We had been sitting quietly next to each other for the last hour. It wasn't uncomfortable. I liked that about Charlie, I had never felt the need for filler conversations. I stared out the window trying to imagine what the next year was going to be like.
I wasn't really nervous. I mean college can't be that much harder than high school, right? I was hoping that it would be a whole lot more interesting, but I was a little worried about making new friends. I hadn't been particularly popular when I was living with my mom in Phoenix and to be honest when I had moved in with Charlie junior year I hadn't really tried. Forks was a small town and everyone already knew everyone, and they had since they were toddlers. I just had to survive the last two years. This was going to be different. I was going to be different. I looked up as we drove into the city.
Holy shit, he's really going to leave me here.
Okay maybe I was a little more nervous than I thought.
We pulled into a parking spot in front of the dorm. I said a silent thank you that we were bringing all my belongings up and that had required borrowing a van. This would be awkward in Charlie's police cruiser. The sidewalks and the parking lot were full of kids and parents running and back and forth and shouting. It was mass chaos. It looked like some people were pushing carts loaded full of stuff and I noticed a few older students holding clipboards and looking bored.
"Well here we go, Bells. Why don't you see if you can figure out where we're going, I'll look for a cart or something." Charlie had barely mumbled the last sentence and he looked more than a little uncomfortable while his eyes darted around the parking lot.
"Okay, Dad." One of us had to pretend we knew what was going on. I wandered toward a tall blonde holding a clipboard. "Hi, I'm Bella Swan. And…" I stopped talking when she gave me an ice stare.
"Straight inside, your packet's in the lobby. I would assume under S." She went back to her clipboard. Okay, I was off to a rockin' start.
The lobby was packed with people. Everyone was laughing and talking. How did I already feel like I was missing out on something? Okay, concentrate. S. I found the Tupperware with the S envelopes in it easily enough. I popped open my envelope and found my keys and room information inside. The woman manning the table looked at me kindly.
"Women's tower to the right, men are on the left." Mental note: always turn right. The building mirrored itself and I didn't really want to think about how easy it would be to screw this up and end up in the middle of a guys' floor. I'll spare myself that embarrassment thank you! Charlie had reappeared with a cart and my entire life inside of it. One trip, that's a little depressing.
"We're headed this way." I led Charlie through the door on the right and we got in line at the elevator. I exchanged a shy smile with a pretty brunette standing in between her parents right in front of us. I started to wonder about my new roommate. I had only been sent a name. I wonder what she would be like. God, I hope we get along. I had never actually shared a room before. It was one of the benefits of being an only child. The elevator opened and the girl in front of us loaded on with her parents and cart.
"There is room for you," she called. Well this would be interesting. Charlie maneuvered the cart into the elevator while she held the door. We squeezed in and the door shut. We were standing directly next to each other practically touching the elevator doors.
"Me too." I smiled at her. Maybe this would be okay after all.
"I'm Bella." I considered shaking her hand but that seemed stupid considering we were already practically touching and I was pretty sure I couldn't turn around to offer her my hand if I wanted to. She smiled warmly at me.
"I'm Angela. It's nice to meet you." Our parents shifted quietly behind us. The elevator stopped at every floor on the way up, doors opening to reveal exhausted parents standing with empty carts, impatiently waiting for the next empty elevator. When we reached the fourth floor we barely made it off before the desperate parents with empty carts on our floor bum rushed us to get a spot on the elevator.
I looked around trying to get my bearings. I turned to the hallway on the right. Good, this will help with plan "always go right." I was happy when I noticed Angela and her parents doing the same. I got to my door and stopped. Well, this is it. Angela passed us and stopped a couple doors down. I tried the doorknob first; I didn't know if my roommate would already be here. It opened.
It wasn't a big room. The left hand side of the wall had two closets separated by two built in dresser stacks. Against the far side of the room was a lofted bed with a simple desk slid underneath. I turned my head and noticed the same set up on the other side of the room. The only window in the room was straight ahead. I noticed the bed and desk closest to the door was piled with boxes and personal things. Ok, so my roommate was here somewhere. I walked into the room and Charlie followed. We left the cart in the hall because it wouldn't fit through the door. We stood looking at each other for a minute.
"You're here!" I heard the excited voice and leaned around Charlie to see where it had come from. In the doorway stood a petite girl with black spiky hair. She was really very pretty. And she was bouncing with excitement; literally, I had never seen someone actually do that before. She was across the room before I could register much more than that.
"You must be Isabella, I'm Alice. Oh we are going to be great friends, I can tell already." I wasn't sure what to say to that. I mean I could tell already she wasn't really my type of girl, but I also kind of instantly liked her for it. Weird. Charlie caught my eye. He was trying not to laugh; well at least someone thought this was funny.
"It's just Bella," I corrected her.
"Oh yes bring it in here!" Movers. She had movers! She turned to me, "I hope you don't mind I thought we should have some decent seating." I looked up and noticed the men were carrying in a leather sofa. They slid it up against the left hand wall in the open space between our desks. Alice plopped down in the middle.
"Perfect!" I could tell from where I was the couch was worth more than all of the furniture in Charlie's house put together. And that's when I decided I would never sit on it. No need to tempt the gods.
The next hour passed really quickly. Charlie unloaded the cart and I started putting things away. Alice talked almost nonstop. About, well, everything. She seemed particularly distraught about the size of the closets.
"Where am I supposed to put all of my clothes?" I looked at my half empty closet and then over at her closet, which she had so jammed I'm not sure how she could even see what was in there, and she was still standing in front of two open suitcases. Well I guess now is a good a time as any to be a good roomie.
