Things never go my way...
Why did the administration decide to renovate the campus dorms in the middle of cold, cold fall weather? I’ll never know. I hurdle up the hill with my big box, behind other frustrated fellows who carry their own heavy things.
Icy wind blows some of my hair strands into my mouth. I try to spit them out, but there’s no use. Orange leaves sweep under my feet, as some crazy squirrels in the field gripe away.
Our trials up the hill towards the farthest dorm building resemble the Exodus. About fifty of us are forced to migrate to the old dormitory residence. Pete and Everest march easily, while carrying a mattress above their heads. They’re strong guys, so I guess they don’t mind the trek. As for me, my legs are ready to give in at any moment. If anything happens, I’d know not to count on my best friend Mara to catch me.
“How long until we get there?” she asks, behind me.
I shrug my tired shoulders. My box feels like it’s getting heavier every step.
“I’m not exactly sure where it is. I’m just following everyone else,” I admit.
“Honestly!” Mara exclaims. “I can’t walk this hill every single day!”
“At least we’re closer to downtown,” I try to cheer her up.
I think of the pros, which are closer access to the libraries and coffee shops.
“Speaking of downtown,” she sings, “Let’s go clubbing, tonight.”
“Don’t we have a Shakespeare midterm next week?” I ask her.
Frankly, I hate the idea of going partying. It seems scary—people drinking and dancing and whatnot on top of one another. I prefer the coziness of resting under my bed sheets and watching movies.
“Exactly. It’s next week. Why are we talking about it?” she sighs, sounding exhausted.
“We’ve got to study. Plus, I’m too tired to go anywhere.”
“Ugh, it’s the weekend, Ro!” she groans.
I know she’ll nag me forever and always. She does every weekend. I say no, every weekend. I partially envy her, because she’s confident and comfortable going anywhere and doing anything. I want to do well this semester, so I decided to focus on school at all times. I’m surprised that Mara has patience to stay my friend, since I’m so boring.
“Sorry, Mara. I’m really not up for it.”
She pressures me nonetheless and whispers, “Everest will be there.”
She wiggles her brows at me. I sigh like an old man. She mentions his name at any and every event that she wants me to attend.
“He’s got a girlfriend now,” I scowl, “Which obviously means he’s not available.”
Yes, I had a thing for Everest, when I just got into college. But I’m way too shy to say anything. We’ve barely talked, anyways. He’s going out with some girl, so I decided to quit gawking. Right now, he’s a few feet away ahead of us. Maybe if I had gone to all those parties and stuff with Mara... maybe I would have had a shot. I roll my eyes at the vain thought. I can’t have a boyfriend, anyway. My parents would burry me, if they found out. Mara stands next to me with a dull look on her face.
“When he was available, miss Rosalie, you never made any efforts to get his attention,” she says sarcastically.
“It’s not easy, when you’re basically a nobody,” I comment, trying to reposition the box in my sweaty hands.
“That’s because you’re always cooped up like a hermit in your room. We need to go out partying some more. Get boys to notice us,” she preaches.
I frown at her, though. First of all, boys would never notice me. I have absolutely nothing to offer. I have zero beauty and barely a brain. I can’t even say that I’m a bit funny. No boy would be interested in me.
“I didn’t come here to party with boys. I came here to get a diploma.”
She gives me wide eyes.
“Sure. Diploma. Whatever. Keep thinking like that and see how far you’ll get with the male gender,” she points out.
I just decide to stop thinking altogether.
We finally arrive at the old building that could pass for a stony haunted castle. I open my palm, where I jotted down my given room number. 501. I look up the spiraling stairway and groan. This must mean I’m on the top fifth floor.
The bunch of boys yell and laugh loudly. I just skip out the crowded lobby and make my way up the stairs. Everything is brown and wooden. Every step I make gives off a screechy sound. This ancient building could fall apart at any moment, I’m convinced.
