Stories Hub / / University of Life Ch. 02

University of Life Ch. 02

by CoyoteTales 05/30/05

Bach stared moodily out the window, watching the icy stillness of the winter's grip on the building. At least the dorm was fairly warm, although he'd absconded with the blanket from his loft; he and his cape made for a swaddled lump of pseudo-misery.

"Give me your tired, your hungry, your cold, your huddled college students yearning to break free...", he misquoted, but no bright rays of February sunshine illuminated the dusky midnight-blue and white college campus landscape beyond the frozen pane.

A knock behind him announced he had company; Bach put down the white kerchief he was holding, and turned his head just enough to see his roomie, Michael Lyleman. "Hey, Bacchus. The whole floor's downstairs in the lounge; we're playing poker and dominoes, and Tuan brought down a mahjongg set, but he can't find four to play with. You ought to come join us; the RA's bringing a couple of cases of Penguin brand soda he's been stashing for a post-final bash.

"Just a couple of cases?" Bach said, a bit sarcastically, "That'll last a long time." Stu, two doors down, could drink a six pack of Pepsi in one night. "No thanks. You go ahead, Mike."

"C'mon, Satyr-man. What happened to the guy who's supposed to be the life of the party?" Mike inisisted, as he leaned against the door. Mike was tall, lanky, and had leg muscles that deserved the cut off jeans he wore over them. His dingy orange T-shirt bore a faded Tropicana logo across the chest, and he'd pinned his Theta Beta Mu pledge pin right in the navel of the orange.

"Simple. Like I told you, my name's 'Bach', as in the composer, not 'Bacchus', as in the demigod of parties, unlike you and your Theta buddies." Bach snapped back, a little loudly, "...and before you try to be clever by saying I'm not deaf, that's Beethoven."

Mike laughed, and crossed the room, digging for Bach's hand and trying to drag him up off the chair. "Hey. To me, Beethoven's a big fluffy dog. Now come /on/, Bach. Besides, it's warmer downstairs with all the extra bodies."

"It's warmer back in San Diego, too, but you don't see me catching a plane back there, either. I'd rather stay here, thanks," Bach said.

"Dude," Michael said, "you didn't come cross-country to get snowed in - you came here for a bona fide university education. Which includes college life, which includes being social. You're coming with me."

Bach tried to stay seated, but Mike had almost a half-foot of height on him at six feet, on top of being on the lacrosse team, whereas Bach's idea of exercise was a slow-and-steady jog around the oval that wasn't going to break any speed records. As soon as Mike had him on his feet, he pressed his strength and height advantage, grabbing Bach behind the shoulders with two very strong and slender hands, and ushered him determinedly out of the room. "How can anyone turn down a night hanging out with the guys?" Mike cajoled him.

Bach snorted, gathering the blanket tighter behind him as Mike pulled their door shut. He realized belatedly that he hadn't had a chance to see if he looked presentable in the mirror, but then remembered that he was wrapped up in a blanket, so even if he looked like a blonde and bedraggled Germanic-American, he'd at least be mostly hidden from view.

Mike noticed him fussing with his hair, and chuckled. "Dude. You're going to be with the guys. They don't -care- what you look like. Well, except maybe Roger." He pulled the edge of the blanket away from Bach's neck, and peeked underneath. "T-shirt, undershirt, jeans. You'll match the rest of us."

"Roger's down there? Joy." Bach said. He could count on Roger to comment on his d‚cor, or lack thereof. The slim, trim, sophomore fancied himself to be a twenty year old Carson Kressley, only with better hair; he was always insisting that T-shirts and jeans were so Bruce Springsteen.

One flight of stairs and a brief stop while Mike tried the outer doors (still mostly frozen shut) later, Bach and Mike arrived in the dorm's common room, making the number of extremely bored men in the room roughly twenty. Bach glared at Mike. "This isn't even half of the floor, dude." he accused.

"Mikey!" Roger called out from the couch, before Mike could come up with a lame excuse to feed Bach. "You got him down! All righty, Bach -- let's get that awful blanket off of your bod!" It was a well-known fact that Roger was a non-practicing bisexual -- his steady boyfriend lived back in Roger's hometown, but it didn't stop him from window shopping.

Bach scowled, and contemplated turning and stalking out, but the other men had taken up a chant of 'Bach. Bach. Bach,' along with Roger. Since he didn't know about four or five of the people shouting, he figured that this was Kyle's doing.

