"I don't know, this years tuition went up and I stand by what I said." Mona sipped on her cold beverage that sounded to it's near end.
"No way. I highly doubt the funds are actually going to the recreational center!" Francesca nearly stopped in her tracks to put emphasis on the actuality of their conversation. The two were best friends and often had conversations pertaining to their college or anything of the like. It was their second year of college, the orientation they attended before enrollment claimed there was a fully renovated recreation center. As anyone can gather from the conversation the two are having, the center was nowhere near renovated, or full for that matter.
"Listen, I didn't say it was going to the center. I said it BETTER go to the rec center." Mona lightly shook her head. Sometimes she wondered if her friend actually listened to her or just said whatever first came to her mind before she would forget. Either way, she doubted she would change anything about her copper-haired friend.
She and Francesca met in seventh grade during gym; their classes were going against each other in a game of kickball. Francesca was on second base, to which Mona was guarding, when a comment was made about the pitcher thinking he was a hot-shot for rolling the ball in a straight line. The two chuckled and Mona added how hilarious it would be if the hot-shot pitcher got the ball kicked right back to his face. The ball was kicked and it was returned back to the pitcher. Only, not to his hands or even face, to which Mona suggested, but to his crotch.
The entire section of the class was mixed with 'oooh's' and cringes for feeling sorry for the poor kid. Francesca was one of the people who had a combination of both, but laughed as the kid fell to his knees, leaning on Mona for support. "Holy crap… you, you jinxed the kid!" She barely caught her breathe from laughter as she turned her head into Mona's shoulder.
Mona was mortified. Had she jinxed her poor teammate into this disaster? She shook her head and remembered they were all still playing kickball. She reminded the girl next to her that she could easily score while everyone was distracted.
Francesca blinked until realization hit her and she smiled to the auburn haired girl guarding the base. "Before I score for my team, what's your name, traitor?"
Thankfully Mona knew there was no malice laced behind the question. She knew instantly the playfulness behind it and it made her smile back. "Kick the ball in hot shot's face and then I'll tell you my name." With that, Francesca ran to home base and waited for her turn to kick the ball again. It was from that small encounter that began their friendship and led them to enroll in the same college together. After all, when you meet someone who will only tell you their name by kicking an object to someone's face, you don't walk away from them; you find every opportunity to achieve that and befriend the hell out of them because they are one-of-a-kind.
The pair had arrived to the study hall located in the center of the campus and found a table to the far right, away from other students. "Alright then, what do you think the money is going towards? Their vacations?"
Mona shrugged. "It is very possible. Either that or to help fund their children through a college of their choice. You know how privilege works."
"You make it sound like I'm privileged." Francesca deadpanned.
"I never said that. Jeeze you've been on edge lately." Mona placed her bag on the floor and grabbed her laptop from it. "Does this mood have anything to do with Daniel by chance?"
"Is it that noticeable?" Francesca huffed and slouched in her chair for a brief second and readjusted herself to run her hand through her thick hair. "I don't know, he's been acting different lately and not the kind where he's a totally different person."
"How is he acting then? Oh my God, do you think he wants to propose to you?!" For people passing by, it would seem as though Mona was ecstatic for the possible news, but it was an emotion the exact opposite.
"I hope not, I mean we're still young and we've been dating for five years. Who purposes to someone after five years!?"
"Almost anyone who is normal…?"
"Newsflash Mona, we are anything but normal. It just makes me uneasy not knowing what he's thinking." Francesca was through with the day. She needed a distraction and her next class didn't begin for another hour.
"Look, there is nothing to worry about. You are overreacting, I'm sure of it. Danny probably wants to show you some grand romantic gesture and is trying to hide it. You know how terrible he is at hiding surprises." Mona tried reasoning with her best friend. After all, relationship problems should be the last of her worries during college.
