Disguised as Hannah

The crippling anxiety towards her future, an inappropriate crush on her Biology Professor and the death of her sister Hannah. These were only the beginning of Ashley's problems.

Despite Ashley's laid-back nature, she found herself incredibly anxious about starting college. So much so, she put it off for two years. At the age of 21, she decided it was time to go and work towards her dreams of becoming a Veterinarian. It seemed simple enough, but she didn't know then the mess it would create.

Ashley and Hannah thought it would be a clever idea to switch identities for a night of partying, so Hannah could help establish Ashley's presence at the school and get her into the popular scene. All was going well until Ashley fell asleep, only to wake up to several desperate texts from her now deceased sister.

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1. Chapter one

The first day of college. Exciting for some, horrifying for others. Ashley fell into the latter category. Despite her usual laid-back nature, she found herself sitting at the edge of her bed, nervously twirling her fingers. The stress of beginning her future and the pressure of making new friends magnified itself to the point where she couldn't relax. She had been putting off going to college for a few years now, taking time off to "work" and "save money." When in fact, she was just too scared.

Throughout high school, her grades weren't exceptional. She coasted through easily though, never failing, however also never peaking. She was average all the way around; there was nothing particularly special about her, not her looks, not her intelligence and surely not her talents or skills. The only thing that set her apart from others was her deep passion for animals and Science. However, regardless of her love of Science she still couldn't help but worry that college would find itself too advanced for her.

Meanwhile, her tightly wound group of friends guided her through the social aspect of things. These were the people that she had known her entire life, and the thought of rebuilding a new social network within this school made her stomach churn. Ashley had a three-year rule; three years after meeting someone she would feel comfortable opening up to them in any regard. She hated sharing the most profound aspects of her life with someone who may be gone the following week. She knew it was stupid and likely wouldn't work this way in college, but she continued to hold on to the rule.

The only crutch she had through all of these new beginnings was her sister and soul-mate, Hannah.

They were identical twins, and the only way to differentiate between the two was their vibrantly contrasting personalities.

Hannah was a force to be reckoned with, as cliche as it was, she was the most popular girl in her school. Not a single person disliked her, and it was easy to understand why. She was intelligent, kind and poetic, people were inexplicably drawn to her, beyond superficial reasons. She was a rarity on this earth, so pure and genuine.

While Hannah was the most liked of the two, Ashley rarely felt jealousy towards her. This was the wonderful thing about Hannah; she was so deserving of all the attention it made it hard to be envious.

Ashley never enjoyed the attention anyway. She was quiet, reserved and preferred to be in solitary most of the time. She was glad that Hannah was the star of the family, it only meant she was never forced into any awkward interactions. The pressure to always be perfect made Ashley anxious, and she was glad it was something she would never have to maintain.

"Ash, we're going to be late!" Hannah called her from downstairs,

She took a deep breath, preparing herself for the day ahead. Precariously, she got off the edge of the bed and lifted the laptop that was sitting on her desk, tucking it under her arm.

As she made her way down the stairs, she could hear whispering and giggles. A little weary she continued, hoping that Hannah hadn't organized some congratulatory surprise party, Ashley wasn't in the cheeriest of moods after all.

As she neared the last step, she could see that her parents were standing in front of the door, armed with cameras and giant smiles.

"Surprise!" her parents and Hannah said in union

Surprised indeed, Ashley rushed over to them and wrapped her arms around her parents, who she hadn't seen in months.

"What're you guys doing here?" She asked excitedly,

"Well, we obviously couldn't miss your first day of college!" Her mother said, squeezing her shoulder

"Yeah, now hurry and pose because I'm late for work," Her father said, preparing the camera.

Ashley begrudgingly stood in front of them and faked a giant smile while giving the thumbs up.

"Perfect!" her father gleamed, "now we should all probably get going." he urged them out the door,

The four of them made the long journey down twelve flights of stairs, as the elevator was broken, again. By the time they reached the apartment complex's parking garage, all four of them were gasping for air trying to regain composure.

"Give me another hug," Their mom said breathlessly, pulling them both into a tight embrace, "I'm sorry we can't stay longer, we'll be back again soon!"

