tagBDSMA Friend of a Friend Ch. 01

A Friend of a Friend Ch. 01

byZachary©

She came to me as a friend. As the friend of a daughter of a friend, really.

I am a professor of economics at a second (or third) tier university in western Canada. I am divorced, my children are adults, and I traverse my middle age years alone (even living alone in a condominium row house). I am fit, despite my years, though not the athlete I once was. I shudder to think that I might be considered a "catch" by a woman of my own age.

Almost three years ago, half way through October, a friend (another professor, in a different department) told me that a friend of his daughter's was looking for a place to live. Apparently she had been living in a house with her boyfriend and another couple. As was entirely predictable, she had had a falling-out with the boyfriend, and now her living situation was rapidly becoming untenable. Would I (my friend wondered) be interested in having a tenant in my spare bedroom? My first instinct was to rule out this obvious folly. But my friend the professor assured me that her curriculum path included no economics courses, even any from any of my departmental colleagues. Well. Perhaps having another living soul under my roof would not be a terrible thing. Overcoming my doubts, I agreed to meet the friend of the daughter of the friend.

So a couple of days later I arrived (a bit late late) at a café in a used book shop. I had been told who to look for, and her name. But no such person was there. I glanced at my watch, picked up a coffee and a croissant, and took a seat. Ten minutes, I thought. Any more than that and the friend of the daughter of a friend would be out of luck. As any academic will tell you, in a bookstore, time becomes non-linear. I suppose it was fifteen minutes later that I looked up from a book about the modernization of the Italian economy following World War II. The young woman standing before me was clearly Nica. A bit taller than average (but I was sitting down). She was wearing faded jeans and a long sleeved t-shirt from the school's bookstore, both tight enough to show off her curves. Brown hair, light enough to show highlights where the lights struck it.

"Hi, I'm Nica!" (Yes, I know.)

"You must be Professor O'Neil!" (Yes I am.)

"I'm supposed to move in to your spare room!" (Are you now?)

"Why don't you sit down Nica? Would you like a cup of coffee?"

"Oh, is there like, tea or something?

"Well I should think there would be." We went to the counter where Nica ordered some sort of organic herbal tea and a slice of zucchini loaf. She made no effort to pay, assuming it was to be my treat. That done, we returned to our table and sat down.

"Well Nica, tell me what's happening. Why do you need to move six weeks into the autumn term?"

"My boyfriend, I mean my ex-boyfriend is such a dick."

And then came the tale of woe, wherein her ex-boyfriend Tyler was the chief villain and her room-mates Jenn and Daniel as supporting cast. Nica herself was entirely blameless, of course. The four of them had come together in their summer jobs. They had all worked for the city parks and recreation department in various capacities; Jenn and Tyler as lifeguards at outdoor pools, Daniel in maintenance and Nica in groundskeeping. "I cut grass all day, every day." They had been low-stress jobs for each of them, putting in their time in the day and partying at night. Nica hesitated not at all before telling me that she had had sex first with Tyler, then with Jenn, then Jenn and Daniel, then with Daniel alone, with Tyler and Jenn, before finally "settling down" with Tyler. Daniel and Tyler had apparently never gotten together, she added. I suppose that would have been the only remaining permutation. And this had been their summer; sun, fun, bikini days, tequila nights and rough mornings. Sex every night. And every day as well, as she managed a tryst or two with one (or more) of her friends while on the clock. Too much information, I thought. But I pictured her in a bikini, despite myself.

But then came September. That they would all live together was understood. There was a general sense that Jenn & Daniel would share one room, Nica and Tyler the other.

Jenn, Tyler and Daniel were all serious students and took to the discipline of class work readily, restricting their hedonism to weekends. Not so Nica. Nica placed a much higher priority on fun, much less on academic success. Her attitude (or theirs, in her telling) was also reflected in other areas of conflict. Her room-mates went to bed too early, got up much too early, worried far too much about things like dishes in the sink and laundry on the floor. Everyone else (she said) was responsible for these things, but everyone complained to her. And last, she hadn't had sex in four days. (Though she expressed this more in the vernacular.)

The situation was clear. Here was an immature, entitled, irresponsible young girl who wasn't able to behave in a manner that was sustainable and would bring her success. She was representative of a significant proportion of first-year students. Too immature to adapt to independent life at university, they would flunk out and return home to less intellectually demanding lives. Many would do so before Christmas.

My path was equally clear: quietly back away and let nature take its course.

"What are you studying Nica?"

"Languages. Philology. The history of English. How it evolved from Old English through Middle English to the Modern English spoken by Shakespeare to what we speak today. The influences of the Norse languages, of the Germanic. How the language is changing to this day." Her nose wrinkled as she smiled, "even Cockney slang; excuse me, I need a pod of peas."

I was mystified as she rose and walked to the counter. But then understood when she returned with... a pot of tea.

"Why does this interest you?"

She paused only for a moment, "history is wonderful, of course. Historians say that if you enter a theatre late, you ask, 'what has happened so far?' And that's history. And that's fine I guess. But language (for us the English language) is our medium. It's how we tell our stories, how we sing our songs, recite our poems. It's how we tell one another that we love them. Do you know how to say 'I love you' in Old English? It's 'Iċ lufie þē'. Historians can tell us what has happened in the movie. But English... it IS the movie! How can anyone, anyone who speaks English (even badly, even superficially) NOT want to know everything about it?"

I was speechless for a long moment.

"And... do you do well in your studies?"

"Pretty good. I finished with a 3.85 last year. That would qualify me for a Master's program here. But I'd rather go to England, of course. My chance at a Rhodes Scholarship seems to be slipping away."

Now I WAS speechless. Serious talk of Rhodes Scholarship, certainly on a Master's track, perhaps a PhD, an obvious grammatical error from a woman who clearly knew better. All this from a 19 year-old slip of a girl who spent her summer drinking and ... and I don't know what else.

"Well... would you like to come and see the house?"

Her nose wrinkled again, "Veritably!!"

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by Anonymous

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by franksummers01/07/18

Hooked

.... terrific setup, and clearly good prose. Looking forward to more!

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by jimpatrick01/05/18

Well written!

In fact very well written, can't wait for the following chapters.

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by Anonymous01/05/18

When is Ch. 02 to arrive ?

Fun read of your Ch. 01. A Page Tuner you have begun. Best of Luck

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