Avery Susan Sanders regretted the day she had everA
been born to a mother on pain killers and a father on marijuana. She scowled at her class registration forms.
If she had to initial one more form she might go crazy.
She initialed each section after thoroughly reading it over. All of her class requirements were there – a full schedule containing hours of math courses and business studies. Avery sat on the bench of her college courtyard, questioning for the millionth time whether she had made the right decision.
"Accountant," she said aloud, "Or business manager?" While the two professions were not very different, she was unable to make up her mind. What if she studied accounting for years, only to find out that she truly wanted to be a business manager. She would have to take a whole different schedule.
College was making her crazy. It was not the thought of that one big step in her life that scared her. It was the thought of taking that big step surrounded by a group of pampered, spoiled fiends. How she loathed the rich!
"Definitely business manager," she heard a voice say as someone took a seat next to her. She looked over to see a guy sitting next to her. She instantly recognized him as one of the rich fiends she had earlier been dwelling on. Cargo pants, button-down shirt, and long, unruly locks – all signs of someone with too much money on his hands.
The boy looked over at her forms and clucked his tongue. "I'd be careful what you put on there; your professors will not find it very funny."
Avery looked down at her papers and blushed. "Those are my initials," she mumbled, too embarrassed to form coherent words.
"Really?" the boy said. After a moment's pause, he doubled over with laughter. Avery looked at him annoyed.
"Yes well at least my name's creative," she retorted, staring him directly in the eye. "What's your name?
"Abraham Coloneus Burkam," he responded, rather proud of himself. "Creative isn't it?"
"It sounds stupid," Avery grumbled as she picked up her forms, ready to leave.
"Stupid, but creative?" he said.
"I suppose if you want to call it that."
"I'm glad you admit it. You really shouldn't judge people before you know them. It's quite a flaw."
Avery cast a long, sideways glance in his direction and glared at him. He was smiling. "You're name's not really Abraham Coloneus Burkam."
He looked at her, shocked by the response. "What would make you say that?"
Avery took a deep breath and then began to roll off her answers, "Well first off, you looked to the left when you told me your name. That's a definite sign that you're lying. Secondly, it took you more than one and half seconds to answer my question. You were thinking up a creative name. Frankly, I don't see you as an Abraham. More like a…Jack. Yes, Jack sounds right." With that Avery gave him one last look before taking her papers and storming off.
The boy, who was indeed named Jack, sat there bewildered. How had she known so much about him? He looked down at his shoes, speechless. That's when he realized that he was still wearing his name tag from orientation. Hello, I'm Jack Shanahan. He peeled the name tag from his expensive, light blue Oxford and laughed.
Avery looked disgustedly across campus as a crowd of mindless girls swarmed around Jack Shanahan. She looked down at her portfolio once more, disgusted by the letter protruding from it.
Dear Ms. Sanders,
Congratulations! You have been chosen as the winner of the 2005 Shanahan Bright Future Scholarship. Your outstanding essay, your service to the community, and your dedication to education have earned you the honor of attending Verminton University. The Shanahan Scholarship will cover all tuition for your first year at Verminton University. You will be responsible for all book fees and dorm costs. Again, a sincere congratulations from the staff at Shanahan Plastics – America's Leader in Durable Plastics.
Henry S. Shanahan
Henry would not have signed that letter himself. It was a mere stamp that had placed his signature there. Avery was sure he had a secretary whose sole purpose was to stamp his signature on every document. The man was prominent, and busy, and rich. Avery sighed at the latter statement. He had been kind to her; perhaps not all rich people were bad.
This thought immediately disappeared at the sight of a man walking towards her.
Jack Shanahan – the only son of Henry Shanahan and quite frankly the richest man on campus. His dad owned the university for God's sake. His inheritance was worth more than her entire family's net worth. That wasn't saying much. It was just she and her mom.
"ASS is it?" he said, striding forward. The blondes orbiting around him giggled at his apparently "witty" comment.
"Avery," she corrected him, shoving the letter back into her portfolio. She loosely covered it and began walking down the path to her first class – accounting.
"So Avery," he said taking off after her. His arm candies attempted to follow, but he waved them off. They stood behind, sticking out their pouty lips. Avery scoffed at the sight of them. Jack continued, "You think you're clever do you?"
