Chapter Sixty-Six

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Thankfully since the university school year had started up again over two months ago, no paparazzi had visited campus. Meredith wasn't sure what kept them away. Pictures of her still showed up on the internet, on the daily, but these photos were taken by fellow students or her new residents for the year. So far, it had been quiet in Crownhart. Back on second floor, she just wanted it to be better than last year.

With the paparazzi being gone, Meredith was able to do something that didn't happen much last year, and it made Meredith smile now. At any palace or castle she stayed at with Harry, the shades needed to be closed at all time. It was security that argued not to have the shades open. Here, on the second floor, people perhaps saw into her room when it was dark outside and Meredith had on the lights, but if it was day, no one saw in.

Having her shades open again without fear felt amazing.

"Tell me about it," Harry said through FaceTime. "Tell me about outside." Harry had never been to Superior, Wisconsin, and he probably never would be. Though Harry had mentioned it to Meredith, she pushed back against the idea. It was protection for him, as well it was privacy. Harry being up here might bring the paparazzi back.

"It's cold and snowy." Meredith picked up the phone and let him see outside.

"You know what I mean, Mere. Impress me with your writing skills."

Meredith put the cell phone back down. "Writing takes time and effort. One has to write and rewrite something over and over again until it's perfect. And you just want to describe just random outside?"

"Yes." Harry leaned back on his sofa and closed his eyes. "Impress me. Paint a picture in my mind."

Sighing, Meredith looked outside. It was Harry's new thing to live vicariously through Meredith. While she preferred to live vicariously through him, where she thought he had a more interesting life, Harry preferred to keep it boring. However, her life usually didn't stay boring for long.

Meredith opened her window and listened. "This is going to end terribly."

"Do it anyway."

"Belknap is bumpy and rough, never put together properly, and your car will bottom out at some point. However for semi-trucks, it is fine. There are usually many on the road. In the morning, you can see many trucks carrying lumber, heading toward Duluth. In the afternoon, it is usually iron ore trucks heading toward the shipping yards.

"At least twice a day on Belknap Avenue, I hear sirens. While police is definitely abundant because the police station is two blocks away, ambulances and fire trucks are usual too. Sometimes they go on the road behind the school. Crownhart sits between two fire stations," Meredith explained. She glanced at Harry, who listened intently.

"When the trucks drive on Belknap, you heard their cargo and wheels thumping against the ground," Meredith continued.

Harry smiled, liking that. "What else?"

"Um... in Superior, I don't know how many gas stations there are, but I know there are too many. Superior is so long and skinny, right against the coast, right on Lake Superior, but I can see two gas stations now. There is a Holiday gas station, which at one point used to be open twenty-four/seven, but now is open until nine at night. Freedom is the other one, privately owned, and is open until nine too."

"Why?"

"Kwik Trip. There are, like, six Kwik Trips in Superior," Meredith said. "There is Julia's diner, and her breakfast is good. Never go there on a Sunday after church gets out, it takes forever, but I've never actually been there for dinner."

"Perhaps you should go."

"Perhaps I should," Meredith responded. "There isn't much I can see on Belknap. Half the road is blocked behind buildings." She didn't want to do this, to explain. It made her embarrassed. She was scared that she would disappoint Harry.

"What can you see from your room?"

Meredith stared out. "Bleachers on the football field are blocking most of the view."

"I didn't know UWS had a football team."

"Not an American one," Meredith said. "Budget cuts to university programs took out the American football team. The boys soccer team practices on the football field, but they play out by the other dorms."

"Do you see them often?"

"When it's warm," Meredith looked back at the phone and winked, "and when they have their shirts off."

"Eyes on me," Harry warned with a smile.

"It's mostly seagulls who like the field anyway. When it's warm or spring, they come to the field, especially after it rains. Sometimes Lake Superior can be a bit too cold, so the field is a nice place to eat where they don't have to get wet."

Harry laughed.

"I can see public safety from my room, and I can creep on my residents. I'm right above the dumpsters and the smoking area. On a hot day, I can smelt it. On a good day, I can smell someone doing laundry." Meredith smiled.

"Thank God it doesn't get too warm," Harry joked.

"No, it's just a frozen tundra up here."

Happiness filled Meredith, and Harry noticed. She was relaxed at college. Even with the twenty credits she took and all the homework she had, it didn't bother her. Even with Kyra at a different college and Tabitha graduating, leaving her with a smaller friend group, it didn't bother her.

"I can see trains outside my window," Meredith continued. "They go past Crownhart, behind the road, to and from. They carry iron ore and iron pellets. You know, because this is the Iron Rage."

"It puts Irn Bru to shame."

"If you only saw," Meredith said. "They go past at least five times a day. Sometimes the trains are short, and sometimes the trains take ten minutes to pass." At home, a train depot lived near her, which allowed her to hear loud bangs and booms as train cars crashed into each other. "The long trains are fun to watch, but the cars are unimpressed." The happiness slipped away as her cell phone dinged. Her eyes grew wide. Her mouth popped open.

"Mere?" Harry asked hesitantly. He knew that look, and it meant that something was happening on her floor. One of her residents did something.

"I've to go." Meredith hung up on Harry. Grabbing her keys and putting on her shoes, one of her residents had messaged her right there and then after a male resident on her floor hit his girlfriend and called her a "dumb bitch." Going onto her phone, Meredith called Campus Safety and listened outside. She heard nothing from the room.

"Campus Safety," the officer answered.

"Hi, this is RA Meredith Rogue from second floor Crownhart. I've had a resident alert me that a male has hit his girlfriend on my floor and has threatened her with more violence," Meredith spilled. She didn't know how to handle the situation. She wasn't trained for this.

"What room?"

"229."

"On my way."

Meredith stared at the door, ready and fearful for what came next.

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