A/N: Again a huge thank you to Fiberkitty, the best beta a girl could ask for! You have no idea how much I appreciate all your help and friendship!
I own nothing, SM has that pleasure...
How many times have I made this trip so far this semester? Can this really be the fifth? Wow, I'm really going to have to find a cheaper way to get to Chicago, this bus fare is really doing a number on my fragile bank account. Maybe I can find someone with a car to get drives with; that just means meeting some more people at my school, which would mean not running off to visit my best friends at every opportunity. Nope, I'm not ready to give that up just yet.
I still am not sure why I felt the need to strike off on my own after high school and go to a different university than the rest of my friends. The six of us were so close, and I think I just had to see if I could make it on my own without my safety net there to catch me. Don't get me wrong, I love my school and really, it's close to being a perfect fit for me, but I just can't stand the weekends there. I've made some good friends, but no one that could come close to matching the connection I have with Alice, Edward, Jasper, Rose and Emmett. Some would say I haven't given NIU a fair chance, but everything I love, art, music, my friends, is in the city. I haven't mentioned it to Charlie yet, but I'm considering applying for a transfer for the winter semester. All this wasted bus time is really starting to wear thin. And while it's great for getting some reading done for my classes, being stuck in such cramped quarters with a bunch of strangers is definitely not for me.
This weekend should be great! There's a small indie music festival going on in Chicago, so I'm going to try and cram as many bands into the next few days. In all honesty, skipping a couple of days of classes seems like a small sacrifice to the music gods. Edward and I have festival passes so that we can get into as many shows as we can stand. My hearing is going to be fucked after the next five days, and I can't wait! I hope everyone else decides to come to some of the shows with us. I really think they'd have fun if they give it a chance; I'm just having a hard time convincing Alice and Rose of that, they both prefer the dance clubs with that constant thumping bass. Well, I already know Jasper will be coming, at least when he can get away from Alice for a bit, he's as much a club guy douche as Edward. This was made abundantly clear the other weekend when I was visiting and…
Feeling a tap on my shoulder, I nearly jump out of my skin as I tear my earbuds out to see what the woman next to me wants.
Being on this bus really does bring out the worst in me. I almost took that woman's head off for asking what time we would be arriving in Chicago. I mean, really, couldn't she just look at her fucking ticket? Did I seem like I wanted to have a little getting to know you time with my seatmate? After giving her the quickest reply in history, my music is back and I'm trying to get back into the daydream that was so rudely interrupted. Anything to make this drive go by that much faster…
When I was down two weeks ago, Alice finally got her way and drug the six of us out to her favorite club. Well, I guess in retrospect the only unwilling ones were Edward and I, Emmett will follow Rose anywhere and Jasper seems relatively resigned to do Alice's wishes. After getting all done up in "proper" club wear, guess the jeans and Chucks were inappropriate for such an occasion, we hit Alice and Rose's beloved haunt. Aside from the deafening relentless bass, the atmosphere left much to be desired. You get two girls just hugging and all the guys stop what they're doing to watch in case of seeing some faux-lesbian make-out action. Although when it comes to that I'm not sure who bugs me more, the guys egging it on or the girls that play into it… I mean fuck, if you find the chick hot have at it, but not just in the hopes that some drunken frat fuck will get off on it. Aargh…sometimes people just annoy the hell out of me.
Okay, so now that I've proved that my rants are not reserved just for the pleasure of others and will occur even in daydreams, I'm starting to wonder about my own sanity… Where was I again?
Oh right, the club… That night was just a disaster waiting to happen. Edward and Jasper seemed to feed off the other's lack of energy and only left the table they found to stagger to the bar for drinks. Then sometime after midnight, when I was able to get away from Alice and Rose and off the dance floor, Edward had disappeared. No one knew where he went, but didn't seem overly concerned. We found out the next day that he somehow got home, but how remains a mystery to us all. As he could barely walk and drank all of his money away, I have no idea how he made it back to his dorm room. This was one of those times that the differences between the sexes reared its ugly head. Alice, Rose and I were all ready to kill Edward for leaving and Jasper for not paying attention to his drinking buddy. The boys, on the other hand, thought it was fucking hilarious that Edward managed to get his ass home while blacked out. Dumb-asses… Nothing like that better happen this weekend. I'll have to make sure I keep a better eye on him, cause he's not ditching me at some club for any reason.
A buzzing in my coat pocket brings me back to reality. Looking down I see that I have a text from Edward letting me know that he and Jasper would be meeting me at the bus station. Sweet, silly boys… Now matter how many times I make this trip, at least one of the three boys insists on meeting me, normally with Alice and Rose in tow. I don't know what they think will happen to me at the bus station, or on the quick cab ride to the campus, but it is pretty adorable. And what girl wouldn't want to get off a stinking bus, to be enveloped in the waiting arms of your best friends?
