Disclaimer: These characters belong to Mark Schwahn, J.J. Abrams and the CW, I own none of them. No copyright infringement intended.
Author's note: Again, the updates won't be as frequent as I would like them to be but if I start to get more readers I will make an effort to get this out! I also want to clear up the fact that this is a crossover story. I had it in that section before but there just aren't enough Felicity fans out there anymore. Plus the majority of the main characters are from OTH so I figured the right place for this story was here. This is sort of an AU, OTH college years, Felicity style. I'll have a ton of couples, but my main loves Brucas and FAB will always shine through. Let me know what you think! Hugs!
To Die In LA
…We see, bright lights,
Another day, I'm waking up,
Into the street, stay on beat,
Here it comes, believe…
Felicity had just woken up to find her place in a complete disaster. She scratched her head relentlessly, searching the unfamiliar and fuzzy spaces of her mind for any plausible explanation for this catastrophe. Unbeknownst to her, the room's new arrangement was actually compliments of a well-deserved night of heavy boozing, by hers truly. Yep, last night Tornado Felicity had swept through the room, as she drunkenly attempted to maneuver through the dark. Not remembering actions, such as these, was to be expected. Alcohol does that to you. Though, Felicity wouldn't have had the slightest idea of what to expect in this situation considering she had been a complete virgin to the party lifestyle before yesterday.
At the time, last night, she had had the best of intentions. The last thing she wanted to do was wake up her roommate, but the pixie-like freshman girl had been far from successful. That was expected from a novice drinker, like herself. Unfortunately Felicity was about to experience her first, fateful morning after, aka the ultimate hangover.
Ugh! My head, Felicity thought, as she sat up. The room began to spin uncontrollably and her body ached all over. The worst part for her: she could only remember certain portions of the night. What was I thinking drinking like that? I never do that…it was crazy! Oh, ugh… I can't believe I threw up on Ben. I'm never getting out of bed today; in fact, I'm never drinking again, ever!
From the other side of the room, while Felicity had been passed out, her roommate had been up for several hours trying to keep herself busy. In that time, Brooke had successfully taken a jog, showered and secured a job as the fashion consultant at a local clothing boutique. When she first got back to the room Felicity had still been in bed, so she had decided to browse the Internet using only a dim desk lamp for light. Brooke figured the least she could do was try not to wake the poor girl up. After all, hearing Felicity stumbling into the door multiple times and then aimlessly through the room until she settled by the bathroom puking, Brooke was certain her new friend would be in excruciating pain that day. So, like the good friend she was, the cheery brunette had tried her best to let the girl sleep off the inevitable agony. Deep down, though, the anticipation was killing her. She couldn't help but want to know the juicy news of what had happened prior to the room debacle.
So, when her roommate's sheets had finally started to rustle around, signaling her pending wake up, Brooke immediately sat forward in attention. The obviously confused Felicity slowly sat up, looking deeply concerned in those first few minutes of waking. Viciously studying the girl for clues, Brooke was worried by her initial reactions. Though, her final conclusion had been that Felicity was experiencing a bit of a blackout, something the reformed party girl knew the symptoms of all too well. She just hoped that Felicity would remember the good stuff!
"Hey," Felicity said, groggily, as she sat up in her bed and stretched.
"Morning, sleepy head…you were out cold, it's almost 3 o' clock in the afternoon! I was starting to get worried about you. I heard you come in last night, it sounded a bit, well how can I put this…rough, yes rough."
Brooke then described the crashes and booms she heard coming from Felicity's side of the room, at her roommate's request, hoping it would signal some train of thought. By the looks on the poor girls face, she didn't remember much of the bedroom scene. Yet, Brooke kept her fingers crossed that she would remember more of what had happened before she reached the room.
"So, give me the deets, crazy lady!" Brooke shrieked, after Felicity didn't overtly hand over the events of last night.
"Deets?" Felicity asked, squinting her eyes out of confusion.
"The details, duh…deets, short for details, come on you're killing me here, what happened? I knew I should have stuck around!"
"Oh, um details, well rough…yes that is a perfect word. I made way too many trips to the beer machine!
"Keg. It's called a keg, but go on."
"Well first let me add another word for the night, okay two…never again!" The curly haired girl proclaimed, holding her head in anguish again.
