tagChain StoriesUniversity of Life Ch. 02

University of Life Ch. 02


Bach stared moodily out the window, watching the icy stillness of the winter's grip on the building. At least the dorm was fairly warm, although he'd absconded with the blanket from his loft; he and his cape made for a swaddled lump of pseudo-misery.

"Give me your tired, your hungry, your cold, your huddled college students yearning to break free...", he misquoted, but no bright rays of February sunshine illuminated the dusky midnight-blue and white college campus landscape beyond the frozen pane.

A knock behind him announced he had company; Bach put down the white kerchief he was holding, and turned his head just enough to see his roomie, Michael Lyleman. "Hey, Bacchus. The whole floor's downstairs in the lounge; we're playing poker and dominoes, and Tuan brought down a mahjongg set, but he can't find four to play with. You ought to come join us; the RA's bringing a couple of cases of Penguin brand soda he's been stashing for a post-final bash.

"Just a couple of cases?" Bach said, a bit sarcastically, "That'll last a long time." Stu, two doors down, could drink a six pack of Pepsi in one night. "No thanks. You go ahead, Mike."

"C'mon, Satyr-man. What happened to the guy who's supposed to be the life of the party?" Mike inisisted, as he leaned against the door. Mike was tall, lanky, and had leg muscles that deserved the cut off jeans he wore over them. His dingy orange T-shirt bore a faded Tropicana logo across the chest, and he'd pinned his Theta Beta Mu pledge pin right in the navel of the orange.

"Simple. Like I told you, my name's 'Bach', as in the composer, not 'Bacchus', as in the demigod of parties, unlike you and your Theta buddies." Bach snapped back, a little loudly, "...and before you try to be clever by saying I'm not deaf, that's Beethoven."

Mike laughed, and crossed the room, digging for Bach's hand and trying to drag him up off the chair. "Hey. To me, Beethoven's a big fluffy dog. Now come /on/, Bach. Besides, it's warmer downstairs with all the extra bodies."

"It's warmer back in San Diego, too, but you don't see me catching a plane back there, either. I'd rather stay here, thanks," Bach said.

"Dude," Michael said, "you didn't come cross-country to get snowed in - you came here for a bona fide university education. Which includes college life, which includes being social. You're coming with me."

Bach tried to stay seated, but Mike had almost a half-foot of height on him at six feet, on top of being on the lacrosse team, whereas Bach's idea of exercise was a slow-and-steady jog around the oval that wasn't going to break any speed records. As soon as Mike had him on his feet, he pressed his strength and height advantage, grabbing Bach behind the shoulders with two very strong and slender hands, and ushered him determinedly out of the room. "How can anyone turn down a night hanging out with the guys?" Mike cajoled him.

Bach snorted, gathering the blanket tighter behind him as Mike pulled their door shut. He realized belatedly that he hadn't had a chance to see if he looked presentable in the mirror, but then remembered that he was wrapped up in a blanket, so even if he looked like a blonde and bedraggled Germanic-American, he'd at least be mostly hidden from view.

Mike noticed him fussing with his hair, and chuckled. "Dude. You're going to be with the guys. They don't -care- what you look like. Well, except maybe Roger." He pulled the edge of the blanket away from Bach's neck, and peeked underneath. "T-shirt, undershirt, jeans. You'll match the rest of us."

"Roger's down there? Joy." Bach said. He could count on Roger to comment on his d‚cor, or lack thereof. The slim, trim, sophomore fancied himself to be a twenty year old Carson Kressley, only with better hair; he was always insisting that T-shirts and jeans were so Bruce Springsteen.

One flight of stairs and a brief stop while Mike tried the outer doors (still mostly frozen shut) later, Bach and Mike arrived in the dorm's common room, making the number of extremely bored men in the room roughly twenty. Bach glared at Mike. "This isn't even half of the floor, dude." he accused.

"Mikey!" Roger called out from the couch, before Mike could come up with a lame excuse to feed Bach. "You got him down! All righty, Bach -- let's get that awful blanket off of your bod!" It was a well-known fact that Roger was a non-practicing bisexual -- his steady boyfriend lived back in Roger's hometown, but it didn't stop him from window shopping.

Bach scowled, and contemplated turning and stalking out, but the other men had taken up a chant of 'Bach. Bach. Bach,' along with Roger. Since he didn't know about four or five of the people shouting, he figured that this was Kyle's doing.

