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By´╝ÜVictoria Ashley

LETTING OUT A SATISFIED BREATH, my eyes explore the apartment, taking in the vast living space that is soon to be decorated with mine and Tori’s things. 6th floor—room 629.

We’ve been saving up to get into this building for over a year now, and being here in this beautiful room—with this gorgeous view—is the most amazing feeling of accomplishment that I’ve ever felt. I’m seriously so happy that I could scream my ass off . . . but it’s late and I don’t want to wake any of our new neighbors. I hate bad first impressions. They’re so hard to fix and get past. They’re ugly.

Standing here in this living room clearly confirms that mine and Tori’s photography careers are going in the right direction. We’re on the fast road to kicking ass. When you work your ass off and put thought and passion into the things you want, they’ll eventually come to you, at least, that’s what I’ve been telling myself since graduation. So far I haven’t proven my words to be wrong.

“Holy shit!” Tori’s voice echoes throughout the space as she pokes her head out of her new bedroom, catching my attention. “I still can’t get over how ginormous these rooms are. These two bedrooms put together are like the whole size of our last apartment. This is insane and I love it. I’m in love, and right now I feel like we are two badass chicks. We kick ass. Damn, this feeling is so good. I need to celebrate.” She reaches out her hand and waves her fingers. “Give me that bag of chips over there on the counter. There’s no celebration like a celebration with Funyuns and wine. Give me. Give me. Hurry.”

I look behind me, over my shoulder, and reach for the family size bag of Funyuns—Tori’s addiction. I shake it in front of me, teasing her. “When the hell did you have the time to unpack these?” Raising a curious brow, I toss her the bag. “There’s not one other thing in this whole apartment that is unpacked, not even the wine. You’re insane. That’s the only logical answer to that question, you damn Funyun junky.”

“Are you kidding? I didn’t unpack these, I rode in the U-Haul with these in my lap. I need some kind of motivation to deal with all this.” She motions around at the pile of boxes. “So . . . you’re welcome.”

I watch in amusement as she pops a Funyun into her mouth and closes her eyes, moaning as she chews it. She leans her head back, shaking her brown hair behind her. She almost looks like she’s having a mini orgasm.

“Alright,” I say, with a disgusted shake of my head. “If you’re done making love to that chip, it would be nice to focus on unpacking the things we might need for the night. I don’t think watching you make love to your bag of chips is going to keep me entertained enough. Not after all the crap I’ve been through today.”

She shrugs her shoulders, shaking my words off while grabbing another handful. “Give me ten. I’ll be back.” She disappears into her room, shutting the door behind her.

“Great, you sneaky asshole.” Exhaling, I plop down onto the couch and reach for my cell phone to check the time. It’s already ten past ten. I doubt Tori will be leaving that room anytime tonight. She’s been doing nothing, but complaining about being tired, and this and that hurting since we started moving our things early this morning. She’s got her bed and her chips. Apparently that’s all she needs.

I lay here for a few minutes allowing myself to smile as I look around me. I feel like a kid that just wants to run around the whole apartment and touch everything. I don’t, because it might look a little silly for a twenty- four year old; especially one that is so tired that I can’t even manage to walk straight right now.

“I need some wine,” I mumble to myself. I look over the couch at the kitchen. There’s boxes piled so high that I can’t even see the fridge. “That’s no damn good.”

It’s a good thing this building has a bar and restaurant downstairs on the main floor. I love that about this place. Just imagine: work hard, come home, relax, and throw back a few drinks at the bar. Then, all you have to do is crawl your way back to your apartment and smile up at the normal people that are walking by and pretend that you’re A-Okay.

Sitting up, I reach for my purse and pull out my wallet. “Hey, I’m going downstairs to grab a drink. You want anything?”

“Nope! Brad is on his way,” Tori screams from her room. “We have better things planned, so you might want to stay gone for a while.”

“Alright then,” I say loudly. “I might or might not be back, so if I run away just remember that it’s your fault completely.”