"Yea, I've heard that before…" Brooke laughed, seemingly unconvinced of her new friend's statement. "Well, did you at least have a good time?"
"I guess? Though, the end of the night is rather questionable…"
"Questionable? Ooo…tell tell, please tell! What happened?"
"Well, I told Ben that I followed him," She started, holding back a bit after noticing the nervous look on Brooke's face. "Yea I know…I was drunk, but it, it gets worse…then I sorta threw up on him…"
"Wow, definitely eventful then. Can't say I expected that. So how did yearbook boy take the news? And uh, how did you sorta throw up on him? It's either all or nothing, trust me…I've been there."
"Well, he took it all very well, considering. He said he was flattered? And yea I didn't sorta throw up on him, I did…all over his pants and shoes. That part was horrible…"
Felicity then receded back into her bed, embarrassed and ashamed of her actions the previous night. Brooke instantly realized Felicity was upset, and continued to assess the situation in the most positive light possible, for her roommates sake.
"Really, interesting…flattered." Brooke pondered over Ben's choice of words for a moment. "Hmm? Maybe I'll try that method," she joked, which got Felicity's attention. "So what did he do when you threw up on him? Did he freak out; get pissed?"
Felicity sat back up in the bed and this time she became more involved in the conversation. Brooke had scooted her computer chair over to the side of the girl's bed so she wouldn't have to explain the horrid details any louder.
"No? He didn't freak out at all… no, actually he was a perfect gentleman; he helped me up after…I was trying to clean his shoes with my hand I was so upset…" Felicity mumbled the last part, as she looked to Brooke for comfort.
"Eww, disgusting!" Brooke shrieked at the thought, which obviously hadn't offered the comfort Felicity had desired.
"Yea, he thought so too…" The defeated girl admitted, slumping over. "But he still offered to walk me back here?" She added, now trying to comfort herself.
"Seriously? That is impressive…you must have a way with men or something, because in my experience men don't take kindly to being vomited on…so if he stuck around, I'd say he likes you."
"What? No, he was just being nice…"
"Yea, tending to stalkers who vomit on you goes beyond the call of duty of 'being nice.' He either felt sorry for you…or he likes you." Brooke concluded.
"Well, we decided to be just friends, anyways. And, I actually like his girlfriend, what's her name?"
"Peyton Sawyer, yadie da. Ugh gawd, if I hear anymore about that girl I'll probably vomit myself." Brooke confessed, rolling her eyes, clearly annoyed by this reminder.
"You didn't even talk to her, did you?" Felicity asked, confused by Brooke's disposition.
"Oh I heard enough about her from lover boy, Lucas. Oh yea, I forgot to mention I met him at the party last night. Yea, he's a piece of work…kinda like you!" She teased. "For real though I just don't get it? I mean you talk about Ben and he talks about Peyton, and it's like you guys are so certain that they're worth it…that of the billions of us out there in this world there's only one that's right for you? I mean it just sorta, well it makes me kinda sad…there, I said it…now shoot me!"
Felicity starred at her visibly embarrassed roommate. She hadn't expected that last comment of hers. She had prepared mentally for those who might think she was insane, the ones who questioned her motives even, but she had never thought her actions would make anyone upset. She didn't understand how she or Lucas's feelings could possibly make somebody sad. To Felicity it was endearing and poetic, as if she had been granted this chance to live out her very own fairytale. She didn't understand Brooke's feelings, but she would never hold them against her, or dismiss them, either. It was not in her nature to let feelings go unanalyzed.
"Oh, no! Don't feel bad…for feeling bad. I just, I don't get why it would bother you?"
"Well, I'm not gonna be up all night crying about it but, you see…how do I explain this?" Brooke began, searching for the right way to put it. "Okay, Lucas is this great guy, right? And you, well you are this smart, caring, beautiful person. Yet, you both are pinning over these two people that are totally oblivious. And I get it, I do…it's all mysterious and intriguing and exciting even…but what happens to the ones out there that want to experience falling in love? Like me…
Felicity sat listening, intrigued by her roommates conviction. It all started to make sense to her and she for the first time questioned her fairytale. She didn't dare interrupt, though, and only nodded, insisting Brooke go further.