Unfortunately, there are no locks in this dorm. It feels cold and clammy. I go inside and notice that the floors are slightly on the squeaky side. This is terrible. The room is dusty like a graveyard. They should have renovated this place, instead.
I drop my box of stuff by the door. Nobody has come up to my floor yet. I start to wonder whether I’m the only one up here. I push up the rigid window for some fresh air, but only dust showers me. I cough a few times. I look over the small bed and regret not doing like the boys and bring my own. It looks smaller than a twin size. In the first dorm, I was blessed with a queen. At least I get a desk... I think to myself, as I a scan the place. It’s chipping apart, but it’s still something.
I spin around and spot Everest at my door. He sports a nice smile. I try not to blush.
“Oh, hi,” I say, shyly.
“Just checking up on you,” he shrugs, looking around my space. “You’ll be alright in here?”
I nod, as my hand reaches up for my hair. He turns to leave, but pauses and returns.
“You’re coming tonight, right?” he asks me.
“W-what?” I feel stupid.
“At Caesar’s, downtown. Free drinks tonight.”
He sounds like the ultimate jock. But I guess I’m just so ecstatic that he’s speaking to me. I suddenly go brain dead.
I quickly nod, “Um, yeah.”
No, Rosalie! You need to stay and study! Everest then winks and trots downstairs. Did he just wink at me? This doesn’t happen to a girl like me. My phone buzzes. I pull it out of my pocket. Mara’s text comes to the screen, reminding me that going clubbing is a must. I’ll regret it for sure.
I find myself at a club located someplace downtown. I regret coming, really. Loud music, dancing bodies, floating cups... I want to disappear.
Mara has a few drinks in her system. I know this because she’s signing along to whatever remix and doesn’t notice that her dress is slipping down. She’s having such a good time with the others that I’d hate to interrupt her and complain. So I stay quiet.
I stay by the bar counter, with only one drink in my hand. Every once in a while, I take a sip of it. It’s too bitter to finish. The red lights flash in my eyes and the EDM deafens my ears. I feel extremely self-conscious, because only Mara is able to force me into wearing a low v-cut, body-con dress. I sigh, until I feel a hand land its way on my back. I spin around, alert like a deer in headlights.
“Having a good time?”
The flashy smile. It’s Everest. I try to put on a confident smile.
“U-uh,” I stammer, trying to speak over the music.
Everest simply lowers his head to hear me better. Now I get nervous at the close proximity. I can very well smell his cologne. I end up shaking my head, truthfully. My mind is running on the fact that his hand is still on me. I don’t feel good about it in the slightest, despite my crush on him.
“No?” he asks, smiling. “Come with me.”
Without a second to waste, he pulls me to his side and leads me outside the humid club. I don’t see his girlfriend nearby, which is strange to me.
We walk quietly to the parking lot in the back. All I can hear are my shoes clicking against the pavement. I feel awkward. I figured that maybe he’s tired of partying too and is going to take us home. I try to look back, to see if perhaps his buddies were around, only to find out that we are pretty much alone in the lot.
“Um, where are we going?” I ask, quietly.
Suddenly, he presses me onto his car. His lips tackle my neck. I panic and try to push him off.
“Ever—” I struggle, “W-what are you doing?”
I hit his chest, but he only gives me a weird look. Looking into his hazy face, I realize he’s probably drunk.
“Don’t do that!” I spit.
He lowers my hand and tries to kiss me. I turn my face, anticipating slobbery contact on my cheek. I can’t believe this is happening.
In the distance, I see a group of men in dark clothing, looking as though they do collateral damage as a hobby. They stand around, puffing smoke, and exchanging cases. This part of town is sketchy that it makes my skin crawl.
“Let me go,” I say, shaking.
“Come on, Rose,” he chuckles.
I frown in anger, “You have a girlfriend.”
Even if he didn’t, I’d still be disgusted. I try to focus my mind on getting away.
“So?” he shrugs.
