Morrissey Made Me Love Him
He was quiet, brooding and closed off. He sat next to me every class, even following me when I changed seats. He never talked, never looked my way and if it weren't for that damn Morrissey shirt, I'd have kicked his stalking ass.
"Womanizer, womanizer… womanizer!"
I groaned loudly, pointlessly hoping it would interrupt the loud singing coming from across the room. When it didn't, I pulled my pillow over my head knowing I was officially up for the day but unwilling to look over and see crazy Simona dancing in front of the mirror.
And I knew without looking that it was much earlier then I need to be up at.
All of last night was spent in a cramped plane, trying to fend off the woman next to me whose head kept falling onto my shoulder as she slept. It was my luck that I got seated next to a drooler. And I don't mean just a little spittle, this woman created a pool on my shoulder. Olympic swimmers would have been able to do high dives into it. Olympic swimmers could have done high dives into it and a yacht could have escorted them to the ladder, because I guarantee they'd never have found the edge of that pool on their own.
At the end of the last school year, I'd managed to win an internship with a prestigious law firm in England by the name of Colbourgh and Bohrn's. It would look great on my application to law school but all it really meant was I spent four months running coffee and carting memos from office to office, with a lot of 'yes, sir.' and 'how do you, m'am' and 'will that be all?' All I was missing was combat boots and a wall to climb over. There was also very little contact with Colbourgh and Bohrn themselves. Though I did see them around the office; definitely drill sergeant material. I was considering giving both of them whistles and G.I hats before I left.
The one good thing was that the clerks loved me, but that may have been because I took over their lackey positions. For once they weren't the bottom of the food chain.
The internship ended this past Monday but thankfully I'd convinced the University to let me start the school year a week late. Unfortunately this meant I spent all of Tuesday rushing back. And just as my luck is, my once non-stop flight got switched to a connection flight. That wouldn't have been so bad if my second flight wasn't delayed for an hour.
Then when I finally, finally got in this morning at 2:00, I find out that since I was late I couldn't get the dorm I requested and instead got paired off with a random girl. It's only when I got into my dorm that I realized it wasn't just a random girl.
No, of course my luck would make me dormmates with Simona Trumont. A nice girl overall but notoriously loud and quirky. Not such a bad thing, but I like my peace and I knew I'd have very little of it with Simona.
The first time I met her was at Freshman Orientation. I was exploring the campus with a few kids from my department- we'd broken off from the tour- and we'd went to one of the coffee carts. I guess her and a friend must have had the same idea as us because we met her there. Simona always seems normal when people first meet her but she fits the bill of "first impressions can be misleading." I'd been talking to her about music when she broke out. She sang- shrilly- Culture Club's Karma Chameleon to me.
Choreographed dancing included.
I'd told her I liked 80's music. I was thinking The Cure, she thought Culture Club.
Boy George. Really?! That's what represents the 80's in her mind!?
Anyway, like I predicted, I'm getting very little peace. I'm hiding in bed on a Wednesday morning because my roommate decided the mirror needed to see her Britney tribute. Now, Simona isn't a bad dancer. As far as I know, she's here studying dance but her singing skills definitely don't match her dance skills. She makes 'womanizer' sound more like 'woo-mon-i-zar.'
To each his own, I guess.
Two down, a billion more to go.
I dragged myself out of my psychology class, thinking I was crazy for ever choosing to take psychology at 10:00 in the morning. I can barely function at noon. It didn't help that I was a week late and behind everyone else in studying.
And I wasn't counting down classes; I was counting down cups of coffee.
Maybe not a billion, maybe another two plus a Rockstar?
Simona had finally left for class about a half hour after she woke me up. After the door slammed, I poked my head out of the covers and discovered it was 7 a.m. Seven-freaking-a.m.
So not only is Simona loud, but she's a morning person. My luck at work again, folks.
I tried to fall back asleep but I finally gave up at 8:00, threw on my old athletics tee and some sweats then headed for the nearest coffee cart where I stayed until it was time for class.
When I'd reached the cart, I was completely out of breath and regretting wearing my sweats. As comfy as they are, they're not worth the heat. It turned out the nearest cart wasn't that near, it was three buildings away- and trust me, this campus is spaced out. I'm thinking the developers thought we students had bionic legs or something. Who can run to class- or coffee carts- when the nearest building is a football field away?
Anyway, the girl at the cart, whose name I found out was Posey, had given me all sorts of stink-eye until the end of our illustrious relationship when I paid for my dos cafes. I tip big for strong coffee, baby. She promptly proclaimed her love for me.
The guy working the cart with her looked absolutely crushed when she asked me to marry her. He looked a bit happier when I told her no, but promised to come back for more coffee.
Then came the brutal two and half hours of psychology from hell.
After making a detour to another coffee cart- sorry Posey, honey, I'm just not a one coffee cart kinda gal- I went on in search of my next class.
I still couldn't find it after 15 minutes. You'd think being my senior year I'd know my way around but since when do they put Political Science classes in the Chemistry building? What would a Political Science and Law major been doing in the Chemistry building?
Since this Poly Sci and Law major hadn't done anything in the Chemistry building before, I was lost.
Timetable, timetable, where are you? Timetable, timetable, tell me what to do.
At least the coffee's kicking in.
Once I found my schedule, and realized it was on the 6th floor, my lazy ass bypassed the stairs and headed straight for the elevator.
I was glad for that decision when I met a winded blonde girl outside my classroom. I gave her a smile but didn't recommend the elevator. Didn't want too many people crowding it, after all. No way was I taking the stairs.
