“Hello officer. I’m here for Reed Lester, he was at the Alpha Omega house party last night and I’ve haven’t seen him since it was crashed. How much is his bail?” I ask as I reach for purse, my hands shaking thanks to the coffee I had drank to stay up all night. “I’ll pay whatever I need to.”
“Ma’am, I’m sorry to inform you, but for the third time- he’s still not here.” The officer replies, only frustrating me more.
“Where else could he be?! I’ve looked in all the dining halls, his dorm, his ex-girlfriend’s apartment, his favorite pizza place, and even the park where he gets all the-” I pause, mid shout. I wasn’t about to tell this cop about the drug park on the west side of campus, that would be dumb. “I just know he has to be here.” I shout, searching for the officer’s badge so I can call him by his name. I raise my voice once I find it and continue to yell at him. “Look, I don’t what your problem is, Officer Greg, but if you can’t help me, I’ll find someone who can.”
“Ma’am, I’m going to have to ask you to lower your voice or leave,” Officer Greg’s voice was calm and collected, which only fueled my annoyance.
“I’m going to stay here until-” I begin but am interrupted by the sound of my phone ringing. “Ugh,” I say as I accept the call while glaring at the officer. “One minute.”
“Cassidy? Have you guys found him?” I ask as I turn away from the cop.
“Not yet, but you need to come to his dorm. Now. It’s important,” I hear Cassidy’s voice over the phone.
“Why? Is everything okay?”
“Just hurry,” She answers before hanging up.
“Cassidy, wait- Cass-” I shout trying to stop her from hanging up but fail. I start to put my phone away as I notice the Officer Greg giving me a kind of concerned facial expression. “Oh, like no one’s ever hung up on you before.” I say, mockingly.
“Actually, no one ever has.” The officer responds.
“Hello!” I shout in anger.
“What?” He whispers, trying to take attention away from our conversation.
I in return turn around and walk out of the station without a word.
“Hey!” He shouts as I walk away.
“Now you’ve been hung up on.” I shout back as I walk out of the station, resisting the urge to flip off Greg.
I walk quickly towards Reed’s dorm while lighting a cigarette. I didn’t smoke until I got to college, but everything changes when you grow up I guess. I definitely am not the person I was two weeks ago.
I really hope Reed is okay. Last night was great until Reed got arrested and went missing. He was really good at kissing, and dancing, and I was really starting to like him.
Oh god, Nova, whatever happened to no boys until after college? I promised myself the first day of orientation that I would steer clear of that toxic topic. I had been able to ignore boys all throughout middle and high school, what was different now?
Well, I did use to go to an all-girls academy. That could be part of it.
Whatever was happening though, I needed to fix it. There was no way I could mess up this early in the semester. My parents made me promise to stay clean and focused throughout college in exchange for a nice check every semester to pay off my tuition, and no boy was going to ruin that for me. I have already broken the rule of staying clean last night, so now I really had to stay focused.
Why am I looking so hard for Reed then?
My thoughts lead me to his dorm and I take a second to breathe before allowing myself to knock on the door.
“Who is it?” I hear Cassidy ask as I stand in the hall.
“It’s me, Nova. Open the door! I want to know what’s going on!”
Almost instantly after I finish talking the door swings open and I see Cassidy smiling wide at me.
“So, what is it?” I impatiently ask, not understanding her smile.
She moves to the edge of the wall so that I am able to see inside Reed’s dorm. Besides the several posters of half-naked women, dirty clothes, and books everywhere, I see Wes sitting in the chair by Reed’s computer, Brent leaning against his closet, Joslyn sitting on the floor between the two, Annalise sitting on one end of his bed, Cassidy still standing by the door, and Reed, sitting by the headboard of his bed.
“Well, come on in, I know it’s a little crowded in here but you don’t have to stand in the hallway forever,” Reed says as I slowly walk in.
“This, this doesn’t make sense, I was here two hours ago…” I say as Cassidy shuts the door behind me.
“And I wasn’t,” Reed continues my sentence.
“Yeah, how did all of you…” I am interrupted before I am able to finish my sentence.
