Projects, projects everywhere!
Last summer I wrote a novel and sent it off to an editor. She was mostly unhelpful, but another friend pointed me in the right direction. (Thanks, Phil!)
And as a bonus, he also gave me another idea.
I began this blog to tell the true adventures of Lover and I, but after a dialogue with Phil Huston, I realized that there was more to say, about things that had happened long before our time together.
Like being a sorority girl during my college years…
Mind Your Manners
I was nearly ready to leave the dorm, with a quick last look in the mirror, when I heard a knock at the door. Sharks have warmer smiles than the mouthful of teeth I presented to the little freshman that stood there, big-eyed and nervous.
“So, it’s you, hmm?” I asked.
“Hi, my name is Michelle. I’m supposed to, um…” She trailed off, fidgeting with the hem of her white Gap tee shirt.
God, that’s going to get really, really dirty, I thought. Abruptly I shifted gears, giving Michelle a hundred-watt smile. “I know why you’re here; apparently I can get a little rowdy when I drink,” I whispered, leaning in as if we shared a secret. Michelle visibly slumped with relief.
This was going to be so easy.
Just like the last one.
“Let’s go, shall we?”
As we crossed UDub’s campus, I asked Michelle about her schedule and then half-listened as she talked about her classes, how excited she was to pledge Kappa Kappa Delta, to graduate from the University of Washington and make a difference in the world.
At least I didn’t yawn.
At last we reached the Gamma Kappa Tau fraternity house. I bypassed the front entrance; only newbies went in that way. Anything could be waiting behind there, especially since our sorority had a party on schedule for tonight.
“Aren’t we..?” Michelle gestured towards the white double doors.
“My freshman year, ten boys jumped out from behind there as soon as I opened it. Only two of them were wearing underwear. The rest were…sweaty,” I explained smoothly, detouring towards a recessed passageway nearly hidden off to the left side of the grand old house.
Michelle squealed, and I rolled my eyes.
Even from outside, I could hear the the Swat Ass Crew bumping rap and playing beer pong in the basement. I knew they’d be too crude and brash and loud for Miss I’m-From-Minnesota, so it was an excellent place to begin our journey.
“Wow, sexy ladies in the dungeon!” yelled one bare-chested jock sitting on a broken couch and straddling a pony keg. At least he was wearing boxer-briefs.
“Hey, you wanna come party with us? All the head you can handle!” cat-called another man-boy; I recognized him from my Women’s and Gender Studies class.
“We’re just taking the tour,” I said, grinning at my friend Jake who was holding up the other end of the table. He was also shirtless and inexplicably tan in the middle of a Washington winter, volleying effortlessly while chugging a can of Miller Lite.
“You coming later, once this party really gets started?” he asked, holding up his beer like a toast. His dimples flashed like a promise of wonderful things to come, and I was nearly tempted to abandon my original plan.
“Is that a satisfaction guarantee?”” I quipped instead, and the room burst into raucous howls of appreciation.
My poor little babysitter shivered, as if we could be stripped naked at any moment; I knew better but didn’t bother to dissuade her from her stereotypical beliefs. Her sigh of relief was audible when we reached the opposite side unmolested but for a few more explicit proposals.
I navigated through the underground warren with practiced ease until I located one of the crappiest rooms in all of Gamma Kappa Tau. Freshies always got last choice and were very lucky to get quarters in-house at all.
Even this one.
A tall, slightly built teenager opened the door. He wore a fraternity tee shirt and faded jeans with bare feet on the cold cement floor.
“Keith!” I cooed, and he stepped back, his mouth twisting into a slightly pained expression.
It was all the invitation I needed to move forward and to the right, invading his room with Michelle reluctantly following me and therefore effectively blocking the doorway.
“Won’t you come in,” he said tonelessly, and I settled cross legged onto his bed, absentmindedly flipping down the hem of my dress, feeling his eyes riveted on the pink sliver of panties still barely showing.
There was a book open on his bed, and I flipped it up to to see the cover, carefully keeping his place with one finger. I’m not a monster, after all.
Keith was reading Shakespeare.
For a moment I looked up at him, really looked at him, a thin young man two years younger than me but decades behind in experience. We had met through a mutual acquaintance who didn’t know how to take “no” for an answer.
“Have you reached the duel between Romeo and Tybalt yet?” I asked, focusing on his light blue eyes. He was growing his hair out; it curled up near his collar, now. “‘A scratch, a scratch’–it’s one of the best speeches, in my opinion.”
“Not yet, but this is my second read-through,” Keith said, his Southern drawl warming with academic interest.
“Are you taking Foster’s class or Delaney?” I skimmed the open page, unable to resist one of my favorite stories.
“Professor Foster’s… Why?” Keith was so close I could smell the Irish Spring soap on his skin, could identify the name brand of the deodorant he was wearing. The bed creaked as he squeezed in next to me on the narrow twin mattress, his hands reaching protectively for the play.
“Good; Professor Foster is absolutely the best. He’ll want you to look at character dynamics in the context of a specific theme,” I explained, my eyes following the book. Then I grinned, “Silly boy, tricks are for kids.” He stiffened at the word “boy,” probably too young to get the reference to the cartoon rabbit and the cereal slogan.
Too young for me, by far.
I stood up and crossed to the tiny window. “My major is Medieval and 16th century lit. Professor Foster is my adviser, and he’s fabulous. If you have a choice, always take one of his classes. Delaney is a hack; all she wants to do is debate word choice like a linguist. She misses the heart of it.”
I looked back and realized I had said too much. Keith had a starry-eyed look I recognized from many a late night study session at the library.
Why are men always so surprised that a girl can think for herself?
I smiled, a practiced and polite party trick.
“Michelle is more into math and science. She’s taking Astronomy with Baker.” I gestured towards my miserably uncomfortable minder.
“Oh, I have that class, too!” he said enthusiastically, turning towards the petite brunette.
Of course you do; that’s why I chose your room in the first place. “What do you like best about the class so far?”
Michelle was not immune to the charms of a well-mannered, reasonably hot frat boy with half a brain. She smiled, for the first time, and they launched into something that sounded a lot like math.
I tuned out after gesturing towards my seat on the bed, fading away back towards the exit. Within ten minutes I had quietly disappeared.
Time to have some real fun.
What can I say? I had a lot of growing up to do.
This is all I can share, as I have promised Phil first dibs on the entire story. Perhaps by July I will have it ready for publication; I’ll keep you posted, if anyone would like to beta read.
As ever, thank you for reading!