Monday, September 7, 2015
Charlie dropped the last of his boxes on his large oak desk. He looked out his bedroom window at his new surroundings. He had been to Milton Heights before but had never been near the MHU campus. The view from his window left much to be desired. He looked out at the casino on one corner and the grocery store at the other. It could be worse. He took a step back and surveyed the room where he’d spend the next eight months.
He could hear music coming from one of the other rooms and decided to go meet his roommate. He walked through the common area and into another bedroom, welcomed by Tiësto’s Wasted. Staring at the back of his tall, skinny roommate who was hunched over a laptop, he knocked loudly on the door. The stranger paused the song and looked back.
“Oh hey, is the music too loud?”
“Not at all, I just wanted to introduce myself. I’m Charlie.” He stuck out a hand, ready for a handshake.
“Charlie, nice to meet you. I’m Derek.” He turned back to his laptop and pressed play.
Charlie let his hand fall back against his side. He went back to his room and sat on his chair. That could’ve gone better. Charlie didn’t care much. All summer he had been excited to meet new people and find a whole new group of friends at Milton Heights University. Everybody always talked about university being the best years of their lives and Charlie was definitely ready for that. He had begun talking to some other students through a university message board and had gotten quite friendly with another first-year, Michelle. When he found out she would also be living at 2240 The Heights, he was ecstatic. When he found out she had a boyfriend of four years, he was not.
“I can’t believe what a great deal we got on this place!” exclaimed Jenn.
“Yeah, it’s pretty spacious for just three people. And the best part is that there’s no RA since we’re not technically an official residence building,” continued Michelle. She finished adjusting the TV on the coffee table and took a step back to make sure it was centered.
“That’s really the selling point right there. No RA means we’re free to do whatever we want. It’s a dream come true.”
“I agree, not that we really needed a residence since we’re literally from the next town over.”
“Yeah, but it’s part of the university experience!” Jenn plopped herself down on the couch.
“Right. Well now that we’re settled in, I think I’m gonna go check out the rest of the building. Wanna join?”
“I think I’m just gonna stay here. Thanks though.” She reached for the remote and turned the TV on.
Michelle left the apartment, leaving Jenn sitting on the couch. She walked out the back door onto a raised deck overlooking a fire pit and stone benches. She went down the stairs and sat on one of the stone benches. Looking around she was sure that she saw somebody duck out of sight on the roof. Her phone vibrated and she saw a text from her dad asking for a picture of the building. She walked back up the wooden stairs and into the building, down the hall towards the main entrance past a few other students and parents who were also moving in. Michelle waved a hello at them, sure that she’d formally meet them later. She stepped out in front of the building and pulled out her phone. She walked further away from the building and then took a selfie with the building in the background and sent it to all her phone contacts.
She received a few texts in response including one from Charlie who said he was in apartment 2A and hopefully they’d meet later as well as a text from Martin telling her he missed her already. Jenn sent a text about their other roommate having shown up.
“She’s even shorter than me!”
Michelle was curious to meet this new roommate who was shorter than Jenn. In all the years she had known her, nobody had ever been shorter than her. She headed back inside to room 1C. She entered the apartment and saw Jenn still on the couch.
“Where is she?”
“Still bringing stuff inside. She’ll be back soon.”
“How did you get your hair so blue?”
“It’s naturally platinum blonde so it wasn’t too hard to dye.”
“You’re lucky. I hate this blonde-brown, I should dye it before classes start.”
“I think it suits you. I like the way you braid it.”
Trixie walked into the apartment. She struggled to shut the door with her hands full of textbooks. She dropped them all on the table and grabbed a water out of the fridge.
“What are you two talking about?”
“Ashley was just telling me how she gets her hair so blue,” answered Vivian. She was leaning against the stove in the kitchen, just next to their front door. Ashley was sitting on the counter.
“It’s like Tiffany blue, don’t you just love it?” Asked Vivian.
“I guess it is,” said Ashley.
”It’s fine. Anyway, some guy in the hallway just told me there’s a party in 3E tonight. We’ve been here for 3 hours and already there’s a party. I think I’m going to like university.”
“Party? Count me in!” Shouted Ashley.
“Hopefully there’ll be some cute boys there,” said Vivian, “I just dumped my last boyfriend at high school graduation.”
