The Game Changer The Final Score - By L.M. Trio

Chapter 1


The buzzing of my phone startles me as I lie curled up in the twin bed that I have become so familiar with since arriving at the University of South Florida several months ago.

“Hey, Dad,” I answer cheerfully, unconsciously fixing my hair as if he can see me through the phone. “I’m good… I can’t… Not yet… Hey, why don’t you come here? The weather is so warm; you’ll love it. You need a break every now and then,” I exclaim, attempting to convince him the weather is the reason I would prefer him to visit me.

“Dad, it’s too soon… I’m not ready.” My dad has been asking me, for the last couple of weeks, to come home for the holidays. The wounds are still raw. I haven’t been able to return to Bay Point since the day I left. “Yes… Everything is fine here… You’ll love it this time of year… Dad, I have to go. I have class in a few minutes. I’m running late… Okay, love you, too. Talk to you later.”

I let out a sigh, hanging up the phone, and crawl back under my comfy covers. It’s draining trying to convince him that everything is great. That’s one good thing about living over a thousand miles away. I can lie without having him know that I’ve already finished my classes for the day, ending up here, in my favorite spot; my bed.

As I lay here, my mind swirls with its usual thoughts; how, once again, my life has been dramatically altered. How could I be so wrong about something? Actually, someone? I think, as I once again replay the events of the last year over in my head.

My dad makes a point of visiting at least once a month. He rented a condo not far from my dorm for the Thanksgiving weekend. I know it made him feel good to be able to cook for me again and spend a few days together, somewhat pretending that our lives are normal. He’d love to have me home for Christmas to continue our tradition, but I’m unable to return, as of yet. I said goodbye to that street a long time ago. As much as I loved my home, I can’t get past the memory of that one awful night; I can’t go back. Not yet, anyway.

While reminiscing over my painful memories, I’m interrupted by my roommate, Mya, entering our room.

“Oh good, you’re in bed. I can always count on you being more pathetic than me. For some odd reason, it cheers me up,” she says drearily as she climbs in the bed across from mine.

Mya is from Chicago. We are night and day on some levels, but we get along great. I figure it’s probably because we both are so damn depressing. At least I try to hide my sad, sad life from everyone, but not Mya; she’s your stereotypical, morbid, gothic girl. Way too thin, wears nothing except black, has a piercing in her eyebrow, tattoos all over her pale-white skin, jet-black hair—usually with streaks of some crazy new color each week—dark, red lips, and she smokes like a fiend. Not to mention, she’s promiscuous. She hardly ever goes out, yet, when she does, she always manages to pick up some random guy that is just as dark as her. Actually, she’s a pretty girl, if you can get past all of the darkness that she hides behind.

I figured we were paired together, not because of our troublesome lives, but because we are both enrolled in the art program at USF. I wasn’t sure what to make of her at first, but, to be honest, I really didn’t care. I wasn’t here to make friends, and likewise for Mya. She had me pegged wrong from the first time she met me.

It’s hard to remember how we came to bond in the first place, though it wasn’t long before we both realized we share more in common than we originally thought.

While I manage to lose everyone that I love, Mya comes from a family that doesn’t know how to love. Well, that’s not entirely true. They do love their money, which makes Mya rebel against anything to do with it, except for the all-expenses-paid college experience.

We often joke about whose shitty life is worse and, in the process, we’ve become really good friends.

Bringing her into the group of my other friends has been a little more interesting. I’ll never forget Mikey’s first visit to my dorm at