`It's so beautiful isn't it Holden?"
I look towards the inky black sky, and marvel at the small dots that littered the sky so beautifully. My eyes danced lazily around each star, mentally joining them up like a small jigsaw puzzle.
`I wish I could stay here forever.'
I averted my eyes back to the speaker. His eyes shone a bright blue, and voice was still soft and low, innocent and yet to be cracked for teenage years. It was Tom, even though I couldn't make out his face I knew it was him.
`You'll always save me right Holden?"
I looked over at Tom, blood was slowly pouring from the side of his head, and making a small puddle around his hand. My voice caught, I couldn't breath. I couldn't move, and then...
The loud shrill if the alarm clock made me jump a mile high, my legs got tangled in the bed sheets, and I fell unceremoniously onto the carpeted floor with a loud `bang'. This was not the way I was planning on waking up, on my first morning in New York City. I groaned loudly, my face was buried in the husky smell of the carpet. Pushing myself up on my hands, I clambered back onto my bed, missing a few times, but finally making it, and toppled back onto the warm sheets. I didn't bother getting back into bed, as it was my course induction day, and I didn't want to be late. Sighing loudly I swung my legs around, and realised that my alarm was still going on, quickly hitting the button, I stretched my arms over my head, and let a loud yawn escape my lips.
My eyes travelled lazily over to Jay's bed, and I found it empty, more shockingly it didn't even look like he even slept in the bed. Sad as it may seem, I spent a few hours waiting for him to return, but sleep was what my body needed so I ended up falling into an easy slumber. It kind of threw me off that he would pick this day of all days, not to sleep in the same room as me. I guess I need to suck up the fact that Jay has many of his friends attending the university, and he would obviously want to be hanging out with them.
Shrugging my thoughts away, I got up and head over to my chest of drawers. I pulled out my briefs and socks, I walk slowly over to my cupboard, the early morning still lingering on me, I pulled out my favourite pair of faded blue jeans and black jumper, for some reason New York was chilly. Grabbing my toiletries and towel, I head over to the floor's bathroom. I pull open the door, and smell the strong disinfectant, the cleaners must have just been in there. The bathroom was quiet and a little eerie. The whole floor shared this one bathroom, and it was huge. It was all males, as each floor had a floor of only females or males. The shower stalls were lined right at the back, with simple green tiles, and a white plastic curtain drape. Sets of silver sinks lined up front, and just in front of them stood a few urinals, and in the back were the normal toilets. If I let out a small yelp it would echo loudly across the bathroom. However even though it was slightly intimidating and cold, I was relishing in the fact that I wouldn't be rushing and waiting to shower or use the toilets.
Quickly going over to the urinal, I pulled down my pyjama pants, and urinated. I was shocked to realise that I stood for a few minutes; I must have forgotten to go last night. Cleaning off, I pressed the button, and watched the water `whoosh' upwards. Making my way over to the sink, I looked at my reflection closely, I looked tired, and my eyes were slightly red, but I didn't look too bad. Propping up my small bag on the mirror ledge, I took out my small blue toothbrush and tooth paste. I lathered up my toothbrush and give it a slight rinse, before popping it in my mouth and brushing my teeth, gums and tongue. I stood for a while brushing my teeth, I was anal about my mouth, and brushed my teeth at least three times in one go. I finally spat out the toothpaste and rinsed my mouth, spitting one last time. I washed my hands, and dried off my toothbrush before plopping it back into my small bag alongside my toothpaste. Giving the sink a rinse over, I made my way back towards the shower stalls. I picked a random one, and pulled back the curtain and stepped in, pulling the thin sheet back again.
I placed my waterproof bag on the small ledge, and turned on the faucet, making sure to dodge the first spray of cold water. The shower heated up and I stepped under the water, relishing the heat. I decided to leave the shower reluctantly after twenty minutes. I turned off the shower head and grabbed my towel that I had thrown over the thin drape. Quickly drying off, I tied the towel around my waist, and left the bathroom heading back to my room. I usually wouldn't be walking around the halls in just a towel, but seeing as it was early and no one was about, I didn't feel so self conscious.
Quietly opening my door, l let myself in, locking the door behind me. I didn't know why I was acting all quiet; Jay wasn't even in the room. Relaxing slightly I straightened up and made my way over to Jay's stereo, I didn't want to touch it, but the quietness of the whole place was freaking me out slightly, and seeing as I didn't have my own hi-fi system yet, I needed to listen to the radio. After debating for a few seconds I turned Jay's stereo on, and switched it to `tuner' mode and listened to the first rays of American radio.
