She turned the key in the lock and snuck in quietly, careful not to wake her new roommate. Even drunk she knew that there was no need to start things on a bad foot when they had to live together for an entire year. Dara carefully shut the door, slowly but surely, and tried to navigate her new dorm room in the dark. A street lamp let in just enough light through the blinds to stop her from stumbling over the clunky building block furniture that had been carefully reconfigured just hours before.
She kicked off the too-tall heels she had worn out. A second later, she turned too fast and her toe met the leg of her desk chair and she yelped in response, a smattering of curse words that could make a sailor blush followed suit. She took a deep breath and froze in place, looking across the room and waiting for her new roommate to say something. Amy from Virginia, she had said when she had introduced herself to Dara and her parents that morning. When nothing happened, Dara climbed out of her jeans and into her new bed, the frame of which had been adorned with photos of her friends from home. Not that there were very many of them. They were a small, tight-knit bunch, and she missed them already. They were only a few hours away by plane, but now they felt like worlds apart. She didn't exist in Massachusetts anymore, but instead in the bubble that existed around Georgetown, which didn't seem very bubble-like at all to Dara -- but then again, it being her first night in her new home away from home, what did she know? She liked to think that she was different from all of the other incoming freshmen that she had met so far. That somehow, she was smarter and wiser, not doe-eyed and naive like her peers even though she knew that she was probably exactly that. But if she puffed out her chest and blustered enough, then maybe no one would notice and the facade would be real. She didn't have the life experience to back up her assertion, but wanted it to hold true in her eyes. Little did she know that most of her peers carried the same sentiment about themselves.
The Gilmores had driven down from Lexington the day before. Her parents had both insisted on delivering her to campus together, their empty nest syndrome obvious as they hit the road. The drive had taken up the better part the day as they had opted for leisure rather than efficiency. Bio breaks every couple of hours as needed, stops in small towns that piqued their curiosity, and a night spent in an unfamiliar but comfortable hotel. She'd had plenty to think about on the drive: the friends that she had left behind, her sister who felt even further away now, the classes she would be taking, the roommate that she only knew from a twenty-two minute phone call that they had shared late in the summer (Dara hated talking on the phone; Amy seemed to love it a little too much). They seemed like they would get along well. Or well enough, which was all the best that she could hope for.
A key turned in the lock. She squinted as the door opened and let in just enough of the bright hallway lights to sting, but she breathed a sigh of relief as she realized that her roommate was coming in from a late night too, nevermind that she was so engrossed in not making a sound that she hadn't realized that her roommate wasn't even there to have been woken up. She suddenly had a glimmer of hope that maybe, just maybe they weren't too different from each other to get along. She rolled over and buried herself in the body pillow that separated herself from the wall and let cheap vodka and beer lull her to sleep.