“Well, Wes and I weren’t even looking for him, Cassidy just called us to meet her here.” Joslyn explains, gesturing to Wes, who in return smiles in agreement.
“Annalise and I were looking for him but I got hungry and got a sub when Cassidy called me,” Brent adds on as I notice a half-eaten sub in his left hand. “You want it?” He asks me, holding it out for me to grab.
“No, I’m good, thanks.” I reply, still confused.
“You’re the last one I called,” Cassidy said as she walked past me to sit on the bed between Annalise and Reed.
“So do you all know what’s so important?” I ask, referring to what Cassidy said when she called me.
“Nope, we were waiting for you. We were just talking about the party,” Brent replies, biting into his sub.
“Yeah, about how you were so gone, Miss Valedictorian,” Reed adds, forcing me to rolls my eyes. He notices my response and continues, “Oh I see, you’re a valedictorian by day, crazy girl-gone-wild by night.”
“I’m always a valedictorian, for your information. Last night will simply never happen again,” I say with a small amount of doubt in my mind.
“What about tonight?” Cassidy asks, exchanging grins with everyone else in the room.
“Tonight? What’s going on tonight?” I ask, instantly intrigued.
“Boise,” Cassidy replies.
“Boobs,” Wes adds on.
“Dicks,” Brent adds while ironically choking on his sub.
“And chicks!” Reed shouts. “Boise, boobs, dicks, and chicks. The annual Bellview freshman inauguration. It’ll be my third time going, first time as a student. It’s at Danger Night Club downtown, and everyone is going.”
“Wait, isn’t there a free movie thing at the movie theater in the student union tonight? Why would they be the same night?” I ask, knowing the answer as the words slip off my tongue. “No one’s going to the free movie tonight at the student union, are they…”
“Nope! Instead we’re going to get wasted,” Reed says, glancing over at Cassidy and then Joslyn, “we’re going to get high,” he says, this time looking at Annalise, “we’re going to laid,” he says, laughing towards Wes, “and some of us even butt-fucked.” he says directly towards Brent,
“Yeah, fuck you too, Reed.” Brent responds, throwing his sub wrapper at Reed.
“Hey! I don’t judge,” Reed responds, laughing as Wes joins in.
“I don’t know, guys…” I say looking at everyone in the room. I really should go to the movie, but…
“And you’re coming with us.” Reed finishes, this time looking at me.
“I-” I say, hesitating. Desperate to find an excuse, I use the first one that pops in my head. “We’re not 21, how are we getting in?”
“Reed knows a guy that can get us in through a different entrance,” Joslyn says, smiling.
“Of course he does,” I reply, searching for another excuse. “Okay, what about how we’re getting there and how we’re getting back?”
“There’s a metro for a reason, honey…” Annalise adds on.
“Okay, well then what it’s going to cost?” I ask, giving up.
“Depends on what you’d like,” Reed replies. “It can cost you nothing, you’ll still have fun. But money will only help,”
“Well I have to think of a way to get rid of the money my parents gave me to bail you out, they’ll think it’s suspicious if it’s not spent.” I say, only halfway telling the truth. Part of me just wanted to party.
“Your parents gave you money just to bail Reed out?” Wes asks, his voice surprised. “My parents wouldn’t give me a cent for college let alone to anything if I had to bail one of my friends out of jail.”
“That’s cuz your parents are dicks, Wes.” Joslyn responds.
“Okay fuck it, I just want to have fun. Here’s $800, what could we do?” I say, throwing the money at Reed.
“Looks like we’ll be partying like royalty tonight, my friends!” Reed shouts, looking at the money.
“Thank you Reed for almost getting arrested,” Annalise says through laughter,
“And thank you Nova’s parents for caring enough to bail him out!” Cassidy says, adding on to what Annalise said.
“But really Reed, what even happened last night after the party?” I ask, genuinely curious as to how he wasn’t arrested.
“Let’s just say the best cook in town made some magical brownies that the cop loved,” Reed replies, smiling at Joslyn.
“Yeah, you’re welcome. That cop owes me $60, he wasn’t welcome to them. If he wasn’t a cop, I’d chase him down.” Joslyn adds, showing that she knows how to cook illegally.