"Alice, I'm really just a t-shirt and jeans kind of gal. If you want I've got space in my closet." She turned her head toward me. The look on her face was almost comical. You would have thought I just offered her my only working kidney. Then something hit me, it took me a second to realize it was Alice and that she had me in a bear hug, I was working to recoup my breath.
"Oh thankyouthankyouthankyou! I so owe you big time!"
"Really it's not a big deal." I tried to remove her from my waist. I mean, I liked my hyperactive powerhouse of a roommate, but I wasn't really into people being quite this far into my bubble. I like to keep a nice safety bubble, you know maybe like an arms length or so. I was happiest when I was the only one in my bubble. She released me and dragged one huge suitcase over to my closet and started loading things in. Charlie was standing in the doorway with his hands in his pockets rocking on his feet. This was it.
"Well kiddo that's everything."
"Yeah I guess so, call me when you get home. I'll have my cell."
He pulled me into a one arm hug and kissed the top of my head. "Be safe ok, love you." He let me go, and I gave him a half smile. We both sucked at goodbyes.
"Yeah I will, love you too dad." And then he was gone. Well here goes nothing.
An hour later I had a perfectly organized desk with my favorite novels lined up on the small shelf above it. I smiled in satisfaction. Alice, on the other hand, had filled up three quarters of my closet and half my drawers-not that I cared- and seemed to have finally found a spot for everything. She looked over at me with concern.
"Bella we are seriously going to need to expand your wardrobe, I can tell already." I giggled at her.
"Then where would we put your clothes?"
"Hmmm, good point. Still…"
I rolled my eyes. I didn't really care to be fashion forward; I was more about comfort. She got an excited look in her eye, something told me that was going to mean trouble for me more often than not.
"Let's go meet the rest of the hall!"
Well that didn't seem too terrible. I mean, out of my comfort zone, yes. But I had a feeling Alice would do most of the talking and I had promised myself I was going to try.
"Okay Alice. Let's go."
The door across from us was still closed so we turned right to our first neighbor. At least if we went this way we would run into Angela. She had seemed nice enough. Alice stepped right through the open door, and I followed her lead.
"Hey neighbors." She called on the way in. The room was identical to ours. In fact they had a really nice tan couch in the exact position that our leather coach sat. I must have missed the couch memo. There were four women in the room. At the far desk was a tall blonde. She was super model pretty. I know that sounds stupid but I felt three inches shorter just being in the same room as her. Alice was pretty too, but way more approachable than this woman. I mean... whoa. Her blonde hair fell down almost to her waist, and even sitting down it was obvious she had a fantastic figure. On the end of the coach closest to the gorgeous girl's desk, much to my surprise, was Angela from the elevator. On the other end of the coach was a platinum blonde. She wasn't nearly as pretty as the other blonde and she had this expression on her face that made it clear she was annoyed by the mere fact that the rest of us existed. And sitting at the other desk was a short brunette with tight curly hair that she had tied back in a ponytail.
"Hi," said the girl in the ponytail, "This is my room. I'm Jessica."
"Oh yeah, our room." Jessica shot a glance at the supermodel. She looked up from her magazine.
"Hi I'm Angela, and this is my roommate Lauren. We're the next door down." The girl with the unpleasant face sneered at us. Angela seemed like a really nice girl but she must have done something in a previous life to deserve a roommate like Lauren. Okay, that wasn't really fair. I didn't know Lauren at all, and I was giving people chances. It was the new and different me.
"I'm Alice and this is my roommate Bella. We're right next door too!" It was an odd exchange. There was a weird silent pause.
I felt like this was the time in one of those anonymous meetings where someone stood up and talked about the moment they realized they needed to get help. Well you see I turned 18 and realized I didn't really have any friends and I knew something had to change. So I followed this near stranger into a room of total strangers and here I stand. Hmmm, I needed a better story. This one was sad enough, but it lacked the excitement a confession of this sort should have.
Alice flitted over to Rosalie. Well I suppose that made sense. For a second I frowned. I mean she was my roommate, and didn't she say we were going to be "great friends?" Was she going to dump me for the first new attractive friend she found? Wow, I needed to get out more. I barely knew the girl. She could have other friends.
I wandered over and sat next to Angela. She seemed safe, although that put me far too close to that Lauren girl. In fact, though we were sitting and definitely not touching, she was totally in my bubble. I didn't want her there. Okay, Bella, calm down the crazy. Just then, the room filled up with the sounds of Pink Floyd. Angela pulled out her phone. Huh, she didn't really seem the type, but whatever.
"Hey Ben." She stood up, smiled at me and wandered out of the room... leaving me on the couch with Lauren. Great. Alice and Rosalie were in some heated discussion about the Cosmo Rosalie was holding. Not gettin' in on that. I turned my head and Jessica was telling Lauren for the third time since I sat down how pretty her hair was. Barf. This is why I avoided women. Angela wandered back into the room.
"That was Ben, he's my boyfriend." She blushed a little. Well, thank God I wasn't the only one that happened to. "Anyway he just lives in the other tower and he heard about a party that's supposed to be cool tonight. He's going with a bunch of guys from his floor. You girls want to go?"
"Did you say there would be men?" Rosalie grinned. "I'm so in." Alice giggled. And I prayed to whatever god slash higher being that was listening that I get through tonight without doing something so horrifically embarrassing that I would have to spend the next nine months locked in our dorm room.