The clock reads eleven o'clock, and Matthew William's roommate has still not arrived.
Which is a bit of a problem, mainly because Matthew has been waiting for him for the last eighteen hours.
The drive from Conneticut to New York City is not a long one, but Matthew's parents had insisted on punctuality, and had so driven to the City the night before, stayed at a ritzy hotel they'd enjoyed for exactly seven hours before waking up at five in the morning to help Matthew move in. It was sweet, Matthew supposed, but also quite a bit embarrassing, what with football-player-physique Alfred sobbing on his shoulder and his father clearing his throat every other minute while his mother dabbed at her eyes and told him to be a good boy, she'd miss him and -
Well. It'd been a little overdramatic, that was all. He'd still appreciated the sentiment.
But that had been eighteen hours ago. Eighteen hours since they'd left (Alfred still crying loudly as the silver sedan backed out of the parking lot), eighteen hours since Matthew had stared at the empty walls of his dorm room and realized that this would be his home for the next few years.
He'd unpacked, shortly after, then gotten lunch at a local café, smiled thanks at the barista as he ordered a cappuccino.
And then it had been his dorm room, back to wait for the person whom he would be living with for the next few years.
Eventually, he'd gotten bored of waiting (and rather hungry besides) and had gone out for dinner, thinking that surely his roommate would be back by the time he'd finished, but that had been a faulty theory. When he'd switched on the lights, a cake in his hands, there had been no one there, no one in the dark room, no suitcases propped on the other wall.
Matthew had stood there, in the doorway for a while, blinked a few times, then shrugged and put the cake on the small table his mother had insisted on bringing. He sat down, then, and began unpacking.
It wasn't, after all, like he should have expected anything different.
His parents had said that everything would change when Matthew went to college, but he supposed, now, that it had been silly to believe them. Had been silly to think -
Well. He'd been silly, that was all. He'd know better now.
So Matthew had unpacked his bags, folded his clothes into the cabinet, brushed his teeth, and sat there for a while, unsure of exactly what to do. The option of going out and meeting some of the other students beforehand flashed through his mind briefly, and then he brushed it away with a slight smile. Roaming the streets appeared briefly - New York City was a big city, sure to be full of plenty of things to do and see - but Matthew had never been much for big cities. They were simply too much: too much noise, too much sound and light and people and if New York University had not offered him a near full-ride scholarship, Matthew would have probably never decided to go spend four years of his life in New York City.
He supposed, though, that it wouldn't be all that much different from living in Goshen, Connecticut all his life. His parents had told him (promised him) that everything would change once he went to college, but nothing had, not really. Matthew knew that by now, though he supposed he should have known it for a long time by now. Should have guessed.
So he did what he would have done at home, took a shower and brought out a book to read while he waited for his hair to dry. Got ready for the next morning of meetings and greetings and classes upon classes. At ten, changed, got into bed. Read a little more, a small part of him still hoping that his roommate would show up soon. At eleven and with no sign of anyone else coming, Matthew had smiled, turned out the lamp on his counter and closed his eyes.
He slept for all of twenty-four minutes before the door slammed open, lights and footsteps and heavy metal jarring him from sleep.
Matthew jolted up, blinked violently in the sudden light at the figures in the doorway.
"Shit, there's some - someone in my bed! Not that I'm su-u-prised, or anything - being naturally irresistible and all, chicks are ssssshure to flock to ma-a-me." A sloppy grin, and then one of the blurred figures struck a pose, hands across chest.
"Ah, Gilbert, mon ami, you are indeed tres - tres - chanceux." Another person, a flash of bright, golden hair as long as Matthew's. "You do share, oui?"
"You're both drunk," a third figure said, sighing as he took hold of the second person and pulled him back. "Gil, that's your roommate. Y Francis, I know that you do not discriminate on sex, but that is a man, not a woman."
"I have a roommate?"
"What difference does it make? L'amour knows no bounds -"
"I have a roommate?"
"Dios mio, Francis, don't scare him!"
"Huh. I have a roommate."
Matthew found his glasses, and put them on. Blinked a few times as his vision adjusted to the light.
Crammed into his tiny dorm room were three guys, two of which in deep states of intoxication, another, dark-haired boy slightly more sober but no less dishelmed. He was holding back the blonde-haired boy, Francis, by one arm, and he smiled when he saw Matthew's eyes on him, mouthed 'sorry' and pointed to Francis. Francis, for his part, winked at Matthew, and it was amazing how he could communicate in a single wink. Matthew blushed at it.
