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After breakfast Jo and Mary Elizabeth Catherine were hanging out in the room when they heard the familiar fumble of the keys in the door. They looked at each other. Jo got up off the couch and opened the door. There stood a tall blond, not quite as tall as Mary Elizabeth Catherine but taller than Jo for sure, stick straight hair down to her ass. And a cute ass it was at that. Jo looked her in the eye, “You must be Mary Ellen.”
The girl looked shocked. She didn't have a clue what to do or say. She must be the shy type they figured. What a combination an attention seeking gay chick, who was a slob to boot, a shy timid girl, and then Jo and Mary Elizabeth Catherine. What a combination. After several moments, that felt like years the girl looked up and nodded her head. Mary Elizabeth Catherine wasn't going to play this game. “What's wrong with you don't you talk?”
“No, I talk, just was surprised, how'd you know my name?”
Jo pointed to the names on the door. Mary Elizabeth Catherine laughed quietly as Jo had torn the Mary off her name. Mary Ellen looked at the door and then back at us. “Is this some kind of joke? We all have like the same name, well except Jo, is one of you Jo?”
Jo nodded her head. “That'd be me. Mary Jo right here flesh and blood.”
“Oh,” May Ellen looked at Jo, then continued on, “You do have the same name too.”
Mary Elizabeth Catherine wasn't going to do this either. “We all have different names, just because we all have two first names and the first of those happens to be the same doesn't mean shit. If you don't like it you can talk to Mary Catherine, the RA, and asked to be moved to another room. Though I think the only room with an open bed is the one that Mary Anne is in.”
“Oh my,” commented Mary Ellen.
Mary Elizabeth Catherine couldn't help but roll her eyes. Her thoughts so loud Jo felt like she could hear them: Yeah so Mary was a popular name in the 70's okay mid 70's. Can't do anything about it now.
“Look there's one empty bed, and one empty closet, drawer set, and one empty desk. It's all yours knock yourself out.” Mary Elizabeth Catherine debated if she should tell her that Mary Jane was gay. Then had a second thought seemed like that would send this girl running.
Just then the phone rang. Jo reached over and grabbed it of its cradle. From the one sided conversation Mary Elizabeth Catherine knew that it was Josh, and she was going to go down to his room. Great, a morning treat a fuck fest. Mary Elizabeth Catherine didn't really need to know that. Well then again she didn't tell me that either. Jo hung up the phone. “That was Josh he wants to hang out a while and then go get our student body cards. I'll hook up with you at lunch Mary Elizabeth Catherine, k?”
What choice did she have. “Yeah, sure, no problem. See you then.”
Mary Elizabeth Catherine didn't want to be involved in Mary Ellen's unpacking deal, didn't want to go anywhere, had nothing to do. Surely didn't want to be there when Mary Jane showed back up. She looked up on her shelf of books, found one she hadn't read in a while and headed out the door. Just as she was about to close the door she changed my mind. She returned the book to its proper place, in alphabetical order by author of course, and headed out the door again. She headed to the bookstore to see if they had those color coded key things. The gal said no, but the hardware store on Main Street usually kept them in stock.
So Mary Elizabeth Catherine set off to find Main Street . Couldn't be hard to find with a name like that. She walked out to the road that ran through Campus, aptly named Campus Ave. She knew they'd come in from the North and there was nothing but farms that direction so she headed South on Campus Ave., she walked up a few blocks and sure enough there was Main St. Kinda glad this was a small town, not like home where you had to have a car just to go to the corner store. She looked to her right, a bunch of houses, didn't think that would help her, then she looked left, looked like a bunch of stores, so she headed in that direction. Soon she came upon the Hardware store. She'd never been in a Hardware store in her life. She stood outside the store a moment not sure she wanted to go in one now. All of a sudden the door swung open an elderly man, probably in his 50's greeted her with a hearty hello. She was just about to turn around and walk the other way when he looked down at her. “Ah, you must be a freshman at the college, no need to look half scared, I ain't gonna bite you and I bet you're after colored rings for your keys.”
