A/N: Twilight and its characters belong to Stephenie Meyer. Any similarities to the original characters or themes from the books or media franchise are used here for entertainment purposes only, with no monetary gain for me, the FanFiction author. All original content, ideas, and intellectual property of Rm w/a Vu are mine.
So, back when I was writing Horse Play (lol, I make it sound like it was EONS ago), I decided to let my kick-ass readers decide the next fic after Chosen by Blood and Covet Thy Neighbor by participating in a poll on my FFn profile. Well, now is the time to see what it is a majority of you all voted for!
Covet Thy Neighbor is very much still being worked on, and I am loving every minute with those three, but this story was begging to be told.
So, without further ado, I give you chapter one to my next story . . .
Chapter One. Just My Luck
Ugh. My neck is positively aching, and I let my heavy, book-filled backpack fall from my shoulder to relieve it as I prepare to exit my last class of the day. Why I chose to take on such an intense course-load is beyond me—I guess my anxiousness to finish college and start my career as soon as possible could have factored in at some point.
Regardless of my reasoning, it's what I chose, and I am suffering the repercussions now in my sophomore year at Arizona State.
As I stumble down the last few steps, My English prof, Professor Berty, calls me over to his desk and hands me my latest paper. I groan when I see the giant red "B–" that's written at the top of the page as well as all the little notes and comments. Considering I want to get a job within a publishing house, I can't exactly afford my marks to keep declining the way they have been. I already know I'm going to have to study my ass off for midterms coming up right away, which is going to piss Jake off since I'll be locking myself away more than I already have been.
"Not your best work, Miss Swan," Berty tells me.
I refrain from rolling my eyes at him, nodding solemnly instead. "I know."
It's clear that he doesn't really care, but I decide to answer him anyway. "I guess I'm just feeling overwhelmed by my courses this semester. I'll work harder, I promise."
Berty acknowledges me with a nod and then waves me away.
Shoving the paper into my bag and throwing it over my other shoulder, I think about what I'm going to tell Jake. He isn't going to be happy that I'm cancelling our movie date tonight—especially since it will be our first one in weeks, and I took the night off from work so we could spend some time together.
At least he's been understanding about it, I tell myself as I head outside the main building and toward the dorms. As I make my way, I pull my cell phone out of my pocket and dial Jake's number to let him know I have to stay in and study. It sucks, because I was really looking forward to seeing anything that's not the inside of a textbook.
There's no answer, leading me to believe he's probably on his way over and I'll have to cancel our date face-to-face, which will probably irritate him because he'll have come all this way just to go back home. With a sigh, I enter the building that my room is in and trudge down the hall. The closer I get to the door of the room I share with this year's roomie, Leah, I can clearly make out what sounds like breathless moans coming from inside. This isn't new; Leah has a reputation, and apparently she feels the need to uphold it.
Annoyance flares up because I can't just walk into the room. Well, I suppose I could, but walking in on someone having sex isn't something I particularly enjoy doing—just ask my therapist. I'm pretty sure I still suffer from a mild case of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder after seeing my mom and dad on the kitchen counter the last time I swung by the house to say hi.
You can bet your ass I called from that point on . . .
Dropping my book bag to the floor with a heavy thud, I lean against the wall, sliding down until I'm sitting on the hard tile with my elbows on my knees and my hands in my hair. Other students walk by, going to and from their rooms and the washrooms, and every time one of them looks down at me, I feel like an animal on display at the zoo. They probably think I've locked myself out. Of course, if they know my roommate—which most of the male population does—they know what's really going on.
The sounds coming from behind the thin door are escalating. People are staring, not just at me now, but at the door too. Warmth blooms beneath the skin on my face, and I offer each and every one of them a shrug, only to be met with sympathetic eyes. If I could afford private housing, I would be there in a second.
"Oh, yes!" I clench my eyes shut upon hearing Leah's mounting cries. "Fuck me harder! Oh, you like it dirty, huh, big boy?"
