A/N: Though I wish we were all happy drunks, that is simply not the case. Beware the violent drunk.

-----

Theresa was in a funk. For about two weeks, all she did was mope. Wake up, go to school, mope, and go to bed. And for the life of her, Amy couldn't figure out why.

Theresa came from a middle class family. Her parents were helping her pay for school. She was an excellent student, a good looking kid and witty to boot. Besides it being mid October, nothing was amiss. Nothing had changed.

At first Amy thought maybe she was doing something to upset her, so she cut back on her studio hours and tried to give Theresa space, but Theresa soon complained that Amy was ignoring her so Amy tried to spend MORE time with her. Then Theresa said Amy was smothering her, so Amy just went back to being herself: the semi-attentive-care-when-you-have-to-tough-acting friend. She just let her friend stew and sigh and mope and she just looked the other way. She'd tell Amy when the time was right. And Amy didn't care if she didn't know at all.

But one day, after Thanksgiving, when classes were gearing up for midterms and the stress levels grew that much higher, Theresa decided that was when she'd spill her guts.

It was a Wednesday, and Amy was studying for a quiz about a ton of dead artists and when they died. It was stupid. She didn't care when artists died! What mattered was the now!

"Sigh," Theresa said from her bed, laying spread eagled across the neatly set quilt and staring at the cracked plaster ceiling. "Sigh."

Amy ignored her, choosing to draw mustaches on some famous Italian painting depicted in her overpriced textbook.

"Sigh."

More doodling.

"SIGH"

Amy closed the book with a snap. "What!?"

"Oh, I don't know. Just one of those days." Theresa toyed with her ponytail. Despite her dreams to become an automotive mechanic, she was still very feminine. "Bradley's coming next week. Monday."

Ah, yes. The boyfriend from home. Brad was working in construction and Theresa mentioned idly how he was so dedicated he was to ride six hours on a bus to see her. Amy had never met him, but Gloria described Theresa's beau as 'a lummox. A lummox who rides a bus.'

He sounded sweet enough on the phone. He called every other day at 6 o'clock so he could watch the news with Theresa.

"Prolly because he needs her to explain the big words," Gloria had told Amy. "He's a little slow. In his case, when he holds that 'SLOW' sign for his job, the sign's talking about him."

Amy just set the book aside on her bed. She hugged her knees and looked over at Theresa, who was still sighing up a storm. "Yeah? And?"

"And I don't know. I should be happy to see him….right?"

These kinds of chats were Gloria's specialty. But since Gloria was hiding today… "If you aren't, you aren't."

"Well….he's coming 6 hours by bus. We'll have to show him a really great time." She fidgeted. "Come to the bus station with me, okay? Please?"

"You can go to the bus station yourself."

"Amy, please!"

"Why?"

Theresa sat up, looking pathetic. "Because he said he loved me."

Amy hugged her knees. "Shit." She looked over at the pig tailed youth. "And you don't love him back."

"….No."

"Drama drama drama…" Amy muttered, opening her book again.

"I'm telling him Monday."

"Tell him now."

"I can't! I have to tell him to his face." Theresa frowned and rubbed her temple. "Think, Theresa, think!"

"Don't hurt yourself."

"Oh cram it, freak."

-----

Monday was a horrible, horrible day. It was spitting rain and Theresa took that as some sort of sign, even though in October it rained all the time. The car pulled up and parked near the back of the bus station, and Drew looked over to see Theresa toying with her skirt, nervous. Drew had been suckered into taking Theresa to the bus station, but Theresa had promised her lunch, so she wasn't complaining.

"Ready?"

Theresa sighed dramatically. "Yeah, let's go see him." They both got out of the vehicle and walked through the parking lot.

"You know, there's a party going on in Rec Hall tonight," Drew said as she fell in step beside Theresa. "We should all go there and you can take him aside and explain to him nicely how you feel. That way he doesn't feel alone and you aren't alienating him." Theresa gave her an upset look. "Not that you are! Hell no!"

"We'll see."

The bus on the closest platform was emptying out and people were collecting luggage. A larger man, not fat by any means but obviously built to be a quarterback, was sitting on the curb, smoking a cigarette. Theresa stood behind him and groaned.

"I told you! Smoking will KILL you."

