~September 5th 2004~
"Well here you are Mr. Mathews, room 126, west Res number 14." The residence attendant unlocked the door and stepped aside to allow Travis, his Mother, and Father to enter.
"All the west Res units are town house style like this one. Each unit is composed of 4 to 5 apartments; each apartment is like this one. There's a small kitchenette, a living space, and a laundry room on the first floor. Upstairs is a bedroom with a walk in closet, bathroom, and of course a large desk perfect for your computer and all the studying we know you'll be doing here."
The attendant asked if there were any questions and when no one spoke up he handed Travis the key and excused himself from the building.
"Nice place you got here son." Travis' dad teased.
"Well it sure is... cozy." His mom said, obviously disliking it.
"Dear, Travis had a choice, he could either keep his car here with him or stay in the nicer units on the east side. I think he made the right choice, I'm sure he'll need to go shopping at some time and the busses are such a hassle."
"Besides the east side is mostly jocks and snobs anyway." Travis spoke up before exploring upstairs.
The stucco ceiling and white walls sure were boring but for the next 8-½ months those walls were his walls and he loved them.
"I guess we should unload the car." His dad said as he stepped outside. Travis followed.
The poor old blue Toyota was overloaded with home essentials that his mom insisted he take. Travis pulled some boxes out of the car and stopped for a moment to watch his new neighbor; a girl with stubby legs, short brown hair, and a funny nose, carry a stack of books into her apartment.
"There'll be plenty of time to look at the girls." Travis' dad said as he taped his son on the shoulder, "for now lets move you in."
Travis sighed, his mind jumped back to Jebb, waiting for him back home. He'd tried so hard to get Jebb to consider college but it just wasn't for him. "The way I see it work makes me money and school just costs me money. I'm earning almost $10/h at the auto shop, that's great pay. Don't worry Hon, I love you, I'll be here when you get back." There was just no convincing him.
That evening after Travis' parents had left to catch their flight back home, Travis decided to walk to the campus bar and grill for "Resfest". But after 5 minutes of noise and too many people he decided to leave. As he attempted to squeeze past one rather drunk big girl he tripped and knocked over the guy standing next to him.
"Damn I'm sorry." Travis said as he offered his hand to help the guy up. "I'm just trying to get out of here and there's so many people."
"Yeah, I know what you mean." The guy said as he took Travis' hand and pulled himself up. "I'm trying to get outta here too."
"Lead on." Travis said with a grin.
Travis followed this guy as he led the way out of the crowd and outside into the silent late evening air.
"My name's Gregg." He said.
"I came here kinda hopping I'd meet some people but I'm just not into that much action you know?"
"Yeah." Travis was quickly checking Gregg out. He was 5'9", probably around 140 pounds, dark short hair, brown eyes, very slight tan, flat stomach, pretty well the same build and body type as Travis. Gregg definitely earned an 8.5 on Travis' cuteness scale. 'I almost regret not being single.' Travis thought, and then felt a pang of guilt.
They walked and talked for a while finding out little bits about each other. They were each in the physics program, together. "I plan to use it for teaching." Gregg said.
"Ewww, too many kids. No way. R&D is much better." Travis said.
"Heh, if you say so. SO ummm, do you know where we are?"
"Not really. We're headed generally for res but I haven't gotten this campus figured out yet."
"I see. Hey this is the arts building, isn't res on the other side?"
"Umm I think so, let's go inside and see if we can short cut across." Travis suggested.
Inside, the boys passed a big notice board with multi coloured bubble letters
"LGBT society first meet. Sept 6th in room A361. New members always welcome."
Both boys looked, read the notice and then looked away and caught each other looking. A brief awkward silence ensued as they walked further. Gregg spoke up. "That meeting's tomorrow."
"Yeah." Travis said as he suddenly felt like taking a risk. "I'll be there." He said.
"Cool." Gregg said.
"You?" Travis asked.
"Nah, I think it would confuse my girlfriend a bit too much."
"Oh... I see. Umm, well I'm..."
"It's cool that you're so open about it. I'm not gay though. But no worries, I don't have a problem with that.
The boys crossed the building and stepped outside again. In front of them was a short path that led to the first res units.
"Hmm, well that's too bad, I was hoping I might know someone there." Travis said.
"I'm sure you'll manage." Gregg said.
A few minutes latter Gregg reached his unit; number 8.
"Goodnight Gregg, see you around."
"Sure." Gregg called back.
Travis continued walking with a huge smile on his face. 'That was easy' he'd never come out to anyone with such ease before, and he'd made a new friend too.
Travis let himself into his house, flipped on the lights, turned down the heat and made himself a cup of tea. He carried the tea upstairs and sat down at his desk with his laptop. As the laptop booted he tried to get comfortable, however after a few minutes he couldn't stand how low his chair was and how high his desk was, it just wasn't comfortable, plus the desk was tucked away in the corner and his back was to the door, it just didn't feel very comfortable. Travis picked up his computer and took it downstairs to the kitchen table.
There was an e-mail from Jebb waiting for him.
'Hey love, I thought I'd say hi before I go to work. The boss wants me to work nights here, it sucks cus it'll totally fuck with my sleeping pattern and I won't be able to talk to you on msn a whole lot but at least I get paid a bit more. Anyway, I hope you're enjoying your new "home". I miss you already.
Travis smiled and started work on a reply, 'First of all, this isn't my home, home is wherever you are...'
Travis wrote to his boy and sipped tea, meanwhile elsewhere on campus some far darker events were unfolding in east res...
Thomas was on his back naked. The person sitting on his chest was holding a pillow over his face and Thomas was fighting for his life.
"Stop fighting Tom, you knew this day would come. You know too much about me... about what I did. I can't take that chance."
Thomas wrestled around as hard as he could.
"What were you going to do Tom? You know I can't take that risk, I can't trust you. Do you know what it would do to me if you told? The guy on top pushed the pillow down hard with all his body weight. Thomas was no match as he thrashed his arms around helplessly. He screamed but the pillow just turned his desperate cries into a useless muffled moaning noise.
Downstairs a boy named Paul and his friend Steve were watching a football game on pay per view. Paul suddenly turned down the volume, "You hear that?"
"Yeah." Steve grinned.
"Damn it man, first day, first day! And someone's already at it."
"I bet she's hot too." Steve said.
"Who cares, why are the walls so thin?"
Back upstairs Thomas was becoming dizzy. His whole body was becoming weak, too weak to fight any longer.
"It was fun Tom, see you around." Those were the last words Thomas Franklin heard before slipping into a world of black.
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