Unbound (Forbidden Bond Book 1)(10)

By: Cat Miller

“Well, it’s about time. Which bed do you want? I didn’t wanna pick one without you. I kinda like the bed by the window. What do you think?” she chirped.

Dani was going to like this girl. Most people wouldn’t wait for their roommates to stake their claim.

“I think finders, keepers. The other side of the room looks good to me.” She held out her hand in greeting. “I’m Dani. It’s nice to meet you.”

“Where are my manners?” The girl blushed. “My mom would be ashamed of me. I’m Olivia.” She took Dani’s hand into both of hers in a nervous greeting.

“I don’t know about you, but I’m kind of freaked out.” Dani moved her suitcases to the bed farthest from the window.

With that Olivia seemed to sag with relief. “I was afraid it was just me being a sissy about moving away from home. I know I should be excited, and I am, but this is a big deal. I’ve never been away from my family. Having a roommate will be new for me, also. I have three brothers and no sisters, so I’ve always had my own room.”

“I’m an only child, so I know what you mean.” Dani surveyed the rest of the room. It was clean and not what she would call spacious for two people, but the closets were big enough, and there were small desks on either side of the room. She hadn’t brought much with her anyway. The door opened again, and several boys who looked like male versions of Olivia carried in boxes, suitcases, and a minirefrigerator.

“Get out of the way, Stripes!” the tallest one barked at Dani. “This thing is heavy!”

“Excuse me.” She moved out of the walkway. Here we go again, she thought. She had been on campus for twenty minutes and already she was getting cracked on for her hair. It was a new record.

A brunette woman with ivory skin and an attitude followed the boys. She smacked the boy in the back of the head and said, “Liam, you better apologize before I give you something to be sorry for, boy.”

The youngest-looking boy snickered. The woman eyed him harshly. “You will be next, Patrick.” Then she turned to the third boy and said, “Reilly, go grab the last box from the truck.”

“I’m sorry you were in my way, Stripes,” Liam teased as he ran from the room before the woman could catch him. She glanced at Dani apologetically while Olivia stood by the window looking mortified.

“Hello, I’m Olivia’s mother, Kelly. Sorry about my boys. They’re a little rambunctious, to say the least.” She greeted Dani with a motherly hug.

“It’s nice to meet you, ma’am. I’m Danielle Vaughn, and, honestly, I’ve been teased about my hair my whole life, so it’s really no big deal.” She hoped Olivia’s mother wouldn’t be too hard on the kid. She looked like she could back up her threats.

“How embarrassing is this?” Olivia moaned from the corner.

“Walk me out, Olivia. We’ll go and let you girls get settled.” Ms. Kelly put her arm around Olivia, and the look on her face telegraphed the tears that were about to flow.

“I just can’t believe I’m leaving my baby girl here to fend for herself. Are you very sure you don’t want to go to school closer to home?” She sniffled.

“Please don’t cry, Mom. We’ve had this discussion a hundred times now. Let’s go before the boys make this day worse.” Olivia wrapped an arm around her mother and ushered her out to the hall, mouthing apologies to Dani on the way out.

So, Dani’s roommate was a pleasant Asian-looking Hispanic-Irish girl with three crazy brothers. Cool. Dani hoped her new roommate would be so used to sharing she’d give her some space in the fridge.

Running out to grab another box from the car, Dani remembered the little white gift box from her mom. She jumped in the front seat to open it and found a delicate gold chain with an intricate sunburst charm shimmering in the midday light. Removing it from the box, she noticed the back of the charm had an inscription reading, “The center of my universe.”

It looked like an antique, and she loved it. Whipping out her cell, she called her mom. Tessa answered on the first ring. “Oh, thank goodness you made it safely. How is it? Did you find your room yet? Did you meet your roommate?” She fired off questions so rapidly Dani couldn’t get a word in at all.

“Wow. I’m beginning to think your calm behavior this morning was all a show.”

“I knew saying good-bye to Lucas was hard on you, sweetheart. I figured I could take one for the team and keep myself composed,” she admitted.

“Thank you for the necklace, Mom. It’s beautiful.”

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