All she could do was stare at the man and nod her head. How did he know so much about her she wondered, she hadn't even opened her mouth. She followed him into the store where he showed her the three different kinds of key thingies he had. The tags wouldn't do her any good, but the other two, either would work. She picked out a pink, a purple and a teal one. He looked at her with a questioning look. “Need one more don't ya?”
“No, I only have three keys plus the mail box key. I live in Naddar hall, we only have three keys.”
“Wow you are one of the lucky ones. Herd they did have a lot of freshmen this year and some were in the upperclassmen dorms. That'll be seventy-five cents.” Mary Elizabeth Catherine handed him a dollar bill, got her change and got out of there just as quick as she could. That man was just a little bit scary.
She decided to head back to campus and see just what there was for buildings, how this place she was going to call home for the next four years was like. She followed Main St back to Campus Ave and back down to Campus. The first building she came to was the library. Well good to know where it is, even if she never planned to step foot in it. Next to the library stood the math hall, to close for comfort for her, but she didn't have a choice, she'd be spending a lot of time in the math hall. Mary Elizabeth Catherine wanted to teach, she was good at math, so was thinking about teaching math. To top it off she was thinking middle school kids. Her parents thought she was outta her mind. But hey it was her life, she was the one that had to live it. Next to the math hall was the science building then the social science building the biggest of them all, but then again it had the sociology, psychology and English department all in there. Then there was the arts building. Another building she knew she would spend a good deal of time with her music in there.
It occurred to her that all the dorms were on the West side of Campus Ave, and all the classrooms on the East side of Campus Ave. Seeing how that was about all that there was to see she decided to head over to the campus center or CC as it was known and get her student ID card. The line was long and though she hated lines, she figured she had nothing else better to do. So in line she stood waiting.
An hour later she emerged with her ID card. With a wonderful picture and everything. It was getting warm outside so she headed back to her room to change into some shorts before lunch.
When she got to my room she found Mary Jane sitting on her bed, and Mary Ellen on the top bunk. Both were in tears. She turned to walk out deciding she could wait to change when Mary Jane called her name. Knowing she was stuck. “Yeah” she said as non-schlantely as possibly, not wanting to get involved.
“Let's just make this easy and make it Liz.”
“Okay Liz. Did Jo tell you that I was gay?”
Mary Elizabeth Catherine looked at Mary Jane not sure what to say. She knew the right thing to do was to tell her yes, but after her comment last night she wanted to pretend that she didn't know anything. Finally she nodded my head, “Yeah she told me last night.”
“Mary Ellen has just informed me that being gay is the devil's work. And that I have the devil in me, and she can't possibly share a room with someone who has the devil in them.”
Okay now Mary Elizabeth Catherine knew for sure that she didn't want to be involved in this. She looked at Mary Ellen, “Well it's true it says in the bible that…. Well it says man and women shall be husband and wife.”
“So what's the problem here?” Liz asked playing dumb.
Mary Jane was quick to answer that. “How am I supposed to live with someone who thinks I have the devil in me?”
Followed quickly by Mary Ellen's exclamation of “How am I supposed to live with someone who has the devil in them, and share a bed with them.”
Liz thought for a moment looking at the two blonds. Trying to figure out how she was going to get out of this. She looked at both of them. “Neither of you have a problem, because there is no devil and you're not really sharing a bed anyway.” With this said changing to shorts totally forgotten she turned and left the room. They were on their own from there. She headed down to the cafeteria knowing full well that they wouldn't start serving lunch for another half hour.
As Liz passed the laundry room she was stopped “Mary Elizabeth Catherine!”
Rolling her eyes she knew this could only be one person, Mary Catherine, everyone else had dropped the Catherine and was just calling her Mary Elizabeth which she did not like one bit and she had told her roommates to just call her Liz. Where that came from she'd never know. She'd always insisted on being called Mary Elizabeth Catherine and nothing else. She turned to look and sure enough there was Mary Catherine.