“Well you could just take some of the money I have,” I say, gesturing to the $800 on Reed’s lap.
“I’m not going anywhere near that part of Reed, but thanks.” Joslyn replies, standing up.
“Nope, this section of me is all yours, Nova.” Reed says, taking the opportunity while he can.
“I think it’s funny that you think I’m that easy,” I say, disgust infecting my voice. “Text me the details about where to meet up tonight. I’m going to my dorm to get ready. Brent,” I say, looking over at the blond gay boy. “Wanna join?”
“Uh, sure!” He replies with a smile.
“Great! Follow me. See you all tonight,” I reply, making my way out of the dorm and down the hallway with Brent in my wake.
“Not to be rude or anything, but why’d did you ask me to come with?” Brent asks as we take the elevator down to the ground floor of Reed’s dorm building.
“I was going to ask if you could watch out for me tonight at the club. I don’t want to do what I did last night again, and you’re the only one I fully trust right now out of the group.” I reply, beginning to explain.
“Oh, of course! I’ll do everything I can to make sure you don’t go farther then you want. My friends back home always said I was the dad of our group because I always watched out for everyone. Mostly because there was no reason to watch out for me because no boy ever liked me, but also because I like helping!” Brent replies, talking rather quickly.
“No boy ever liked you back home? That’s hard to believe, you’re so hot!” I reply as we exit the elevator.
“Thanks! And no, no one ever like me. You see, my town is as hetero as they come. Straight as a pole and curvy as uh, well, a pole.” Brent says, making me laugh.
“Well, there’s more options here for sure.” I reply as my laughter dies down.
“I know!” Brent replies. “It’s kind of overwhelming. And again, not to be rude, but why do you trust me over everyone else? We just met,”
“We all just met.” I reply, beginning to explain myself as we pass the police station. “I trust you over them because, well, you’re gay,” I say, understanding soon after the fact that that may came off wrong.
“What?” Brent asks, clearly caught off guard.
“I don’t mean it offensively. I mean,” I reply, trying to regain focus. “you’re not like Reed, or even Wes. You’re not cringe worthy with your obsession of women because you like guys instead.” I look over to see how Brent was reacting. His face seemed to understand I wasn’t trying to offend him, so I felt safe to continue. “And the girls, well, they could have alternative motives. When two girls like the same guy, it can be horrific.”
We go to cross the street to Linden Hall, my dorm building.
“Do you think someone else likes Reed?” Brent as we wait for a clearing in traffic.
“Possibly, not that I care.” I respond, trying to cover up the obvious fact that I do care.
“You like him, don’t you?” Brent asks as a clearing appears. I walk quickly into the street to add some distance between us.
“Of course not! I mean,” I pause for hesitation. I was lying, but I couldn’t show it. “He’s attractive and all, but he’s not the brightest. All he thinks about is girls and sex and drugs and alcohol, all not important. I need someone who’s focused like I am,” I say as I reach the other side of the street. I turn to face Brent as he replies.
“But you do like him, and it’s driving you crazy, isn’t it?” He asks, smiling. He knew he was on to me. “He’s smarter than you think, you know. Just in different, unconventional ways.” Brent adds, joining me on the other side of the street in front of Linden Hall.
“So you think he’s smart?” I ask, smiling back him. “Do you like him?” I could tell my question was a surprise to Brent.
“What? No, he’s not my type. Too cocky, too-” He replies, but is interrupted by me.
“Straight?” I ask, turning away from him to head into Linden.
“Well, yeah, that does create a problem, but even if he was gay, I couldn’t. He tries too hard to show he wants someone. It’s unnecessary.” Brent explains.
I understood what Brent meant, but I couldn’t say I felt the same. Deep down, as Brent was being to undercover, I knew loved the attention Reed was giving me. I just had never experienced that type of attention back home or at the all-girls school I was forced to go to. The only thing that I really had before college was a few close friends and all the money I needed or wanted from my family. Money didn’t amount to anything, though, when it was all I had. So when Reed kissed me, I understood a whole new type of satisfaction. I craved more.
