As if things couldn’t get any worse, a pair of Travis’s underwear was hanging on the doorknob. I sighed and headed down to the lobby where there is a lounge area with a couple of hard leather sofas and a few chairs. There are also a few tables where students can get access to Wifi. A guy and his girlfriend were in one corner sitting on a sofa making out. I went over to another sofa, kicked off my shoes and lay down. A television mounted on the wall was tuned to ESPN. They were showing clips of the past weekend’s college football games. I closed my eyes and soon fell asleep.
I was awakened when the guy and his girlfriend got up and left the room. She let out a shriek when he grabbed her ass. When I opened my eyes, he was still grasping a handful of her fleshy skin.
I put on my shoes and headed back to my dorm room. It was after two in the morning, and Travis’s underwear was still on the door. It angered me that he was obviously going to let the girl spend the night without asking me first if it was all right. Of course, I would have told him no.
“Fuck it,” I muttered as I took the key out of my pocket and turned the lock. I carefully opened the door and peered inside. Travis and some strange girl were snuggled naked on his bed.
He lifted his head and wiped the sleep from his eyes as he looked over at my alarm clock. “What time is it?”
“After two,” I replied angrily. “Is she spending the night?”
He looked down at the naked girl curled asleep against his body. “Yeah, I guess,” he laughed. “You don’t mind, do you?”
“What am I supposed to do?”
“Hell,” he replied. “Go to bed. We won’t keep you awake.” He rested his head against her shoulder as he started to fall back asleep.
I went to my closet, took out some clean clothes and put them in a grocery bag. I then walked over and took my lap top off my desk. “Fucking idiot,” I muttered as I looked down at Travis as I opened the door.
His eyes popped open, and he sat up in bed. “What did you call me?”
I looked down at him and scowled. “I called you a fucking idiot,” I repeated as I opened the door.
“You’ll pay for that, Fag!” he shouted as I slammed the door shut.
I went back to the dorm lounge and lay down on the hard sofa. I didn’t even attempt to sleep because I was afraid to close my eyes. I was too scared that Travis might decide to take the girl back to her dorm and find me downstairs. I wasn’t sure if his threat was an idle response to my anger, or if he really did intend to pay me back for what I had called him. He had called me fag and homo numerous times, but I call him an idiot and he gets insulted. However, I knew guys like Travis could be dangerous if provoked.
I got up and left the building before seven. I didn’t want Jade or Sydney coming downstairs and seeing me. I walked over to the administration building in hopes that I could persuade someone from student housing to assign me a room change. The notice on the bulletin board said it didn’t open until 8:30. I took a seat on the floor beside the door and decided to wait. An hour later, the disagreeable woman who I had talked to previously walked past me and unlocked the door. She looked at her watch and informed me that it would be another fifteen minutes until the office opened. “Okay,” I muttered softly as I sat against the wall and closed my eyes.
Twenty-five minutes later, I heard her unlock the door. I stood and entered the small office. “You’ll have to take a number,” she announced sharply.
“Why?” I asked as I looked around at the empty room. “There’s no one else here.”
She pointed to a sign that said students would not be seen without a number. “Just follow the rules,” she snapped as she disappeared down a narrow hallway.
I took the number one, sat down in a seat and waited. A few other students entered and took a number. About twenty-five minutes later, she emerged and hollered out, “One.” I stood and handed her the number. She rolled her eyes at me, turned and strolled down the hallway until we reached her small cubicle.
She sat down and looked at me over her glasses. “Well, have a seat,” she said sharply. “What can I do for you?” She studied me carefully and then said, “Weren’t you in her last week asking for a room change?”
“Yes, Ma’am,” I replied politely. I had determined that by responding rudely to the obstinate woman would probably not be the best way to get a room change.
“My answer is still the same,” she responded. “Unless your room is uninhabitable, I can’t do anything.”
“But my roommate threatened to hurt me,” I replied. “If I continue to live with him, he’s going to harm me someday. He’s always calling me a fag or homo.”
She took her glasses off, sighed and laid them on the table. “I get students in here every day who don’t like who they room with. If I made changes every time two students have a disagreement, then we would have students changing rooms on a daily basis.”
“But you don’t understand,” I pleaded. She cut me off before I could say anything else.