"I want to fall in love with someone, not just the idea of what they are or could be, you know? I want to be able to look back and say 'that was the moment when it all changed'…and after that no matter what he'd be in my heart, along side me, every step of the way…good, bad, ugly, it wouldn't matter because we'd have each other, we'd be together." Brooke sighed, at the thought of her impossible fairytale dream, pausing to look at her fully concentrated roommate. "See, that's the love story I want, and I know it's not gonna be a fairytale but now I just feel like the good guys, well their always off pinning for girls that won't give them the time of day…and then girls like us, who want real love, well we're left to pine over guys that won't give us the time of day. So, I just want you to be careful okay? Because, if you aren't a Peyton in life's twisted scenario, which maybe you are, I dunno…I just know I'm not…" The fair skinned brunette admitted solemnly, taking a breath to continue, now looking straight at Felicity. "I really, truly hope you are, because you know what happens in the end to us non-Peyton's? We get hurt…"
Felicity sat stunned taking it all in. Her roommate had just opened up to her and from the sounds of it just might be as vulnerable as she. Underneath that rough and tough exterior, Brooke Davis was a helpless romantic just like Felicity Porter. Underneath it all was someone broken, and that was someone Felicity could understand.
Brooke, however, was less accepting of this vulnerability in herself. Having realized all that had just been said, she feared how defenseless it all must have seemed and quickly turned on her B. Davis charm, forcing out a fake, shiny, bright smile.
"I get it, and that makes perfect sense, it really does. That's why we're just going to be friends, me and Ben." Felicity explained, unconvincingly. "I'm just a hopeless romantic, I guess."
"Ha, me too! Did you hear the sap that just came out of my mouth?" Brooke rolled her eyes in disbelief, trying to lighten the mood. "Hey, he did let you vomit on him, that's gotta count for something." She grinned. "And you know what…that could be a pretty nice story to tell the kids, right?
At the thought of explaining Ben and Felicity's fairytale love story to their hypothetical children the two roommates fell to the ground, laughing hysterically, almost crying they were laughing so hard.
…So I get high to lift myself, remembering,
I'm running late, I'm running late, here it comes
And you don't know how you got there
You don't know why you got there…
"Oh, shit!" Brooke yelled. "I'm gonna be late…I met this guy, Noel, during registration, he's an RA in one of the guys dorms…anyways, he asked me out, and I was supposed to meet him at Perreno's for pizza. I've got like twenty minutes to get all the way across town, damn!"
Brooke then scurried around the room to get her things together and ran out, leaving Felicity to re-think her roommates concerns regarding her feelings towards Ben.
Maybe Brooke is right? She thought. I mean I probably will just end up hurt. I know we decided to be just friends, but maybe I should start opening up my options, you know, date other people…not worry so much about what Ben might think? It couldn't hurt, right?
With that last thought, she heard a knock at her door.
"Brooke? Felicity? Can I come in?" Said the voice outside.
"Uh, sure…it's open." Felicity told him.
"Hey," the man spoke, holding his hand out to greet her. "My name's Dan Cohen, I'm an RA on this floor, and just thought I'd stop by and say hello, so hello…" The young man nervously explained.
"Hey, I'm Felicity…that is really nice of you, trying to get to know all of us."
"Uh, yea well…you know, I try." He said nonchalantly, dusting his shoulders off, trying his best to look at ease in the current situation. "I'm just kidding, I'm a total geek, read comic books and proud of it!" He beamed, showing off two distinct dimples. "Anyways, for real if you need anything, I'm in room 305…doors always open!"
The curly brown haired RA then turned around and left, hitting his arm on the way out. Felicity could see that he was clearly holding back a whimper, clutching his wrist close to his chest. He managed to smile back at her, nonetheless.
Felicity sat puzzled. This Dan Cohen character reminded her quite a bit of herself; trying to hide behind nervous chatter and long wordy explanations. She hoped that they would be good friends in the future. In fact, she was certain that they could and she would make it happen.
At the pizza place Brooke had just gotten to the table where Noel was sitting. He had chosen a bar spot towards the corner. She assumed he had done so, because it would appear less intimate and assuming. Desperately trying to fix her wet, wind blown hair, she approached him. It had been pouring outside when she had left, and from being in such a rush, she had stupidly forgotten her umbrella behind.
"Hey, I'm sorry I'm late." She said to him, still combing through her hair.
