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Mary Elizabeth Catherine had made it through check, in her parents close behind. Thankful that she would be living on the third floor of the three story building, that meant no noisy neighbors above her. This year there had been so many freshman that she was actually living in one of the upperclassmen dorms on campus. In her had was a bundle of keys, three to be exact, glad she didn't have 5 keys on her ring like she'd seen some of the other students walking around with. One was obviously the mailbox key as it was smaller than the others, the other three looked exactly alike. Making a mental note to get some colored key tags Mary Elizabeth Catherine made her way to the west side of the dorm, suddenly wishing she was on the first floor so that she didn't have to carry all her belongings up two flights of stairs, Mary Elizabeth Catherine looked at her father sheepishly. She grabbed one bag and he the other as the three of them made their way to the third floor. Looking around like she was lost, okay maybe just a little bit lost, a short red head with her long curls hanging neatly down her back, much like her own, “Hello, do you need any help?”
Taken in by the red head her words barely noticed all she could do was stare at the red head. The red head then asked, “Are you okay?”
“Um, well, I am just looking for my room that's all?” Curiously wanting to know what roll this red head was going to play in her new life.
“Let's see if you're in the right place.”
The red head looked at Mary Elizabeth Catherine's room assignment and stated “Yep, this is your dorm, I'll be your RA. Let's help you find your room.”
Mary Elizabeth Catherine still taking in all the new things she was discovering looked at the red head and asked, “What's an RA?”
“An RA is a Resident Assistant, kinda like a dorm mom back in the old days, but I am a student here also. I am a Junior, my name is Mary Catherine. How about if I help you find your room?”
Mary Elizabeth Catherine's eyes nearly popped out of her head with utter shock at the sheer familiarity of the name. Then she came to realize it was her name that she was comparing it to. “Okay that'd be good. I'm in room 311.”
“That room has a great view you'll love it, and it's in the far corner so no one has to walk past your room…” Mary Catherine continued to chatter about this and that as Mary Elizabeth Catherine and her parents followed her up the stairs, down the walkway and around the corner. As they reached the door Mary Elizabeth Catherine noticed there was a welcome sign on the door with four names in it. She assumed the names were the people that she would be living with. Being jolted back to reality when she was nudged by her dad, thinking hard to remember what this red head had said or asked, she just stared, her eye's transfigured at the names on the door. She looked at the Mary Catherine. Mary Catherine asked again “So which one of the Mary's are you? We seem to have a lot of them here this year, next door is Mary, and Mary, Sam, and Elizabeth.”
“I'm Mary Elizabeth Catherine” She answered feeling just a little over whelmed.
“Well here you go, this is your room, seems you are the first one here so looks like you have your pick of things. Let me know if you need anything. Nice meeting you Mary Elizabeth Catherine.” Sticking out her hand, Mary Elizabeth Catherine reached to grab the hand and gave it a firm shake.
Still staring at the names on the door Mary Elizabeth Catherine shook her head in disbelief. She looked at her keys wondering which one would open the door, and if this was some administrator's kind of a joke. The names on the door read: Mary Elizabeth Catherine, Mary Ellen, Mary Jo, and Mary Jane. Not sure what to think and not wanting to know her parents reaction to the names she fumbled with the keys till she found the right one. Finally getting the door opened, she saw what appeared to be a living room type area separated from an area with four desks only by a couch that looked harder than a metal chair. To her left was a doorway, she assumed this led to the bedroom. Heading through the doorway with her bag, she found indeed it did. Looking around she saw a set of bunk beds and two single beds that looked like they could be stacked. The bunk beds were next to the only window in the room, tossing her bag on the bottom bed she decided to claim the top bunk for herself. Not that you could see out the window or anything for it was that textured class so no one could see in either, but at least it would let in some light. She looked over at her dad and he followed her lead with the other bag.
Looking around Mary Elizabeth Catherine was glad to see yet another doorway at the far end of the room. Checking it out she found it to be a bathroom. She'd heard of horror stories of 20 girls sharing one bathroom, glad that it would only be the four of them sharing a bathroom, she turned to her mom, “Hey mom, we have our own bathroom.” As the word we escaped her lips Mary Elizabeth Catherine excitement faded. She was an only child and never had had to share a bathroom in her life, and now she was excited about having to share it with four people.