“Part of the college experience is growing as an individual.” I could tell she was giving me the same lecture she gave every student. “Learning to recognize and accept differences is a part of that growth.”
“But he hates me!” I shouted. “I just know he’s going to hurt me!”
She glared at me and announced, “Then we’ll deal with that when the time comes.” She took my request for a room change, balled it up and tossed it in the wastebasket. She then snapped sharply, “Room change denied.”
“But...” I started to resist.
“Room change denied,” she repeated angrily. “Now leave. I have other students to deal with.”
I rose and looked down angrily at her. The word ‘bitch’ started to form on my lips, but I knew if I said it she would probably have me expelled from the university.
“Thanks, for nothing,” I said as I stormed out of the room.
I heard her responded coyly, “You’re welcome.”
I didn’t attend my sociology class. Jade and Sydney called me several times, but I didn’t answer. Seth called me once, and I assumed they put him up to it.
I spent most of my time in the university library. I had neglected doing some work, and I needed the time to catch up. I worked on a report for world civilization, and I completed an assignment for biology. When I left for my math class, I was caught up on most of my assignments. I would have to check with Jade to see what I missed in sociology. I just hoped the professor didn’t give a pop quiz. I heard that many professors liked to do that on Fridays just to prevent students from heading home early for the weekend.
Sydney and Jade were waiting outside the history building when I approached. They walked up to me and began asking me where I had been all morning. “We were worried something had happened to you,” remarked Sydney as she tried to hold back tears.
“Well, you can see I’m all right,” I replied sharply as I moved around them and headed into the building.
Jade grabbed my shoulder in an attempt to stop me. “What is wrong with you, Dorian?”
I looked angrily at her hand on my shoulder. She removed it when I shouted, “Why the hell don’t you leave me alone?” She backed away as I turned and stormed off to the classroom.
They didn’t say anything when they entered the room. However, I could sense that they kept staring at me all through class. When the professor dismissed us, I left hurriedly from the room. Sydney and Jade followed about six feet behind me. Ten minutes later, I entered a Burger King and ordered a soda, chicken sandwich and onion rings. Sydney and Jade ordered something also. When the server handed me my meal, I took it and sat at a booth toward the back of the restaurant.
Minutes later, Jade and Sydney approached and asked me if they could sit with me. “Free world,” I replied smugly as I nibbled on an onion ring. We ate in silence because girls were afraid to speak to me for fear that I might get up and hurry away.
I had almost completed my meal and was getting ready to leave when Seth entered the restaurant. He didn’t order, but he came over and sat down beside me. “Hey, guys,” he said cheerfully as he reached over and took a couple of Sydney’s fries and shoved them into his mouth.
When no one spoke, he laughed and said, “Did someone’s grandmother die?” Sydney and Jade looked quickly over at me.
Seth nodded his head and said knowingly, “I see.” He then stood, reached down and grabbed my arm, pulling me to my feet. “Let’s take a walk.” I started to pull his hand from my arm, but he gave me a warning look. He didn’t release my arm until we had exited the door. I turned to see if Sydney and Jade were following us, but they weren’t.
I didn’t know where we were going when we left the restaurant. Seth led the way while I trailed a couple of feet behind him. Soon, I realized we were heading back toward our dorm. When we entered the lobby, he turned and told me to wait. I went over to a seat and sat down while he got on the elevator. A few minutes later, he emerged carrying a plastic grocery bag.
He didn’t say anything as he headed out of the lobby. I got up and again trailed behind him. We walked for a few minutes until we came to the center of the school where a large statue of the founder is located. Seth walked over to a large tree and sat down under it. I hesitantly sat down beside him.
He opened the plastic bag and pulled out two beers. He popped one open, put it inside a cozy and handed it to me. I quickly glanced around to see if anyone noticed us. There were a few students nearby, but they didn’t seem to notice us. Again, he thrust the can towards me and said, “Here, Dorian.”
“We can’t be doing this!” I shrieked softly. “If someone sees us we’ll be kicked out of school.”
Seth started laughing. “Then I guess no one would be here if they did that.” He put the beer on the ground in front of me. “Drink up,” he insisted cheerfully.
I pushed it toward him as he popped open another beer and took a swig from it. “I’ve never drunk alcohol,” I informed him.