“Hey how are things going, I saw Mary Ellen got in this morning. She seemed a little shell shocked, I hope she is settling in okay.”
Liz looked at Mary Catherine and could do nothing but laugh.
“Oh, no. What happened?”
“There's a war up there between her and Mary Jane, go check it out for yourself.” Mary Catherine headed off in the direction of my room. Liz chuckled thinking ‘hey that's what she's there for right?'
Headed towards the group of people for the campus tour Liz was hoping that she would catch up with Jo. They were both signed up to do the tour and then to the computer lab and do email. Jo hadn't showed up for lunch so she wasn't sure what exactly was going on. Probably, her first guess anyways, was right a fuck fest with her and Josh and of course there is no measure of time when that is going on.
Liz joined the group, they weren't scheduled to start for ten minutes yet so students were just milling around talking to each other, getting to know each other, small talk. Liz wasn't interested in small talk. She was interested in finding Jo, her mind began to wonder. Not ever having had a boyfriend, she'd never even kissed a boy she wondered what it must be like for Jo to be with Josh. She knew all the facts and how it worked and everything. She just wondered about what it felt like. It must feel good because Jo had talked about how hard it was to find a place to do it when they were in high school but now that they were in college and especially since Josh had a single room they had no limits. Could it really be that good. Lost in her own thoughts she didn't hear my name called. A tap on the shoulder and she turned to see Jo.
“Where in the world have you been? We were suppose to meet for lunch.” I tried to keep the disappointment and anger out of my voice.
“Josh and I were hanging out, lost track of time, we didn't even make it to lunch.”
Liz's thoughts now confirmed, a fuck fest had occurred. All she could do was shake her head. Liz was in no place to say anything. It was her choice and who knows she'd probably be doing the same thing if she had a boyfriend. She didn't have one, never have, didn't think she ever would. Did she even want one? Holy crapola she thought did she just think what she just thought she did? Liz didn't want a boyfriend but what did she want? A girlfriend? Wow, the thought had never crossed her mind. Maybe that is why she was so cross at Mary Jane over last night, but really it was her own fault. She was the one that opened the bathroom door standing in the middle of it stark naked. She got what I asked for.
The tour began. They listened to the upperclassmen point out the buildings, stating what classes were where, and answering questions as they moved along. It was a small campus. She'd seen most of it when she went to get her color rings for her keys, glad that she had them now. The purple one for the room, the pink one for the lounge and the teal one for the laundry room. As they walked through campus Liz found her thoughts drifting back to last night and Mary Jane, and why did she open the door like that in the first place. What was she thinking? She wasn't sure she understood any of it at all.
The tour guide was telling some elaborate story about the library. She whispered to Jo “I hope I don't ever have to go in there.”
Her simple reply was “me too.”
Liz tuned out the tour guide she didn't really care about the history of the library. She'd figured out where all her classes were for next week she was good to go. Liz looked down at her watch. Fifteen minutes till they were supposed to be in the computer lab. It would take less than five minutes to get there but she had to get out of this tour.
Grabbing Jo's hand she turned the other direction and started walking away from the group. Liz was done with the tour and she didn't think Jo was getting much out of it either. Besides she wanted to talk to her about last night. It was really stuck in her head and then what she saw today between Mary Ellen and Mary Jane.
“Hey Jo. I wanna know what you think about something.”
Liz was nervous about continuing, not knowing what Jo's reaction really would be. She just knew Jo had been there last night and held her while she cried. There wasn't a lot of talk, she was just there. Jo just looked at her. Okay so this is where she had to speak and tell her just what she wanted to talk about. Okay how does that work. “You remember last night?”
“Yeah I remember, not an easy night to forget. What were you thinking just opening the door like that anyway?”
“I thought you'd just toss me my towel. I realize now I should have just waited and had you bring it to me. I wasn't sure at first what the proper protocol was. Was I suppose to just change there in front of you? Go into the bathroom? I didn't know. So I took the excuse of taking a shower to answer my own question. Then I just sat in the shower and wondered what a fool I was. You had changed right there next to the bed, what was wrong with me? So then I guess I just thought if you could change in front of me, then it was okay to be naked in front of you.”
