2 Chapter 2

"Oh my god, what are you wearing?" My roommate, Justin, scoffed as he re-entered our dorm room. I frowned and looked down at my clothes. I was wearing a pair of relatively plain-looking jeans paired with a purple t-shirt and a mustard-yellow cardigan.

"What's wrong with it?" I whined, giving him a small pout. I, for one, loved this cardigan a lot. It was big and warm and fluffy. On top of that, yellow and purple were complimentary colors, so obviously they looked fine together.

"Oh, nothing . . . "Justin sighed, already surrendering that argument. "Are you ready to go or not?" "Yep!" I chirped. "Let me just put my shoes on."

I went to find my normal black canvas shoes, but for some reason I was only able to find one of them. I looked by the door and under the bed and even in the closet, but I still couldn't locate it.

"What now?" Justin asked.

"I'm missing my other shoe," I said, checking under the bed. Did I already check there or not? I didn't know. "Crap."

"Just grab another pair of shoes, come on," he sighed. "Dude, you said you'd be ready by the time got back."

"I know, I know! I'm sorry," I said, opening my closet door and just pulling out the first pair of shoes I could find. That pair of shoes happened to be a pair of bright red converse, but it was okay. It would just mean that I had two of the three primary colors in my outfit . . . unless I changed my shirt to blue . . .

"Kellin," Justin groaned, growing impatient. I shook the idea from my head and just put the red shoes on anyway. My outfit would just have to do.

Once I finally had my shoes on, I followed Justin out of our dorm and down the hall. We were on our way to this party someone was having in one of the off-campus apartments. The plan was to catch the night bus and ride it a couple of stops down to where the party was. I guess Justin was trying to buddy up to these couple of frat guys before rush week started.

I didn't really care about the whole fraternity thing, but I knew it meant a lot to Justin. Apparently his dad was a part of this one, and if he didn't get a bid he'd be devastated. I had become friends with Justin when we were sophomores in high school, so I had heard a lot about this whole legacy thing for a while now. Justin was honestly my best friend, and I wasn't sure what I'd do without him.

"Ooh, Justin!" I gasped, remembering something as we stood next to each other on the bus. "I forgot to tell you about the guy I met today!"

"Like, just a guy . . . or like, a guy ?" he asked, curiously, his lips curling into a wry grin. I shrugged.

"I don't know yet, I mean I guess he was kind of cute," I shrugged, bashfully, remembering how soft his skin looked. "He was nice, but I doubt it would go anywhere. He seems like the type that's nice to everyone, you know?"

"Well, I guess you never know," he said, offering as much encouragement as he could. I nodded along with him as the bus arrived at our stop.

The party was a block away, and a quick walk from the bus stop. Even before we got to the apartment, I could hear music blaring, and I wondered how the people who lived around them could possibly put up with that. I mean, they were student apartments, so they were probably used to it, but still. I knew I wouldn't like it. I didn't even really like the idea of going into the obnoxious party at all, honestly.

"Okay, so we hit the kitchen first, only take beer or hard liquor. Nothing fruity or these guys won't take us seriously," Justin said, giving me the run-down as we approached.

"No lime-a-ritas?" I asked, thinking about the drink that I had tried at the first party we went to. Truth be told, I didn't like the taste of beer. I thought it was nasty. And did it really matter what I drank? It wasn't like I was trying to get into the fraternity.

"Definitely not," Justin insisted.

"What about hard lemonade - or ooh! What if they have the strawberry ones?" I asked, excitedly. I meant, what was the point if I didn't like the taste?

"Kells, no," he said, again. I sighed.

"Okay, fine," I said. "Only for you."

"Thanks, I appreciate it, I really do," he assured me, giving me a friendly smile before we finally went in. I smiled back at him, silently letting him know that I was happy to help. I was always happy to make him happy.

The place was small and smoky, but I guess it wasn't too bad. I followed Justin into the kitchen where the alcohol was and he handed me a beer from the cooler that was left out.

I forced a smile and cracked open the can. He clinked his can against mine, then nodded towards the other room. I forced down a small sip of the drink as we walked into the living room. Justin approached these two guys, acting all friendly and giving them both hearty handshakes.

"Hey, man, glad you could make it," the first guy said, grinning. He was blond and had a weird hairstyle. The guy that stood next him was a little bit bigger and had his arms folded over his chest. They were both dressed in those weird frat-guy shirts with the whales on them. I never understood what the deal was with that.

"And this is my roommate, Kellin," he said, as the guys turned to me and grinned. They didn't offer the same sort of greeting, but I tried not to think anything of it.

"Hi," I said, cheerfully. "This is great beer."

"You think Natty Lite is great beer?" the bigger guy chuckled, which confused me. I tried to wrack my brain for a more appropriate response, but came up fruitless. Dang it.

"Yes! Or . . . no? Maybe?" I shrugged. I was so confused.

