Starry-eyed. Optimistic. Joyous abandon.
All words that didn’t describe Ryan Cross in this life.
The city of Cherton rose in the near distance, its beautiful skyline set to a backdrop of the West Coast harbor off Hwy 101. Located South of Monterey, California, the cityscape was stunning and housed over a million people from various descents, backgrounds, species, and locales.
It was a hot metropolis booming with casinos, nearly mythical nightlife, and new “must visit” attractions of world-renowned fine dining. The art district was supposed to be elegant, stunningly maintained, and full to bursting with exotic and rare cultural items from around the world. There was a stunning interactive aquarium and one of the country's top five elite colleges people from all over fought tooth and nail to get accepted into.
Celebrities had been snapping up homes in the High Districts and along the pristine, white-sanded beaches, and all in all, Ryan had heard a lot of hype, and more importantly, it's where his college was.
For some poor kid from Ohio, he was making a big leap of faith. Big enough that the only reason he was making this plunge, was his acceptance into said elite college, Cherton-Howell University or, CHU if you were inspired to whimsy.
The moment couldn’t have come at a better time.
His parents were all but throwing him out the doors; he had been a second from staring down the barrel of living in his car while he bartended any hours he could get so that acceptance letter?
Ryan had sat down in the shower of his childhood home and cried for an hour over it, had had no clue how he’d make it out here, and honestly still didn't, but God damn it, he was going to give it a shot.
He thought that with fingers white-knuckled on the steering wheel of his shitty, beat-ass Corolla right before he hit the first indicator of backed-up traffic heading into the city.
He cursed and had to slam on his brakes when some asshat in a Chevy whipped out into his lane and screeched up behind him a clatter of screaming rotors and brake pads while the freeway ground to an abrupt halt, and suddenly had all kinds of time to contemplate his life choices.
So much time, in fact, Ryan got the chance to watch the sun make its final graceful glide over the flat blue waters of the harbor he was now parked beside. Honestly, he was a little awed by the beauty of it before it descended behind the city line itself and cast the high rises into stunning amber-gold repose and twilight shadows.
Somewhere, in that mix, was a tiny one-bedroom apartment with his name on the lease, and somewhere else was a job he’d surely have to find swiftly and with haste before his savings rapidly vanished.
Somewhere in that city was his new life, and if he could just make it through this crush of damn traffic before he hit E, that would’ve been real swell too.
It was a real concern now, and it took about fifteen minutes before he morphed into a city driver and blasted his horn with real impatience riding him, scowled when the driver ahead just flipped him off and made himself settle back in for the long haul.
He knew one thing though; life was rarely sunshine and daisies. Ryan caught the reflection of his own dark blue eyes glancing back at him in the rearview mirror. He looked tired honestly and not just from lack of sleep.
He looked how he felt; just a little bitter, a little jaded, and weary of having to make these kinds of life-altering choices with nothing but a wish and a prayer.
For being all of nineteen?
Life had already smacked him around a lot, and his only real hope now was that maybe, he’d find his own niche and make his own path, and maybe, just maybe, find his own success.
It was about the only optimism he had left in him to give while he sat in traffic, watching Cherton light up like a disco ball while the night encroached.
Then, he sent his last prayer to whatever deity felt helpful enough to listen and cranked his music up.
Let the games begin.
Vielen Dank für das Lesen!
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