It was the first day of her freshman year in college and Aubrey Michaels was struggling with the textbooks that had just cost her a small fortune at the school bookstore. She sighed as she wondered how she’d make it through the rest of the semester after spending almost half of her scholarship money on books. Juggling a backpack and two bags of books, she stumbled across the commons towards her new home, Spence Hall. Just a few feet from the door one of the paper bags suddenly gave way and the books fell onto the grass. Grunting in frustration as she bent to gather the books, Aubrey grumbled, “I can’t believe this. I was so close…” Knowing there was no way she could carry everything by herself, she looked around, trying to find someone who would be willing to help her. Everyone she saw seemed preoccupied and continued to rush about their business. Then Aubrey heard a deep voice behind her.

“Need some help?”

She spun around to find a tall, handsome guy looking down at her as she crouched over her books. He had a half-amused smile on his face, but looked nice enough. Rising to her feet, Aubrey said, “I would love some help. Thank you so much. I’m Aubrey Michaels.” She held out her hand.

“Ethan Blackwell. Nice to meet you, Aubrey,” he said, shaking her hand firmly. “Having a rough day?” He smiled, showing even, white teeth.

Aubrey smiled sheepishly, “I guess you could say that.”

“Sorry to hear that.” Glancing around, he asked, “Heading towards Spence?”

“Yes, I am. I hope I won’t be keeping you from anything.”

“Are you a freshman?” Ethan asked abruptly, cocking his head to one side.

“Yes, I am. Why do you ask?”

“Just asking. I am too.” He smiled, then added, “I’m glad to meet another newbie.”

“Oh.”

“Um…why don’t I gather up the books and take your backpack and you can carry the other bag of books.”

“Sounds good. Thanks again,” she said, sincerely appreciative.

“You’re welcome, Aubrey. That’s a nice name.”

“Thanks.” She smiled at him.

As they walked the short distance to her dorm, Aubrey asked, “So what’s your major?”

“Biology. I plan to go to med school.”

“That’s awesome. What kind of doctor do you want to become?”

“A pediatric doctor. I love kids and can’t think of anything better than caring for them.” He smiled. “What are you studying?”

“Political Science. I want to become a lawyer eventually.”

“That’s very ambitious. I like that.”

“Thank you,” Aubrey gave him a bright smile. “You’re very ambitious too. Medicine is a very challenging profession. Both of my parents are doctors, so I know.”

“Wow. That’s so cool.” They had reached the entry to the dorm. As Aubrey held the door open for him, he asked, “So what floor are you on?”

“Third.”

“I’m on the fourth.”

“Really?” Aubrey smiled. “You didn’t tell me you lived here too.”

“Thought I’d surprise you.”

“Well, it’s a nice surprise. At least now I know one person in this building.”

“What about your roommate? What’s she like?” They were now climbing the long flight of steps.

“Unfortunately, I don’t think I’m going to like her very much. From what I’ve seen so far.”

“Why not?”

“Well…to be completely honest, she’s pretty annoying. She loves talking loudly on the phone and throwing her stuff around.”

“Hmm…You’re a quiet, neat freak, aren’t you?”

“Exactly. But I’m sure I’m not the only one who would get upset about clothes on the bathroom floor.”

“Of course.” Ethan quipped. “Luckily for me, my roommate is pretty awesome. He also a bio major and very neat. He’s pretty quiet too.”

Aubrey shook her head, “I’m so jealous.” She pulled out her keys as they stopped in front of her door. Ethan followed her in and dropped her things on a desk. “Thank you so much.”

“No problem. Glad to help.” He looked down at the floor, then back up at her. “Um…do you want to exchange numbers or something? Maybe we could grab dinner together sometime…”

Aubrey smiled brightly, “Sure, we can exchange numbers.” After the numbers were saved, she said, “It was very nice meeting you, Ethan.” She held out her hand.

He shook it firmly, “Likewise, Aubrey.” He gave her one last dazzling smile as he turned to leave. “I’ll see you around.”

“Yes,” Aubrey said as she closed the door behind him. Resting her back against it, she grinned widely. “Ethan Blackwell.”

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