T W O . Y E A R S . L A T E R
“You’re still so fucking slow,” my best friend growled at me, pulling her blonde hair from her ponytail as I finally caught up to her back at the dorm rooms of our college in Washington, D.C.
I grumbled, “whatever,” and watched as her hair fell around her narrow face, her forest-green eyes as beautiful and gem-like as ever while I ran a hand over my sweaty forehead.
I watched as she gave me a mean look before she rolled her eyes, turned and walked into the building as I put my hands to my hips, taking a few breaths to catch my breath.
“Looking good, Rupe.”
I looked back and smiled politely to two girls I knew from around the college, Maddy and Zoe, two California girls who were on their third year here. I watched as they walked over with books in their arms. Maddy was a tall white girl with light blonde hair that was grown long but up in a ponytail today while Zoe was tanned, her hair dark, straight and short, over her shoulders. I knew them pretty well because they were in the same building as Ellicia and I and not too far away from Ellicia’s so when I was over, I usually passed them in the corridor.
“Hey, how are you?” I asked them, dropping my arms as I controlled my breathing to even out as they stopped close to me, both with nice smiles across their faces.
“Good, thank you.”
“And yourself?” Maddy asked, coming off from Zoe. I shrugged because I didn’t usually like when Ellicia was mad at me but I knew this was about nothing, the fact that I was too slow, so I knew she’d get over it quickly and come running back.
“I’m alright. Tired ’cause Elle’s been pushing me around a bit but I’ll get over it,” I replied honestly because I never tried to lie, I didn’t like it and I liked it when people knew when I was going through it rough, they seemed to give me sympathy which I used to never get before I met Ellicia. But ever since I did walk up to her, everyone seemed to be sorry for me. I don’t blame them, there are days when I feel sorry for myself too. Ellicia’s definitely one of a kind and she can be really tough and outgoing when she wanted to be but I’ve been her best friend for a while now so I knew she wouldn’t do anything to hurt me.
“She did seem a little angry,” Zoe put in, nodding a little as she glanced up at the building.
“Why do you even hang out with her? She’s rude and she doesn’t care,” Maddy shrugged, giving me a sympathetic look as I took a small breath.
“I’m everything I am because of her and she does care, she just has a lot of walls up.”
“Did something happen to her,” she asked, tilting her head the way Ellicia warned me about when someone was just looking for trouble and gossip to spread around.
“No, of course not. She’s just a really strong woman... and angry. I should go,” I jerked my thumb a little and watched them nod before I made my way to the front doors of the building.
I sighed softly, thinking about it because I didn’t really know the whole reason why my best friend was so closed off and heartless, I just accepted that that was who she was and I never really thought to ask her why.
Before her, I had no one and I know that before me, she had no one too. She still has no one but me so when she does think she’s pushing me away, she’ll come and get me back, which I appreciated. Even though she never acts like she cares, I know she does and I like it when she tries hard to let her walls fall for me, to become enjoyable and kind for me.
Maybe she did have a horrible past, it’s not really any of my business and I know if she was ever comfortable with telling me then she would have. She has her moments to just start random conversations about herself so I’m sure her bad past is still to come if there is a story behind it all.
I ran up the stairs, taking two each to get to the third level quickly before I walked down the corridor, right to the end where Ellicia shared a room with another girl she kind of gets along with but she doesn’t really care about her either.
She’s not bothered with sharing a room so she doesn’t really give Ebony any attention or interest, lets the poor girl get on with her life. Of course, if Ebony complains about something to Ellicia, she ends up running out of the room screaming... not literally but she usually calls me to come back her up if there is ever a problem.
I knocked on the jade green door, the golden numbers94directly opposite my face before the door opened inward. Ellicia leaned her shoulder against the frame, looking at me with the pout she did to tell me she wasn’t angry anymore and she was just about to come back and apologise in the way she apologised.
In the whole two years, I’ve never heard her say ‘I’m sorry’ or ‘I forgive you’ or ‘thank you’ which I usually say a lot but I don’t think she has it in her to be that kind.
“Hi,” she said quietly, her voice calm.