Kyle, a senior and the resident assistant, came over to pat Bach on the shoulder. "Pay Roger no mind. It's my job to make sure everyone has fun instead of cabin fever, and you've been so quiet you're making me look bad. Please. Stay a half an hour, play one game, and we'll let you go." He leaned in close, murmuring, "Anti-social students don't get near as much help when it comes to group cramming for finals. And there's not like there's anything else you can do until the snowplows come to dig us out." The Haitian threw a mocha-skinned, sweatshirted arm around Bach's shoulders. "Besides. The other alternative is a snowball fight, and I know you're from SoCal. You'd freeze about thirty seconds after I did," he added, a little more slowly, in French.

"Ooooh. They're speaking French, I think," Roger said. "Voulez vous couch-air affect moi?" he teased, patting the battered sofa.

Bach sighed. "Fine, fine. I'll take one for the team. What're we playing?"

Kyle grinned wryly. "Attaboy, Mister Wilhelm. We've got Texas Hold'em and Uno going, or you can pick a game, and we'll find someone to play it." He gestured at the bookshelf of games, most of which had seen better days.

Bach studied the games for only a moment before narrowing the choices down to two. "Trivial Pursuit, or Scrabble?" he called out, figuring that he'd get at least some satisfaction in stomping the frat-boy and jock crowd down to size.

"Count me out of the Triv Shiv!" Roger said, "...we had a party the other night where a bunch of us just pulled the question box and read out all the cards, and some of the guys have really long memories" He turned around, and called out, "What ficticious baseball team won the World Series in the second installment of Back to the Future?"

"Florida!" was the resounding answer, though Presden tried to answer "Kalamazoo!", only to get lightly punched down by the other guys on the couch.

"Name a type of pasta that doesn't end in a vowel!" Roger asked aloud. Bach paused, thinking, but didn't get a chance to come up with an answer before there was a chorus of "Elbow!"

"Sorry, cutie." Roger got up, though, straightened his powder blue cashmere sweater, and sauntered over to Bach, Kyle, and Michael, grabbing up the reddish box on his way by. "Scrabble, on the other hand, is my kind of game. What about it, you two? Shall we make this a foursome, right here?"

Michael waved off. "Not me, man. I should call my cousin over in the other dorm." he says. "Her dad's overseas and won't call, so someone's gotta make her feel the warm familial love thing on a cold February night like this."

Roger made a gleeful face. "Like, can we say 'incest'? I knew we could," he teased; some of the other guys catcalled something similar. Michael tried to swat Roger with the cellphone. Bach wanted nothing more than to go back up to his room.

But an agreement was an agreement. "Hey. I got a better idea." Rog, Kyle, why don't we take this game upstairs to the second floor kitchen. Last thing we want is the other guys to kibitz."

Kyle said reluctantly, "Hey, I did not say I was playing."

Unexpected help came in the form of Presden, who swept past Bach and Roger, hooking Kyle by the arm and dragging him towards the stairway. As much as Bach had had trouble resisting Michael, Kyle had no chance against Presden, who was the second string nose tackle for the football team. "I love Scrabble - my class played it a lot when I was learning English. So! We go!"

"And if you volunteer your friends, you volunteer yourself. House rule," Roger said triumphantly, trailing in their wake.

"All right, all right, I'm coming of my own free will, Swedish." Kyle protested, and shook off Presden's arm. "One of you should grab us a six pack before they're gone," he called around the athlete's husky frame.

An hour and seven minutes later, Bach was really glad for the blanket, more for its ability to tuck his arms around my knees and hide his smile. He was skunking the other three, up by fifty-seven points on the nearest competitor. Kyle kept yawning, and Presden kept trying to use words in Swedish, even though the set didn't include a single ring A tile. Roger was taking anywhere between five and fifteen minutes to put down a move, and he continuously mixed up his tiles as if trying to divine some cryptic word.

Kyle yawned again, and Presden kicked him under the table. "Sorry. The cold? Saps the energy right out of me," he said, sounding quite insincere, and then it was his turn to prod Roger with his sneaker. "Come on, Mister Noor. Play, or pass."

Roger shooed the toe away absently. "Hang on a second, I almost had it..." He brightened, and then laid down the word 'BOOBY'. "There. It's legal; it's a bird."

Presden sniggered. "A red breasted bird, no less." Besides being a jock, Presden was also a biology major with an interest in birding. He immediately set down two tiles for his turn. "TIT," he announced, "..as in 'tit' for 'tat'. Three points, but it's all I've got."

Bach blushed. "Fine, okay, I'll get into the act..." he said, and laid down his own pre-determined move: 'SCREW', on top of a previous 'DRIVER'. "Screwdriver, double word score,' he replied, and he tried not to feel guilty as he opened out his lead even wider.

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