Google IT Technician Certification

I have been working on obtaining my mac-glasses for a few weeks now. And by a few weeks, I mean more than four. And by more than four, I mean a few months. And by a few, I mean three. Luckily, it stops there.

There are six modules in a course, and each of the modules has several lessons. I almost completed the first module and have started the second. The information is really thorough, and I feel like this small portion I have completed has taught me a lot already. Things like binary and building a computer from scratch. It really is interesting, but I’m moving a lot slower than I anticipated. It’s not that I’m bored with the content; I really think the reason is because of the nature of the courses.

At SNHU, even though it was an online school which allowed you to learn at your own pace, there was structure, deadlines, and someone holding you accountable. With this Google IT Technician Certification, the only person to hold you accountable is you. Sure, there are “professors” teaching you the lessons via the recorded streaming videos, but they aren’t active in your learning, checking up on you, marking down your grade if you don’t complete an assignment within the allotted week. You are literally on your own to take the lessons.

Hold myself accountable, you say? Oh, why didn’t I think of that! Wait, I did, and failed. Miserably. I need a new strategy, but I am really struggling with time management. Maybe I still have senioritis from graduating a year ago. Maybe my willpower is just depleted along with my sanity and drive to focus on anything other than making it through my day to day. Wow, that sounds like a very sad existence.

WAKE UP CALL!! I’m hearing it. I’ve got to get my big ole’ head back in the game! (Too High School Musical for you? Me too.)

Valerian – Movie Review

May be a little late to the party, but I figured I could give my two cents on this movie in case anyone has held out longer than I have from watching it.

The amount of money dumped into this film for its graphics must have been astronomical! Almost every “person” in this film was somehow CGI’ed to an alien species. The worlds they created were so well thought out in depth. The vivid imagery was mesmerizing as was the story once it finally got going. I can’t imagine the man-hours and time it took to produce this film.

51b1d40punl-_sy453_bo1204203200_IMDB: A dark force threatens Alpha, a vast metropolis and home to species from a thousand planets. Special operatives Valerian and Laureline must race to identify the marauding menace and safeguard not just Alpha, but the future of the universe.

I had no idea this movie was based on a French comic. How interesting! Although, that’s about as interesting as it gets. Everything I said above is true, but the WOW factor stopped at the graphics. The actors were not my favorite. The enthusiasm of the movie was a bit flat.

To come up with a universe so vast and tapped into, a universe of over a thousand inhabited worlds, is too big for my brain to comprehend. I think that is ultimately what kept my interest, the idea of the infinite. How anyone can even attempt to grasp the concept is beyond me. I feel as if my brain is leaving gravity’s tug whenever the idea of how truly expansive the universe is floats within my thoughts.

Overall, I would recommend the movie, but with the disclaimer not to go into it expecting anything award winning.

The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel – Season 2

If you didn’t know that I am absolutely in love with the Amazon series “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” then you don’t know me at all! I binge watched this show the week it came out, and I have missed it so much! I have been dying to know when the next season will come out, and finally Amazon has given a release date!

DECEMBER 5, 2018

No one talk to me for a week. Expect nothing out of me during this time. I will be holed up in my room every night watching this show until I have gorged on Rachel Brosnahan and Tony Shalhoub to my hearts content then immediate demise as I have to wait who know how long for the next season! Oh, the tragedy of a streaming series!

If you know nothing about this series, please allow me to enlighten you. It is magnificent!!

maisel65628816.jpgAmazon – The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Season 1: Winner of 8 Emmy Awards. In 1958 New York, Midge Maisel’s life is on track- husband, kids, and elegant Yom Kippur dinners in their Upper West Side apartment. But when her life takes a surprise turn, she has to quickly decide what else she’s good at – and going from housewife to stand-up comic is a wild choice to everyone but her.

Amazon – The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Season 2: After Midge’s triumph at the Gaslight, the fallout from her takedown of Sophie Lennon looms large, making her climb up the comedy ladder more challenging than ever. As the actual grind of being a comic begins to take its toll on Midge, the pressure to come clean to her family weighs on her – especially as her choices have a ripple effect on everyone around her.