“Mary Elizabeth, there's a big difference between changing in front of someone and being totally naked like that. I don't know what were supposed to do, but we can't all four go in the bathroom and have privacy to get ready in the morning, sooner or later we're going to have to get comfortable about changing in front of each other.”
“Okay. I can understand that. But Mary Jane. To tell me I had a nice body. That was just a little bit creepy and then to find out she's gay on top of that. So what she's checking me out, wants to make a move on me?”
“No, I don't think she wants to make a move on you. I think it's just like any time you're walking down the street and you see a really hot guy and you say so.”
Never having been in that situation but thinking Liz understood what she was saying she silently nodded her head at Jo. She still wasn't convinced though.
Jo and Liz landed themselves at the computer lab right on time. They were supposed to be getting email addresses. Liz had never been on a computer except one time her senior year to type a paper. What was she suppose to do with email. What even was email?
Liz listened intently as the geeky looking guy talked about computers and how they were becoming a great communication tool. That they could write a message and send it to someone, mail it to them and they'd get it in their mail box in just minutes, comparing it to the mail man and writing a letter to someone, only it got there a lot faster.
First thing was they all had to get their login name. What in the world was a login name. Guess that was the next lesson. Liz went up to the desk the women asked her for her student ID number, why did she ask for a student ID number everyone knew it was your SSN, why not just ask for that. Whatever, she didn't get it. Liz gave the lady her number and she gave her a series of letters, MECTAY. Liz looked at the letters as she walked back to her seat. Then she sat there staring at them, there must be some code to them. While she waited for others to get their login names she continued to study hers. Then it hit her MECT for Mary Elizabeth Catherine Taylor, her initials. Okay but what about the ay. Liz studied it and couldn't figure it out then Jo got hers MJPAZ. Liz looked at her's and saw the pattern. It was her initials and the first three letters of her last name, her last name being Paz, it was all three letters. Liz looked at hers again. MEC and TAY yeah TAY for Taylor . She got it.
The geeky guy up front was pining for everyone's attention again. Everyone had their login. He told them he was going to walk them through loging in and changing their password and then log out and login again and to their email. The whole process took forever but once he'd showed them how to do the email it was easy. So Liz sent an email to Jo. All she had to do was put in MJPAZ and then go down to the next line and typed ‘I'm glad we are roommates.' Then hit control S, for send and off the message went to Jo. This is cool she thought. She could send messages to people and they can pick them up when it is a good time for them. This was better than an answering machine.
Dragging herself out of bed Monday morning Liz began to ask myself why she signed up for an nine am class. What in the world could she have been thinking. Liz got in the shower, keeping the water a little on the cold side to help wake her up. Once she was awake she turned the temperature up and finished her shower and got dressed. Like always she hung her towel on the end of her bed to dry. Liz looked over at Mary Jane and the empty upper bunk where Mary Ellen had slept. She had since moved telling Mary Catherine that she just couldn't live with someone who had the devil in them. That left just the three of them. That was okay by Liz, gave Mary Jane two closets for all her stuff so it wasn't hanging out all over the place. As Liz looked around she tried to be quiet as Mary Jane and Jo were both still sleeping. She finally found her shoes and headed into the other room to grab her books for class.
By now everyone was calling her Liz which was a new thing for her and she wasn't sure yet if she liked it or not. She thought about it on the way to class. Liz always liked being called Mary Elizabeth Catherine. She liked the ring it had to it. Nice and smooth, rich sounding, rich like chocolate fudge. Liz, it was just cut and dry. Was surly a lot shorter. And made things a lot less complicated in her room. She decided that Liz it would be.