There were only about three people in the class, including the winded blonde, when I walked in. I suppose there'd only be about another 20 or so students coming in.
That's the glory of a senior level class.
I made a stop by the instructor's desk, confirming that 'Mina Hautter' a.k.a me was on the roster. Then I sat at the back of the small class, watching people file in- some of them checking their own names on the roster.
I checked out the clothes of all the students coming in, it's always nice to see the diversity. What caught my eye was when one boy entered wearing a white, obviously vintage The Smiths shirt.
And indeed, Mr. Morrissey- also known in my world as The Man- was staring back at me from his white cotton home.
He's easy on the eyes.
Not Morrissey, but the boy wearing him.
At least what I could see of him. He had a black hooded sweatshirt on but he had a nice athletic build, broad shoulders and a tuft of chocolate brown hair peeking out from the hood.
The class had filled up quick so I wasn't that surprised when he took a seat next to me. A lot of people preferred the back row.
Normally, I'd have started a conversation but as soon as he sat, he hunched over his notebook and didn't look up for the rest of class.
In the next class I felt more comfortable sitting in the middle of the room. It was nice getting to class early; I got my pick of seating.
It was another ten minutes before anyone else entered the classroom, and I was swinging my chair from side to side and watching the white ceiling blur for the second I was in motion.
I was too distracted to notice anyone sitting down beside me, but once the instructor walked in and I finally sat up, I saw Mr. Morrissey Shirt sitting beside me.
I only recognized him because of the same black hoodie; I still couldn't see his face. There was white cord winding its way from under the hood to his pocket. I only had a moment to wonder if he was listening to The Smiths on his iPod when his had came out to the side like he was handing me something.
It took another moment for me to realize he was passing me a sheet. When I took it, I saw it was only the attendance sheet my anal retentive instructor passed around.
I frowned and signed my name, passing it off to the person on my other side.
The next week I chose a seat in the front, at the far left. Just for a change of view.
The winded blonde from the first class sat behind me, and began talking to me about the lecture last class.
I was actually blown away by this conversation. She sounded like she memorized the textbook but she made it sound way more interesting. I was in the middle of trying to convince her to go into teaching Poly Sci or to go into Politics when I heard someone fall heavily into the seat beside me.
My head was turned just enough, without actually looking away from Janet, a.k.a Winded Blonde, to see Mr. Mysterious Morrissey Shirt. He was sitting pretty stiffly, looking straight ahead and not moving.
After a minute of semi-silence (Janet was still talking) he sighed and hunched down like usual, pulling out his notebook and began writing something.
"Don't you think so?"
Fully turned back to Janet now I smiled and nodded, hoping that she hadn't asked me something ridiculous and kicking myself for not paying attention.
In the middle of a spiel about benefits and disadvantages of the structures of capitalism from my Poly Sci instructor- who I was ignoring- I leaned forward until my head was almost hanging off the table, the side of my face pressed to the smooth wood.
Not all inconspicuous but I highly doubted he even noticed. Mr. Mysterious and Brooding Morrissey Shirt was staring at the instructor. I think. His hood was still up. Either way I doubt he saw me.
When I walked into class, I had made sure to choose a seat completely on the opposite side of the room from where I sat last class. I sat down on the far right, in the back corner where I was overshadowed by one of the large speakers hanging off the wall. You know, the ones that are hooked to the instructors mic.
Still, as usual, Mr. Mysterious and Brooding Morrissey Shirt plopped down beside me.
I was convinced I had a stalker.
One whose face I still hadn't seen. That's why I was leaning, and just as I was sure I'd catch a glimpse of his face, he turned his hood covered head to the opposite side.
I thought maybe he was trying to avoid my stare, but then his head turned back to face the front and a white sheet was placed in front of me.
The attendance sheet had finally made its rounds and he had placed it in front of me.
After signing my name, I left it on the desk and took up my previous position. My head was closer to hanging off the table this time, and I was sure he noticed me now.
When he still didn't say anything- why wouldn't you say something to the girl laying over the table to see you?- I opened my mouth, intending to confront him about the stalking.
I turned my head to the right and lifted it slightly off the table.
Mr. Tyler Neil- my instructor- stood at the end of the table, right next to my seat.
"Are you done with that?"
He pointed and I followed the direction of his finger to the attendance sheet that was currently squished between my chest and the table.
Once he had his sheet in hand, he walked back to the front of the room and I sat properly in my seat, not looking at anyone, especially the boy next to me.
Over the weeks I became sure he was following me around the class.
It became a game of musical chairs; each class I chose a random seat, usually as far away from my previous seat as possible and each class, without fail, he sat next to me.
Sometimes I would turn half-way to confront him and then change my mind and face the other way. I was being a chicken but I couldn't figure out how to yell at him for following me while still managing to sweet talk his The Smiths shirtfrom him.
Each class, I took the opportunity to look at him but I was never as obvious about it as my first attempt. I managed to learn a bit about him just by observing, which honestly was never something I was very good at.
He always came in wearing earphones, but he always removed them as soon as he sat down. He always left the ear buds hanging out of his hoodie, which changed over the weeks from his original black to a deep blue one to a red and black one. He always wrote in his notebook, but I wasn't so sure it was class notes. He'd sit down, pause for a minute like he didn't know what to do, then pull out the notebook and begin writing before class even started.
He tapped his finger on the desk whenever the lecture got really boring. Or at least, when it got really boring to me. I don't know, maybe he tapped his finger when he found it really interesting.
