The Goal(Off-Campus #4)(3)

By: Elle Kennedy

Amelia raises an eyebrow at my list of tier two and three Boston schools.

Professor Gibson jumps to my defense. “She wants to stay close to home. And obviously she belongs at someplace better than Yale.”

The two professors share a contemptuous sniff. Prof was a Harvard grad, and apparently once a Harvard grad, always an anti-Yale person.

“From all that Kelly has shared, it sounds like Harvard would be honored to have you.”

“It would be my honor to be a Harvard student, ma’am.”

“Acceptance letters are being mailed out soon.” Her eyes twinkle with mischief. “I’ll be sure to put in a good word.”

Amelia bestows another smile, and I nearly faint in happy relief. I wasn’t just blowing smoke up her ass. Harvard really is my dream.

“Thank you,” I manage to croak out.

Professor Gibson points me toward the food. “Why don’t you get something to eat? Amelia, I want to talk to you about that position paper I heard was coming out of Brown. Did you have a chance to look at it?”

The two turn away, diving deep into a discussion about intersectionality of Black feminism and race theory, a topic that Professor Gibson is an expert in.

I wander over to the refreshment table, which is draped in white and loaded with cheese, crackers, and fruit. Two of my closest friends—Hope Matthews and Carin Thompson—are already standing there. One dark and one light, they’re the two most beautiful, smartest angels in the world.

I rush over to them and nearly collapse in their arms.

“So? How’d it go?” Hope asks impatiently.

“Good, I think. She said that it sounded like Harvard would be honored to have me and that the first wave of acceptance letters is going out soon.”

I grab a plate and start loading it up, wishing the pieces of cheese were bigger. I’m so hungry I could eat an entire block. All day I’d been sick with anticipation because of this meeting, and now that it’s over, I want to fall face-first into the food table.

“Oh, you are so in,” declares Carin.

The three of us are advisees of Professor Gibson, who’s a big believer in helping young women along. There are other networking organizations on campus, but her influence is solely geared toward the advancement of women, and I couldn’t be more grateful.

Tonight’s cocktail party is designed for her students to meet with faculty members of the most competitive graduate programs in the nation. Hope is angling for a place at Harvard Med while Carin is headed for MIT.

Yep, it’s a sea of estrogen inside Professor Gibson’s house. Other than her husband, only a couple of other men are present. I’m really going to miss this place after I graduate. It’s been a home away from home.

“Fingers crossed,” I say in response to Carin. “If I don’t get into Harvard, then it’s BC or Suffolk.” Which would be fine, but Harvard virtually guarantees me a shot at the job I want post-graduation—a position at one of the nation’s top law firms, or what everyone calls BigLaw.

“You’ll get in,” Hope says confidently. “And hopefully once you get that acceptance letter, you’ll stop killing yourself, because Lord, B, you look tense.”

I roll my head around my neck stiffly. Yeah, I am tense. “I know. My schedule is brutal these days. I went to bed at two this morning because the girl who was supposed to close at Boots & Chutes bugged out and left me to close, and then I was up at four to sort mail. I got home around noon, crashed, and almost overslept.”

“You’re still working both jobs?” Carin flips her red hair out of her face. “You said you were going to quit the waitressing gig.”

“I can’t yet. Professor Gibson said that they don’t want us working our first year of law school. The only way I can swing that is to have enough for food and rent saved up before September.”

Carin makes a sympathetic noise. “I hear you. My parents are taking out a loan so big, I might be able to afford a small country with it.”

“I wish you’d move in with us,” Hope says plaintively.

“Really? I had no idea,” I joke. “You’ve only said it twice a day since the semester started.”

She wrinkles her cute nose at me. “You’d love this place my dad rented for us. It’s got floor-to-ceiling windows and it’s right on the subway line. Public transportation.” She wiggles her eyebrows enticingly.

“It’s too expensive, H.”

“You know I’d cover the difference—or my parents would,” she corrects herself. The girl’s family has more money than an oil tycoon, but you’d never know it from talking to her. Hope’s as down to earth as they come.

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