While getting dressed and listening to the radio, it wasn't half bad. The presenters didn't talk that much, not like the Irish presenter or even the British ones; they didn't play games, or call anyway or take that many phone calls. They mostly played indie or rock music all the way through. Not that I minded of course. The accent was going to be the hardest part to get use to, and I was lucky that Jay didn't have an obnoxious accent. Unlike Karen Heaps who had been a transfer student from Texas, and studied at Florham High School for eight weeks. It was torture, her slow southern drawl, made everyone cringe. Not saying that every American had a bad accent, but it was a majority.
I guess I should bite my own tongue, I have a strong Irish accent, but unlike some American accents, everyone tends to love the Irish accent. You got to admit it is sexy as hell. Jay's accent was light; actually he didn't have one as much. The first sign would say that he travelled a lot while he was young, and that's why his accent was never defined, as he never stayed in one place long enough. I guess I'll ask him when or if he decides to come back.
I make my way over to the small mirror that hung over my chest of drawers, and I examined myself, fixing my unruly brown hair, I was ready to go. Picking up my bag, wallet, keys and mobile phone, I made my way out of the room making sure to lock the door.
I looked at my watch it was almost eight o'clock, I was right it was cold and now I wished I put on a light jacket, I quickly walked up the steps to my building where I would be studying architecture and pulled open the glass door. I was washed up in the strong light and heat. Squinting slightly I made my way over to the information desk and realised no one was there yet. I guess it was stupid waking up an hour early, and being here early when the induction didn't start till nine. I made my way over to the row of polyester seats, and sat down.
It was too quiet and again I was slightly freaked out. As much as I wanted to walk back to my dorm room, the heat inside served much better than the chilly wind outside. I decided to relax, and leaned back against the blue chair. I closed my eyes and let my thoughts wander back to the dream I had. It was always the same, and as much as I wanted things to change, even being here away from home wouldn't chase those demons away. After being in therapy for two years, the nightmares still came, and still plagued my memory since the day of the fateful event. I shook my head trying to rid myself of the thoughts. It was enough I dreamt about them at night, I wasn't going to let them haunt me during the daytime too.
I always had a knack of packing my bag like I was going on a trek. I was constantly worried, I mean something could happen. I might get stuck in a lift and need food or I spill something on my t-shirt. So I picked up my heavy bag, where it lay on the floor, and pulled it up on my lap. I clicked open the buttons, and pulled it open. I rummaged through it, looking for the book I had packed, in case I got bored. Finally finding the thick book, underneath all the food and clothing, I closed my bag and placed it on the chair next to me.
I was reading Harry Potter, and I wasn't ashamed. Sure it was rather pathetic that I was reading a children's book, but it's an easy and enjoyable read, and that's what I needed; to be transported to a time full of adventure and magic.
Do you know that feeling, the feeling of getting so into something that you forget about time and reality? Before I knew it the hall was full of students, the loud chatter, and the breaking of glass snapped me back to reality. I didn't even realise that some people were sitting next to me. I quickly tagged my book, closed it and stuck it back into my bag. I admit I was slightly ashamed of reading the book.
I looked around, and I was delighted to see so many different people, Asian, white, black. Back home in my little town we were all Christians, white, and hardly had anyone of an ethnic minority. When I was ten a Chinese family had moved in across from the lake. I being my nosey and curious self wandered over and saw the family moving in. They had a little boy around the same age I was peaking from behind their car. A tall man, his skin clear and flawless, and hair that looked so soft, approached me with a warm smile.
"Hey there," he said his voice held no hint of a foreign accent. It was clear and prefect, much to my own voice.
I gave him a small shy smile, and walked out from behind the car. His wife and son who I assumed had come around, also gracing me with a warm atmosphere.
"I found this little boy hiding behind the car," he laughed softly and I was amazed at the sound.
"Hey sweetie, what's your name?" his wife had asked me, and I looked at her. She was beautiful, long black hair, tan skin with dark little freckles gracing the sides of her nose and cheeks, and bright brown eyes.
"Alex. Alex Holden," my voice had cracked slightly. I was nervous and these people seemed so fictitious to me, I wasn't sure if they were even real.
"Well hello Alex, my name is Kim, this is Steve, and our son Lei," replied Kim her voice unlike her husband's was laced with an English accent.
"It's nice to meet you." My parents had always brought my sisters and I up to be polite and mannered people. I could see the slight shock on their faces, I guess they didn't come across many ten year olds who were polite, and that itself made me feel proud that I was different.