I don't think he knew anyone in the class because no one else ever sat with him and he didn't talk to anyone.
I'd never even see him look at anyone but the instructor unless he turned to grab the attendance sheet from someone.
And he never wore that Morrissey shirt again. He did wear a few other good music ones but mostly he wore plain colored ones.
A few weeks into the course, he did finally take off his hood. When he did, I think I nearly died of shock. Not because he was amazingly good-looking but because he actually took off his hood.
It had actually scared me a bit, because it was the middle of class and I had been staring at him again. I thought he took it off so he could snap and tell me to stop staring, but all he did was take it off and run a hand through his chocolate colored hair.
I had turned away so fast; I think the whole class heard the whipping sound my hair made. And I hadn't looked at him for the rest of class. Now that his hood was down I couldn't be sure he wouldn't see me.
The class after that, after he sat next to me, he took his hood down again and once the lecture started, I shot glances at him for the whole class.
Like I said, he wasn't amazingly good-looking but I was right with my first assumption that he was easy on the eyes. I knew he was probably the same height as my 5"9'. His hair was short enough that it didn't hang in his face but long enough that he didn't look like an army brat. It was sort of combed forward in a way that made it tuft out in the front. I'd have said he was trying to attempt the Morrissey look but if that were true, it was an awful attempt. I had a feeling that's how his hair naturally was though; it didn't look gelled. It was just sort of a spikey mess in the front.
His face was a little scruffy, but not in the I-haven't-bathed-in-a-week way but in an attractive I-have-better-things-to-do-then-shave way.
After that he always wore his hood down, and I had no problems observing him for most of the class. Subtly, of course.
Another shock came though about halfway through the first term of university.
I had decided to choose one of the few seats I hadn't sat in yet, the far right of the front row. Like usual Mr. MBMS, as he came to be known to me, sat beside me. Since I was at the end of the row, he had no choice but sit on my left.
This meant that when our instructor handed out the attendance sheet, I was the first to get it. For the first time I was the one to hand the sheet to Mr. MBMS. I didn't do anything but hand it off to him like he usually did to me; without looking at him. I hadn't really thought anything of it until I heard a smooth voice next to me.
"Mina Hautter. That's your name?"
My mouth dropped open so I'm sure he knew I was shocked. Mr. MBMS was holding the attendance sheet, as if I needed him to indicate that's where he read my name, and he just watched me.
Once I came to my senses, which thankfully didn't take long, I shook my head.
"Nope, I just decided to use someone else's name." My voice wasn't sarcastic at all; it was deadpan.
He seemed to know I was joking though because he smiled. He had a cute smile; his teeth were all white and straight except for one in front of his left eyetooth which seemed to slant slightly to the right.
"Well what's your real name then?"
"Natanya Ivansky." I said this proudly with a Russian accent, knowing my accent was good since I took Russian.
He laughed, turning to face me to- I assume- continue talking. That's when I noticed he was wearing the Morrissey shirt again.
Every class after that he continued to talk to me and I began to realize more about him. He wasn't as brooding as I first thought, just very quiet. I noticed from the few times Janet had joined us that he was social but sort of subdued in his interactions with people. Like he was amiable but didn't really know what to do sometimes.
He also had a good sense of humor and seemed to understand mine.
I remember our second conversation went something along the lines of:
"Well hello, Ms. Natanya Ivansky." This was said as he sat next to me, this time in the back of the room again.
"Well hello, Mr…" I had gone to say Mr. MBMS but I realized quickly that would have sounded weird.
He just laughed and thankfully didn't ask questions, "My name is Jonas Creall."
My eyebrow had gone up at that, "Jonas?"
Making a face, Jonas had shaken his head. "Yes but to be fair, I was born before any of the Jonas Brothers."
"Which is good because I'd have thought your parents were crazy if they named you after the Disney popstars."
"At least it isn't my last name. I don't have to deal with teenage girls asking me if I'm related to them."
I had wiggled my eyebrows at that, "It'd be a good way to get the girls."
"I wouldn't want a girl who listens to the Jonas Brothers. I'm more a classic rock, 80's music kinda man than a pseudo-rock one."
"Aw, you know love them. I bet you can't resist the wiles of Joe Jonas."
Sighing, he slumped into his seat, "It's true, I admit it. He's a stud." He even managed to sound really embarrassed.
I had laughed all the way until the lecture started, stifling it as the instructor started up his slides.
Just as I started taking notes, Jonas leaned to me and whispered against my ear, "By the way, I'm a little afraid that you actually know the names of the Jonas Brothers."
We spent most of the classes joking around rather than paying attention. Apparently, we both found it boring.
I'd learned that Jonas had transferred to this university for his last year and he was an art student who was minoring in Poly Sci to make his mom happy.
"I don't know if it's just how this Poly Sci program is managed, but I learned this material in freshman year." He had whispered to me during class.
I hid a laugh as the instructor went over one of Marx's theories again. "No, it's just this instructor. I learned this already too."
This was around the same time he showed me what he always wrote in his notebook. It wasn't notes and it was hardly even writing, most of it was detailed plans for paintings or the projects he had to finish for his art classes.
I had stopped moving around the class, and towards the end of the term we always sat in the back of the class, listening to his iPod (which had the Smiths on it, like I imagined, among some other great bands) or playing tic-tac-toe in his notebook. Neither of us ever mentioned how he used to follow me around the class.