Then there was the third boy, who - once he had reconciled himself to the idea of a roommate - seemed to like it quite a bit. Matthew knew, mainly because in the next second Gilbert had flung himself on him, all white hair and alcohol-infused breath and enthusiasm and a hundred words a minute as he dragged Matthew out of bed.
"Ah, Antonio, look! Gilbert is molesting the new boy and yet I am not allowed to?"
Gilbert paused to stick out his tongue at Francis, then went back to his rapid-fire introduction.
"So-this-is-my-side-of-the-room-and-that's-where-Gilbird-will-be-and-he's-pretty-much-awesome - ow, shit, Tonio, what was that for?"
"You're scaring the new kid, Gilbert," the dark-haired boy said, sighing. "Introduce yourself. Properly. Antonio Carriedo," he said, smiling as he held out the hand not holding back Francis.
"Francis Bonnefoy, mon cher," said Francis, somehow managing to bow with one hand being held back. "World-class cook and lover at your service."
"And total ass," Gilbert muttered, rolling his eyes, "but he's okay when he's not being a dick. Though not as awesome as me, kid, but, hell, who is? Gilbert Beilschmidt, roomie," he said, grinning as he linked arms with Matthew. "We're gonna have a lot of fun."
"Yes," Antonio sighed, "manana. When you can walk straight. And when you know your roommate's name."
"M-Matthew," Matthew said, still slightly dazed by everything. "Matthew Williams."
"I can too walk straight," Gilbert said, scowling. "I just can't think straight."
"Not that you ever do," Francis muttered.
"Hey! 3.80 last semester, Francis! Suck it!"
"No thank you."
"Mein gott, can't you even get your head out of the gutter for half a second?"
"But, Gilbert, est porquoi you love me, no?"
"They're drunk," Antonio informed Matthew. "Although that's not much help, since they act like this all the time."
"Just a little drunk," Gilbert said, "but still ten times as awesome as you are when you're sober, Antonio."
"Not a little drunk, Gil," Antonio said.
"Okay, so I'm kind of two steps from dead-drunk - but that doesn't make me any less awesome!"
Gilbert looked around, as if searching for someone to agree with him.
When no one else said anything, Matthew nodded, murmured quiet assent.
"See?" Gilbert said, slinging an arm around Matthew's shoulders. "Even the new kid knows."
"That's because, mon cheri, he hasn't seen you throwing up in the gutter yet."
"Don't mind them," Gilbert said, grinning at Matthew, "they're been around my awesomeness so long they can't appreciate a good thing when they see it."
"I - I see."
"Gilbert," Antonio said, sighing again, "you're scaring the poor boy. I think he was trying to sleep before we got here, too."
"Oh." Gilbert thought that over for a moment. Then -
"Okay!" he said brightly, letting go of Matthew and pushing him onto the bed so hard his glasses nearly fell off. "Night!"
And then, grabbing a hold of Francis and Antonio, Gilbert walked out the door, turning the light off as he did.
In the dark, Matthew blinked, once, twice, slowly sat up and adjusted his glasses.
Outside, voices carried.
"Dios mio, Gilbert, what were you thinking -"
"But the kid said he was tired! I thought -"
"3.80, Francis - what'd you get last semester?"
"Ay, Maria, you two are drunk. I wish I was."
"Hey! Whose fault is it that our last designated driver bailed on us, Antonio?"
"That was only because you two were teasing him about his sexuality -"
"Hey, he didn't seem all that bothered when we mentioned a strip show - when we got to the actual stripping, though -"
"Ah, quite sad, actually. That I am beautiful, I have no doubt - but that my beauty would dazzle someone into shock, now was quite unexpected -"
"You? Obviously, it was me he was staring at -"
In the dark, Matthew blinked, once, twice. Then, slowly, took off his glasses, laid down and pulled the blankets over him.
He stayed awake, though. For quite a while afterwards. It wasn't as if he could have got to sleep, anyways, what with the shouting outside his door.
Well. This was quite a bit different from high school.
Perhaps his parents had been right, after all.
So, um, yeah, I hope you liked it! I do realize, though, that I'm a bit out of my league here with - well, half the stuff I'm writing, being a high school student who doesn't really speak French or have bipolar disorder. And though books and Google are quite helpful, I realize that they don't really capture the essence of what it's like to do/have any of the above. So, if anyone goes to NYU/has bipolar/speaks French and would be interested in maybe beta-ing a tad for me, I would love them forever for it.
Also, for anyone who's interested, I chose NYU because it's supposed to be a very diverse school - one where students from several dozen countries can all quite realistically be together.
And...that's about it. Thank you for reading!