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Tyed

By:L.j Shen

Chapter One


I hate going to college.

Not that my parents give a damn what courses I take. They only care that I get my communications degree.

Especially after I failed at my first year of college,

So they are paying fuck-knows how much money (they could tell me the exact tuition amount, I’m sure) for me to sleep through Journalistic Reporting class, studying a profession I never. Want. To. Work. In.

Fuck my life, right?

I make the commute from my Walnut Creek apartment to Diablo Hill School of Art almost everyday. The university is located between San Francisco, Oakland and my internal wish to kill myself. I’m putting in my time and counting the weeks, days, hours and nanoseconds until graduation.

I have two months and twelve days left until I’m free. Two months and twelve days until I have to face the harsh, unforgiving reality: I have no idea what I want to do with my life. At the moment, my biggest plan for the future consists of a take-out pizza and re-watching the first six seasons of Sons of Anarchy. I’m nurturing a monogamous, not-at-all disturbing relationship with Charlie Hunnam's work right now.

(Don’t judge.)

Today is a Tuesday, so I’m taking a hard-earned nap after Creative Writing and Ethics classes. I always dose off in Journalistic Reporting. This shit would make a hyperactive kid snore his way through Halloween. Charlie and I are just about to re-create the part where he impregnates Tara Knowles (though I should note our on-screen chemistry is much steamier) when I feel a sharp elbow jabbing into my ribs.

Okay, this nudge is definitely not Charlie's. Ouch.

“Wake up, dopey.”

I raise my head slowly, wiping the drool off my chin as I struggle to unglue my eyelids. “What’s up?” I ask the owner of the elbow

“Final assignment.” My best friend, Shane Kinney, jerks his chin toward the whiteboard at the front of the room. His messy blond hair swishes like he’s in a goddamned Head and Shoulders commercial.

I blink at the board. “I’m too sleepy to decipher all the letters and words.”

“It’s called a sentence. Jesus, Blaire. You have to start taking fewer night shifts at Ned’s. ”

“I need the money. Groceries are expensive.” I pull my hoodie down to cover my face. Thankfully, class is over and everyone is stuffing laptops into their backpacks. Shane stretches, curling his fists as he yawns. Hypocrite. He’s bored too. His bellybutton makes a cheeky appearance from underneath his shirt, and I poke my pointer finger into it, making a funny sound.

“You could move back in with your parents,” he suggests when I shove to my feet. “It would save you some money.”

“Dumpster diving will save me money too, but I’m not desperate enough to do that either.”

“Are you saying you’d rather be homeless than live with your folks?”

“I am saying we could be having this conversation while drinking a double shot of espresso outside.”

“I don’t know, B. You look like you need more than coffee to pull through the day.” He winks at me and grins, picking up both of our bags.

I smack his shoulder with the back of my hand. “Seriously, pot at school?”

“Beam me up, Scotty!” His smile widens as we pour into the flood of students streaming down the hallway.

Once we grab our coffees and take a seat on our usual, secluded red bench in a corner of the main quad, Shane produces a cigarette pack he keeps especially for his rolled ones. He lights up and passes a blunt to me. I take a long drag, closing my eyes and savoring the sunshine.

“So what’s our assignment?” I finally ask.

Shane gives me the brief. Apparently, while I was busy reliving steamy scenes with CH, Professor Penniman, who is crazy anal about her reporting assignments, gave us our biggest challenge yet: a two thousand word, in-depth piece on a topic that is totally foreign to us.

Shane explains, “She’s randomly assigning each of us a subject, but she wants to switch up gender roles. She basically said that the guys could expect to write about crap like romance novels and postpartum depression and the girls are going to dig deep into stuff like muscle cars and first-person shooter games. We’ll get our individual topics via e-mail tonight by 10 p.m. And, oh yeah, switching isn’t allowed.”

“Great. I already hate journalism, and now I have to write about a subject I most likely want nothing to do with.”

“Yeah, but you hate everything. Maybe it's time to branch out a little.” Shane knocks his Levi-clad thigh against mine. Shane's a journalism major. He's been smooth-sailing the whole university experience. In fact, he was the one who suggested I take this class so he could help me out with this course.

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