Coffee is my lifeblood

I must have a cup of coffee in the morning! You think the boogey monster is scary; you should see me without coffee. I can’t function without it. My brain refuses to wake up until my cup is empty.

Honestly, the caffeine is needed, but it is not what drives me to it. The warmth of the liquid. The swirling steam billowing from the cup. The earthy, roasted aroma soothing my muddled brain. It’s like a pep talk in a cup. A reassuring hug first thing in the morning. Coffee doesn’t judge. Coffee understands. I may look a hot mess in the morning, and the noises reverberating from my throat may sound like a terrifying monster, but coffee just smiles and says, “drink me, and I’ll turn you into a princess”.

OK, princess is a stretch, but once I’m done with that first cup, I tell you what, THE QUENN REIGNS!

OK, again, I stretch the truth, but you get the point. I drink the stuff. I do the stuff. An elixir of life! I’m too dramatic for my own good.

Can you guess how many cups I’ve had today? 🙂

Guardians – Released and Rated

As the book tour ends for Guardians release, I’ve become contemplative about the journey thus far. I’ve had to answer why I came up with this story, and what the Light and darkness really mean to me. I’m not sure I will ever be able to answer the why other than I had a dream that brushed the surface of what Guardians became. My dream inspired this story, and I’ve enjoyed developing it, but why is a very heavy question.

A question I know I can answer is what the Light and darkness mean to me. That’s easy. Light is the goodness of the world, the strength to overcome any fear or temptation. Light is perfection that we all wish to achieve, and what I love most about it is Light is life, so it is within us all.

Darkness, or Midnight, is the evil of the world. It consumes people until they are controlled by it. It closely resembles someone who has succumbed to a battle of one of the deadly sins. They may deny it, but their greed, gluttony, or pride controls their every decision.

I’ve known many people who have fallen to their vices, specifically drugs, but there have been too few that have come back from their stint in darkness to a life better than before. Those with survival stories talk about being saved from their battles by finding something or someone that brought them back to the light of life. These stories have also amazed me. Thus, Light and darkness, and the basis of the why.

I’m really not this deep, but this story really speaks to the testament of human will. Riley faces darkness in ways most people never have to, but she keeps fighting to stay in the Light. Every day people battle with pain and afflictions, but we can overcome them and live a life greater we ever imagined.

Don’t forget to order your copy of Guardians today! 5 star ratings are rolling in! Vampires and werewolves could never face the shadows the Guardians battle everyday. Click here for more information.

Insomniac Rambling – Love and Greed

To be enough for someone in a world full of greed is everything.

No! Just, no!

I saw this on Instagram as a poem someone wrote (not sure who posted it, can’t find it again), and I just need to say no. No, this is wrong. So wrong you can’t make enough U-turns to make it right. Just wrong!

I can see someone attempting to make the argument that maybe they are talking about love. Love is selfless. Love is about giving your all and then some to allow the person you have the feelings for to flourish with you. Love is the opposite of greed, therefore, to have found someone who wants to give you all of themselves is a gift not to be squandered. I get it. I dig it. You’re on the right track, but the first sentence in this post does not capture the idea of unselfish love.

The first sentence goes wrong the moment it assumes you weren’t enough for someone, anyone, in this world. You are always enough! It’s just up to the other person to see it, to know your value as much as you know your own worth.

Next, I read this sentence to say that your measurement in a person’s life is in your control. Again, this is wrong. It ties into the first part, but let me dig a little deeper. Greed is a terrible affliction. Nothing is ever enough. So, to say that you should be able to measure up to that amount of endless wanting, to be able to compete with the constant yearning, and possibly be greater than the desire for more in someone else is completely out of your control. Not only do you have to selflessly give yourself over to the one you love, but they in kind must also forget all pretenses and expectations in a world of over consumption and gluttony and share their selfless love, too.

Finally, to say that finding someone who may hold you higher than all other wants and needs is everything is horribly cheap. I would never want someone who wants me more than some goal or objective they may be trying to obtain. One day, those things they once ignored may suddenly float higher than your pedastool, and then your everything is now your barely something. Only when love holds it’s own category, it’s on permanent residence in two people’s lives will that love be everything.

