Quick Author's Note: This is a rewrite of a story I posted before (same title). I think it'll turn out a lot better this time. As I've already finished this book once (though in a crappier, shorter, less accurate/realistic version), it will not be my main focus. Also, because I'm a fantasy-junkie, this may or may not end up taking a turn towards that. I dunno. Working on lengthening the story plot. I have a couple of ideas, but nothing solid. Sorry and thank you for reading. Constructive criticism is appreciated. 3
I took a small breath, running my hand through my short black hair. The air was thick with moisture and the temperature was warm. It had just finished raining and I sat nervously under the overhanging of the building that had been close to me as I'd searched high and low for a map of the Middle Tennessee State University campus. My uncle's car pulled around the corner into view and I smiled broadly, relief calming my nerves.
I flipped the cell phone in my hand shut and nudged it into the pocket of my jeans.
"I'm glad you could find me," I said relieved as I got into the passenger seat of the car.
"Yeah, this campus is surprisingly big… I was… well, surprised. Anyway, did you find the apartment you're going to be staying in…? Womack Lane Apartments, right?" he asked, making that face that was a tell-tale sign that he still hadn't become completely fluent in English.
"Yeah," I said and then thought about the map I'd been looking at and scrunched up my nose in distaste, "It's all the way on the other side of campus from here… We're at some building called the "KUC" or something…"
"KUC? What does that stand for?"
"No idea," I said, and glanced back at the building, "That probably."
I pointed at the words on the side of the building.
"Right," he said, glancing at it through the windshield as he pulled away from the curb and had to wrap around the crowded parking lot to get to turn around. "It always surprises me how many people drive in America…"
I nodded. I'd grown up for the most part in the United States, but I'd lived with my mom—who'd gotten a divorce from my father when she wanted to return to Japan and he wanted to stay—for a couple of years in high school, before returning to the states for university, choosing to attend one that was only an hour from where my uncle (my father's brother) lived. Murfreesboro was a pretty big city—compared to the town my father lived in—but was dwarfed by the big cities of Japan.
"I missed the squirrels," I said, making my uncle grin in amusement, and I began watching a couple of squirrels run through the grass. One stopped and seemed to look at me before he nibbled at the nut in his hands and dashed off again after his fellow squirrel. "Ah, go into this first exit…"
I gestured to the first road that branched off the small traffic circle and made a grunting noise as we thu-dumped over the cross walk that also served as a speed bump. We continued for a ways before we came to another crosswalk-speed bump and then I pointed, a little unsurely.
"That's it… I uh… I think." I said. "I am supposed to sign in at the club house… But I don't see a club house at all…"
"You think? You should've taken a picture of the map with your phone…"
"Even if I had, my camera is just a little junk flip phone… I wouldn't have been able to zoom in to recognize any of the buildings anyway." I ran my hand through my hair again, and with a sigh we pulled into the parking lot adjacent to the apartment buildings. "Sorry about making you drive me all over the place… I'll try and get my driver's license and get a job or something..."
"Nonsense," he laughed, smiling his normal grin, "What else is family for?"
I grinned back, "Well, if that's how you feel, let's get this show on the road. I don't want to be an idiot looking around for some building alone this time."
We got out of the car, locked the doors and then proceeded to wander towards what we suspected was the center of the apartment complex.
"Do they have a judo club here?" My uncle asked, and I glanced at him before giving the cloudy sky a contemplative look.
"Hmm… I'm not sure actually. I didn't check about that before coming."
"Eh? But I thought judo was the reason why you studied in Japan during high school?" my uncle asked me in surprise.
"Ah, yeah, but I was thinking about going for some other areas, like Karate, and just practicing Judo on the side." I replied, though he was right, of course…Judo was my passion. "Though if they happen to have a Judo team, you can be sure I'll join."
The last was said with an excited laugh. My uncle gave me a pat on the back and we continued onward finally spotting a small pink piece of paper taped to the outside of a building that read "SIGN IN" with an arrow pointing towards the back of the building. Relieved that we finally found what we were looking for, I hurried along around the building and into the door while my uncle waited outside watching the squirrels play in the taller grass near the base of a tree.
I thought I'd have to follow more signs when I got in, but the building that had looked much larger on the outside, was surprisingly small on the inside, or that's how it seemed to me. I found the group of people—all people I'd assumed were here to sign into their new rooms for the year. I wondered briefly if any of these people were going to be my roommates, but shrugged. It'd be fun to see who I was going to be living with.
I filled out the papers, got my apartment assignment, key, and the checklist and was off to find it with my uncle who was waiting for me, sitting at a table next to what a sign said was the Womack laundry room.
