Six Poets Recite Original Work for Nan Lacy Poetry Competition

Six of Radford’s best poets recited their original work to a crowded room during the annual Nan Lacy Poetry Competition. The readings were held in Heth Hall on April 18, and the readers included the top three undergraduate students and top three graduate scholars chosen from an undisclosed number of submissions. Each winning poet was awarded a cash prize of $100, $50, and $25 for their achievement. Hosting the ceremony was Dr. Louis Gallo of the English Department who informed the crowd that Dr. Justin Askins, who in the past has co-hosted the ceremony with Dr. Gallo, would not be able to make it to the readings due to serious illness. Dr. Askins’s ill health was not the only bad news that night, however.

“I am sad to say that the Thomas Coleman Writing Competition, which has been held alongside the Nan Lacy for decades, was cancelled due to the low number of submissions,” said Dr. Gallo during his opening statements.

According to Dr. Gallo, whom I spoke to before the competition, the deadline for the Nan Lacy competition was extended in hopes that it would not meet the same fate as the Coleman. Dr. Gallo also expressed his concern for the state of the arts in today’s society as well his hope that the Nan Lacy would continue to be held for more years to come.

During the ceremony, each of the six winners read five original poems from the 10-page chapbooks submitted for the competition. The undergraduate poets included first place winner Ryan Alcorn, second place winner Austin Morgan, and honorable mention Ashley Dawson. The graduate poets included first place winner Kelly Nickell, second place winner Phelan Tinsley, and honorable mention Jessica Mattox. All contestants were met with applause from the audience, which included friends, family, peers, and several professors from varying departments. After the reading had begun, Dr. Askins finally arrived to listen to the majority of the poets and was met with warm regards by those around him. The annual Nan Lacy Poetry competition came to a close with a group photo of the winners taken by Dr. Gallo.

 

Five Things I Would Tell Myself Before Coming to Radford

I don’t have many regrets since coming to Radford. But there are a few things that I would have done differently if I had the chance to go back and do them again. As a senior days away from graduation, here’s some things I’ve learned that have made me a much happier person.

Be real with people. Life is far too short to be fake around people. Tell people how you feel. Let them know if you’re happy or upset. Say “I love you” to people if you mean it. Learn to recognize your worth. Be vulnerable around those you trust and know that you’re human and it’s ok to have feelings and emotions.

Learn to love and accept yourself, and learn to be ok with being by yourself. A lot of learning to love yourself and being alright with who you are comes from doing what makes you happy, even if you’re doing it alone. I love to sing and listen to music so I sing (even though I’m no good at it) and listen to music a lot, and it makes me happy. If you like something about yourself, but someone else’s doesn’t, that’s their problem. Not yours. Learn to love all of you, even your flaws.

Don’t be afraid of failure or disappointment. For a while, I would avoid doing a lot of things because I was afraid of failing and being disappointed. Even something like asking someone what time it was if I didn’t know, because I felt like I had failed at knowing something simple. But I learned that life is full of disappointment and failure teaches you 10 times more than success ever does. No one likes to be disappointed and the feeling sucks, but you’ll be able to accomplish much more when you’re willing to risk disappointment to get what you want. And sometimes the risk will pay off.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help or advice. One thing I’ve learned is that people are a lot nicer than others give them credit for. Most people like helping others. So if you ask for help, most likely, they will be happy to help you or let you know something and it will make them feel good too. And remember that people aren’t against you—they’re for themselves.

Work hard. Play hard. Put effort into important things that need to be done. Schoolwork, your job—do these things in a way so that you’ll be proud of them. But then take time to have some fun and cherish those times when you’re hanging out doing nothing and being stupid with your friends. They’ll be gone way too fast.

My last bit of advice is one that my grandmother told me: You can’t reach your full potential as long as you’re always worried about pleasing other people and worried about what they think.

