The College Men


Thursday, October 12, 1995



The music blared loudly.  Bodies were sprawled everywhere in the common area of the 4-man dorm suite.  This room had become the central hangout, not just for the roommates, but also their friends.

The room came equipped with a small couch and two armchairs.  At the moment, the couch was hidden under the bulk of the very large football player, John.  His bald head rested on one armrest, and his feet were up on the other.  Even so, he looked as if he had barely squeezed his bulk into the tiny piece of furniture.  He was dutifully reading the novel assigned for his English lit class, the tiny paperback dwarfed by his massive hands.

Beside his head, his roommate, Clay, occupied an armchair.  He hunched his small frame into a corner of the chair, sitting sideways, his feet neatly tucked in.  There was still plenty of room in the chair for the three science textbooks he was cross-referencing.  A frown creased his face as his eyes darted back and forth amongst the books.

In the opposite armchair, a visiting friend relaxed comfortably.  His name was Wayne, but everyone simply called him Preacher.  He tapped his feet on the floor in time with the music, as the highlighter in his hand danced over the pages of his sociology text.  His face radiated peace and comfort, even when concentrating on the material in front of him.

Stretched out on the floor beside Preacher’s chair lay Nathan.  The tall, thin basketball player occupied most of the walking space in the room.  His head was hunched over his calculus book, while the pencil in his hand scratched away furiously at the equations on the paper beside it.  Occasionally, he would reach up to shove the shaggy blond hair out of his eyes so he could see what he was doing.

In the opposite corner of the room sat a small study desk, with a computer.  The entire surface of the desk, as well as the top of the monitor and every other free inch of space, was covered with opened library books and computer printouts.  A psychology textbook lay on the floor, opened to an important passage.  Typing away furiously at the computer sat the third roommate, the tall redhead, Jim.  He sat up straight, green eyes concentrating intensely on the words on the computer screen for the paper he was writing.

The outer door to the suite opened, and the fourth roommate entered.  Brian sauntered casually over to the couch and dropped his large biology textbook squarely on John’s stomach.  John neither flinched nor looked up.  Dropping his backpack at his feet, the tall young man ran a hand through his wavy, dark hair.

“Ria called to confirm for coffee tonight,” John said, as he turned the next tiny page with his large hand, still not looking up from his reading.

“We told her you were out getting a massage from Brandy,” Clay chimed in, glancing up at his roommate.

From the corner, Jim reported in, while continuing to type.  “She just laughed and said she needed you to hook her up with Brandy.”

Nathan piped up from the floor.  “Now that I’d really like to see!”  The others joined in his laughter.

Brian shook his head and turned smiling brown eyes to Preacher.  “And you allow them to talk about your oldest and dearest friend this way?”

Preacher grinned, bright white teeth flashing brilliantly in the dark face.  “But of course.  She’d laugh, too.”

“Come on, Bri,” Clay said.  “It’s a great visual!”

“And since you’re getting more action than we are,” Nathan added, “you have to give us what little pleasure we can get living vicariously through you.”

John snorted.  “You’ll get more action living vicariously through Jim.”

“Yeah, but Jim never sees a girl twice,” Preacher said.  “We can’t even remember their names.  Where’s the fun in that?”

Clay stretched from his folded up position.  “Belden, what exactly did you teach him, out there in the sticks?”

“I have no idea,” Brian retorted.  “He’s dated more in the last two months than he ever did in his life.”

Nathan glanced over at the redhead slyly.  “It’s almost like he left his heart in Sleepyside, and he’s trying to forget her.”

Jim’s hands froze over the keyboard.  He mumbled, “Bathroom break,” and quickly escaped the room.

Brian reached into the fridge for a can of pop while staring thoughtfully at his friend’s retreating back.

Once the bathroom door was shut tight, Preacher chuckled.  “It’s amazing how fast he clams up when you even mention a girl in Sleepyside.”

“So what’s going on with the girl back home, Belden?” Clay asked.

Brian narrowed his eyes.  “If I knew the answer to that question, I’d be a much happier person.”

Nathan smirked.  “Why?  Interested in her for yourself?”

Brian snarfled his drink.  He spewed liquid all over John, and choked on what was caught in his throat.  His eyes watered from the burning sensation of carbonation up his nose.

John glared at him while wiping his book dry.  “Was the thought that gross?”

Brian managed to gasp, “My baby sister?”

The others laughed.  Preacher smiled.  “Trixie?  That explains why he won’t talk to you about it.  Lay off, Bri.  Let the Master work on him later.”

Brian rolled his eyes.  “Oh, please, take it away, Great Master.”

The bathroom door opened.  Conversation ceased, and the men went back to their studying.  Brian dug through his backpack for his notebook.  Jim walked into the room and silently looked around.  He crossed his arms over his chest and leaned against a wall.  Raising an eyebrow at Brian, he asked, “Are you all done discussing me?  Can we get back to more important matters now?  Like you and Brandy and Ria?”