Sweet Jesus. I know Leah is a little freaky, but I didn't think she was into reenacting bad porn.
As if hearing her cry out in the throes of whatever-the-hell it is she's doing isn't enough, I'm now being subjected to the low, guttural grunts of her male partner. I try to think of who it could be, but I've seen so many guys pass through that door that I really have no idea. I bury my face in my hands, gripping my hair at the roots and tapping my foot against the crappy tile rapidly, trying to think of more pleasant things than what's really going on in there.
"Oh . . . oh . . . OOOOOOOH!"
Aaaaaaaand, she's done. Lifting my face from my knees, I smooth down the front of my hair because I know it's probably standing up from the rough tugging. This won't be the last time something like this will happen, and I know I should look into moving rooms. I wait a few minutes, really enjoying the silence coming from our room as I assume they're getting dressed; I only make this assumption because Leah seems about as cuddly as a porcupine.
Finally, Leah's laugh is heard from behind the door, and it sounds like she's getting ready to kick her latest tryst out. "That was great. I don't know why we don't do this more often." It sounds like she's getting closer to the door. I don't want her to think that I've been out here eavesdropping like some kind of pervert, so I stand up and try to make it look like I've just got impeccable timing.
I grab the shoulder strap to my book bag, lifting it at the exact moment that the door swings open. What I see on the other side stuns me. Or should I say who…?
"J—Jake?" I blink because I must be seeing things, but when I open my eyes again and again, I'm staring directly into the faces of my bitch of a roommate and my lying, sack of shit boyfriend. "What the hell?"
"Hey, baby," he says, smiling suddenly. His eyes still show just how shocked he is to find me here. Outside my room. "I came by to see you. Leah and I got to talking."
"I was in class. You knew that." I don't think I've blinked again, and my eyes are drying out.
Jake scratches the back of his neck, dropping his gaze from me. "Oh, yeah. Well, I thought you'd be do—"
"WHAT THE HELL?" I shout, cutting him off before he can feed me some lame-ass excuse.
"Uh . . . uh," he stammers, looking back at Leah and then me again.
Rage courses through my veins, and I let my bag fall from my shoulder, catching the strap in my hand and swinging it at him. It connects with his shoulder even though he tries to shield himself from it. "You lying, cheating sack of shit!" I look at Leah and point, my eyes narrowing and my nose scrunching up as my lips curl up into a snarl. "And you. You fucking bitch."
"Bella," she says, holding her hands up because I'm sure she thinks I'm going to assault her with my heavy book bag next. The thought never crosses my mind, though. Strangling her? Well, that's another story . . . "It's not what you think."
I laugh dryly, just once. "Oh, it's not? Well, I feel pretty damn foolish, then," I say, stepping into the room and flinging my bag on my bed. Jake seems almost relieved, like Leah's really been able to convince me that damn quickly. I'm sure to nip that shit in the bud immediately.
Crossing my arms, I turn to them and sneer. "So," I say, "you like it dirty . . . big boy?" I can see Jake swallow thickly. "Yeah. That's what I thought. Seems I was exactly right."
"Bella . . ." His tone is soft, like he's trying to appeal to some part of me that will take him back. Won't he be surprised to find that no such part exists?
Shaking my head, I walk to my dresser to grab a few things. "Save it. You two are perfect for each other. I'm out of here. Leah, the room's yours. Have a nice fucking life." The double entendre isn't intended, but it's more than fitting. "I'll be back for the rest of my stuff as soon as I've made other arrangements. Touch any of it, and you'll wish you hadn't. You've already taken something of mine; I'd say I've been more than generous."
I throw my bag back over my shoulder and stalk toward the still-open door. People are no longer walking by; they're standing in the doorway, blocking my escape. I'm still getting the sympathetic stares, but I don't want their sympathy; I just want to get the hell out of there before I break down. Though, if I'm being honest, I'm too angry to cry; I don't even feel the sting of tears in my eyes.
