"Hey Cap, what's up?" Rusty answers his phone getting a glare from the pretty girl across from him trying to nap. He glares back but moves across crowded waiting area.
"Nothing, your sister is just calling everyone we know with the news. How's the flight coming?"
"They finally cleared the runway. I take off in less than an hour, so if you could pick us up at five that would be great."
"Yeah, no problem," Cappie answers, "Wait what do you mean by us?"
"I ran into a fr-" Rusty stops short of calling his travel companion a friend and searches for the right word before simply settling for, "someone from CRU transferring to Berkley for grad school too. They need a ride."
"Really?" Cappie asks skeptically, "Anyone I know?"
"You could say that," Rusty evades.
"Okay, but I'm gonna find out who it is when they try and get into my car."
"Please tell me you got a new car," Rusty asks remembering the many times he had to push the monstrosity that was Cappie's old car uphill to the gas station. California has a lot of hills and he has no desire to relive his pledge days.
"Yeah I had to this week. Mechanic declared her officially dead on Monday." Cappie reflects mournfully.
"That's sad Cap," Rusty consoles.
"Yeah, memories," he agrees.
Rusty bites his tongue to stop himself from reminding him not all of them were good memories if you were a pledge in the Kappa Tau House while Cappie reigned.
"So," Cap interrupts Rusty's sour trip down memory lane, "enough changing the subject. Who is this mysterious travel buddy? Did Spitter finally find himself a new girlfriend?"
"N-what no," Rusty sputters, "She is definitely not my girlfriend!"
"Ah! So it is a she." Cappie smiles finally starting to enjoy solving the mystery Rusty has laid out for him.
"Wow Rusty try not to sound so happy about the assumption," a feminine voice sounds sarcastically from behind him.
"Cappie I gotta go; see you soon," Rusty hangs up turning around. "Uh," he stammers to the pretty girl he had left napping across the gate lobby and the only reason he has a seat on this flight.
"Relax," she laughs, "They called us; it's time to board the plane."
"So thanks again for getting me on this flight," he says genuinely surprised he would ever have anything to thank this girl for.
"No big deal," she shrugs, and he supposes for her it really is no big deal to intimidate the machine-like personnel of an airline into giving him a seat and an upgrade.
They approach their seats and Rusty puts his bag in overhead storage.
"Rusty," she chides shoving her bag lightly at him as he moves to sit.
He puts her bag away and moves aside, "Ladies first," he rolls his eyes.
"Thanks so much," she snarks back and takes her seat.
"Juice?" a busty flight attendant asks with a southern twang once they are seated.
"No thanks," they both answer at once and give each other identical scowls.
"You two are such a cute couple," the flight attendant giggles.
"No," Rusty quickly answers, "We're not together."
"Well then handsome, I'm Kendra," the flight attendant winks walking away.
Rusty stares after her until he is smacked by the girl next to him.
"What the hell Rebecca?" he snaps clutching his shoulder.
"I think that's twice in less than ten minutes you express your complete disgust that anyone assume we're together," she frowns. "You should be so lucky. I should be the insulted one," she mutters putting her earphones in.
"Yeah because I'm sure you're thrilled with the assumption," he argues pointlessly as she is already listening to her music and has closed her eyes.
If he has his entire life to figure her out he will never understand Rebecca Logan.
"Stop staring," she commands, and he can't help but laugh. He really shouldn't; it isn't funny at all. Except it kind of is funny that she has come to his rescue twice in the five years he's known her and she just happens to use the exact same phrase.
"What?" she questions looking around. Rather than answer, he continues to laugh.
"Rusty shut up!" she whispers harshly, "People are starting to stare."
"Do you remember the last time you told me to 'stop staring?'" he asks still laughing.
It takes a minute before a look of realization crosses her face and she releases a chuckle of her own, "You're darker than people give you credit for Cartwright. Not many could find the humor in that situation."
"What can I say? Time puts perspective on things."
"Look I don't want to work with you anymore than you want to work with me, but we're stuck together, so let's just get to work and get this over with." Rebecca glowered.
"Fine," Rusty sighed frustrated.
He was going to kill Cappie for agreeing to this party with ZBZ pre-Casey breakup and not having the balls to cancel it post-Casey breakup. Looking at Rebecca he was pretty sure she was feeling similarly toward Casey.