The day he brought a French Vanilla Cappuccino to class is the day I revealed my love for all this caffeinated to him.
As soon as he sat down next to me and I smelled that wonderful French Vanilla smell, I knew it'd be a good day.
"That smell is happiness incarnate," I told him.
He laughed and waved the cup under my nose, then laughed again as I yanked it from his hands.
I stole his coffee and he just laughed. He was officially my new best friend and I told him so as I drank his coffee.
He smiled, but I was distracted as, for the first time, he pulled off his hoodie and let it hang off the back of his chair.
He had muscular arms, and his being only in a t-shirt reinforced my original assumption that he had an athletic body. I had just been thinking that I'd have to remind myself to ask him if he played a sport when I took notice of his shirt.
Guess which shirt it was? Morrissey! (and the rest of the Smiths, but The Man is who caught my attention.)
I stared at the white shirt as he took out his notebook, and when he noticed me staring at his shirt- at least I hope he knew I was staring at the shirt and not his chest- I smiled and held the coffee cup up to him.
That shirt made me do weird things, things I'd never usually do; like share coffee.
The next class after the coffee sharing incident was pretty normal, all the way until the end.
We were both standing by our respective seats, packing up our bags and in his case, putting his hoodie back on.
"Sorry I didn't bring you another "happiness incarnate", Ivansky." He'd taken to calling me by my Russian alter-ego's name. It was always 'Hey, Natanya' or 'Hello, Ms. Natanya Ivansky.' Or 'Ivansky, doesn't Mr. Neil sound like Lenin killed his dog or something?'- We had suffered through a lecture about the evils of Leninism that day and the unrealistic elements of Marxism.
"I said the smell was happiness incarnate, Jo." I had begun calling him that because not only was it a short form of Jonas but it reminded him of our Joe Jonas conversation. "The actual coffee is like an orgasm times five."
Since the class was nearly emptied out now, I made my way towards the door and he followed me, grinning at what I said, "Good to know. But as I was saying, sorry I didn't bring one but I was thinking we could go get coffee right now."
I was a little surprised since we'd never hung out together outside of class and we never even made attempts to but I nodded anyway and we began the trek to the nearest- again, not so near- coffee cart.
It was about twenty minutes later when I bothered to look around and realized we had been so focused on our conversation that we hadn't realized we had passed the first coffee cart.
We laughed but didn't really think much of it and continued walking to the next cart. It just so happened this cart was the one my dear Posey worked at.
The line wasn't too long so we made it to the front pretty fast, and I smiled widely up at Posey who, from my numerous coffee stops on the way to class, actually recognized me.
I ordered a French Vanilla and Jonas leaned over me, his shoulder pressing against mine, "Make that two."
Posey eyed him a little, but went to make the coffee and Jo and I made small talk with Posey's admirer/co-worker.
When Posey came back, Jo paid for our coffees but I still managed to hand her a large tip.
She smiled widely, "Thanks! You change your mind yet?" I wasn't so sure anymore if she was joking about that marriage proposal.
"Sorry, Posey, but nope. By the way, this is Jonas. Jonas, this is Posey, she sustains my coffee addiction."
They shook hands and Posey was perfectly nice, thank god.
As we walked away, towards where I didn't really know but we walked anyway, he looked sideways at me, "Why was she asking if you changed your mind?"
I grinned up at him, "Oh, she was just wondering if I'd reconsider marrying her."
He nearly spit his coffee out, staring at me like he was deciding if he should laugh or not, "What?!"
I laughed, mostly because he had a line of coffee dripping from his mouth, "The day I got back from England, I bought coffee from her. I was completely exhausted and needed the caffeine so when she made me two strong cups I tipped her pretty big. I guess she was so happy she proposed to me."
He laughed with me, wiping his mouth and we continued walking, having stopped when I had made my shocking announcement. "Oh so it's like an inside joke."
"That's what I thought but she asks me every other day if I'll reconsider. I don't know any more if she's joking."
"Maybe she thinks you really like her since you tip so big."
The man has a point.
We ended up walking around my building twice, and I entertained him with stories of crazy Simona's antics, including her latest performance of Katy Perry's I Kissed a Girl where she'd sing a verse then kiss her own reflection.
Seeing as it was a week before midterms, I finally had to call a stop to our aimless walking so I could go up to my dorm and study as much as I could before Simona came back.
He walked with me to the door of my building, waiting as I fished out my key card to enter the secure building.
"So would you wanna do this again?"
I looked up at him, my hand still stuck in my messenger bag,
"What? Walk a mile to get a coffee, introduce you to my would-be fiancée then burn off all the yummy coffee calories by circling my building?"
He shrugged at me, slipping his hand into his pockets. "If that's what you want but I was thinking more like ingesting more of those yummy coffee calories in an actual coffee house, maybe one that serves food too."
"Why?" I let my bag drop back down to my side, and leaned against the door.
"Because it's nice to have yummy food calories once in awhile?"
"I meant why do you want to do this again."
He frowned and ran a hand through his hair like he did the dayhe first took his hood off. I had noticed he did this when he didn't really know what to say.
"What? You didn't like coming out with me today?"
I tilted my head, staring at him. "No, I did." And it was true; Jonas was fun to hang around, I was just curious as to why we were suddenly making plans to go out when we spent most of the term just sitting next to each other.
He smiled, "Then come out with me tomorrow. C'mon," He grinned and lifted his hands out of the pockets, using them to pull at either side of Morrissey's face on the Smiths shirt he just happened to wear today. "Morrissey wants you to."
