Monday, 7 May 2018

AFTER ROMANCE Episode 1-5

Tessa Young is an 18 year old college student with a simple life, excellent grades, and a sweet boyfriend. She always has things planned out ahead of time, until she meets a rude boy named Harry, with too many tattoos and piercings who shatters her plans.

Thank you so much for reading!
This story contains mature content, including explicit and suggestive language.

"Tessa!!" I hear my mom's voice call from downstairs. I groan to myself and roll out of my tiny, yet comfortable bed. While neatly tucking the corners of my bed sheet into the headboard, I take my time because this is the last morning that I will be competing the task for months.
"Tessa!!" She calls again.
"I'm up!" I yell back. The cabinets open and close downstairs, the sounds of her frantically preparing breakfast. The knot in my stomach grows with each step to the bathroom, by the time I start the shower, it's nearly unbearable. I spent the last few years nervously anticipating college. My weekends were spent studying and preparing for this day while my peers were out getting drunk, wasting their time and jeopardizing their futures. The day my acceptance letter to Washington State University came I was thrilled, I expected it but that didn't take any of the excitement away. My mother cried for what felt like hours, and I have to admit I was pretty proud of myself. All my hard work finally paid off. I had once considered leaving Washington for college but eventually decided against it.. I like familiarity and routines just like my mother.
The hot water loosens my strained muscles, how long have I been in here? I hurry and wash my hair and body, lazily running a razor over my legs to remove the small stubble that has appeared over the weekend.
As I wrap the towel around my wet body, my mother calls my name again. I ignore her, I know she is nervous for my arrival day at college but I have had this day planned down to the hour, for months. My boyfriend Noah will be here soon to ride with me and my mother. He is one grade younger than me and for hundredth time I mentally scold his mother for putting him in Kindergarten a year late. Noah keeps a perfect grade point average, he is brilliant and will be joining me at WSU next year. I do wish that he was coming now, especially considering that I won't know a single person at college. I just need a decent roommate, that's the only thing I am asking for.
"Theresa!"
"I am coming down now, please don't call my name again!" I yell as I walk down the stairs.
Noah is sitting at the table across from my mother, dressed in a blue polo shirt and khakis, his normal attire.  His blonde hair is combed and lightly gelled to perfection.
"Hey college girl," He smiles a bright, perfectly lined smile while standing to pull my into a tight hug.
"Hey," I give him an equally bright smile and pull my dirty blonde hair into a bun once he releases me from his grip.
"Honey, we can wait a couple minutes while you fix your hair," My mom says quietly, running disapproving eyes over me.
I make my way to the mirror in the hallway and nod, she is right. My hair needs to be presentable for today, and of course she did not hesitate to remind me. She never does.
"I will put your bags in the car." Noah offers and picks up the keys from my the table. With a quick kiss on my cheek, he disappears from the room.
The butterflies in my stomach dance around as I walk to the car, at least I have two hours to make them disappear. I have no idea what college will be like, will I make friends?