Liz arrived at her first class, creative writing. The instructor called roll “Mary Elizabeth Catherine Taylor,” “Here, Liz is fine” she replied. Once the instructor was done calling roll she passed out a syllabus just like every class she imaged there would be. She wasted no time however. She spoke of short stories, and how they have a beginning a middle and an end. Okay, well duh. Then she went on to explain that the beginning set the stage for the story, introduced the characters and explained their roles. The middle held the climax, the most important part of the story, the height of the excitement in the story. Then there was the end where everything wrapped up. A simply explanation of a basic story she told us. “Your task between now and Wednesday when I see you again is to write a simply short story. It should be no less than two pages and may be typed or hand written.”
Liz left class feeling just a bit overwhelmed. A two page story in just two days and what was this about it could be typed or hand written. Yeah we bought a box of computer disks at the bookstore, but she didn't know how to use them, or even what to do with them. Liz decided this was not the time to figure out typing an assignment. She said it could be hand written so hand written it would be.
Liz's next class wasn't till ten. So she sat on one of the benches in the grass in front of the math building and decided she might as well start writing her story. She knew from high school that she needed and introduction some body paragraphs and a conclusion. Well at least for a paper. A story couldn't be much different could it? Liz decided she should brainstorm some ideas first. Main character Anabelle. Okay that's one. Now who does so interact with, how about her sister Jazmin. Okay she had her characters down. Now what are they going to do for two pages? Liz started drawing pictures on the paper. She looked at her watch, still a half hour before class. She looked at the pictures she'd drawn. Flowers, a bunch of them, how are a bunch of flowers supposed to help write a story. Liz thought a moment. Okay Anabelle and Jazmin could be in a field picking flowers. Yeah that'll work, but what else. That won't fill two pages. Liz looked at my watch again, ten minutes. She put her paper in her binder and closed my binder. Time to head to math.
Being grateful that she didn't have to take the math placement test she sat in her math class, calculus. Liz wasn't sure this was really what she wanted to be doing. She'd taken calc, and AP calc in high school, so this should be a breeze. The instructor walked into the classroom. It was clear that he meant business. He announced to the class “Welcome to vector calculus, the fourth term of the calculus series.”
‘Oh no,' thought liz, ‘I thought I was in the right place.' Next thing she knew he was calling her name. “Here.”
She was on his list it must be right. Liz had taken the AP calc test in high school did it really skip me through the first three terms of college calculus. The instructor started talking. Liz opened her book looking at the page he was referring to. It might as well been in Japanese. She was in trouble this was going to be a killer class. She walked out of class at the end of the hour with assignment in hand grateful that it wasn't due till Friday.
One more class today. Making my way down to the north end of campus she was glad she had decided to start Spanish at the 100 level and not skip to the 200 level like the advisor suggested at summer orientation. She already had two hard classes, she needed a break. Liz sat in Spanish 101, listening to the teacher. Okay this is not going to work she decided. She'd taken three years of Spanish in high school, maybe the advisor was right. Liz waited till the end of class and went to talk to the instructor. She began speaking to me in Spanish. Without thinking Liz spoke Spanish back to her. She looked at Liz with wide eyes. “Your Spanish is very good. You are right this class is too easy for you. Let's move you to 201, there is room in my 8am class tomorrow.”
Liz didn't know what to think. She only had one class tomorrow and that was biology. It was at 9:30 I thought that was early enough after having to get up early today. She thought about it and decided if she could do nine am then she could handle eight am. Liz agreed. The instructor wrote her a note to take to the registrar to change classes.
Next stop was to the registrar to change classes. That was a simple task. She did all the work Liz just had to give her the note. Then she realized she'd have to get a different book. She headed back to my dorm room to get her receipt so she could exchange her book. Jo was sitting on the couch when she came in. “Hey, you wanna go to lunch with me Liz I was just about to head down there?”
Liz looked at her watch it was 12:30. Liz figured lunch needed to happen before the bookstore. “Yeah I need to get some lunch too, then I need to go to the bookstore and exchange a book.”
Jo and Liz headed to the cafeteria to get lunch. The food wasn't like home but it was decent and by now she was used to it and if nothing looked or smelled good she could always make a turkey sandwich. Today though they had some kind of pasta thing, it smelled good so she decided that I'd give that a try.
