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turn of events

Chapter NIne

The good thing about starting college was that the summer breaks were longer.

After high school graduation on the East Coast, there were only about two months of down time.

And that didn't include orientation stress and whatnot.

The UC schools in California started at the end of September, but Danny and I started at the beginning of September, right after labor Day. Most East Coast schools started early September or at the end of August.

So Julie had more time than we did, although she ended school later. It all evened out in the end.

Jet, Lawrence, and Parker all visited me like we discussed during the school year. Jet and Lawrence came together or planned it that way because they had been briefly separated when Jet had to see her Mom for a month in Connecticut. So, it was a reunion for them as well as with me.

Parker came a little towards the end of the summer since he needed to save some money up.

I showed me friends everything; my favorite stores, the village, we saw Broadway shows, went shopping, ate at some delicious restaurants. They stayed at my apartment, so they saved on the rent. They each stayed for two weeks at a time, but when they left, I still missed them.

I wanted to call up Grant to see him, but I knew that was out of the question. He didn't want to see me and I had to respect his wishes.

Right after they left, I resumed my bugging Danny to say something to Julie, but he never got the courage to do so.

At this point she definitely noticed something was off with Danny and called him on it when the three of us went to lunch.

"What's up with you Danny?" she asked sipping some tea. "Something wrong at home?"

He shook his head mutely.

"Then what is it?" she demanded flipping her perfectly curled hair.

"It's nothing, I'm fine," he muttered.

"Liar," she said to him before turning to me, "Out with it."

"What?" I asked frowning.

"Well I know he told you. You two are tight as hell. Now tell me," she said waiting patiently.

"I don't know," I told her, keeping my eyes trained on her face.

"Now you're a liar too," she said leaning back in her seat with disbelief.

"Julie!" I protested.

"What kind of secret are you two keeping from me?" she asked, looking back and forth between me and Danny.

"I thought we didn't have secrets, but you and Danny are always conspiring about something behind my back," she said looking angry, "I thought it was just guy stuff, but now I'm not so sure."

"Julie," I tried again but she her jaw was set and she put down some cash and then abruptly stood up and headed for the exit.

I shot Danny a panicked look.

"Go after her you ass. Now she's pissed at us both because of your cowardice!" I hissed.

Danny hurriedly followed Julie and I sighed.

I leaned across the table and picked up some chicken with my chopsticks.

The food wasn't going to eat itself.

And I was still on my emotional binge.


Julie and Danny never came back to the restaurant, so I had to eat all of their meals. Ah well, it was good Chinese food.

I paid the check and then walked around aimlessly, not ready to go to an empty house.

I never felt so lonely before. I always lived in a separate apartment from my mother, but at least I knew she was just a floor above me with my grandmother. But now that she was gone, I was alone for real. And I didn't exactly want to chill with my grandmother, no offense to her.

I didn't have anyone.

It was a sad thought.

What was even more pathetic was that I was actually looking forward to school starting in two weeks because then I would have something to do and focus my mind on.

However, until then I would have to suffer my sad thoughts all by myself in my spacious apartment for one person.

I walked inside and threw my keys on the kitchen counter and looked around, not knowing what to do with myself.

Sighing loudly I walked into my room and turned on the lights.

I popped in a movie for background noise, to make it seem more lively in my place.

Then I took a shower.

A long shower.

I just let the hot water run over me, feeling the warmth wash over me.

When my hands got pruney I decided it was a good time to get out.

I went to my room and flopped on my bed not really feeling anything in particular

I stared blankly at the TV screen in front of me, not registering the story line or what was being said.

I felt my eyes droop and I was thankful that sleep was coming up.

My eyes finally fluttered shut and my mind was left in peace.


I was startled awake when I felt my bed shaking.

I forced open my eyes and at the same time realized someone was in my apartment, shaking me awake.
Bolting out of bed I got my legs tangled in the sheets and with a cry I fell to the ground with a loud thud.

"Fuck!" I gasped out.

"Pete, are you ok?"

I squinted my eyes.


"Yeah man, you ok?"

"Danny, what the fuck are you doing here? And what time is it?" I asked rubbing my head.

He grabbed my arm to help me up and flicked on the switch.

Light flooded the room and I groaned.

"I'm sleeping," I moaned and collapsed back into my comfy bed.

Danny ignored me and practically sat on top of me.

"I followed your advice."

"My advice?" I grumbled out sleepily.

"Yeah, I told Julie how I felt."

My eyes snapped open at that, "Yeah?"


"Judging by your smile, I'm guessing it went well?"