“You didn’t enjoy the single life during the summer?” Asked Trixie.
“I’m more of a relationship girl.”
“Not me,” Ashley chimed in, “though it’s a bit different since I don’t have to worry about getting pregnant.”
“Do you mean –“
“Yeah, I’m a lesbian. Hopefully you’re both okay with that.”
They both nodded their heads in approval.
“Doesn’t make you any different from anyone else. Plus, you’re hot, so thank goodness you’re not competition,” Trixie said with a wink. She finished chugging her water and tossed the bottle in the recycling bin.
They all laughed.
Clint opened the door for what must’ve been the hundredth time that night. He wasn’t even sure one hundred people lived in the building. He had never been popular in high school. In fact, he barely had a single friend in high school. He hoped being associated with the party would help his social life.
“Hey, I’m Clint, come on in.” He gestured down the hall towards the common area. The girls entered one at a time.
They walked into the common area of the apartment. Earlier attendees were already talking, playing drinking games, and trying not to stumble over chairs and tables. Not knowing any other people at the party, they stood in a group looking around. Together, they decided they would go join a game of Truth or Dare that was happening in one corner.
“Truth,” answered Charlie, as Michelle sat down in the empty seat next to him.
“What’s the best feeling you’ve ever experienced?” Asked Vivian.
“That’s a tame question,” said Charlie, “The best feeling I’ve ever experienced? The best feeling in the world is probably when you finally take a piss after holding it in forever.”
Everyone in the corner laughed.
“That’s your serious answer?”
“Yup.” Charlie hadn’t meant it as joke. He started to turn a light shade of red.
“Just wait until you experience sex.”
A few snickers erupted from the group. Charlie became hyper-aware of Michelle sitting next to him, laughing along with the group.
Uncomfortable, Charlie got up.
“Aww, don’t leave. We’re only kidding.”
“I’m just going to get another drink. No worries.” He didn’t want to let Michelle see him flustered before they even formally met. His virginity had always been a sensitive topic. Like a bad disease, he couldn’t wait to shake it. Unfortunately, he wasn’t sure how to go about it.
Charlie made his way through the crowd and into the kitchen. He opened the fridge and pulled out another of the beer cans he had brought from home. As he closed the fridge door, he noticed a familiar face staring at him.
“Charlie, it’s great to finally meet you!”
“Thanks Michelle. It’s weird to finally put a real person to the name.” He stretched out a hand. Michelle ignored the hand and went in for a hug. Already flustered, Charlie turned a darker shade of red from being hugged by the girl he had a crush on. He knew it was a silly crush since they’d never met and she had a boyfriend. He also knew that he felt butterflies whenever he texted her.
“I feel like I’ve known you forever. I must’ve texted you more than some of my friends.”
“I feel the same way.”
“So, was that your real answer back there?”
Charlie scratched the back of his head.
“I think so. I wasn’t trying to be funny, I honestly just think it’s a great feeling.”
“What about that comment? Are you still a virgin?”
“Wow, talk about being blunt.”
“We’ve talked all summer, I think I’ve earned the answer.”
“Yeah. Nobody wants to fuck the chubby kid in high school.”
“Don’t worry. You’re barely chubby,” Michelle laughed as she told him, “let’s get back to the game.”
As they walked back to the corner where the game was happening, Michelle noticed Jenn checking out the girl with the blue hair. Derek and Natalie got off the couch, letting them have their seats back. They walked over to another corner of the apartment where things were quieter. Derek pulled a flask out of the back pocket of his jeans and poured some rum into a cup of Pepsi.
“Want some?” He asked Natalie.
“Sure.” She replied, holding out her cup.
Derek poured a generous amount of rum into her cup.
They both took a drink from their cups. Natalie drank the whole thing. She made a disgusted face and started coughing.
“Nope, it’s fine.” She lied.
“Good. Tell me, Natalie, what program are you in?” He leaned against a bookshelf, trying to look cool.
“Music. I’d really like to get into Music Therapy eventually.”
“Sick! We probably have some classes together. What kind of music do you listen to?”
“Katy Perry, Taylor Swift, typical Top 40 stuff.”
Derek nodded his head.
“Right on. That’s not really my jam but whatever floats your boat.”
“What do you listen to?”
“All sorts of stuff. I just found an awesome remix of Childish Gambino’s song, Heartbeat.”
