8 Chapter 8

"Justin!" I shouted as soon as I got back to my room that night. He looked up at me, visibly annoyed by my outburst. I couldn't help it, though; it was just physically impossible for me to contain my excitement. That, and he looked like he was getting ready to go out.

"Jesus Christ, you don't have to yell," he grumbled, shoving his wallet in his back pocket and picking up his keys from his desk. He acted irritated, but I didn't take it too seriously.

"Oops, sorry," I chuckled awkwardly. But I was still excited. "Guess what!" "What?" he asked, with a flat affect.

"Vic is my boyfriend now!" I said, beaming. I just still could not even believe what happened. It was so surreal.

"Really? That's great," he offered, though he didn't sound as excited. I mean, obviously I was going to be more excited but I was hoping he'd celebrate with me a little more.

"Aw, aren't you happy for me?" I asked, pulling a bit of an innocent pout. I just wanted him to jump up and down with me a bit. That's all.

"Of course, I said that's great," he said, sounding a little defensive. I didn't want to be annoying, so I just decided to drop it. Oh well.

"Where are you going?" I asked, as he made his way to the door. Usually we told each other where we'd be so that we could look out for each other. That way, if something happened to either of us, we'd know where the other was. I mean, that's what best friends were for, right? Keeping each other safe?

"Alpha Sigma Sigma's having a party to celebrate new pledges," he explained, finally sporting a grin. "It's gonna be great."

"Oh, that sounds like fun, is it like the party from before?" I asked, remembering that last time he went to a party with them I got to go. "Can I come?"

"Um . . . No, sorry - it's um, a members-only thing," he said, though he seemed like he was struggling to piece together his explanation a bit. I wasn't sure if that was a bad thing or not. "I won't be back until really late, so don't wait up for me."

---

"Hello, boyfriend!" I said cheerfully as I sat next to Vic in class on Monday. He turned towards me and smiled.

"Hey, cutie," he said, making my chest swell. Honestly, it just gave me butterflies every time he said something remotely nice to me because I felt so lucky to be with him. He was such a great person and sometimes I even felt like I wasn't good enough for him. Yet somehow, here I was, grinning before him and calling him my boyfriend.

"How did you do on the test?" I asked, since we had gotten our grades over the weekend. I got a C+ on the exam, which wasn't great, but I was okay with it. It wasn't failing, so that was great.

"I got an A-," he sighed, like he was disappointed for it. My eyes widened, because really, that was refrigerator material for me.

"Wow, that's great! You're so smart, Vic," I sighed, smiling at him. He was nice and smart. That was amazing. He was amazing.

"So are you!" he insisted. "What did you get?"

"Eh, I got a C+," I shrugged, suddenly feeling a little sub-par. I slumped back in my seat a little, trying to downplay my emotions the best I could. Maybe if I acted cool and collected about it he wouldn't think I was stupid. "But it's okay, because I thought I was going to fail."

We had to stop our conversation there, because soon after that our professor began his lecture about knowledge. I immediately felt lost because I realized he was talking about a reading that I forgot about over the weekend. Great.

"So, Mary is this super-scientist locked in a room. She knows everything because she has learned everything, however, she has experienced nothing for herself. So, the question is, when Mary is released from the room, she experiences the color red. . . now she of course knew about the color red but has never experienced it for herself . . . so tell me, has Mary then learned something new?" the professor pondered. He glanced around the room until someone raised their hand and offered their opinion on the matter.

"I mean, I don't think it matters, right? If it's just color she can know everything without experiencing it . . . right?" the student asked, sounding unsure. The professor shrugged and the discussion of the matter continued on. I glanced to my side and noticed that Vic was visibly tensing, and I already knew why.

It would make sense that he would have opinions on the matter, since he couldn't see. But for whatever reason, he was keeping quiet about it. That is, he kept quiet about it until the professor called on him.

"Now, I believe I have a visually impaired student in the class . . . where are you?" the professor asked. The class went silent and Vic stiffened. Even I knew it was a little fucked up for the professor to call him out like that. I was pretty sure disabilities were supposed to be respected as confidential, even for more obvious ones like Vic's. My eyes darted over to him, to see that he was all tense, clearly upset by the fact that the asshole professor was calling him out. I had half a mind to stand up and tell him it was messed up for him to ask something like that, to put Vic on the spot like that.

I honestly expected him to ignore the teacher's request, but then he slowly raised his hand. I wondered if he could feel everyone's eyes on him.

"Yes, Vic, right? As someone who cannot see color, what is your take on this matter?" he asked. I sighed. I knew this guy had good intentions, but come on.

"Well . . . I don't really remember any colors . . . so for example, I've heard about a million descriptions of the color red, but I couldn't tell you what the color red is because the experience is actually intangible," he said, keeping his voice calm and even. I watched him intently as he spoke. "So I'd say . . . yeah, Mary did learn something new when she left the room."

"Hmm, very interesting. Thank you," the professor said, before moving onto the next part of his lecture. I tried turning back to my notes as he put up another Powerpoint slide. But then I was distracted as Vic shuffled next to me before getting up and leaving the room. I stared after him, my heart clenching as I realized he was still upset.

I bit my lip, debating whether or not I wanted to stick around for the rest of the lecture or follow after him to see if he was okay. Considering that my interest in the class was severely lacking, I decided on the latter and packed up my stuff.

I shuffled down the aisle again and quickly ducked out of the lecture hall. I looked around the hallway until I heard the sound of the front door opening and then closing again. I hurried down the hall and outside of the building until I found Vic taking a seat on the front steps outside.

"Hey, Vic, are you alright?" I asked, hurrying down and taking a seat next to him. He had his knees to his chest. Oh no.

"You should be in class," he muttered, lowering his head against his knees so I couldn't see his face.

"So should you . . . which is why I'm out here to make sure you're okay," I said, placing a hand on his back. He flinched slightly, but then quickly relaxed. I took a deep breath and started rubbing gentle circles against his back. "What's wrong?"

"Don't worry about it," he insisted, which just made me even more concerned. But the thing was, I was so bad with comforting and emotions and stuff that I sort of just sat there for a few moments, contemplating what to do. My boyfriend was sad and I didn't know how to fix it.

"I'm sorry," I finally whispered, hoping that that would help at least a little bit.

"It's not your fault," he finally sighed, sitting up a little. His poor face was all flushed. "I just . . . I felt completely bombarded."

"I know, he shouldn't have done that," I agreed.

"Yeah . . . "he sighed. "I mean, it's not that big of a deal, I just-"

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"Well, of course it's a big deal. If it upset you, then it's important and you can complain to the department if you want to," I suggested. I wasn't usually one to do something like that, but hell, I'd do it for Vic. I'd do anything for Vic.

"I know, but I'm not going to. I don't want anyone feeling sorry for me," he explained. "I definitely don't want you feeling like you have to defend me, either, okay?"

"I mean . . . you know I'd defend you whether you were blind or not, though, right?" I asked, softly. He turned to face me, his eyebrows arched as if he were confused about what to say.

I didn't know what to say either, so I just leaned forward and gently pressed my lips against his.

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