"No problem, I'm just glad you actually came!" He replied, sincerely.
"Oh, of course! Miss a chance to eat at Perreno's, with a nice looking fella like yourself? Never!" She joked, taking a seat, as they both were now laughing.
Brooke spent the next few minutes pretending to study the menu, which unbeknownst to him, she knew by heart. Her real attention was on Noel, who she was actually just now taking notice of. To her Noel seemed very nice, almost too nice. The kind of nice that could get you in trouble because you think they can't hurt you, but they still do. Yet, as she looked in his eyes, her instincts told her otherwise, they screamed compassionate. His eyes were a milk chocolate shade of brown, but they had tiny specks of yellowish gold, which made them almost sparkle.
She was starting to fear that he was the worst kind of nice, the kind that she would end up hurting in the end. Forcing herself to push that thought out of her mind, she continued her appraisal and turned her focus on a more pleasant subject, his body. He wasn't necessarily pale, or tan, just sort of in the middle. He was tall, maybe 6' 2", and built with broad shoulders and a strong jaw line that made you feel he could protect. Though even with his size and stern appearance he wasn't imposing at all. Overall, Noel seemed to be very good looking. He wasn't Armani model stunning but he was genuinely attractive; he was your typical all American guy.
One thing the fashonista in her would have wanted to fix if she could was his outfit, if you'd even call it that. He looked to her like he'd stepped right out of a catalog for Eddie Bauer, circa 1999. Brooke wasn't so much against the whole Eddie Bauer thing, in fact she loved a rustic man, but this was just all wrong. The pants he wore were too short on him. She had noticed this when she bent down to grab her phone from her purse. And, his shirt too was awkwardly buttoned, maybe too high. It made him appear stiff. But, worst of all was the fabric design, which on all accounts was awful. It resembled what she would have described as attire more for a mob hit man on vacation than the young bachelor he was.
All in all, she thought. If the worst thing about him is bad fashion sense, well then I guess I'm his kinda girl! Hopefully, he'll at least have an interesting personality to go with his niceness. If there is one thing I can't stand, it's a boring man!
"So, is there anything you want?" He asked her, pulling her out of her admiration.
"Oh, toasted ravioli, please." She said back to him, and then to the server she had only recently realized had been standing there. "There the best in town!" She whispered to him secretly.
The two also ordered a veggie pizza, to share, and returned to getting to know one another. They exchanged small talk, mostly about where they were from, why they had chosen to come to LA, etc. He informed her that he had come to LA, from New York City, two years ago to pursue computer programming and to get a much-needed change of scenery. He also told her about his family; coming from a large Irish family, with six older sisters. His mother, he had explained, was a stay and home mom and his father had been in and out of the service most of his childhood. Noel's family was nothing like Brooke's and while she felt that it might be a good thing she was still hesitant to fully divulge her family secrets, just yet.
Unfortunately, by the end of the night, things hadn't really evolved much from their initial meeting. There were still no huge turn offs, other than his outfit, but nothing really spectacular either. For Brooke, if she decided to continue seeing him, she would in essence be settling. Though at the same time she had promised herself, after talking with Lucas, that she would change her ways. Noel seemed like a guy who would respect her. So, as he walked her to her car, she began to wonder.
Maybe the spark doesn't always come immediately? She thought. Maybe, he'll grow on me and we'll live happily ever after? I shouldn't rule him out after only one date; he's so kind and generous. And, he's not pinning over anyone that I can tell, at least. So that's a major plus for him! Yes, I'll give him a chance. Maybe he's a great kisser…up nope; there it was the big good night kiss and nothing. Damn…
"Okay, well I had a great time, we should do this again sometime." He said, while helping her into the car.
"Umm, yea…definitely." She said, forcing a smile.
This is how it's gonna be from now on, she thought, driving back to the dorms. Boring, spark-less, dates! Maybe I should reconsider. I mean, at least before I got a little action? So what if I slept around, there was definitely a spark down there! Ugh, men are despicable.
She continued driving, lost in her thoughts, until reaching the parking lot of the residence halls. When she got to her room she was pleased to find it empty. One thing was for sure; Brooke had to get her beauty sleep before classes started on Monday.