Mary Elizabeth Catherine's mom looked at her not sure what to say. So changing the subject asked her “You want to put your stuff away or go check out the bookstore first.”
“I think I'd better put my clothes in a closet, or at least the bag, and claim a desk and bed first. Mary Catherine did say I had first pick, I guess that could mean hassles later on.” Mary Elizabeth Catherine choose the closet in the corner by her bed, figured she'd be out of everyone's way that way. Out in the study area she supposed it should be called she looked at the four desks. She decided the one closest to the couch and farthest from the bedroom would be the best for she could see out the window in the living room if you could call it such. Setting her school supplies neatly arranged on the desk and her favorite, and only one she'd brought with her, unicorn on the shelf of the desk she looked at her parents and said “Okay, let's go find my books.”
Two hours later and who knows how many hundreds of dollars later Mary Elizabeth Catherine had all her textbooks for the term. Definitely glad that her dad was the one paying for the books, though he made her carry them back to her room. When they got to the dorm she looked up from the path below and saw that the door was open, oh good someone else is here now she thought to herself. She ran up the stairs her parents trailing behind wondering just where she kept all that energy. She got to her door and peek my head around the corner. There at the desk next to hers sat Jo.
“Jo!” Mary Elizabeth Catherine yelled in excitement. They had met at freshmen orientation over the summer and hoped that they'd live at least near each other, but this was even better.
Jo looked at her, “Mary Elizabeth, isn't this great? Better than we expected, we actually are roommates.”
Mary Elizabeth Catherine took a quick glance at the door and saw where Jo had ripped down the Mary at the front of her name. She never knew her name was actually Mary Jo. She just knew they had hit it off great at orientation. Jo looked at her armful of books. “Are those all just for this term?”
“Yep they are, and you don't want to know how much they weigh or how much they cost either.”
Just then Mary Elizabeth Catherine's parents came into the room. “Mom, Dad, this is Jo, I was telling you about, we met at freshmen orientation this summer.” Her parents looked at her confused then looked at the door and it all made sense.
Mary Elizabeth Catherine looked back at Jo, “Where are your parents?”
“Checking out the bedroom. Did you see it. We may have to share this space with four people total but it's four times the size of my bedroom at home.” Jo tried to hide her sheepish smile. When her parents had built onto the house he had gotten the old master bedroom so was used to a large room, but figured this was roomy enough, it was kinda like a small apartment.
Jo's parent's came out of the bedroom looking around. “What's all the excitement out here?”
“Oh mom, this is Mary Elizabeth, remember I was telling you about meeting her at freshmen orientation.”
“Oh yeah, cool, so you live nearby, that will be great for you two.”
Jo and I looked at each other and burst into giggles. “No mom, Mary Elizabeth lives here, we live together.”
“Oh, so that's what all the excitement is about.”
Jo and Mary Elizabeth Catherine introduced their parents to each other. Both glad to be at school and excited to be on our own for the first time. Being only children they both knew what it was like to have your parents on your back all the time. Jo's mom announced “We were just thinking about going to the local Chinese restaurant for some dinner we heard it was really good.”
Jo looked at me, then back at her mom.
“Jo, would you like to ask Mary Elizabeth if she and her parents would like to come?”
“Sure thing mom, hey you guys want to come to dinner with us.”
“Yeah Jo, that would be good.” Mom and dad had talked about doing the same thing on the way back from the bookstore so Mary Elizabeth Catherine knew it was all good.
“One thing before we go though mom” I looked at Jo without a clue what she was doing as she took off into the bedroom. Mary Elizabeth Catherine poke her head in, and saw Jo move her stuff to the bottom bunk and the closet next to her own from the single across the room. Chuckling to herself, she knew this was going to be a good year.
When they got back from dinner it was time to say their goodbyes. The parents were more torn up about it that than the girls were, leaving their only children to fend for themselves in this big world of college.
Mary Elizabeth Catherine was glad that her and Jo ended up in the same room. She looked at Jo, “So what do you think about our roommates? Some administrators' idea of a joke?”
Jo looked back and shook her head. “I don't know but I don't think it's very funny. Not to mention next door is Mary, and Mary the two best friends from Idaho Falls . I hope Mary Jane and Mary Ellen don't just go by Mary, it'll be a mess up here. And did you hear, there is a Mary Lou downstairs.”