I had accidently let it slip while we were walking that I found his shirt compelling.
Frowning down at his hands, I watched Morrissey dance around on his chest as he manipulated the picture. "Okay. I'll meet you down here tomorrow." I knew he wouldn't be able to meet me inside since you needed a key card and password to get in the doors.
He nodded, "Six o'clock." When I agreed, he waved and took off towards another residence building.
My closet was opened, clothes and shoes spilling out of it and the underbed storage where I kept some of my clothes was in a similar situation.
I never really considered myself incredibly girly but I felt as though I was; I was so confused about what to wear.
I usually dressed feminine but casual and comfortable. I wasn't one for dresses, heels and hoards of jewelry that would make an Anglo-Saxon jealous. I don't think I even owned heels, they just weren't practically for running to classes and they definitely weren't practical for working at the campus athletics facility.
I also wasn't one to walk around in track pants, sneakers and a sports top.
This is another reason I felt incredibly girly today, I've never analyzed what I wear before.
And it's this state of complete confusion and girlishness that Simona walked in on.
She smiled and gave out a little chuckle, "You look like you're having a hard time."
I blew a bit of hair out my face: most of the blonde nearly brown strands had fallen out of my bun when I began flinging my clothes around.
She skipped over to my bed, humming a tune. I was actually surprised she wasn't outright singing today. She pushed over some of my clothes and sat down, looking at mess I made.
I threw up my hands, the shirt I'd been holding flying across the room, "That's exactly it! I don't know! He asked me to 'come out' with him. He never said it was just hanging out but he never said it was a date either."
She hmmm'ed and I got a dreadful feeling that she'd want to do some over the top makeover on me like they do in movies.
When she didn't say anything or move for awhile, I began grumbling to myself about how guys needed to be more specific.
She giggled and patted my head like I was a child, "You have a nice sense of style, Mina. As long as you don't go in your sweats, you should be fine with something you'd normally wear. Did he say where he was taking you?"
"He mentioned a coffee house, but one that serves food."
"Well, at least he knows what he's getting into with your addiction to coffee" I looked at her a bit weirdly then, I never knew she knew about my caffeine addiction. "Dress casual, but nice. If he's trying to play to your coffee addiction, I doubt he'd take you anywhere too fancy."
I nodded and she retreated- by dancing- to her side of the room.
Her advice was vague, but good so when she started singing Viva la Vida by Coldplay, I didn't complain at all. At least she gave the mirror a break this time.
It was five to six, and I'd finally gotten dressed and pushed all my clothes back into the closet.
I'll have to organize that later.
Simona was standing at the end of her bed in front of her mirror, going through a dance routine. I assumed it was for a class this time since she looked a little calmer than did she does during her morning routines.
When she saw me getting ready to leave, she turned and inspected what I was wearing. It was just a nice pair of dark jeans, a white tee with some sort of swirly design down my right side and a clean pair of Converse.
"Oh, wait!" She rushed into her closet, and I could hear all the hangers swinging together as she dug around.
"Here!" She flung something at me and it hit me in the face.
It was a black cardigan-like vest that fastened with purple buttons which would match my shoes.
I smiled at her, and put the vest on, thinking that Simona wasn't as obnoxious as I thought, "Thanks!"
As I turned the corner from our room, I heard her loudly singing a song from Hairspray.
I cringed and saw a guy walking in the opposite direction as me do the same.
The coffee shop Jonas took me to was quaint but classy. The walls were painted a forest green, and the couches were wood with thick brown cushions. Students and other patrons sat all over in high tables that matched the rest of the décor: wood, with green and brown cushions and in the case of the tables, green napkins in iron napkin holders.
It looked like a place that was trendy enough to cater to students but homey and comfortable enough to draw in an older crowd.
There was a long wooden counter where people were ordering coffee, but I also noticed that there were a few waitresses around dropping off plates of food to customers.
Jonas led me over to a corner that was populated by groups of couches, and we each sat in a large armchair, facing each other over a low table.
I assumed he was talking about the seating and not the place, so I nodded and smiled.
"This place is called Bella Notte. Kinda odd for a coffee place, but in the evening it gets more customers coming in for meals than coffee."
I motioned over to the lineup for coffee, "Still doing pretty good in the coffee area though." I looked back to him, "So how do we order?"
He waved over a waitress, a short peppy girl in a green apron,
"Hi, guys! This is our menu, our special tonight is chicken tortellini. Just let me know when you're ready to order."
The menu she handed us was just a small laminated piece of beige paper with Bella Notte written in swirly letters at the top. The rest was in neat block print. Most of the food seemed to be Italian, except for a few French pastries that were listed.
"They really only serve a few dishes, the only thing that really changes is the special." He seemed a bit shifty, "It's all really good though," He assured me.
I smiled at him, "I believe you." He sounded a little like he was trying to convince me that the place was good.
We ended up ordering two chicken paninis and an order of bruschetta.
The few minutes it took for our orders to come was spent talking about the pieces he was working on for his classes, something I was really interested in since I had no skill in art and had yet to see any of his drawings, save for the quickly sketched plans in his notebook.
When the orders came, we ate in silence. Which didn't last all that long since Jonas ate his food like he was a starving wolf and his panino was the fattest deer he'd ever seen.
I only raised my eyebrow at him and kept eating.
He at least looked sheepish, "I told you it was good."
The waitress took away his plate, and he sat forward with his arms resting on the table.