Big Damn Beautiful World

When she finally takes off that

God-awful sweater her grandma made—

The one with the cross-eyed kittens,

Foreign fruits that might be apples,

And no sense of season or dignity—

That no one likes but she wears anyway

For Grandma’s sake—

 

When all that’s left is a thin, snowy shirt

Through which all is clear as ice-capped peaks—

Where the whisper of the river climbs unfettered

Over trembling blushes of leaves,

Cupped palms of valleys,

And undressed trees yielding to the breeze

To rest at the summit and roll back down—

sweater
“She finally takes off that god-awful sweater her grandma made.” Photo from: https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/564x/91/9a/91/919a9144344e1996f967fc1cea459840.jpg

When she can dance without being whipped by knitted sleeves,

Exposing her teeth as a smile spreads—

The stars peeking through bare limbs

Where the crisp night sky cradles them,

Lays them down on the grass—

She cries out in delight

For this big damn beautiful world.

Like Nihilism, but Less Depressing

depressed
“I find a sort of comfort in the idea of a chaotic, unknowable cosmos.” Photo from: http://academyofideas.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/nietzsche-caspar-david-friedrich-468×375.jpg

When I was younger, it terrified me
To look at the universe as some brutal, uncaring thing.
I expected it to be organized and meaningful
Like all the little quirks
Mom expected me to grow out of.
(Neither I nor the universe
Ever lived up to expectations.)

I don’t worry over fate quite so much, anymore.
Now I find a sort of comfort
In the idea of a chaotic, unknowable cosmos.
It’s like realizing
That the prison walls are cardboard,
That the steel bars can crumble in my grasp.

Maybe there is some unseen structure to it all,
But maybe there isn’t.
Maybe it doesn’t matter—
At least, not the way I thought it did.

Radio Rust Valentine

My poems are shit.
My face ain’t much, either.
Meet me tonight
By the FM receiver?

The signals are mixed,
The liquor is steady.
Should you bring Hell,
Know my liver is ready.

We’ll put on a record
Of Coltrane or Davis,
Stare at the stars
With our heads on the pavement.

radio
“We’ll put on a record of Coltrane or Davis.” Photo from: https://grahamdunningreagarden.files.wordpress.com/2010/07/radio02.jpg

As horns fade away
To crickets and crankshafts,
I’ll read you Poe
As your lips recite Plath.

And when you walk off
Across the old levee,
I will not ask
So you can’t reject me.

Humans of Radford University

I’m a transfer student, so this is my first year at Radford. I’m technically a senior due to credits, but a junior, according to time. I’m from Roanoke, so I’m not from far away, but I think getting out of the house, getting away from my parents, getting away from the kind of life I was living there—which wasn’t bad— just I’m naturally an introvert, and, in some ways, don’t really like talking to people, so it was really hard for me to get involved in relationships with people. Once I came here and became a part of CO (Campus Outreach) and Christ Church, it was really helpful, and everything began forming as one unit and I started having a lot of those relationships that were consistent, and I grew to become more comfortable around other people and enjoyed getting to know people. Not just in conversation or spending time, but actually getting to know people in depth. Overall, living in Radford rather than Roanoke really helped me with that. Just constantly being around the same kind of people helps with those relationships.

Students’ Say On: Dorm Life

Dorm life can be the best of times and the worst of times. The dorm roommate you have in college can become your best friend, who you hang out with and eat ice cream with, have deep talks late at night with, and stay in contact with for the rest of your life. Or he or she can be the kind of person who makes you get up earlier than you have to in order to go out of your way to walk on the other side of campus, even though it adds 8 extra minutes to your walk, just so you don’t have to pass by them and see their face on your way to class. From sharing a bathroom and an itty-bitty room to never having your own personal space for long, dorm life is an adventure.

This week, we asked students to tell us about their experience living in the dorms. Most of the students we talked to had moved out of the dorms into either an apartment or townhouse, but they still remembered their time in the halls very well. It was common for students to have lived in more than one dorm during their time living on campus.

dorm
“The worst thing about dorm life, according to most students, was, not surprisingly, the small and cramped rooms and having people around all the time.” Photo from: http://www.radford.edu/content/residence-life/home/residence-halls/muse-hall/gallery/jcr%3Acontent/par/gallery/items/galleryitem_0/largeimage.img.jpg/1433961867056.jpg

Our main question was, “What’s dorm life like?”

One student’s answer: “It smells like pot. And it’s really loud. And when it’s 80 degrees, they turn the heat on. When it’s 30 degrees, they turn the A/C on. So that’s fun.”

