Still Jaded

Page 6


He left the door open, and I heard the front door click shut. The sound seemed to echo, almost painfully, and I was struck by how big my home was, how empty it was. After a second, I shook my head, cleared my thoughts, and moaned in protest—I needed to get ready no matter how much my body wanted to stay in bed.
I tried to hurry my shower but, as I bounded down the stairs, realized I'd need another shirt. My tank top wouldn't hold up against the air conditioning in class. I hurried back up, finding a cute white sweater that matched my blue top and white ruffled miniskirt. At the door, I slipped on white flip-flops and hurried towards the garage. As I got into my car, I was, again, struck—this time by the absence of the red Miata. It seemed weird, like it should've been there, but it was just another reminder that Bryce was back.
He was back…
I sighed and gunned the car. When I parked outside of Corrigan's frat house, I cringed at the thought of going in there. They all knew my issues, but I should've been used to it. My personal crap had been splashed across the European tabloids on a regular basis; a few frat brothers were nothing compared to that experience.
But I didn't get out of my car.
I should head in there. I should apologize. I should enjoy embarrassing what girl he had in his bed, because I knew he would have one.
But I didn't. The idea of seeing Corrigan died. A different knot had taken root in my stomach, and I turned the car around.
When I got to campus, the odd knot in my gut was gone. I forced it out. And I had enough time to check my mail and grab a coffee. The mailroom was no sweat—no one got their mail before eight in the morning, but the coffee kiosk, however, was another matter. I was seventh in line with another four behind me. All of them had the same hurried, irritated expressions on their faces. I started to space out my surroundings when the line shifted and someone screamed.
Suddenly, everyone was awake, and no one was in a hurry.
I looked around and saw that one of Corrigan's frat brothers had spilled coffee on a girl. She had her auburn hair in two dreadlocks and wore a pink top under overalls, untied white sneakers, and no socks. I liked the outfit, but I could tell whatever-his-name-was didn't give a damn.
"You—you—you—oh my God!" she finally ended her scream. Her hands were outstretched in the air. Her blue eyes snapped in anger.
"Hey, dude. Come on. Accident, seriously. I'll pay for a coffee." And there was Corrigan's brother speaking in his true tongue—dumbass.
"I don't care about the coffee. What am I going to wear? I commute an hour to go to school here, and I don't have a change of clothes. I have to walk around like this. I probably have second degree burns because of you."
"Raz," he offered as he gave her a lopsided grin and flipped his blonde mop to the other side of his head.
"What?" she growled.
Steam rose from the top of her head. It wasn't the coffee.
"That's my name. Raz. What's yours?" He held out a tanned arm and flashed a charming smile.
Oh yes, Raz was the stereotypical frat boy.
"Like I want you to know my name. I don't even want to associate with you."
"Oh come on, don't be like that. Hey…uh…" Raz looked around with an easy shrug. Then his eyes lit on me.
I groaned.
They sparked alive. He snapped his fingers. "She's got clothes. She's, like, rich. She'll help."
The dreadlock girl swung glowering eyes my way, froze for a second, and then exclaimed, "Getting help from her would be like getting more coffee spilled on me. No thanks."
As she stomped away, she frantically rubbed at the coffee stain.
I whistled as I drew close to Raz. "That's a first. I'm already hated and I haven't said a word. It usually happens after I've opened my mouth."
Raz shifted twice on his feet, readjusted his backpack over his shoulder three times, and then, when he was settled, shot out his hand. "I'm Raz. I'm in Corrigan's house. You have a spectacular game room."
"Game room?" It sounded sexual.
"Yes. You have an original Pac Man and three Froggies. They must've cost a fortune. I was in love last night."
"You made love to Pac Man?"
"Nah," flashing perfect white teeth while chuckling, "that'd be funny though. I'm studying to be a programmer. I want to develop programs like that."
And the stupid frat boy image went out the door.
"Mmm, wouldn't have pegged you for that type," I mused as the line shifted, and I was one person away from my coffee.
"I have to say that I love Corrigan, like truly love him, but not in the g*y way. I just love the dude. He's a complete dude for all dudes, you know."
How could I have thought this guy wasn't smart?
"Thank you?" I wasn't sure what to say, but he was helping to pass the time.
"I figured you might not know who I am, but I know who you are. So, here I am. I'm Raz." He held his hand out once more. As I shook it, he continued, "Yeah, I don't know what her deal was. She must've heard about your celebrity beau and done one of those things, like, jealousy things."
"Jealousy things?"
Raz nodded. He didn't blink. He was so serious. "My sis calls 'em jealousy fits. She suffers 'em all the time, but our preacher's trying to help her with them. I think its part of having a vagina."
"Or low self-esteem." The line shifted again. Hello coffee counter.
As I gave my order, Raz bobbed his head next to me as if he had all the time in the world. "Anyway, I saw you in line and got so excited because I remembered your game room. I am hyped for the party."
"It's you and Pac Man all night again?" I grinned, but then I got my coffee. All sense left my body. Heaven.
"Yeah, man. Not a lot of girls are into it, but I love that stuff. That's gonna be my future." He snagged a sugar for himself. After he opened it, he tipped his head back and swallowed the contents. Then he continued without missing a beat, "Anyways, you're a rad girl. You're buds with Corrigan, and Bryce Scout is my soccer god, so I consider you family. If you ever want me to throw coffee on the likes of that Dorothy chick again, let me know. We're like the mafia in that way."
"Her name was Dorothy?" That perked my ears.
"Hmm what?" Raz tried to look confused. He failed.