Go to bed, Lindsay. I know. 🙂

Guardians – Book Tour Update!

Guardians Book Blog Tour brought to you by Bewitching Book Tours is in full swing! Next stop is Momma Says: To Read or Not to Read.

Come on over and see what exclusive bits you may find. I’ll keep you updated on all the stops throughout the tour.

Don’t forget to order your copy of Guardians today! 5 star ratings are rolling in! Vampires and werewolves could never face the shadows the Guardians battle everyday. Click here for more information.

Tour schedule

November 8 Momma Says: To Read or Not to Read
November 9 Ramblings of a Book Nerd
November 12 The Book Junkie Reads (Interview)
November 13 Ramblings of a Coffee Addicted Writer
November 13 T’s Stuff (Interview)
November 14 Supernatural Central (Interview)
November 14 3 Partners in Shopping, Nana, Mommy, and Sissy, Too!


Guardians – Release Day Party Continued!

Click on the links below for your chance to win an ebook!

Goodreads eBook Giveaway


By Lindsay Chamberlin

Released October 31 2018
This giveaway starts November 1, 2018 and ends November 13, 2018.


Keep up with me on tour for Guardians release party! Today, you can find exclusives and interviews on:

Jazzy Book Reviews
Fang-tastic Books (Guest Blog)

Guardians – Release Day Party!

Welcome to Guardians Release Day Party! It’s finally here! I cannot wait for you to dive into Riley and Reymend’s world of Light and Midnight. This novel is book one of three as part of the Touched by Light series, so once you read this book, the second and third won’t be far behind!

All your desired purchase links can be found here!

If you’re looking for a bit of background before jumping into this series, check out my posts Meet Riley, Meet Reymend, What are Guardians, and What is Light and Midnight. If you’re just ready to get into this paranormal romance novel, head over to the Written Works page for links to all the major distributors.

Guardians Proof twoRiley had spent her entire life terrified of the shadows and darkness that followed her everywhere she went. They ruined her chances at a normal childhood and tormented her throughout her teenage years, labeling her the freak in her hometown, but now was her chance to start over. After receiving her acceptance letter from Bradford University, a chance at a new life and new friends in a town far away from home filled Riley with such hope for the future, but never had she dreamed of meeting the most gorgeous guy on campus. Not only was he attractive, but the shadows were chased away whenever he was near. Riley hoped she could hold on to him, but how could she hope for so much when she had only ever had so little?

Reymend may look like just another student at Bradford University, but his world was greater than any mortal could understand. He was blessed by the Light, trained to be a Guardian, a warrior against the shadows of Midnight that plagued Touched souls in the never ending battle of Light and darkness. It was his duty to protect those souls, and his next Charge was Riley. She didn’t understand the shadows that followed her relentlessly, but one day, she was going to be stronger than any Guardian in the history of the Light, if the darkness didn’t claim her first.

Check-in with me as Guardians goes live on all major distributors and be entered to win a free ebook copy! Leave a comment on this post, and I’ll pick a few lucky winners next week to receive their prize. More giveaways coming up soon!

Today also marks the beginning of Guardians Book Blog Tour brought to you by Bewitching Book Tours. First stop is The Creatively Green Write at Home Mom and Lisa’s World of Books. Come on over and see what exclusive bits you may find. I’ll keep you updated on all the stops throughout the week.

October 31 The Creatively Green Write at Home Mom (Guest Blog)
October 31 Lisa’s World of Books
November 1 Jazzy Book Reviews
November 1 Fang-tastic Books (Guest Blog)
November 2 Roxanne’s Realm
November 5 SImply Kelina
November 6 Other Worlds of Romance (Guest Blog)
Sci-Fi, Fantasy, and Paranormal Romances
November 7 JB’s Bookworms with Brandy Mulder
November 8 Momma Says: To Read or Not to Read
November 9 Ramblings of a Book Nerd
November 12 The Book Junkie Reads (Interview)
November 13 Ramblings of a Coffee Addicted Writer
November 13 T’s Stuff (Interview)
November 14 Supernatural Central (Interview)
November 14 3 Partners in Shopping, Nana, Mommy, and Sissy, Too!



