their associations to John to spare any further embarrassment. It didn’t take long before the two were moving out of the kitchen, their voices echoing through the space. Kennedy followed behind them, walking his girlfriend to her car as he did every morning, leaving John an Ruby in the kitchen with Sara.

They all waited in the same awkward silence that came whenever they were together. He knew she had a long list of complaints that she was ready to tell him, but she’d never bring them up in front of Ruby. So he hugged his daughter tighter to him as she played with his hair, mumbling words he wasn’t completely listening to.

Rats.” Sara groaned, her eyes on her phone as the word captured John’s attention. “I’m gonna be late.”

The words were more for Ruby than John, but he couldn’t bite back the smile that pulled at his cheeks. Of course, he wished it weren’t like this, that they got along better, and he’d tried for so long to make the dynamic work. She was Sara though, not the Sara he’d dated for a few months, but his child’s mother. She wanted nothing else to do with him and always made that known to him. Her nasty side only showed its venom around him.

She pulled the purse up on her shoulder, stuffing the cellphone into the side pocket. Her heels tapped across the tiled floor as she moved to the doorway that lead the the living. John followed behind her, to be polite, Ruby’s arms looped around his neck.

“Have her back by two tomorrow, John.” Sara reminded, the words sounding more like a scolding parent’s than he co-parent.

“Yeah.” He stepped in front of her, pulling open the apartment door. “I know the rules.”

Her expression lightened as she looked at Ruby next, leaning forward, running her hand down the girl’s back. Ruby twisted away from where she rested against John, looking at Sara now. “Bye sweetie.” She spoke softly, standing up straighter to press a kiss to the girl’s cheek. “I love you. Be good for Daddy, alright?”

Ruby nodded and smiled back at her, leaning back into John now. He could feel himself relax as she stepped through the threshold. When John was ready to close the door though, he heard her call his name last time, and he had to fight the groan from escaping his lips.

“One last thing.” She took the step back inside, standing where the door would be.

His eyebrows rose in a forced curiosity. He was trying to act as though he were interested, fighting the part of him that simply wanted to push her back outside and close the door.

“We’re not carrying her around anymore, okay?”

“What?” He repeated, his jaw tightening. “Why not?”

Sara’s expression was almost sympathetic. “She’s starting Pre-K in the Fall. No one’s gonna carry her around there.”

It was his fault, he was the one who carried the girl all the time. She was too heavy at this point for Sara to do it and everyone else knew a three year old should be on her feet more. But John needed that closeness, the embrace always reassuring him that he was being a good parent to her.

“What about—“

He was cut off by her heavy expression. “Okay?” Her voice more demanding this time, the time forcing the tone.

“Fine.” He gave in, knowing it was ultimately easier than fighting her.

“Good,” She smiled, victoriously, and waved at Ruby this time. “Bye Ruby.”

John closed the door quicker this time, leaving no opportunity for her to think of further reminders. Ruby giggled at the swift motion and John couldn’t resist the smile that stretched across his lips. She was gone now, and John had the next two days to spend with her as he pleased. Sara had no control over his choices then.

“You won’t tell Mommy if I still carry you around, right?” He asked, glancing down as she nuzzled into his shoulder.

She shook her head against him, the smile across her lips making him smile too. “Nope.”
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I wish I could tell you that the wait for new chapters won't be this bad usually, but it will. I'm trying to juggle my job and I'm in my senior year of college, so all I do is write is papers papers papers. But the good news is the next chapter's done and the following one is more than halfway.
Let me know what you think.