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This is my entry to Margaret Atwood's beautiful book "The Heart Goes Last"s Fanfiction Contest. The characters of Veronica and Sandi as well as PixelDust belong specifically to Mrs. Atwood, however, the story line is strictly my own.

Also, as a side note, I am 14 years old (with parental consent) and a resident of Canada.

Hope you enjoy!

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Her shaking fingers, slender and soft, marks of an innocent college freshman, were clutching on the piece of paper, as if it were her life, which, in the moment, it was.

Her eyes were closed tightly, squinted shut in fear, terror of receiving the news that she knew was coming. She had known for a while now, but each time the mail arrived, each time a letter with the emblem of Adkins University showed up at her doorstep, she couldn't help but be afraid, her heart dropping, as if shielding itself from the worst.

"Just do it now Veronica," the young woman told herself. "Like a quick rip of a bandage."

And on that note, her nails broke the seal of the envelope, breaking the barrier between her and what was about to be the bane of her existence.

Veronica read over the letter slowly, her mind taking in every word, processing the hidden meanings behind all the sentences.

She had known that this day would come. She had known for months and months, ever since the first signs of the economic collapse, when house prices and gas prices had started sky-rocketing through the roof. Her parents had had to sell their car and their house, opting for a smaller apartment, located in the outskirts of the city. Later on, when that had gotten to be too much, they had decided to move out of the country, to the other side of the world. Of course, they had been one of the lucky ones, the ones that had known to escape before it was too late, the ones that weren't bound to anything, with no worries, no expectations, unlike Veronica who was still struggling with an education, still on route to making a living that, at this rate, had no hopes of existing.

Her fingers scanned slowly over the amount, counting the zeros over and over again, hoping against hope that a miracle would surface and dock off at least three of them. She wouldn't be able to fix her situation, even if that were the case. However, she would at least be able to lessen the blow of bankruptcy.

The truth was, things had been going great, more than great even. Veronica had been a sophomore at the university of her dreams, on the way to the job of her dreams, nursing, when the collapse had struck. Her university had broken down, unable to continue to operate and had demanded for all of their loans to be returned immediately. Veronica, unable to do so, had been faced with growing bills every single week on things that she couldn't pay back, considering the fact that the market had crashed and was clearly unable to get back up anytime soon.

Veronica threw the paper on to the table in frustration, knotting her slender fingers in her long, dark hair in the process. A part of her really wanted to rip the paper in to little tiny pieces, shred it in one of those shredders that she used to own before, back when luxuries were an option.

"It's okay Veronica. Everything is going to be alright. Remember when your dad lost his job and you thought your family was screwed? It's the same thing right now, there's going to be a happy ending and you know it," the young woman thought to herself as she smoothed out the wrinkles on the piece of paper, smiling slightly in an attempt to brighten up her mood.

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