"Sounds like my baby bear." He glanced up and Drew saw a very sweet looking man. But as he stood and towered over them, Drew felt tiny and helpless. He was very tall. He had broad shoulders too. Yeah, very much a football player.

He hugged Theresa and patted Drew on the shoulder as introductions were made, thanking her for helping Theresa to the bus station. This seemed to depress Theresa more, as her smile got faker and faker with every step to the car.

"The bus doesn't leave until Wednesday morning," Brad was saying as Drew navigated traffic.

"Wednesday? I thought it was Tuesday night!" Theresa said, concerned.

"They changed it, but I don't care. A few extra hours with you won't hurt."

"Awww," Drew found herself saying as Theresa made a nervous laugh.

"There's a party at Drew's brother's dorm. Wanna go?" Theresa asked hopefully. "Free booze."

"I'm so IN!"

"Thought so." She muttered as Drew gave her a sorrowful glance.

-----

Drew carefully dodged a puddle as she crossed the street, dressed for a night of partying. Dirk had promised the night to be a great one. Mid term stress relief was the name of the game, and somehow Dirk's RA agreed to a mixer. What the hell, she thought with a mental shrug. I've worked hard.

Cliff tugged her frilly sleeve, guiding her away from another puddle. "Mid term mixers… This is kinda stupid."

"Then don't go!"

"I'm going."

"Why?"

"Because you're going."

She gave him a confused look but kept walking, letting herself in through the propped open door. "Theresa'll have broken up with Brad by now. He's a sweet innocent guy! He's going to be devastated."

"Breaking up is tough."

"Says the single guy."

Cliff arched an eyebrow at her. "Hey, I've had girlfriends before." He followed her up the stairs as Drew led the way to Floor 5, where Dirk's room was. "Two!"

"Yeah? What happened to 'em?"

"One was psycho, and the other was fine."

"Then why'd you break up?"

"I basically wasn't right for her. And she said I was too nice."

Drew stopped her ascent and Cliff bumped into her. She turned and hugged him tight. So tight he went "oof!"

"You are nice," she said into his nice party shirt. "There's no such thing as too nice." She let go and hurried the rest of the way up, following and trying not to blush.

The party was on the patio under a large cabana. It was a smaller crowd than a lot of parties, maybe 30 people instead of 200, probably because everyone else was studying. Dirk found them and immediately launched into an explanation about how the RA moved the party out here and how the rain was threatening on the horizon. Drew scarcely paid attention. She was looking for Theresa.

Cliff found her first. She was chatting away to a girl from Augusta Towers, Bradley nowhere to be seen. Cliff asked where Brad went.

"He's on his seventh beer. Would you bring him over here, Cliff? I should really talk to him."

Cliff had no idea who to look for, so Drew had to help him, but after a lot of tracking, they found him on floor three with several other guys. And he was obviously past beer seven.

The guys were throwing a football around, but they were dropping it more than catching it. Drew picked up the misplaced ball and handed it to the nearest frat guy. "Brad, Theresa needs to talk to you."

"Hey! You're that girl from the bus stop." He hurried over and hugged her. "Theresa's friend. The one with the nice ass!"

Cliff frowned.

"Yeah, that's me. Come up to floor five and see your baby bear!" Drew led him to the stairwell and they started up but Bradley had a bit more on his mind.

"She doesn't want to see me!" he uttered in a moment of clarity. "She likes some other guy." He turned and pointed to Cliff, who was climbing the stairs behind them. "Prolly you!"

Cliff shook his head but said nothing. Wavering slightly with alcohol induced courage, Bradley turned to Drew next. "You wanna fool around?"

"Hey!" Cliff called up. "Knock it off. Fool around with your girlfriend." He pushed past Brad and hurried Drew along to Floor Five. "God, what a creep!"

"I thought he was so nice!"

"Yeah when he's sober." Cliff said with a shudder. As he said that, he heard footsteps. Turning he saw Brad charging, arms spread to tackle Cliff and his face a mass of rage. The smaller man dodged and Drew screamed for Brad to stop as Brad stood and went to target Cliff again. "What the hell…?"

Cliff had only been in one fight, and that was when his friend Steve had picked on a smaller Asian kid. The kid turned on Steve and actually gave him six stitches behind his ear as he slammed Steve's head into the ground. It was Cliff who broke them up, but not before cutting up his arm on the concrete. He didn't want to do that again. And he certainly didn't want to fight a 250 pound gorilla.

