This short story is my second attempt at creating a short story for public view. I don't expect perfection with it, and I'm still feeling this "writing" thing out. So, feedback of any type will be greatly appreciated, sent to kevincyn[at]authorskeep.com.
There's no sex in here - just the slight implication thereof. If that offends you or, conversely, doesn't do it for you, then look elsewhere for entertainment.
Special thanks, yet again, to Matty/Bwctwriter for all the editing and encouragement.
I have another story in the "College" section entitled "Dreams"...any new stories I post will be posted on authorskeep.com before posting on Nifty, fyi.
And so I'll end my rambling here and present you with Alone Together...
I awoke to the absolute worst sound in the world - my alarm clock. I groaned and rolled over in bed, trying in futility to shield my ears from the incessant ringing with my pillow. My alarm clock was powerfully loud and pierced my ears even with protection, so I had to give in. I finally sat up in bed, scratched my chest furiously, and silenced the villainous device. I apologized to my aching bones as I stretched mightily and proceeded to the bathroom clad in just my underwear. My roommates never enjoyed this routine of mine; my lack of caring always overrode their masculine insecurities, however, and I ventured to the toilet and shower without a care.
My laundry was all fresh and at the top of the rotation, so I decided to go ahead and put on some of my nicer clothes. I chose one of the few collared shirts I had, pairing the royal blue with a crisp pair of khaki cargo pants. I slapped on a belt, shoved my books into my bookbag, and fitted my mp3 player into my pocket. Feeling satisfied, I headed back to the bathroom, squirted a small glob of hair gel in my palm, and slicked my hand back through my light brown hair to spike it. I liked it that way since, with my hair in such a typical style, I attracted attention to my stronger features, especially my dark green eyes. Whatever little sense of style I had, I had at least developed strategies to work with it.
On the way out the door, I turned the TV off for whatever roommate last left it on, cursed the responsible party heavily, and slammed the door behind me with authority. Hopefully, the perpetrator, if still at home, would have at least realized that Chris wasn't pleased with something.
Although I generally rued mornings, the walk to classes proved pleasant and I was almost glad to be out of bed. It was definitely still summer, but every so often a cool breeze would make my eyes water a bit, signaling that fall was starting to struggle for control. I walked on, spying a yellow leaf poking through a green crowd on tree branches. I let a small smile creep onto my face as I soaked it in. It was rare that I'd be able to enjoy my surroundings as such - usually I'd have my face shoved in a notebook to accomplish some last minute studying while I skillfully dodged other pedestrians without looking up. I didn't need to do any studying, and there was a surprising lack of pedestrians on my way to school, thus I was enjoying my own private hike to class.
I thought nothing of such an abnormality until it became amplified. As I approached the intersection of
The lack of other students walking around me on campus was even more glaring now that I noticed the absence of traffic on the road affectionately dubbed "
The rotten, old door slammed behind me, making me jump as the quiet building echoed the door's noise even more so than usual. I gripped the door's handle in order to get a simultaneous grip on myself and my nerves. I had gone from being uncomfortable to suddenly panicked with the door's deafening slam - almost as if it had slammed the reality of the situation into my consciousness.
`Alright, seriously,' I told myself, `nothing's wrong. You're gonna enter the classroom and see some note explaining all this on the board. There was a holiday you didn't know about today, or classes were cancelled for some reason.' I took a deep breath, willed my feet to move, and let go of the door's handle. The old building had always been unpleasant - the historic cemetery preserved next door had made the building one of my least desirable destinations. Now, with the entire campus seemingly a graveyard, the inside of the building became equally foreboding. Upon entering the main hallway, I walked toward my classroom. As I glanced passively into the slightly opened doors of the other rooms, I noticed nobody within. All the lights were on, but nobody was home. I gulped audibly and reached the slightly ajar door of my History classroom, peaked into the room, and was greeted by...more emptiness. After staring for a few heavy seconds, I entered the room, hoping to see a message written on the chalkboard or left as a note on the desk or...something. A quick inspection of the room, however, turned up no such evidence. The room was as empty and lifeless as everywhere else. Still unsure of what to do, I stood against the wall of the room for a good ten minutes, just in case the professor suddenly showed up out of thin air. Finally satisfied that I had a sufficient excuse to leave, as if the ghost-like campus wasn't enough, I tentatively tapped open the door and stepped back out into the hallway.