I roll my shaky hands into fists. I use my heel to push him away. Successful, I watch Everest tumble backwards onto the next parked car. I quickly dash out of there, yelling profanities at him. Such a player...
I’m more disappointed in myself for putting that jerk on a pedestal. I thought he was sweet and perfect, but I was so wrong. And now I only have my humiliation for it. I can’t help but scratch the mark he’s left on my skin. While I pass the lot to return to the road, the sketchy men glue their eyes on me. They don’t even pretend—they blatantly stare at me.
This isn’t how I want my night to go. I pull my phone out of the side of my bra and text Mara. I know she won’t see it. I walk a few blocks, waiting for a taxi to appear. I rub my wet cheek. I look left and right. The group of scarred faced men walk from the lot and into their cars. I back up into the brick wall, trying hard to blend in. There’s one who doesn’t get in the car. Instead, he lights a cigarette. What messes up my head is that he stares at me directly. I sigh and look away.
I then hear someone calling my name. I turn my head and Everest collides into me. He grabs my arm, looking pissed.
“You better not say anything,” he threatens right away.
I widen my eyes, fighting him off. Who does he take me for? I get nervous, because my mind races and thinks about the bad things that could happen.
“Wh—Let me go, right now!” I shriek.
“You better not, Rose!”
“Don’t talk to me!” I shout.
“I thought you were into me—” he hisses.
I cut him short, “That doesn’t give you the right... Ugh! Let me go!”
If I tug away anymore, my arm will snap off. I’m so angry that I don’t notice the voice that springs up from behind me.
“She said to let her go, man.”
Everest pauses and looks up. I just shut my eyes, hoping that I won’t start crying like a baby. But Everest was scaring me.
“Mind your own business,” Everest throws.
There’s a strong smell of smoke in my nose now. I look behind me, hoping someone will rescue me. But the stranger comes closer, revealing his self in the streetlight.
The colour black had nothing on the delinquent standing in front of us. His tattoos play peek-a-boo underneath the leather coat over his shoulders. His tousled hair is pulled back, but his light eyes pull me in. The laces on his boots know they serve no purpose and a thick chain hangs from his waist.
“But you’re making it really hard to,” he answers, barely opening his mouth. He narrows his eyes. “So noisy.”
Everest snorts like a bull, but finally lets me go. Even though he plays football and all, he’s no match to the smoking stranger. Anyone with eyes could see that.
Although this strange guy is frightening on his own, my legs swiftly take me to hide behind him. I don’t quite understand why. Everest mutters something I wish I didn’t hear and walks off. I let out a sigh of relief. Once my anxiety dies down, the delinquent looks at me.
“You know,” he speaks, flaunting his fingers in his hair, “You shouldn’t get so close to me.”
“Uh,” I breathe out, loosening the clutch my hands had on his elbow. “S-sorry.”
I take an apologetic step back. His lips turn into a small grin. His eyes take their time looking at me.
“I just got released,” he continues.
“Released?” I ask, taking another step back.
He adds a foot my way, defeating the purpose of... space. I don’t know why his deep voice manages to vibrate in my ears. His plump lips move once again.
“From prison,” he admits.
I gulp, hoping that he’s just kidding. I must have done something wrong to have such bad luck. My knees shake now. I exhale, trying to put my mind back in order.
“Don’t worry, sweet cheeks. I learned my lesson,” he smirks, “For the most part.”
I grimace, wondering what I’ve gotten myself into.
“Rosalie?” I hear Mara scream from far away.
I turn and see her stumble towards me and wave her arms. I guess she saw my text. I sigh, feeling a headache coming on. The stranger starts walking away, back into the darker part of the road. I’ve never come across such a dangerous specimen. How’s he so able to shamelessly send shivers down my spine...
“U-uh, th-thanks,” I stutter.
He shoots me a questionable smirk, “Don’t thank me just yet, sweet cheeks.”