Elizabeth was trying to study for an upcoming test and she couldn't focus. She felt like she had been reading the same paragraph over and over again but was unable to process the information. She slammed the book shut and she practically charged over to the theology building. She ended up right in front of Maxwell's door and stood there contemplating her predicament for a few minutes before she finally worked up the courage to knock.
She nervously knocked on Maxwell's door and a voice inside called her to come in. Maxwell looked up and immediately flashed her a smile. "Elizabeth! It's great to see you."
Elizabeth smiled shyly and hovered in the doorway, "Thanks, I um…I can come back if you're busy?"
"No, no, no!" Maxwell said, waving her inside, "I've got some free time. Please, sit down."
Elizabeth sat awkwardly in the chair and clutched her backpack to her chest as if it was a shield. They both knew why she was there but for some reason Elizabeth didn't think she could say it out loud.
"So how have you been?" Maxwell asked, she wanted to make this as easy as possible for the young girl.
Elizabeth sighed and shrugged, "Um, okay, I'm just tired a lot and I haven't been able to focus. I feel lazy but I can't help it."
"That's fatigue, sweetie. Your body is exhausted from trying to heal your mind. It's not being lazy, don't put that negative thought in your head, you've got enough of that right now."
Elizabeth nodded and then bit her lip and tried to stop herself from fidgeting awkwardly in her chair. "Henry um, Henry told me you'd dealt with depression…is it okay if I ask about it?"
"Oh sweetheart, of course. Let's start off with, you know I'm gay, right?"
Elizabeth nodded but quickly realized she didn't want Maxwell to think Henry had told her anything private because he hadn't. Maxwell wasn't completely open about her sexual preference but she didn't hide it either. "Henry didn't tell me outright, I asked once and he confirmed. I hope that's okay. He would never betray your trust."
Maxwell laughed, "Oh dear, I know. Don't worry. I have some great students here and your boyfriend would be better than all of them even if he was just book smart, but he's so open-minded and willing to learn and evolve, he's exactly what we need in theology."
Elizabeth blushed, "He's pretty wonderful."
"He thinks the same of you, sweetheart."
Elizabeth couldn't help herself after that statement and she started to cry, her head in her hands. Maxwell just let her get it out, she knew sometimes just letting your emotions out like that could be helpful. She gave Elizabeth time to compose herself and figure out what she wanted to say.
"I just feel like Henry thinks this is his fault, like there's something he should be doing that could fix me if he could just figure it out. I keep trying to tell him that isn't the case but I think there's a part of him that just blames himself and I hate that. I can't stand hurting him."
"You know Henry, he's obsessive about the things he cares about and you are eons ahead of everything else at the top of that list. But he knows it isn't his fault. He just loves you and wants you to be okay. You're not hurting him, just be honest with him about how you're feeling and remind him that you love him. He knows this isn't his fault and he knows it's not yours either. Because it's not your fault, Elizabeth. It's not."
Elizabeth nodded but couldn't look at Maxwell, instead staring at her fingers and picking her nails, "I know, well…I guess what I mean is that deep down I know but sometimes it's difficult to not let all this get the best of me and convince me I'm just a burden."
"You aren't a burden, you're brave. Being able to acknowledge your depression and actively seek to help yourself, that's brave, Elizabeth. Henry knows that. Don't worry yourself about him. He isn't going anywhere."
Elizabeth sniffled and nodded. "Thank you
Elizabeth ended up talking to Maxwell for well over an hour, the woman explaining to Elizabeth how her own depression came about as she struggled to come to terms as a gay woman studying religions that she felt often looked down at her. While their paths to depression had been very different, Elizabeth found that it was a relief to share experiences. By the time she was finished she at least felt good for having talked about someone who could empathize with what was going on in her head.
She then headed back to her dorm room because she'd promised Norah they'd have dinner together.
"Roomie!" Norah yelled as she entered the room, "So good to see you!" And with that Norah dragged her back out of the room and the girls headed to dinner to meet their friend Christy. They caught up and mostly talked about what was going on with their friends. It was a relief for Elizabeth, talking about silly gossip and actually enjoying it felt so normal.
"Are you two staying for summer classes? I'm rooming with Rebecca again and I don't know why I agreed to this." Christy moaned as she stabbed at her lettuce a little too aggressively.
"No, I'm going home. I've got a summer camp job." Norah replied happily, she was working at the same camp she had attended as a camper and was thrilled about it.
But Elizabeth was frozen in her seat, she'd signed up for summer classes but with everything going on she'd completely spaced out figuring out housing. "Shit," she muttered as she hung her head in her hand, "I signed up for classes but not housing."
Christy perked up, "Oh my god, you could live with me and Rebecca? Please save me!" She pouted.
Norah laughed so hard she snorted, "Do you really think Elizabeth wants to waste her summer with Rebecca so she can obviously ogle her boyfriend? Sorry girl, but I think you dug your own grave!" Norah just continued to laugh and Christy whipped a french fry at her.
