Chapter Eight

Jacie Cook

Jacie's new roommate had the most annoying alarm clock in the history of the world. It was a little statue of a monkey playing the drums, and it's blaring "WAKE UP!" song jolted Jacie out of bed. Jacie rubbed her eyes, feeling as though she had gotten no sleep at all.

It always took Jacie awhile to get used to sleeping in a new place. She had spent the majority of her first attempt to sleep at college just staring at the ceiling, willing the pizza to digest painlessly in her stomach, and wondering how her sister was doing. Jacie wasn't entirely sure at what point she had started to doze off, but it felt like only moments later when Holly's monkey's alarm clock started screeching to wake up.

Holly was snoring lightly, apparently immune to the demon monkey. "Holly!" Jacie said. She got out of bed and nudged Holly's shoulder. "Holly! Turn that thing off!"

"Huh?" Holly mumbled, her voice still thick with sleep. Her hand slipped out from under the covers and pressed down on the alarm monkey's top hat. The monkey's drums and screeching stopped. "Sorry about that," Holly said, sitting up in bed. "Maybe I should have warned you."

"I'm going to go jump in the shower," Jacie said, reaching for her towel, which she had hung on a hook by the door. "What time do we have to catch the bus again?"

"Um… ten, I think. We have an hour. Enough time to grab some cereal at the dining hall if we really hurry. If not, I have some granola bars."

I really shouldn't eat anything, Jacie thought, and then was surprised when she did. For some reason, she couldn't shake off this weird guilt from eating pizza the night before, even though she couldn't really say no at the time. It was a really nice idea that Holly had had to spend more time with the girls next door- anything to make any semblance of new friends here at college more concrete.

At least she couldn't see her reflection in the mirror as she undressed behind the shower curtain in the stall furthest from the door. It was her first shower in flipflops. Jacie could hear girls across the hall laughing and listening to the radio as she shampooed her hair.

When she turned the shower off, Jacie heard the showers in both of the stalls next to hers still running, and wondered if Holly was in one of them. Sure enough, Jacie came back to an empty dorm room, much to her liking.

She was standing in front of her dresser, brushing the knots out of her hair, when she saw Holly's cell phone light up on her desk, only a few feet away. On the large display screen, she could see that the caller ID said "Dad" and had a silly picture of a very Jewish-looking man in his fifties. Holly's ringtone was almost as annoying-sounding as her alarm clock was, but not quite.

"Your dad called," Jacie announced when Holly came back into the room wrapped in a towel.

Something dark crossed Holly's face. "Oh," she said, and nothing more. She didn't make any move to call him back.

A few minutes later, while Holly and Jacie were sharing the full length mirror to apply some makeup, Holly's cell phone sounded again. Jacie could see the same picture on the display screen, but Holly didn't move to answer the phone. She just kept applying her foundation with certain concentration.

"Um… aren't you going to get that?" Jacie said, unsure what to say.

"No," Holly stated, reaching for her concealer. Jacie decided not to ask any more questions.

Twice more her father tried to call, and the room was filled with the music of Holly's annoying ringtone until they left to catch the bus.