Over lunch with Jo they talked about how our classes had gone, Jo had only had one so far, she had two more this afternoon. Liz was done for the day. Jo was nervous about her math class, Liz laughed and told her where she'd ended up for math classes, then she promised she'd help her with her math if she needed it.
Jo looked at Liz, all of a sudden her face was super serious. Liz didn't know if she was supposed to say something or wait till she said something. She decided to wait. When nothing came out of her mouth Liz decided I had to ask “Jo is something wrong”
“Oh, Liz.” Tears started to roll down her cheeks. Liz didn't know if she was up for this conversation right now in the middle of the cafeteria. She sensed it was coming regardless of what she thought. She remained quiet and just waited for her to continue.
“Liz, …Josh,… we,.... we broke up Liz.” The tears turned into a waterfall. Liz reached over and put my hand on top of Jo's. She wanted to take her into her arms but didn't think that would go over to well in the middle of the cafeteria. Liz didn't know what to say. So she said nothing at all. All she could do was rub the back of her hand with her fingers. Jo looked at her with those sad eyes, she could tell he'd done this, this was not her choice. Liz knew she was in love with him, or as much as someone their age could be.
“Liz he slept with Mary Catherine. Says he wants to be with her now. How am I suppose to face her. We have that dorm meeting tonight, I can't go. She'll be there. I can't do it Liz.”
“You'll be just fine Jo. You'll hold your head high and walk in there. Maybe she doesn't even know he had a girlfriend, or that you were it. In fact I bet that she doesn't. I'll be there right with you.”
“Oh Liz, Thank you.” The tears came to a stop. Jo picked up her tray, dumped her uneaten lunch in the trash and headed back to the room. Liz followed not knowing what else to do. She needed to go back and take care of my Spanish text book. When they got to the room Jo went in and sat on her bed. Liz went and sat next to her. She crumbled into Liz's arms, she just held her. She could smell her hair, the strawberry scent of her shampoo. She could feel the weight of her against her, it was comforting to her. Liz knew she had a friend that she could offer support to as she had to her just only a week ago, it seemed like months, but it truly was only a week. Jo slowly slumped until her head was in Liz's lap. Liz stroked her hair, trying to comfort her she didn't know what else to do. No words seemed right at the moment.
Liz heard the key in the lock. looked down and noticed that Jo had fallen asleep. It was then that Liz realized that Josh had done this yesterday when she was gone for so long, and that this is why the bed shook all night as she tossed and turned unable to sleep. Liz wasn't going anywhere. Mary Jane would just have to think whatever it was that she was going to think. She knew she already thought we were gay too and that we were together, but Liz knew that she knew about Josh too, so she wasn't sure what she really did think.
Mary Jane came in and dropped her backpack on the bed. It wasn't until she turned around that she even saw Jo and Liz on Jo's bed. She took one look, then she too remembered the squeaking of the bed all night and realized it had been Jo that couldn't sleep. Mary Jane walked over to Liz and quietly asked if she was okay. “She will be. She needs sleep now, but has class at three. What time is it now.”
Mary Jane looked at her watch “It's just two. Are you going to just sit there while she sleeps?”
“Well I don't know that I have much choice. If I move she'll wake up and right now she just needs to sleep to make it through her classes this afternoon.”
“Wow, I wish I had a friend like you Liz. You two are so there for each other. Look I'm gonna take a shower, but I'll help you keep track of time, we should wake her in about a half hour.”
“Thanks Mary Jane. I think a half hour is good. Get her up and ready for class at three.”
Mary Jane went into the bathroom and hopped in the shower. Liz could hear the water running. her thoughts went back to wondering what she thought. Her words made it sound like she didn't think they were gay, that we were just friends. Liz admitted they'd become very close during the last week. Closer than any of the friends she ever had in high school. It was an odd feeling. Liz didn't know quite how to put words on it, tight at this moment she didn't care. Liz just wanted to be there, feeling Jo's weight on her lap as she slept silently.
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