"Our houses hate each other right now. Actually it's more of a loathing, so if this isn't the party of the century it is going to be a disaster," Rusty pointed out raking his hand through his hair.
"So let's make it the party of the century," she replied cheerily as if it were just that simple.
"Any ideas?" he asked stopping just short of calling her Sunshine. She'd kill him. Okay maybe not; she'd have him 'taken care of' by her people which were no doubt at her disposal.
God she's bipolar he thought wearily.
"Follow me," she ordered taking off and not even bothering to check if he was following.
And scary he added silently, but following her nonetheless.
He followed her for nearly five minutes before speaking up.
"Are we going somewhere? Is this some kind of brain storming exercise? What are we doing?"
"You really need to get out of the lab and work out more if you're already tired," she teased not-so-lightheartedly and sent a glare his way that screamed, 'Shut your pie-hole and obey my command you lowly piece of shit!'
Most people would think he was reading too much into things. How could someone say so much with a glance? But anyone who knew Rebecca knew she had no problem communicating without words. He supposed it was a talent all politicians and their children develop.
"Rebecca," Rusty all but growled, "Where are we going?"
"We'll be there in less than two minutes. Now shut your pie-hole." She said pleasantly.
See what I mean? He exclaimed to his nonexistent audience. I got her exact wording from just one look.
Great I'm talking to myself. She is literally driving me crazy.
"Tah-da!" she sing-songed stopping in front of a vacant building on the Psychology Campus.
"I don't understand," Rusty said flatly.
"An abandoned Psych building," she stated in a voice that clearly implied he belonged on the short bus. "Does that not scream "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" to you?"
"And how does that magically translate into a party?" Rusty questioned exasperatedly.
"It's original, it's fun, and it's cheap to set up," she explained.
"Stop looking at me like I'm stupid. It doesn't make any sense, and there is no way we could get it past campus security even if we could pull off making a book about crazy people into a party."
"The guys would wear scrubs and hospital gowns like the mental patients and the girls would be nurses and prostitutes. So your Kappa Tau pigs would be happy, score one for me," she tallied.
"And if it's illegal the houses have to work together to keep it quiet, so that would squash a lot of the animosity and create an underground buzz for the party. Score two for me.
"The electrical and plumbing is still set up so all we have to do is block the lighting from the rooms facing north and east where the roads are, which is pretty damn easy considering half the windows are already covered in plywood. And noise isn't a problem since there is nothing residential around here. Score three for me.
"The only problem we run into is distracting the lone security guard that passes by twice, once at midnight and then again at 2:30. And we have three weeks to come up with a solution."
"That actually sounds…" Rusty paused looking for the right word.
"Brilliant?" she supplied.
"Yeah," he agreed.
They reconvened three days later to hash out more of the details.
"Rebecca it's Friday; if I don't pick up my paper today I won't get my grade until Monday, and since we're doing more planning tomorrow you'll be forced to hear me stress about it," Rusty bargained trying to get around the surprisingly strong AND quick pint-sized girl baring him from heading toward the Physics lab.
"Fine," she huffed.
He entered the lab with Rebecca tailing him. Despite their less than silent entrance, they were not noticed by the pair ardently making out against the white board.
"I didn't know nerds could have so much fun," Rebecca whispered excitedly from his side. "Rusty?" she asked taking in his stiff posture and lack of response…to anything. "Stop staring and get your paper already."
"That's my girlfriend having fun. Without me," He said robotically.
"Stop staring and get your paper already," she repeated more seriously and had somehow wormed her way under his arm without him having noticed as she hugged his side. "Stop staring."
And because he honestly couldn't think for himself at the moment, he did as she said. The couple at the front of the room pulled apart finally noticing the other two as they entered the room more completely.
"Rusty?" Dana shouted in shock. Something Rusty couldn't process as he searched diligently for his name on the papers on the lab table nearest the door.
What's my name again? He wondered.
"Here you go," Rebecca said sweetly handing him his paper and using her hold on his waist to steer him from the room.
"Rusty?" Dana called again.
"Dana," he answered as emotionlessly as he felt, and for the second time that week he followed Rebecca as she left the room.