1. Sucked In

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The alarm clock next to the bed does not go off because it's dead, and I'm the killer.

Said clock had to be punished for waking me up early every fucking day of college, given how much beauty rest I need. How do I know I need an abnormal amount of beauty rest? Because today, like every day, I drag myself out of bed and head straight for the full-length mirror in my bedroom for my morning appearance inspection.

Hey, let it go. Some people have yoga I have this.

There is my perfectly symmetrical face—creamy skin, big blue eyes, framed by long lustrous brown hair, pert boobs, and a tiny waistline. I scowl because even though everyone tells me I'm totally gorgeous, and I have done some modeling for Vogue, I still don't believe I'm beautiful.

As I head to the bathroom to do bathroom things, I trip over a hairbrush. Yeah, I'm clumsy. Mostly because it makes me more relatable. Ugh! I always forget there's another mirror in the bathroom. I stick my tongue out at my reflection, grab the brush off the floor, and give my hair fifty hard strokes before twisting it into a ponytail.

Ten minutes later, I'm sipping bitter coffee (someone forgot to buy cream) and dropping flakes of fish food into the tank in the living room. I'm about to fly out the door for my anatomy final in thirty minutes, when my roommate, Clarissa, shambles into the living room in her robe and slippers looking like an extra from The Walking Dead. Clarissa, like so many Berkeley undergrads, is one of those goth chicks with ghost-white skin and black hair, who normally looks like a schoolboy's wet dream in her plaid miniskirts and ripped tights, but today she looks like shit. I feel a little bad about how happy this makes me. "Ani," she rasps, plopping onto the sofa with a box of tissues.

"Whoa, you sound terrible too." Oops, did that slip out?

"What do you mean 'too?'" She snuffles pathetically.

"Uh, nothing," I lie. "Oh, hon, isn't today your interview with that billionaire for the dog sitting job?" I'd give her a hug, but she is obviously contagious with the plague. If I get sick, who will make her tea? Plus, I have a final in ... twenty-eight minutes.

She cocks her head and smiles. "You remembered."

I decide not to mention that it's all she's talked about for two weeks. Even if I wanted to forget, which I 100% do, I can't. She has been obsessed. Something about getting to stay in a 54th story penthouse apartment in San Francisco with a 360-degree view of the city and bay, full-time maid service, and the fact that it's the most seismically sound residential building in the world with 42 caissons drilled 260 feet into bedrock.

Normally I would not remember all those numbers and details, but I'm not kidding about Clarissa's enthusiasm. She's an architecture major, so this kind of thing is important to her. She likes caissons (whatever those are), and I like canines. Who's to judge?

"That's why I forced myself out of bed. Could you do it instead? I really hate to ask, but I don't want this guy to write me off as a flake. If you go, then he won't hire anyone else. Plus, you love dogs. Please?"

I surreptitiously glance at my phone in my pocket. Crap! Because I killed the alarm clock in a moment of unbridled anger, I now have only twenty-seven minutes to make it all the way across campus for the most important final of my life. But if I don't want to be a total asshole, I better at least make the sick girl some tea. Maybe she will accept this offering instead of forcing me to a stupid interview in a tower. "How about some tea?" Without waiting for a response, I scamper into the kitchen, rinse out my mug, fill it with water, and set the microwave for one minute. With twenty-five minutes to spare, I hand Clarissa a piping hot cup of Earl Gray. Its flowery fragrance makes me gag. Only weird roommates and serial killers like Earl Gray.

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