I heard someone yelling my name, and I quickly turned around. I saw my dad walking over, his long legs carrying him further than most. He reached me in no time, and gripped my upper arm.
"Let's go," his voice was cold and stern. I looked over at the new neighbours and saw their faces fall slightly. I also saw the acceptance of the ordeal. The father gave me a warm smile before nudging his wife and son away from my father and I. I didn't understand why my father had been so mean back then. I knew the people were different, but I never understood why it was a bad thing. As time went on, as I started to go to school, I learned about different cultures, and I longed to talk to people of different diversities. The family had moved long ago, merely staying for a few months, before leaving the town. Deep down I knew they wouldn't stay long, I knew they would be hassled. But those brief moments of small chit chat, and just the warm glow of their sincerity made me realise that there were more people out there other than the people in Ireland.
I was shook out of my thoughts when a hand waved in front of me. Naturally I flinched, when I saw the hand move and grip my shoulder in a comforting way.
"Jesus Holden man, you seem scared shitless," smiled Jay.
I looked up. Jay seemed wide awake, fresh and ready to learn. His eyes sparkled in his teasing way. I sighed out aloud and I heard him laugh lightly and with no warning he sat on my knee, balancing his bag and himself on my lap.
"What are you doing?" I hissed at him trying to move him.
"Nowhere to sit, so I sat...here," he replied pointing at my lap.
Here I thought living with Jay wouldn't get anymore exciting, "Please get off me," I said my voice not letting go of its hard tone.
"Chill man, I thought you were already out. Who the fuck cares," replied Jay pissed off. He already told me he hid who he was, and wasn't planning on doing it anymore. All I wanted to know was why I had to be dragged into it. Yes I was out, but I hated attention, and this was getting us a few stares. Mostly girls, I let my eyes dart around the hall, a few girls looked at us and giggled, while another set of girls gave me death glares.
I relaxed a bit, he was right and it didn't matter anyway, it wasn't like he was humping me or anything. A few seconds passed in silence when I had the urge to ask him where he was last night.
"How come you didn't sleep in the dorms?" I asked timidly.
He turned around, and strangely he smiled at me brightly, "God I love your accent. I feel like fucking you."
I gagged on my spit of course. I felt him laugh, his body shook lightly, and then I felt his arm go around my shoulders and his breath so close to my ear.
"I don't use tact. Sorry," and with that he moved away jumped out of my lap and walked across the room, hugging some guy.
I sat there staring at him, while he laughed conversed and hugged over twenty people. For someone who said he had a hard time he had enough friends. I never did get his story; then again I never told him mine. I took a deep breath and let it out slowly.
I looked up and saw a boy, he was dressed in black, but his blonde hair hung low over his eyes. I couldn't really see much of his face, but I could tell that he was white as a ghost.
"Erm. Hi," I replied. I didn't know what else to say.
"Hey you're Irish," and then he smiled. I guess me being Irish was a novelty to Americans. I nodded my head. He pushed he blonde locks away from his face, and I got to see his eyes, dark brown. It was such a strange combination. He was pretty, very pretty. A good subject for an art student he stood out. So unique.
"Sorry. You seemed alone and I don't know anyone here so I thought I'd introduce myself."
"That's cool. I don't have the guts to do that, thanks for coming over. I'm Alex," I say sticking out my hand. He grasped my hand and shook lightly.
"I'm Jea. It's nice to meet you."
"That's a cool name where is it from?"
"I'm not sure, but my mum is from South Africa, so I guess maybe there."
I smiled lightly. I had to cock my head upwards as I was sitting down and he was standing up. He was rather tall maybe five foot ten.
"Cool, so when did you guys move here?" I asked.
"Oh I was born in New York. My mom married an American, my dad is a scientific researcher, and he was stationed in Africa for three years. He met my mum there, got married and came back to the US."
"Wow. I was wondering why you looked so..."
"Different," finished Jea, "I get that a lot, everyone always trying to figure out where I am from," he said laughing lightly.
"At least you have a fun story to tell though. I've lived in Ireland all my life."
"I bet you miss it?"
"I do. New York is crazy," I said laughing.
"Well after we are done with this induction, you want to get some lunch and go back to my house and hang out?"
"You don't live in the dorms?" I ask.
"Nah. Not my scene, my dad bought me a small place just a few miles from the university, so it's cool."
I smile, "Sure that would be fun."
"I could also show you some places too."
"Man you don't need to do all that for me," I said feeling bad.