Upon exiting the building, a gust of wind, slightly cooler than before, hit me and nearly knocked me back. The leaves on the trees rustled in a way that, in my distressed state, resembled clattering bones more than anything. A Twinkie wrapper flew by gracefully, which was almost a sign of life, but too commonplace to be considered so. I glanced over to the cemetery just in view by the building, shuddered, and decided I'd rather be somewhere else on this graveyard of a campus than next to an actual graveyard.
The student activities building, which was usually full of kids grabbing snacks, napping, or chatting between classes, was as quiet as death. As in Parker Hall, the lights were all on, but nobody was around. That didn't make sense to me. Someone had to have opened these buildings up for the day, turned on the lights, and unlocked all the doors. They couldn't have simply vanished. After trips to Okkervil, Lumpkin, and Baxter Halls, however, I found no evidence to the contrary. Everyone was simply gone.
Befuddled, I started running all up and down the campus for the next hour, shouting for attention from anyone that could still be around. Screaming, cursing, and incoherent yelling, while running up and down campus, all garnered no results, and I eventually tired myself out.
"What the hell is going on?" I asked myself. The panic started to subside to a general confusion, and I decided to walk back to my apartment. I finally tried the obvious on my way back, but my phone yielded no answer from anyone - just answering machine after answering machine. I tried dialing "911" lastly, but again, nobody answered.
The parking lot to the complex was as full of cars as when I left, but still just as desolate as the others. On the way to my own door, I banged on all the others in futility in an attempt to arouse some sort of response. I got out my keys, unlocked my door and, after waiting for a minute to see if anyone responded to my knocking, I dejectedly entered my abode. My roommates were absent like the rest of the population, and, although I was tempted to watch a movie in my underwear whilst snacking on their food out of spite, I decided seeking out humanity was more important. I grabbed my windbreaker and, after locking up out of habit, made my way to my car.
I made the usually difficult left turn out of the parking lot with great ease, and then headed towards downtown to seek out anyone whilst in my crapmobile. Downtown proved to be almost as eerie as the campus, however, and humanity seemed to be equally as hidden. Even the homeless people that typically dotted the streets night and day were gone. Nervously, I started biting the fingernails on one hand while I drove with the other. Deciding that maybe a nap was needed just in case I had gone insane, I took a side street through campus towards my apartment.
I nearly crashed my car into a lamppost when I saw him walking along the sidewalk. He was busy looking all around, seemingly as lost and confused as I was earlier, though apparently not to the point of deranged yelling yet. I slowed the car as I came upon him, and when he finally noticed my car coming towards him, his expression showed as mind did, no doubt. If anything, this confirmed that we were in the same predicament. I gave a little wave as I slowed down next to him, and he responded in kind, walking up to my car while I stopped. I shook my head in disbelief as I rolled down my window to talk to him.
"Please tell me you're as confused as I am right now," He immediately said. His sparkling blue eyes gave off a hint of fear as he looked to me, hoping for some confirmation that he wasn't actually insane.
"I've been up and down campus and downtown all morning and afternoon," I explained. "You're the first person I've seen," I confirmed to him, nodding while trying to hide my utter glee over finding an actual person. He let out a deep breath as he gripped my window for support.
"I don't suppose you know what the hell happened then, do you?" He asked cynically.
"I would ask you the same thing," I responded. He gave a weak acknowledgement. He seemed all but hopeless at this point. I was the same way.
"I hope you wouldn't mind my company...would you?" He asked timidly but full of hope, almost as if he were a middle-schooler asking for a first date from a pretty girl. I wasn't about to make fun, however. I needed the company just as badly.
"You're the first soul I've seen all day. Please, by all means, tag along with me," I enthusiastically replied, jerking my head towards the passenger side. Nodding, he skipped around the car, practically threw open the door, and plopped into the seat. I decided, if only for the human touch, I needed to properly introduce myself.
"Well, I'm Chris," I offered my hand.
