Disclaimer: All of the characters and places in this story have been made up from my own ideas, so if any of these places or people exist it is not to my knowledge and therefore is not in reference to any of them.
A swift, fall breeze brushed Alex Jameson's long, auburn hair against her gentle skin. She could feel the coolness of the cement porch seeping through her jeans, and watched as a few snowflakes began to fall towards the brown grass. Her chin was perched in her hands with her elbows on her knees, awaiting her expected visitor. Her eyes were unusually green, and they were glistening with anticipation.
It was her fourteenth birthday, and her best friend in the entire world was going to come see her. His name was Tomas Fischer, and she had known him since the fifth grade. She had been an outcast, and still was, but Tom could see beyond what everyone else thought, and befriended her the moment he set eyes on her. He was short and a little gangly, but his charisma was so powerful that he quickly became the life of the conversation in any group of people he was with.
Tom was a year older and even though he began junior high school before her, they still saw each other daily as their schools were only ten blocks away. Now she was in eighth grade and he ninth, but at the beginning of the school year Tom's father had gotten a new job so he had to move away from her.
"Lexi, I know I'm moving, but I promise nothing will come between our relationship," Tom had promised her the day he left for his new home.
"Nothing?" Alexis asked, a tear forming in her eye.
"Nothing, Lexi." Tom gently stroked her face with a comforting assurance that he was always going to be there for her. Then he embraced her in a tight hug, a hug so comforting that she knew nothing could ever harm her while she was in his arms. Alexis knew that she was only thirteen and he, fifteen, but it was safe to say that she was in love with him. There was just something she felt, something that told her they would never be apart. But she was wrong.
Today she was turning fourteen, and the night before when she spoke to Tomas on the phone he told her that he had a very special gift for her, but he wouldn't give any clues to what it was. Alexis wasn't sure if she was more excited to receive the gift or to just see his charming face smiling down upon her. That was one thing that always out-did Tom over all the other boys, was his smile that could lift her off her feet, even when she was feeling the heaviest of burdens.
She couldn't wait until he turned sixteen and got a driver's license so that he could come visit her every week. They had only seen each other once in the last three months due to the two hour drive, and that was much too long to be away from your best friend, she thought.
She could just see it now – his parents would arrive and pull up into the driveway with Tom in the back, and he would hop out of the car as she ran to meet him. His dark brown curly hair would bounce up and down as he walked, and he would gaze at her with his chocolate eyes. He would embrace her with his gentle arms and whisper "Happy Birthday" in her ear. The whole weekend. He was going to be here the whole weekend. She had to bite her lower lip in order to refrain from becoming giddy with excitement.
Suddenly, a cold shiver ran up and down Alex's spine. She rubbed her hands up and down her arms while considering whether or not she should run inside to grab a sweater. The air felt suddenly crisp and icy, and she did not like it. She glanced at her watch after realizing that the sun was about to set, and she grabbed the hem of her shirt with her hand and unconsciously began to wrap the material between her fingers, something that she only did when she was extremely nervous or anxious. Tom would always chide her for doing so, telling her that she would stretch out her clothes. She'd tell him that he was acting like her mother, but in actuality she always thought it was cute that he cared about her.
Where were they? Tom had called and said they were leaving the house three and a half hours ago. They wouldn't have stopped more than once on the way there, so what could possibly be taking so long?
Alex was startled by the front door being swiftly open. She twisted around to see her Uncle Hank standing in the doorway, the cordless phone held loosely in his hand, and his head hung down with his hand over his face.
"Alexis," he began quietly, his voice trembling. Alex's heart skipped a beat. Hank never called her by her full name. Something inside of her already knew what he was going to tell her, but she didn't want to believe it. "Your friend...and his parents…they…there was an – an ice storm on their way back…they…" Hank removed his hand from his face and looked up at her, tears spilling out of his eyes. "Alexis, they are dead."
Alex felt something inside of her die. But it didn't just die, it screamed, it thrashed at her heart, and it suffered all within a moment. She couldn't even stand up – she had become paralyzed. Her brilliant green eyes had now changed into a dull emptiness. She sat for what seemed like hours in shock, then it all came down on her. Her eyes welled up and long, hard sobs interrupted her breathing. Her uncle dropped the phone, bent over, and wrapped his arms around her chest from behind. There they wept. And it would be the last time that she wept, and the last time that she loved, until her life unexpectedly changed.