"I want to. I guess this is how we start a friendship," replied Jea.
I nodded my head. I guess it was.
The Induction had started twenty minutes ago, and I was desperately trying to listen and write down everything the woman was saying. However Jay and his friends kept on making so much noise, that it was hard to hear half the time. In the end I was so frustrated that I just stopped writing and made my way over to Jay.
"Could you please shut up," I hissed at him.
He looked at me, his eyes widening slightly.
"I'm trying to fucking listen and all you guys are doing is making noise. So shut up already," I knew my face was flushed, but my hands were shaking. This was the guy I'd be living with for the next four years of my life, and here I was yelling at him.
I should realise that this was going to be a `Jay thing' to do; he just smiled lazily at me. He moved forward slinking his arm around my waist and pulled me forward.
"I am so going to fuck you."
The few girls he was standing with snickered, while the guys just laughed. I knew my face was flushed beet red. I still didn't understand him, he was so sure of himself. He let go of me, and I wandered back over to Jea who was watching the whole scene.
"Everything okay?" he asked.
I nodded my head and picked up my notebook and started to write again. For the rest of the hour, I didn't hear Jay or his friends talking, and for that I was thankful.
The induction ended and I stuffed my notebook back into my bag.
"You can take this if you want, just in case you missed anything," said Jea handing me his notebook.
I took it gratefully, "Thanks man, I'll give it back to you tomorrow."
I carefully placed his notebook into my bag. I turned around and saw Jay coming my way. I smiled at him even though he embarrassed me enough times today, I still felt comfortable around him.
"Was I quiet enough?" he asked winking at me.
I rolled my eyes, "Jay this is Jea. Jea this is my roommate."
Jea stuck out his hand grasping Jay's in a slow motion, "Nice to meet you," said Jea.
"You too man. So where are you headed?"
"Oh I'm going to hang out with Jea at his place for a bit," I replied.
"You're more than welcome to come," said Jea to Jay.
Jay smiled sweetly, "Thanks but I'm going to head back to the dorms to get some sleep. How about I meet you guys for dinner?"
"Cool. How about eight," I said.
"Sure. Just come to the dorms and we'll head out to my friends restaurant," said Jay, "Everybody good with Italian?"
Both Jea and I nodded our heads.
"Okay. Later guys," Jay waved us off. Jea and I made our way out of the building.
Jea had taken me to a small café not too far off. It was a remote place and you would actually walk pass it because it was so small. The insides were decorated in a warm orange colour. Couches were scattered around the two adjoined rooms. It was almost intimate. We talked for a few hours, about our courses, our lives and anything in between.
I could fast see us becoming good friends, we clicked. We loved the same food, movies, music, actors and everything else. Our topic diverted into the regions of dating, and I wasn't going to lie to him about who I was, I didn't feel I needed to, and if he couldn't handle it, it wasn't my fault.
"Well I broke up with my girlfriend a few months back, we had been dating for the last year and a half before I saw her making out with my best friend. Sufficient it to say I dumped her, and never spoken to Chris since."
His tone had changed from anger about his girlfriend to pure sadness about loosing his friend.
"Look Jea if he was an actual friend he would have never hooked up with Stacy," I felt bad for him and I hope this pep talk would help him. He merely just shrugged.
"I guess knowing Chris since I was three is hard to just shrug off."
"Oh. Jea that's not what I mean."
He shook his head and smiled, "I know man. Anyway, what about you?"
I really liked Jea and I didn't want to loose him as a potential friend but I stuck true to my words, "Nothing much with me. Seeing as being a gay guy in a small town in Ireland is kinda hard."
I quickly looked down into my empty cup; I didn't want to look at the disgust on Jea's face.
"I guess that would be tough. Martin, one of my friends he's gay too, and he came from a small town in Texas, and he couldn't hook up with anyone there."
I quickly looked up at Jea and saw no malice and anger just a small smile, "I'm not a homophobe Holden."
I felt ashamed, I knew I shouldn't have assumed.
"It's okay man, I understand why you seemed scared."
God I think I could fall in love with this guy. I smiled at him. I quickly looked at my watch and saw it was fast approaching seven o'clock.
"Shit we said we would meet Jay at eight, it's seven now," I said getting up and putting on my jacket. Jea stood up too and we both made our way out.
"I need to head home, and change I'll swing by in half an hour."
I nodded my head and made my way back to the dorms. The day seemed to get better and better, and now I had made a good friend in Jea.
Proof read by Morgan
Jea is pronounced "Jee-ah"