Nathan’s head shot up.  “Hey, yeah.  Belden distracted us from our favorite subject!”

Brian groaned.  “And I thought I got away with it.”

Jim grinned, a vicious glint in his eye.  “No such luck, my friend.  No such luck.”

John looked up from his book.  A wide grin split the warm, brown face.  “I definitely want to hear more about Brandy.  Do tell.”

Brian raised his eyes heavenward and sighed.  “I keep telling you, there is nothing going on.  She is studying for her license in massage therapy and needs to practice.  I am a willing guinea pig.  That’s all!”

“You are certainly willing quite often,” Clay offered.

“Well,” Brian grinned, “she does have great hands.”

“That’s all you’re interested in?  Her hands?” Nathan snorted in disgust.  Noises of lascivious intent echoed from every corner of the room.

Brian looked around at his friends.  They are guys, this is college.  I can afford to relax a little, he thought.  A little honesty won’t kill me.

“Well," he said slowly, a slow grin gracing his face, "she does have an awesome rack.  And she leaves little to the imagination – very low-cut, very skimpy.  She clearly wants everyone to get an eyeful.  I don’t mind looking," he admitted.  

As he continued his brow creased slightly.  "But if she were my girlfriend, I would want such sights reserved for my eyes only, you know?  Suggestive clothes are great, but a free show is not cool.”

John’s eyebrows hit the top of his head.  “You don’t want to date her because she shows too much cleavage?”

Nathan’s jaw dropped.  Jim and Preacher shook their heads in disbelief.

Brian shrugged.  “That, and the tattoo, and the nose ring, and the belly button ring that is always visible...”

“Is that all?” Clay laughed.

“No, that’s not all.  There is also the penchant for wearing things like bright red underwear beneath thin white pants.  I swear, that girl is just begging someone to undress her in public.”  He grimaced, almost as if he was in pain, as he continued.  “And to top it all off, her laugh is most annoying.”

Preacher nodded sagely.  “Okay, so she’s too immodest to be girlfriend material, but definitely a good ogle.  No dating, but plenty of massages.  Makes perfect sense to me.”

Nathan rolled over and sat up.  “Can you hook me up with an ogle?  Um, I mean a massage?”

Brian yanked the pillow from under John’s head, banging his head on the arm of the couch, and threw it with unerring accuracy at Nathan’s face.

John glared.  “Hey, what was that for?  I didn’t say anything!”

“You were thinking it, my friend.”

“Oh, and thinking is a crime now?”  John sat up and turned to look at Jim.  “Hear that, Frayne.  Thinking is a crime.”

Jim shook his head ruefully.  “Believe me, I’ve been aware of that for a very long time.”

Brian looked at him sharply, then turned to Preacher and rolled his eyes.  Preacher laughed and changed the subject.  “Men, I think we are in need of serious inebriation.  There is a keg calling to us from my apartment.”

The group made murmurs of agreement and packed up their homework.  Suddenly Clay looked up.  “Belden, aren’t you supposed to meet Ria for coffee?”

Brian dropped his large biology textbook – right on John’s foot.  John glared again.  “What the hell is this – target practice?  Don’t you think I get enough of that at football practice every day?”

Brian turned to him apologetically.  “Sorry, man.  But I can’t believe I forgot about Ria!”

Nathan walked over, trying not to bump his head on the track lighting overhead.  Being 7’2” in a room with 8-foot ceilings was not always safe.  “So, is she girlfriend material?”

The guys all turned to Brian, intently interested in his answer.

Brian smiled broadly.  “Most definitely.”

“Timber!” Jim yelled, grinning wickedly.  “Belden falls!”

Preacher punched him lightly in the arm.  “Just remember, Belden.  She’s like a little sister to me, and thinking is a crime.”

At the started expression on Brian’s face, Jim snickered.  This quickly evolved into full-blown laughter.

Clay grinned.  “Turn-about is fair play, you know.”

They all laughed.  Brian smiled ruefully and nodded to Preacher.  “I will think about her most respectfully,” he replied with a slight bow.

“You’d better,” his friend replied.  He smiled playfully, but his eyes were serious.  Brian felt a sudden wave of sympathy for Jim.

With that, they all left the suite.  Brian went to meet Ria for coffee, and the others went to quench their ‘need for serious inebriation’, reveling in the joys of college life.





Author's Notes:

For some reason, I had the hardest time writing this.  I don't know why - when I was in college I was one of the guys.  I should be able to get into their heads. LOL  Anyway, this needed to be written, because many characters mentioned herein will be showing up over and over again.

Except for Brian, Jim and Trixie, all characters mentioned herein are mine.  Oh my goodness, I can create my own characters!  Don't tell Random House.  It's so much more fun to use theirs.

Thanks, April and Kathy, for always being there when I need you.




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