"Here we are!" My mother squeals as we drive through the stone gate and into the campus.
The campus looks just as great in person as it did in the brochures and online, I'm impressed. The buildings are old and elegant. Hundreds of people, parents hugging and kissing their children goodbye, clusters of freshman, dressed head to toe in Washington State University gear, and a few stragglers, lost and confused, fill the area. The size of the campus is intimidating but hopefully after a few weeks I will feel at home. The orientation is short and I sit alone, my usual forte. A seemingly nice middle aged woman gives me my dorm key and sends me on my way. I already feel more freedom than I have in the last eighteen years.
"I want to see your dorm room before I go honey. I just can't believe you are in college! My only daughter, a college student, living on her own. I just can't believe it." She whines and wipes her eyes, careful to not mess up her makeup. Noah follows us, carrying my bags as we navigate through the corridor.
"Now, just be sure you remember everything I told you, you don't want to do anything to ruin your future," she checks the time on her watch, a watch that she certainly couldn't afford but purchased anyway.
"It's B22.. we are in C hall," I tell them. Luckily, I see a large B painted on the wall. "Down here," I instruct and they follow. I'm thankful that I only brought a few clothes, a blanket, and some of my favorite books with me, giving Noah less to carry.
"B22," my mother huffs. Her heels are outrageously high for the amount of walking we have just endured. I slide the key into the old wooden door, it creaks open and my mother gasps. The room is small, with two tiny beds and two desks. My eyes travel to the reason of my mother's suprise. One side of the room is covered in music posters, mostly bands I have never heard of, the faces on them covered in piercings and tattoos. The girl laying across the bed has bright red hair, eyes lined with what looks like inches of black liner, and her arms are covered in tattoos.
"Hey," the stranger says, offering a smile. Her smile is quite intriguing, much to my surprise. "I'm Steph," she says and sits up on her elbows.
"h..hey.. I'm Tessa," I choke, all of my manners flying out the door.
"Welcome to WSU, where the dorms are tiny and the parties are huge," the crimson haired girl grins. Her head falls back into a fit of laughter. My mother's jaw is resting, wide open on the carpet, and Noah shifts uncomfortably. Steph walks over, closing the gap between us and wraps her thin arms around me. I am taken aback by her affection but I return her kind gesture. A knock sounds at the door as Noah drops my bags onto the floor and I can't help but hope that this is all some sort of sick joke.
"Come in!" My new roommate yells, the door opens and two boys walk inside before she finishes her greeting.
Boys inside the female dorms on the first day? Maybe Washington State was a bad decision. I assume by the pained expression covering my mother's face, she is thinking the same. The poor woman looks like she may pass out any moment. I wouldn't blame her.
"Hey, you Steph's roomie?" The blonde boy asks. He doesn't have as many tattoos as the other boy, but he has them.
"Um.. yea. My name is Tessa," I manage to say.
"I'm Niall. Don't look so nervous, it throws people off." He says with a smile, reaching out to touch my shoulder. "You'll love it here," his smile is warm and inviting despite his harsh appearance.
"I'm ready guys," Steph says, grabbing her thick, black bag from the bed. My eyes shift to the tall brown haired boy leaning against the wall. His hair is a mop of waves on his head, pushed back off of his forehead and he has metal in his eyebrow and lip. My eyes travel down his black t-shirt to his arms which are covered in tattoos as well, not an inch of untouched skin is seen. I expect him to introduce himself but he doesn't, instead he rolls his eyes in annoyance and pulls a cellphone from the pocket of his tight, black jeans. He definitely isn't as friendly as his blonde friend.
"See you around Tessa," Niall says and the three of them exit the room. I let out a long breath. To say that was uncomfortable would be an understatement.
"You are getting a new dorm!' My mother yells as soon as the door clicks shut.
"No, I can't." I sigh, It's fine mother," I do my best to hide my nerves. I don't know how well this will work out either but the last thing I want is my overbearing mother causing a scene on my first day of college. "I'm sure she wont be around anyway," I try to convince her, along with myself.
"Absolutely not, we are going to switch now," her long blonde hair is flipped to one shoulder, "you will not be in a room with someone who allows males into her room, those punks at that!" She shrieks.
"Mother.. please," I look into her blue eyes then to Noah, "let's just see how it goes. Please," I beg. She looks around to the room again, taking in the décor covering Steph's side and huffs dramatically.
"Fine." she spits, much to my surprise.

