A/N: I didn't understand why it wouldn't let me type myspace . com. It was weird. This story gets a whole lot better, but I have the characters all picked out, so If you want to see them, go look at my profile. It wont let me paste the link here. Ugh. THANKS!
I didn't think anyone noticed me sitting on the dirty beat up couch, petting the old greasy cat. My best friend Kay brought me to one of her 'cool' guy friends' parties. Being in my second year of college, I think the appeal of alcohol wore off, and now parties were big snore-fests that I had to attend because so-and-so wanted to meet me, or just because-she-said-so. I'll have to admit, I'd be lost without Kay, and I definitely wouldn't know most of the whole college. It's not that I'm bad at making friends. I just made no efforts to keep them.
But it isn't like my school is a huge drinking school. I go to a liberal arts college in downtown Chicago. But more often than not, I'm in the company of extremely drunk people.
I saw Kay come over to me leading some guy behind her. I knew what was coming. It was another he-wants-to-meet-you. I braced myself, and stopped petting the greasy cat. I wiped my hand on my pants.
"Jaide, I really want you to meet Brant." I got off the couch and shook the cat hairs off me.
"It's really nice to meet you." I stuck my hand out for him to shake. A firm hand took mine and shook it and my eyes traveled up his full sleeve of tattoos to his chest, to his face. He was wearing a band t-shirt. My jaw dropped open.
"You know Sharpenedge?" I looked at him incredulously. I didn't know a soul who knew them, besides me obviously.
"I've met them a few times. They're pretty nice." This Brant guy smiled. He looked a bit older than me, maybe around twenty four. His arms were covered with tattoos and there was one on his neck of a little crawling panther. He was incredibly cute. He had very delicate hazel eyes, and short dark hair with longer bangs swept to the side of his face. I thought two things when I looked at him: oh my god, and how many times have I seen that haircut? I looked over at Kay and her eyes flickered with excitement. She knew how to spark my interest.
"How long have you two known each other?" he looked back and forth at Kay and me. "I feel like I'm intruding on some kind of special secret." He chuckled and gave us a grin. Kay patted my arm and walked away. I watched her disappear into the crowd of sweaty drunk people.
"So Jaide, that's a very beautiful name." He said as he plopped down on the couch. Cat hairs went flying and he sneezed. Actually he sneezed a few times in a row. I counted six.
"Bless you." I offered. "Allergic to cats?"
"Most of them. It's unfortunate, because I love the little beasts." He bit his lip. He was pretty cute.
"So, I've never seen you before. Have you been to lots of parties with Kay? I'm friends with her boyfriend. Well, sort of friends."
"Everyone is sort of friends with Trey." I chuckled. I thought about Trey sitting at home waiting for his girlfriend. He wasn't into drinking at parties, and mostly got sloshed by himself. I eased myself back down on the couch next to Brant. Not too close but not too far away. This was the first time someone interested me at one of these shindigs. I didn't want to come off as overly easy. Which I wasn't at all anyways. I could sense Brant knew what I was thinking. I looked down at my hands, covered with notes and random page numbers.
"So what are you into?" He asked tilting his head to look me in the eye.
"I'm a photography major." I sighed.
"Are you serious? I'm a photo expert." He gave me a smile with all his teeth showing. He had nice teeth. These details had to be stored in my brain for future reference. He looked particularly proud of himself. He rubbed one of his arms.
"Yeah, but it's getting on my nerves." I said quietly.
"You know what's getting on my nerves? This booty music. Want to step outside?" His eyes were so beautiful in the low light.
"Sure." And before I knew it we were outside the apartment building, the warm and humid air drowning us.
"So it doesn't seem like you're much of a drinker." He commented, as he pulled what looked like a pack of cigarettes out of his pocket. I immediately felt a surge of disappointment. He must have noticed my face, because he laughed.
"It's gum. Well, it's stuffed with gum. It was my method of quitting, but now I can't shake the gum in the cigarette pack habit." He offered it to me. I took a stick of gum and popped it in my mouth. It was winter mint. My favorite. I smiled.
