Life Before Time

She was nineteen.

She was good-looking.

She was from a well-to-do nuclear family.

She had graduated top of her high school class last year.

She was single.

Life sucked.

Her boyfriend of three years had just dumped her. Dumped her. She was Merylin Stryfe-Jackson, damn it!

You don't just dump me like that! She screamed in her head. I'll wring his neck!

The truth was, Merylin wasn't usually this haughty and self-pitying. But Nate Parkson and Merylin Stryfe-Jackson had actually made plans to be married, how many kids they were going to have, and whatnot. This is not happening. Yep, this is all just a very bad dream.

"Well, uh, it isn't, well, working out, you know what I mean?"

NO, in fact, she did NOT know what That Idiot meant when he said that.

"I just, uh, need a woman who can take a couple of risks in her life."

What was WRONG with playing a little safe? Did he really want to live from paycheck to paycheck? JERK!

"Well, uh, you're, uh, kind of, well, boring..."

Boring? BORING! That was the last straw. She'd – she'd – well, she'd do something, damn it all... she just hadn't decided what yet.

Stalking angrily past the bakery on her right, a large, straightforward sign caught her eye. Merylin grinned.





"You want to what?"

Merylin winced. The only person louder than her was her mother. "I want to go the Academy, mother. And then I want to join Bernardelli."

The Academy – a one-year, rigorous, military-style school of higher learning, where many Calvary wannabes went as a sort of prep before the real training began. It had a reputation of fierceness rivaled only by the actual Calvary. It kept both the body and mind in top condition. It was also required of future Bernardelli Insurance employees who wished to be Insurance Claims Investigators. It was rough, dangerous work.

"Has this got anything to do with Nate?" her mother asked suspiciously, looking deep into her eyes. Merylin looked indignantly back at her. "Of course it doesn't!" A look. "I'm serious!" Another look. "MOTHER!"

"Me thinketh thou doth protesteth too mucheth..."

Ignoring her, Merylin turned to her father pleadingly. "Daddy, can I please go to the Academy?"

"Anything my little princess wants," he muttered distractedly, reading the paper. Merylin smirked. "Thanks, daddy! I'll make you proud!" And with that, she skipped out of the room, triumphant and grinning. Marcellus Jackson looked at his wife, bewildered at her glare.

"What? Did I do something wrong?"

I know, I know. WSoC. But I just couldn't resist. That next chapter's almost done. I swear! Coughcoughcough