A Short Story
A short preface: my only rules for this short story were that I had to keep it under three thousand words, not use magic, and keep it to this simple story that popped into my head one afternoon. I may build on it, let me know if it makes you curious.
“Are you ready, dear?” The kind face nurse asked me.
I nod, smiling politely, and follow her to the back waiting room. I have been feeling a bit hot, which is normal for the medication, I’m told. The kind face nurse shows me to a fairly large sized exam room where a gown and little socks with the rubber stoppers that helped keep you from falling on the cold white tile floor, awaited me on the exam table. The nurse had already pulled down the floral pattern paper that kept the exam bed clean.
“Go ahead and change, and I’ll be back in a minute, okay Sara?” Asked the nurse.
“Sure, of course, thank you.”
“Having any doubts?” She asked me.
“No. No, I can’t carry to term anyway.” Sara replied.
The nurse, Beverly, snapped her fingers. “That’s right. Well, hit this button-“Beverly pointed to a button on the wall by the door, “-should you need anything, and I’ll be right back.”
Sara changed into the gown and sat on the exam bed, pondering if it were more table or bed. Sara considered all of the things that led to here, things had started to show around her sorority house, and she had to do something. No one could know.
Sara had been sneaking off to thrift stores to keep her outfits fresh, but it was harder to keep name brand products on every surface. All the skin care products, even the cotton rounds they used for toner or astringent, even those, the girls of the sorority insisted upon the more expensive brand name. Sara had invested in a nice older for cotton rounds and other disposable beauty products and put her products into those. A wicker basket in a closet held her extras, which she stacked neatly, removing the need for any product label, but looking classy against some of the other sisters who stored their nicer products in cheaper plastic see though containers.
Sara had trouble when they all would eat out, the cost of covering her own meal, much less an obligatory round of shots, could be devasting to a small budget, but a small racket of writing papers for wealthy students, had supplied her wallet with enough cash to go relatively unnoticed.
Sara had been crafty for three years, practicing for the sorority house for her entire first year on campus, which was all her scholarship covered, to earn the right to be invited to live in the sorority’s house. Sara had worked hard to earn this, as that the housing for it, despite being an incredibly nice house, one of, if not the nicest house in the Greek system on campus, was free upon invite, for the sister who would stay there. A small stipend had to be contributed for house expenses, which was covered in her small funds left over after the remaining scholarships she had. Sara had managed to fund and network her way to a mostly free education and an incredibly nice living situation and had enjoyed a full year and a half of living in the sorority house, keeping up appearances, and her GPA, against all odds.
Sara had managed to party with her sisters, but never let her lap partner, Sam, down. Sara had managed to keep a clean room and hold a small office in the sorority. Sara had worked hard to keep the organization in good standing, and because of Sara, the sorority had been given many awards for charitable works and high grades.
But towards the middle of the second semester of Sara’s junior year, an expense came that she could not account for. Sara had been invited on the coveted Richie Nu Spring Break trip, and there was no way Sara could afford it.
“It’s sooooo much fun!” Ashlynn gushed as she showed Sara pictures on her phone. “And you have to go!” Ashlynn whispered, tucking a lock of blonde hair behind her pierced ear. “ If you don’t go…Anyone who doesn’t go…Look at old pictures, when sisters don’t go on the trip after being invited to be in the Richie Nu house…they don’t stay in the Richie Nu house on campus next year.”
“What?” Sara asked, shocked at what her friend was saying.
“Sara, if you don’t go, I doubt they will invite you to stay again next year. Check the records, they have the spring break trip pictures downstairs, you’ve seen them. Look at the house pictures. Whoever doesn’t go on the trip, doesn’t get invited back. Only upper classman are invited, so this year, you get the invite, you have to go, or kiss that room goodbye.”
Sara sighed, not doubting Ashlynn’s logic at all. Ashlynn had been one of the few sisters Sara had really bonded with, her pledge buddy. “Well, it is spring break!” Sara said brightly. “Thanks for letting me know.” Sara whispered as she went upstairs to look at her budget.