Guardians – Sneak Peek!

Guardians Proof twoWith Guardians publish date right around the corner, I’m hardly containing myself with excitement and the desire to just push it out NOW! I’m impatient and antsy and ready for you to meet Riley and Reymend. I want you to explore their world with them, fall in love with them, and be ready to face the darkness with them. Hurry up, Halloween!!

Screw it. I may not be able to push the button for the whole book now, but I can give you a sneak peek of the first chapter of Guardians! Wahhoooo! Hopefully this tides me over until the publish date!

Guardians, a Touched by Light series, book 1 of 3 is out for PRE-ORDER now on all major distributors. Publish date is set for October 31, 2018 – Halloween!

Chapter 1


A beginning is a chance to become exactly whom you want to be no matter the past you left behind. A beginning is a fresh start, a blank page ready to be written on without pretenses. This beginning was Riley’s chance to leave everything she knew, everything anyone ever thought of her or whispered behind her back, behind.

Riley parked her car in front of the largest building on campus. The Muse dormitory at Bradford University stood thirteen stories high with a large clock facing the grounds. As she stepped out of her Toyota, the clock began tolling for noon. She stared up at the large brick building towering over her. The lower four levels spanned horizontally along the corner edge of the campus. The other nine floors rose high and centered over the lower four.

The campus was beautiful, covered in trees with color changing leaves and crisply cut green grass. The all brick buildings holding the classrooms and dormitories were straight from the Victorian era, merging purpose and everyday life into their structure and intricate window design. The Muse was the odd ball. It was also covered in bricks and designed with mix purpose, but its architecture seemed more industrial than Victorian, turning students into graduates like a revolving door.

The sleepy town of Bradford, Virginia surrounded the babbling New River as it flowed along the edge of the city limits. The college life was contained within an acute triangle of space between Main Street, Tyler Avenue, and Jefferson Street. Outside of the triangle lay beautiful, old houses, small shops and eateries, and endless outdoor adventures and sports. Apparently, there was a Walmart and Kroger’s across the river, but as far as chain stores went, that was as extravagant as it got.

It was the best chance at the beginning Riley had been hoping for, and it was perfect. She had applied to so many colleges as far away from her hometown as she could. When Bradford sent her an acceptance letter, she immediately fell in love with the school, not just for its outstanding programs and beautiful campus, but for the escape they were offering from the life she had always known.

People streamed to and from the building; parents dropping off their kids with tearful goodbyes; returning students discussing their summers; resident assistances, or RAs, directing the flow of traffic with big smiles and their “How can I help you?” t-shirts. Everyone seemed in a rush to get where they were going with large suitcases and clear plastic storage containers, but Riley relished in the moment as the clock struck for the twelfth time.

It was in this brief instant that to everyone around her, she was no one. She was just another face in the crowd. She was just another student trying to find her dorm room while lugging way too much baggage. In this moment, before she introduced herself to anyone, before she attempted to make connections with her fellow classmates, and for the first time in her life, she was invisible.

Riley watched as more students scurried around and giggled when someone’s cart of necessities tipped over. The force of the impact exploded an overstuffed bag and released undergarments all over the front steps of the dorm. The cart driver was a well-endowed platinum blonde, so every male RA stepped up to help her collect her belongings. It became a game to see who among them could pick up the most panties as the guys snickered and winked at the unfazed blonde.

Riley shook her head. If that would have been her first impression, she would have been mortified and got back in her car to head home, but the girl strolled towards the building with a handful of lace underwear like nothing ever happened.

Riley envied the girl’s confidence. In high school, she had always been the quiet girl everyone avoided and whispered about, so her boldness ended at the natural red color of her hair. Her green eyes were illuminated by her pale skin, and she had always thought her lips were too thin and red. At five-foot-tall, she had tried to hide amongst her peers in grade school, but no matter what she did, they had always seen her as a freak.

A horn honked behind her, and someone shouted out a window. “Coming or going, sweetheart?”

Riley jumped. She hadn’t even turned her car off when she pulled into the dorm parking lot.