"Alright, let's check it out then!" He laughed, and I followed after him as we searched for the room "J-21." We looked at the letters on the sides of the building when we realized that they were indeed lettered. We had been going the wrong way. I gave a short bark of laughter at our stupidity and we turned to go the right direction. We found the room easily enough. I opened the door and looked around as my uncle went to pull the car around so we could get my stuff in more easily.
The apartment was nice. The living room/dining room combo was rather spacious even if it looked a little lifeless with the tile floor and generic furniture. I glanced around and spotted the alcove that was pretending to be a kitchen. I didn't necessarily do all that much cooking myself, but if I ever decided to, I imagine it'd be difficult to operate in such a small pace. I'm not necessarily a big guy—at only 5'9", I'm actually mostly average in size, though I like to think it makes me tall when compared to most Japanese men—but it still felt kind of cramped.
I shrugged. I continued on to the bedroom. Two relatively high set beds were pushed into the two far corners of the room. In between them sat one desk and chair and then in between two doors sat another desk and chair. I closed the bedroom door partially so that I could more easily access the door behind it. It opened into a fair sized closet… It was nice, and though there was no way for us to separate the space, I figured it wouldn't be all that difficult to do.
"So if this is the closet… Then this must be the bathroom." I muttered to myself, opening the other door to a tile floor room with a standard toilet, small-ish sink, and a full bath tub, "Nice…"
I heard a knock on the door and went to answer it. The door opened to reveal my uncle who was already hauling some stuff. I gave him a grateful look and went out to get some stuff as well. With his help it didn't take very long for us to get everything into the apartment. We made idle conversation about my class schedule, finances, job searching, and other things while we worked at getting the larger things put away and everything in a way that made it manageable for just one person.
"Call me if you need me," he said with a laugh.
"Alright… Be careful on the drive back. I'm sure there are a lot of confused freshmen driving around so…"
"Yeah, it's bad enough they're brats… It's even worse when they're confused and trying to act like know-it-alls because they are starting college."
I laughed a bit. "Text me when you get back to let me know that you got home okay."
He nodded and was gone and I was left alone in the apartment that wasn't even half full of my few things. A lot of this stuff was new since I couldn't bring a lot of things from Japan and I only had a few things stored away at my dad's house for winter-break visits and such.
I watched the door and the ceiling and then finally the wall for almost a full minute or two before I finally moved and returned to the bedroom. I used a Clorox wipe to wipe off the bed, door knobs, and other things that may or may not have been thoroughly cleaned before my arrival before I made up my bed carefully, trying to make sure there weren't very many wrinkles in the fabric.
The sound of the lock turning caught my attention as well as some sound outside and I stepped into the living room, trying to look nonchalant as I moved things from one spot to another. I didn't really need to move them, but I didn't want to look like I was waiting for him to open the door. It was best to look busy.
When the door opened I looked at the brown-haired boy who walked in from the corner of my eye. He tossed a wink out the door flirtatiously and blew a kiss to some person I couldn't quite see from where I was standing and then shut the door, a satisfied smirk on his face.
He turned to the room and his eyes landed on me, surprise flittering through them briefly. His eyes were probably some of the most beautiful I'd ever seen… they were a rich mahogany brown with a thin ring of umber brown around the pupil. I couldn't help but stare at him, awe-struck. The twitch of his lips as they pulled into a wicked grin made me come to my senses and I looked away for a minute embarrassed. What madness had come over me to have me looking at a guy like some girl in a bad chick flick?
I cleared my throat and swallowed, nervously before turning to look at him. He was still staring at me with those eyes of his and that grin that gave me a bad feeling. I trudged onward.
"Hey," I said, offering one hand while the other combed through my hair nervously, "I'm Kosuke Asami…"
Much to my surprise, he completely bypassed my hand and placed himself directly in front of me, his face inches from mine… his mouth only a breath away from me. I froze, unsure of what the hell was going on. My wide surprised eyes met his slightly narrowed and intently focused ones. His gaze bore into mine making my face feel a little hot for some reason.
"Nice to meet you, Kosuke," he whispered, his minty fresh breath blowing over my lips as they grazed each other. "I'm Dorian Notin."
Finally able to move, I stumbled backwards away from him, my stomach clenching and unclenching almost like that feeling you get right before something bad—like falling or getting called on by a teacher when you don't know the answer—happens.
It was then that I realized how much taller than me he was… Normally, taller guys didn't intimidate me too much, but something about him was extremely intimidating. I imagine it has a lot to do with the up-close-and-personal introduction he gave. I bit my lip a bit. My mind went a bit fuzzy for a moment as the image of his lips grazing against mine flooded my mind's eye. I nearly slapped myself. That was not the kind of reaction I was supposed to have towards another guy practically kissing me.