Sara had enough to survive the semester, even survive it well, with enough budgeted from her last round of papers to keep her stocked in fresh out fits and makeup, but not enough to also pay for a fancy beach trip, much less in Cabo.
Plane tickets alone would cost well over a thousand dollars, as a quick google search told her, and the information packet she would later receive in the week outlined how much money she needed to have on hand, minus her incidental spending, which involved many shopping trips, spa’s and partying in expensive clubs. The number was large, and much larger than a few last-minute papers could bring in. Still, Sara booked papers, and worked round the clock, all while googling ways to make large sums of money, and that had led to the flyer, which led to the talks, interviews, blood work, medications, a few well placed fibs to her sisters, to a fertility clinic, where Sara would be having some eggs removed.
Sara had been told early on, around 16, that she would never be able to carry a child to term, having a medical condition Sara didn’t understand, she could not have a child, but she was fertile, so Sara was a great candidate for the procedure, and she was glad to help a family have a child. Sara was also glad to hear that the price tag for this kindness would bring her in a little over 20,000 dollars.
With 20,000, Sara would be able to afford her part of the plane tickets, her part of the beach house usage fees, clothing for the trip, and plenty of spending money to use on the trip. Sara had briefly considered all the useful things she could buy with that money, but pushed the thought from her head, knowing she needed to secure a home for the next year.
Sara hadn’t had much money, nor did she have resources to pull from. Being an orphan had given her access to certain scholarships and grants, but not enough for tuition, books, housing, and living expenses. Sara was lucky to have found the programs she had, so she had to get creative. Sara also knew that 98% of the graduates of Richie Nu were always placed in high earning jobs, and Sara wanted to never be poor again.
Sara had spent large chunks of her life homeless, staying one step ahead of nosey social workers and teachers who tried to “help” her by placing her into a “home”. It had taken practice, but finally Sara took the information social workers and teachers used to detect neglectful (or lack of) parenting, and just followed that list, essentially parenting herself off of a check list she made from a few pamphlets. Every day Sara would arrive to school on time, seemingly well rested, having eaten a healthy breakfast, clean, wearing neat clothing, a packed lunch in one hand and completed homework in the other. Sara had started with asking other homeless people to sign various documents, before she had perfected a fictional parental signature, and would occasionally rely upon a kind waitress at the diner near where Sara frequently lived. Sara had spent her entire life pretending her life was much nicer and more put together than it was, so when she was accepted into an incredibly elite, and notably expensive, college, she had gotten creative with how to pay for that college.
Richie Nu’s housing had the largest appeal, their sorority known for placing their sisters in high achieving and high earning jobs. Sara didn’t care if many people claimed these Richie Nu’s didn’t deserve their good job, Sara knew she worked hard and she would be one of the really high achieving wealthy girls of the sorority, the kind the sorority insisted its members were. Wealthy, successful, smart, beautiful, and not per se in that order.
All of this led to Sara now sitting in a chilly exam room, feeling oddly warm from the fertility medicine she was on, awaiting conscious sedation for this procedure.
It had been about ten minutes, when Beverly returned, and the next twenty minutes flew by in a blur of vital signs, and medicine. Before long, Sara was laying back, enduring some “mild discomfort”, while considering the various ways the trip would go.
Sara didn’t care for partying, and other than two of her sisters, she didn’t much care for her Richie Nu sisters. Many of this pledge group were quite conceited, more still were obsessed with money in what Sara felt was an unhealthy way. The girls didn’t pursue money, they didn’t earn it, but they did spend it. What bothered Sara wasn’t just that they wouldn’t work or earn their own, or even how quickly they spent it, but with how little that spent it wisely.
Frequently the girls would spend extra for the same products, even if it’s the same product as the cheaper brand. The girls would spend extra to buy name brands, just to throw them away, after wearing them once. Most of this could be ignored if not for how easily the girls would spend as if money had no meaning, and Sara speculated, it truly didn’t. Sara tried to not judge, but did find she had little to nothing in common with most of the girls.
