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Ordered By The Mountain Man

By´╝ÜFrankie Love

Prologue


Grabbing the Prosecco from the fridge, Everly finds three mason jars, pops the cork, and divvies up the bubbly. The goal tonight is to forget the reality of the situation she and her two best friends have found themselves in.

Homeless. Jobless. Boy-less.

Champagne will certainly help the cause.

“Is that the last bottle?” Delta asks, as Everly balances all three glasses in her hands and walks back into the living room.

Everly moans as she delivers the drinks. She’s wearing her hair in a messy bun and her nerd-girl glasses contribute to her low-key appearance. But tonight she isn’t acting low-key. Tonight she is dramatic and drunk.

A dangerous pairing for any twenty-two-year-old woman.

“The state of my checking account was so depressing I was like, eff it, and bought two more bottles,” she says.

“That’s what I love about you, Everly,” Delta snorts. “You’re just so damn responsible.” She takes the glass from Everly’s hand and sets it on the coffee table before screwing the cap back on a bottle of eco-friendly nail polish. She’s just painted daisies on her big toes, as if declaring herself the ultimate flower child. Her long hair and boho dress complete the look. She’s a vegan, through and through, and living in Portland, Oregon makes her lifestyle easy.

Clinking the rims of their glasses, Everly takes a long sip. “I know, it’s hard to be such a put-together adult, but somebody has to do it.” She smirks, knowing she’s anything but put-together.

“No, but like, for reals, what are we going to do?” Amelia, who is braiding her hair, asks. She’s in ratty sweats and a tank top, but she gets a pass considering Derrick, her boyfriend of four years, just broke up with her. “I mean, all of us were legit counting on staying at Derrick’s summer house for the next three months. Now we’re going to get kicked out of here in a week. Then what?”

“Calm down. It’s all going to work out,” Everly tells her, not believing the words herself, but knowing Amelia needs the affirmation—considering she’s the one recovering from an unexpected break-up.

Everly falls onto the couch, squeezing between her two best friends. They all take drinks of the bubbly, each lamenting their own personal hell.

They aren’t exactly on top of the world. And they feel deceived. The entire universe led them to believe that if they went to college they would be grown-ups. But here they are, all three of them a week out of Oregon State College, with no job prospects, no boyfriends, and—apparently—no housing.

“This sucks,” Amelia says, her head falling on Everly’s shoulder. “Why didn’t a career counselor ever mention the fact that a Fine Arts degree wouldn’t help me? All it did was teach me that I’m more of a hobbyist in terms of creating visual masterpieces. Like, I can legit scrapbook, but that isn’t a job.”

“Um, sweetie,” Delta says, “my degree is in Hospitality. There are literally no jobs for me.”

“You can be a hotel desk clerk,” Everly suggests.

“Yeah, except I didn’t need a degree for that, and it won’t offer me health insurance or pay my student loans. It’s not realistic.”

“I know,” Everly says. “Even if I sold a story to some magazine, I’d make what—fifty bucks if I was lucky? And I can’t afford to sit here and write the next great American novel. That won’t pay any of the bills.”

Everly thought a degree in English Literature would help her become a writer, but so far she’s only completed a few short stories about her life as a college student. Not exactly inspiring.

“At this point I would do anything to stop feeling so out of control. I just want a plan,” Amelia says. “I feel desperate.”

“I’m not desperate, I’m just horny as hell. I haven’t been with someone in like, three months,” Delta moans. “I want a husband, someone to keep me warm at night and fuck me all day long.”

“Then we should have gotten MRS degrees, not BAs,” Everly says, sighing into her champagne. “Not that I’m exactly ready for marriage.”

Delta and Amelia both look at Everly, giving her puppy dog eyes. It’s no secret that she’s a virgin, and if anyone needs a man, it’s her.

“What?” Everly shrugs. “I’m not holding out for Mr. Right. The problem is, I’m just never going to meet a guy who is okay with taking it slow.”

“You don’t need to take it slow,” Amelia says. “You need a man who isn’t going to take no for an answer.”

“I don’t need to take it slow, either,” Delta says. “I just want to take it, if you know what I mean.”

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