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Chapter 1

My alarm blares loud enough to probably wake every roommate in my apartment as I roll over to silence it, I lay still for a moment taking in the fact that it is August 15th, summer is over and it is my first day of my senior year of college. My summer had been spent road tripping around the United States with my longtime boyfriend, Tyler. We started here in Oregon and took the highway down the coast intending to only go as far as Phoenix to visit my family there, but we both enjoyed it so much we decided to circle around the United States to get a glimpse of every part of the country. I don’t care for the long car rides, they make me sick, but the scenery was truly worth it. Tyler is a different story, if it were up to him, we would still be traveling now and not just around the country, but around the world. Tyler and I have been together for about two years now since I were a sophomore in college. I fell for him hard and fast. He is the only boy I have ever loved. We have had pretty much the perfect college experience together. He is a college baseball player here at the University of Oregon and I am a 4.0 student who has never missed being on presidents list. I am not nearly as cool as Tyler since the athletes are considered the “alphas” on campus, but we make it work.

I finally bring myself to get out of bed and drag slowly across the soft carpet on my bedroom floor to the mirror I have hanging to above my dresser. My long blonde hair is still in loose waves because I slept with it curled from the day before, my skin is still glowing with my tan I devolved over the summer. I put on light makeup just brushing a little foundation and blush over my face and adding a mascara to finish the look. I have never been one for too much makeup, I prefer the natural look. I get dressed in a pair of jean shorts and a plain white V-neck T-shirt and head downstairs to leave for class. I am supposed to be meeting Tyler outside the business building so we can start our final year of college off together.

I jump in my car and take the same drive I have taken to campus these past three years. My apartment is only about a 10-minute drive from school. The road is sort of windy and all along the sides of me is the forest, full of tall deep green trees. One of the reasons I love going to school here in Oregon is the nature, the beautiful Pacific Northwest full of forest and mountains. I turn into the parking lot and find a spot relatively close to the business building. As I put my car in park I look up and there he is.

“There’s my guy.” I think to myself

Tyler is leaning his tall lanky body up against the old red colored brick that makes up the business center with his baseball hat on allowing his black curls peak out just underneath it. He breaks his eyes away from his phone and looks up to see me walking towards him and gives me his typical smile. His caramel colored eyes meet with mine and I swear I could melt into a puddle.

“Hey babe.” he says with a monotoned low voice.

“Hey Ty, I missed you this week. It’s like the only week we spent apart this summer” I reply sweetly.

“Yeah you’re right, I guess it was” he looks at the ground when speaking as we walk towards the buildings.

Somethings off, I cannot quite put my finger on it, but this is not my normal Tyler. He would normally be beaming with a smile from ear to ear that cannot be wiped off his face, teasing me or cracking jokes. He is one of the most laid back people I have ever met yet today he seems uptight.

“Is something wrong?” I ask.

“No, I’m okay.” He says with a small smile, but his eyes never connect with mine.

“Tyler, you know if something is-“I try to say until I am interrupted.

“Hey hey! It’s you two.” Jackson says “Can’t say I missed you over the summer Charlie.”

Jackson is Tyler’s roommate, best friend and teammate. Although, he is a pompous jerk if I had to choose the words to describe him. He is probably the most popular guy on campus, he has been captain of the baseball team every year since he was a sophomore, even freshman year he became the schools all-star pitcher but they wouldn’t let a freshman be captain or he would have been. He has sandy brown hair that flows back away from his face with annoyingly perfect light blue eyes with dark eyebrows arched above them. He has a very muscular body type, he’s about 6′2, and I’m sure under his t-shirt is a set of perfect 6 pack abs. He is handsome, very handsome I will admit but his personality sucks so bad I don’t see how anyone can see past it.

“A whole summer without you? I don’t know how I ever survived” I reply to him with an obvious eye roll.

“You’re not the only girl who feels that way, don’t beat yourself up over it.” He says with a smug laugh before turning to talk to Tyler.

“Man, you sure did dart off this morning. Did you even hear what we said after baseball workouts?” Jackson says with his usual conniving grim draped across his face.

“What’s that?” Tyler replies with the same monotone voice he is had with me all morning.

“Party... our house. Tomorrow night.” Jackson replies.

“Okay cool, sounds good.” He replies and flashes a slight smile up at me then over to Jackson.

Jackson seems to catch the same vibe I have been getting from Tyler. He just seems out of it, not himself. Maybe he doesn’t feel well, or he is tired. I am not sure what to think but I do not want to press him for too much information or annoy him if it’s nothing. He could just as easily be upset that school is back and our days will be filled with studying and lectures instead of traveling around like we did all summer.