“Staying,” she replied as she ducked her head into her car and pulled the keys out of the ignition. The driver pulled away and made another circle around the lot.

Riley took a deep breath and repeated the mantra she had been chanting since she left her home in Alexandria: “New year, new town, new school, new people, new me.”

“Excuse me,” Riley said to an RA. “Where do I get one of those carts?”

The girl looked up from her clipboard with a plastered smile tight on her lips, clearly having answered the exact same question multiple times already today. “Right along the walkway here is a row of them.”

Riley’s gaze followed to where the RA pointed. “OK, thanks.”

Before Riley could take a step towards the carts, the RA sidestepped in front of her. “Do you need any assistance loading the cart?”

“No, thanks,” Riley answered, attempting to step around the wide-eyed girl, but the RA stepped in front of her again.

“I see that you are alone. Parents couldn’t make it?”

Riley felt a bubble of all too familiar anxiety rise in her chest. She tampered it down as she pasted her own practiced smile to her face. “Nope, they had to work.”

The smile must have put the girl at ease as her arms uncrossed from around her clipboard, and her eyes became a bit less probing. “Mine had to work on my first move-in day as well. If there is anything I can do to make today easier, please let me know. The first day is always the hardest.”

“Will do,” Riley lied, scurrying towards the carts.

As she pushed the squeaky metal flatbed towards her car, she wondered what her parents were actually doing right now. As a kid, she had always fanaticized about them. Her young mind had made them into a king and queen facing adversaries, or fairies with very important quests, which is why they had to leave her.

But that was the truth of it.

Her parents had left her with her Aunt when she was just a baby. No explanations, no reasons, no way to get in contact. Just gone. The only thing Riley had of them was an old and wrinkled picture, but it was a tiny piece of the people she had longed for the most as a child. She couldn’t remember how many nights she had spent hugging that tiny picture, wishing for them to come and take her with them to their kingdom or on their journey, but they never came.

She couldn’t even find it in herself to blame them for leaving. What those early days must have been like with someone like her. They were probably terrified of her and the things she saw. It was no wonder they left.

It had been her and her Aunt Lara for as long as Riley could remember, and although her Aunt had done everything she could to raise her well, there was a hole in Riley’s heart, never to be filled with a parents love and affection.

Riley shook her head, scolding herself. She had made herself promise the entire four-hour drive to Bradford that she wouldn’t dwell in the past.

Not today.

The past was gone, and today was about beginnings.

Riley glued another smile to her face and continued loading the cart.

Today was going to be a happy day. No matter what.

Then Riley felt it.

A dark, swirling sensation weighed down on her chest as goose-bumps rose on her skin despite the ninety degree weather. Her breath felt labored, and her hands shook the cart handle. She closed her eyes as they stung with tears and her stomach dropped into her pelvis.

No! Not here!

Riley’s head felt heavy as she slumped against her car, trying her hardest to open her eyes again, but they wouldn’t cooperate. She felt something grab hold of her body like a vice squeezing her mid. She clamped her eyes shut, placing her hands over her face, determined to block it all from her mind.

Please, no!

She had hoped she had left all this behind in Alexandria.

How could it have followed her here?

She hadn’t even done anything to trigger it!

A deep voice full of malice rumbled in her ear a language she had never been able to understand, but the message was still clear. The voice grew louder with each of her staggered breaths. The hold around her middle became crushing. She gasped for air, begged for the episode to end, but the voice and the strength of its hold on her, only grew.

A bright light began to shine through her eyelids as warm hands grasped her shoulders, spreading their fever through her frigid veins.

“Are you alright?” The silky voice said as random shapes were drawn on her skin.

The darkness, the gravelly voice, the pain, all receded as the light grew stronger, and the warmth enveloped her in serene silence. Her breathing calmed, and her eyes slowly opened. The sun blinded her for a moment with sudden flashes of light before her eyes readjusted, but then dark hair, blue eyes, and a beautifully white smile met her stare.

“Hey, you OK?” the guy with the amazing smile asked again.

As Riley’s eyes focused, she could make out the dimples on his cheeks, the stubble on his chin and jawline, and the warm honey tone of his skin. The guy was gorgeous, and he was touching her.

