Jamie’s family has been broken since she was ten years old, and she was placed with her aunt and uncle who were childless on purpose. As much as they thought they hid their resentment for the "obligation", she knew.
When Jamie turns eighteen, she decides to take her life -- and her trust fund -- in hand and find her own way. She leaves Florida for New York to pursue her dreams at Clarkmore University.
In the first week, she meets roommates Scott Scotch and Duncan Buchanan. One is the perfect boy for her, the other is his roommate... problem is, Jamie doesn't quite see at first which is which. She also meets Professor Drew Bond, who becomes so much more than just a teacher of anthropology to her, but a mentor, a friend, a confidant, and in many ways the father figure she has missed for the last eight years.
Jamie has this image in her mind of the perfect family, the picture perfect life. But pictures can be faked. Perfect is what you make it. Perfect isn't always obvious, and it takes a severe reality check and a moment of heartbreak like none she's felt in ten years to make Jamie see what has been in front of her all along.
"I like him. He's intimidating, but I like him." Jamie gave a shrug. "Are you free? Let's check our mail." Scott nodded and they walked to the left where the abundance of mailboxes lined up for student use.
"I heard some other kids say they've been getting stuff from their families. I guess it was part of orientation, to surprise us during our first week."
Jamie looked around at the crowded hall and gave a shrug, avoiding looking right at Scott. "I wouldn't know. I came up by myself."
She caught the pause in Scott's step next to her, but he quickly resumed walking. She bit her lip and found her mailbox, and plugged in the code given to her via email. The long pause approached stifling. Scott stepped into the space beside her and leaned his shoulder against the wall of mailboxes.
"Your parents didn't come with you?"
"My parents died a few years ago," she said in her rehearsed tone. She knew she had to get used to saying it, because it would come up again and again. Holidays. Family Weekends. Special Events. It was easier if she didn't look at him, or anyone else, when she told the story. "I lived with my aunt and uncle in Florida. They were... busy." She pulled out what mail she had, flipped it around in her hand to stack it smallest to largest, and shuffled through it.
Someone bumped into her and pushed her toward Scott. He caught her from falling over and held on to her elbow until she stood again. She scowled at the back of whoever it was.
"I'm sorry, Jamie. For all of it."
Something in his voice rang so sincere it made her throat itch, and she had to swallow. She gave a shrug. "I miss my parents. I was ten when it happened. And, I have grown used to having my aunt and uncle being busy." She shuffled through her mail, and stopped short, staring at the envelope from her aunt and uncle.
There was a tap on her shoulder, scaring her, and she jumped around. Duncan.
"What is with you two and the shoulder tapping, huh?"
"You're the girl from the book store, right?" he asked, ignoring her question.
Jamie nodded, at a loss for words, something very rare for her.
Duncan looked from her to Scott and back. "Open hours start tomorrow night. You should come up. I don't think Scott would mind. Right, Scott?"
Open hours. The only times when the opposite gender was allowed to be in dorm rooms: girls can be in guys' rooms and guys can be in girls'.
"I was just going to mention it," Scott kind of muttered.
Jamie looked at him, trying to read his expression to match his tone, but couldn't. She nodded again. "Sure, I'll be there. Starts at six?"
"Six. I'll see you there." Duncan gave a smile and a wink and walked away.
As soon as he was out of earshot Scott groaned. "Can you please stop flirting with my roommate? It's getting painful to watch." He pushed away from the mailboxes and took a step away to open his own box a few columns over, a scowl on his face.
Jamie snapped her eyes to Scott. "Painful? How is it painful?"
"You look like you're in pain, for one. And when you talk, you stutter and rush like you can't think straight." He shrugged and shook her head, looking at her sideways before opening his mailbox. "And, you get weird. So stop. It should be natural."
"Alright," she said, moving down the wall toward him. "I'll tone it down when you're around if that'll make you happy," she responded with an over-exaggerated sigh.
Scott turned his head and grinned at her. "Ehh, it's a start"
Jamie rolled her eyes and shuffled through her mail again.