A Real Goode Time by Jasinda Wilder

Also by Jasinda Wilder





Torie





“Tor, this is stupid.” My roommate, Leighton, was sitting on my bed watching me shove random shit into a backpack. “Just ask your sister for a plane ticket. How far do you think you’re gonna get on three hundred bucks? Jillie and me can manage your part of the rent, and my cousin said she’ll take your room ’til you come back, so that’s no problem. So we’re fine. But three hundred bucks? If you’re lucky, you’ll make it to Cleveland, and that’s a big “if.” You’re a beautiful twenty-year-old girl, Torie. And you’re gonna hitchhike to Alaska?”

Leighton pretended to talk into her cell phone, “Oh, hi, Mr. Serial Killer. Yes, I’m hitchhiking from New Haven to Alaska all by myself.”

I rolled my eyes at her. “Leighton, quit worrying. I’ll be fine.”

“You’re talking as if you’re taking an Uber,” Leighton replied.

Leighton was somewhat prone to dramatics.

Short, with short platinum blond hair and blue eyes and a curvy figure I’d kill for, Leighton was a bit of an alarmist and a whole lot of pessimist. She had a black belt in two martial arts, and she’d tried several times to get me to go to classes with her, but I didn’t like the idea. I just wanted to believe that good karma and good luck would be with me. I’d never been mugged, or worse, walking to my car from the restaurant where I worked. When my car gave up the ghost a few months ago, I started biking everywhere. The trip from work to home is two-plus miles each way, and I’ve never had cause for concern.

Jillie, my other roommate, arrived at that moment—Jillie was the bridge between Leighton and me. Where Leighton was always ready for the worst, and overprepared for everything, I was a little too easygoing, never prepared for anything, and took things as they came. I was tall and thin with jet-black hair and had basically no curves at all. Jillie wasn’t blasé and a procrastinator like me, but she didn’t see the worst in everything like Leighton—she was the epitome of a peacemaker, really—and was medium height, medium build, with brunette hair.

“You’re really going through with this?” she asked, sitting beside Leighton on my bed.

“I have to,” I said. “It’s my sister’s wedding. I have to be there.”

“Yeah, but…just ask them to fly you in. There’s no shame in accepting help from your own family.” Jillie eyed my backpack. “That’s all you’re taking?”

I sighed and set my backpack down on the floor and sat beside it. “You don’t know what my family is like.”

Leighton and Jillie both rolled their eyes at me, in near-unison. “Yes, we do,” Leighton said. “We’ve both met your mom, and all your sisters. And they’re nice. They love you. They wouldn’t think twice about flying you up for Lexie’s wedding.”

I shook my head. “You don’t understand. They’re all successful. Even my younger sister is more successful than me. I’m such a failure. I can’t even afford a plane ticket for my own sister’s wedding, and it would just kill me to ask them for help.”

“You’re twenty, Tor. That hardly makes you a failure. You’re just getting started in life.”

I rolled a shoulder, uncomfortable with this line of conversation. “I hate asking for, or accepting, help. Especially from my sisters. I can figure this out on my own…and I will.”

“I just don’t know that this is the smartest way to try to get to Alaska,” Jillie said. “It really is asking for trouble.”

“What she really means is this is fucking idiotic and you’re going to get raped and murdered. We’re going to find out when you’re on the evening news, or worse yet, we won’t find out at all because you’ll just vanish.”

“Well, shit, Leighton,” I groaned. “Thanks for that.”

“You can’t just wander out of here and hope good luck and positive thoughts will keep you safe, sweetie,” Leighton said. “Walking, hitchhiking, whatever…is stupid. You’re going to ALASKA, not New York. If you were like, I’m hitchhiking to New York; I’d be like, go girl. But you’re talking about motherfucking ALASKA, clear across the continent, and halfway to the North fucking Pole.”

I laughed. “It’s not halfway to the North Pole, Ley.”