FIVE YEARS LATER
After graciously thanking the driver, Alex stepped off of the bus onto the sidewalk that belonged to her new home, Hamilton University. She took a deep breath and yanked her red luggage carriers out from the bus compartment. It was a lot for her to carry, although it really wasn't much for a year's worth of schooling. Reaching into the front pocket of her smallest bag, she pulled out a folded piece of paper that she opened up.
"Well, here goes nothing," she said to herself with a sigh after reading the paper, and then placing it in the back pocket of her jeans. "I just hope this 'Christina' girl is a tolerable person." Even though she wasn't big on socializing, Alex dreaded the thought of being an outcast again, after already putting up with it since kindergarten. Shrugging off her thoughts, she picked up her bags and headed towards the twelve-story brown building, where a new life would await her.
There was a loud "thump" as Alex dropped her luggage on the floor and reached into her rear pocket for her key card. She fumbled as she fitted the card into the slot, still breathing heavily from the long trip up to the eighth floor. There were too many students in the elevator for her to have patience, so she had decided to get a bit of extra exercise. Now all she wanted to do was to go inside and flop down on her new bed.
Alex's jaw nearly dropped to the floor upon opening the door. There, on what was obviously her bed, was her roommate making out with a boy. Not only were they making out, but Christina's hands were about as far down his pants as they could get without ripping them off. What a fantastic start. She was going to get to deal with a boyfriend being there all the time.
Apparently, Alex's entering the room wasn't enough to interrupt the two from sucking on each other's faces.
"Ahem," Alex grumbled quietly. No response. How fabulous. "A-HEM!" The two suddenly jumped away from each other like popcorn, as if they might be able to pretend that they hadn't been seen. Alex only stood there with her hands on her hips, waiting for her new busty roommate to respond.
"I…uh…" mumbled the boy. He wasn't bad looking, even Alex could admit to that. He had blonde, straight hair that laid in long wisps of different directions across his head and face, and he had eyes as blue as the sea. It was obvious that he worked out or at least played some type of sport, as his body was well toned. She could tell that he knew it, too, as his navy blue muscle tee showed off his arms. But no matter, Alex was certain that he was just like all of the pretty-haired, perfect-body boys that she knew in high school…a fourteen karat jerk.
Her new roommate, Christina, didn't seem to be far from the sort. She was blonde as well, or rather her hair was bleached, and it reached down to her waist. Her breasts were obviously fake, since they were two sizes too big for the rest of her body, but she appeared to be proud of it. Her tube-top shirt was so low that Alex swore if the poor girl jumped a bit too high, her breasts might fly out and smack someone in the face.
"Okay, so who are you then, and why are you still in here?" Alex asked the boy after a moment's pause. He glanced at Christina, then back at Alex.
"Why I'm here is my own business. And why might you be hanging around?"
"Well, considering I just sat cramped on a bus for five hours next to a sweaty, smelly man that was so fat I could have popped him with a pin, I think I would like to relax in my own dorm room." A confused look came across the boy's face, and he motioned for Christina to leave. Now Alex was a bit confused, why would some random guy make her roommate leave?
"Are you sure you have the right room?"
"No, actually, I just like walking in on people 'getting it on' and then kicking them out so I can steal their rooms." The boy gave her a strange look.
Was he actually serious? "Of course I have the right room! I'm not an idiot! I'm in Willerton Hall, and this is room 815, is it not?"
"Well then, I think it's time for you to leave."
"Why don't you say that to my roommate when he shows up."
"Oh and who might that be?" Alex crossed her arms. This was the last thing she needed on her first day at college.
A look of shock came across Alex's face, striking the boy with curiosity. Suddenly, Alex began to laugh. Her laugh was so pleasing that it tingled him inside. He figured she was crazy though, finding such a thing as him stating his roommate's name humorous.
"You're joking, right?" she asked, after the phase of laughter had passed.
"Um…I…can I ask what is so funny? You've really lost me with this whole thing. Are you someone's sister trying to play a joke on me or something? Cuz I have a sense of humor, but this really isn't amusing."
"I am Alex Jameson. My name is Alexis, Alex for short."
The boy blinked. He was getting more and more confused every moment.
"So…uh…why didn't you see my name and notice that I was a male?"