Elizabeth shrugged, she really didn't want to live with Rebecca but she didn't really have another option. "I'll think about it, Christy. Thank you."
A little while later she walked into Henry's apartment to find him in the living room, sitting on the floor next to the couch with papers and books all over the coffee table. His brow was furrowed as he read and absent mindedly pushed his glasses up. Elizabeth smiled, she loved coming home to this. "Hi," she called.
Henry turned and smiled at her, "Hey! How was your day?" He jumped up and walked over to her. He grabbed her backpack out of her hand and set it down over the couch. When he turned back around he noticed she looked a little frustrated.
"What's the matter, babe?" He asked as he reached out for her hand and pulled her against him. He felt his heart flutter as she flashed a small smile and wrapped her arm around his waist.
But her smile quickly turned back into a frown and she groaned, "Summer housing. I sort of forgot about it. Christy is staying too and she's rooming with Rebecca and she said they could get a triple if I wanted to room with them and while I like Christy I think Rebecca will drive me insane but if I don't room with them I'm going to get stuck with a random roommate and that might be okay but I feel like I got lucky with Norah and so I probably won't get that lucky again. I just don't know what to do." She was clearly exasperated and stressed about her current predicament.
"Live with me." Henry said, so nonchalantly that it completely threw her off. It wasn't even a question, he just threw it out there like it was the most obvious thing in the world.
"Um…what?" She placed her palm against his chest and moved back just enough to look up into his eyes. Her mouth was agape and she didn't know how else to respond.
"Just live with me, you practically live here now." He said with a shrug, again blowing her away with his casual attitude. She was incedibly confused, this was a huge step…wasn't it?
"No, I don't live with you, I…I have my own dorm." She said that with so much uncertainty that Henry had to laugh out loud.
"Yeah, you have your own dorm but you spend about half the week-and let's face it that's being conservative-here with me; at least half your clothing is here, your drip-drying bras are practically part of my bathroom décor; you hide tampons everywhere-last week I found one in with the silverware; you write death threats on your leftovers so I don't eat them…"
Her palm was still planted on his chest and this time she pushed him backward as she cut him off, "Okay, okay to be honest here it doesn't really sound like you want me to live with you?"
Henry laughed and placed his hand over her palm as he stepped back toward her, "Of course I want to live with you. I love that you do all those things. You're crazy and I would never change that, it's one of the things I adore the most about you. What I'm saying is, whether or not you have a dorm room, you live here." As he finished his sentence he leaned in and placed a soft kiss on her lips.
She sighed and tried her hardest not to get distracted by his lips on hers and his warm hand now tracing circles on the small of her back, "Henry, I'm 19 years old. That's too young to live with a boyfriend." Her tone betrayed her words, she was just protesting for the sake of protesting.
Henry nodded, "If you want to be married before you officially live with me, just say the word." He teased as he dropped to the ground in front of her on bended knee.
She gasped and grabbed him by the shoulders, "Oh my god, Henry, no!" She felt like her heart was beating a mile a minute even though she knew he was just messing with her. He started laughing and her face turned red as she playfully smacked his shoulder. "You are not funny, McCord!" But she wouldn't stop herself from laughing either.
He laughed as he stood up and tugged her over to the couch and then gently pushed her down onto it and climbed over her. She ran her hand along his chest and just stared up at him and the realization hit her, she didn't want to get married now but she knew for certain she wanted to marry him. That was new. Or maybe the idea wasn't new, but not being afraid of it certainly was. She'd definitely need to chat with Norah about this revelation. Thankfully he distracted her when he pressed his body into hers and ran his hand through her messy hair, "Live with me, please?"
She took a deep breath, "What if it's really good? What if we love living together and then I have to move back out. I'm already rooming with Norah next semester and I can't bail on her."
"Oh, because she's really going to mind having your room all to herself the way she does now?" He teased.
Elizabeth blushed but kept her mouth shut. Of course, Henry already knew what she was thinking. "You mean what if we drive each other crazy?"
She just nodded.
He sighed, "We won't. Remember, you already live here. Honestly, what's going to change? Just you having to go get clean underwear from your dorm room because you're too lazy to wash it until the laundry basket is overflowing. And you'll have the place to yourself for a couple weeks because I have some training sessions so if you get sick of me you'll have that to look forward to."
She giggled as he leaned in once again to kiss her. "Please live with me this summer?" He whispered against her lips.
She pursed her lips for a moment and then nodded her head. "Okay, I'll live with you."
Henry couldn't stop grinning and peppered her lips with soft kisses and Elizabeth just laughed. "It's going to be great." He said reassuringly.
Elizabeth rolled her eyes, he was such a dork but she knew he was probably right, it was going to be great.
The next morning Elizabeth woke up to Henry practically draped over her, his arm slung across her middle, his leg twisted between hers, and his head resting comfortably on her chest. She smiled and ran her hand through his soft hair.