Kyle, a senior and the resident assistant, came over to pat Bach on the shoulder. "Pay Roger no mind. It's my job to make sure everyone has fun instead of cabin fever, and you've been so quiet you're making me look bad. Please. Stay a half an hour, play one game, and we'll let you go." He leaned in close, murmuring, "Anti-social students don't get near as much help when it comes to group cramming for finals. And there's not like there's anything else you can do until the snowplows come to dig us out." The Haitian threw a mocha-skinned, sweatshirted arm around Bach's shoulders. "Besides. The other alternative is a snowball fight, and I know you're from SoCal. You'd freeze about thirty seconds after I did," he added, a little more slowly, in French.

"Ooooh. They're speaking French, I think," Roger said. "Voulez vous couch-air affect moi?" he teased, patting the battered sofa.

Bach sighed. "Fine, fine. I'll take one for the team. What're we playing?"

Kyle grinned wryly. "Attaboy, Mister Wilhelm. We've got Texas Hold'em and Uno going, or you can pick a game, and we'll find someone to play it." He gestured at the bookshelf of games, most of which had seen better days.

Bach studied the games for only a moment before narrowing the choices down to two. "Trivial Pursuit, or Scrabble?" he called out, figuring that he'd get at least some satisfaction in stomping the frat-boy and jock crowd down to size.

"Count me out of the Triv Shiv!" Roger said, "...we had a party the other night where a bunch of us just pulled the question box and read out all the cards, and some of the guys have really long memories" He turned around, and called out, "What ficticious baseball team won the World Series in the second installment of Back to the Future?"

"Florida!" was the resounding answer, though Presden tried to answer "Kalamazoo!", only to get lightly punched down by the other guys on the couch.

"Name a type of pasta that doesn't end in a vowel!" Roger asked aloud. Bach paused, thinking, but didn't get a chance to come up with an answer before there was a chorus of "Elbow!"

"Sorry, cutie." Roger got up, though, straightened his powder blue cashmere sweater, and sauntered over to Bach, Kyle, and Michael, grabbing up the reddish box on his way by. "Scrabble, on the other hand, is my kind of game. What about it, you two? Shall we make this a foursome, right here?"

Michael waved off. "Not me, man. I should call my cousin over in the other dorm." he says. "Her dad's overseas and won't call, so someone's gotta make her feel the warm familial love thing on a cold February night like this."

Roger made a gleeful face. "Like, can we say 'incest'? I knew we could," he teased; some of the other guys catcalled something similar. Michael tried to swat Roger with the cellphone. Bach wanted nothing more than to go back up to his room.

But an agreement was an agreement. "Hey. I got a better idea." Rog, Kyle, why don't we take this game upstairs to the second floor kitchen. Last thing we want is the other guys to kibitz."

Kyle said reluctantly, "Hey, I did not say I was playing."

Unexpected help came in the form of Presden, who swept past Bach and Roger, hooking Kyle by the arm and dragging him towards the stairway. As much as Bach had had trouble resisting Michael, Kyle had no chance against Presden, who was the second string nose tackle for the football team. "I love Scrabble - my class played it a lot when I was learning English. So! We go!"

"And if you volunteer your friends, you volunteer yourself. House rule," Roger said triumphantly, trailing in their wake.

"All right, all right, I'm coming of my own free will, Swedish." Kyle protested, and shook off Presden's arm. "One of you should grab us a six pack before they're gone," he called around the athlete's husky frame.

An hour and seven minutes later, Bach was really glad for the blanket, more for its ability to tuck his arms around my knees and hide his smile. He was skunking the other three, up by fifty-seven points on the nearest competitor. Kyle kept yawning, and Presden kept trying to use words in Swedish, even though the set didn't include a single ring A tile. Roger was taking anywhere between five and fifteen minutes to put down a move, and he continuously mixed up his tiles as if trying to divine some cryptic word.

Kyle yawned again, and Presden kicked him under the table. "Sorry. The cold? Saps the energy right out of me," he said, sounding quite insincere, and then it was his turn to prod Roger with his sneaker. "Come on, Mister Noor. Play, or pass."

Roger shooed the toe away absently. "Hang on a second, I almost had it..." He brightened, and then laid down the word 'BOOBY'. "There. It's legal; it's a bird."

Presden sniggered. "A red breasted bird, no less." Besides being a jock, Presden was also a biology major with an interest in birding. He immediately set down two tiles for his turn. "TIT," he announced, "..as in 'tit' for 'tat'. Three points, but it's all I've got."

Bach blushed. "Fine, okay, I'll get into the act..." he said, and laid down his own pre-determined move: 'SCREW', on top of a previous 'DRIVER'. "Screwdriver, double word score,' he replied, and he tried not to feel guilty as he opened out his lead even wider.

