Chapter 1

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As I turn to my Mom, I can almost see her heart break. Her eyes are full of tears as she pushes her hair from her face. "Caroline.." She lets out a weak sob.

I try to hold it in as I step toward her and wrap my arms around her tightly. "Mom, this is how college works. I stay here, you go home. You visit once in a while and I come home for holidays."

"I know, I just don't know what I'll do without my baby." She gives me a squeeze, resting her head on my shoulder as I draw in a deep breath.

"You have another baby." I glide my hand over her back gently.

My Mom pulls her head back to look at me. "I know, but he doesn't like me." She wipes her eyes with her sleeve.

I pull back, poking my head into my room, seeing Caleb as he taps on his phone. "Mom, he's 15. He'll grow out of it." I move back to her. "I'm only two hours away from Philly."

I watch her chest rise and fall, then watch as she pulls away completely. "Caleb, give your sister a hug." She grabs her purse before she walks to the bathroom to straighten herself up.

Caleb steps out of my new room, then presses his lips into a line. "Are you going to give me one or not?" I open my arms for him and he rolls his eyes, stepping into them slowly before I wrap my arms around him. "Be nice to Mom."

He gives me a weak hug back, nodding slowly. "Can I make your room my new game room?"

I can't help but snort at him, shaking my head. "Definitely not."

He tightens his arms around me and kisses my cheek. "I'll see you later." I nod, giving him a squeeze back before he pulls away and steps out into the hall.

My Mom looks at me again, then steps back over. "Your Dad would be so proud of you, Care Bear." She throws her arms around me one more time, and I instantly reciprocate.

"I know he would." I breathe out, pressing a firm kiss to her cheek.

She gives me one back, then pulls away again. "I love you. And please make Mason go home at a reasonable time." She rolls her eyes now and I join her.

"I love you, too." I say, choosing to ignore her comment about Mason. I watch as she slips out of my new dorm, then I turn to look at my new home.

There's two beds, two desks, two chairs, and two extremely small closets. I picked the side closer to the window, since I know Kate hates the cold, and I love opening the window.

Kate and Hayley are my roommates, and we all share a two bedroom suite. I'm rooming with Kate, and Hayley has a single room.

Kate's from the city, and she's really only moving into a dorm for the experience. And Hayley's from Hartford, and probably the smartest person I've ever encountered.

We talked a lot over the summer on Skype. We wanted to start getting to know each other as soon as we found out we were roommates so there wouldn't be any surprises.

And that's how we all decided what to buy for the dorm. I bought the mini-fridge, some utensils and plates, Hayley bought the food and a few decor items for our little hallway, and Kate bought a shelf for the bathroom, some toilet paper, a shower curtain, some floor mats, and she's bringing her Mom's old microwave.

Kate said she'd be in by tonight, and Hayley said she should be here in the morning. So I guess for now, I've got the dorm to myse-

The door swings open and I turn to see Mason. "Good god, there's so much fucking traffic." He groans as he walks over to me.

I look over his baby blue, button-up shirt, sleeves rolled up as usual, a pair of light yellow Chubbies, khaki Sperry's, and aviators in his gelled, dirty-blonde hair.

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