"I'm Wesley. Pleased to meet you," He heartily shook my hand, and we smiled at each other as I shifted the car into drive.
"If by pleased, you mean abso-fucking-lutely thrilled, then yeah, I am too," I couldn't help not hiding my joy. He let out a little laugh and nodded.
"Yeah, that's about the gist of what I meant," He confirmed. As I drove around campus to look for any more...wanderers, we started talking about our experiences thus far. He had a late class on this day, so he only woke up at around . He knew something was wrong immediately after waking up, however, unlike my gradual realization. He spent most of his time trying to rouse his fellow tenants in his apartment complex to no avail, and had only recently started walking around campus.
As he relayed his story, I found myself watching him out of the corner of my eye. Maybe it was the fact that I hadn't seen a human all day, but I strongly felt like I hadn't seen anyone as beautiful as this guy before. His eyes, though still slightly afraid, were a dreamy ice blue that probably twinkled in everyday life amongst civilization. His hair was cut to a messy medium-length, but was probably intentionally so, as it framed a gorgeous face that gave a hint of boyishness and mischief. His body was similar to my own, slightly smaller than usual, but built well enough where he probably wasn't too self-conscious. His outfit lent to his charmingly messy, boyish allure, with a pair of loose-fitting jeans and a green t-shirt advertising some band I've never heard of.
"Well, what do you think, Wesley?" I asked, at a loss for ideas. We had been driving around campus, downtown, and a little bit up and down the highway running through our college town, all in vain. Not a soul was to be found. I even hit 100 miles-per-hour on the highway, partially to lure out a policeman in hiding somewhere, and also partially for my own amusement. Wesley wasn't as amused as I was, but I had always wanted to see if my car could pull it off without turning to dust. As it turns out, my car survived. Go figure.
"I don't know, Chris. What can we do?" He shook his head, sighing. By now, we were back downtown.
"You've tried your cellphone, right?" I asked, just in case.
"That was the first thing I tried." He said, laughing at even the possibility that he might not have thought of that. I laughed as well, mostly to myself at my earlier stupidity.
"Well, I guess there's nothing we really can do," I shrugged my shoulders as I turned back into my apartment complex. I had killed most of my gas tank, but figured there were enough gas pumps around to keep that from worrying me too much. It's not like I would get caught stealing. He nodded agreement, defeated like me. I parked the car and we got out, stretching from the long car ride to nowhere. As he puffed out his chest to crack his back, I let my eyes linger on his sleek form. He was built, but not in that gross bodybuilder way. Rather, he had developed a nice swimmer's physique. As far as being my only companion in this town, and perhaps the world, I could have done a lot worse.
"I'm too exhausted mentally and physically to care about all this anymore today. I feel like just sitting around and giving up for now." He let his head slump forward and rest on the car door. The mental toll of today's events was finally getting to him. I was a short step away from exhaustion myself.
"Yeah, I understand that. Come on inside my place, we can grab a snack or something and rest." I offered. He nodded and picked his head up as I started to lead the way. I raised my keys behind me as we walked and locked the car with my beeper, and the car honked confirmation that I had locked it as we walked on. There was a slight pause and then a muffled giggling from Wesley.
"What?" I asked. He gave me a lopsided smirk as the realization dawned on me. I shrugged and gave my own smile. "Force of habit I guess." I half-heartedly explained. He rolled his eyes. I playfully slugged him on the shoulder as I fished out my apartment key and opened the door to my place. I smiled again as I invited him in. A twinkling in his eyes that must usually be there peaked through with his giggling, and as I caught it, I couldn't help but become completely enamored with this boy.
I made ourselves some eggs and toast for a late-afternoon breakfast. I was no cook, but Wesley didn't complain while eating, and I, of course, couldn't complain about my own cooking. Wesley chose a movie to watch that we both had seen, and thus we spent most of it talking more about each other. Before long we grew tired, and both of us could barely keep our eyes open. We needed a nap, and badly so. I glanced over to catch him in a beastly yawn and smiled.
"I could use a nap as well," I stated, deciding to go ahead and shut off the movie and the TV.
"What makes you think - " He paused to yawn involuntarily again, smiling at the timing of it.
"What makes me think you need a nap?" I raised my eyebrow with a smile of my own.
