“I sold the house, sweetie! And I sold it for such a huge profit you would be shocked. Thanks to the remodel, we were able to ask for a much higher price and it turned into this crazy bidding war. I’ve never seen anything like it.” She laughs, sounding shocked and dazed and confused and so incredibly happy, I sort of want to bite my tongue so I don’t say anything at all to ruin her good mood.

But I can’t help myself. Because I’m sort of pissed. So here I go.

“Um, why didn’t you tell me you were selling the house?” I ask incredulously as I come to a full stop in the middle of the sidewalk. A guy walking right behind me runs into me, his backpack plowing into my arm with a heavy thud and I send him a dirty look when he glares at me from over his shoulder.

Yeah, yeah it was my fault but still.

“Well, I thought I did tell you,” she says tentatively and I glance around, spotting an empty bench nearby. I rush toward it, tossing my backpack on it before I sit. “I swore I did. Didn’t I mention it to you the last time we talked?”

That would be a hell no. I think I’d remember something as important as my mother selling the only home I’d ever known. “No, you didn’t.”

“I didn’t tell you that’s why I was having the remodel done? It wasn’t for my enjoyment, though I wish I would’ve done it sooner.” Her voice lowers. “You should see the kitchen, sweetheart. Beautiful appliances, granite countertops, and the new cabinets…it’s like kitchen heaven. It’s gorgeous.”

I sigh. “Mom, focus. You never told me this, I promise. I wish…I wish you would’ve consulted with me first before you put it up for sale.” Not that she needed my permission, but that was my home too, and now she sold it in less than forty-eight hours. Like it meant nothing to her.

“I swear I did, sweetie. Oh, I feel so terrible.” She makes a tsking noise and I know she’s fretting so of course, I feel terrible too. “Trust me, this was the best thing for me to do. With you out of the house, I realized I wanted something smaller. Dex helped me out with the remodel, got me the right financing so I took a little equity out of the house and now I have enough money that if I’m really lucky, I’ll be able to pay cash outright for the next one!”

The way she keeps talking, I can envision an exclamation point after every single sentence she says. It’s rather unnerving. I don’t want to squash her excitement but crap. She sold my house. Where’s all my stuff going to go? “I’m not necessarily out of the house, Mom. I planned on coming home this summer. And the next few summers after this one.”

“Yeah…” Her voice trails off and my stomach clenches, that cold lump of dread turning even colder. This doesn’t sound good. “About that.”

“What about it?” I clutch my phone tight, glancing around the campus. Everyone looks happy. Carefree. Like they’ve got no problems. I feel like my entire world is about to cave in on me, all because of a house that really shouldn’t matter but somehow, it does.

“Is there any sort of student housing you can look into over the summer? I know it’s so last minute—”

“It’s beyond last minute,” I interrupt, trying to contain my anger, but it’s right there, just bubbling beneath the surface. It’s almost May and she’s asking about summer student housing? Is she out of her mind?

“I know, I know.” She sighs. “I’ve been so caught up in everything and I only just realized you still planned on coming home when you have no home to come home to. I’m not sure what we can do about that.”

I’m stunned. It’s not like my mom to be so…flighty. I blame the new guy. If Shep can evaporate my brain cells with a sexy look and a long kiss, I can only imagine Mom is suffering from the same thing with her new man. “How long is your escrow, Mom?”

“Thirty days, but I’d planned on staying with Dex while I look for another house.” She pauses. “We could do that, I suppose. The two of us stay at Dex’s house together. He has a guest room. We can put the majority of your stuff in storage along with everything else. That sounds fun doesn’t it?”

No, it sounds freaking awful. No way do I want to stay at Dex’s house. I don’t even know this guy. “Let me look into other options,” I say, trying my best to keep my temper under control but I gotta admit. I’m super pissed about this. And worried. Where will I live? How will I be able to afford it? What in the world am I going to do?

“Aw honey, don’t be mad! We’ll figure this out. We always do. I have some money so I can help.” She’s prattling on, telling me to think positive, that I can come home just like I planned but my decision has already been made.

I’m not going back there. How can I?

But how can I stay here?

Stress makes me extremely bitchy.

This is not a new realization. I discovered this little fact back in middle school, when I had a huge science project due and the group I worked with was full of incompetent a-holes who didn’t care if they got a good grade or not. Being the obsessed with grades girl that I was—and still am, sort of—this made me insane. It pushed me to the point that I yelled and screamed at my stupid group, took over the entire project, completed it all on my own and turned it in. All while informing my teacher that I was the one who did everything and the rest of them did nothing.

I received an A on that project. Everyone else failed. They hated me. I didn’t care. They got what they deserved in my eyes. Yes, I know this makes me a bit of a stress monster but I’ve relaxed since then, thank goodness.

That was the first of many blowouts. I’ve contained them over the years. Learned how to control myself. I have a temper. People blame my red hair, which is so incredibly stupid but hey, maybe they’re right. I can get so flipping mad over stuff sometimes, it’s ridiculous. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve calmed down. It’s not worth getting so worked up, you know? All it does is stress me out.

But I’m so mad right now, I could scream, and I think the emotion is warranted. Though maybe mad isn’t the right word. More like I’m super irritated. At my mom and the situation she put me in. Oh, and worried. Like, mega worried.

What am I supposed to do? Where am I supposed to go? I spoke with Kelli earlier and she has no plans on staying here for the summer. She’s back to her hometown, where she’ll be working fulltime and hooking up with dudes she went to high school with—direct quote.

A little over two weeks left until we finally must move out of our dorm and I have nowhere to go. I’m screwed.

Absolutely, totally screwed.

Thanks Mom.

I skipped class. It’s the last one of the semester and I should really be there but come on. My mind is a little preoccupied. I asked my friend Nicole to take notes for me and I know she’ll keep me informed if there’s any changes to the final project that’s due next week. I’m halfway done with my project anyway.

Instead of listening to my professor drone on for two hours, I’m trolling Craigslist on my laptop, looking up roommate listings, nibbling on my lower lip so much I swear I’m going to gnaw a hole in it. Shep texted me earlier, pretty much demanding we get together tonight, but I don’t know. I’m all stressed out and worried and he doesn’t want to deal with my shit.

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