“Do you need to sit down?” Concern washed over his features.

Riley shook her head, but with one jerky movement, thought better of it. She always felt like she was going to get sick after an episode as colors continued to zoom in and out of her peripherals.

“N-no,” Riley stammered, trying to ground herself again. “No, I’m fine. I just need a second.”

The guy’s smile was back in place as he released his hold and leaned against the car behind him. “You sure? You don’t look so good.”

Riley’s head began to clear, and her stomach returned to its rightful position. She stood straight and took a deep, lung filling breath. The memory of the voice and strange language was already disappearing, leaving only the distinct feeling of pain behind, but that was how they all ended. Even though this episode had felt stronger than it ever had before, it went away a lot faster than the usual.

Maybe that was a good sign. Maybe this move was what she needed after all.

“I’m fine,” Riley responded, trying to convince him or herself, she wasn’t sure.

The gorgeous guy quirked his eyebrow at her, clearly not convinced, but Riley could only concentrate on how striking his features were.

Riley tried again, straightening her spine. “Seriously, I’m OK. Thank you.”

“No problem.”

Riley looked up to him, following the sound of his voice as her eyes traveled higher and higher. She was just now realizing how tall and muscular he was. Definitely near the six foot mark. She stared up at him as his brighter than the summer sky eyes searched her face.

“I promise,” Riley said, trying to smile as warmly back.

The guy’s smile stretched wider as his dimples dipped deep into his cheeks, and he held out his hand. “I’m Reymend, but everyone just calls me Rey.”

“Riley,” she responded, taking his hand in hers.

A pulse shot through her body as hot and strong as electricity. A whirlwind of images flashed through her mind stronger than before, bright colors and assorted shapes, but they were all too abstract to understand before they disappeared, and Riley was staring back at Rey.

“First year?” Rey asked, his smile turning into more of a smirk as he reluctantly released her hand. He crossed his muscular arms over his chest displaying his firm build which was easily visible through his thin V-neck t-shirt. With his right leg crossed over his left, his shorts, sneakers, and sunglasses all made him look like a model straight out of a magazine.

“Yeah,” she answered, trying to make sense of what had just coursed through her mind and body.

“I’m a junior. I have an apartment on light side.”

“Is that a street name?” Riley asked, confused.

Rey chuckled. “No, it’s the side of campus. One side has a lot of streetlights; the other, not so much.”

“Oh,” was all Riley offered. She probably sounded like an idiot to the upperclassman. One hell of a way to make a first impression.

“Muse is your dorm?”

“Yeah, I’m on the thirteenth floor.”

“Are you nervous?” Rey asked quirking an eyebrow again.

“No,” Riley answered quickly. Too quickly.

Rey snickered. “All freshies are when they find out they are up there, but like I always say, Nostradamus hasn’t been right yet.”


“Nostradamus? The clairvoyant who predicted someone would die on the thirteenth floor in a building that sat next to a river that flows backwards?” Rey said in an attempt at a spooky voice.

He had no idea.

“You’re joking?” Riley choked.

“Nope. Real dude who also predicted the world was going to end in like 2012 or something, so again, he has yet to be right.”

But that was before I came! Riley screamed in her mind.

She thought she had researched the school so well! How could she have missed that prediction?

“Are you telling the truth, or are you just messing with me because I’m a freshman?”

“I promise. Look it up tonight.” Rey’s smile faded as Riley tried to hide her panic. “Better yet, don’t. It’s just a prediction made by an old man hundreds of years ago. Besides, there’s another building in Egypt that fits the description as well.”

Riley shook her head as she tried to calm herself. There’s another one in Egypt. It doesn’t mean it will be here. It’s been hundreds of years.

Then you came, a voice growled in her ear.

Riley felt her heart skip a beat, but refused to show it. She was so used to it all by now that even though she was a little rattled by Rey’s story, she still had control. At least for the moment. She had to get to her dorm. She just needed a minute to think and calm herself.

“I’ve got to go.”

Rey shook his head, his smile gone and his eyes downcast. “Yeah, guess that was a sucky opener.”

