Chapter 2: People Suck
After a couple hours of setting things up, and a long goodbye from my parents, which included my mom nearly crying herself into a coma and embarrassing the fuck out of me, i'm finally left alone. And i can't tell if i'm glad to be alone, or the pain of saying goodbye just hasn't set in yet. I don't really know at this point...I've always been such a people person. Yet now it's like every person is an enemy. They all disgust me. I sit perched in my window sill, hugging my knees and staring down at all the joys of New York City. My dorm is nowhere near Times Square, yet somehow it looks just as crowded. Everything moves...It's like i'm staring down at a colony of insects, gathering in swarms to attack. Only this is worse...because I can't even do anything about it. I can only watch. I wonder what would happen if I jumped out the window...would they all gather around my body, ready to feast upon my flesh like the animals they are? Probably. I won't be finding out anytime soon, suicide has never appealed to me much.
Plus it isn't like i'm that depressed anyways. Never have been, and hopefully I never will be. I'm not good with sad people...I just stand there awkwardly as i try to determine why they are crying or whatever. I stray from depressing people, with sob stories. Yet as a hear a knock on my door, followed by a high pitched giggle, i realize thats exactly what I've managed to get myself into...
"Ares!" Lacy exclaims as i open the door wide enough for her to throw her arms around me. Ugh, hugs. I've never been into those much either. Hugs, and other public displays of affection, are just plain sickening to me. Things that show you've taken a liking to someone, in a personal way. A hug shouldn't be shared with someone you just met less than five hours ago...So why do I lightly place my own hands on her sides? Am I honestly defying my limits just to please this female? Ares...you two-faced bastard...
"uhh...Hey" I chuckle, ever so gently edging her body away from mine, until theres a good twelve inches between us at least.
"Ares, this is Sarine. She'll be accompanying us on this fine evening" Lacy explains, gesturing to the quiet girl standing off to the side. She looks like the quiet type. The kind that appears to hang out in the library often, kinda like myself. Her attire just screams "reader," what with the thick rimmed glasses, choppy bob of a haircut, khaki colored skirt and neon green hoodie. It's a strange outfit...clearly she doesn't care too much about her appearance.
"Sup" She says. Thats...all she says. Literally, that's it. not even a 'what's up' just 'sup.' Huh...well...
"...Sup" I reply. Great move, repeating her. Way to go buddy, you certainly have a way with words tonight.
"So, a few of us are going to a few of our usual hangout spots" Lacy says, not bothering to even say anything about her friend. What an odd introduction...I guess not every greeting needs to be made formal. "And sense you don't really know anybody here, you should come with us" She grins. My heart begins to race. People...I'm good with them, though i never want to be. Not until I at least fit in with them. My friends back home were so easy to get along with, considering we were all alike. Yet these two girls are so different from each other...and also from me. I can't imagine how these other people will act.
"uhh...well...I was planning on just getting some sleep...I've got class tomorrow pretty early..." Yeah, at 11am That's so early. You're a genius, Ares. Bravo.
"Oh come on." Lacy whimpers, jutting out her bottom lip, which is a shade of pink lighter than her skin thanks to the gloss. "We won't be out late. And you'll have fun, i guarantee it." She bats her eyes, and i can only glance to her friend. The short girl that already has her phone out, clearly bored by the current event of the moment.
"...Just let me put on something more attractive" I finally sigh, slithering backwards to open the closet. Only to sigh. It looks so full, yet theres clearly not enough to satisfy me. I only have enough for like...ten outfits. This will be getting me nowhere. After moments of searching, i decide on a slim Aerosmith T shirt, black blazer, grey jeans and a navy blue beany. I then lock myself in the bathroom of my room. Thats right, this school is nice enough to give each room its own bathroom. Though it is tiny...but at least it's private. I'd hate to deal with the dramatic "dropping the soap" thing I always hear about...Or, was that jail...Well, prison and college seem pretty similar. Only in prison, at least you don't have to deal with annoying girls. Just scary ones, and men.