"Well, just like you assumed Alex Jameson was a boy, I naturally believed that Christina Bently was a female." Alex held the paper out in front of the sophomore, and he jumped up and snatched it from her immediately.
"Oh no, they didn't!" he shouted, angered by the school's common error.
"Apparently they did." Her attitude was beginning to irritate him. "So what exactly did they do?"
"They mispelled my name! They fuckin' do it all the time!"
"You mean your name's not really Christina?" she asked him sarcastically. Noticing how rude and uncooperative she was, the boy assumed that Alex must not be very sociable.
"They've done this before - mixed up some of my letters, I mean. My name is Christian Bently - not Christina."
"Well how dare they."
"Is anything that comes out of your mouth ever not scathing?" Christian asked her, outraged.
"Not if I can help it." Alex smirked as she responded.
"Okay, that does it." He grabbed the her arm and dragged her out of the room with him. "We're going down to the receptionist to get this all straightened out."
When the two students reached the receptionist desk, they found a plump woman asleep on the counter. All that could be seen of her head was a bush of red, nappy, curly hair. If it had not been for the fact that Christian had already been living in this dorm for a year and knew the lady, he would have tried to pick her head up assuming that someone had misplaced their well-used mop and taken it to the lost and found. Well, except that he probably would have been too lazy and inconsiderate to do so, but all the same.
"Ms. Krunkel?" Christian asked, quietly the first time. "Hello? Ms. Krunkel!" No response. Catching sight of her bell, the blond boy tapped it once and for some reason, the little tiny "ding" was enough to wake her up. Alex flinched at the sight of her face. She really needed to lay off of the makeup.
"Willerton Hall, this is Gertrude Krunkel how may I help you?" she asked in a dreary voice while reaching for her spectacles and crookedly placing them on her nose.
"Um, Mz. Krunkel, we have a little problem with the rooming assignments." Christian yanked Alex up next to him, who angrily shook her arm free.
"I'm sorry dear, but we can't change your rooms if the two people just don't happen to get along." Alexis sensed her annoyance, immediately realizing that the woman didn't really care about their situation.
"But ma'am, she's a girl and I'm a boy!" Ms. Krunkel eyed them both over the top of her spectacles. Then she grinned when her eyeballs stopped at just below Christian's belt.
"Would you like to prove that?" the old lady asked keenly. Christian felt his stomach twist and turn in disgust.
Trying to ignore her comment, he began his pleading again, "Surely it's against regulations for a girl and a boy to be living in the same dorm room!"
"No honey, it's against regulations to live with someone you've not been assigned to, or to change the arrangements after they have been confirmed by the dean." Christian seemed to look to Alex for help, but she was staring off into space and seemed oblivious to his frustration.
Between breaths, two beautiful junior sorority girls walked by and both Christian and Alex overheard their conversation.
"Isn't that Chris Bently the sophomore?" the taller one asked.
"Yeah - the best kisser on campus. But who's that girl he's with?"
"I think that's the weird girl Jill said he ditched her for."
"If his taste in women has changed to someone like that, then there's nothing to compete with anymore. I'm certainly not interested."
"Yeah, no kidding. I'm already turned off by his new girlfriend." They both rolled their eyes at him, and Christian went frantic with the fear of his reputation being ruined. His social life was taking a plunge for the worst.
Christian threw himself down onto Ms. Krunkel's desk and begged his last and final plead.
"Please, Ms. Krunkel! Please sort this out for me! I can even prove to you I'm a male! I'll - I'll do anything!"
Beads of sweat were beginning to form on Christian's forehead as he awaited the woman's response. She raised a curious eyebrow at him, and a corner of her mouth tweaked up into a sneaky grin.
"I will sort this out."
"You will?" he asked, about ready to leap over the counter and kiss her, as hideous as she was. It was a good thing for him that he didn't though.
"Yes. After I hear an opinion from Miss Jameson. You've been hogging the whole conversation and I haven't heard a peep from her." Alex twitched at the sound of her name and she finally tuned in to Ms. Krunkel. "Miss Jameson?" she asked, turning towards Alex. "What do you suggest we do here?"
"I think you should do whatever is easiest, Ms. Krunkel."
"Very well, then. There will be no change in roommate assignments. And that's final."
Christian went pale. A sudden rush of horror spread throughout his body as he realized his life would never be the same. . .and that was not a good thing.