When asked what their favorite thing about living on campus was, the main answer was the proximity to everything, whether it be food places, classes, or friends. “If I wanted to go home and take a nap, I don’t have to walk up a hill. If I wanted Wendy’s, I can get Wendy’s. And it came along with a food plan, and I like food,” said one student. “All my friends live right next to me,” said another. Others talked about liking the study spaces and how it was a great way to make friends and meet new people.

The worst thing about dorm life, according to most students, was, not surprisingly, the small and cramped rooms and having people around all the time either next door, floors above you, floors below you, or in your room. Having to share such a small room was another least favorite thing about the dorms.

We also asked if they could change one thing about the dorms, what would it be? Most said everyone should have their own bathroom. Another popular answer was to have parking that was closer to campus. “You have to park 3,000 miles away,” said one student, and she wasn’t exaggerating much.

 

The Importance of Being Earnest Performed in Pridemore Playhouse

Earnest
“On Tuesday, April 11, the Radford University Dance and Theater Department put on a performance of The Importance of Being Earnest.” Photo from: http://roundtherocktx.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/maxresdefault-2.jpg

On Tuesday, April 11, the Radford University Dance and Theater Department put on a performance of The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde. The play was performed in Pridemore Playhouse and was directed by Wesley Young. The main male characters Algernon Moncrieff and John Worthing were played by actors Christopher Phillips and Drew Callahan respectively. The main female characters Gwendolyn Fairfax and Cecily Cardew were played by actresses Alicia Sable and Megan Ward respectively. All the actors and actresses in the play, whether supporting or main, played their roles extremely well, drawing several laughs as a result of the comedic script as well as their natural acting abilities and charisma. The sets on stage were grand. At the end of the first act, the front part of the stage lowered (with one of the actors still purposefully on the stage and seated in a chair) and disappeared completely into the floor. Audience members were surprised if not delighted by this. The play was performed several more nights, from Thursday, April 13th through Saturday, April 15th.

Students Say On: Starbucks Unicorn Frappuccino

On April 19, Starbucks introduced the Unicorn Frappuccino. It is a novel idea, and according to Starbucks’ website, it contains Mango Syrup, colored with unicorn pink powder, blue drizzle made from white mocha, classic syrup, and sour unicorn blue powder, topped with whipped cream and sprinkled with blue and pink unicorn dust. The colorful Frappuccino was met with an overwhelming response. On campus, Starbucks sold out of the drink not long after it debuted. Stephen Colbert even tried it on his show and gave his review of it: “It tastes like I French kissed Tinker Bell.”

Most likely students saw it all over everyone’s Snapchat and Instagram. The aesthetics and visual appeal of the pretty swirled and whimsical colors caught everyone’s eye, and everyone wanted to try it. Starbucks even said on their website that it “was made to be Instagrammed.” Though very pretty on the outside, after people posted their photos of the frap and actually tasted the drink itself, many changed their minds about it.

When asked about their opinions on the Unicorn Frappuccino, several had not tried it but gave their opinions on it anyway.  “I heard it wasn’t great and was curious as to why it wasn’t great,” said one student. Another said, “I thought it’d be cotton candy, but then I heard it was fruity.” One person who did try it said it tastes like a sweet tart, while another said it tasted like fruity pebbles.

When asked what their initial thoughts were when they heard Starbucks was offering the drink, some thought Starbucks was just trying to be trendy. “I think they’re just trying to keep up with the hype of coloring things pink and sparkly. But it tastes like a unicorn threw up in a cup.”

By far, most students did not like it, whether they had tasted it themselves or heard about it by way of other people. “I’ve heard that it tastes gross so I’m not sure I’d like to try it,” said one person.

“It tasted vaguely sweet, but the stuff on top was sour,” said another while one said, “It was milky but fruity.”

“It was bad,” said another simply.

So don’t always be fooled by something pretty and “Instagrammable” on the outside— it might end up resembling unicorn puke on the inside.