I looked at Jo, “You've got to be kidding me. What is the deal. Guess it was the in thing to do in the 70's. But it gets even better. Have you met our RA?” Jo shook her head. “Her name is Mary Catherine.”
“I guess Mary was a very popular name in the 70's. Only one we're missing is Mary Anne.”
“Sorry to tell you Mary Elizabeth, there is one of those across the walk way.”
“You gotta be kidding me.”
“Nope, honest truth.”
A silence fell as the girls continued to unpack their bags which they had just tossed haphazardly on their beds and in their closets. Mary Elizabeth Catherine was glad that she had taken the top bunk. For a bunk it wasn't very high, just below her chest, but then again she wasn't very short either. However, she did dread making the thing. She pulled out my new purple extra long twin sheets and got to the task of making her bed. Mary Elizabeth Catherine wanted it done so that when she was ready to hit the sack she didn't have to worry about it. She didn't care so much if all her clothes were put away but making the bed was a must.
Mary Elizabeth Catherine watched Jo as her tight brown curls bounced around her shoulders. She already knew her hair was as long as her own which hung down to middle of my back, hers just curled a whole lot tighter than hers ever would. She didn't realize she was just sitting there watching, okay maybe staring till Jo stopped. “Mary Elizabeth!”
“You gonna actually make that bed or just hold onto the sheet all night.”
“I'm gonna make it. I was just thinking.”
“Thinking about what?”
Too embarrassed to admit that she'd been admiring Jo's curls, at least that is what she thought she was doing, she just said “Wondering what Mary Ellen and Mary Jane are going to be like, and why they aren't here yet. I thought everyone had to check in on Sunday.”
“Nope, they can come anytime all week, just as long as they are here by next Sunday before classes start. They'll just miss out on all the freshmen stuff, the get to know you crap, and campus tours and what not.”
Mary Elizabeth Catherine looked at how Jo had her clothes in her closet and the drawers below just as neat as she knew hers would be when she got to unpacking them, as was her desk. “Do you think they will keep their stuff cleaned up, or will it be all over the place for us to trip over just to get to the bathroom?”
Jo laughed. “Anything I trip on going to the bathroom is going out the front door and over the balcony into the tree's. So they'll either be neat, or they'll learn to be neat real quick.”
“Hey Jo, you think we should stack those beds and put them in the corner just in case, give them some room to keep their junk on the floor, just in case you know?”
“Not a half bad idea. Let's get our beds made and then we'll do it.”
Beds made, they'd just finished staking the other two beds into a set of bunk beds when they heard a key in the lock. They looked at each other. Neither wanting to move but knowing they had to get to their side of the room and fast. They bolted to the other side of the room before the door could open. Then calmly walked out into the living room to see who arrived. In walks two blonds, one with long curls down to her waist and one with a short straight bob cut, both wearing glasses just like Jo. Both dump their bags right in the middle of the door way. Jo and Mary Elizabeth Catherine exchange glances glad that they'd decided to stack the beds. Mary Elizabeth Catherine looked at Jo to see if she was going to say anything. A slight shake of the head and she knew it was up to her.
“Umm, you must be Mary Ellen and Mary Jane. This here is Jo, and I'm Mary Elizabeth Catherine.”
“Nope” said the blond with the short hair. “I'm Mary Jane, this here is my twin sister Mary Sue.”
Mary Elizabeth Catherine tried to hide the roll of my eyes. What was it with these names. How did they all end up together. She looked at Mary Sue and wondered why she was here then, and where was Mary Ellen. Mary Sue looked up at me, “Hey this is all her stuff. I'm already all moved in over in Hexter hall.”
Jo and Mary Elizabeth Catherine exchanged glances, neither one of them had had half that much stuff. What was she going to do with it all?
“Well hello Mary Jane, and Mary Sue, nice to meet you both.” Not knowing what else to do Mary Elizabeth Catherine looked at Jo who still hadn't said a word. Mary Elizabeth Catherine nudged her with her elbow.
“Umm, you want some help getting your stuff in the bedroom Mary Jane?” Mary Elizabeth Catherine rolled her eyes looking at Jo and wondering just what she'd gotten them into. She wasn't even done unpacking her stuff yet and here she was being volunteered to help someone else. Great, just what she wanted.
