"Thirteen minutes!" Evie called to her roommate, who was still in the bathroom. She walked around their shared dorm room, kicking dirty laundry and scuffed-up boots off to the side. Evie was used to Melissa's ritual Monday morning dash after a long night of sorority partying, but she made it a point to help Melissa get to class in one piece. It was the least she could do after one particularly nasty incident when Melissa slipped on a silk blouse and landed right on top of a spiked earring.

"Prakash is going to kill me!" Melissa wailed plaintively as she emerged back into the room, shuffling around and slamming drawers. "This is the third time I've been late on an experiment day!"

Evie sighed resignedly and sat back at her desk. She had been up since dawn working on a short story for her Advanced Creative Writing class and was nowhere near satisfied with it. This was her final semester before graduating with her English degree, and she wanted to do well on all her work. She wondered if she could ever get the story done with the madness going on around her.

"Do I look okay?"

Evie turned to face her roommate. "You gorgeous beast!" She was always impressed with what Melissa could in a short amount of time. She had paired a simple fitted V-neck with dark skinny jeans and had expertly put on make-up that made her face eye-catching, yet still quite natural. Her fine, golden brown hair was tied into a loose braid and fell down shoulders that unmistakably belonged to a dancer. If Evie was in Melissa's shoes, she knew she'd end up looking like an underfed raccoon, because it was impossible for her to pick out a decent outfit, make her face presentable, and tame her thick, licorice black hair all in just ten minutes. She knew beauty miracles were best left to her roommate.

"Thanks for the input," Melissa laughed. "I'm heading out." She slung her knapsack across her back. "Did you happen to see my –"

"Under your nightstand," Evie cut off, returning to her work.

After dislodging the Physics book from its hiding place and tucking it under her arm, Melissa gave her roommate a quick hug. "What'd I do without you?"

Evie smiled. "Fail all your classes, maybe?"

"Then who'd you have left to force you to have a life outside of your studies?" Melissa ducked out the doorway as a crumpled piece of paper came flying her way. "See you later, V!"

After almost four years of sharing a dorm room together, Evie would have thought she'd be used to Melissa being an endless ball of energy, but it was a daily challenge. Not that she didn't love or value their friendship. Melissa was one of the more interesting aspects about her life at Amberton University.

A tinkling melody pierced through Evie's thoughts. She looked down at her cellphone and saw a new message.

"Speak of the she-devil," Evie mused to herself. "And just when I thought I could finally have my peace and quiet."

Before I forget. Someone called for you late
last night. Left his name and number. Oooooo!
Info tacked on your bulletin board. Prakash

making us bend light with crystal. I left my
warm bed for this. Woopity-freakin-doo.

Evie had to laugh at the text. Rubbing her eyes of the sleep that was threatening to settle in, she got up and searched for the note on her board. In true Melissa fashion, there it was, a purple heart-shaped Post-it scribbled on by a drunken hand. A phone number took up most of the space, but it wasn't the unfamiliar area code that caused Evie to momentarily forget to breathe. It was the name scrawled at the very bottom, one that Evie hadn't been reminded of for over two years.

Andrew Barsden. She looked at the name in silence before plopping onto her bed and staring out the window."Why?' she asked. "Why is he calling me?"

The sun was already well into the sky, but the campus was still carpeted in a thin veil of snow, a common snapshot of Connecticut in mid-February. Evie never truly got used to winter weather, but she could appreciate how it was so different from the pleasantly cool breezes of Waipahu. It had been a while since she thought about Waipahu. Of home. Of her mother and sister. Of Andrew Barsden.

Evie closed her eyes and attempted to make sense of what exactly she was feeling. Surprised was definitely on point, but that was understandable. Nervous? Her steady breathing astonishingly proved that wrong.. Angry. No. What was there to be upset about? Happy didn't quite taste right in her mouth..

Curious. Now that was a sensation Evie could work with. She checked the number again. From her laptop, she searched its area code and discovered it came from Oregon. "Hmm," Evie mused to herself. "Still in the Westside." The last she knew of Andrew, he was going to school in California, so Oregon was just a stone's throw away.

With her caller's whereabouts pinpointed, she moved on to the telephone. Andrew's was the last on the call history, and Evie was surprised to find that he phoned, not just once, but three times: first at around ten-thirty, then another at midnight, and finally, a quarter past three. She replayed the night before in her head. After dinner, she hauled herself up in the tutoring lab to work on her story till almost two. She came back to the dorm room so exhausted that she knocked out like it was no one's business. Explains why I didn't hear the phone ring, Evie thought to herself. It was Melissa who arrived just in time to answer the final call. Lucky thing Melissa was also so wasted that she couldn't ask more questions about the identity of the caller than she normally would if she were sober.

So Andrew was in Oregon and was trying to reach Evie. And from three calls all made late in the evening, she concluded it probably wasn't for small talk. How did he even get her number? They hadn't been in contact for over two years! What did he want with her now?

"Only one way to find out." She picked up the phone and with a deep breath, dialed the number. It rang for a few moments, and before Evie could hang up, a groggy voice came onto the line.

"Hello?"

The familiar voice lodged an unexpected lump in Evie's throat that she quickly swallowed. "Hi. Andrew?"

"Yeah, speaking," the creaking of old mattress springs echoed in the background. "Who is this?"

"It's Evie, Andrew. Evie Tamberlyn. My roommate left me a note with your number. I'm just returning the call."

"Oh, hey Evie!" Andrew sounded more awake now. "Yeah, I called a couple of hours ago. How are you?"

"I'm good, thank you. And you? I wasn't expecting to hear from you."

Andrew laughed, and Evie felt a slight twinge in her side. "Yeah, it's been a long time, hasn't it? We've both sort of just fallen off the radar."

"I guess so," Evie admitted. Since she never got into the Facebook fad, after high school, she pretty much lost contact with most of her peers. She only ever received news about them from her younger sister Kat, who still lived in Waipahu. It was news to Evie that Andrew had also taken a similar route. "Out of the loop" was not a phrase she'd normally associate with him.

"Anyways," Andrew continued, "I was calling to tell you was that I've been here in Oregon visiting some relatives, but I'll be heading to Boston in four days. I heard you're finishing up at Amberton and I was wondering if you'd like to catch up."

Evie wasn't prepared for this. Granted, she did not know what to expect going into the conversation, but this was beyond her. She wasn't quite sure how to feel about Andrew's offer, so she gave him the closest thing she could to an honest answer: "School has been getting really hectic, but… I'll let you know."

She swore that she could almost hear the smile spread on Andrew's face. "That's all I ask for. I'll give you a call on Friday then. And Evie?"

"Yes?" she gripped the phone tightly, bracing herself for what could possibly come next.

"I've missed you."

Evie imagined that the silence that followed stretched out farther than the telephone line between Oregon and Connecticut. The weight of two years' worth of lost time settled onto her chest, but she was able to utter one final response. "I'll talk to you again soon, Andrew."


A/N: (8/1/13) The previous Chapters 1 & 2 have been combined to result in what you have just read - a much longer Chapter 1 that has been considerably overhauled. Enjoy!