 

 

College and Old Friends

Friends
“If I had one piece of advice for you as a reader, it would be to appreciate the time you have with your friends.” Photo from: http://az616578.vo.msecnd.net/files/2016/08/15/6360682710224914221617167464_bigstock-Group-Of-Friends-Having-Fun-To-58863776.jpg

You meet so many people in college. The friends that you meet during freshman year don’t usually last long. But I met a good one. I met Rhiannon in History class in my first class in college. I was so nervous and her big personality brought me out of my shell. We started to hang out outside of class, and we just clicked. We ended up being roommates during my sophomore year and then junior year also. But during my sophomore year, I met the wrong people that turned me against her. They weren’t good for me. I didn’t really notice until it really affected our relationship. That is by far one of my biggest regrets in college. But she is one of the most forgiving women that I have met in my life. Sadly, we didn’t get to totally fix our friendship before she graduated. Sometimes you meet the one friend that will be there for you no matter what you do, and she was it. She was that friend. If I had one piece of advice for you as a reader, it would be to appreciate the time you have with your friends and live like your days are numbered. Tomorrow is only for a fool’s calendar. So don’t treat life like you have unlimited days, because you don’t. Talk to that one friend that you regret saying goodbye to. Because chances are, he or she misses you too.

Pepsi Ad Reunites Country with Anger, Making Us Forget Syria

On April 6th, terrifying pictures of children and adults lying on the ground were flooding social media, denoting what The New York Times says is the “worst chemical attack in years” for Syria. At least 70 people were killed, and 100 hospitalized—many of them children. Many were devastated by this, but this news story only got so much attention over the course of the next few hours, and there were little to no following posts with fundraisers or support for Syria. Sadly, Twitter also lacked the typical hashtag go-to of millennials tweeting their support for a country in need.

The same day, much later, social media swarmed with pictures of posts regarding Pepsi. Pepsi recently released a very controversial ad starring Kendall Jenner that unintentionally degraded the Black Lives Matter movement, as well as underestimated the overall issue of police brutality. While this is definitely a massive issue, it is simultaneously acting as a distraction for what we all need to really worry about.

Our generation, particularly the millennials, are infatuated with bringing something down or making fun of people or things that mess up. It seems as though it’s easier to say “Haha, Pepsi is horrible,” than to discuss how scary a massive chemical poisoning is and what to do about it. An ad that does a horrible job of outlining a way to fix an issue is bad, but surely not as problematic as hundreds of children and adults dying from chemical attacks.

Syrian refugees
“What’s insightful about this is that it does show that the millennial generation will come together and tackle something that we all view as a problem.” Photo from: https://media1.s-nbcnews.com/j/newscms/2016_09/1440106/160301-refugees-calais-terrorists-mdl-904_a417a7420770175b4dc9239cfd90e096.nbcnews-ux-2880-1000.jpg

Stephen Colbert recently praised Kendall Jenner, reminding us how our country is more divided than ever, “but today, it seems that everyone has come together to join the protest against the new protest ad from Pepsi.” What’s insightful about this is that it does show that the millennial generation will come together and tackle something that we all view as a problem, but it certainly doesn’t display our ability to attempt to solve something in the right way, let alone distinguish what’s important and what’s not.

So Pepsi made an incredibly unrelatable and offensive ad—it happens and, while they at least apologized, this is certainly not the worst possible thing that can occur right now. It seems that anything we can make funny tweets or memes about will get more attention, which is a more mundane approach and interpretation of a situation. However, our perceptions of events in relation to our excessive use of social media are getting a bit out of hand, as displayed by the reactions to Pepsi. While it might seem fun and easy to put down a company for making an awful commercial, there are more important things to focus on that will impact us more than a bad commercial ever will. The Pepsi ad might have offended some people in the short-run, but in the long-run, chemical poisoning and death should affect us even more and could affect us even worse if we don’t act and try to make a change.