Seeing the Chicago skyline growing steadily closed, I can feel the anticipation I always get when pulling into the city start to build. I just know this is going to be a great weekend!
After another half hour of driving we were finally getting off the bus and collecting our bags. One good thing from making this trip so often is that I've gotten my packing down to a fine science. Most weekends I can fit everything into my backpack and keep it with me, but as I'm here for the better part of a week this time my bag is a bit bigger. Alice keeps a healthy supply of products, so luckily for me I don't have to worry about the dreaded moisturizer leaking all thru my bag. The one time that happened I thought I was going to lose my fucking mind. That shit just does not want to wash out!
Grabbing my bag from the pile by the bus, I rush inside to see Edward and Jasper waiting for me. I can feel the smile break thru my standard "just-because-we're-seatmates-doesn't-mean-we-have-to-fucking-speak" look that the bus brings out of me. Launching myself into Edward's arms, he catches me in a bear hug that would seem more appropriate if we hadn't seen each other in years rather than weeks. Or if we were dating and not just friends… Jasper, always the gentleman, picks up my bag that I honestly don't remember dropping and with a hug of his own leads us outside to grab a cab back to UIC.
The ride to the dorm is surprisingly short. God how I love a cabbie that knows all the shortcuts and doesn't get caught up in the late afternoon congestion. Not that I mind being stuck between Edward and Jasper, but after two hours on a bus I just need to get cleaned up and back on my feet again.
Flanked by the boys, we hop on the elevator and head up to Alice's room. She's on the same floor as Rose and Jasper, with Edward and Emmett sharing a room the floor below. The set up is next to ideal for me, as it's just a quick run down the fire escape to visit Edward. I'd include Emmett in that thought, but I'm not sure if he's actually spent a night in his room yet. Rose and Alice both managed to get single rooms, which is next to unheard of for freshmen, so Emmett and Jasper spend most of their time with them. That is unless I'm visiting, and then Jasper gets booted to his own room and boring-ass roommate. Mike seems like a nice guy, but the two butt heads at every opportunity. It's always struck me as strange as Jasper's normally so laid back, but there's just something about Mike that provokes him.
By the time we reach Alice's room she's waiting at her open door and flies down the hall at us, a loud "Bella" coming from her as she attacks. Thank fuck Edward's standing behind me, because otherwise Alice would have knocked me clean on my ass with her hug. I guess she really is okay with me coming to crash with her for the next few days and interrupting her time with Jazz.
"Hey Ali! Glad to see you too, but you're choking me. Just loosen up a bit and we're good." I manage to get out.
"Oops… What can I say? I sometimes forget my own strength!" And with that, Alice grabbed my hand and Jasper's and began to drag us the rest of the way to her room.
With a shake of his head, Edward took my other hand and followed us down the hall. The four of us were soon joined by Rose and Emmett. Edward was currently occupying the only chair in the room, while I sat on the floor and leaned against his legs. The other four were piled on the little bed which surprised me after what happened a few weeks ago.
After a night of drinking, we managed to stumble back to Alice's room to wait for the pizza we ordered. Emmett and Rose were behind us coming in. Emmett had somehow mistook the glass beside the front door as the actual door and walked into it causing him to fall flat on his ass. By the time they made it up to Alice's we were all settled on the bed and had finally stopped laughing at the Em's little spill.
And if he hadn't walked into the room bellowing "Not a fucking word from one of you!" I'm sure we wouldn't have erupted into laughter again. But, he did, and we did. With a growl, Emmett took a few quick steps and threw himself onto us and the bed. Edward and Jasper took the brunt of the hit, but the bed just couldn't take the extra weight and the five of us went crashing to the floor.
Rose had just been standing back watching all this unfold, cool as always. But with the bed now effectively destroyed, she fell into the chair laughing at us while whipping out her cell to get a few pictures.
Noticing the look on my face, Edward took pity and, in a hushed tone, filled me in on how Emmett had to fix up Alice's bed and pay for any penalties she might get stuck with at the end of the year. I guess he also had to wear a button for a few days reading "I'm a dumb ass… Ask me why!" for a few days to appease Alice. Not wanting to hear the two of them argue about the validity of Alice's punishment, I try to stifle my laughter with a cough. But I will have to keep this topic in mind for later tonight. Thinking after a few drinks this argument could be much more enjoyable.
Turning my attention back to the rest of the room, I try to catch up on what everyone else is talking about. Before I can get too involved, Alice is on her feet.
Jumping up, Alice clapped her hands, chirping "Okay guys lets let Bella hop in the shower and get cleaned up and then head out to supper before the show."
Still not quite over the shock that she's coming to the show tonight, and that she's excited about it; I grab my things to head to the showers feeling my own excitement for the night growing.