"You're a silent one." He said after he put away the carton. "Or are you hiding something?" I shook my head.
"I just don't know what to say."
"Well, say yes when I ask you to go out to lunch with me tomorrow."
"Will you go out for lunch with me tomorrow?"
"You liar!" He laughed. "Don't you want to have lunch with me?"
"Maybe." I kicked at the ground.
"I think you do." He came up really close to me, and stuck his face into mine. "Your mouth says no, but your eyes say yes."
"Okay creepy, I'll eat lunch with you tomorrow!" I laughed, and shoved him gently away.
"That's better. I like it when you laugh." He gave me a silly grin. "So you're taking photography. What about it bothers you?"
"I'm just getting really sick of printing, rushing to finish deadlines. And also, my portfolio sucks." I pouted.
I'm sure it doesn't. You should show me sometime, I can give you my professional opinion."
"Your professional opinion?" I looked at him. He scratched his head.
"Well, I am an expert." He smiled.
"I think classes start in a month or so, and until then I want nothing to do with photo. So you'll just have to wait, Mr. Expert."
"Oh, I'll wait." He said with a grin.
This could be the start of something, I thought. But I didn't dare let myself get carried away. You never know when the guy drops interest in you as if you are a giant leech.
Brant walked me home, because it wasn't too far and Kay sent me a message saying that she was going to sleep there, and to tell Trey she was with some girl friends. I rolled my eyes at that. I didn't understand why she was still going out with him when she kept hiding everything from him. Without his knowing, she has cheated on him at least six times. I hated going home to him watching TV like a zombie, waiting for her. I figured she was keeping him around to keep paying his share of the rent. Without him we would be paying $600 each. I liked Trey; but he had such a pathetic existence. Only working at a thrift shop, and then sitting around waiting for Kay.
I got to the apartment, and opened the door in my special way, jiggling the keys a little so that Trey didn't get excited that it was Kay.
"Hey Trey." I said to his head that was popping out from the sofa in front of the TV. I knew he wasn't actually watching the TV; he was on his laptop typing away.
"Where's Kay?" He asked turning around. The look on his face was one of fright and disappointment. I felt bad immediately.
"We were at this party, and she got a little tipsy, and she went home with this girl. She lived a few floors away from where the party was. So she's all safe. I didn't want to carry her home." I lied, and looked him straight in the eyes while doing so. I was the most excellent liar I knew.
"Do you want anything to eat?" I asked him, and I heard him close his laptop.
"You mean, go somewhere?" His eyes looked a little red.
"Sure, if you want." I smiled at him a little hoping that would reassure him that everything was okay. He got up off the couch and grabbed me. I felt my eyes pop open. He squeezed me really hard and started crying.
"I think she's going to leave me soon." He sniffled. I put my arms around him and squeezed him back.
"Trey, it isn't the end of the world. You'll find someone ten times better than Kay. And she'll take good care of you and love you."
"But I want her!" He sobbed. I felt really bad for him. He was a good guy, and a really great boyfriend. I let him cry on my shoulder for a few more minutes until he quieted down.
I sat him down on the couch and looked into his eyes.
"Trey, Kay cheated on you."
He stared at me ridiculously. He shook his head, and squeezed his eyes shut really tightly.
"No. No she would never…"
"She has. A few times. And she's not really passed out in someone's apartment. I can tell you that right now. And you have to believe it."
"Why would she do that?"
"Because, even though I love her, I know she's a heartless bitch. And she is going to be until she meets someone who either hurts her, or makes her realize how horrible she was. That's how life works."
"Jaide, why am I still here?" He ran his hand through his hair and sniffled.
"Because I like you and want you as my roommate." I gave him a big hug. He smiled a bit, but I could tell it was only one of those smiles you give someone because you appreciate what they said, but you're still as miserable.