Pushing my way past the gawkers in the dorm hall, I proceed to our R.A.'s room. I really hope she can move me into another room as soon as possible. It's the middle of the semester, and I know it'll be tough, but I'm not above hoping for a miracle.
My knuckles barely touch the wooden door before it's yanked open. It's almost as if she was expecting me. Her clairvoyance is uncanny. "Bella, what can I do for you?" Alice asks with a bright smile.
"Ali, you have to help me out. I need to move out of my dorm. Please tell me you've got another room or bed available somewhere." I flop down on her bed and let my heavy bag fall to the floor with a heavy thud.
Alice leans against her desk and looks at me, but she doesn't speak for a minute. She's trying to figure out what's happened. Yes, she's my R.A., but she's also one of my closest friends. We met last year and started hanging out whenever we weren't busy with our studies.
"Is Leah's revolving door of men still active?" she asks carefully.
I laugh, turning my head to her. "Something like that." Alice's eyebrows rise, waiting for me to continue. "Her latest customer was Jake. My Jake." Her eyebrows stay up, but her mouth falls open. "Yeah. That was my reaction too."
A loud, repetitive knock on Alice's door fills the room. She shakes her head and pushes off the desk to answer it. It shouldn't surprise me to hear Jake's voice, and I refuse to get up to go talk to him when he commands Alice to send me out.
"She doesn't want to talk to you, Black," Ali tells him fiercely. I can almost visualize her feral stare as she looks two feet up into his eyes, and it makes me smile.
"Don't start with me, pipsqueak. I want to talk to her now." He sounds angry, which is laughable.
I push myself off the bed, walk to the door, and touch Alice's shoulder. Slowly, she turns and looks at me. "I'm going to go and stay with my parents. You'll call me if something opens up?" While I know that Alice would gladly let me crash in her dorm for a few days, I don't want to run the risk of another run-in with Jake or Leah. What better way to avoid that than to stay with my police chief father?
"Bella . . ." I ignore Jake as I squeeze through the very narrow space he's left between him and the doorframe.
People are still staring, and it doesn't help that Jake is following me through the dorm and out to my truck, yelling my name the entire time. There's a part of me that wants to turn around and tell him to screw off, but I know it will only open the lines of communication. And talking to him isn't something I ever want to do again.
"God damn it, Bella!"
I stop dead in my tracks, right next to my truck, and turn on my heel to glare at him. "Don't you dare talk to me like that, Jacob Black. I didn't do anything wrong. You'd do well to remember that."
"You were never around!" he shouts, waving his arms in the air like a maniac. Our audience has followed us outside and is now watching our little soap opera play out. "You were always off doing something, and were so pre-occupied whenever we were together."
My eyes widen, and I stare at him dumbly before I find my words. "So this is my fault? No. I don't think so." Shaking my head almost violently, I turn and unlock my truck before throwing my bag in. Instead of staying on the seat, it falls to the floor after hitting the passenger side door. "And for your information, it's not like I was off doing someone. I was studying. We are in college, you know. It's what we do."
Jake doesn't seem to think he was wrong. At all. "Yeah, well, I have needs, Bella."
"Yup, I know." I nod, pressing my lips together. "And it's no longer up to me to meet them. Don't come by my parents' house either. My dad doesn't take too kindly to people who cheat on his daughter."
With that as my last word, I hop into the cab of my truck and start it up. My heart is pounding so hard I can feel the blood pulsing through my veins, can hear it in my ears. I sit there for a minute, trying to stop the shaking in my hands before I put the vehicle into drive. Driving all the way to my parents' place isn't something I want to do, as it's a longer commute than I would like, but I really have no other options at this point.
Once I feel a little more in control, I put the truck in gear and am just pulling away when a very large hand flattens against my window with a BANG! "BELLA!" I pretend not to hear him, pretend not to see him, and I press my foot down on the accelerator, my rear tires squealing against the hot pavement.
As soon as I'm out of the parking lot, I grab my phone from my pocket and dial my mom. I'm really hoping they won't mind me intruding for a while until Alice can find me a new dorm room.