"I don't think I told you, but you look really nice today,"
When I looked up at him from my plate, he had the sheepish look on again and he was playing with the napkin holder on our table.
"Thanks, you look good too." And it was true. He wore a pair of blue jeans that were much less paint stained than his other ones and a black polo under his red and black sweater.
He seemed really awkward tonight and when he ran his hands through his hair, I knew didn't know how to respond.
"So, Jo," I grinned at the rhyme, "You said we were gonna get some coffee calories with this food?"
He grinned and jumped up, running over to the coffee counter. I had thought that would have gotten him talking, not gotten him running.
When he came back, he was holding two coffees with foamed tops that had caramel dripped on top.
"Now, that looks good."
He set one down in front of me and sat back down with his. "Bailey's Irish coffee with whipped cream and caramel, for you Natanya."
I sipped it, immediately in heaven.
"Oh my lord! Jonas, this is amazing."
"I can't believe you've never had it before. It's one of the best items here," He paused for a minute, and a grin overtook his face, "So is it better than French Vanilla?"
I narrowed my eyes at him, knowing that wasn't such a simple question, "Mmm… maybe."
"Times ten, maybe?"
I threw my napkin at him, he just had to remember my comment about how good French Vanilla was. "Maybe."
Wanting to get away from that topic, I asked him how he found out about this place.
"Oh, my older sister used to go to uni here. That's part of the reason I transferred here, because she made it sound so amazing. Anyway, we drove up together and she helped me move into my dorm. She showed me around a little before she left, and this is one of the places she took me to."
"I'm glad she did, it's great."
"I'm glad too, or I would have had no clue where to bring you for a date."
As I often seem to do, I looked at him in surprise. I only had enough time to see him look slightly embarrassed before I was covered in soda.
One of the trainee waitresses had passed behind me with a tray full of soft drinks. She must have bumped into a chair or something because the sodas fell all over me and some splashed onto Jonas.
Two other waitresses came with rags and a mop, and the trainee immediately started apologizing.
We left soon after that with two free éclairs in a bag.
My shirt was completely soaked through and was light brown instead of white. Jonas had specks of drying soda on his face and his sweater was a darker red in its wet state.
We climbed into his little Toyota, which he had told me earlier he had got just after he moved here. It was clearly used but not too beat up, except for a little rust around the wheels and a tear in the seat, right beside my thigh.
He drove towards campus, and glanced quickly at me before looking back to the road, "I'm really sorry, Mina. For the soda thing."
"You didn't spill it, Jonas."
"I know, but that's a pretty shitty end to a first date." He didn't look embarrassed this time.
I wasn't about to bring down the mood with questions, so I smiled at him. "Really? I thought it was a pretty entertaining end. It's a story to tell and we got free food out of it."
He grinned, and the mood was a lot more playful after that.
Once we got on campus, just before the residence buildings, Jo hesitated before asking me something,
"I know you probably want to change, and I don't want to sound like I'm trying to be fresh or anything, but did you want to come hang out at my dorm?"
I raised an eyebrow at him.
"I know what it sounds like but it's only 7:30 and I don't want it to end just yet. Besides, I can show you some of those paintings I was telling you about."
I agreed and we drove past my building to the end of the residences area where I guess his building was.
When we walked up to the building I realized it was the residence that held all the top of the line, fancy and expensive as hell suites. It was the only dorm with suites; two students per suite, each with their own room and they shared a kitchen, living room and bathroom. Why the hell did Jonas bother with a used car if he could afford to live here?
He led us into his shared suite, which was on one of the upper floors. The living room was incredibly neat and it had a huge collection of movies that were housed on a long bookcase. There was a large screen TV sitting in front of simple a black couch which played off the light cream color that the Uni painted all the rooms in.
His hand wrapped around my upper arm, and pulled me towards two doors on our immediate left. He ushered me through the second, the farthest away from the front door.
"There's t-shirts in the second drawer, and some sweatpants in the last drawer. You can choose something to change into."
Nodding, I turned and heard him shut the door behind me. His room was neat but cluttered. The single bed was pushed against the far wall, under the window, and his desk was to my right against the same wall the door was at. A large oak dresser was at the foot of his bed, facing me and taking up the rest of the room along that wall. The end table next to his bed held a clock and a small stereo. CDs were piled up under the table. To my left was an easel, with several canvas standing behind it, their painted fronts facing the wall. Between the easel and the end table I could see the doors to his closet.
Textbooks and sketchbooks were piled on his desk, as were paints and brushes. His desk was covered by deodorant and shampoo and the like. All in all it looked like he had too much stuff and not enough space.
There was also a soccer ball and cleats dropped next to his desk. Well I was right that he plays a sport.
Thinking I was taking too much time examining his room, I rushed to his dresser and pulled out a pair of sweats from the drawer he indicated. I doubt anything he had would fit me well so I just grabbed the first pair my hand touched. When I opened his t-shirt drawer, I had to grin to myself.
Lying on top of all his shirts was the Smiths shirt I so coveted, folded neatly.
Of course, I took that one.
When I left his room, he was already changed into a pair of flannel pajama bottoms and black shirt with 'The Cure' written across his chest. He was waiting for me, lazily flipping through channels on the TV.
"How did you change already?"
He motioned to a black bag by his door, "Did laundry this morning that I never put away."
"Oh," I sat down and he looked at me then, laughing at my choice in shirt.
"Am I ever going to get that shirt back?"
"You'll have to trade me for that The Cure shirt you're wearing." As much as I loved the Smiths, the Cure would always be first in my heart.