After an hour of my mother warning me against parties and boys, she finally makes her move to leave. With a Carol Young-style quick hug and kiss, she exits the dorm room, informing Noah that she will wait for him in the car.
"I will miss having you around every day," he says softly and pulls me into his arms. I inhale his cologne, the one I bought him three Christmas' in a row and sigh. I will miss his familiar scent and comforting hugs.
"I will miss you too but we will talk every day." I promise and tighten my arms around him. "I wish you were here this year," I say, nuzzling into his neck. Noah is only a few inches taller than me, but I like that he doesn't tower over me. He kisses me goodbye as my mother impatiently honks the horn.
After Noah and my mother are officially gone, I begin to unpack my bags. My clothes are neatly folded and stored in the small dresser, the remainder are hung neatly in my half of the closet. I cringe at the amount of leather and animal prints covering the opposite side.
Feeling exhausted, I lay across the bed. Loneliness is already creeping its way into me and it doesn't help that my roommate is gone, no matter how uncomfortable her friends make me. I have a feeling she will be gone a lot, or worse, she may have company over too often. Why couldn't I get a roommate who loved to stay in and read or study? I suppose it could be a good thing because I will have the small room to myself. So far college isn't what I had dreamed of, nor expected but it's only been a few hours, tomorrow will be better, it has to be.
Before bed I gather my planner and textbooks, taking the time to write down my classes for the semester and my potential meetings for the literary club I plan on joining. I'm still undecided on that but I read a few student testimonials and I want to check it out.  I pencil in a trip off campus tomorrow to get some more things for my dorm room, I don't plan on decorating the way that Steph has, but I would like to add a few of my own things to my side of the room. The fact that I don't have a car yet will make it a little difficult, the sooner I get one, the better. I have enough money from graduation gifts and savings but I'm not sure if I want the stress of owning a car right now. The fact that I live on campus gives me full access to public transport. With thoughts of schedules, red haired girls, and friendly blonde's covered in tattoos, I drift to sleep with my planner still in hand.
The next morning Steph is not in her bed. I would like to get to know her but I might as well not if she is the type of person that stays out all night. Maybe one of the two boys that she was with was her boyfriend, I hope it was the blonde one for her sake. I grab my toiletry bag and make my way to the shower room. One of my least favorite things about dorm life so far is the showers, why can't each room have it's own instead of a community shower room? It's awkward and I'm praying they aren't co-ed. My hopes are squashed when I reach the door. Sure enough there are two stick figures printed on the sign, one male and one female. Ugh. Having males in the same shower room is sure to be very uncomfortable and  extremely awkward. I plan to set an alarm at least an hour earlier from now on in hopes that the co-ed room will be less crowded.
The shower takes too long to get warm and I am paranoid that someone will pull back the thin curtain separating my naked body from a room of both genders. Everyone seemed to be comfortable despite the fact that they shouldn't be. College life is strange so far. The shower stall is tiny, lined with a small rack to hang my clothes on while I shower and barely enough room to stretch my arms in front of me. I find my mind drifting to Noah and my life back home. I am distracted as I turn around and my elbow knocks into the rack, my clean clothes fall to the wet floor. The water continues to fall onto the pile, completely soaking them.
"You've got to be kidding me!" I groan to myself, hastily cutting the water off and I wrap my towel around myself, grabbing my pile of heavy, soaked clothes and rush down the hall, desperately hoping no one sees me. I reach my room and shove the key in, instantly relaxing until I turn around to see the brown  haired boy sprawled across Steph's bed.

"Uhmm..Where is Steph?" My voice comes out as more of a squeak than I intended. My hands are clenched around the soft fabric of my towel, my eyes keep darting down to make sure the towel is securely covering my naked body.
He looks at me, the corners of his mouth lifting slightly but doesn't say a word.
"Did you hear me? I asked you where Steph is," I repeat, trying to be slightly more polite than the last.
The assumed expression on his face magnifies and he finally mumbles, "I don't know," and turns on the small flat screen on Steph's dresser. What is he even doing in here if he doesn't know where she is? Doesn't he have his own room? I bite my tongue, trying to keep my rude comments to myself.
"Okay? Well could you like.. leave or something so I can get dressed?" I realize he hasn't even noticed I am in a towel, well maybe he has but it doesn't phase him.
"Don't flatter yourself, it's not like I am going to look at you," he scoffs and rolls over, his hands covering his face. He has a thick English accent that I didn't notice before. Probably because he was too rude to speak to me. Why is he in Pullman? Unsure how I should respond to his rude remark, I huff and walk to my dresser. Maybe he isn't straight, that's what he meant by "it's not like I am going to look" , either that or he thinks I am ugly. I hastily put on a bra and panties, followed by a plain white shirt and khaki shorts.
"Are you done yet?" he asks, snapping the last bit of patience I held.
"Could you be any more disrespectful? I mean honestly, you're my room while I change and you have the nerve to be rude to me? I did nothing to you, what is your problem?" I shout, my voice at a much higher volume than I had wanted but by the surprised look on his face, my words had the intended effect on the tattooed boy.
He silently stares at me and while I am waiting for his apology, he bursts into laughter. He looks at me and just laughs. His laugh is a deep and almost lovely sound. It would be much more enjoyable if he wasn't so adamant on being a jerk. Dimples indent in his cheeks as he continues to laugh and I feel like a complete idiot, unsure what to do or say. I don't usually like conflict and this boy seems like the last person I should start a fight with. The door opens and Steph bursts in.
"Sorry, I'm late. I have a hell of a hangover," she dramatically says and her eyes dart back and forth between Harry and I.
"Sorry Tess, I forgot to tell you Harry would be coming by," she shrugs apologetically, taking in the scene in front of her.
I would like to think me and Steph could make our living arrangement work, maybe even build some sort of a friendship, but with her choice of friends, I'm just not sure anymore.
"You're boyfriend is rude," the words tumble out before I can stop them.
They both burst into laughter. What is it with people laughing at me? It's getting really annoying.
"Harry is not my boyfriend!" she laughs, emphasizing the not.
"What did you say to her?"Steph turns and scowls at him. "Harry has a.. a unique way of conversing" she explains, looking back to me. Lovely, so basically what she is saying is that Harry is, simply a rude person. The English boy shrugs and changes the channel with the remote in his hand.
"There is a party tonight, you should come with us, Tessa," she offers. It's my turn to laugh at her.
"Parties aren't really my thing. Plus I have to go to get some things for my side of the room," I look at Harry who, of course is acting as if neither of us are in the room with him.
"C'mon.. it's just one party! You're in college now, just one party won't hurt," she begs. "How are you getting to the store, I thought you didn't have a car?" she asks. I can't go to a party.
"I don't even know anyone, besides I was going to Skype with Noah," I tell her and Harry laughs again, acknowledging that he is paying attention after all, "and I was going to take a bus to the store"
"You do not want to take the bus on a Saturday! They're way too packed, Harry can drop you on the way to his place.. right harry? And you'll know me at the party. Just come.. please?" She presses her hands together in a dramatic plea.
I've only known her for a day, should I trust her? I know that despite how tough she looks, she is quite sweet. But a party?
"I don't know.. and no I don't want Harry to drive me to the store," I say. Harry rolls over across Steph's bed with an amused expression.
"Oh no! I was really looking forward to hanging out with you," he dryly remarks, his voice so full of sarcasm that I want to throw a book at his cocky head.
"Come on Steph, you know this girl isn't going to show at the party," he laughs, his accent is so thick. The nosey side of me, which I admit is quite large, is desperate to ask him where he is from. The mocking grin on his smug face pushes me to prove him wrong.
"Actually, I'll come," I say with as sweet of a smile as I can muster. Harry laughs again and Steph squeals before wrapping her arms around me in a tight hug.
"Yay! We'll have so much fun!!' She shrieks.
I sure hope she's right.