"Hey, sweetie! How was your day?" my mom asks cheerfully upon answering her phone.
Even though she can't see me, I force a smile to my face because it might alter my voice enough to make her think things aren't as crappy as they really are. I still have yet to cry, and it momentarily worries me, because isn't that what should happen after you catch your boyfriend cheating on you?
"Bella?" I still haven't said anything, and now she sounds worried.
"Sorry, Mom," I quickly reply. "Hi."
There's a pause. "What's wrong?"
I shake my head, trying to clear the fog that's rolling in; I should have known she'd suspect something was going on. "Um, would it be okay if I came and crashed at the house for a bit? My, uh, roommate is . . ."
"Oh, my. Is that slutty roommate still at it?"
I laugh, because it's both true and hilarious whenever my mom calls Leah a "slut." "Something like that. I won't be intruding, will I? I mean . . . I know you and Dad have . . . enjoyed having the house to yourselves again." I still can't bring myself to think too much about just how much they've enjoyed having me out of the house. Even if my therapist assures me it's the best way for me to make peace with having seen . . .
"It's no trouble at all!" Mom tells me, thankfully cutting off my disturbing train of thought.
"Great, thanks," I tell her genuinely. "I'll be there in a bit."
After hanging up, I toss my phone on the seat next to me. It starts ringing, and one glance shows me that it's Jake. It shocks me that he's still trying to get me to understand his motivation for banging my roommate. Resisting the urge to toss it out the window, I pick the phone up and turn it off completely because I know now that he's not going to stop. He's always been a persistent bastard.
As I navigate the streets of Phoenix, I think about how we even got to this point. A year ago, I had been a freshman at Arizona State; I hadn't known many people because most of my friends decided to go to various colleges around the country—some even in England. I stayed close to home mainly because I loved Phoenix. Plus, Arizona State had the courses I wanted.
It was on my first day that my roommate, Rebecca, introduced me to her older brother Jacob. She apparently also had a twin sister, Rachel, who went to school in Seattle. Jake was charming. He was always cooking up excuses to stop by our room to "check on his baby sister." Of course, I would later find out that he knew she was in class, and it was just his excuse to come talk to me.
I hadn't dated anyone before—not really. There was a boy in high school that was nice to me; we went out on a couple of movie dates with friends and held hands. But it was never really serious. We never even got to second. I found out after graduation that he was gay.
Talk about a blow to one's ego; I questioned my femininity for a while after that.
When Jake and I started dating, it was obvious that he wanted a more physical relationship, but I wasn't really interested in sex at first. My mom had me straight out of high school, and that wasn't a life I would have chosen for myself. So I waited.
Unfortunately, I knew Jake would only wait so long.
I placated him for a while. I'd let him feel me up, let him get his hand in my pants, and eventually we had sex. It was all right. There weren't stars or fireworks that went off like I was led to believe there would be, and, honestly? I thought it was supposed to last longer. Of course, I really had nothing to base it on.
We had fun in the beginning; he'd take me to all the parties, introduce me to all of his friends, and then we'd go back to his dorm and fool around. My freshman year was my party year, but when my sophomore year came around the corner, I knew I had to buckle down. So, I increased my course-load, and Jake was really supportive. He didn't stop his partying ways, but he supported me and led me to believe that it was okay that I was focusing more on my studies than him.
Well, now I know it's because Leah was busy diddling him.
Releasing a deep sigh, I round the corner onto my parents' street and park my beast of a truck along the curb. Dad's cruiser is in the driveway next to mom's SUV, and I look at the clock on my newly installed CD player to see that it's nearly dinnertime. I don't relish telling my mom what happened, and I look even less forward to Dad hearing about it too. But I know it's going to happen, so I take a deep breath, grab my phone and backpack, and climb out of my vehicle.
I fiddle with my keys as I ascend the steps of the front porch, trying to locate the key to the house. When I find it, I slide it into the deadbolt and turn it, pushing the door open and stepping over the threshold.
