This scene takes place after Lilly’s moved into her dorm room. Garret is telling her goodbye.
As everyone’s leaving, Garret says, “I’ll be right there.”
They go out in the hall and Garret shuts the door. He comes up to me and puts his hands on my shoulders, his eyes on mine.
“You gonna be okay?” he asks.
“Yeah.” I glance down. “I’m fine.”
“Hey.” He lifts my chin up. “It’s me. Tell me the truth.”
Garret and I have always been really close. He practically raised me since my mom had no interest in doing so. He’s overprotective of me, but he’s the best big brother ever.
“I’m nervous, but I’m sure everyone here is, at least the freshmen.” I pause. “Were you nervous?”
“No, but I only lived a half hour from home. And I couldn’t wait to move out of the house to get away from…” His voice trails off. He doesn’t want to bring up my mom. He hates her, but he tries to keep his thoughts to himself, for my sake. “I’m just saying it wasn’t the same for me. I didn’t like the dorms, but I liked having my freedom. And people from my high school went to Moorhurst so I already had friends. There was nothing to be nervous about.”
“What if I can’t make friends?” I’d only admit that fear to Garret. I tell him things I wouldn’t tell anyone else.
“Are you kidding?” He smiles. “The people here are gonna love you. You’ll have so many friends you’ll be turning them away.”
“I don’t think so,” I say quietly.
“Lilly, you had a ton of friends in high school. You were the freaking homecoming queen.”
“That was a small private school. Everyone knew each other. We were all friends.”
“And Camsburg is a small private college. You’ll get to know people and you’ll make friends.”
The door swings open and we both turn to see a girl walking in. She’s petite with dark brown hair that hangs straight, to just above her shoulders. She’s wearing white shorts and a black tank top and black sandals.
“Oh my God.” She puts her hand up. “I’m so sorry. I opened the wrong door.” She backs up, pointing to the side wall. “I live next door. This is so embarrassing. I’ll see you later.”
“Wait,” Garret says. “What’s your name?”
“Willow.” She eyes him up and down. All girls do this because my brother is hot, or at least that’s what I’ve been told. Every girl in my high school wanted to date him, even though he’s married. And 31. But he doesn’t look 31. He could easily pass for 25. Willow smiles at Garret. “So what’s your name?”
“Garret.” He shoves me in front of him. “And this is Lilly. My sister. She just moved in.”
“Hi.” Willow smiles and comes over to shake my hand. “Guess we’re neighbors.”
“Yeah.” I smile back.
“Sorry to run, but I left my phone at the gym and I have to go get it before they close. I’ll see you later.” She waves as she hurries off.
“She seems nice,” Garret says.
Jade appears at the door. “Everyone’s ready to go.”
Garret hugs me for the millionth time. “Be safe. Practice those self-defense moves I taught you. And don’t drink. It screws with your judgment. And don’t—”
“Yeah, Garret, I got it.” I laugh, but only to cover up how scared I am to be left here all alone.
“Love you,” he says before letting me go.
“Love you too.”