He started to stir and when his eyes fluttered open he nuzzled his head into her chest.
She giggled and playfully smacked his shoulder. "Don't start something you can't finish, we both have class."
Henry groaned and rolled off of her. She shifted onto her side so she could look at him. "You absolutely sure about living with me?"
Henry grinned, "Not a doubt in my mind. You, me, summer in Virginia, no air conditioning, it's gonna be spectacular."
She giggled, "Oh yeah, you trying to get me naked?"
"I don't think I have a problem getting you naked, Miss Adams." Henry said, his eyes trailing down her exposed body.
She blushed and pulled the sheet over herself, "Are you trying to make it harder for yourself?" She looked down his own exposed body, "though I don't think you have a problem in that area."
Henry's eyes grew wide at her tease and he watched in amusement as she jumped out of the bed giggling and ran to the bathroom.
He quickly jumped up and followed her into the shower, they could be five minutes late.
Later that day Elizabeth was sitting in the quad with Christy eating lunch.
"Hey, have you thought any more about summer housing?"
Elizabeth put down her sandwich and wiped her mouth, "Oh, yeah, I uh…well I appreciate the offer but I'm actually going to live with Henry for the summer."
Christy's eyes lit up and her spoon went crashing to the ground. She lunged forward and put her hands on her friend's shoulders, "Shut up! Oh my god, you're living with your boyfriend! Holy hell, Lizzy! This is serious! I mean I knew you were serious but I didn't know you were serious."
Elizabeth blushed and awkwardly looked away, "Stop! It's just for the summer. He's going to be away for training for some of it anyway. I'm still living with Norah next year. This is just for the summer. It's not a big deal."
"Okay, I'm going to blow by that for now because it is a big deal and a bigger discussion that I'm sure Norah will want to be present for. But anyway, I don't blame you, I'd live with my hot, sweet boyfriend over Rebecca any day!"
"Yeah, how do you live with her? She's…"
"Awful?" Christy cut in bluntly.
Elizabeth cringed, "Well…yeah." Both girls burst into giggles.
Christy shrugged, "She's not the worst as a roommate. She's clean and her Mom sends these phenomenal cookies. Downside is I have to listen to her rants about why she doesn't have a boyfriend, blah blah blah. One of these days I'm just going to snap and tell her she doesn't have a boyfriend because she's got a terrible fucking personality!"
"I always get the impression she's into Henry. I hate that."
Christy rolled her eyes, "Yeah, she's not exactly coy about it, is she? Although I think everyone is into Henry."
Elizabeth raised an eyebrow at that statement.
"Not me! Of course, I think he's handsome, but he's all yours and I'm well aware of that. You two are the cutest."
Elizabeth grinned, "I was just messing with you."
Christy shook her head and smacked her friend lightly on the arm. "So, give me the dirty details, what's sex like?"
Elizabeth blushed, "I told you all I'm going to tell at girls night."
Christy rolled her eyes, "Oh come on, that was barely anything! Give me some good details. Cross my heart and hope to die that whatever you tell me will never leave my lips."
Elizabeth sighed, she supposed she could give her friend a few more details, Christy had so far proven herself more than adept at keeping a secret. "What do you want to know? It's good, god it's more than good, it's phenomenal. Henry always knows exactly what to do. It's like he can read my mind. I'm just…I'm so comfortable with him. There's never any shyness or awkwardness, it's just…good. All the time. He's so good, at everything."
Christy grinned, "So he goes down on you a lot?"
Elizabeth blushed and giggled, "Almost every time we have sex."
"What about the tongue action? Fingers? What are we talking?"
"That's all you're getting! Some things are meant to stay private."
Christy looked her friend up and down, "Okay so you two are kinky as hell, I get it. My lips are sealed."
She was so serious when she said it that Elizabeth broke down in laughter and whipped a chip at her friend. The two girls ended their lunch in hysterical laughter and Elizabeth was happy. Just the idea of moving in with Henry had done wonders for her mental state and she hoped this positivity would continue.
Wow…thank you for sticking with me. I know it's been over a year since I've updated and I'm SO SORRY about that. I just had so much reading and writing for school that I couldn't bring myself to come home and do it for fun. Then over summer I worked for my Dad and this past few months I've been working for a friend who ran for office. Everything has just been hectic! I do apologize and I appreciate if you're still reading this or if you're a new reader, honestly thank you so much. I appreciate the support.
I'm honestly updating now because I needed to take my mind off the fires. I'm in Vermont for the holiday but everything is still weighing heavily on my mind and I'm grateful to have this writing to distract me. My family got out safely and we got our horses out, unfortunately the house didn't make it but that's okay. I'm very grateful because many others are much less fortunate. If you'd like to help please consider donating to malibufoundation -dot- gvng -dot- org
Thank you for reading & please leave me a comment/review/whatever, even just letting me know you're still here or if you're a new reader OR if you want to yell at me for being gone so long-I get it! haha, it would be much appreciated. Thanks loves.