Chapter 3: Christian
I’m swarmed with hours of literature the next day. I’m so exhausted when I get back to the dorms, I barely have the energy to comment on how Aiden’s mess has immigrated to my bed. Ignoring the dirty sock on my pillow, I flop down and exhale loudly. The silence is cut with a knock on the door.
Aiden looks at me and knows well enough that I’m not going to get up so opens the door himself. He looks back at me.
“It’s for you.”
I take my face from being stuffed in my pillow, squinting to see who’s knocking at this time, but Aiden is blocking my view from this angle. I assume it would be someone for him.
“Who is it?”
“A random frat boy.”
It takes me a few seconds to absorb his words, then I immediately shake my head. No frat boy would be at our dorm room if it weren’t him. I’m just being cautious even though my lack of excuse as to why I don’t want to talk to him labels me rude. I let out a deep breath and finally shut my eyes when I hear the door shut.
“And could I have your name, please?”
“Tommy, ” I tell the curly-haired cashier.
“Double that order. Name’s Christian.” Ah. I know that voice. “Here.”
He hands a note to the cashier. The urge to pinch the bridge of my nose in growing irritation is strong when I recognise the hand willingly paying for my latte. I don’t bother comment on it, or open my mouth to say thanks. The coffee is expensive in my opinion. My monthly income from Mom and Dad will most likely run out halfway through with my excessive need for coffee, and I don’t like touching my student loan. I need to find a job.
I move on down in the queue, waiting for the barista and my coffee. It’s not like me to be an exaggerator but I can literally feel breathing down the back of my neck. I endure it until the barista is handing me my coffee, then I leave the cafe on my own, preparing to breeze back to the dorms despite not wanting to return there.
Aiden said he’d have a girl around and it’s literally only the second day since classes officially started. I want to go back to the dorms but I don’t feel like indulging in heterosexual free porn by going back there - not that there’s anything to overly enjoy.
“You’re avoiding me and we haven’t even spoken yet.”
I stop. Sipping my latte is my version of saying I don’t exactly want to speak, but the coffee is scorching hot and I burn my tongue and hiss in reaction to it.
“Forgive me for finding it weird you keep trying to get to me.”
“Wait, you were the person staring at me,” Christian states, a look of surprise on his face. “I recognise your face.”
I purposely sip my coffee again and bear burning my tongue so I have a proper reason not to respond to that straight away other than embarrassment. Pet peeve three: people stating the obvious.
“Professor Harrison’s gonna call you out for walking out today when he wanted to have a word with you. He’s got a stick up his ass.” He absentmindedly outstretches his hand half way through talking to catch a few droplets of rain that start to fall.
I choke on the coffee in my mouth. “You have no idea what kind of stick.” Uncle Jay wouldn’t be mad.
He gets the joke, amused. I now know that homosexual jokes are funny to him, but I can only ponder his response to the real deal. His laugh is also enough for me to know I’ve conversed too much. Thankfully, the one time the rain comes and hard ends up being the perfect time, and opportunity, to use it as an excuse to snip this conversation short. I begin to leave.
“Where are you going?” Christian catches up to me, in spite of my clear need for the conversation not to proceed, and my desire to get out of the rain.
“To the dorms."
“Come back to the house with me,” he blurts out, expecting me to halt in my step. When I don’t, he reaches around and steals my latte, successfully getting me to stop.
“Do you mind?” I reach out for the cup but he raises it high. “Seriously, if you drop that... Give it back.”
“If you come back to the house with me,” he bargains. “Also, I paid for it so don’t get your underwear in a twist. Hurry, we’re gonna get soaked in this rain.”
I squint my eyes at him. “Why would I want to go back to the house with you when the dorms are less than five minutes away?”
“Word’s out your roommate is boning the second hottest girl on campus who is apparently rumoured to have an STD.” Christian smirks at the grimace on my face. “Us frat boys are STD clear, believe it or not. Well, that’s debatable if we’re talking about Dom the Dick but you get the idea - no lingering around STDs. Let’s go.”
He raises his eyebrows, lowering his hand with my coffee a bit. “Really?”
“Yeah..” I fake the most genuine smile, watching the latte inch closer to me until it’s placed in my hand. Internally, I celebrate and turn on my feet to leave with my paper cup. “...Nope,” I say in place of thanks.
Before I can get a couple feet away, I’m yanked back by the left strap of my backpack. The abrupt movement - paired with my instinct to grab on tightly to something in order to prevent myself from tripping over - causes the paper coffee cup to burst in my hand, latte spilling all over my fingers and onto the floor. Pressing my lips together, I face him. I’m a little bit peed off because I don’t have a substitute coffee, but a little bit entertained because he paid for that drink.
Christian eyes the coffee on the grass, mumbling, “Oops.” He offers his coffee to me. With very little thought, I take it. I won’t leave without a coffee and won’t give up the offering of another cup free of any cost.
“Now you have to come to the house as a way of thanking me for a second cup of coffee.” There’s the cost. Christian grins. I don’t know if the constant grinning and smirking is a frat boy thing, him purposely acting annoying or simply the way he is, but it’s bothersome.
“Why can’t I just use words?” I oppose.
“Why don’t you stop trying to get me to stop, Tommy boy, and come back to the house with me?”
“Why do you want me to?”
“Gemma, the girl who approached you, is super attracted to you. She hasn’t said anything to me but I noticed it when she went and talked to you.” He swings an arm around my shoulder and turns me in the direction of the frat house off campus. I subtly try to squirm away from his arm but to no avail.
“Now, that attraction is probably going to flourish into a full-blown crush. She’s been a friend of mine for a long time - since third grade - hence it’s my job to make sure you’re worthy of her. If you’ve got a girlfriend already, I suggest you do the messy and break up with her. Gemma is quite persistent, but she’s also great girlfriend material, so you won’t be missing out on anything.”
“Gemma’s hot,” he pats my back, “I’m doing you a solid favour, and her too. I’d rather her date you than Dom the I-May-Have-a-STD Dick.”
I swallow down any excuse I think of to go back to the dorms. The bottom line is, with Aiden there, I don’t really want to.