"You guys should totally come for dinner, you still haven't met Liam," Hannah suggested,

Liam was Hannah's boyfriend of two years, Ashley only remembered this because she had to continuously hear about how great he was for that long.

"I think that's a great idea. I would love to finally meet him," Their dad said ominously,

Hannah dramatically rolled her eyes and gave her father a loving shove.

"How about Thursday night? They're usually pretty boring; we could use our parents to spice it up." Ashley winked,

"Ha ha." Her mother said sarcastically, "But we will do that, so be ready."

The sisters chuckled and watched as their parents climbed into their vehicle. The passenger side window rolled down, and Ashley's mother waved her over.

"You're going to do great today kiddo," She said caressing her cheek

"I hope so," Ashley responded, giving a soft smile.

Ashley stepped back, and the window returned to its original state. The black Ford sedan backed out and drove off with two honks bouncing off the buildings, echoing in the girl's ears.

Hannah turned to Ashley and placed a heavy hand on her shoulder.

"So, you driving?" She asked, adjusting the silver necklace Liam had given her on their two year anniversary

"Yeah, why not?" Ashley replied grabbing the keys to their old Toyota Corolla out of her purse.

The two of them hopped into the beat-up silver car that they 'inherited' when their grandmother passed away the year prior.

Ashley started the vehicle, and they began their mere 20-minute commute to school.

"Are you nervous?" Hannah asked, doing her make up in the car mirror.

"I mean kind of, I'm probably going to fail miserably and have to start selling my body to make rent," Ashley replied,

She avoided talking about her fear of making friends, Hannah can't relate to that. Every time she's ever brought it up, she would only respond with 'let it happen organically!'.

"I mean, that isn't a bad plan B. Like you could probably make excellent money doing it?" She joked, "But in all seriousness, you'll do fine. Everyone feels that way their first year."

"I'm just worried." Ashley trailed,

Hannah had always envied Ashleys ability to disconnect and remain calm in every situation. She was shocked to see her this flustered about something. Hannah was almost the opposite of Ashley, although she would never let on to how bad it was. The smallest things could ruin her day, and cause her to go into a frenzy of panic. Her only release from her daily stressors was theatre. She loved pretending to be someone else, even if it was just temporary. Because of that, her growing presence in their high schools Drama Club earned her a scholarship. Which she used to attend this school, the one she knew her sister wanted to go to eventually.

For the remainder of the drive, the girls were silent, with only the faint music playing through the radio. Ashley's head was packed full of thoughts about what the next 7 hours would entail. 

After what felt like hours of driving through the endless city they finally arrived. The school was overflowing with cars and students. Ashley needed to navigate through the crowds to find open parking, which she at the moment, didn't think existed.

"Right there!" Hannah screeched, pointing to an open lot,

"Finally, Jesus Christ," Ashley said parking the vehicle,

The girls got out of the car and looked at each other over the roof,

"Do you want me to help you find your classroom?" Hannah asked thoughtfully,

"No thanks, I think I'll be okay for now," Ashley replied,

Then they departed.

Ashley started to make her way to the building where her classes would be taking place. She quickly walked through the parking lot and into the central square, which was lined with food trucks and students. Through the masses, she spotted a truck offering coffee. Ashley was never a fan of coffee but needed anything to help calm her nerves. She squeezed through the crowds of people and stepped up to the take-out window.

"Could I get a black coffee?" She asked, handing the man a five dollar bill.

The tender swiftly grabbed the cash and immediately replaced it with a tall, white paper cup of steaming black coffee.

Ashley turned around to continue to her class, only to have the cup knocked out of her hand and dumped down the front of her shirt.

"Fuck!" She yelped, her skin feeling like it was melting,

"I am so sorry!" A man's voice called,

She felt a hand on her arm and quickly pulled away without looking up, she was too embarrassed to look anyone in the face.

"It's okay, I've got it!" She said quickly turning away, grabbing copious amounts of paper towels.

"Are you okay?" The voice spoke again,

"Yeah, I'm okay" She spit out, as she quickly walked towards the first washroom she saw.

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Thank you for reading! Please point out any grammatical errors and feel free to leave constructive criticism :)

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