“I’d love to hear it!” She was genuinely excited. She had never heard of Childish Gambino but she loved to discover new artists.
“Why don’t we go down to my apartment and we can give it a listen and maybe refill the flask?”
Natalie linked arms with Derek and the headed downstairs to apartment 2A.
“Dare. And make it a good one.”
“Alright, Jenn. I dare you to kiss –” Michelle turned to Ashley. “Sorry, what was your name?”
“Okay. I dare you to kiss Ashley.”
Jenn mouthed the words Thank you to Michelle and walked around the table to Ashley. She put a hand on the back of Ashley’s neck and pulled her close. She planted a kiss on her lips. They kissed for a few seconds before someone made a point of clearing their throat loudly.
“Guess I got a little carried away there,” said Jenn.
“That was hot,” One of the hosts, Blake, commented.
“It’s two people kissing. No big deal.”
“Thanks for that insight, Jack,” said Blake, not used to getting attitude from strangers.
“Sorry for giving an opinion.” Jack said, rolling his eyes.
Jack got up and walked over to Trixie who was standing behind the couch, watching the game but not drinking or participating.
She stuck out her hand, formally introducing herself. “That was awkward. I’m Trixie.”
“Jack. I guess maybe I should just stand back here with you since I’m not drinking.” He took her hand and shook it.
“Sounds good. Are you out of alcohol or did you not plan to drink tonight?”
“I don’t drink. I’ve tried it, it’s just not for me. How about you? I noticed you haven’t had a drink all night.”
“My mom was an alcoholic,” said Trixie, “I’ve seen what it can do to a person so I try to avoid it.”
“Being an alcoholic or not drinking?” Joked Trixie.
“Being an alcoholic, I couldn’t commit to something that long,” Jack said sarcastically, “I’m surprised you’re able to joke about it.”
“The way I see it, you can joke or you can be uptight about it. I prefer to joke. Call it a defense mechanism.”
“Good outlook. My sarcasm is the same way. If I’m ever serious about something, there’s probably something wrong with me.”
“I’m cautiously choosing dare,” said Vivian, bringing her hands up to cover her bright blue eyes.
“Alright then. I dare you to kiss me,” said Blake.
“That’s bold,” retorted Vivian with a bit of a slur. Nonetheless, she got up from her seat and crossed over to Blake. She put a hand on one of his exposed biceps to steady herself and gave him a quick peck on the lips. She turned away to return to her seat but Blake grabbed her wrist and turned her back toward him.
He held her head in his hands and brought her face closer to his, giving her a longer kiss.
“That’s more like it,” he said as he let go of her.
She tripped over someone’s feet and fell as she walked back to her chair.
Seeing that Blake wasn’t about to do anything but sit and watch Vivian, Ashley went over and helped her up.
“Come on, let’s go check out the rest of the party.”
Jenn got up. “I’ll come with you.”
Charlie was grabbing another beer from the fridge when Derek tapped him on the shoulder. He slowly turned around.
“Hey buddy, you look like you’re having a good time.”
Charlie swayed back and forth and put his arm around Derek.
“I think – I think I’m going to like university.”
“I think we’re going to have to teach you to hold your liquor.”
“Did you and the short girl go hook –“ he hiccupped, “go hook up?”
“Nah, we just listened to some music and drank a bit more. Besides, she’s not my type. I like them taller.”
Michelle walked over. “Hey Derek, did Natalie come back with you?”
Derek looked around the apartment. There were too many people crowding his vision. He didn’t see Natalie nearby.
“Yeah, she should be in here somewhere.”
Natalie sat outside the bathroom with a bottle of vodka. She had already drunk half of it since coming back with Derek. Her insides felt warm and she couldn’t help but smile. She looked at the different groups of people throughout the apartment and suddenly felt alone. She took another swig from the bottle as somebody came out of the bathroom. She had a few seconds to reach the toilet before puking into it. She slumped onto the ground, took another swig and locked the bathroom door. She opened the cabinet doors under the sink and pulled out a spare roll of toilet paper. She put it under her head and fell asleep on the floor.
Charlie chugged the rest of his drink as per his dare.
“Mick. Truth or dare?”