“Hi,” I replied with a small sigh before she gave me a smile only I ever saw. I smiled back to tell her I was okay about her calling me slow and rolling her eyes at me. It was a small smile she gave but she looked good smiling. I’d already tried to convince her to smile and laugh more when we’re in public but I don’t think she’s up for that either.
She stepped back and pushed the door open more, her way of telling me to come in.
“Thank you,” I told her, walking in to take in the dorm. It wasn’t much, a small space with two double beds on either side of the room, cutting it. One side was boring, plain and a little messy while Ebony put in the effort to make her side feel like home to her. She had pictures hanging up, her sheets colourful with blues and white and a few low cupboards with books and other things she brought from her home.
Ellicia had black sheets on her messy bed, yesterday’s clothes on the ground as well as her gymwear, making me glance back to see she’d changed into a black long sleeve, denim skirt and tights with holes here and there but ‘apparently’ it was the new fashion to have clothes with holes nowadays.
“We’re going out for lunch,” she told me, making me narrow my eyes because she never took me out unless she was desperate for sex because she knew I wouldn’t give it. She always liked to drag me along to these sketchy places where she could get money from random guys who wanted her to seduce them while I waited outside, terrified I’d be murdered.
The things I did for her, I thought, shaking my head slightly as I picked up her dirty clothes and cleaned up for her because I knew she wouldn’t.
As she dressed her face in makeup and sprayed on her nice perfume, I roughly made her bed only to search if she was doing any drugs here or not. If she was, then I’d take them for her because security was usually being called around to check the girls’ rooms only to check hers without her going ballistic about how they were only aiming it at her.
“Rubie,” Ellicia called, making me look up as she covered her lips delicately with a dark purple-red lipstick. She never liked my name Rupert so she had her own names. Rupe I liked and that’s what everyone called me now, she only ever called me that when she learned that it meant a gorgeous person inside and out. She called me that after she helped me put on weight and muscle and cut my hair herself to a neat but cool style she liked on me. Apparently, I looked ‘hot’ when she first actually looked at me about two weeks after she cut my hair.
Rubie was a girl name she liked to tease me with because she hated Rupert that much, she was happy to call me Rubie, which I got stuck with after a while.
“Elle,” I called back, making her growl because she was looking for a sweet little ‘yes?’. I smirked in response when she glared at me from in the mirror which was against the wall by the door.
“I’m not telling you now,” she hissed back and I shrugged, continue searching her area.
“I didn’t wanna know anyway.”
“Okay then,” she replied and I paused for a moment because what if it was something important? Or something I’d never get the chance to hear again?
“What was it?” I asked, glancing up to catch her small smirk because she knew I’d ask. When she didn’t respond, I groaned and made my way to her. “What did you want to say?” I asked but she just shrugged and gave a duck face to the mirror as she raised her hands to touch her head, making her hair a little messier in a way that looked good on her.
When she realised I was still standing and watching, she looked at me from over her shoulder, her eyes wide but soft.
“Can you get my jacket?” She asked, curling her lips together. I looked away from her and to where I’d put her jacket on her bed, knowing she’d want to wear it because she always wore it everywhere. I got it for her and walked back, put it on her shoulders as she pulled her skirt up a bit more.
“Where will we be adventuring to today?” I asked and she looked at me with the stupid look she did when she wanted me to stop being stupid. I quirked the corner of my mouth into a smirk in return before she turned back to give herself one last satisfied look.
“Any tavern with a mean steak of course.”
“You and your steak,” I said in amusement as I moved back to finish searching her area, sighing when I found a small ziplock bag of cocaine in one of her shoes. I knew she wasn’t an addict, thank gosh because I wouldn’t know what I’d do then but she knew not to go too far, she was smart like that. She was just dumb because she thought it was fun to get high occasionally and then sleep all day the next and miss her class.
“Where do you even get it all? You have some every time I come in here.”
“Ask Leroy,” she shrugged in response, not bothered that I was going to take it with me. “We can take a hit tonight,” she said as I reached the door, giving me a sassy glance as she smirked. I hummed, narrowed my eyes at her before I left to head to my room, hide her little package, shower and get dressed in the next five minutes so she doesn’t get mad that I’m too slow again.