sign of the times (a riley matthews fic)
But she swallows the tightness in her throat, forces a small smile on her face and hangs up the graduation picture of her and her friends above her desk. Her heart tugs as she thinks of them all, scattered across the country. All off to find their own destinies. Her fingers ghost over her ribcage, the galaxy etched into her skin burning at the thought of them all. The pride that she often feels when she thinks of her friends comes crashing onto her like an ocean wave.
She ignores the bitter feeling of loneliness that follows it only moments later.
Chapter: 1 (Girl Meets New Beginnings)
Ships: Riley/Lucas (main romantic pairing), platonic Riley/Clique Six, Riley/Charlie, Riley/Dave & Riley/Asher
Word Count: 11k+
Notes: Well here it is friends, the first chapter of what will hopefully become my best work yet. I’m so excited for this fic and everything I plan to do with it and I hope you guys are excited too. Special shout out, as always to @friarlucas for editing and overall supporting this endeavor. Please enjoy and let me know what you think! Also, this fic takes place in the same canon verse as Maggie’s “Gravity on the Open Road” fic, you don’t need to read that fic to understand this one, although I highly recommend it, because it’s a wonderful fic!
Riley enters college under the complete and total assumption that she’s going to love it. She has no reason to think otherwise, especially after bidding all of her friends goodbye on their road trip across the country, and their wide-eyed and blinding smiles burned in her memory forever. They were all excited for the next chapter in their lives, and she was too. Of course she was nervous, but those nerves were overshadowed by something stronger, an anticipation and excitement of things to come.
So when she drudges across the main lawn of New York University, her backpack on her shoulder and duffle bag in hand, her parents bickering behind her and her younger brother by her side, a smile finds its way across her face. Things are going to be different – no friends, no Lucas, no dad as her teacher, but she has faith that it will be a good different.
Her room is a cramped double in the third floor corner of the largest freshman dorm, and her roommate merely nods at her when she first enters. While this dampens her spirits momentarily, she catches a glimpse of the New York streets below her window and realizes that things aren’t all bad. She’s Riley after all, always finding the good in otherwise unsatisfactory situations.
She won’t lie and say the less than pleasant living arrangements she finds herself in makes the goodbye she bids to her family hurt any less, but she plasters on her ever-present Riley Matthews smile and knows that things will get better in time.
Her roommate, as she learns over the next couple of hours is named Hannah, is a chemistry major and is not in college to make friends. That stings a little and Riley’s childish dream of being best friends (as best of friends as one can be with her true best friend across the country in California) with her college roommate immediately crumbles around her in a cloud of dust.