 

Humans of Radford University

I didn’t grow up in the most friendly environment for that sort of stuff. I used to live down in Florida, and while I was down there, a lot of stuff was going on in my family, and my parents got divorced. But I moved to Virginia with my dad and stepmother. But neither my mom or my dad is friendly towards LGBTQ people in general. They really don’t like that sort of stuff. Being another sexuality other than straight wasn’t something I thought about quite a lot. I just always assumed I’m straight because I really couldn’t be anything else. But once I got away to college, got a chance to be on my own and think for myself, I started figuring out about more things and stuff because the same spiel and propaganda I dealt with at home wasn’t being forced on me. I could start talking to people who actually took the time to talk with me and talk through some of the opinions, thoughts, and ideas I had. Part of me always had a little suspicion that there was something like that in my head, but I never paid much attention to it because, with any attraction I had to guys, it was like, “I’m just going to ignore that. That’s not real. It’s just a fluke or whatever.” I couldn’t possibly be anything other than straight as far as I was concerned at the time. But once I got to college, I started paying attention to things more. And I just sort of had an epiphany at one point. It wasn’t like a big moment per se. I just was there for a while and just started thinking about it and kind of figured it out then. But it wasn’t just all of a sudden, bam, I’m bi. But I started getting there, and it was in freshman year of college I figured it out. It helped that I met some of the friends that I met, ‘cause they’re pretty big into that sort of stuff. From the start, they were very much like, “Yeah, we’re not going to hurt you for this.” That helped a fair bit with figuring it out and made me a bit more comfortable with things.

The Home of the Devil’s Heart

Lucifer was keeping his distance, knowing Aria was still very confused about her life in

general. He had her set up in one of his homes with money to live out the rest of her life. It was this place on earth where they’d had their first date when they were angels. There were moments that

Lucifer saw his angel Aria shining through. Her love for reading and helping things was growing. Sadly,

he also saw the demon Aria when she would get frustrated and short tempered with the helpers

around the house.

But he would see her mortal side. This side was frail and broken before she

even figured out who she was. When he visited at night he could make out the red streaks from tears

Stock for deviantart members only
“I feel my heart is empty, like someone has created a hole where love is supposed to be.”

and her puffy eyes. How he wished he could help her or even understand what caused her

such pain that she cried herself to sleep each night. The next morning though, all his questions were

answered when one of the maids, Esme, had the same concern.

“My dear girl, why do you cry so much?”

“I feel my heart is empty, like someone has created a hole where love is supposed to be.”

Aria went on to speak of how she spent her days keeping her mind away from the tall, dark

haired man that haunted her mind at night. Esme knew Aria’s love for Lucifer would never be

taken away, no matter what Aria became for him. Esme knew she would have to speak with

Lucifer, and that his distance would no longer be helpful to Aria’s growth as a mortal.

High School Lunches Need Improvement

Many of us remember what our high school lunches were like, and they are probably not fond memories. Many school lunches were rather lackluster and little more than a small sandwich, a carton of milk, and a sub-par side. With the recent budget proposal by Donald Trump that would cut funding to many food programs quite a few rely on, a drastic improvement to school lunch programs is needed.

school lunch
“The portions are also often small, so even if the food itself has not gone bad, students are still hungry after they have finished their lunch.” Photo from: http://mybrownbaby.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/school-lunch.jpg

There needs to be a good balance between lunches that are healthy and lunches that have plenty of food. Often times, the food available to high school students is clearly not fresh; buns are stale, fruits have those tell-tale soft spots, and milk is expired. The portions are also often small, so even if the food itself has not gone bad, students are still hungry after they have finished their lunch. Many high schools are known to reuse leftover food for the sake of cutting costs, which leads to the bigger issue that schools face: lack of funding.

It is not uncommon to hear about a high school having trouble with getting sufficient funding for all sections of the school. Since public schools receive their funding from the government, they often have to spend a specific amount of the funding on a specific department within their school. For example, the athletic department is often known for getting the lion’s share of the funding for a variety of reasons. Sports teams are a big crowd pleaser and they draw good publicity for the school and the school systems, ergo they receive more funding than most. While the athletic department of a school shouldn’t be underfunded, a portion of the excessive amount of money it receives could go to the school lunch program to help provide fresh food for the entire student body. Students deserve fresh fruit, fresh meat, and larger portions. This is a program that benefits all of the students, not just a specific subset of them. Thus, it deserves more funding, especially given that soon many students will be receiving less food thanks to federal budget cuts.