Many of the Richie Nu’s were able to purchase their grades, on the backs of students like Sara. These same students didn’t have dreams of owning businesses, running governments, saving worlds, like so many of the other students on campus, hell, even other chapters of the Richie Nu’s had more ambitious sisters, but this group had three of the ambitious Nu’s, and none else.
Many other Richie Nu chapters were full of sisters who had started a few companies in their bedrooms, one had rearranged their entire downstairs so more of the sisters had work space, with several of that chapter’s sisters going into business together. These were the things that had been a draw for Sara, but her chapter, at her campus, was not this way, so Sara found herself just keeping up the façade, working her way through college. Sara had used her brain to work, not having to have a job someone may learn about, and had shopped carefully, but now, she had to sell something more than some smart words on paper.
Sara hadn’t had any sentimental attachment to some biological material that could, ultimately, bring new life to a happy family. Sara was, however, irritated, that once again she was working so hard to stick into a life that she wasn’t enjoying. The Richie Nu house was gorgeous, but it was hardly the nicest house in the world, and the draw of the house, a bunch of like-minded women who wanted to always be powerful, successful, that wasn’t there. Sara knew that being around these vapid women had stunted her own imagination and had probably let her fall into some lazy habits.
“It was my embarrassment, worried they would think less of me, or kick me out of the house, if I dared pursue money, actively.” Sara realized, as she lay there, her feet in stirrups, as the procedure carried on.
“For what though?” Sara sighed to herself, knowing it was probably the medication, but also, maybe it was growing up, but Sara wasn’t getting what she came to the Richie Nu house for. There were plenty of nice houses on campus, but she wanted this one, to grow her own skills, to become a business woman, a good one who would never be broke or homeless again. Richie Nu’s didn’t know what homelessness was, and they certainly didn’t know how to avoid it by earning money.
Sara thought on all of this, her unhappiness with the house, the situation, and everything. The procedure was over before long, and Sara recovered peacefully in a quiet room, still lost in her thoughts. Sara used her laptop, when she wasn’t too drowsy, to search online, she knew she needed to pick a plane ticket, but she found herself thinking of other things even the plane ticket money could buy. With a smirk, Sara looked at apartments in the area, and found that she could get a place, the perfect kind of place for her, nice, two bedrooms, a patio, a bathroom and a half…for just under what the plane ticket cost. Sara laughed, closed her laptop, and went to bed, thinking about how funny life was.
The next morning, Sara was released, and she drove herself home. When Sara arrived she informed her sisters that she had to fly out the day after them, a test was being administered the day they were all flying out, and the professor had emailed saying she would not be able to let her take it early, so Sara had to stay home for one more day. A couple of weeks later, Sara sat in her room, surrounded by clothing she needed to pack, in an empty house. Her exam was tomorrow, but she also needed to pack.
Sara packed and studied through the night, and the next day, made her way to her class for her exam, and returned her room for her packed belongings.
Sara had a deadline, so she had hired someone to help her move, and made a quick call to the chapter president, before sliding letters under the doors of her two friends.
Just over 20,000 dollars had been deposited into Sara’s bank account, and Sara planned to use it. She had found a nice apartment, paid for the next six months, and began researching various businesses. Sara found one she thought would suit her, something based on all her time in thrift stores, and was planning on the second bedroom being her office. With any luck, Sara would not need a roommate. She would need office space, however, because Sara decided to make the atmosphere she had wanted.
Sara wanted a home, a nice one, a safe home, and a place to pursue greatness, so she had sought out the Richie Nu house.
Happiness is what you make of it, and Sara was determined to make her own. Today was the first day of her spring break, and the first day of the rest of her life.
I hope you have enjoyed this short story, it is a part of my universe, and I do know about where Sara fits in it, now that I have “finished” it. If you are interested in her story, or any of them, please let me know.
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