"Come on, I'll take you to Taco Burrito King." I grabbed his hand and lifted him off the couch. Trey had such a tiny frame; he was barely bigger than me. He seemed to realize that me lifting him was emasculating, so he let go of my hand and walked to the door.
"Thanks." He said to me with still watery eyes. Trey was just about the most adorable boy in the world. I had no idea why Kay would want to hurt him like that.
Two hours, a few burritos and many beers later, I knew why.
"And she was never good in bed." He slurred, drinking his Corona sloppily, spilling it everywhere. I brushed a drop off my cheek and gave him a look. He didn't really see it; he was too busy waving the bottle around like a lunatic.
"She didn't touch me right either. It really freaking hurt. She gave me like… dick rug burn. But I couldn't tell her to stop because I'd hurt her feelings. What feelings? She's a cold heartless insensitive bitch. I should have realized. And another thing: she couldn't dirty talk to save her life."
"Alright Trey, cut it out. I don't really need to know all this-"
"No!" He said, waving his hand past my face. "You need to hear all the horrible things about her."
"She's my friend…"
"You're my friend!" He got up to get closer to me and only ended up falling and bringing the table down with him.
"You're a terrible drunk." I told him, still sitting and letting him get up by himself.
"Jaide?" A voice said and I flinched. I turned around to face Brant with a beer in hand. "What are you doing here?"
"Oh you know, helping a friend out."
"Then why is he on the floor? Is that Trey?" Brant put the beer in my hand and went to help the awkward Trey up.
"Miss?" Someone asked. I turned to face a waiter. "Do you have an ID?"
"Oh no. I'm just holding his beer while he was help-"
"I'm afraid you'll have to leave." He said, waving slightly at the door. I looked frantically at Brant and Trey, but they were busy. I thrust the beer into the waiter's hands and grabbed my purse.
"I didn't want your fucking beer, okay? I just wanted to sit here and talk to my friends but I guess Bar Luis is too fancy for that, isn't it?" I walked past him and out the door. I stood outside and took a breath. I'm not cut out for the whole dealing with drunken people thing.
"Jaide, what are you doing out here now?" Brant said, with a big smile, holding up Trey as he drooped off Brant's arms.
"I didn't do it on purpose. You handled it really well. I didn't know you weren't 21 yet."
"I hope I never am, so I don't turn into a big drunken loser like you two."
"That's silly. Can we take Trey home? He's about to pass out." Brant looked at me and I couldn't tell what kind of expression he was giving me. It was a sad, angry and disappointed look but also had something mischievous about it. I shrugged and led the way back to our apartment, which wasn't very far.
Once we got inside and put Trey in his bed, I didn't know what to do with Brant, and all my bravado melted away. I became shy and nervous again.
"You… you want some tea?" I asked him.
"Sure, I'd love some tea." He grinned at me with all his teeth. I resisted the urge to ruffle his hair. I moved around him to get to the tea cupboard. He stayed put leaning against the counter in a way that suggested he knew how sexy he was, and it was only a matter of time until I gave into him. But I wasn't going to let that happen like it did in the movies. This was real life. Real life doesn't work that way. I reached past him and opened the cupboard. The door flew open faster than I thought it would and hit him on the head. He squeezed his eyes shut in pain.
"Oh my gosh… it's okay to cry." I said, touching his shoulder. He was really warm and thinking that I was touching him gave me tingles.
He laughed and rubbed his head.
"You're very graceful." He said with a smile that let me know I was forgiven. I put the water in the boiler and grabbed two mugs.
"Tell me, why do you let Trey suffer like you do, when you know Kay is out there being a very bad girl?"
"I don't know. I guess because she's my best friend."
"But don't you care about him?"
"Obviously. But she's still my best friend…"
"Well if you put yourself in his position, I think you'd want someone to help you out."
"Brant? Can we not talk about this?" I asked him, narrowing my eyes a bit. He sighed.
"For now." He swished his head to get his bangs out of his face and it made me laugh. I thought he was absolutely adorable, but something about him was a little off. How old was he? I didn't really want to ask, so I tried to figure out a way to find out. Besides myspace because that would be creepy.
