Because Berjes had outdone himself helping with Kennedy's birthday party, Yelena gave the elderly butler the weekend off and, when he returned to work Monday morning, she presented him with a huge tip.
"Oh, Madame!" Berjes cried. "This is too generous!!"
"Nonsense," replied Yelena. "We know you have granddaughter starting University, so this just a little to help out."
"Oh, Madame, the most amazing event has occurred--the university contacted me over the weekend to say that they located a scholarship for my granddaughter!"
"Really?" asked Yelena, surprised. "That very good timing."
"Well," explained Berjes, "it's a very odd scholarship. Let me see," he mused, "How does it go? Oh, yes: 'For British-born students who are direct descendants of domestic servants currently employed instate'--you can see how such a thing might have slipped the minds of the financial aid office. And it pays her tuition as well as room, board, and expenses!"
Yelena thought for a moment. "Very odd. I agree, Berjes--is amazing!"
She exited the kitchen and headed through the family room to Yulia's room. As she walked past Kennedy, who was lounging on the sofa, reading, she said, "Good idea, Kenny. Was very nice thing you do for Berjes."
"Shhhh," said Kennedy softly, not looking up from his book. "Don't tell."
Once Yulia was packed and ready to leave for college, Kennedy gave her his present.
Yulia was thrilled to receive two maps to secret vacation lots.
"Now, remember, princess," Kennedy told his daughter. "Don't work so hard that you have no time to relax. Spend time with your friends, and get away with them if you can manage it."
Yuri had refused to go in the car with Yelena and Yulia. "I don't want my mother to bring me to college," he stated adamantly. "I'll go up with the guys." George McCarthy and Alvin Futa had rented a car for the trip, and Yuri chipped in for the expense.
Yelena dropped her daughter off in front of her dorm.
Yulia kissed her mother goodbye, promised to call every week, and headed up the stairs.
She changed her clothes and immediately started exploring the campus and making new friends.
At the Student Union, she met Leonid Chan,
who introduced her to his friend Bryan Katz.
"This can be a really fun place," said Bryan. "Take my advice: get your term paper out of the way early every semester. It makes a great impression on the professors, and they'll know right from the start that you're serious, so they won't ride you as hard." Yulia considered this for a moment, and went straight back to her dorm to begin work.
Yuri, George, and Alvin had walked the short distance to campus after turning in their rental car. They were all delirious to be in college and away from their parents (especially Yuri).
George and Alvin were in Landgrabb House, on the other side of the campus from Pinenut Plaza, where the twins were housed. Yuri and George made plans to meet up at the Campus Lounge to jam and, as it had turned out to be a hot day, Yuri went to his dorm to change clothes.
He was incredulous to find that his sister was already hard at work at academics, and he changed quickly and set off back across campus.
George had arrived first at the Campus Lounge, and run into Tosha Go at the espresso bar. "You look great!" he exclaimed. "Hey--your pigtails are gone!"
"Yeah," said Tosha, somewhat embarrassed. "I'm finally coming to terms with the fact that I have frizzy hair."
"You look good like this, Tosh. I think the pigtails really distracted from your face."
"Thanks, George," said Tosha, flattered. "And your new haircut looks great--I don't think I've actually ever seen your face till now," she teased. George had always had a messy mop of blond hair.
"Yeah, auditions start today for several of the fall productions, and the 'hair-in-my-eyes look'--as attractive as it may be to girls--limits the parts I can get." George, to the great amusement and relentless teasing of the other guys from their neighborhood, was serious about becoming a professional dancer.
"Anyway," said George, "Yuri's coming by, and we're going to play and see if we can make some money in tips."
Tosha brightened almost imperceptibly. "Awwww," said George, with slight disgust, "you don't still like Yuri, do you?"
Tosha was silent for a moment. "Not really. I mean, it's obvious he likes Brittany more than he likes me, and she likes him. I guess I should stop thinking about it. Hey, let me know if there are any really hot dance guys, okay?"