He pushed the beer can back toward me. “Then it’s time you began. Take a drink.”
“I can’t,” I again insisted as I pushed the can back toward him.
He seemed to get angry, but I think it was more an annoyance that I wouldn’t do what he was asking me to do. “Look, Dorian,” he said. “You need to loosen up. Adam and I used to drink when things got bad for him.” He pushed the beer back in front of me. “It helped us talk.”
I hesitantly took the beer and put it to my lips. Seth laughed when I made a sour face as I took my first sip. I wanted to spit it out, but swallowed it instead. “This tastes like piss,” I remarked as I placed the can back down on the ground.
Seth laughed, took a swig from his can and said, “How would you know what piss tastes like? You into water sports?”
“Water sports?” I asked. Seth fell back onto the ground laughing when I added, “What’s that?”
“Never mind,” he laughed again as he sat back up and took another swig of beer. He pushed mine toward me and insisted, “Take another drink. You’ll get used to it.”
I picked up the can and took another drink. I wrinkled my nose as I took another. “I don’t see what the fun is in drinking this shit. Travis must go through a six pack a night.”
“Travis is an asshole,” Seth remarked angrily. “He came here to party. I don’t think he’s been to half his classes. Raleigh’s doing even worse.”
I looked at Seth and replied, “Raleigh’s an asshole.” Seth held out his beer and we bumped cans.
“Here, here,” he laughed. “To all the assholes.” We sat quietly for a minute. Seth finished off one beer, and then he reached into the plastic bag for another. He asked me if I wanted another one, but I told him I still hadn’t finished the first one yet.
“Well, drink up,” he said. He looked in the bag and counted how many remained. “We still have five more to go.”
I kept looking around to make sure no one was watching. After Dr. Avery’s visit to my room, I was afraid he was having another student tail me to make sure I wasn’t getting into any trouble. If he reported back that I was openly drinking beer on the campus grounds, he’d surely report it to my father.
As Seth was working on his third beer, and I was on my second, he scooted closer to me and stared into my face. “Now what’s going on?” he asked with a concerned look. “Sydney said you’ve been acting weird all day.”
“Everything is okay,” I insisted as I looked away and took a large swig of beer. I wasn’t beginning to enjoy the taste, but at least it wasn’t as unpleasant as before.
“Bullshit!” he spat. “Adam used to try and block me out.” He grabbed my shoulders and turned me to face him. “Goddamn it, Dorian. I’m not going to sit by and watch another friend suffer like he did.” He shook my shoulders gently. “Now tell me what’s going on.”
I tried to hold back the tears, but I couldn’t. Seth reached out and pulled me into his chest when I started crying. He kept telling me that things would get better, and that I just needed someone to talk to. He promised me that I’d feel better if I talked to someone about what was bothering me.
I know I looked like a baby as I attempted to tell him what had been happening the past few days. I related what had happened with Dr. Avery, Travis, Raleigh and Jerry. I grew concerned when he picked up the empty beer cans and crushed them in his hand when I told him what had happened the night before in the theater.
He reached into the bag and handed me another beer. “This is my third one,” I laughed as I wiped my face clean. “Are you trying to get me drunk?”
“No,” he replied angrily as he took a large swig of beer. “I’m getting drunk so I can get up the nerve to go kick some ass.” He took another swig.
“No!” I shouted. “I didn’t tell you all this just so you could get revenge for what they did to me.” I reached out and gripped his arm. “You promised me I’d feel better if I talked about what was bothering me.”
His face reddened as he spat angrily, “I’m going to kill that fucking Jerry!”
“You can’t Seth,” I pleaded. “I shouldn’t have told you what happened.” When I started crying again, he leaned over and took me once again in his arms.
“Okay,” he assured me. “I won’t kick his ass.” He leaned back and smiled. “At least not today.”
“You promise?” He smiled again and nodded his head.
He opened the remaining cans of beer and handed me one. “For a little guy, you sure do get yourself into a lot of shit.”
“Tell me,” I replied sorrowfully. “What am I going to do?”
“Okay,” he thought for a minute. “You can’t do much about Avery. He’s got a lot of clout. If you cross him, it could mean trouble.” I nodded my head.
“But that fucking Jerry,” he spat. “If he so much as comes within a mile of you, I’ll bash his fucking head in.”