"It's…. nice to meet you too," I muttered after a few moments more of hesitation. Well, even if he was really weird, I didn't want to get off to a bad start with my roommate on the first day, though I had to wonder about what his idea on the proper way to introduce himself was...
I turned and wandered back into the bedroom where I'd dumped my clothes onto the bed so that I could sort them out and fold them or hang them properly, figuring it would be better to get it over with now so I'd have less to deal with later. My heart beat picked up as Dorian followed me into the room and, leaning against the door frame, watched me with a little smile on his lips.
"So…where are you from? I can't imagine you're from Japan since you don't really have an accent." Dorian said, and I glanced up at him.
"Well, I was born in North Carolina, and spent a lot of time there, but I went to high school in Japan…" I replied, glad for a conversational topic to keep my mind off the weird vibes I was getting from the other boy. "What about you?"
"Me? My parents live about 40 minutes away from here." He replied, and his smirk turned flirtatious. "Any girlfriend you left behind in Japan?"
"No, no girlfriend," I gave a little nervous chuckle at the direction this conversation was headed.
"Oh… Boyfriend, then, perhaps?" he asked, his eyes mischievous.
"N—no," I replied, fumbling with the shirt in my hand and having to restart on folding it.
"Hmm… that's hard to believe… You're a really attractive guy, I'm sure there are lots of lovely ladies and gentlemen who are dying to slip a hand into those jeans of yours." He said easily, almost like he was commenting on the weather and not talking about people wanting to molest me.
"I—I'm not really that popular…" I said in response, the erratic beating of my heart coming back with a vengeance and I couldn't focus on folding the shirt that was in my hands and was almost ready to give up. My stomach flopped as he walked over to stand behind me, peering over my shoulder. This just caused my stomach to clench like I was standing in front of a cliff and Dorian was about to gleefully push me off it.
"You seem to be having some trouble, Kosuke, you want me to help?" Dorian's breath cascaded over my ear and neck and I felt the shiver run down my spine before I could stop it as the baby hairs on my neck tickled me… And that was the ONLY reason for it.
"I'm f—fine," I stuttered, flushing even more at the obvious fact that I wasn't fine. I couldn't fold a shirt properly. That's not fine, by anyone's standards. But I'd say just about anything to get him to stop breathing on my neck—it was causing goose-bumps to spread across my skin and the hairs on my neck to tickle me and sending weird tingles through my body.
I was also painfully aware that Dorian was watching my fumbling hands. The nerves—not Dorian himself, because it would be silly to think that he'd be the cause, regardless of the fact that he was the cause of the nervousness—were making my heart beat so loudly that I wouldn't be surprised if Dorian heard it. It was beating harder than when I won the National Judo tournament last year… and I couldn't make it stop or calm it or anything.
I took in a short shaky breath as I tried to calm myself down. Dorian wrapped his arms around mine, resting his palms on the backs of my hands. I felt his chest press against my back and I stiffened up, my muscles tightening as heat flushed through my body, and I was pretty sure that my cheeks were red.
He then proceeded to guide me through folding the shirt, and I couldn't bring myself to look at his face, but I imagined he was smirking at my obvious distress… but I was becoming very bothered. The warmth and feeling I was getting from him being pressed up behind me, basically hugging me, was much more pleasant than I believed that it should be…
I shouldn't find this pleasant… If he had been a girl… maybe…but I doubt I'd ever want to date a girl so much bigger than me… would I?
"There, that wasn't so hard… now was it?" Dorian whispered into my ear, his voice low and husky. His lips brushed my earlobe and I shuddered as a surprising and relatively unfamiliar tingle caused a rather familiar sensation below my waist, making my pants feel a little less comfortable than they had before.
I felt my eyes get wider in shock. What the hell was wrong with me?
I felt him chuckle just as clearly as I heard him do so. The deep sound made his chest rumble slightly against my back sending another shocking tingle through my body. Why was my body reacting to a guy? I am not homosexual!
"Y—yeah, thanks," I stuttered, feeling the intense desire to escape from this terrible sensation bubbling up in my stomach. I whirled around and stumbled back, falling back against the bed as the mattress dug into my back uncomfortably, but at least now, Dorian wasn't pressed up against me… though he was still uncomfortably close.
"S—so… I um…. I was wondering how we should separate the closet. I mean… I can probably put most of my clothes in the drawers, so you can have most of it… if you want?" I said, trying to think up anything to keep him at a distance.
I looked at him with a flustered expression, trying to ignore what his expression was doing to me… What was wrong with my body?
The glint in his eyes made me feel like I was his prey or dinner. And even more unfortunately for me, my body didn't want to agree with my mind and it was reacting in a very different way to Dorian's scrutiny. I straightened up a bit and slid to the side, willing myself to calm down, focusing intently on one thought: I am NOT homosexual!