“Nah, I think the two of us can take care of it.” Mary Jane replied.
Jo and Mary Elizabeth Catherine went back to putting the rest of their stuff away while curiously watching Mary Jane try and cram all her stuff in the closet and drawers. Mary Elizabeth Catherine was now beginning to regret taking the window side of the room cringing at the thought of having to walk in front of Mary Jane's closet every time she'd have to go to the bathroom. She glanced over at Jo, who was watching the same scene as herself and knew her thoughts were mostly the same. Wishing we had a TV just to get out of that room Mary Elizabeth Catherine decided to go tackle her desk, nothing better to do.
As Mary Elizabeth Catherine walked out of the room Jo followed her. Mary Elizabeth Catherine slowly started putting books up on the shelf above her desk. First one row, then a second on top of that. Starting the third row of books, Jo looked at her with a wide grin on her face. Jo opened a box, “Hey Mary Elizabeth.”
“Yeah,” looking into the box Jo was pointing at. Jo must have had just as many books as she had just put on herself. This was getting better by the minute. They made short work of organizing their desks. Neither of them had computers, so that left plenty of space for text books under the shelf on the desk.
They glanced back in the bedroom at Mary Jane and Mary Sue, what an odd pair, and why didn't they room together they wondered. Oh well, maybe they'd find out eventually. “Hey, Mary Jane, Jo and I are going to go down to the lounge and watch some TV we'll be back after while”
“I have a TV, it's umm, well it's still in the car, along with the fridge and the microwave.”
“That's great. Don't worry about it right now, we'll just go down to the lounge for now.”
They went down to the second floor to the lounge. There were people in there but the door was locked. Mary Elizabeth Catherine looked at her watch. Damn it was after ten. Now she had to figure out which key opened the lounge which was open during the day but locked at ten pm. Finally on the third try of her three keys, she found the one that opened the lounge door. In they walked not sure what to think of the scene they stumbled across. On one couch was a guy and a blond playing tonsil hockey, on the opposite couch were two blonds that looked to also be playing tonsil hockey. There were three girls stretched out on the pool table, guess no one was playing pool tonight. The TV was blaring music videos. The girls just looked at each other, turned around and headed back to their room. Chaos was all around them. Not sure which was worse the lounge or watching Mary Jane try and cram all her stuff in her tiny closet?
Mary Elizabeth Catherine looked at Jo “You really want to go back to the room?”
“No, do you”
“Not really, how about we just go for a walk for a while, see what we can find around campus.”
About that time around the corner comes Mary Catherine. Mary Elizabeth Catherine tried hard not to roll my eyes as she stopped dead in front of us. She already knew they lived on the third floor and here they were going from the second down to the first. Great. Mary Catherine looked at Jo, “I'm Mary Catherine, I'm the RA of Naddar Hall, and who are you?” This was a very different side of Mary Catherine that Mary Elizabeth Catherine had seen before and wasn't sure she liked her.
“Mary Catherine, I'm Mary Elizabeth Catherine, room 311…”
Cut off by Mary Catherine “I know who you are, who is your friend here?”
“Oh, this is Jo, she's one of my roommates.”
“One of your roommates? Does she speak for herself or is she a mute?”
Mary Elizabeth Catherine was appalled by Mary Catherine's attitude this was not at all what she had experienced earlier today. Jo finally opened up. “Yes I can speak for myself, do you have any manners yourself, or just this crude and rude bossy attitude?”
Mary Elizabeth Catherine looked at Jo not believing what she just heard come out of her mouth. Apparently Mary Catherine didn't know what to think either for she just stood there. Then she apologized. “Sorry, I just saw the two of you headed downstairs and it's late and I am suppose to keep you safe and all, so I was trying to be tough you know, but it's just not working for me.”
Now this was more like the Mary Catherine that Mary Elizabeth Catherine knew. “We were just going to go walk around campus for a bit Mary Catherine, you see the lounge is well, occupied, and Mary Jane just showed up and that is a sight to see her unpack and we just needed out.”
Mary Catherine looked at me. “Oh, you're Mary Elizabeth Catherine”
“But wait, aren't you in the Mary room? And you said this was Jo. I am confused now.” Stated Mary Catherine.