As i finish applying my outfit, I can only stare at myself in the mirror. I don't look happy...In my mind, If you don't look happy without smiling, then whatever you must be doing clearly isn't worth it. Though I haven't followed that rule of my brain in months. It's time to stop moping around, kid. If you keep a sad mindset, you'll never get any better. I just have to keep telling myself these things...Sigh.
"So, where are you taking me" I ask the girls, as i wander back into my room. I swear to god Ser-whatever-her-name-is hasn't moved her stare from her phone, while Lacy must have either been doing something suspicious, or was just standing outside the door with this wide smile plastered on her face the whole time. Why question it, what's the point.
"Everywhere!" She giggles, as she grabs my hand. I can't help but twitch. More touching. I can deal with it though. Theres nothing wrong with this. It's harmless. She isn't trying to flirt...It's okay.
Well, at least this girl isn't a liar. She literally takes me across the whole campus, showing me the classes I'll be attending tomorrow, explaining what dorms are cool and which ones are lame. She points out these packs of groups to me: Painters, photographers, writers, designers...Such widespread categories for an art school. I know for a fact all designers are different. Or at least, so I thought. I'd hate to believe that I'm just as unique as everyone else in my mentally assigned cliche.
At one point, i hear this annoying tune come out of nowhere. Is it techno? Or does it count as pop...I'm not even sure, because it's cut off in a flash by that girl. I can never remember her name...Lacy's friend. She quickly answers the ringing phone, putting it on speaker to say the only word i've ever heard leave her mouth.
"Hey. Where are you guys" A male voice erupts from the speaker. It's deep...the kind of voice you usually only hear on a man with a darker skin tone.
"Just wandering the campus" Mother of god...she speaks!
"Dudes, we should be chillin'!" I catch another male voice in there. One slightly higher, and obnoxiously loud. This man sounds like that life-of-the-party/wannabe-gangster type of guy. Though i refer to that type as the party killer. I hate being around loud people.
And with that, the girl moves their conversation over to texting, and then dragging us around until finding the boys from the phone. And they are exactly what my frail mind managed to come up with...A tall, lean, and bald black man, dressed in an outfit similar to mine...only less...well, for lack of a better word, fabulous. He seems alright, though his smile is rather forced. Not like mine. He seems to look down on us all. His lanky face just screams hatred to me, to everyone. These people are fake even towards each other...but i bet they also know they can't find anything "better." But i'm not one to talk...After all, I am judging the only people i could consider half of a friend right now. It's funny how all of my best friends from high school haven't even tried to return my calls...
There is also another guy here. Though just looking at him brings up painful memories...his shaggy brown hair, tall stature, and baggy clothing reminds me vividly of him...from the sideways hat to the giant basketball shoes, this boy is almost a spitting image. I don't know if i can handle being around this guy all night...Especially if he's anything like the guy he resembles.
They don't bother telling me their names, and instead just wander away with the weird phone girl. That's when Lacy explains everything about them. Their wealth, ages, names, backstories, interests, everything. All in about 3 sentences. I find it sad that a person's entire life could be thrown down on the table so quickly...It's also sad that I now realize I'm the youngest...By a few years. They're all in their early twenties, whereas I just hit nineteen...God damn it. I can only pray I'm not treated as a child.
"So, who's the kid." God damn it...The brown haired guy asks nobody in particular this question, looking to me, and expecting me not to notice.
"This is Ares, he's a freshman" Lacy said, as he hand suddenly met mine again. I nervously chuckled, trying to hide the fact I was currently shy and uncomfortable. Maybe if I were only meeting them, I would be much more relaxed and entertaining, but knowing I'll have to spend the remainder of my evening with these people freaks me out. If i screw up, I will have to deal with the embarrassment forever.