Strangely, he seemed to be happy at that, "You like The Cure?"
"No, I just want the shirt for the pretty writing."
He nodded to himself, "I figured you'd like The Cure. Besides you're knowledge of the Jonas Brothers, you have good taste in music."
I was just happy he knew The Cure and didn't have Boy George and Culture Club representing the 80's in his brain. I still can't believe Simona.
We went back to his room and he showed me some of the paintings he had done and the ones he was working on. When he'd gone through the explanation of them, he grabbed a book from his desk and we sat back down on the couch.
He put the book down on the end table next to him, and I didn't ask him about it as we decided on a movie to watch.
"What about The Godfather?"
I rolled my eyes. Typical guy. "I've seen it too many times" Every boyfriend I had made me watch it; it was a good movie, but c'mon!
"Err… I don't know why this is here but A Walk to Remember?"
Grinning, I realized he was trying to play nice and let me watch a girly movie. "No thanks, Jo. Not my type of movie."
He let out a long breath, "Thank god. My sister drives me nuts with those movies."
I pointed at the TV screen, where he was scrolling through movies using an on-demand feature.
"Oh! Batman! I love Tim Burton."
"What about the new Batman?"
I put my hand down, turning my body to look at him, "What new one?"
"The Dark Knight?" He selected it on the menu, and the description screen came on, showing me the movie poster.
"Never seen it."
Jonas looked really offended at that, "What?! Are you for real? I mean, it's no masterpiece and Bale is a bit of an idiot but Heath Ledger was amazing in this."
That pretty much settled it, and we started the movie.
Partway through the movie, around the time Bruce Wayne had all the ballet dancers on his boat, Jonas' arm slipped down around my shoulders. I didn't bother to look over at him, and simply leaned against him, tucking my feet up on the couch. He was warm and comfortable so I had no problem with letting him hold me, especially when he couldn't see me blush in the dark.
Somehow during the rest of the movie, we had ended up partly lying on the couch. Jonas was slouched to the side, his back resting against the arm of the couch, and his legs hanging off the side. I was lying in the space between his body and couch, pressed comfortably against him with my arm around his waist.
When the movie ended, Jonas put it on mute and let the credits run. We didn't move from our position and Jonas reached his arm behind him to switch on the lamp.
He handed me the black book from the table, "Take a look."
I turned myself so I was facing up, more of my back against Jo's chest. The side of his face was pressed into my hair and his breath was stirring the strands. It was a little distracting, lying with him like this.
The book was leather bound, with a few loose pages slipped into it. When I opened it to the first page, I realized it was a sketchbook. With Jonas looking over my shoulder, we flipped through his drawings together and he took some time to explain some of them to me.
Every so often he'd lift his hand to point a certain aspect out to me and his fingers would brush mine, distracting me from the sound of his voice as he described what he drew.
A few were of his hometown, some were of things around campus, and others seemed like character studies- these I realized were set at Bella Notte, the wood furniture and low tables giving it away.
But when we reached one of the loose pages, I had to pause. Stuck halfway in the book was a sheaf of lined paper that was torn all down one side. What made me pause was the drawing.
Drawn lightly in pencil was a sketch of me. My hair was up in my signature messy bun, and I recognized my athletics tee and blue sweats from my first Poly Sci class of the term. My coffee cup was raised to my lips, and I was biting on the edge of the lid. I look exhausted but I seemed amused as I stared over my coffee cup at something off the page.
The drawing was obviously ripped from his notebook, and as I traced the lines he drew, I turned my head, shifting as much as possible so I could see his face.
It took him awhile to reply, "I didn't really notice you when I first walked into class. I just sort of randomly sat down. About halfway through though I looked sideways and saw you drinking your coffee and laughing at something Mr. Neil said. It was just something I had to draw, plus you looked really cute in your old sweats and little athletics t-shirt."
So he wouldn't see my face turn red, I looked back to the drawing.
"I honestly didn't plan to sit next to you the next class, but when I got there I couldn't help it. Same thing with the next class, and I figured after that, I might as well just sit with you every class. I know you noticed me sitting next to you, because I'm sure you don't move around that much normally."
Laughing, I lifted my face back up to see him, "No I don't. But I thought it was really weird that you always sat next to me and never talked. I figured you didn't want to talk since you always had your hood up and never faced anyone; you seemed kind of broody."
He actually looked shocked by this, "Are you kidding? Every time I sat down, I waited for you to say something. I figured you'd question me about my following you around the class. Or I'd try to build up enough courage to say something but I eventually gave up." He let out an embarrassed laugh that sounded more like a sigh, "You kinda make me nervous, Ivansky."
"Are you kidding?"
This time he really laughed, "No, I didn't know what to say to you. After a few classes I thought you'd think I was a creep since I kept following you, so I didn't bother saying anything."
I closed the sketchbook, and he put it back on the table. I shifted more to my side, almost facing him fully, "So what made you start talking?"
"I saw your name on the attendance sheet, remember? I didn't know it before then and the question just sort of came out. It was a bit stupid, really. I mean you were the first person to get the sheet and there was only one name on it, so obviously that was your name."
"You could have just turned to me and start talking about anything, you know. Even if you said, 'Hi, I'm Dracula' I would have been like 'Really? Can I see your castle?'"
Chuckling, he ran a hand through my hair, which was still sticky with soda. It was still relaxing though and I laid my head against his chest, staring at the TV screen.
