There were fewer people on campus because it was the university’s spring term. Not many people signed up for classes beyond fall and winter terms, but I had to GPA to boost, and I couldn’t just leave it for next year. I was helping out with the orientation of students coming in during spring. It was quiet for the most part, and maybe once in a while, a stray student would come up to the Music department’s stand I was manning with my friend, Morgan.
“Hey, pay attention.” I heard Morgan’s voice say, making me blink before looking over at her. She rolled her eyes at me, leaning against the stand’s table. The action made her shoulder-length pastel pink hair fall forward, and I watched her look in the direction of where I had been gazing out into. Advik was standing in the field with two of his friends. He had signed up for spring terms too, and he was helping out with the orientation of transfer students and people doing open studies for this term.
There was a brief moment of silence before Morgan let out a rude snort.
“Really, him again?” she groaned, making me look away from her. I didn’t say anything, and I just pretended to rearrange the forms we had on the table. She didn’t stop poking at me though. I heard her groan and soon she was talking again. “Just bone him and getting over with, gosh,” she muttered, making my face warm up as I paused what I was doing.
“It’s not as simple as boning him,” I sighed, running a hand through my hair as my face warmed up. I put the sheets of paper aside, turning so that I could look at Morgan properly. “He’s my friend.”
“Well, we’re friends and we get into each other’s pants sometimes,” Morgan reasoned, and I rolled my eyes.
“That’s not what I mean,” I sighed, resting my head on my hand. “He likes Oliver, and we’re only friends because he keeps on asking me about Oliver. If he gets a clue that I actually don’t want him trying to get back with Oliver we would probably stop being friends,” I explained, and Morgan nodded her head, nibbling her bottom lip.
“That makes sense,” she said, playing with the ends of her cardigan sleeves, creating sweater paws. “So, is he on the market?” Morgan asked after a brief moment of silence and my eyes went wide as I stared at her in disbelief.
“I’m joking,” she said, reaching out to rub my back as I stared at her. “Like, he looks great, but I wouldn’t sleep with him. Wait, no, I would, but I wouldn’t — I’ll shut up before kick my ass,” she said the last part when she noticed she wasn’t making things better, and that my frown was only getting deeper.
Morgan was the first friend I made a university. I was looking for the room for our school’s GSA meeting when she came up behind me and told me it was the door across. She sat next to me in the meeting and kept smiling at me whenever we met on campus. During lunch one day she came to sit with me at the student union building’s cafeteria, and it was then we pieced together that we were in the same faculty and major, the only difference being that she was learning the violin while I was focusing on the Piano.
Morgan was one of those people you could sleep with and still be friends with regardless. I loved that. I didn’t have to start stressing about the possibility of a relationship if I slept with someone just because I was horny. Morgan was right there, and she wasn’t interested in relationships, and for friendship stayed intact — even grew anytime we had sex. She was the one I bawled to about Advik. She was the one I complained to anytime I felt a little jealous of Oliver even though he didn’t do anything. She was the person I watched cringy movies with and did homework with. She was my best friend.
We had tried to get into the same apartment, but something came up last minute and she wasn’t able to help pay for the house lease on time, and that’s how Advik ended living with me and my two other friends instead. It was a four-bedroom apartment with two bathrooms. It had a shared laundry room and living room area. I had been planning to take the bedroom next to Morgan’s so that we shared bathrooms, but that didn’t happen, obviously. Now, Advik was my next-door neighbor and we had to share the same bathroom.
Someone coming up to the table distracted Morgan, and I, of course, got lost in my thoughts as I looked over to were Advik was standing with his little group of freshmen and open studies students. A small smile took form on my face as I stared at him. He’s so bloody handsome. I thought to myself, licking my lips as I watched him. He had dark shoulder length hair and a well-defined face. I could see why Oliver liked him at some point. I think it was an instant crush thing for me when I saw him too, but it became more intense when I got to know him from the music study hall. He was always at the corner with his friends playing their guitars.
Then I didn’t know he was the person Oliver kept sulking about. All I knew about him was that he threw parties every other day and had a different girlfriend every month. I had filed him under ‘out of bounds’ in my head and went along with my life. It was only when Oliver told me they were both trying to make things work out between them that I saw a glimpse of a chance. Advik started reaching out to me to talk about Oliver, and I listened to him and tried to give him some sincere advice. Of course, I didn’t try to ‘snatch’ Advik from Oliver by making up stuff or intentionally trying to sabotage them. That was never the plan, and I had wished them the best. They liked each other (or so I thought then) and it would feel wrong trying to get him to like me. Plus, I didn’t want to ruin my friendship with Oliver, and it would crush him seeing as Oliver had been devastated about his unrequited love ever since we became roommates.
It seemed like a miracle when Oliver started having eyes for someone else. Soon, he had broken things off with Advik and pursued things with his now current boyfriend — George.
The thing is. Advik still likes Oliver — a lot. He’s not trying to get with him or anything, but his face turned a deep red whenever he walked by and he was always overthinking things that concerned him. That’s what lead him to continuously ask me for advice.
“I’m not crossing the line if I send him a Christmas present, right?”
“Would it be weird if I invited Oliver to a valentine’s day party?”
“If I sit down with Oliver in the cafeteria will he get uncomfortable?”
So many useless irritating questions. That ticked me off, but I couldn’t tell him that. If I did, I was sure he would stop asking me about things, which means he would stop talking to me at all. All he ever talked about was Oliver — okay, no, but it felt like it. It’s been over a whole school year since Oliver got with George, and it didn’t look like they would break up anytime soon. That was back when we were in our second year, and now we had finished our third year and we were just taking spring classes for credits. Oliver was also taking a spring class, I think. It made me happy. At least he would be around enough to get Advik to ask me questions, but not around enough for Advik to pester me every minute with one stupid question or the other.
The whole situation’s just... complicated.
My face warmed up when Advik turned and we locked eyes. He smiled at me, waving before looking away. I just stared, wide-eyed before swallowing the invisible lump in my throat. This. This was why I couldn’t tell him he was annoying me even though I wanted to scream my head off sometimes. I just liked him too much, and I guess hearing about the person he had a crush on was a reasonable price to pay to get him to hang around me.
“If your eyes get any wider, they’ll turn into saucers.” Morgan’s voice made me blink, and I turned to find her shaking her head and laughing. The student that had come up to the stand had left. And I wondered how long ago that was. Have I been staring at Advik for longer than normal?
“Come on lover boy. We have to pack up and get people to take down the stand,” Morgan said, reaching for the file in front of me. By the time we were done packing up Advik was no longer in site. It made me a bit sad, but then I remembered that we were basically roommates. I would get to see him tonight if he wasn’t going for one of those house parties.
I sighed, thinking about Advik as Morgan and I walked to the cafeteria to get food. I was mad at Advik for still having a crush on Oliver after over a year of him being with someone else, but my crush on Advik had been going on for longer, and at least Oliver liked Advik at some point. I don’t think Advik has ever looked at me that way before.
Shaking my head, I tried not to think about it. I’ve been dealing it for two years now, give or take. I could make it through my last year of college with no problems.