The Pulpit at Izzy’s Speedy Station

In a gas station with a faded sign on the other side of

Burned Pine Avenue, across the street from

Our Father’s, Will Parish,

I shambled into the restroom where my legs collapsed.

My kneecaps cracked on the browned tiles,

Forehead nestled in narrow trenches,

Clear streams digging estuaries into the murk

Beneath the lightning of a flickering bulb.

I studied the scriptures scratched on the stall:

pulpit
“I bowed before the throne once more, Confessed in holy catharsis.” Photo from: http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-mriEwIDY9OU/U8s7T9iAC_I/AAAAAAAAAPY/ENNC65jTpZY/s1600/pulpit.jpg

The Epistles of Kilroy, the Little Black Book of Numbers,

I bowed before the throne once more,

Confessed in holy catharsis.

Bells from the parish sidestepped the station.

Izzy placed his hand on my back,

Pulled me to my feet and smiled

As the flock left for their townhomes.

Lil Uzi Vert Over Two Hours Late for Radford Concert

lil uzi vert
“Lil Uzi did eventually arrive, but it was hours late and his performance only lasted for about 30 minutes.” Photo from: https://i.ytimg.com/vi/D3TGG3hzbPE/maxresdefault.jpg

On April 3, 2017, Radford University hosted a Lil Uzi Vert concert at the Dedmon Center. Students were excited for the event and tickets were sold out the day of the concert. Doors opened at 7 p.m. and the show was scheduled to start at 8 p.m. To start off, Radford provided a DJ, then Lil Uzi had a DJ as his opener. However, when 8 o’clock rolled around, the headliner was missing. Students in the crowd quickly became annoyed and restless when minutes passed and still no Uzi was on stage. They had been listening to the DJs for the past hour and were ready to see the main performer. But for about another two and a half hours, the crowd was kept waiting. Lil Uzi did eventually arrive, but it was hours late and his performance only lasted for about 30 minutes. As expected, concertgoers were confused, annoyed and even angry. “Of the three and a half hours of being there, Uzi was there for 30 minutes,” commented one student on the event’s Facebook page. Another commented, “It was a waste of money.”

Tickets for the concert were $32 for the general public and $20 for students with their Radford ID, so the audience’s frustration is understandable. If you pay that much money for a ticket, you expect to get what you pay for, for the performer to arrive on time and to perform for the expected amount of time, and to have an enjoyable concert experience. Some students have even asked for a refund. As of now, there is no word on whether Radford will provide refunds.

R-Space President Vashti Huff said about the concert, “From our [R-Space’s] standpoint it was successful, because we made revenue, but if I was a person who attended the event, I would be thoroughly mad, because it was the performance we promised, but it wasn’t to our expectations.” She added, “We did the best with what we had and with the cards we were dealt,” referring to Radford and Uzi’s DJs who performed while the crowd was waiting.

A Need for More Emergency Phones

If you have ever been on Radford University’s campus for any lengthy amount of time then you have probably seen the emergency telephones with the blue lights scattered around campus. These phones are there for any student to use if they are in need of police assistance or if they feel unsafe walking around campus. These phones are there to help people whenever they need it. However, there are relatively few around campus and given that the size of Radford’s campus is not insignificant, we could use more of them.

emergency phone
“Adding more of the emergency phones could help make people feel safer and even work as a deterrent for anyone planning to assault someone.” Photo from: http://www.luc.edu/media/lucedu/campussafety/images/bluelighttall-420×420.JPG

While Radford University’s campus is on the smaller size for a college campus, it can still take a fair bit of time to traverse and there are many places around campus where emergency phones are not nearby/easily accessible. Adding more of the emergency phones could help make people feel safer and even work as a deterrent for anyone planning to assault someone. The phones provide a large enough light source so it is easier to see (and therefore makes it harder to sneak up on someone). Also, if a phone is nearby then a potential victim has a better chance of contacting the police and getting help. The more difficult it is for a potential perpetrator to attack someone, the less likely they are to attempt it.

One of Radford University’s top priorities should be the safety of their students and the university should always be trying to find better ways to improve that safety. While an increase in emergency phones might not completely stop all assaults from happening, it could certainly result in a lower risk of assault or sexual assault. Students are given a lot of freedom while they are away at college. Part of that freedom is being able to go wherever they want whenever they want, and that comes with a lot of inherent risk, especially for people who are out alone.