"I know that now. I didn't know how you'd react though; I didn't know you were so easygoing at the time. I guess it's just lucky you got the attendance sheet first that day."
Snorting, I lifted my head again, "I think it's just lucky that you had such a nice shirt with Morrissey on it or I wouldn't have noticed so much."
His hand moved to the back of my neck, playing with the hair there, "Maybe I'm just lucky in general." When he smiled I lifted my hand and tapped his one crooked tooth, remembering I had thought he had a cute smile because of it.
I guess he didn't really mind his crooked tooth so much because his smile grew and I had just enough time to move my hand before his mouth pressed against mine. It wasn't magical and mind altering, but it was thrilling and unnerving in a good way to kiss him and be so close to him.
His lips moved over mine, and I slipped my hands to the sides of his face, holding him to me.
We stayed like that, save for a few moments breath, until his roommate came in and catcalled, exclaiming about how 'Jonas finally got a girl.'
Jonas and I both made it through mid-terms alive and our routine in our Poly Sci class continued on in the second term, except now he'd lean down to kiss me when he came in and my hand often caught his while we were listening to his iPod.
Simona had sang herself silly when I came home wearing Jonas' clothes with my own in hand. Once she finished a verse of some random love song, she grilled me about the date that up until about three hours ago I wasn't even sure was a date. I happily told her.
She met Jonas a few days after that, greeting him with a 'So you're the boy my roommates so fond of.'
To which he replied- and I punched his arm for this- 'So you're the roommate that drives my girlfriend crazy.' I kissed him on the cheek for the girlfriend thing though, that was the first time he called me that.
Simona took it really well though, she just laughed and explained singing in the morning got her pumped for class. I'd have accepted this if it weren't for the fact that she sang before classes, between classes and after classes. I once caught her singing in her sleep, for god's sakes.
A lot of time spent with Jonas was spent driving around in his car, sitting at the Bella Notte, or lying in his room.
After being cussed out by his roommate for 'being all mushy in the neutral area' (cuddling in the living room) we had taken to lying in his bed and listening to his CDs.
I always stole his The Smiths shirt and a pair of his boxers to lie around in.
He'd laugh and pull me down next to him, kissing my neck while someone sang in the background.
We were lying there one day, facing each other and talking every so often. Our legs were tangled together and he had me pulled close, his hand pushing my shirt- well, his shirt technically- up my stomach to rest it on my side.
"You know, I have to say, as cute as you looked in those sweats and that t-shirt the first time I saw you, I prefer you in my clothes. Especially that shirt."
He tugged on Morrissey's picture. One of The Man's solo CDs also happened to be playing at the moment.
I kissed his chin, then his lips, "I prefer me in this shirt too."
He smiled, and so did I, if only because of his one crooked tooth. He rested his forehead against mine, and we went silent for a minute.
"I love you."
Thinking we were still on the subject of the shirt, despite the long pause, I said, "I'd love me in this shirt too."
Laughing loudly, he kissed my forehead then leaned away from me to lie on his back. It took a few minutes for him to calm back down and stop laughing, when he faced me again he was running a hand through his hair.
"That's not what I meant, Mina. I love you. In this shirt, in your athletics shirt, in any shirt."
My eyebrows went up, and tilted back to get a good look at his face, "In no shirt?"
Another laugh and he winked at me, "Especially that."
I smiled, kissing him a lot longer than I had last time. I slid onto my back and he followed me, hovering over me and we kissed for a few more minutes. When he moved to deepen the kiss, I broke away,
"I love you too."
His hand crept under my shirt again, to my stomach. This time when we kissed, he was the one to break away, "Yeah?"
I nodded, pecking him a few times on the lips, "Yeah, and I blame the shirt."
This time, I tugged on the cloth and I was the one to make the picture of Morrissey dance.
AN: 23 pages! I usually don't make one-shots that long.
Anyway, a few things:
UNO: This story actually has an element of truth to it. One of my classes last year was with this guy who always sat next time, even if I moved around the room. I never thought he was stalking me though, and he looked nothing like Jonas. And he never wore a The Smiths shirt. Anyway, I ended up getting bored with the class so I never went and didn't see him again.
DOS: Things I don't own/am not associated with: Britney Spears and her songs, The Culture Club/Boy George and their songs, The Cure, Rockstar Energy Drink, the Olympics, Morrissey/The Smiths, iPod, the Jonas Brothers/Joe Jonas, Disney, Marx, Lenin, Katy Perry and her songs, Coldplay and their songs, Converse, Hairspray, Baileys, Batman, The Dark Knight, Tim Burton, The Godfather, A Walk to Remember, Christian Bale, Heath Ledger, Dracula.
And I don't know of any law firms named Colbourgh and Bohrn's or cafés named Bella Notte.
Fun Fact #1: The Smiths shirt wasn't supposed to be a big part of the story; I just needed Jonas to be wearing some shirt that Mina would briefly comment on. Somehow the idea ran with the story and wrote itself in. Then I got the title 'Morrissey Made Me Love Him' stuck in my head and ta-da!
Fun Fact #2: Did anyone catch the Mina/Dracula thing? In the Bram Stoker's novel the girl's name is Mina, and she's going to marry Jonathan Harker. In the movie Nosferatu (Murnau's version), they changed the names to Ellen and Harker became Hutter. So my MC's name is Mina with an a added to Hutter (so it's not a total rip off) and she'd like to see Dracula's castle =)
P.S. I update my profile often with ideas (So I can keep track of them) Take a look and tell me what you guys would like to see!