"Fine. Where should I crash?" He asked, rubbing his eyes so they could last at least another minute.
"Well, I guess I have plenty of beds here for you to use, as well as the couch." I gestured to the other rooms in my apartment that used to house roommates. "Uhm...if you don't feel like being alone, since I know we're already alone enough, then you can sleep in my room with me if you want." I bit my lip, trying not to look nervous at the proposal that somehow slipped past my lips. He choked mid-yawn. "Not to imply anything. I mean, you don't have to do it. It was a suggestion. I just figured, we're alone together, and don't have to worry about looking gay to anyone, if that's what the problem is. Or...I mean," I was in danger of stammering as I tried to explain my offer without looking like I wanted in his pants. Which I did, but that was beside the point and not the reason for my offer.
"Oh, no, I understand the reasoning," He stopped me from rambling nervously as he tried to explain as well. "It's just that...well, I don't want you to feel uncomfortable."
"Uncomfortable? I was the one who offered." I cocked my head in slight confusion.
"Yeah, I don't want you feeling uncomfortable because I actually am gay." He explained, nervously chewing the inside of his mouth as he let that sink in.
"Oh," I replied stupidly, my reaction being surprise most of all.
"I just didn't want to sleep in your bed, and then let that slip later and make you uneasy about having shared it with me." He elaborated further, looking at me hopefully. My surprise gave way to joy after an initial pause, though I tried not to let it show. I gave a warm smile to him and grabbed his arm.
"No worries, Wes, I don't mind." I led him to my room, hiding my ear-to-ear grin. Inside my head, a gospel choir sang out cheers of "HALLELUJAH!"
I took the initiative and decided to only strip off my shirt before getting into bed, and he shyly followed suit. He revealed a slim but defined chest clad in a slight tan, causing me to fight to keep my tongue from rolling out of my mouth. Bashful, he folded it and set it on my computer chair before easing onto the other side of my full-size bed. He gave another of his trademark weak smiles and then rolled over onto his side, facing away from me.
"Do you think when we wake up, this will all have been a dream or something?" He asked me, though it was asked as if he didn't expect an answer.
"My roommates will probably be here when we wake up, calling us queer, I bet," I prophesized light-heartedly. He responded with a weak chuckle. A minute passed without either of us drifting into our respective naps, and I wondered what he was thinking. I shifted onto my side so that I could watch him. I couldn't really help but stare at him, though I wished he was facing me with those twinkling eyes. I gave a small sigh and heard him swallow. The next time I glanced at my alarm clock, I saw about five minutes had passed with us just thinking. Finally, I couldn't take it anymore. I gave in to temptation and scooted closer to him, making contact as I snuggled up next to him. He immediately grew rigid with uncertainty, but neither of us moved away, and he finally loosened himself. A sigh wavered as it escaped his lungs, apparently held within for a long time beforehand.
"Might as well give them good reason to call us queers, you know?" I stupidly offered. He responded with a yawn, and we both fell asleep soon after.
I awoke with a jolt as I felt something graze my face. Startled, I shot up in bed and instinctively grabbed the alarm clock next to my bed to use as a weapon in case it was a cockroach or other undesirable insect playing games with me. As I looked where my head was laying before, however, I noticed my old Frisbee. Hearing some familiar giggling from the doorway, I turned to see Wesley there with a huge grin.
"I found that in the living room, thought we might throw it around for a bit before it got too dark." He smiled at me and I returned the smile as best as I could in my post-nap haze. He giggled again. "You know, you can set that down now." I had the alarm clock still raised high in the air, ready to strike. I set it down on the table, noticing the time was a little before seven.
"I guess we'll head down to the parking lot," I suggested. He nodded and I sleepily got out of bed and stretched, his gaze lingering a bit on my body as I scratched myself awake. I pretended I didn't notice and we headed out the door. He had since put a shirt on, but I decided not to bother. It seemed we didn't wake up in a different situation, thus I decided decency was not really an issue. We ended up throwing around the Frisbee for hours until our only light source was the few and far between street lamps in the lot. We must have set off dozens of car alarms, us laughing as the cars squealed hysterically for their owners to rescue them. Our laughter died down as the car alarms did, and we soon found ourselves tired despite our earlier nap. I guessed the stressful day had overburdened our brains.