"Oh, Charlie. That's it. Oh yeah . . . right there, stud."
"OHMYGOD!" I scream, completely horrified at having walked in on them . . . again. Through my periphery, I can barely see my mother fall off the couch—where I unfortunately assume my father is laying—and I slap my hand up to act as a blinder between them and me. "What the hell is wrong with the two of you? Jesus!" Naturally, I don't wait around for an answer before I bolt up the stairs and slam my bedroom door.
My timing really is horrible. I'm starting to wonder if I should wear a bell, or announce my presence to the world. I'll bet my dad even has a bullhorn I can borrow for such things.
Nothing in my room has changed since the day I moved out—just as my parents promised. My twin bed remains dressed in purple linens, my desk sits near the window, empty because I took my laptop with me to school, and my dresser is in the corner, topped with a mirror and various candles. I don't give myself the opportunity to soak up the familiarity of the room before I flop down on my bed and pull my pillow over my head. There's a brief moment of time where I wonder if I can asphyxiate myself until I pass out. Maybe the lack of oxygen to my brain will trigger amnesia.
There's a light knock on my door, and I recognize it instantly as my mother's.
"Go away!" I cry into the pillow. I'm sure she doesn't hear me, because the door creaks as she opens it and my bed dips at my knees beneath her weight.
"I didn't realize you'd be home so soon," she says as if it's an excuse to act like a teenager. "Your father came home for—"
I yank my pillow away from my face and gawk at her. "Oh, I know what he came home for."
Mom shakes her head with a sly smirk. "Dinner. Your father came home for dinner. He's working the graveyard tonight."
"And you decided that dessert should come first." The minute the sentence leaves my mouth, a queasy feeling rolls through my stomach, and I bring the pillow back up to my face, pressing harder than before.
Before I could suffocate myself, the pillow is torn from my grasp, and my mother stares deep into my eyes. "What's going on?"
It's hard not to spill my guts to her, because she's just so damn easy to talk to. So I sit up, cross my legs like a pretzel in front of me, and begin to tell her what happened with Jake. She doesn't seem too upset or shocked, which actually surprises me because I really thought she'd liked him when I had introduced them. Apparently, I was wrong.
"He's an idiot. I always knew you could do better." These are just some of the things she tells me. Oddly, they comfort me.
"Honestly, I haven't even cried. Is that weird? I mean, I thought when someone you loved did something like that, you cried . . ."
Mom laughs heartily, placing her hand on my knee. "Oh, honey. I'd be willing to bet you never really loved that boy. Trust me, when you fall in love, you'll know it." I'm confused, so all I do is stare as she gets this wistful look in her blue eyes. "He will be your entire world. Just being away from him will feel like the end of your world, and when you're reunited, you'll feel a sense of total completion."
"Sounds a little Jerry Maguire to me," I mumble.
With a one-shouldered shrug, she stands from the bed. "Maybe. But you'll understand one of these days."
I am quick to disagree as she pulls me to my feet and from my room for dinner. "Nope. I'm giving up on relationships. I'm going to focus on school and my career. I don't need a man."
"Oh, sweetie." She wraps her arm around me securely as we descend the stairs. "You can't control these things from happening. You'll see."
I find it hard to believe that I'll ever be able to trust any man again, but I force a smile to my face to placate her. She's always been a bit of a romantic soul, and I hate to take that away from her just because it decided to skip a generation.
So, instead of arguing, I smile and rest my head against her shoulder as we enter the kitchen to find my father at the table, his red face buried in the paper—as it should be. "Whatever you say, Mom."
A/N2: So, there's the first chapter to Rm w/a Vu. I don't have a specific timeline to updates, but I would suspect once ever two-three weeks at this point. I have the first few chapters written, and was going to wait to post until it was done (or closer to it), but you know me . . . "Impatient" is my middle name ;-)
So, let me know what you thought and I'll send you a teaser to the next chapter!
Until next time!