"And he's hanging out with us?" The black guy mutters to the phone chick. Yup, those are their new names. It's official. I wonder if he said it loud enough for me to hear on purpose, or if he really just sucks absolute dick at whispering. Yeah, the gay dude can make dick jokes without it being weird, shut up.
"Of course. He's cool, so far" The chick whispers back. Well, apparently i'm cool now. I wouldn't have guessed that coming from a girl who hasn't said two words to me.
"So far?" The man replies.
"well he hasn't really reacted to anything yet. He's just hella chill, brah" I'm guessing she shrugs. Turns out this girl isn't the intellectual I assumed she was. And what does she mean by reacted...? Are they testing me or something?
"We'll see" He whispers back, before raising his voice for us all to hear. "Yo, i'm in need of coffee." He announces. And everyone seems to get the same devious look on their face.
I don't really understand what's going on at the moment, but they're all up to something. Theres about a thousand Starbucks' in this city, yet for some reason they choose to walk three miles to a certain one. It's just motherfucking Starbucks, it's going to be the same everywhere. Unless these people are really so picky that they can somehow taste a difference. Most people would usually expect me, the homosexual, to be all choosey and such, but no. I'm "chill" remember?
"Oh my god yes, he's here" Lacy giggles quietly as we wander inside. The place is pretty dead, theres only a few people here. Yet the smart looking men on their laptops and small groups of friends aren't the first things I notice...It's the thing slouching behind the counter, writing something down in a little composition book. The reason I say "thing" is because it's hard to tell the gender of the person. I'm guessing it's male, due to the angular face and firm looking jaw, but it's really hard to tell. The fact it has incredibly long, curly pink hair tucked into a ponytail is throwing me off big time. I also guess this is the person Lacy speaks of...
As she turns back to the rest of the group, they all start laughing, and i'm a bit lost as to why. Yet as I glance back, I notice the pink haired man quickly duck behind the counter. He's hiding from them. Is this what they do? Torment this innocent...man(?) all the time? Is he the only reason we're even here?
Our little group wanders over to some couches and such near the front of the little shop. They make it known we have arrived, by laughing and being generally loud as they make suitable conversation. I would pay attention, if my gaze wasn't focussed on that counter. I know he's hiding back there, mostly because another worker walks by, and starts talking to the floor. I try to read his lips...but I've never been too great at things like that.
"geez!" One of their voices finally seems to turn into words as I snap back to reality. "What does it take to get some service here" The brunette guy says quite blatantly, and the rest of their group laughs. And as I once again turn around, I notice the mysterious guy they hate for some reason standing up. He stares at his coworker intensely, with eyes narrowed into a glare, before wandering over here lazily.
"you know, you're allegedly supposed to just stride up to the counter if you want something." The person states, as they get close enough to the group. He is most definitely a man, now that i've gotten a closer look at him. His face and figure look typically guyish, and his voice is deep and firm. The only thing feminine is his hair style.
"guys, do you hear that attitude?!" Lacy exclaims, in an overexaggerated gasp, and i catch the guy rolling his eyes. As i peer over his appearance, I notice something pinned to his black T shirt; A tiny metal name tag with the word "Taylor" attached. His name is Taylor, got it. I might just be able to remember this one. But if i don't, "pink-hair" is going to be his nickname.
"You wouldn't want your manager finding out how rude you are, would you?" The phone chick smirks at him. And he seems stressed out for a moment. I know i would be. He's probably wanting to tell us off, judging by how angry his expression is. Yet his job might be too important to fuck up. WIth a sigh, he wanders back to the counter, grabbing his little book before sauntering back.
"what do you fucking want" He sneers.
"Well, respectable language would be desirable" The black guy chuckles, making the rest of do the same. Though...mine is forced. Why am i even forcing it? Why be fake right now of all times...