"Ooooh. 'The act,' he says." Roger says. "I didn't know you swung that way, Bachmeister."

"I do not!" Bach growled. "I spelled out 'screwdriver.' As in the tool, or the drink."

Presden cackled. "He said 'tool.'" Bach pulled the blanket over his head to hide the blush.

Kyle was suddenly more alert. "Sheesh. Smartass virgin underclassmen, homosexuals, and their dirty minds. Next time, on Oprah."

Presden nearly choked on a pretzel. "I am not a virgin!" he protested. "Have not been since I was sixteen!"

Bach didn't answer, hiding his smile behind a corner of the blanket.

Kyle nodded. "I can believe it of you. You're good-looking enough, Presden -- besides, I know darn well you're a junior."

Roger grinned wider. "Kyle, with the eye for the men. There's hope for you yet to join the dark side of the Force."

Kyle stuck his tongue out at Roger as he laid down the tiles: "SEX." "Triple letter score, 26 points. Score me, Bach."

Bach had to chuckle at that, as he wrote down Kyle's score. "Et tu, Mister Rutayie?" he said, faking a jab at him with the pencil.

Kyle smirked. "I'm allowed. I would wager that I have more sexual experience than all of you combined."

Roger leered. "You'd lose, honey. I used to be an extroverted card-carrying bisexual -- not homosexual, thank you very much, until I met my Jimmy, so if you can think it up, boyo, I probably did it."

Presden hmmed softly. "On a luge board."

Roger snickered. "Okay, you got me. I'm not -that- suicidal, Presden. In a moving semi truck? Yeap. Speedboat? Check. Mile high club? Check." He put a "Y" after 'SEX'. "Not dead, but still sexy, me. Fourteen points."

"Those are the easy ones, if you're not the one driving." Kyle said. "And while it might be a fun exercise to run the bunch of you versus the list, I do not want to bother pulling the purity test up online; not while we're in the middle of a game."

Presden shrugged his shoulders. "Bach is killing us, anyway."

"I dunno. I've seen come from behind wins before," the RA insisted. "Your turn, Pres."

Presden put up an ordinary word. "Sorry, I don't know very many sex words I could play that I wouldn't be embarrassed by." And then he added, "You said 'behind,'" belatedly.

Bach emerged from the blanket, and eyed his letter rack, taking a few minutes before he put 'STOR' on the end of Roger's 'Y'. "Double word score, sixteen points." He felt his face get hotter as he realized what the board now read.

Kyle grumbled. "Damn you, English major, and the dictionary you rode in on." He drummed his fingers on the tabletop. "So Mister Wilhelm here is eeeeeasasily embarassed. I think the only way we have a chance at winning is to melt his brain with --" He tapped the board, "--sexy stories. The lewder the better. We could start with you, mister 'I'm not a virgin' Presden."

Though Bach wanted to disappear into the blanket again, it was Presden's turn to color. "I'm not sure I want to..."

Roger waggled a finger at Kyle. "Nuh uh. You know the rule; volunteer your friends, you volunteer yourself. On top of that, you're the one who claimed he had more experience than the rest of us put together."

Presden leaned forward, nodding. "Yeah. That's right. Tell us a story, oh fearless leader."

Before Kyle could protest, Mike slipped into the kitchen with them, and shut the door, leaning against it. He still had the cellphone up against his ear; his face was flushed and he was breathing slightly audibly. Roger raised an eyebrow and opened his mouth, but Mike put a finger against his lips, the universal sign for 'Quiet.' He fiddled with the phone for a moment, and then said, "The girls ... over in the other dorm. Their power's even more flaky than ours, so get this... they've been having a story circle...."

They could all see the bulge in Michael's cutoff jeans. "...about sex." he finished, in a breathless voice. He set the phone down next to the Scrabble board, with the mute on, and the volume turned up to the maximum. They could all hear the diminutive contralto of a girl on the other end of the phone, talking about liking to have her nipples bitten. Hard. The phone beeped, as if in appreciation.

Suddenly Bach was extremely glad for the blanket.

"I don't think they know we're listening in," Michael whispered, "Cassie called me during a bathroom break from their story circle, and there's no way these girls would be this open with a bunch of guys listening."

Kyle snorted. "Dude. You just put it on mute, right? Why're you whispering?"

Michael blushed. "Oh. Right. Well, I've been listening to two, three stories now, and while some of the guys downstairs might want to listen in, I don't trust my frat buddies not to blab or stare when they see those girls after the freeze ends."

Roger hushed Michael. "Shh! She's getting to the good part."

The men listened quietly, a conspiracy of five, as the nameless girl told more of her story.