Society’s Robot – Chapter 6

mansion
“I stepped outside into the early morning, walked down the path that led to a small pond that was set in the garden among all the flowers and trees.”

I laid awake that night unable to sleep. My mind kept drifting to the kiss with Zach. How had I even allowed that to happen and why did I let it start in the first place? I looked at the clock that sat in my room and saw it was five in the morning. I sighed and got up, pulled on my bathrobe and walked out of my room. I walked quietly down the stairs and to the back door.

I stepped outside into the early morning, walked down the path that led to a small pond that was set in the garden among all the flowers and trees. In my time here, I had come to love this garden. I once got lost in it and had never felt so alive, but it wasn’t mine to love and live in. I sighed and sat on the bench near the pond and watched as the fish swam around. I rubbed my arms, not realizing it was so cold outside this early in the morning.

I suddenly felt a coat wrap around my shoulders and looked up to see Rogue with a sleepy look on his face. “I was getting ready for the day and I heard the door close. You okay, kid?”

I just shook my head and pulled my knees to my chest. “No, Rouge, I’m not okay. I don’t know how to feel about what’s going on right now.”

He sat down next to me and slid his hands into his pockets.

“You mean with the kiss?” I looked at him, sort of surprised that he knew. “Philip saw while going to clean the study, that, and Zach was mumbling to himself after you ran to your room.”

I looked down and messed with my necklace some.

“Zach’s a good guy, Cassie; your running away is worrying him.”

I shook my head. “He knows why I ran.”

I heard Rouge scoff and get up and start pacing. “Cassie, he doesn’t understand why you don’t show emotion. He thinks you were abused and that’s why.”

I looked at him, confused. How could Zach not know about servants not showing emotions? I figured Zach knew with how I snapped at him and quickly walked away. But I also remember the look of complete shock on his face as well.

I got up. “Do you know if he’s awake yet?”

“He’ll be up in another hour to go out to work this morning, why?”

I nodded my head and started back for the house. He needed to understand and I had to tell him.

I walked back inside and walked upstairs to his room. I stood outside his door, and I could hear him moving around, probably getting ready for work. I bit my lip and went to knock on the door, but I quickly pulled my hand back. What would telling him change? I thought as I stood there. Nothing, it would change nothing. I would still be a servant and he would still be my owner and I would have no free will to do as I please. But just as I was about to walk away, Zach’s door swung open to reveal him standing with his button up wide open. “Cassie? What’s wrong?”

I couldn’t say anything but I noticed the light scar that ran from his stomach to his waist. I figured it came from either missing a hit from the end of his father’s belt or from a knife fight in his youth.

“Cassandra, is there something wrong?”

I looked up at his face to see worry and shook my head. “Uh, no, I just wanted to talk with you about last night.”

He looked down and cleared his throat before looking back up at me with his piercing green eyes. “I’m sorry about that, Cassie. I shouldn’t have kissed you. I hope you wish to stay here.”

I looked at him, a little shocked, “No, that’s not it, Zach.” I sighed and rubbed my forehead. “I should be sorry though; I should not have kissed you without your…”

I quickly kissed him, my hands settling against his cheeks. I could tell he was shocked at first, but he soon started kissing me back and pulling me closer by the waist. He deepened the kiss, asking for permission, and I granted him just that. I wasn’t exactly an expert at kissing so I gave him control and I quickly picked up the tricks he used.

I pulled away, needing air, but he just started lightly kissing my neck up and down. I closed my eyes and lightly tangled my fingers in his hair.

“Zach.” I lightly pushed him away, not wanting anything more to happen.

He looked at me slightly confused. “What’s wrong?”

I smiled lightly and ran my hand over his cheek. “Let’s just leave it at kissing for right now.”

He nodded his head and hugged me close to him. I had never felt this way with someone. I felt safe and loved and cared for here; I didn’t think I ever wanted to leave the Addison house. I stepped away from him. “You should finish getting ready for work.”

He nodded his head and kissed my forehead before returning to his room and closing the door. I smiled lightly when I got back to my room to get ready for the day.