Resigning ourselves to another movie, we decided to make camp in my apartment for the night. I chose a cheesy Japanese gangster movie, and, after giving a blanket to him and grabbing another for myself, we settled in on the couch. Fifteen minutes into the movie, I felt his eyes shift back and forth between me and the screen, as if deciding something. Finally, he pushed the blanket aside and crawled over to mine, lifting it up and then pausing as if to ask permission. I took his hand and gently pulled him to me, mentally kicking myself for even getting two blankets in the first place. Underneath the blanket, we interlocked our fingers as we held hands, our heads resting against each other.
The movie's end brought forth more yawning, and we wordlessly headed to my bedroom. Deciding to be a little bolder, I stripped down to my usual pajamas, my underwear, and got into bed underneath my warm blankets. Behind me only by a second, Wesley followed suit again, this time shucking off his jeans to reveal a pair of boxer briefs that I couldn't help but stare at. He gave a sly smile and then climbed into bed with me, snuggling against me without invitation this time. Contentedly, we both shared a sigh.
"What cruel twist of fate would it have been if the only boy left here ended up being straight?" I pondered as I rested my eyes. He laughed lightly and I could feel his smile as it radiated. His fingertip traced an imaginary pattern on my bare chest.
"What cruel twist of fate would it have been if the only boy left here wasn't you?" He responded. I looked over at him and leaned in for a kiss. With that kiss, all my fears about the situation vanished. I no longer worried about us being the only ones left in the world. I didn't care that everyone was missing. All we needed was each other. We were the world to each other, and didn't need anyone else. Nothing and no one else mattered.
"...in the Russo-Japanese war, Mr.Cannons? ...Mr.Cannons?" Professor Darby's monotone voice gradually raised itself in annoyance as I finally managed to snap myself out of my daydreaming. I cleared my throat and shifted in my seat to act as if I was thinking of the answer.
"Uhm...what was the question, sir?" I asked, composing myself as best as I could. He rolled his eyes in response, my sudden composure not making a convincing enough performance for him.
"See me after class, Mr.Cannons." His voice's monotone nature now had an almost menacing quality to it. I squeaked a weak reply.
Our after-class conference proved to not be too painful, however, and thus I escaped with my dignity intact. He basically gave a firm request for me to pay attention after I apologized and explained myself. I attributed my zoning-out amidst class to a huge Stats test I had been studying for all last night, and he bought my excuse. I did in fact have a huge exam within the week, but I actually spent all last night playing Madden Football on my Playstation instead of studying. Perhaps a combination of my lack of sleep due to videogames and Darby's painfully lulling voice made my brain shut down.
...And shut down, it did. I wasn't asleep, but the daydream I had was powerful and almost real. I could even remember little details to the point where it was like just recalling the past. It wasn't a dream so much as it was...a vision, maybe?
I smiled to myself as I walked out of the classroom. Real or not, he certainly was a damn good kisser.
I was done for the day, as far as classes were concerned, and only had the previous night's studying to do on my agenda. Not wanting to slack off by way of the many distractions back at my apartment, I made my way to the student activities building to find a suitable spot to study. Entering the building, I spotted a coveted seat on one of the popular "fluffy couches," and quickened my pace to get there to claim it. I ended up just barely beating out a frat guy in a pink polo shirt who gave a growl but otherwise admitted defeat as he walked away. Proud of my victory, I let myself sink into the seat and close my eyes as I immediately forgot my purpose for coming. Such were the dangers of the coveted "couches o' fluffiness." It was then, as I groaned in pleasure, that I heard a gasp next to me. Curious, I looked to the other occupant of the couch - and nearly fell out of my seat.
Next to me, equally as wide-eyed as I was, sat the boy from my daydream. Blonde, messy hair matched his to-die-for blue eyes. A green shirt and a worn pair of jeans adorned his perfect body. It was him - Wesley. I had never met him before, but instantly recognized him and knew his name. Judging from his shocked expression, he was having the same realization.
"Chris?" He questioned, already knowing the answer. I nodded.