Unfortunately, Michael's cellphone chose the absolute worst moment to die, right as she was describing building up to her second climax.

"Awwwwww, no." Roger moaned. "Dead battery, right?"

Michael checked the phone's display. "Afraid so. I'll run back to my room and get the charger; back in a jiff," he said, and plowed through the door at top speed.

Presden sighed. "Well, time to start thinking about IKEA furniture."

Kyle grinned quietly. "He'll be back. We can get back to our game in the meantime," the RA replied.

Roger snorted. "Bach is still ahead by seventy billion." He yawned. "And Michael's discovery has sapped all the blood from my brain, if you know what I mean."

Kyle shook his head. "Not that game." He leaned towards Roger. "Giant ball pit."

Roger licked his finger, and painted a line in the air. "Been there, done that. FAO Schwartz, downtown Manhattan. Jeannie was a floor manager, and had the closing shift that night."

Kyle snapped his fingers. "Nuts. Your turn."

Roger grinned evilly. "Cockpit of a jumbo jet. Mile high club with a view."

Kyle smirked. "I'll go for partial credit. The jet wasn't in the air at the time; I had one night stand with a stewardess during a snow-in layover in Saint Paul."

Roger mock-sighed. "Well, I guess that counts. Presden, your turn. You get a shot at whichever one of us you think you can get."

Presden looked between Roger and Kyle, calculating. "What are the terms of winning, since I have already gotten Roger?"

Kyle grinned. "A story. Loser tells a story about their sexual prowess. Like the girls, only better."

Bach sighed. "All right, I'm bailing, if we're done playing Scrabble."

"Mai non, mon ami. You must take at least one turn, and then you can go." Kyle said. "Presden, get his arm!" he ordered.

Presden grabbed one arm, and Kyle grabbed the other. "Awww. I seem to remember that someone didn't defend the fact that they were a virgin." Kyle teased.

"Am not..." Bach protested weakly. "But I don't have to tell you anything, and besides, if I am, then I've got nothing for you." He tested Kyle's grip; almost as strong as Presden's, so he knew he wasn't leaving here unless he left his arms behind; he sat down again, defeated.

Roger leaned over the table, nearly dislodging a few tiles in the process. "Oh, but you've just admitted that you aren't. So you've got at least one experience in those tacky jeans of yours, and even if you hadn't? You're an English major. You can improvise."

Presden waggled his eyebrows. "Okay, try this one on for size, Bachmeister. Jungle gym."

Bach laughed, relievedly. "Actually...my first time -was- on a jungle gym."

Presden groaned, and let his arm drop. "Unbelieveable. Your turn, and then you can escape."

Kyle was staring at Bach as if he'd turned into an alien. "No, no way. This I have to hear, now. C'est impossible, mais oui?" Bach had never seen the RA this surprised. "I always figured you to be one of those closet bookish types."

Bach growled, "Hey, rules are rules. The terms were that if I'd done the time, I didn't have to tell about the crime."

"Cuuuute. You're so smart," Kyle said, and then looked at the others. "Gentlemen? Votes to amend the rules where if we don't believe it, the fella has to give names, situation, and answer five gory questions in detail."

Roger pretended to deliberate for a long moment. "Aye."

Presden raised a finger. "With the contention that if we don't want to hear, we can leave the room, or veto the story outright. There are some things I don't want to know about my buds."

Roger leaned against Presden. "Oh, what's the matter, Pres? Big man doesn't want to hear about hot guy on guy action?"

Presden blushed a bright shade of red, under his platinum blonde hair. "No, actually. Europeans are a lot less repressed about homosexuality than you Americans are."

Roger leered, and played with a lock of Presden's hair between his fingers. "Afraid that you'll develop feelings for me?"

Presden balled a hand into a very impressive fist. "Not even." He says. "Just... there are things I don't want to think about every time I see you."

Bach yawned. "Well, if you're more interested in each other than you are in me..." He started to try stand up again, but Michael reappeared at that very moment, cellphone recharger cord in hand.

"Mikey. Block the door! " Presden called out, and Mike adopted his best 'goalie' stance. "Why're we blocking the door? It's not like you don't have keys to all the dorm rooms, Kyle." Mike said.

"Yeah, but Bach is trying to escape without doing 'do' diligence." Kyle explained. "He claims to have had sex on a jungle gym, and he won't prove it."

Mike's eyebrows went -right- up. "Okay, this I have to hear," he said.

Surprisingly, Bach found himself actually warming to having an audience. Perhaps it was time for the story to finally get out, after all. "New Year's Eve, back home in San Diego, name of the park withheld for the sake of the kids."

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