Authors: Regina Bartley
The Graysen Pack Series
By Regina Bartley
All rights Reserved
To Jason, Christopher, and
Brooklyn, who always
know just what to say... I love you more!
I put my car in park in front of the old building, and took a deep breath. I clinched my hands on the steering wheel so tightly that my knuckles began turning white. I was trying really hard to calm my nerves.
College will be the beginning of your new life.
I looked around for a moment trying to take it all in. The
large campus is very old, but absolutely beautiful. The lawns are filled with old oak trees and picnic tables
The buildings have gold trimming around the stained glass windows. I noticed a large banner hanging between two trees on the lawn that read
WELCOME FRESHMEN TO FALLENTOWN UNIVERSITY EST. 1861.
I can’t believe I am here.
I can hear my heart beating in my throat.
Something of this magnitude should not be happening to me. I am just a small town girl from West Virginia.
I stepped out of the car to greet
my mom and to shake off the nerves. She must have been crying the whole way. Her mascara was halfway down her cheeks, and she was flushed red.
“It’s gonna be ok
, Mom. You knew I would grow up sooner or later. You don’t get to keep me forever,” I said sympathetically. I turned the bottom of my shirt inside out to wipe her face. That’s something she would have done to me as a child. This broke the tension because we both started to laugh. “We’d better get going.” I grabbed the bags from the trunk.
“Are you sure you don’t want to go to school closer to home?” Mom asked in a serious tone. “It’s
Pennsylvania for crying out loud. I will never see you.” She looked up with her sad, brown, eyes. She is petite at 5’1”. Mom says I get my height from my dad. I stand 5’7”, so she is always looking up at me.
“Yes, you will. You will see me, I promise. As much as I’d love to stay close to home, I can’t. They offered me a full sc
holarship. This means no money out of pocket, and all I have to do is get awesome grades. I have to jump at this offer before they realize I’m not a smart as they think I am,” I joked.
“Well we better get you settled in then. I’d hate to think we drove all
this way for nothing,” She grinned. I loved her side grin, and her quirky sense of humor. She could be quite funny when she was just being herself. I was definitely going to miss having her around every day, considering I had spent every day with her for the past eighteen years.
We carried several bags inside the Freeman Hall building on the West lawn. This is where we are supposed to get the dormitory arrangements according to the large packet I got in the mail, along with my now framed acceptance letter.
The campus was quite large so we just followed the crowd across the lawn.
We walked through the double doors and were greeted by a very large and noisy crowd. There was a long table set up where people were signing in. I didn’t recognize anyone. I was be
ginning to feel odd and out of place. Nothing new, after several years I had grown accustomed to it.
However, I did notice a group of hot guys. Of course, guys would be the first thing I would notice. They were standing around in a pack and one of them c
ouldn’t seem to take his eyes off me...
Wow! He has gorgeous eyes, and damn, what a body! Just look away, Ava.
Then he grinned at me like he heard exactly what I said. I couldn’t help but blush. And still I could barely take my eyes off him. He was wearing a cut-off shirt and his muscles, O.M.G.
Mom tugged me along to sign in. She must have seen me gazing at him. Actually, I may as well have been drooling. “I can’t take you anywhere.” She tugged harder.
We walked over and were greeted by a nice looking older man. He held a clip board and wore an ink pen behind his ear. He had broad shoulders and looked like he lifted weights regularly.
One thing’s for sure, this school did not have a shortage of good looking boys.
“Welcome,” he said. “I am Professor David
I raised my eyebrows. I must have had a strange look on my face. But, I knew I would get that name wrong if I ever tried to say it.
He just smiled at me. “I know it’s a handful. Most people just call me Professor Mack. I teach Physics.”
’s nice to meet you. I’m Avery Jean Samuels, but you can call me Ava. And this is my mother Jeanette.”
“Very nice to meet you both,” he said while scanning down his clipboard. “Well, it says here that you are an academic scholar.” I smiled because it was a
big accomplishment for me. “That’s wonderful. Did you tour the campus over the summer?” he asked.
“Uh huh,” I nodded, “but I didn’t get to see everything.”
“That’s okay, you will soon be familiar. You will be all over this campus in no time. But, until you become familiar, I have your map, and the keys to your dorm. I also have your cafeteria card for all your grub. You will be staying in Jade Hall, room 209. If you need anything you just give me a shout. I’m also the coach of the Falcons football team, so you let me know if any of my boys give you any trouble,” he said so sweetly.
“Sure thing Coach!” I gestured, giving him the whole gun point, click, and wink of the eye thing.
What? Am I ten years old
? I thought
My face turned red with embarrassment.
anks for your help, Professor,” Mom said. She was looking all hot and bothered.