I'm thankful when Harry leaves so Steph and I can discuss the party, I need more details to ease my nerves.
"Where is the party? Is it within walking distance?" I ask her as I align my books on the shelf into alphabetical order. It's a habit.
"It's technically a frat party, at one of the biggest frat houses here," her mouth is wide open as she layers more mascara onto her lashes, "it's right off campus so we won't be walking but Niall will pick us up,"
I'm grateful it won't be Harry, even though I know he will be there somehow riding with him seems unbearable. Why is he so rude? If anything he should be grateful that I am not judging him for the way he has destroyed his body with holes and tattoos. Maybe I am judging him a little, but not to his face at least. It is just that I was raised in a home where tattoos and piercings are not expectable, I always had to have my hair combed, my eyebrows plucked, and my clothes clean and ironed. It is just the way it is.
"Did you hear me?" Steph a says and laughs.
"Sorry.. what?" I hadn't realized my mind has wandered.
"I said lets get ready, you can help me pick my outfit." she says. The dresses she picks out are so inappropriate that I keep looking around for a hidden camera and someone to jump out and tell me it is a joke, I cringe at each one and she laughs, obviously finding my disgust humorous. The dress, no, piece a scrap material.. she chooses is a black dress made out of what looks like fishnet with her red bra showing through, at least the bottom is solid but I get the feeling she would wear it even if it wasn't. The dress barely reaches the tops of her thighs and the heels of her shoes are at least four inches. Her flaming red hair is pulled into a wild bun with curls escaping all over and she has more eyeliner on than ever.
"Did your tattoos hurt?" I ask her as I pull out my maroon dress.
"The first one sort of did, but not as bad as you would think. It's almost like a bee stinging you over and over," she shrugs. Ouch, that sounds very unpleasant.
"That sounds terrible," I tell her and she laughs. It occurs to me that she probably finds me as strange as I find her. It's oddly comforting.
"You're not really wearing that are you?" She gapes at my dress.
My hand slides over the fabric, this is my nicest dress and I didn't bring many clothes with me. Since I skipped on going to the store today, I will have to find time this week. I need to pencil that in before I forget.
"What is wrong with my dress?"
I try to hide how offended I am. The maroon material is soft but sturdy, the same material business suits are made of. The collar goes up to my neck and the sleeves are three quarter length, reaching just under my elbows.
"Nothing.. it's just so.. long?" she says.
"It is barely below my knee," I defend my favorite dress.
"It's pretty, I just think it's a little too heavy for a party, you could borrow something of mine?" She offers and I laugh.
"No thanks, I am fine wearing this." I tell her and plug in my curling iron.

To be continued

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