The Chase:Briar U

By: Elle Kennedy


“Anyway, are you nice and settled at the Kappa house?”

“Not quite,” I confess.

“For fuck’s sake, Summer. What did you do?”

My jaw falls open in outrage. Why does my family always assume that I’m in the wrong?

“I didn’t do anything,” I answer stiffly. But then defeat weakens my voice. “They don’t think someone like me is good for the sorority’s reputation. One of them said I was an arsonist.”

“Well,” Dean says not so tactfully. “You kind of are.”

“Fuck off, Dicky. It was an accident. Arsonists intentionally set fires.”

“So you’re an accidental arsonist. The Accidental Arsonist. That’s a great name for a book.”

“Awesome. Go write that.” I don’t care how snide I sound. I’m feeling snarky, and my nerves are shot. “Anyway, they kicked me out, and now I have to figure out where the heck I’m going to live this semester.” My throat catches on a lump that appears out of nowhere, and a choked almost-sob squeezes past it.

“Are you okay?” Dean asks immediately.

“I don’t know.” I swallow hard. “I… This is ridiculous. I don’t know why I’m upset. Those girls are awful and I wouldn’t have enjoyed living with them. I mean, it’s New Year’s Eve, and they’re all on campus! They’re doing some charity fundraiser thing instead of partying! That’s so not my scene.”

The tears I’ve been holding at bay are no longer controllable. Two fat drops slide down my cheeks, and I’m so glad Dean isn’t here to witness it. It’s bad enough that he can hear me crying.

“I’m sorry, Boogers.”

“Whatever.” I angrily swipe at my wet eyes. “It doesn’t matter. I’m not going to cry over a few mean girls and an overcrowded house. I won’t let it get to me. Would Selena Gomez let it get to her? Absolutely not.”

There’s a confused beat. “Selena Gomez?”

“Yes.” I jut out my chin. “She’s a symbol of class and purity, and I try to model myself after her. Personality-wise. Obviously, when it comes to style, I will forever strive to be Coco Chanel, and I will forever fail because nobody can be Coco Chanel.”

“Obviously.” He pauses. “Which era Selena Gomez are we talking about? Justin Bieber or The Weeknd? Or Bieber part two?”

I frown at my phone. “Are you for real right now?”

“What?”

“A woman isn’t defined by her boyfriends. She’s defined by her achievements. And her shoes.”

My gaze lands on my new boots, courtesy of Nana Celeste. At least I’ve had smashing success in the shoe department.

The rest of it, not so much.

“I guess I can ask Dad to call the housing people and see if there’s availability in any of the dorms.” Once again, I feel defeated. “I really don’t want to do that, though. He already had to pull strings to get me into Briar.”

And I’d rather not live in a dorm if I can help it. Sharing a bathroom with a dozen other girls is my worst nightmare. I had to do it in the Kappa house at Brown, but the private bedroom made the bathroom situation easier to swallow. No way will there be any singles left in the dorms this far into the school year.

I moan softly. “What am I supposed to do?”

I have two older brothers who never, ever pass up an opportunity to tease or embarrass me, but sometimes they display rare moments of compassion. “Don’t call Dad yet,” Dean says gruffly. “Let me see what I can do first.”

My forehead wrinkles. “I’m not sure you can do anything.”

“Just hold off on calling him. I’ve got an idea.” The squeal of brakes fills the line. “One sec. Thanks, bro. Five-star ride, for sure.” A car door slams. “Summer, you’re coming back to the city tonight anyway, right?”

“I wasn’t planning on it,” I admit, “but I guess I don’t have a choice now. I’ll have to grab a hotel in Boston until I figure out my living arrangements.”

“Not Boston. I meant New York. The semester doesn’t start for a few weeks. I figured you’d be staying at the penthouse until then.”

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