Living Life with Faith Ch. 01bytriplehigh©
All characters are over 18. This is my first submission, so feedback of any kind would be greatly appreciated.
It was cold again, the temperature couldn't decide whether it wanted to be frigid or warm. Today was especially frigid. It was 8 am and Reece was out running as he normally did every other day, breath leaving his mouth in billowy wisps. Coming to a stop in front of his house (an old yellow thing near the end of the street), he paused, reflecting.
Two semesters and I'm done. Two and then I try to figure out my life for a second time. Two for me to try and find an answer before I leave this place...
Suddenly melancholy, he ripped the keys out of his pocket, fumbling with the frozen lock. Inside, warmth assaulted him, slowly heating up the extremities that had become numb with cold. Going up-stairs to his room he was sure to try and be quiet, conscious of the fact his roommates were likely still sleeping. Grabbing a towel he headed for the bathroom and the hot shower that accompanied his morning ritual. The pounding water slowly worked away his stress and soreness, letting him focus on the day ahead, thinking to himself,
Thank God it's almost the weekend.
Leaving the shower and getting ready for his one and only class of the day (Arabic language), he was in the middle of eating his breakfast when John, his roommate, appeared in the kitchen.
"Morrring John, you jussh wake up?" Reece said, pausing mid-bite to slur out the syllables.
"Ya and I'm feelin' today is going to be great," John replied, with as much animation as was possible after just waking.
"Really and why is that?"
"You forgot, didn't you? Party, Valentine's day, Cynthia's house...ringing any bells?"
"Right! Ya totally forgot, but I'll be there -- I promise. It'll be nice to see Cynthia for once, it's been to long since we've done anything with her."
"She doesn't have anytime for us man, nursing majors don't have a life," John sarcastically said while making his way to the bathroom, "I'll see you tonight then?"
"I already told you yes, holmes. I'll shoot you a text when I'm coming over."
"I just know you dude -- don't bail on some lame ass excuse again. I'll see you later." With that, John shut the door to the bathroom and water from the shower was soon adding white noise to the house. Putting away his dishes and quickly brushing his teeth back upstairs (the joys of two bathrooms!), Reece made one final check of his things before leaving.
Class was uneventful and Reece spent the rest of the day studying for his other courses, of which there were too many. The hours slowly ticked themselves away and eventually the library had cleared out, leaving him and a few scattered students here and there. Sighing, he put his books away and was throwing on his jacket when he heard a voice behind him.
Turning around, he found himself looking at a familiar face.
Crap, I know this girl but I don't remember her name. Was it Shelby? No, shit, what was it?!
Perhaps sensing his problem, the girl went on,
"It's fine, we've only met once before. I'm Faith, Cynthia's friend."
Faith! That was it. How could I forget that, with a figure like hers?
Faith stood at around 5'8'' with blond hair and smile that could instantly warm you, no matter how cold the weather seemed outside. But, it was her eyes that captured you, making you want to be closer just so you could see them better. Clear blue, they expressed her every emotion with clarity -- right now they seemed bemused.
She was in fact bemused and was thinking, Why haven't I talked to this guy more? Cynthia always mentions that he's nice. And there's something in his expressions....
Recovering, Reece managed, "Faith, that's it -- I'm so sorry"
"No need! Just wanted to say hi is all. I actually have to get going; I'm helping Cynthia prepare for her Valentine party tonight."
"Well, don't let me stop you then. I'm sure I'll see you there."
Flashing a smile and walking away she said, "I look forward to seeing you then!" With that, she was through the doors and walking outside amidst flurries of snow.
Snow! Thoughts of Faith evaporated quickly as the realization hit him. Seriously? How much longer do I have to endure this crappy weather? With a long walk ahead, he finished packing his stuff and made his way back home.
Once there, and thoroughly frozen, he quickly changed into something more presentable. Nice jeans, a black v-neck, and his pea coat would suffice - weather be damned! Looking at himself in the mirror, he was suddenly aware that there would be a lot of people at the party. Do I really have to go? But an image of Faith appeared in his mind and suddenly he was more interested in going. Sending a text to John letting him know he was on his way, Reece walked along the snow covered sidewalks for a while before coming to Cynthia's house. It was a modest 2 story affair, great for college students short on cash and was close enough to the campus to make walking possible. Going inside, loud music was playing over the bustle and commotion of too many people in such a small place.
While making his way to the kitchen for alcohol, he was intercepted by a thoroughly drunken John.
"Duuuude! You made it! I was worried that you wouldn't show!"
