A lot can happen between the months of January and May. That final semester at Azure Coast did not live up to the seven that had come before it. I got falsely accused of plagiarism on a paper in a required class I didn’t even want to take, knocking my GPA down from a perfect 4.0. That meant I graduated magna cum laude, not the summa cum laude title I had my heart set on. No gold and silver honor cord. No graduation speech. I just walked up to the stage and grabbed a fake piece of paper with the alma mater lyrics and an alumni association ad in it, just like everybody else.
While that was going on, one of my best friends since childhood, Mae Albritton, and I got into a falling out over this guy I was dating, and as so often happens with sororities, they turn on you when the drama starts. Considering Mae had just as much involvement in Pi Beta Eta as me, basically a she-said, she-said civil war broke out. It didn’t take me long to just give up and let her spread her gossip about me. It didn’t matter, I was leaving anyway and she was just a junior. No hard feelings. I’ll just got out and let her do her thing.
Basically, I escaped Jax, and moving across the country suddenly began to make a lot more sense. New Country is where I really could become a new me, and by the time I was packed, I was really starting to buy into that whole concept. One moving truck and one plane ticket later (compliments of my dad), I was…
“…on your way here.” Millie finishes my sentence. “I remember I was away that week at a seminar in Minneapolis. I left a key under the welcome mat for you.”
“Yeah, with a note telling me how excited you were that I was moving in. Believe it or not I still have it.” Millie Knotts does like her notes.
“You still have that?” She seems taken aback.
“Of course I kept it! It was really kind. Way nicer than bitch Mae ever was…”
Millie glared sternly. “Sydney! I’m sure she wasn’t that bad. Don’t get hung up on this. That was a long time ago, and it sounds like you two were just going through a lot.”
“You’re right,” I reply.
“Anyway, I sorry I wasn’t there to greet you. That seminar was worth actual class credit, so I couldn’t miss it.”
“It’s okay, Mil. You don’t have to apologize.”
“Sorr–” She shuts up realizing she was about to apologize again.
“Do you want to know what happened or not?” I ask.
Poor Trent was the guy I was “dating” (debatable), and so I had him over for one last big night (also debatable) before leaving. He didn’t know I was leaving, of course, but that hardly matters. I liked Trent because he was kind of a doofus – absolutely not the good kind — but a very handsome one. Let’s be honest, I liked him for his looks, not his brains or his kindness. I also liked how I could bend him to my will on campus, on dates, even in bed.
“I was going to give him the best night of his life. One he’d remember for a long time. Then, when things were heating up and getting really good…”
“Yeah?” Millie mutters, looking terrified and disgusted.
“I dumped him. Boy was he pissed.” I give a wry smile, thinking back to that night. Millie just stares, not saying a word.
“I’m sure you know what that’s like,” I say, as if pleading my case. “We’ve all done something like that before, right Mil?”
“Umm…” she paused, then quickly shook her head no. Oh.
Anyway, turns out Trent was in the wrong place at the wrong time. He left a lot of things (including a pair of boxers… ugh) in the Sky Roost. Three days after I got here in New Country, he finally got the nerve to text me and ask how the hell he’s supposed to get his stuff back.
“I told him I gathered it up for him and put it in a corner of the Sky Roost, and I’d let Dad know he was dropping by to get it,” I explain.
“And,” Millie implores.
“And…” I pause for a moment to collect myself. “While he was up top, he watched a literal SWAT Team kick in the door, hit my dad with a taser, and drag him away.”
Millie was speechless. She was looking at me like I was spinning a tale.
“I’m serious, Millie.”
She just furrows her eyebrows and looks confused.
I don’t blame her shocked reaction. It would be enough to stun anyone. I have the whole thing on video, and it is just as disturbing as it sounds. We had security cameras outside and in the foyer of the house in case of an intruder. Jacksonville, although nice, isn’t exactly known for bring the safest city in America. We automatically backed up the recordings to the cloud using an app. Trent was pretty shaken up, but I calmed him down and talked him through the process of putting the last couple days of video on a flash drive and priority shipping it to me.
“I haven’t heard from Dad again since, Mil,” I tell her. “I think they might have killed him.”
A new section is released every Monday! Next week we’ll be starting Chapter 4: “4/4 4:44” As always, I welcome your feedback in the comments. 🙂