"Sure thing," smiled George.
He excused himself to go to the men's room, and Yuri walked through the front door. "Hey, Tosh! You look great!!" he cried.
Blushing, Tosha thanked him and stammered that George would be back in a minute. "You gonna come listen to us?" asked Yuri. "I mean, George sucks as a drummer, of course, but I'm a great guitarist, so I make up for him." Tosha laughed uncomfortably.
George came back downstairs, and he and Yuri started to play. They attracted the attention of several other students,
and Yuri thought this was an excellent way to meet pretty girls.
George left to go to a tryout. Yuri continued to play by himself, and noticed a sleek blonde sitting alone at the bar.
When she left the room, he put his guitar down and followed her in order to introduce himself.
Her name was Rebecka Louie, and she was also a freshman. She was intelligent, animated, and pretty hot, Yuri thought. They talked for some time, and when he left to return to his dorm, she kissed him on both cheeks.
As Yuri went down the stairs, Rebecka's friend, Elle, who had been standing nearby, said: "Girl, I haven't seen you gush that much since Donald Trump spoke to our graduating class at Deerfield."
"Don't you know who that is?" asked Rebecka. "That's Yuri Andropov. His family's L-O-A-D-E-D."
"Well, that explains your interest, at least," laughed Elle.
Back at Pinenut Plaza, Yulia had finished work on her term paper for the night, and Yuri updated her on George and Tosha.
"Oooh," said Yulia, "I should call George to see how his audition went. Oh, hey--Berjes's granddaughter is in this dorm."
"Really?" asked Yuri. "Did you meet her?"
"No," replied Yulia. "I knocked on her door, but there was no answer, and some girl said that she'd come in this afternoon exhausted and jetlagged and had gone straight to bed. Hey, you want to come to the gym with Chloe and me? I'm meeting her at the Student Union."
"No," said Yuri. "I'm going to bed. Why are you working out?" he queried.
"Just to keep Chloe company. She's in her 'I have to lose weight' mode."
Yulia headed over to the Student Union and met up with Chloe Gonzaga.
She also ran into Bryan Katz, who was diligently working on an assignment, and Brittany Parker and Alvin Futa. Brittany and Alvin had been best friends since they'd been toddlers. Their families lived across the street from each other and, even though Brit had attended private school with Yulia and Yuri, and Alvin had stayed in public school, Brit and Alvin had remained thick as thieves.
"Should we ask Brit and Alvin to come with us to the gym, do you think?" Yulia asked Chloe.
"Nah, they're going to a pep rally," Chloe replied. "You know how 'rah-rah' they both are."
The gym was crowded, and Yulia and Chloe could only get treadmills that were two apart. They shouted over the girl in the middle, who was wearing headphones.
"Hey," puffed Yulia. "I haven't seen Meadow--is she in your dorm?"
"Yes," huffed Chloe. "But you probably wouldn't recognize her even if you saw her."
"What do you mean?" asked Yulia.
"She went back to her original haircolor," laughed Chloe.
"Really?" asked Yulia, amazed. "She's been blonde for so long I'm not sure I remember what her original color is."
"We--that is, Brit, Tosha, and I--staged an 'intervention' of sorts," Chloe continued. "We told Meadow that it was obvious that all she really wants is to get married and have children, and that the bleached hair and the ho' clothes were attracting the wrong sort of guy."
Yulia had to agree, since Meadow had had a dozen boyfriends in the last few years and none of them had lasted more than a few weeks. "I bet she looks a lot better," she ventured.
"I'll say!" replied Chloe. "She's adorable--you'd never guess it was the same girl."
"So," Chloe went on, "not only did she go back to her reddish-brown hair, she also started dressing normally. And this afternoon there was a meet-and-greet thing out on the Quad, and she met some guy, and it was love at first sight."
"His name's Orlando, and he's also really in to marriage and family," Chloe added. "I'll be surprised if either one of them lasts the whole four years."
NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: Join us next week for "The Butler's Granddaughter."