"He meant, like, great choice, cheap choice!" Justin said, trying to salvage whatever mistake I had just made. He then opted to throw an arm around my shoulders and steer me out of the room.

"What did I do?" I hissed.

"Natty Lite is shit beer, Kellin," he said, in a low voice. "You don't compliment a man's beer choice like that, it's weird."

"Oh, I was just trying to be nice," I said, pouting.

"I know you were," he said. "Just. . . don't talk about beer, okay? Um, I'm going to go back and talk to them. You can just . . . "

He trailed off, as if he felt bad about splitting up. Even though I felt bad for embarrassing him, I smiled. "It's okay, go ahead, I'll entertain myself," I said. He thanked me before heading out of the kitchen again.

I sighed and walked over to the sink. I dumped the drink down the sink, physically unable to drink anymore of it. Then, I went back to one of the other coolers and found the hard lemonade, so I just took one of those. I guess if Justin was going to be with his frat friends, then it didn't matter.

I didn't know anyone else at the party, so I took a seat at one of the barstools at the island counter. The lemonade was good, but I still felt kind of down. I really was trying to be likeable, I guess not everyone liked me, though.

"Is this seat taken?" I heard someone ask. I didn't think anything of it, so I just shrugged without looking up. A moment later, though, I looked to my left, surprised to see Vic sitting next to me.

"You!" I exclaimed, unable to say anything more intelligent than that.

"Yes, me!" he said, trying to match my excitement. "I'm sorry, remind me of your name?"

"Kellin!" I said, speaking up and over the loudness. I suddenly forgot about Justin and his friends now that I was talking to Vic. He was really cool and I didn't expect to see him there. The fact that he was just made my night even better.

"Oh, yeah, philosophy right?" he said, smiling. "What are you doing here?"

"My roommate wants to get into some frat," I sighed. "And I guess he's talking to them or something."

"And you're in here sitting by yourself?" he questioned.

"What? No, I've totally got other friends," I lied, trying to see if maybe I could fool Vic into thinking I was cool.

"Kellin, I'm blind, not stupid," he laughed. "Want to go outside for a bit?"

"Uh, sure?" I said, hopping off my chair and picking up my lemonade. Vic followed me out, and I found it interesting that he wasn't using his walking stick, like I'd seen him use the other day.

We walked out onto the front steps of the building and sat down. The nighttime air felt so much nicer than the smoky, stuffy air inside.

"So, what are you doing at this party?" I asked, not wanting to offend him by asking where his walking stick thing was.

"I live here," he said. "My brother's one of my roommates and is trying to get in this same frat, so they're always throwing parties. I don't mind."

"Are you in it?" I asked. He just laughed.

"Oh god, no, they're all idiots. They're nice guys, but they're total idiots," he explained, shaking his head. "I'm guessing you're not here to kiss up for a bid, either, huh?"

"Oh no, I'm not really bidding material anyway," I shrugged. "It's okay."

"You say that like it's a negative thing," Vic pointed out. I just shrugged, then realized he couldn't see that. Oops.

"Yeah, I don't know," I said.

"What's with the tone? You sound sad," he said, picking up on it right away. It kind of creeped me out, too, because I didn't know anyone who was that perceptive.

"I don't know, I guess I was just trying to help my friend and I kind of failed. I think I embarrassed him," I sighed.

"Oh, well I'm sure you didn't. Plus, if he's your friend then he'll be cool with it, won't he?" Vic suggested. I stared at the concrete in front of me, trying to think of something to say. "I get it."

"You do?" I asked, looking back up.

"Yeah, you're a people-pleaser," he shrugged. I frowned.

"What does that mean?" I asked, a little defensively. Vic just chuckled, and I realized how much I liked his laugh. It was nice, airy, care-free.

"You like to make other people happy," he said. "But, it's okay, we can talk about something else if you want. . . so what's your major, Kellin?"

"Um, studio art," I said, confused yet thankful for his subject change. "I like painting and stuff."

"That's really great," he said, smiling. I liked that response. I was used to the typical 'oh, but what kind of job will you get with that' spiel. It felt nice to have someone appreciate it even if it was a little bit.

"What's yours?"

"American Sign Language!" he proclaimed, grinning proudly. I opened my mouth to comment, wondering how in the hell he could communicate in sign language if he was blind.

"O-oh, okay," I mumbled, not wanting to be rude. Who knew- maybe he was capable and I just didn't know anything. To my surprise, he laughed again.

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"I'm joking, I always tell people that because it confuses the fuck out of them," he laughed. "Nah, I'm a comm major."

"Oh, cool!" I said, smiling. Vic had a sense of humor, too. That was great.

I spent the rest of the evening talking with Vic, until Justin was ready to go home. I felt like Vic and I clicked instantly, and it was an amazing feeling. I didn't feel like he was someone I just met. I felt like I'd known him forever.

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