“It's Mary Jo, but I prefer to just go by Jo thanks.”
Mary Catherine looked at us both, “Well that un-complicates things a little bit. I see that Mary Jane has arrived, but looks like Mary Sue is not coming till tomorrow. I do have to say it is nearly eleven and though you may not want to be in your room or in the lounge, it is a little late and a little dark to be going on a tour of the campus. You girls should just stick around here for the night.”
This time Mary Elizabeth Catherine did not hide it as she let my eyes roll into the back of her head. What a night mare. She looked at Jo. “Well, what's worse?”
“Let's go back to our room. Maybe we can find a good book, and close the door and not watch or hear the struggle. Though I am ready for bed truth be told.”
They headed back to our room. Again fumbling with her keys, Mary Elizabeth Catherine made a mental note to get those colored key tags, whatever they are called. Finally finding the room key, she opened the door. Both rooms were dark and empty. She turned on the light in the living room as Jo went to turn on the light in the bedroom. They looked at Mary Jane's belongings. Stuff hanging out of the closet and the dresser drawers, things all over the place. Wow this was going to be a long school year. Mary Jane and her sister were nowhere to be found. The TV was in its spot on a cart that came from who knows where, the fridge sitting next to it, with the microwave on top of it. Cool guess she got everything unpacked, wondered where she wondered off to. Too tired to care Mary Elizabeth Catherine looked at Jo. “Looks like she's done for the night, I'm going to bed.”
Not sure what exactly was the proper thing to do Mary Elizabeth Catherine kicked off her shoes and hopped up on my bunk still in her clothes. She surely wasn't changing in front of Jo, and well felt foolish running to the bathroom to change her clothes. She knew she'd have to change sooner or later but well, she'd do it in the bathroom when she took a shower. She tried not to look at Jo's sleek broad shoulders as she stripped her shirt off. Mary Elizabeth Catherine could only imagine her soft skin, and how it would feel to the touch. Shaking her head, this was her roommate, what was she thinking? She rolled over facing the window. Not able to get the image out of her head, she jumped down grabbed her PJ's and took off for the bathroom. “I'm gonna take a quick shower”
Mary Elizabeth Catherine didn't know what else to do or say. Here she was getting turned on by her friend, her roommate, definitely not okay. She locked the bathroom door, thinking even that was cruel what if she needed to use the toilet or brush her teeth. Deciding at that moment that she didn't care, she turned the water as hot as it would go. Mary Elizabeth Catherine got into the shower the hot spray hitting her back. Slowly she slumped down in the shower stall leaning against the wall. Tears started rolling down her cheeks. It was only the first day here and already she could barely control herself. This was Jo. Jo was her friend. Jo had a boyfriend, he was somewhere on campus too. They were high school sweethearts, though from the sounds of things Jo only stuck around for the sex anymore. Trying to remember his name thinking how lucky he was to have a single room. Then it dawned on her, Jo would probably be spending a lot of time there with, Josh, that's it Josh.
Mary Elizabeth Catherine sat there the hot water splashing in her face till Jo knocked on the bathroom door. “Mary Elizabeth you okay in there”
“Yeah I'm fine just about to get out.” The water was getting cold anyway. She opened the shower door, was about to step out, “Shit!”
“What's wrong Mary Elizabeth?”
“My towel, it's in the bottom drawer, could you get it for me.”
“Yeah, no problem.”
Mary Elizabeth Catherine opened the door no longer caring if Jo saw her naked or not, she had Josh what difference did it make if she saw her naked. Much to her surprise, standing there was Mary Jane. Their eyes met. Mary Elizabeth Catherine slammed the door shut. Fuck she muttered to herself. Just what she didn't want to happen. There was a knock on the door. “Yeah”
“I have your towel Mary Elizabeth.”
She opened the door and mumbled a thanks to Jo.
As fast as she could she dried off at put her PJ's on, Oversized T-shirt that I'd stolen from her best friend and a pair of boxer shorts. She looked down and saw that my shirt was nearly longer than her shorts. Just great. What an impression to make. First I'm naked. Then I look half naked. Knowing she couldn't hide in the bathroom all night she picked up her dirty clothes and towel, headed out, never turning my head towards Mary Jane's side of the room. She tossed her clothes in the pristine white clothes hamper her parents had bought her, and hung the towel from the end of her bed so that it could dry.
