1. farewell, unicorn apartment.

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I never expected to find myself homeless at 21

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I never expected to find myself homeless at 21. But thanks to a sketchy landlord and a flighty best friend, that's exactly what was happening.

"What do you mean, there's a problem with our lease, Iz?" I asked, frantically duct-taping one of the last moving boxes shut. "What happened?"

After landing a summer internship where our college was, Isabelle had been tasked with finding us a place to rent for junior year. According to her, this was it: a cute, cozy 2-bedroom apartment in the college district at an affordable price. We were going to meet the landlord, sign the lease and get the keys when I arrived home tomorrow.

"I don't know!" she cried. "I think the landlord found other tenants willing to pay more. Since we haven't physically signed the lease yet, he threw us under the bus."

The elaborate daydreams I had cultivated over the summer about this upcoming year evaporated. No, no, no.

We had everything planned out, from how we were going to decorate (shabby chic) to rules governing hypothetical boyfriend visitation (2 overnights per week, maximum). I was so close to sweet, sweet off-campus freedom for the first time.

"School starts in less than a week. We really should have signed a lease before this," I groaned.

"He said that we couldn't do it until you were back," Isabelle said. "Something about a paper trail if we did it electronically."

She'd neglected to mention that reasoning in our previous conversations. Bless her heart, I loved Isabelle but sometimes she was a little bit sheltered in the ways of the world.

"That, uh, sounds a little sketchy, Iz."

"I guess, hey? And honestly, the landlord seemed like he might have been a creeper. He kept staring at my boobs when he gave me the tour. There are probably cameras hidden all over that apartment anyway," she mused, rapidly brewing up another of her crazy conspiracy theories.

I stood up, setting the tape down. There was no point in rushing to finish packing now that I had no place to unpack. "You may be right, but now I have nowhere to move into tomorrow. What am I going to do? What are you going to do?"

"Well... My aunt and uncle said that I can just stay here for now. This pool house of theirs is pretty sweet."

Great. She had a Plan B, but I did not.

As if she heard my thoughts, she added, "It's just an open studio. There isn't really enough room for two people to live here long term, but you can crash on the couch for the time being. It'll be fun. Like dorm days all over again."

Yeah, tons of fun. No privacy, no personal space, and no bedroom to call my own. That would be like dorm days, all right. An aura danced into my line of sight, a migraine lurking in the shadows. I needed to find my prescription before it hit full force.

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