He grinned, "Yeah! I said how I like her as more than a friend and wanted to see if this could develop into something more. She said she was beginning to feel the same way but didn't know if we should do anything about it."

I laughed. "You guys are gonna go on a date?"

"Yeah, at the end of this week. I'm kinda nervous which is weird since we know each other so well."

"Yeah, not on a romantic level," I pointed out.

"I'm nervous," Danny repeated leaning on my bed frame.

"Don't be. You have nothing to lose. She already knows you as friend. I don't think it can end bad," I assured.

I closed my eyes and sighed, "You're awesome dude. She'll love you."

"Thanks Pete."

"No problem," I muttered as my eyes began to close.
"After I caught up to her, we went to get ice cream and just talked about everything and what was going in our heads," Danny went on.

"Must have been hard for the both of you," I murmured and smiled when I felt him pinch me.

"Then we took a walk and now here we are," Danny announced.

"You mean here you are in my apartment, bothering me as I try to sleep," I said.

"Why are you sleeping so early? It's like ten and it's the summer time?"

"I'm just feeling tired," I replied.



"Are you sure you're not feeling bad about stuff?"

"What kind of stuff?" I asked playing dumb.

"Grant stuff," Danny said.

"Nope," I answered.

There was a long pause.

"Ok Pete," Danny said.

"How did you get in here anyway?" I mumbled.

"Spare key. Rent collecting and all that stuff. And the car," he reminded me.

"Oh yeah."

"Want some company?" Danny asked snuggling under the covers with me.

"Ok," I said digging my head into the pillow.

I felt him wrap his arm around my waist.

"Everything will be ok Pete," he whispered in my ear before I fell asleep dreaming of my blond angel.


As freshman dormers, Danny and I had to move in before school started, therefore before labor day weekend.

Before that time, however, Danny spent a lot of time with Julie.

Since my best friends started dating, I was definitely left out or the third wheel.

We all still had fun as a group, but when they got all couple like and holding hands, it made me feel weird and want to leave them alone in peace.

But I loved my best friends, so it was ok.

I think Danny had super strong feelings for Julie from the adoring way he looked at her.

On Julie's part, she cared a lot about Danny, with the tender gestures and caring manner she took towards him.

Now I felt even more alone.

Thank God I was moving into the dorm.

Otherwise I might have gone insane with my thoughts and killed myself.

Danny was still in that lovesick mode and had to see Julie every damn weekend until she had to fly off to LA herself, which would be in a week and a half so she could get settled into her own dorms.

Again I kept to myself so they would have alone time.

One weekend I didn't feel like tagging along with the cutest couple on earth so I went for a leisure walk in Central Park since I didn't have much homework just yet. The first week of classes were introductions and syllabi and expectations.

I did have some reading but I could finish that in no time.

I needed some relax time and to just get some fresh air.

At one point I stopped walking and got some shade under a tree.

I ran my fingers through my hair, contemplating if whether or not I needed a haircut.

My hair is already short but I didn't know if I should make it shorter even.

Maybe I needed a new look. Perhaps a shorter cut would show off my pretty face better.

"Doing some intense thinking?" a voice asked to my left.

I turned abruptly and instantly backed up.

The guy standing beside me was so close that I practically kissed him when I turned to look at him.

"What?" I stammered.

The guy smiled.

"You were frowning and fussing with your hair and looking up at the sky. What were you thinking about?" the guy asked smiling at me.

"Umm," I stalled, "Well actually, I was thinking if I should cut my hair," I said sheepishly.

The guy grinned, "Really?"

"Sadly," I admitted smiling myself now.

"You're cute," he said.

I felt my smile fade slowly.

Oh shit, this guy was gay and he was hitting on me.

What are the chances.

Well then again I was in New York City.

"My name is Doug," he said smiling, revealing a wide smile as he took my hand and shook it.

"Uh yeah, I'm Pete," I answered.

I looked down since he was few inches shorter than I was and I studied his dark brown eyes and lightly freckled skin to his faux hawk that had the center parts died orange and red. I swear he had some eyeliner on as well.

His hand reached out and fingered my hair.

I frowned and backed up slightly.

What's with stranger's randomly touching you.

Doug smiled, "Sorry. Your hair looks fine."

I nodded.

"Hey I should get going," I started.

"Where you off to?" Doug asked stepping closer to me.

"I'm heading back to my dorm."

"Where do you go?" he asked.


"Me too."

"What year?" I asked.

"Junior," Doug answered.

"Freshman," I said smiling.

He eyed me, "Really? You don't look like a freshman," he said.

"How old do I look?" I asked.

"Much older," he said grinning at me appreciatively.