“Come on man, lighten up. The first week of school party is our houses tradition. Perfect time to scout out the new campus talent.” Jackson says with a mischievous grin.

“Talent?” I question.

“Yeah, the new girls on campus.” he laughs.

“You disgust me.” I spit back at him.

“Class-” Tyler blurts out.

“What?” I raise my eyebrows giving him a confused look by his sudden outburst.

“I need to get to class, I don’t want to be late on my last first day.” He slightly laughs while shifting uncomfortably raising his right arm to rub the back of his neck.

“Oh yeah right of course! I’ll see you after?” I question. Normally I wouldn’t even have to ask but today isn’t normal with him.

“Yeah, after.” He smiles and gives me a small and quick kiss on the cheek before heading to class.

“Yeah after.” Jackson mocks and walks away while laughing.

“Jerk.” I whisper under my breath.

I start to walk away to head to my first class of the day but Tyler’s voice stops me in my tracks.

“Charlie!” I hear him call out.

“Yeah?” I say as I turn to look back at him.

“You know I love you right?” he says. For some reason these words I’ve heard so many times send an unfamiliar shiver down my spine.

“I know.” I say with a smile which he returns. We both turn back to our opposite directions and head to class.

I walk into my literature class and find a seat towards the middle of the room. The classrooms here are pretty large, they hold 100 students or more. I get my laptop out in anticipation for class to begin.

“Expect the unexpected!” My professor booms from the front of the class as he walks in and takes his place behind the podium in the center.

“I just wanted to see who was awake this morning and ready to learn.” He says with a smile.

“As I said, expect the unexpected.” He chuckles. He clearly found his obnoxious outburst funny.

He begins to go over his syllabus handing one to each one of us, then let’s us go. The first week of school is always referred to as “syllabus week”. Most teachers don’t hold lectures or do much teaching at all, they just go over what they expect from us this semester. It’s really just a week of parties every night being that it’s the first week back.

The rest of the day creeps by but finally I am done with classes. I want to head home and read over my syllabuses to get myself organized for the semester. I like to have everything planned out and written down because once baseball season comes, I spend practically every night at the ball field watching Tyler play. Which is exactly why I need to know what assignments are due and when so I can get ahead. I walk to my car and reach into my purse to send Tyler a text.

“Hey, dinner tonight at my place?” I hit send and sit my phone down in my cars cup holder as I begin to drive off campus back towards my apartment. I hear my phone go off as I am driving but wait until I pull into my apartment parking lot to check it. It’s from Tyler.

“Tonight’s not good for me. Rain check?” He replies.

“Rain check?” I huff out loud after reading his message. I keep my phone in my hand for a moment trying to decide what I want to say.

“Should I get an attitude? Why? Why would I do that? He is just in a funk. Sometimes people just get in moods. I need to let it roll off and everything will be fine tomorrow.” I think to myself.

“Okay, Love you!” I shoot over a quick reply and move on from it.

When I make it up to my apartment my best friend and roommate is sitting at the counter top with books sprawled all around her. Her light brown hair is pulled up in a messy bun and she is wearing an Oregon university hoodie. She is like me in the sense that we both are focused on school, both with straight A’s. Her eyes spot me as I walk in and she shoots me a glowing smile.

“Hi bestie!” she says with her voice full of excitement.

As good as Kelly is a student, she is an even better friend. She has always been there for me every step of the way, as I have been for her as well. In high school people use to say that we were attached at the hip, they weren’t wrong.

“Hey! How was your first day?” I sweetly reply.

“You know it was a typical first day. It’s syllabus week so class isn’t actually class yet.” She laughs.

She is right. For some reason, the first week of college is always spent going over the syllabus and class expectations instead of the actual work. I still do not understand why as seniors in college we still dedicate a week to that but I’m not going to complain. Syllabus is always notorious for being party week on campus. There are parties going on almost every night.

“So, I heard Jackson say the boys are throwing a party tomorrow at their house, you in?” I say.

“Of course, I’m in! It’s tradition at this point.” she replies, making us both laugh.

“That’s exactly what Jackson said.” I roll my eyes and give her a smile.

“Alright off to my room for me, I need to get everything organized and written down, you know me.” I say with a laugh.

“Later!” She shouts back at me as I walk into my room that is just off the kitchen in our apartment.

I set my bag down and get out all my papers from today. I try to begin organizing, planning and getting some work done early for a while but I can’t seem to focus. I decide to push my planning off until tomorrow. Today has worn me out, Netflix in bed is calling my name. I guess I forgot how draining school can really be. I put on my soft felt shorts and a oversized shirt and climb into bed. I pick a movie I have seen a hundred times, Kissing Booth. I fell asleep before even getting fifteen minutes into the movie.

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