Drew ran off to get help, heading for the Floor Five patio as Brad managed to utter several drunken obscenities and take a swing at Cliff. Cliff stepped aside to miss the first punch but ended up taking a second one in the stomach, and a third to the side of the face. Reeling, Cliff caught his balance on the door to the stairs, trying to learn how to breathe again while hot pain lanced through his face.

He heard more than saw his attacker next as instincts told him to duck. The larger guy went sailing past him and he heard the tumbling of a body down a flight of steep stairs, followed by a dull moan and a weak curse.

Dirk came running up just then and helped Cliff up. Theresa was yelling down the stairs and shaking her fist, obviously taking full advantage of this horrible scene.

"It's OVER! You drunken psycho!!" She turned and smiled at Cliff. "Thanks! That eliminates that horrible speech about being friends!"

"Ugh.." was all Cliff could say.

-----

Bradley was tossed out on the street and the police arrested him for assault after they took him to the hospital for a broken arm. Cliff had to make a statement and it was well after midnight by the time they released him. Drew drove him home and made him a cup of hot soup and even tucked him into bed.

"I cried," she whispered as she sat on the bed, holding ice to his cheek, which was already forming a nice black bruise. "While I sat in the waiting room, I cried."

"Why?"

Drew set the ice down and Cliff sat up. "Because I thought he rearranged your face. And I remember hearing people die in one punch."

"I wasn't gonna die.." Women could be such worry warts. He held the ice to his cheek again and watched Drew wring her hands in the dark room. Randy stirred in his sleep on the other side or the small space, grinding his teeth.

"No, but I worry anyway. And if you never knew me you wouldn't be in this mess."

"If I didn't know you, life would be incredibly dull right now."

Drew wiped at her eyes and stood, smoothing out her pants and avoiding his gaze. "I'm sorry. I'm gonna go back to my room. I'll see you tomorrow, maybe. Or…" She trailed off, leaving the thought unfinished as she swiftly crossed the room and left, the door clicking shut behind her.

Cliff looked at the ceiling, listening to the traffic through the open window. It took a long time for sleep to come.

-----

Theresa sent Cliff flowers the next day and Randy brought them in as Cliff was getting out of bed. Randy seemed to be more helpful all of a sudden. Maybe he was afraid of Cliff.

"What's the card say?" Cliff said as he gingerly tried to put on his shoes. He had slept in his clothes last night, and he needed to get to that midterm in two hours.

Randy read the card in a loud clear voice. "Thanks for the help. Sorry for the mix up. We love you. Signed Theresa. They love you huh?" He sounded jealous as he set the flowers on the counter.

"Not the love you're thinking. Girls love the L word."

There was a knock on the door and Randy went to get it. It was Gloria, holding a box of chocolates.

"You okay, Cliff?" Gloria said as she barged in, ignoring Randy entirely. Randy gave her a typical once over, apparently liking what he saw.

"Yeah. I'll live."

"Drew cried herself to sleep last night! She was worried sick! Theresa sent that shit head home on the very next bus after an hour of screaming at his sorry ass."

"Cried herself to sleep?" Cliff felt like crap. He picked up his knap sack and headed for the door. "Why is she crying over me?"

Gloria and Randy exchanged a look of confusion. "She cares about you, Cliff." She pointed at Randy. "Men are nothing but PAIN!" She caught Cliff's arm. "You are going to go write a test today? Like that?"

"I have to."

"Fine!" Gloria tossed the chocolates on the bed. "Stubborn creatures." She left the room, grumbling to herself.

Cliff wrote his psychology midterm that day, and scored a 78, but his mind was not there. Theresa visited him twice more that week, each time bearing a gift. Even Amy came to visit, chatting it up for an hour and helping him study.

Finally, on the fifth day since the fight, Drew made an appearance, wishing him good luck on his tests.

"Maybe next week I can walk you to school," she said quietly as she offered to do his laundry.

"That'd be nice Drew. You okay?"

"Only if you are."

"Then we're both okay again."

Drew smiled as she ran up and hugged him. "Never stop being nice."

He smiled, and even though the effort hurt, he couldn't help himself. "Never."