Winter had come late this year. Dara only managed to catch the last two sun-filled days before snow was covering everything in a white, crystalline sheen.
What made it jarring wasn’t the abruptness of the weather change, it was the fact she’d spent all of last summer studying abroad in a country that was across the planet. When she left, it was just beginning to bloom into a blistering hot spring that she never got to enjoy. Coming home meant enduring one long, monotonous string of cold days and grey skies.
Dara clutched her scarf closer to her face and walked faster. The sooner she was in her dorm, the sooner she could sit comfortably with her existential crisis.
She spread her art supplies across the floor and stared listlessly at all the colors. This was the life she made for herself. A life she worked tirelessly to make as normal and separate from her past as she could, hoping that it would all pay off in the end. She was, after all, attending an Ivy League school on only partial scholarship. There would be loans to pay once done and she doubted a few art sales were going to cover even a third of what was owed.
Something else to ruminate about.
Dara was stuck in her dread so long, she almost didn’t notice the knocking at her dorm door.
“Hello!” A grinning face greeted her.
“Are you… let’s see…” The woman paced her finger down a short, handwritten list. “Dara Lang?”
“Great! I’m your RA, Elizabeth. Beth, for short.”
“Nice to meet you.”
“Here is a paper outlining the rules. They’re probably no different than the ones you had before. They changed this building to an all-girl’s dorm, so no boys after 10 PM.”
Dara pretended to read some of the print, nodding along. “All-girls?”
“Yep! I’m surprised they didn’t tell you. Usually students that stay over break have priority. You didn’t specify?”
Dara shrugged. Maybe she checked a box on accident when hurrying through the forms last semester.
“If it bothers you, I can help you appeal it at the front office.”
“No, no. It’s fine.” Dara plastered a placating smile on her face. “I just didn’t know.”
“Okay, well if it does end up bothering you, please let me know asap. They like to get these things sorted before classes start. Any questions?”
“Nope. I think I got it. Thanks.”
“No problem! Remember, I’m Beth and I’m just down the hall if you need anything.”
“Beth. Down the hall. Got it.”
Beth wavered by the door. “You look like you need some food. Would you like to join me for lunch?”
“Cool! Give me five minutes to introduce myself to the last girl, and I’ll meet you by the stairs.”
Before Dara could protest, Beth was off with a wave and a smile.
The hall was empty and quiet. It was eerie. Usually the dorms were filled with noise and activity, something Dara felt comforting even if she didn’t always participate. She stood by the stairs and eyed the noticeboard. The only paper on it was the rules she had been handed not three minutes ago. She had to laugh at the “no boys after 10” in bright green print.
“That rule is going to be a fun one to enforce.”
“I know, right?” Beth laughed. “I hope the other hall’s RA isn’t strict, or I’ll look too lax.”
“You don’t plan on being a ‘no boys allowed’ tyrant?”
“I lived in a same sex dorm my freshman year and saw how rough it was for the RA. I’m not planning on reliving that myself. As long as people are smart about it and keep it hidden, I won’t be stickler. What you can’t see, can’t hurt you.”
“It’ll be like a male smuggling operation.”
Beth chuckled. “That sounds exciting! Let’s take my car into town.”
“I, uh… I don’t have a lot of money right now and was planning on using my student card at the diner.”
“No worries! I just got paid. Lunch is on me.” Beth weaved her arm through Dara’s. “Don’t bother protesting. I don’t take ‘no’s’ well.”
“I’ve gathered.” Dara laughed.
“That sounds so embarrassing!” Beth leaned in, completely enthralled with Dara’s tale of losing her host families house key and having to crawl through an open window.
Dara shook her head. “I didn’t get to the worst part. Their neighbors called the cops thinking I was robbing the place and I had to go to the station to wait for a guardian to pick me up.”
“Oh! Sorry for laughing, but that’s ridiculous. Were they mad?”
“Nah. Both of them thought it was the funniest thing ever and even introduced me to all of their neighbors in case it ever happened again. They were cool.”
“I would have been mortified.”
“What about you? Have you gone overseas?”
“For school? No. I’m a global politics major though, so it’s required before I graduate. I’ll have to spend my last year abroad to catch up.”
“You don’t sound too happy about it.”
“I am! But I have a boyfriend. I’m not looking forward to trying the whole long distance thing.”
Dara nodded. “That would be tough.”
“Yeah. Hey. I need to get to work soon, so I’ll drop you back at the dorms. My boyfriend is throwing a party tomorrow night, and you’re invited. Wanna come?”
“If you don’t take ‘no’ as an answer, why bother asking?” Dara smirked.
“I like to give the illusion of choice.”
Wiped after spending the rest of her afternoon buying books and touring the art building, Dara slumped onto her bed and perused her email. She swiped down passing all of the usual junk until a familiar name caught her eye. Her thumb hovered over the unopened one from her father. Reluctantly, she clicked on it.
We received your email. We have discussed it and have decided to send you a little of what would have been your inheritance. If you need more money in the future, we suggest you continue to seek aid from the school. We will no longer be helping you after this.
Dara huffed. Just like her father to treat her like a shameful secret charity case, but then she had betrayed what little trust he had in her. Remorse and regret were never emotions she attached to the whole mess, but she did miss home; being apart of something bigger than herself and feeling… whole. But it’s better to be free and lost than caged and ignorant.
It’s all gilded and rose colored glasses, anyways. Dara could make a home for herself anywhere. She didn’t need family. She just needed herself, like always.
Yay! New legacy. I’m so excited to jump back into the fray.
Some notes: It is heavily tied around story, so I’ll likely be skirting some RLC rules. If you’ve read any of my past legacies, you’ll know that’s my forte. I’m going to try and force myself to adhere to most of the important stuff, as a personal challenge. Ha. Let’s see how long that lasts.
Dara is actually generation 10 of my last legacy, or where I would have wanted the story to go, which is why she’s generation “zero.” Her story will be the background for actual generation one, her children/the heir.
She’s a descendant of the Dean’s, but changed her last name to Lang as a last f-you to her parents. The end. 🙂