I became worried because I knew Seth was not just making an idle threat. “Let me deal with Jerry. I don’t plan on ever going out with him. I may be small, but I’ll kick him in the nuts if he ever comes near me again.”
Seth shook his head and remarked, “I mean it Dorian. If he comes near you, I’ll kill him.” It upset me to hear him make such a threat, but I also felt good because I felt he was acting like a big brother protecting his younger brother.
“But what about Travis?” I asked. “They won’t let me change rooms.”
“I’ll deal with that,” he assured me as he finished off his beer and crushed the can with his bare hands.
He moved closer to me and stared once again into my face. “I want you to promise me that you’ll tell me when you have a problem? Okay?” Tears started to well up in his eyes. “I don’t want you to shut yourself off from me like Adam used to do.” Tears continued to form rapidly as he said, “I don’t think I could stand to almost lose another close friend.”
I don’t know if it was the beer, but he leaned in and held me tightly. Another student walked past us, stopped and remarked bitterly, “Faggots.”
Seth started to get up, but I held him down and pleaded, “Don’t Seth. Please?”
He asked, “How have you put up with it for so many years?”
I shrugged my shoulders. “You get used to it, I guess.”
“Well,” he remarked angrily. “You shouldn’t have to.” He rose and extended his hand to me. “I guess we should be going.” He leaned down and picked up the plastic bag containing the empty beer cans.
Before walking away, he looked down. “I want you to tell me, Dorian, when you have a problem. Okay?”
I smiled warmly. “Okay, Big Brother.” He put his arm around my shoulder as we headed back to the dorm.
Travis wasn’t in the room when I entered. However, again a cyclone looked like it swept through it. I kicked the beer cans, pizza cartons and empty potato chip bags to his side of the room. I grabbed my English 101 book and lay down on my bed to read an assignment I had been putting off. Soon, I was fast asleep.
I had been asleep for about two hours before someone knocking lightly on my door awakened me. After stretching out, I got up and cautiously opened it. I was afraid it was one of Travis’s buddies. I was surprised to see Jerry standing in the hallway.
“What do you want?” I asked as I opened the door a few inches. I put my foot against it to prevent him from entering.
“Can we talk?”
“There’s nothing to talk about,” I replied angrily. I started to close the door, but he grabbed the door handle and attempted to push it open. I planted my foot and prevented him from entering the room.
He stepped back and looked sorrowfully at me. “I want to come in and apologize,” he said.
“Okay,” I remarked angrily. “You’ve apologized.” I started to close the door, but he lunged forward and pushed the door open. I lost my balance and fell to the floor.
He quickly knelt down beside me. “Are you all right, Dorian?” he asked. “Let me help you up.” He reached down, grabbed me by my waist and pulled me to my feet.
He stepped back quickly when I shouted, “Get your hands off me!”
“Look, Dorian,” he replied. “I came here to apologize about last night.”
“You already said that,” I responded sharply as I walked across the room and stood beside my desk. I looked down to see if there was anything I could use to defend myself with in case he tried to hurt me.
He cautiously approached me. “Let me make it up to you, Baby.” He tried to embrace me, but I turned and headed toward the door. He reached out and stopped me. I batted his hand away when he tried to grope me and said, “Let me get you off.”
“Get out!” I shouted. “I don’t want to see you again!”
“Oh, come on, Dorian,” he replied. “Quit acting like a little baby.”
“Acting like a baby!” I shouted. “You tried to force me to suck you off in the theater last night, and you tell me I’m acting like a baby!”
“I didn’t force you,” he replied. “You know you wanted it.” He moved toward me again. “Just like I want you now.” When he tried to hug me, I pushed him back as forcefully as I could. He stumbled backwards and fell against my desk.
His face reddened with anger. “Listen, you little bitch!” he spat. “I came here to make things up with you.”
I pointed toward the door and yelled, “Get out!” He balled his fist and came toward me. Just then, I heard Travis and some of his buddies hollering in the hallway. For the first time since he had arrived on campus, I was glad to see him.
The door burst open and he, Raleigh and two more friends entered. They stopped suddenly when they noticed Jerry and me standing in the middle of the room. Jerry nervously said, “I gotta go.” As he brushed against me on his way out the door, he whispered in my ear, “You’ll regret this.”