Page 43 of Rags to Riches Baby

“I really don’t know why you’re bothering with any of this. I mean, once the inheritance goes through, do you really need to worry about going back to school? You don’t have to work another day in your life if you don’t want to, much less move into a cheap off-campus apartment with loud jocks living upstairs.”

Lucy could only shake her head and look at the map of nearby apartments she’d been given by the campus housing office. No, moving from a Fifth Avenue apartment to one of these places wasn’t ideal, but it was reality. No one else seemed to be functioning in reality except her.

“This has got nothing to do with my inheritance. Whether I get it or not, I want to finish my art history degree. That’s been my plan all along. When I dropped out, it was so disappointing. I’ve saved up all these years to pay for school, and with Alice gone, now is my chance. If that means an old apartment with shag carpeting and a run-down laundromat I have to share with a hundred other residents, so be it.”

Harper halted her complaints as they approached the closest of the rental complexes near campus. “This doesn’t look too bad,” Lucy said. “Since it’s so close, it’s probably the most sought after and expensive place, too.”

They found the front office and the manager walked them to an empty one-bedroom apartment they could tour.

“I’ve got a one-bedroom just like this one coming up after the fall term,” the manager explained. “They’re graduating and moving out before the holidays. I have a couple two-bedroom apartments coming up, too. Any chance you would be interested in one of those?”

“No thanks,” Lucy replied. She’d basically lived in a bedroom the last five years and a shared sorority bedroom the years before that. Spreading out into her own apartment would be luxurious. “It’s just me. I’m not interested in roommates.”

“Okay. Go ahead and look around. I’ll be here if you have any questions.”

Lucy and Harper stepped inside and she breathed a sigh of relief. It wasn’t that bad at all. To the left, there was a spacious living room with a patio. To the right, a dining room and the kitchen. Down a short hallway was the bedroom and bathroom. The fixtures weren’t the newest and fanciest, but it looked clean and well maintained.

“I could make this work.”

Harper wrinkled her nose. “Have you considered buying a condo or a townhouse instead?”

“With what money?” Lucy asked. “I swear you rich people can’t quite come to terms with what it’s like to be broke. After I pay for classes, books and fees, I’ll have just enough for this apartment and food. That’s it. I can’t pull a down payment out of my rear end.” She held up her finger to silence her friend. “And don’t you dare bring up the inheritance again. I haven’t heard two words from the attorney since Oliver filed a dispute. I can’t plan my life around money that may never arrive.”

Harper sighed and crossed her arms over her chest. “Okay, fine. What about Oliver then?”

Lucy frowned. “What about Oliver?”

“You two are…together. Dating? Whatever you want to call it. Things seem to be pretty good between the two of you. Are you really going to want to leave him behind in the city come January?”

That was something Lucy had tried to ignore. Not even her recent emotional revelation had changed that. Her plan before Oliver was to go to school and her plan remained the same. “We’re hardly in what you would call ‘a relationship.’ Certainly not a serious enough relationship for me to give up my dream in order to be with him.”

“I don’t know. It hasn’t been long, but you two seem pretty serious. It might not be love yet, but at the very least you’re twitterpated.”

“Twitter-what?”

“Twitterpated,” Harper explained. “It’s from the movie Bambi. It means you’re infatuated. Maybe not ‘in love’ yet, but excited and optimistic and definitely ‘in like.’”

Lucy ignored her observation and turned to study the appliances in the kitchen.

“You could transfer to another school that’s in the city. Columbia? NYU? You don’t have to go back to Yale.”

Lucy turned to Harper with her hands planted on her hips. “I worked hard to get accepted to Yale and I want that degree framed on my wall with Yale University emblazoned across the top of it.”

Harper didn’t seem convinced. “It’s not as though the schools I mentioned are community colleges, you know.”

“Yeah, I know. But before Oliver or money came into the picture, I made plans to come back here. I’m already registered for the spring. It’s happening. So are you going to help me find a place to live or complain the whole time?”

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