Francesca let out a shaky breath and settled comfortably in the chair, well as comfortable as one can get in a creaky old wooden chair. "Right, it's nothing. I'm overreacting and letting it interfere with my courses. But, I'm going to stand by the assumption our tuition is going towards their paid vacations." Having remembered their previous conversation, Francesca quickly steered back to it to keep her distracted.
"Care to make a bet?" Her auburn haired friend wiggled her eyebrow while leaning forward, both elbows supporting her weight on the table. "The winner picks and there are absolutely no limits to it."
"How the hell do you expect us to find out the truth? Break into the registrar office and look at all the info?"
"Frankie, we are not breaking into anything, and I mean anything." Mona had to put emphasis to her words, because she knew Frankie would jump at any opportunity for an adrenaline rush, especially looking through files unauthorized personnel are not suppose to look through.
The pair chatted with their typical antics until Francesca had to leave for her night class. Both girls were disappointed when they learned Mona didn't need the course due to some new change with the academic calendar.
"If class ends early, stop by my dorm and we can pig out before Daniel arrives tomorrow. I'm sure you'll want to be a complete slob before you look your best for him." She chuckled to herself and laughed harder when Francesca swatted at her arm.
"You know I'll swing by even if class doesn't end early. Don't have too much fun without me." Francesca smiled to her friend and headed off to class, blowing a kiss as they always did to one another when leaving.
The next morning started off like any Saturday on campus for the best friends, both lying on the bed next to each other with the static noise of the forgotten television from the night before. An annoying sound vibrated through the small dorm room. Neither girl moved from their position, only one grunted their displeasure. When the noise finally stopped, it quickly resumed just as it seem to end. This was the last straw as Mona huffed louder and elbowed Francesca in her midsection. "Answer the damn phone Frankie or put it on silent." She placed the pillow over her head, hoping it would drown out the vibrating sound.
"How do we know it's not your phone that's going off?" Francesca had one arm draped over her eyes, blocking any sunlight from blinding her this early in the morning.
"Because I turned my phone off, like we were suppose to do."
"Touché." When Francesca made no audible movements, Mona hit her with her own pillow before grabbing the phone herself.
"No surprise, it's your boyfriend. He left a voicemail and…. TEN MESSAGES!" She looked at the timestamps of the unread messages and to the time on the top right corner of the phone. "You have to get up Frankie, he's already in town and is waiting for you."
"Who told him to be here so early anyway?" The sleepiness was evident in her voice and she had no shame in it as well as making no effort to wake herself up.
"Its already two in the afternoon. He called at a reasonable hour."
She forced herself to sit up in bed and grabbed her cellphone from Mona. She sent a quick message to her boyfriend, apologizing for not responding and telling him she would meet up with him within the hour. "Want to come with? It'll definitely make the queasiness in my stomach subside knowing you'll be there with me."
"You'll be fine. Stop prolonging nothing Frankie. He loves you and you have made it very clear that you don't want to get married until you finish your schooling." She rubbed her friend's shoulder to give her that little assurance she needed before getting out of bed.
As soon as Francesca got out of bed, Mona immediately stretched herself over her spot, enjoying the extra space that was now vacant. "You just couldn't wait until I left, could you?!" Francesca tried to sound hurt, but her tiredness overpowered that and Mona smiled to herself as she snuggled deeper into the comforter.
"Make sure you let me know you met with Daniel. I'll probably still be in bed, enjoying this wonderful Saturday all alone." Something inside of Frankie made her stomach drop at the mention of her friend being alone. They usually spent the weekend together, unless Daniel made plans to visit. This was no exception, so why did she feel the way she did all of a sudden? It was a feeling she pushed to the side as she left Mona's dorm, but not before kisses were blown to each other. She figured it was from all the sugar and massive pile of snacks they had the night before that caused her stomach to feel the way it did. Before any ideas or rational thoughts formed in her mind, Francesca went to her own dorm across the hall to shower and to meet with her boyfriend.
This semester was not like any other and Francesca was beginning to realize that as she made her way to some restaurant she agreed to meet her boyfriend.