"Like there was any doubt, I'm a man of my word," Reece responded, having to move closer as to be heard. It was mostly lost on John however, as he had already spotted another friend and was well on his way across the room. Shaking his head and smiling, Reece resumed his quest for alcohol trying to ignore the press of people around him.
He found it shortly in a massive punch bowl with a sticky note attached to it reading, "LOVE POTION # 9." Chuckling, he quickly filled a cup and downed it, already feeling less worried about the environment and talking he would have to do.
"Somebody's looking to get hammered!"
Turning away from the bowl, Reece looked at Faith standing a couple feet away, cheeks red from drink and eyes sparkling with intensity.
Jokingly he responded, "Is it that obvious?"
"Well, when you shoot a glass full of vodka and juice it's hardly a mystery."
Reece, moving closer, was momentarily taken by her smile and those damned blue eyes.
"I suppose you're right. So, I haven't seen you in what? A year?"
Faith, looking closer at Reece was slow with the reply. He's cute, but something is definitely different about him. What is it?
She replied in fashion, "More than that probably. Where have you been; I thought I hung around Cynthia enough to see you on occasion, but I was clearly wrong haha!"
Her laugh was throaty and totally unexpected for her size. It spoke of a happy life, something that Reece had been trying to find for a while now.
Smiling in return he said, "Well, last year I was in Jordan studying Arabic - I just got back this semester."
"I see! So what you're trying to tell me is that you are actually a CIA operative?"
"Haha! Hardly - it was school then more school when I was there. I barely traveled outside the country." Outwardly, Reece appeared the same, but inside it was another matter entirely. Thoughts of traveling to come back home half way through the program surfaced unpleasantly. The memory surrounding his frantic trip back was still too fresh in his mind. Attempting to refocus on her he asked,
"But what about you!? I hardly know you at all. You're a what, graphic design major?"
Despite his friendly tone and despite her inebriated state, Faith had seen a brief flash of something across his features. He's lonely. That's it, I'm sure of it! That's what I felt earlier today and that's what I'm getting now. But a guy like him...why? Drunken thoughts meandered briefly before she returned his question late, yet again.
"That's right, but with a minor in communications as well."
Noticing the pause for a second time Reece was about to ask how much she had already drank when someone exclaimed quite loudly that "LOVE POTION #9" was gone and that something had to be done immediately to rectify the situation. Inspired and eager to keep talking with Reece, Faith set her cup down and grabbed his hand yelling back to the party goer that they would take care of it.
Surprised, but not unpleasantly so, Reece asked, "And where exactly are we going to acquire more alcohol? I'm looking around and not seeing much left..."
Still dragging him forward, Faith looked back and replied, "There is this little corner mart up the street that sells cheap stuff, come on."
Putting their jackets on, they made their way into the snowy outside world. Light from the street lamps illuminated the surroundings, showing that everything was white and frosty. Coming from the loud interior to this was a mild shock to both, the quiet was immense and everywhere at once. Snow crunched underfoot softly as they slowly walked up the street. For a while, both were lost in thought.
Thinking that it was interesting Faith would drag him so readily out the door, Reece contemplated what it meant. Probably just drunk is all.
Faith, glancing at his serious face was having different thoughts all together. What is it about this guy? I'm not one to just randomly drag a guy outside alone, I know I'm not a sucker for charity cases either.
Breaking the silence a few yards from the mini mart Reece looked around and quietly said, "Despite me hating the cold, it really is beautiful out here tonight."
Looking down at Faith he was momentarily caught off guard yet again, but not by her eyes this time, it was her response, "Yes it is, isn't it? And I'm sad that we haven't talked much before this, can we make an effort in the future?"
Pausing, he grabbed the handle and while opening the door for her said, "I would love too."
Quickly finding the alcohol, they paid the clerk and left, once again in the snow. A couple steps from the store Faith took her arm and put it in Reece's, finding warmth in the cold. His heart accelerating from the contact despite the layers of separation, and his mind worked overtime to analyze this development. Oh man, what do I even do? Act casual, that's got to be safe.
But halfway down the street, arm in arm, Faith stopped suddenly. In a moment of semi-drunk passion she pulled his head down and kissed him. The contact lasted for only a moment, ending as soon as it had begun. Reece, pulled away, looking confused and unsure, still tasting her lipstick, still smelling her.
Lamely he said, "I think we should just get back to the party." What was she thinking?! I don't even know her...yet, I wish I could've made that moment last. Not a chance after that comment though.
Crestfallen at the not so subtle rejection Faith looked down and mumbled her assent. What the hell did I expect? For him to just start making out with me?! God, what is going on? I just need to leave.
In an awkward silence they walked in the measly light amidst the falling snow back to the party.