General Fiction posted September 15, 2014 Chapters: Prologue -1- 2 

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Zoe avoids her boyfriend and notices a new student

A chapter in the book Second Chances

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by Alexandra Adele

I sighed as I entered New York University’s registrar office, clutching the departmental permission slip I needed to get into Dr. Disotell’s genetic anthropology class. Since I was technically a Biology major, I was blocked from being added to the class without the slip. I usually avoided this building at all costs, though, as it was an alarmingly small space considering NYU’s impressive student population, including about 20,000 undergraduates. It was always overcrowded, and there was always a substantial wait. I was grateful that Melanie offered to keep me company. As my suite-mate and good friend, I usually appreciated her company. Her voice interrupted my irritated appraisal of the room we were in.

“Don’t look now, but a hottie just walked in. A man in uniform.” I let out a small laugh, making a point not to look in the direction that she was referring to. 

“Damn, Mel, you are thirsty, aren’t you?” I teased, “also, NYU public safety officers so don’t count as men in uniform.” 

“Thirsty? Yes! I just spent four weeks on a family vacation that involved a lot of church-trips with my grandmother. I haven’t even been able to look at a man without feeling weird. You know my family… and this guy is not a public safety officer. Some kind of military.” 

Now I was curious, but more because I had never heard of a New York University student in any kind of military anything. “Military? Are you sure he isn’t just a hipster?” I didn’t turn around. I didn’t much care, anyway. The line was moving a little faster than usual today, and I really wanted to get a bagel before my next class. Melanie’s brown eyes were completely glazed over - she was in another world. 

As we exited the Registrar and Bursar office, I caught sight of the man Mel had been drooling over. He was tall, with brownish hair shaved into a high and tight and light eyes. His nose was long and very straight, and there was a patch on either one of his shoulders. I knew one of those patches meant he had seen combat, but wasn’t sure which one or what anything else on his uniform meant. The guy must have felt me staring, because he turned around until we made eye contact. Unsure of what to do, I smiled at him, feeling my cheeks redden a little. I didn’t want him to think I was staring because of what he was wearing, but maybe he didn’t, because he smiled back. I quickened my pace, suddenly very eager to get out of the office. 

Luckily, Mel didn’t notice my awkward moment, and I didn’t bring attention to it. 

“So,” I said, pulling my Samsung Galaxy out of my pocket. It had vibrated several times in the past couple of minutes, and I had a strong feeling of who had been texting. “What are your plans for this weekend? It's already Wednesday!” If I sounded overly enthusiastic to start a conversation that wasn’t about the guy I’d just made awkward eye-contact with, Mel didn’t seem to notice. 

“Haven’t decided yet! Isabelle wants to go clubbing because she knows this promoter, but there’s also a gathering happening in Gramercy Green, in Jon Chen’s dorm. Didn’t you tell me about that one? They're both Friday but I think I'm going to tell Isabelle we'll go out Saturday instead, so we can do both.” 

I looked down at my phone.Ugh… 4 messages from Tyler Hudsen. I opened the message thread. 

10:32 Zoe. Where are you? I tried to stop by your dorm and nobody was there, but you don’t have class till noon. 

1:17 Hey Zoe. Just wanted to apologize for last night. You’re right, I’ve been really stressed lately. I shouldn’t have been jealous. Love you. 

1:29 Zoe. Are you really that mad? Can you please just call me?

1:31 Please call me back.

“Did you hear me?” Mel noticed my phone, and frowned. “What does he want?” She disliked my boyfriend, to say the least. I’m not sure if it was because he stole me away from her often in the past two years, or if it was because he was always making me upset, lately. It was difficult to hide that kind of thing from a best friend, especially one as nosy as Melanie Kimura. Lately, it seemed that Tyler and I were always disagreeing about something, and between his explosive temper and my stubbornness, disagreements often spiraled out of control. Yesterday, after noticing that an old male friend had texted me, Tyler had lost it. I’d walked away from him and hadn’t answered him since. 

“He just wants to apologize. Maybe I should call him.” My stomach turned over. I really didn’t want to stop my avoidance of him yet. Mel noticed.

“Zoe, does he even make you happy anymore, ever?” 

I didn’t look at her, focusing on not running into other students on the sidewalk. “Yeah, sometimes. I mean, I don’t know. I’m gonna call him. Don’t you have class? I’ll see you tonight, though. Promise!”

“Alright, Zo. Love you, girl.”

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