Finally, the first day of classes had arrived. For Felicity this was exciting, her specialty in life was and always had been school. The young scholar had been a bit of a geek, you could say, but the classroom was where she had always felt the most comfortable. The classroom and the art studio were the only places she felt like she could truly be herself and that was a powerful feeling.
For Brooke, it had always been the opposite. The thought of beginning all new classes frightened her because it only brought that many more opportunities to fail. Ever since she could remember her mother had drilled it into her that she would never be smart enough. As a result, the happy go lucky brunette was anything but when it came to academics. While in actuality, Brooke was fairly intelligent, she had learned to feign ignorance in spite of it, to spare herself from her mother's dismissal. Unfortunately, after years of hearing her mother's constant antics repeatedly being reminded of her uselessness, Brooke had become on edge. The fact that she was here, at USC, as opposed to a community college her mother, Victoria, believed she belonged was a feat. She was now, more then ever, doubtful of her true abilities and fearful of the embarrassment that came along with no being good enough.
That morning the two roommates quickly got themselves ready for the day, said their brief goodbyes, and went off their separate ways, each to their own first class of the day.
After trucking across the entire campus, Felicity finally found and entered her Biology classroom. She took the first available seat she saw, a spot in the back. While normally she would have been upset that she had to be so far in back today she immediately had something else to be concerned with. Sitting toward the front, on the right side, only a few desks ahead was Ben.
How appropriate, she thought. Of all the classes he's here! Being his perfect, handsome, charming self. And I'm supposed to be okay with being just his friend? Impossible…
Breaking her from her thoughts was the realization of the grandness of the room she was in. The classroom seemed gigantic to her standards, much bigger than the ones she had been used to back home. This lab, she had counted, was large enough to fit at least 30 large desks, of which each had room to fit two students. After calculating that more than 60 students would be in this class, Felicity started to understand the excessively long lines that she had waited in all last week. More importantly, though, she began to calm herself down figuring the class was large enough that she and Ben would only have minimal contact.
By the time the professor made his way in nearly all the seats had been occupied. Having taken a spot in the back, surprisingly the seat next to her's was still one of the few left open. However, just as the class was about to begin someone quickly moved in, assuming the spot next to her.
"Hey, so glad you're in this class!" Peyton said, after noticing whom she had sat next to. "This is going to be hell, I know right?"
"Um, actually…I love Biology?" Felicity responded embarrassed.
Peyton just laughed and gave her an "I should have known" look. Felicity nervously laughed along with her, trying to distance herself, so that she could listen more carefully to the professor, who had just introduced himself. The two blondes sat quietly through the professor's brief introduction and syllabus review. When he dismissed them thirty minutes later it seemed only Felicity was astonished. She sat frozen for a minute, not fully believing that it was really over.
Is he seriously letting us go like that? She thought. This class is supposed to be over two hours long? That was like…not even thirty minutes. Is it like a trick or something?
"Hey, you wanna grab lunch with us?" Peyton asked once more, poking Felicity's shoulder to release the confused girl from her delirium.
"Actually, babe…I've gotta run so..." Ben explained, giving his girl a kiss, as he left.
"So, you wanna grab lunch, just you and me?" Peyton finally ventured to say again, this time getting through to her.
"Um, sure? Sorry, I can't believe he let us out so soon." Felicity explained.
"Are you for real? It's the first class, you know, syllabus day. If he had gone any farther he would have been met with angry mobs of students. Maybe even a tomato or two thrown at him."
Felicity just laughed along with Peyton. She was truly unaware of this "syllabus day," but she also figured she shouldn't push her luck by asking so many questions. Instead she made a mental note to ask Brooke or Lucas about what she had meant by it.
"Well, where do you wanna go? I've got this Freshman Studies class in an hour, so I can't go too far."
"Oh, yea me too, that class is gonna be cake…don't worry, why don't we just go to one of the cafeterias on campus?"
"Cake, as in it will be as easy as eating cake? You've never heard that before?" Noticing the blank stare on Felicity's face Peyton got her answer. "Gosh, I'm starting to wonder if you are even human…" Peyton teased her, turning and squinting to look around. "Just follow me."