The boiler was done with the water and I poured our tea and handed him his mug. I slid a bowl of sugar and a honey bear towards him.
"How do you like your tea, Mr.…?"
"Howard. Mr. Howard." He laughed. "And I like it with some sugar and honey and a bit of lemon."
"Dude… me too!"
"Oh my God, dude!"
"Dude!" I laughed. He pushed me gently.
"We have a balcony. Want to go outside?" I asked him. He nodded and we headed out and sat down on the plastic chairs Kay and I dragged out there.
I looked up at the stars and silently thanked them for putting the prettiest guy in the world right next to me.
"You look nice tonight." He said softly and it startled me.
"But you've only ever seen me one night. It's been a really long night, but it's only been tonight."
"That's all I really need." He smiled.
"Alright buddy, drink your tea." I pushed it towards him gently so it wouldn't spill.
"Jaide, I don't know how to do these things. I'm a little rusty."
"You don't know how to drink tea?" I said jokingly. I felt really stupid immediately afterwards. But he chuckled a bit.
"No, not that. I don't know how to go about wooing a girl." He turned to me and put his tea on the little plastic table. I put my mug down next to his so that the handles were touching, and for some reason it look really beautiful in low light. I wanted to take a picture, but that would've been pretty lame. At least I still had motivation. I looked back to him and felt awkward again.
"Tell me about your family." He said, his eyes dimly lit up by the moon.
"Well, I have one brother, and a dog, and of course my mom and dad, who are still together. And they all love me very much and we're a big happy family."
"Are you serious?" He asked, squinting at me. I thought about it for a minute, and it was all pretty true. I nodded.
"Well it's always nice having a good loving family and not being a tormented soul who hates their relations. Not that I'm like that." He turned away from me for a second and then turned back. I touched his arm for comfort, but mostly because I really wanted to touch his arm. He slid it out from under my touch and grasped my hand.
"Can I tell you something?" He said, his eyes sparkling with moonlight. I nodded slowly.
"You're pretty. And I like you." He smiled.
"Are you drunk?" I asked him and he laughed.
"Of course not!" He said.
"What's going on out here?" Trey popped his head outside. He gave us a crazy smile and waved his hand at us.
"You crazy kids. Craaazy kids." He said, and slid the balcony door shut. Brant looked at me for a second and stood up.
"I'd better go."
"Oh. Okay. You want your tea?" I asked, holding it up to him. He took a big gulp and put it back in my hand. I shook my head.
"I really enjoyed this." He made a sweeping motion of the balcony. "Thank you."
"Well, thank you for getting Trey back. I wouldn't have been able to." I said as I walked him to the door.
"You take care of him. I'll be checking back." He smiled. "Goodnight Jaide." He said as he opened the door.
"Goodnight." I said as he pulled me into a hug. He held me tightly for a few seconds and let go. Did he just touch my butt? I shook my head; he couldn't have.
"Bye." He touched my hand and walked out the door. I closed it behind him. I couldn't believe that happened. I had actually met someone at one of Kay's godforsaken parties who I actually liked. I went to my room and sat down at my laptop. I opened Internet Explorer and my homepage popped up. It just so happened to be myspace. I glanced at it for a minute.
Okay so maybe I could be a little creepy and just see if he had one, and see how old he was. It was bugging me. He seemed a bit older. I clicked Search. I typed in his name and searched for Brant Howard within five miles of me and only one profile popped up under the name 'Brantosaurus'. The picture was a close-up of his face and I recognized his eyes right away. I clicked on it. His background was nothing too fancy. I dared myself to look at his age.
Brantosaurus, Male, 25 years old, Chicago, Illinois.
Okay. So he was only 5 years older than me. 5? 5! I panicked a little but then I realized that my parents were ten years apart. So it can't be that weird, can it? Yes it can. He's in a totally different generation, and he already finished school. I must be like a child to him. I groaned and closed my laptop.
What was I thinking?