“So let’s talk about Amber’s story,” Professor Sykes began as we settled into our seats. He looked around the table for hands to go up and Rachelle’s hand went up.
Rachelle flipped to the middle of the story and read aloud this passage, “A birthday party? Who throws a 21 year old a birthday party? Leave it to my friends and co-workers to try to give me something to compensate for all those lousy years of nothing that my parents never gave me. But trying to be the best sport I could possibly be, I plastered a fake smile on my face and mingled amongst familiar faces and strangers alike. After listening to a boring conversation about Millie’s great-aunt having a stroke, I excused myself to drown my sorrows in a bottle of red. It was when I was yanking the fridge door open that I felt her staring at me. I turned and didn’t dare believe what I saw. A woman who looked like an older version of me.” She paused after reading it and looked over at Amber. “This section seems dense. Almost as if you were trying to rush to get to the end of the boring stuff and trying to reach the exciting moment sooner.”
Amber flushed pink as she looked down at her notebook and hastily scribbled notes to herself for improving her writing. Poor girl.
Wilson raised his hand and said, “I think you developed a great protagonist Amber. I like her tone and mannerisms – she’s not like other female protagonists I’ve read about.”
This comment elicited a smile from Amber who looked up quickly to meet Wilson’s eyes before she buried herself in writing again. A few more students raised their hands and gave Amber feedback. She seemed a bit hurt by Rachelle’s comment as she continued to write down the suggestions to improve her writing. Her eyes stayed glued to her notebook as she wrote frantically until Professor Sykes announced that we were going to move onto Chance’s story.
Professor Sykes thumbed through the pages of Chance’s and smiled. “I am pretty impressed with your descriptions, language, and pacing on this one Chance,” he said. “Anyone like to comment on his story?”
This time I beat Rachelle’s hand to comment first. She glared at me sulkily and I ignored it. “I really like how you gave us the formats and styles of social media to move the story along. It feels like we can see Tyler’s private life and it feels more realistic.”
Chance nodded and thanked me with a smile. Rachelle shot her hand up and Professor Sykes allowed her answer next.
“Why did you make Abby a mystery girl?” Rachelle demanded. “It seems like a cliche to me since its been done before.”
“Face it Rachelle, everything’s been done before,” Wilson broke in. “It’s Chance’s story, not yours.”
“I liked that Abby was a mysterious type!” Amber spoke up. “It added to her persona which is a bit bad-ass and cool enough to make slick entrances and exits.”
“All right everyone, one at a time,” Professor Sykes said. “But you all made some great points there. Anyone else like to comment?”
No one else raised their hands and I could see Rachelle still fuming over being interrupted by Amber and Wilson. Chance seemed amused by everything happening around him. When no one said anything else, Professor Sykes checked his watch and announced that the next batch of stories to be read and marked up were from Quigley, Franco, and Jillian. They passed their stories out before everyone began leaving for their next class or for a break.
Chance packed up slowly and looked over at me as I stood up with my bag on my shoulder. “Hey Mckayla, you wanna go grab coffee or something right now?”
We walked out of the classroom and headed down to the campus coffee house. The line was long, thanks to it being in the high 50s today, which translated to cold for the west coast. Chance fished out his wallet and scanned the menu to see what was available today. I pulled my wallet out and looked at the menu. The coffee house was notorious for switching everything on their menu every week so it was always good to check before ordering.
“You know what you want?” Chance asked me.
“Uh yeah I’ll just have a peppermint hot chocolate,” I said. “You?”
“I’ll probably get a cup of Rainforest Rage,” he said. “You ever had it before?”
“Nope. All I know is it is a dark roast.”
Chance took a sip of his coffee and made a face.
“Guess the Rainforest wasn’t so raging for you?”
“It’s bad. Tastes more like water,” he muttered as he pushed the cup away. “Oh well.” He settled into his chair and drummed his fingers on the table.
“Thanks for the nice comment back there,” he said after a long pause. “Rachelle looked like she was going to rip me a new one.”
“She seems to enjoy finding the littlest things to pick at and then she complains about them,” I retorted as I set my cup down. “Well except for Wilson’s story. But then again, I think its because she likes him.”
Chance rolled his eyes at that. “Yeah he keeps talking about Amber. He lives down the hall from me in my dorm and he asked her roommate about her relationship status. So that’s a no go there.”
“Ah drama. It never seems to disappear as we get older,” I sighed.
This made Chance laugh and I smiled as I took a sip of my hot cocoa.
“How’s life been ever since the confessions thing?” he asked. “Word has it that you pissed some people off.”
“True,” I confirmed. “My RA and my friend got mad at me. My RA forgave me but my friend hasn’t yet.”
“Hey its his loss,” Chance said. He looked around the coffee house before looking at me.
“So uh, you probably saw my stupid confessions,” he said.
“Yeah, yeah I did, ” I said. “And uh, I’m guessing that you must have been to every party that anyone who’s anyone has thrown to see that many tarted-up girls.”
Chance groaned and put his head down on the table. “Don’t remind me! Ugh, I can’t believe some of these chicks who think that not wearing underwear is a good thing. Trust me, I’ve seen too much f-ed up stuff happen at the parties I’ve been to. You name it, I’ve probably seen it.”
“Sorry to hear that,” I replied.
“Nah its all good,” he said. “Glad to know there’s some standards left. Thanks for being normal.”
“Uh yeah sure,” I said. “So who is Chance Wen? Aside from being a soccer player who wants out and writes really good stories.”
Chance threw his hands up and stretched. “Well, I’m a Psychology major with a minor in Graphic Design. I like making vector graphics. I hate early morning classes. And I like a good bowl of guac with chips. What about you? Who is Mckayla Tang?”
“I’m an English major looking to either double major or minor in Theater. I like curry rice. I’m not a fan of living in the dorms because I really don’t relate to anyone on my floor, save for a few people. And I like cold weather.”
Chance grinned and nodded in approval. “Well I’m glad we met in Creative Writing 101,” he said. “You have any other classes today?”
I checked my watch and made a face. “Yeah I have one at 2:45 and I need to get the reading done for it. But thanks for having coffee with me. It was great.”
I stood up from my chair and he followed suit, picking up his cup to toss in the nearest trash can. “Worst. Cup. Ever.” he declared as he threw it in.