“Nova?” Brent asks, interrupting my thoughts. “You’re thinking about Reed aren’t you?”
God, could this boy read minds or something? I didn’t have to respond to let Brent know the answer to his question. He was great at reading people.
“You are!” He continues. “So what’s your story, Nova? What was your life like before Bellview?”
“Well, I went to Saint Mary’s Holy Academy for Girls in Boston for 8 years despite my request to go to public schools. My parent’s insisted I get the best education possible, but I have yet to learn anything outside of the classroom. My dad’s a doctor, mom’s a lawyer, I come from a fortunate background but still have never been truly happy.” I say, spitting out probably more information than Brent wanted. “I’m sorry, that was probably more than you wanted to know. I know how some people are when rich people whine,”
“No, no. You’re fine,” Brent replied as we stepped into the elevator of Linden. “Money doesn’t buy happiness, that’s for sure.” He adds as I pressed the button for the third floor. “People can never be satisfied, but we can love. That’s the closet we can get to satisfaction.”
“That’s so true,” I reply, amazed at Brent’s underlying wisdom. “You’re so intelligent,” I say in attempt to show my amazement and appreciation.
“No I’m not, but thank you.” He modestly responds. “I just like trying to understand why people do what they do and why things are the way they are. I try stay attentive to the people I’m with because that way I learn more about them and other perspectives, you know?”
“Yeah, I get it.” I begin, “So Brent, the ever so attentive, what do you think of me?” I ask as we exit the elevator on the third floor. “You seem to have been examining me ever since we left Reed’s room,”
“Well, sorry if I’m wrong about you,” Brent begins,
“You probably won’t be, you haven’t been yet,” I interrupt, doubting he’d be far from the truth.
“Okay,” He continues, “I think you’re a really smart girl, curious to experience more.” He pauses as I nod in agreement. “And I think you’ve been sheltered for a long time, which has it benefits and consequences,”
“Oh really?” I ask, interested in what he meant.
“Yeah, it’s helped you in the sense of giving you a strong foundation to build from, even if the foundation is a little more than you wanted,” He replies, speaking the truth. “But, on the other hand, it’s also hurt you by distorting reality. Not everyone has the foundation you have. Some don’t have any foundation at all, actually.” I nod again, understanding that I’m much more fortunate than most.
I really shouldn’t be complaining at all.
“You’re right, I really should just be appreciative of my past, and how much my parents have done for me. I don’t have it nearly as hard as most people. I need to stop whining.” I say while opening the door to my room.
“In your defense though, I think people in your situation tend to lack real connection with anyone, for various reasons.” Brent replies as he follows me into my room.
“That’s true. I couldn’t tell you how many fake friends I have gone through in my life.” I reply, not wanting to remember.
“Well, I’ll be a real friend.” Brent said, walking over to sit on my bed. “I don’t care who your parents are, I don’t care how much money you have, I’ll be your friend regardless.”
“Okay, well I don’t mean to be rude, but why are you being so nice to me?” I ask, mirroring Brent’s politeness from earlier.
“Ha, don’t worry, you’re fine.” Brent replies, laughing. “I’ve been nosy enough for you to ask whatever you want.” He continues as I open my closet to look for a dress. “I’m being nice because you chose me to trust out of our group.” He pauses before finishing his reply. “Plus, every rich bitch needs a gay boy to tell her she’s not as bitchy as she thought, right?”
His reply causes us both to start laughing and I throw one of my old school shirts at him. He catches it and through laughter shouts,
“A Jesus shirt?! Trying to tell me something, Nova?! God is okay with my blasphemous sexuality!”
Through more laughter I realize Brent truly was one of a kind. For some strangely beautiful reason, my first real friend at Bellview was a lovely gay boy that could read me like a book. He puts a record on my record player and we dance as I slowly get ready for the club. Brent helps me choose a shade of lipstick for the night- a pinkish purple, and even offers to paint my nails. I allow it, smiling for real as he chooses the same shade of purple for my nails. And for the first time in ages, despite Brent’s claim of it being unobtainable, I feel as though I’ve reached satisfaction.
Even a rich bitch can be satisfied, I guess.