As Brooke made it into the building where her first class of the day, English Composition, was to be held, panic instinctively fell over her. In an effort to offset her pending nervous breakdown she decided to take a seat outside the classroom. Brooke clearly hadn't fully worked up the nerve to walk inside and face the magic that was looming within. Unfortunately, while sitting, she only imagined the worst, her nightmare of being called upon and not knowing the answer. She put her hands over her head and silently begged that the gods would go easy on her this morning. Being as nervous as she was, it took nearly everything inside of her to make a move. When she eventually did, gaining the needed momentum to literally throw her body into the classroom, she stood up forcefully. In doing so she ended up accidentally hitting the guy who had been walking by her.
"Oh, shit…sorry!" She said, trying to quickly pick up the mess of things that had fallen everywhere, due to the blast.
"Brooke?" Lucas asked. "Is that you? I didn't realize you were a clumsy one?" He started to tease, but stopped after noticing the look in her eyes. "Hey, my best friend in high school was the queen of clumsiness, not that you are, you just reminded me of her for a minute, that's all. Anyways…what's up, why do you have that horrid look on your face? It's not like you're going into battle or something…"
"Uh, well…I'm not really clumsy, so much, just incredibly nervous right now. I don't know why I'm telling you this, but perhaps the fact that you openly discussed your stalkerness with me makes me feel I can, I dunno, but I basically… well I suck at school. All of it, and I'm not an idiot, it's just not easy for me, ya know. My mother's been on my case about it all my life and I've been sitting here imagining all the awful ways I could possibly be humiliated if I go inside. I just don't know if I am cut out for college, maybe my mom was right?"
"Whoa, slow down, take a deep breath and relax. You see, I'm about to go inside that very same classroom and if you trust me, I'll get you through it. Now, I can't promise that with any of your other classes but I'll be glad to help you out anyway I can?"
"You are too nice Lucas, really, I can figure it out…"
"Listen, I'm not saying you need me. I bet you know more than you think about this stuff. I mean, you got here didn't you? I think that means you are cut out for college. But, it's up to you to decide if that's what you want…not me and definitely not your mother. So, if you do, just know I'm here…plain and simple." He reassured her, then wrapped her tightly by the waist, with one arm, and brought her with him into the classroom.
Brooke didn't object. There was something about his presence that calmed her. It wasn't until they had taken a seat that she had even noticed being inside. With him sitting next to her she felt as though she could handle it.
"Thanks," she whispered toward him.
"Anytime." He said, giving her a bright smile and a quick wink.
After the class had ended Brooke turned toward her new confidant. She had been so worked up about this class all weekend long, but it hadn't turned out to be that bad. After all, the class did allow her an excellent opportunity to get to know Lucas. Not to mention, with him there, nothing seemed to be as daunting as she had once thought. She might even end up liking the course, as he predicted.
"So, can I take my knight in shining armor out to lunch, as thanks?" She asked him, perking up for the first time that morning.
"Now that's the Brooke I remember…sure, why not? What time is your next class?"
"Uh, hold up…" She instructed him, digging inside her purse for the schedule she printed. "Ah, yes…I've got Freshman Studies, whatever that is, in an hour?"
"Me, too…let me see if we've got the same section," he replied, moving to look over her shoulder at her schedule. "Yep…okay, well you're the one who knows their way around here, so… lead the way, mamn!"
Brooke knew the perfect place, a quaint little European deli, which happened to be right across the street from the building where their next class was. It was only a five-minute walk over to the deli, a walk either of them could have done effortlessly.
After ordering, and finding a table outside, the two of them sat and chatted away, as if they had been friends forever. Brooke gave him the low down of her date with Noel, making a point to stress the fact that it had been because of Lucas's advice that she even considered a second date. He then shyly confessed that, much like Brooke had expected, Peyton had yet to come around. With that, an idea had popped into her head and she kindly suggested that he perhaps consider pretending to date Felicity, her roommate.
At first the suggestion was overlooked because the reminder of Felicity immediately sparked conversations regarding her "first party experience." The topic only sent them into further tangents of laughter. When they had finally calmed down enough to speak they took turns sharing bits and pieces of Felicity's night until they had put the puzzle together, uncovering just how the unfortunate hangover she had encountered the next day had come to be.
Not one to had her ideas swept under the rug, the cheery brunette pressed further with her proposed strategic plans to get Peyton interested in Lucas.
"Lucas, trust me… what do people want the most? What they can't have…you have to show her that she can't have you; that you're taken. I bet then she'll be singing a different tune!" Brooke proudly stated.