Charlie scratched the back of his head, thinking of a good dare. Suddenly, he turned his head towards Jack and puked all over his leg. Jack jumped out of his seat. “Come on, Charlie! Seriously?”
“The bathroom is over there,” said Clint, pointing at a far wall, “I’ve got spare pants you can wear.”
“It’s okay, I’m ready to leave anyway. I’ll just go wash this off in the bathroom before I go.”
“I’m so sorry,” said Charlie, clutching his stomach.
Jack started towards the bathroom. Michelle grabbed Charlie and led him away from the group.
“Come on, Charlie. I’m putting you to bed.”
Jenn knocked on the bathroom door to no avail.
“We could take her back to our apartment. She’s my roommate,” Ashley said.
“I was hoping we could stick around a bit longer. Is that selfish of me?”
Overhearing this as he stood behind them, Jack interrupted the girls.
“I don’t mean to be creepy but I’m not drinking, my roommate puked on me, and I’m pretty much ready to leave. I can take her and put her to bed.”
Jenn and Ashley exchanged a look.
“No offense, but you’re a total stranger. How do we know you’re not going to take advantage of her?”
“I’m fine. I can take care of myself,” said Vivian, giving a weak thumbs up.
“I’m in room 2A. If she wakes up and says I did any funny business, you’ll know where to find me.”
“How do we know you’re not some deranged serial killer?”
“I am. Typically I prefer to stalk cabins in creepy forests, not dorm room parties. Lucky for you, I forgot my machete and hockey mask at home,” Jack said drily.
“You’re weird, but I like it.” Ashley grabbed Vivian’s purse and looked through it. She pulled out a set of keys.
“Here you go. Apartment 1A. Leave the keys on the kitchen counter on your way out. Thanks. It was Jack, right?
“Right. Jack Silva.”
Jack took Vivian’s hand and helped her out of the apartment.
Michelle pulled her sheets and duvet up over Charlie’s chest. She left her bedroom to grab a glass of water and some bread. When she came back, she set the glass on a chair next to her bed and gave Charlie a little shake. He opened his eyes and looked at her.
“Have some of this, it’ll help soak up the alcohol.” She held out a slice of bread, having already cut the crusts off because she remembered a text where he said he didn’t eat it.
Charlie looked at the bread as if it was covered in mold. “I can’t eat that. It’s whole wheat!”
“Whole wheat is good for you and it’s all I’ve got. At least take one bite.”
Charlie took a bite of the bread and immediately washed it down with some water. Michelle went back to the fridge and pulled out a bottle of Gatorade. She returned to her bed and left the bottle on the chair for when Charlie woke up. He had already fallen back asleep. He had finished the bread.
“How long have you had a Monroe piercing?” Asked Jenn.
“I got it when I turned sixteen. That’s also when I started dying my hair crazy colours. How long have you had your nose pierced?”
“I got it done last year. I had a stud in it for a bit, kind of like Vivian’s, but then I switched it out for this hoop. I think it looks more badass.”
“Definitely, and with your lipstick you look like you belong in a comic book.”
Looking at Ashley’s Wonder Woman tee, she saw that her lipstick was the same shade as the superheroine’s.
“I could be Wonder Woman’s sidekick.”
“I don’t think you’d be the sidekick. You’d be the main attraction for sure.”
“Speaking of attraction…”
Jenn leaned over and kissed Ashley’s thin lips again.
“Did you really just say that?” Ashley asked with a quizzical look.
“I know, I’m a dork.”
“At least you’re a cute dork,” She said, poking Jenn’s button nose.
A door opened and Michelle came out of her bedroom.
“Are we being too loud?” Asked Jenn, concerned that she had woken up Michelle.
“No, I can’t sleep. I brought Charlie here after he puked on Jack and I can’t get comfortable on the floor. I’m just going to sleep on the couch.”
“Natalie still isn’t back. Why don’t you sleep in her bed?”
Michelle walked over to Natalie’s door and looked in. The room was empty.
“That’s the best idea you’ve had since you suggested we take a horse and buggy to prom.”
“Yeah, I’m pretty smart like that,” said Jenn, laughing.
Michelle went into Natalie’s room and shut the door.
“Where were we?”
Jenn moved closer to Ashley and gave her a peck on the cheek. Ashley pulled away. “Did you really take a horse and buggy to prom?”
“I’ll tell you about it another time.”