"Yes, I'm a walking bundle of cleverness," she said dryly. Jack's lips twitched as he suppressed a smile. It was a stupid line; Avery didn't care. She just wanted to get to class, concentrate on her studies.
"You must be a freshman then?" Jack said, practically jogging to keep up with her.
"What makes you think that?" she said, keeping her eyes on the door ahead of her. He probably wanted her to join his group of arm-clingers. She scoffed at the idea.
"You were at the freshman orientation," he said simply. Well that surprised her. Avery certainly believed he was going to counter with some arrogant, rich kid comment.
"I transferred," she said quickly, "I'm a sophomore."
"Sophomore? You look young," he said with an evil twinkle in his eye.
"Are you a freshmen?" she asked.
"No, a sophomore," he said, "Looks like we might be seeing more of each other."
Avery feigned a sweet smile and turned around, finally meeting his gaze. "A sophomore?" she said with a sugary tone. "You look a bit old. Are you sure you haven't flunked a few grades?"
With that, she took off toward the door, leaving behind an amused Jack. He couldn't help but laugh out loud at the girl's attempt at wit. It amused him to see her make an effort at a comeback. Jack looked down as a piece of paper blew at his feet. He bent over to pick it up and read it. Afterwards, he had himself another good laugh. So this was his father's scholarship winner.
Avery opened the door to her dorm room and flopped on her bed tiredly.
"Hard day?" her roommate said while flipping through a recent addition of Teen Magazine.
"You have no idea," she said with a groan. Her roommate acted bored as she continued to flip through.
"In fact, I do have an idea. Avery, this is college life. Get used to it."
"I know," she said, "But I didn't realize it would be this hard. I mean, home schooling was so much easier."
"You are a genius Avery," her roommate, Michelle, said. "You graduated from your freshmen year of college this summer. You are only eighteen!"
Avery laughed. Michelle never ceased to be awestruck at her roommate's excessive intelligence. Nobody but Michelle and Henry Shanahan knew that she was eighteen years old and had practically skipped her freshmen year. She did not need anyone dangling that over her head.
"Look at this," Michelle suddenly said. She began to read out loud from her magazine:
At her recent press conference, billionaire heiress Paris Hilton denied any relation with millionaire heir Jack Shanahan. 'We all know he just wants to draw attention to himself,' Paris said, 'I mean, would I be caught dead with the likes of him?' Hilton will not be pressing charges for the false statement released during Shanahan's recent interview with radio show host, DJ Tri-MiX. DJ Tri-MiX was unavailable for questioning, but his manager, Paul Stark did say that he believed the entire affair was blown out of proportion. 'He made a joke," Stark said, "What college kid doesn't dream about a night with Paris?'
Avery could not help but crack a smile. "You know he goes here, don't you?" Michelle said after controlling her fits of giggles.
"Yeah," Avery said, "I met him."
"Oh," she said wistfully, "He's dreamy isn't he?"
"Yeah, in the nightmarish dream type of way."
Michelle shook her head in disbelief. "You're such a bitter person," she said jokingly, "You need to get out more often."
"With whom?" she answered, "The only people I've been formally introduced to are you and the Shanahan heir."
"You're so lucky," Michelle said, "At least you've met him. And he does have a name. How would you like to always be known as the Shanahan heir?"
Avery looked down at her work and tried to distract herself. She did not feel like talking about the richest kid on campus. She refused to be just another girl that swooned over him. That was childish. And ridiculous. What had he done to deserve being the topic of almost every girl's dorm room gossip?
"So do you have any classes with him?" Michelle said, interrupting her spiteful train of thought. She looked at the girl, thoroughly annoyed.
"No, do you?"
"No," she said disappointedly, "I don't even know what he is majoring in."
"I seriously doubt he even shows up for classes," Avery said, "He probably just hangs out on campus for the attention." Avery caught herself. There they were, talking about Jack again.
"No, his father would kill him. I heard he is pretty strict with his son."
"Yeah sure," she said, "Anyway, what are you doing this weekend? Do you feel like introducing me to college life?"
"I was planning on it," the brunette beamed.