She barely heard her name whispered in the dark. It wasn't Jo so it must have been Mary Jane. She didn't want to talk to her, she just wanted to roll over go to sleep and pretend she didn't even exist. However; she had called her by name so she figured she must reply.
“Yeah” Mary Elizabeth Catherine whispered back.
“I hope you're not upset or anything, you have a really beautiful body”
What the fuck. Not only was she looking at my body but now she had the balls to tell me about it too. I didn't even know this girl. Hadn't hardly had a conversation with her. What was I suppose to say now. “Thanks.” What! That's the best you could come up with. Whatever, maybe I can just go to sleep and this will all be gone in the morning.
The bedroom door open and in came Jo. Mary Elizabeth Catherine hadn't even noticed she wasn't in the room. She walked over to the head of Mary Elizabeth Catherine's bed. Looked at her and in a low whisper asked “Are you okay?”
Mary Elizabeth Catherine didn't know what to say to that either. All these things and she didn't know how to handle any of them. Yesterday she thought she was ready to go off to college and be on her own, now less than twenty-four hours later she wasn't so sure about that.
Not wanting to say anything at all, but knowing she could talk to Jo, Mary Elizabeth Catherine jumped out of bed, landing on the floor with a thud, she opened the door and went and sat on the couch. Okay so she'd been wrong, it was slightly more comfortable then a metal folding chair. Jo followed her, closing the door behind them.
They sat and looked at each other neither of them saying a word. Mary Elizabeth Catherine didn't know what to say and didn't think Jo knew either. First she'd cowered about changing in front of her, then she'd stood there completely naked not caring what she saw. Suddenly the tears started to silently roll down Mary Elizabeth Catherine's cheeks. First just one, then a second. She tried to hold them in, but then there was just a waterfall of tears. Jo moved closer to her and tentatively put her arm around her. Mary Elizabeth Catherine leaned into her resting her head upon her shoulder. Jo knew it was okay, wrapped her other arm around her and just held her till the tears stopped.
Mary Elizabeth Catherine looked up at Jo, still not sure what to say. Luckily Jo asked the question she didn't want to answer. “Mary Elizabeth, why did you open the door like that?”
Eyes filling up with tears again Mary Elizabeth Catherine willed them to stay and they did. “I thought it was just you and that you would just toss me the towel, I didn't think that Mary Jane would be in there too. Guess I thought that one wrong.”
Jo chuckled a little “Guess so. Do you know why Mary Jane didn't room with Mary Sue?”
Mary Elizabeth Catherine shook my head.
“When you were in the shower we were talking. She was telling me about growing up in Middletown and how small town minded they were there. That no one would accept her the way that she was. That she couldn't change who she was, it was just her, and that she hoped moving to a school so close to the largest city in the state that things would be different. She said her sister refused to room with her, telling her she was just too different and that she needed to get help.”
Mary Elizabeth Catherine looked at Jo. She thought she knew what Jo was talking about, especially after Mary Jane's comment just a few moments ago, but wasn't sure. She looked at Jo, “you mean she's gay?”
Jo simply nodded her head.
Mary Elizabeth Catherine thought: Wow I didn't know what to do with this information. Was she going to be checking me out all the time, would she try and hit on me, what was the deal. I didn't want to share a room with someone who was gay. I stopped myself short. Who was I to judge another. I'd never had a boyfriend in high school, some of the kids called me a faggot because of that. There was Jossin who stood up for me, he was like a big brother to me. He'd even gotten me that scholarship, but I'd turned it down. Jossin even punched a kid one day when he heard him call me a faggot.
Mary Elizabeth Catherine looked at Jo. “What does this mean for us Jo?”
“I don't know Mary Elizabeth. I guess as long as she leaves us alone it doesn't mean anything.”
Mary Elizabeth Catherine told Jo about what Mary Jane had said. Jo's eyes were wide open with amazement, trying to hide it though she simply said “Maybe she didn't mean anything by it, just that you have a nice body. Heck even I can see you have a nice body. Come on, we should get some sleep.”
Mary Elizabeth Catherine blushed a little at Jo's statement and her thoughts earlier about her. So this was college life.
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