Oh Yeah! Mom is crushing on Professor Mack.
I’m sure we both were looking a hot mess, but he didn’t seem to mind.
“No problem,” he replied.
We picked up my bags and headed outside. I pulled out the map. I examined it carefully. I pointed in the direction of the dorms and led the way. I kept hearing someone from a distance calling out my name, but the voice was so faint. I’ve always had an excellent ear. I could hear things from pretty far away. I always considered it a gift, especially since I could hear when my mom was trying to ease drop or when people were whispering from across the room. The voice calling my name seemed much closer now.
“Ava!” She yelled again.
“Sam! Oh Sam. I am so pumped to see you,” I dropped my bags and ran to her. I gave her the biggest hug. It had only been twenty four hours, but I missed her already.
“I am glad you are finally here. Hey
, Mrs. S.” She smiled. “I have been here for freaking ever and I don’t know anyone. Where is your dorm room?”
Samantha Maldin or Sam as I like to call her has been my best friend since the 6
grade. Her parents have more than enough money to send her to any college in the country, but she loves me so much she came with me. She said that she didn’t care which college she went to as long as she didn’t have to do it alone. ”I’m in Jade Hall room 209. Please tell me your room is somewhere close to me. And I need to know the D.L. on all the hotness!” I squeezed her hand pulling her towards the dorm.
“D.L?” Mom said with a confused look.
“Down low, Mom, keep up,” I said.
“Yeah, yeah,” Mom rolled her eyes.
“I’m in room 211, right next door,” Sam said jumping up and down in excitement.
“All right girls, we’d better get moving. It’s getting late
, and I need to be getting home,” Mom spoke softly. We didn’t have too much more to carry in. It took us only two trips and we had everything. Mom looked so tired. I knew she needed to get going. She had a long trip ahead of her.
She didn’t stay for me to unpack. She was exhausted. Once we had the last boxes in the room, I walked her to her car. We had a quick goodbye so that neither of us would cry. I hugged her neck. “I will email you every day, and you can call my cell if you need me. Are you sure you are going to be okay Mom?” I asked.
“Quit worrying about me. You just remember everything I told you, and stay focused. It’s easy to get off track. And call me if you need anything. I left some extra money inside your
Pride and Prejudice
book.” She smiled at me and kissed my cheek. It’s my favorite book so she knew it would be the first one I’d open.
“I love you, and I’m gonna miss you.” I kissed her check and felt the tears rolling down.
“More,” she said and she got into her car to leave.
I stood there in the parking lot and watched as she drove off. The tears were pouring. I’m not sure what it was that made me so upset. I knew that I was ready to be Miss Independent. I guess leaving her was a lot harder than I thought it would be.
The longer I stood there, the darker the campus got. I started to get a little anxious because there weren’t many lights on the lawn, and I had quite a ways to walk by myself, in the dark. I’m not too proud to admit. I am freaking scared of the dark.
I tried to hurry. I was feeling like I was in a horror movie being chased; only no one was chasing me. I could feel myself getting worked up. I was nearly in a sprint, running back to the dorms. I kept my head down trying not to trip on anything and fall. I could feel the sweat beading up on my forehead, and the tears dried to my cheeks. I ran faster. Then, I smacked right into what felt like a brick wall. I fell back on the grass and realized it was him. It was the guy I saw earlier, the one standing with the pack of guys when we checked in.
“Ouch! I’m,” I wanted to say I’m sorry but being breathless I couldn’t speak. “I’m sorry I didn’t see you there,” I apologized.
Wow! He is breathtaking
I thought. He stood very tall at 6’2”or taller. He had dark brown hair that was short and kind of messy. And his golden brown eyes nearly paralyzed me.
Freaking hot guy… He’s got to quit looking at me like that if he expects me to function and not pass out.
I sighed aloud.
He bent down in front of me. “No harm done, to me anyway. Are you okay Avery?”
“I’m great actually. But how do you know my name?” I asked.
“I hope you don’t mind but I asked Coach. I saw you talking to him earlier in Freeman Hall,” he said as he held out his hand to help me up.
“Oh. So you’re a football player?” I should have known.
He is built like a rock and out of my league gorgeous.
I hesitated but graciously took his hand. He felt so warm. Almost hot, like feverish. But there was something about his touch. It was so inviting and comforting. I had to nearly force myself to let go once I stood up.
“Yes, I am.” He grinned. That smile made me blush. And he must have noticed because I heard a faint laugh from under his breath. “My name is Zenick Graysen, My friends call me Zen.”
“It’s very nice to meet you, but I’d better be getting back to my room.” I smiled and headed toward the dorms.
“Are you sure you’re okay?” he asked.