She was convinced that this arrangement would easily work to his benefit. However Lucas felt it would be unfair to Peyton and also Ben, whom he had actually grown to somewhat like over the past few days. After they had hung out together, playing video games, that Sunday afternoon, he had to admit he enjoyed his roommate's company. Ben was fun and saw the world in simple terms. He reminded him a lot of his half brother, Nathan.
Nathan and Lucas's relationship, like Ben and his, had also a started on rather shaky terms. Yet, in the end Nathan turned out to be a stand up guy and a great teammate, friend and brother. They had gone through a lot together in the past two years, having dealt with everything from unlikely marriages, to even less likely arrivals and departures. In fact, Lucas had recently become the god father to his best friend Haley and Nathan's first born son.
Ben had a lot of the same qualities that he admired in Nathan. He was the classic "guy's guy; strong, valiant but a bit confused when it came to ladies. The broody blonde felt as though Ben, much like Nathan had once done, shielded his true self by his basketball career. Lucas couldn't shake the feeling that there was a lot more behind the exterior that Ben showed the world. For one, it seemed women just threw themselves at his feet, but he had no clue why. For some reason, despite his obvious good looks and stature, his roommate was insecure; maybe hiding something. Whichever way, it just didn't seem right to start off any relationship on a lie.
"I dunno? I just feel like that would be lying and I'm not that guy. Plus, I doubt Felicity and I could pull it off anyway…"
…Inside Sunday, Monday, pass the time away
Friday, Saturday's on, here it comes
And the world's a song that plays along,
La dee da dee day to die in LA…
"Yea. You're probably right about that last one. Neither of you seem to be blessed with the art of deceit." She agreed, flashing him an understanding smile to reassure him that she would take the issue no further.
By then their free time had almost run out. She and Lucas were forced to rush back to campus so that they wouldn't be late.
Inside the classroom Peyton and Felicity sat together. At the ever studious one's request the two of them had left the cafeteria absurdly early to reach the classroom. As Peyton had imagined they were the first students to arrive. The flaxen haired girl vehemently pointed that fact out to her new friend. Though, they both had to admit getting to class this early allowed them plenty of time to get situated and take in the surroundings.
…And you don't know how you got there
You don't know why you got there
Looking outside, outside of yourself…
With only seconds before the class was to start both Felicity and Peyton turned their attention to the door, as Brooke and Lucas entered the room out of breath from running. Following right behind them was Ben. All five of them looked around the room taking in the faces before them.
Ben walked straight toward Peyton, giving her a quick kiss on the cheek, then sat down in a seat between she and Felicity. Lucas, following Brooke's lead, did the same. All of them now sat together in the back corner of the classroom. The sight was one that amused Brooke a great deal.
Now, I won't even have to Tivo my favorite soap operas, she thought, giggling to herself. How did I find these amazingly crazy people? Things are going to be interesting for sure…
Yet, just when Brooke thought she could break out the popcorn and start watching the drama unfold the professor walked in, changing her tune at once.
"Eddie Beurer is our teacher?" She gasped.
"Hey, isn't that our RA?" Ben broke in, looking toward Lucas.
"Uh, yea…Noel I think?"
With that Felicity put the connection together and turned to Brooke with a wide-eyed inquisitive look.
"What?" Brooke defended. "I didn't know he was…"
"Hi everyone. My name's Noel. I'm Professor Dunnagy's teaching assistant. So I'll be filling in for him from time to time. Today's class will be short. All I'm going to do is explain your first assignment. Okay?" He waited for the class to nod. "Alright, your first assignment is essentially an introduction to the class. In high school most of you, at one point or another, probably fell into one of the following stereotypes: JOCK, PROM QUEEN, GEEK, LONER, GOTH." He wrote the titles on the chalkboard. "Or at least people assumed that you did." He turned back to give the class a reassuring smile. "Your assignment is to pick one of these types and explain 1) Why you feel other's categorized you in this group, and 2) How they were wrong. Any questions?"
This assignment meant that they would have to dig into the past. That wasn't something any of them were too keen about doing. So, for the first time since being at USC all five of them felt a twinge of regret.
***Lyrics from this chapter are from "To Die In LA," by West Indian Girl***