Riley stopped mid-step on her way to her cart. He had actually wanted to talk to her even after her episode. He wasn’t running scared or calling her names. He had actually approached her in the midst of it all.

Riley turned towards him again. She had never in her life had a chance to flirt with a guy, so if that was what he had been trying to do then no wonder he had failed. He was trying with someone who was completely oblivious to romance.

“That was a line?”

Rey snapped his attention back toward her and laughed. “I guess a bad attempt at one, yeah.”


It was the dumbest question anyone in the world could have asked at that moment, but she needed to know. What if it happened again? She had to understand, so that she was ready next time some unknowing guy tried to come on to her, if that in fact was what Rey was doing.

“Seemed like you could use a friend.”

Riley’s heart melted in her chest. “I could definitely use one of those.”

Rey’s smile stretched wide, and the full weight of its sincerity filled Riley’s veins with sweet delight.

“How about we start over? Hi, I’m Rey. Can I help you with your stuff?”

Riley giggled a soft sound she had never heard from her mouth before. She actually felt at ease with someone other than her Aunt for once in her life.

“Sure,” she practically sang as she tossed a plastic space bag at his chest.

He reached out and effortlessly caught the bag of squished bedding with a playful smile turning the corners of his lips.

“So where are you from?” Rey asked, tucking the bag in between her suitcases on the cart.

“Alexandria. You?”


“Huh, why didn’t you go to UMD? I hear that is a really great school.” But not far away enough from Alexandria, Riley thought.

“It is, but I wanted to get out of Maryland, try someplace completely different than the city.”

Riley smiled as she handed off another box. “I know exactly what you mean.”

Rey smiled back. “What’s your major?”

“Undecided. I was hoping after a semester or two, something would intrigue me.”

Rey laughed. “Typical freshman answer.”

Riley shot him a sideways glance as she dropped a heavy box in his arms. “Well, what’s yours?”

The weight of the box didn’t even phase him. “Education. I’m very comfortable in front of a crowd, and like breaking things down for people to understand them better.”

“That definitely isn’t the typical answer of someone wanting to become a teacher. Most of the time people say they like kids, or want to mold the future generations,” Riley scoffed. It always sounded like a desire for control to her.

“Well, I’m hoping to teach high school geometry, so they aren’t really kids by then, and their minds are very independent around that age.”

“High school?”

Rey smiled up at her as he placed the final box on the cart. “Yeah. Crazy, I know. All those hormones and rebellious tendencies. Just call me a glutton for punishment.”

Riley laughed and followed behind Rey as he pushed the cart towards the dorm. Rey steered it around the crowd of parents and students gathered at the entrance to the building and up the walkway leading into a large lobby with an elevator bay in its center.

“Downstairs is a dining hall, but they are rarely open, and the food is actually kind of pricey if you are on the meal plan. Everyone typically eats at Dalton or Bonnie on campus,” Rey offered as they waited for one of the four elevators to open.

“I have no idea what the Dalton or Bonnie are, but if you say so,” Riley smiled. She could listen to Rey’s voice all day and never be bored.

“Well, once we’re done unloading your cart, I could give you a tour,” Rey smiled back, hope clear in his eyes.

Riley felt her heart lift, but falter for the briefest of seconds. Could she allow herself to become involved with someone after everything that happened in the past? If she were to have another episode, would he leave like all the rest? Could she handle that pain again?

“If you want,” Rey added as quickly as the overflow of thoughts bombarded her mind.

Riley smiled, but it felt forced compared to the one she held all of five minutes ago. Her heartbeat quickened and pounded against her chest. Her body felt as if it were thrusted into an ice bath as she shivered and hugged her mid.

Don’t trigger it. Don’t trigger it!

“I, uh-”

A warmth blossomed within her chest, expelling all of her anxiety and nurturing her heart into a steady rhythm. This is why she came here, the warmth coaxed, enveloping her body with steady heat. A fresh start, a chance at real friends and real experiences.

A real life.

Riley took a deep breath and exhaled slowly, uncrossing her arms in front of her. She could do this. She had to do this.

“That sounds great,” she smiled, feeling the uneasiness melt from her body.