"what may my feeble palms have the privilege to usher back to your vexatiously pleasing conglomerate of dissidents?" He fires the sentence off without even needing to think about it more than a second. The vocabulary of this boy is astonishing. I don't know what half of those words mean, so I quickly take note of all of them, with intentions to google them the second I get back to my dorm. Shut up, i'm curious.
"Thats better" Lacy purrs, with narrowed eyes. Is this her flirty face? Or is it actually a threatening sort of catlike smirk. Wow, i'm questioning a lot of things tonight.
The four of them give him the most complicated and different ways of saying "black coffee" i've ever heard in my entire life. It takes me a long time just to piece together thats all these people want, something simple. This isn't even about their beverages, it's about fucking with this kid. What a sick game they have.
As he wanders back to the counter, chucking his book onto it in the process, Lacy turns to look back.
"Taylor!" She calls, in a sing-song and girly tone. He looks back, and she gives him a stare, speaking with her eyes. He sighs, walking back to his coworker, giving him the same look. Thats when that guy takes over. This I can hint on, because it's so clearly obvious he's done it before. Added something to their drinks, or at least tried to. Of course Lacy's standards would be too high to let him do it again.
We spend about an hour hanging out in this place, and they don't torment him much more. Instead, we actually start to have real conversations...they seemed to notice I wasn't picking a side, and got over their game, instead just acting human for a moment. And these people really aren't that horrible, now that i talk to them. They're kinda cool, actually. Sure, they're nothing compared to my friends back home, but at least they manage to make me smile for a moment, and forget about my sorrows.
That is until its time to leave. By now, everyone but us has gone home. Even the guy working with Taylor has left him. He's probably thankful when he see's we're about to leave. Lacy then wanders over to me, handing me some cash.
"go pay for our shit, I don't want to get near that thing" She giggles. I roll my eyes, and do as she says. I actually kind of wanted an excuse to go talk to this character. Even if for a moment. He's very odd, yet in a way that's different from the normal set of oddness i've been hanging around for the night.
"here" I say to him, as i get to the counter. He stands up straight, looking up at me for a moment. Our eyes meet, and his are completely emotionless...and this odd shade of purple. They must be contacts...they have to be, yet they look so natural. He then glances back down, taking the money and placing it in the register.
"Thanks..." He mumbles, before leaning back down, moving his book down in front of him and grabbing a pencil. The pages are filled with tiny, illegible handwriting. All of it must be his...And i swear he's crammed as much long words as possible onto each page.
"What are you writing" I ask with a smile. Wow, should I even expect him to answer. He gazes upwards, with this "are-you-kidding-me" sort of look, before instantly putting his head back down, letting his bangs fall over his face.
"it's...it's just poetry..." He mumbles, sliding his arm over to cover the words. Its not like i could read them in the first place.
"You're a writer?" I ask, and he nods slowly.
"yes..." Our minuscule conversation goes dead from there. He doesn't seem to know how to talk to someone that's actually nice to him, but I guess if i were him I would prepare myself when speaking to a guy willing enough to spend a night with the group I came here with.
"Ares, come on" Lacy calls from the door, in a sort of dragged out whine.
"I'll be there in a second" I reply. I quickly reach into my pocket, pulling out a piece of paper that just so happens to be five dollars, and set it on top of his book. He gazes up at me, slightly confused.
"What's this?" He asks calmly, in a monotone. I grin.
"It's your tip" I tell him, and his face seems to go stone cold.
"I...I can't accept this" He says, staring down at the small amount of money. He acts like it's a hundred bucks or something.
"Sure you can." I smile, before lowering my voice a bit. "You deserve it for putting up with them" I wink, before turning on my heel and joining the rest of the group.
"What was that about?" The wannabe dude chuckles as we head out the door.
"oh" I say. "it was nothing" I lie, as i glance back into the window. He's staring at me, mouth slightly opened, and lilac eyes wide. I smile, giving him a little wave, until we're past the glass and out of sight.
You know...Living here might not be too bad after all.