Having graduated from high school and eager to leave the traumatic past behind, Lizzy enrols in the prestigious NYU, at once captivated and mesmerised by the melting pot of the Big Apple.
Together with Michael, once two conscientious high school students, these two best friends will have to make some life-altering choices with their new-found freedom; whether they will continue to work their butts off to receive top marks in College; what Major they would take; whether taking another sip of that alcoholic beverage was a good idea; whether casual sex with your friend is acceptable…
Set interchangeably between Boston, their home town, and New York city, span across continent to China and Europe, both Lizzy and Michael are on their roads to self-discovery, separately and together, united always by the bond of friendship they have forged, strengthened by that one unexpected event that changed the fate of America… forever.
Palladium Hall, primarily housing the graduate and MBA students of Leonard N. Stern’s School of Business, was situated at the heart of Union Square, amongst the strip joint of several food establishments and famous coffee shops within reach.
Lizzy stared in awe as soon as she entered the residence hall, slowing her pace down considerably to take in the new surrounding. Compared to her own in-campus housing, the tiled floor a soft, sandy-beige colour than sleek, gleaming white, its kitchen bench was of melamine rather than granite, the furnitures’ upholstery was rough corduroy-like material compared to smooth leather, she felt as if she had been plucked from the squalor to enter a place equivalent to a small Palace, the luxuriousness of the place Michael would call ‘home’ for at least the next four years reminding her fleetingly of a miniature version of his parents’ Bostonian mansion she was half-expecting a butler to appear as soon as they stepped out of the elevator, his white coat-tail swinging the like of a Batman’s cape as he escorted the son of the billionaire and his guest to his private room.
“If my Mother had her way, that scenario would probably have come true,” Michael muttered, not without some terseness, when Lizzy revealed as much, a corner of his mouth quirking up into a wry smile.
“Oh, do tell me more,” Lizzy persuaded enthusiastically, grinning widely from ear-to-ear as she latched on to Michael’s arms; she knew only too well of Alicia Bradford’s sense of overbearing.
The fight, if it could be called that, for Michael, so close to his Mother, seldom had verbal altercations, had started ever since documentation from the University began to fill, and sometimes overfill, the Milton Hills’ mansion’s letterbox.
“Your Father and I could always rent out one of those private condos for your sole use for the next four years,” Alicia had casually mentioned it one night after dinner.
“No!” Michael had answered, looking absolutely mortified; that phrase, ‘your Father and I’, would be repeated at least a hundred times throughout the next five weeks Michael would develop a slight hive at the mere thought for the next five years. “Mom, honestly…”
“Think about it, Michael,” his Mother had interrupted him. “You don’t have to conform to anyone else’s living arrangements and tidiness standards. You don’t have to fight over bathroom times, or find another quiet place to study during finals.”
It had been an enticing offer; one his Mother had presented, embellished with various bells and whistles almost on a daily basis Michael thought that it would have been a lot easier for him to acquiesce and accept his aprents’ overly generous offer.
Swayed as he had been once or twice, Michael had refused, repeating the same justification over and over he comprehend the literal meaning of ‘like a broken record’.
“You know,” he had said at the end of that strenuous five weeks, realising that his stubbornness of standing his own ground had been genetically transferred from the one parent he was addressing his objection to, “I specifically didn’t choose Harvard because I didn’t want everyone to think that I was nothing but a spoilt rich boy getting in because of his Father. What would they think when the news broadcast that I’ve taken a private residence whilst attending College?”
Alicia had darted a look across the thin rectangular dining table, exasperation and pride struggling to gain mastery on her face.
“Why is it that you put that much stock as to what’s being said about you?”
Michael had ducked his head sheepishly, avoiding his Mother’s scrutinising gaze, believing that she had, and would use the ability to pick apart every shred of his thoughts; he didn’t want to give his Mother ammunition that the main reason he had wanted so badly to lead as much of a normal, undistinguished life someone with his status would allow was largely contributed to the one person he had been hanging around with for the past couple of years.