I continued walking back to my dorm with him trailing beside me and before I was about to cross the street he gently grasped my arm.

"Have time for coffee or lunch or both?" he asked me.

I looked at him, preparing to say no, but his smile was so inviting, his brown eyes so deep and dark, contrasting with his pale skin.

"All that thinking about your hair must have made you hungry and it's a beautiful Saturday afternoon. Do you want to spend that in a stuffy dorm room?" Doug continued ginning again. I noticed his smile looked like a check mark.

I paused still thinking if I should go to lunch. This guy was obviously hitting on me.

"Come on, keep me company, I have no friends," Doug said pleading with me with his eyes.

I laughed, "Fine."

"Awesome, follow me," Doug said grabbing my arm and tugging me along like a kid, which made me to laugh even more.

His child like behavior was definitely cheering me up.


"So you're from New York?" Doug asked.

I nodded.

"What part?"


"My mother lives in Queens. I live with my Dad in Brooklyn," Doug said.

"Divorce?" I asked.

He nodded as he chewed.

"It was messy for awhile, but now they're able to be in the same room with each other without there being any bloodshed," Doug said with a faint smile.

He leaned back and smiled at me shaking his head, "No worries. It worked out for the best. I couldn't stand my mother."

I smiled, "I guess it did work out then."

"What's your major at school?" Doug asked switching topics fast.

I blinked and licked my lips, "I'm not really sure, to be honest."

Dough smiled, "Right on. I have more respect for those who don't have their entire lives figured out, to the exact line on their piece of paper."

I smiled, "Yeah, my head's a bit all over the place right now."

"It's ok Pete. You have time to figure it all out," he said confidently.

"What's your major?" I asked.
"Art and fashion. All that crap," Doug said smiling as he pointed at his hair and fluffed out his outfit, which was pretty unique.

His jeans had that dirt washed look, but instead of a chalky white, it was a mixture of blue and violet shades and tiny tears around the knees.

His black shirt looked like it was made out of some denim material with airbrushed blue and lavender wings fused together where in the middle it looked like a blurred out angel figure.

"Yeah, you sure know how to put together an outfit," I commented.

Doug smiled, "Dude, I made this."

"You made it?" I repeated dumbly.

"Yeah," Doug said, "I sewed this denim shirt, dyed it black, brushed on this print. Same with the jeans. You like?"

I raised my brow, "Very cool outfit and very original."

"Thanks man."

We ate comfortably for the next hour just chatting about stuff and making jokes.

Doug was a funny guy.

He didn't have the harsh sarcastic humor that I did, but he had the easy going, relaxed attitude and his interests were different.

His fashion stuff reminded me of Julie.

I liked his creative vibe. I could sense his passion. I didn't have a specific passion so it was nice to meet people who did have passions about something.

"Want to get ice cream with me?" Doug asked, his hand brushing mine.

"I should get back," I began.

"Alright. How about dinner sometime this week?" Doug asked.

I stopped walking and eyed him, "Doug, what are you doing?" I asked bluntly.

"Asking you to dinner," he said his brown eyes deep and dark with emotion.

"I can't Doug. I shouldn't be getting involved with anyone."

"Why not?" Doug asked not relenting.

"Because I just shouldn't."

"Wrong answer, try again," Doug said looking at me patiently.

"I just got out of relationship and I don't want to rush into anything," I answered looking him in the eye.

He studied me carefully and nodded slowly. "Fair enough."

I nodded and continued walking with him silently.

"How long were you together with your ex?" he asked.

I swallowed hard when I thought of Grant being my ex but that was what he kind of was.

"Umm not too long, but we were," I paused.

"What?" Doug asked.

"We were in love," I finished.


"What?" I turned to him.

"You were lucky to have found love, at least once. Some people don't even get that," Doug said sincerely.

"I guess so," I said quietly.

"If you don't mind my asking," Doug said, "Why did you guys break up?"

I took a deep breath and looked around at all the people walking around during the cool September air.

"Long distance relationship wouldn't have worked. It would have been too hard. He doesn't even want to be friends with me. He cut off all contact with me basically," I said feeling sad again.

Doug didn't say anything but I saw him biting on his lip with a thoughtful expression on his face.

"I'm sorry Pete," Doug said.

I looked at him sideways, "You don't have to be sorry."

"I know," Doug said shrugging, "it's just that I feel bad you're sad. You have that sad quality again."

"Again?" I asked dumbly.

"Well in the park you looked like you were doing hard core thinking, but you looked kind of down. So I approached you. Wanted to make you feel better, but I don't think I did a really good job of it," he said apologetically.

I smiled, "It's ok. I'll be fine."

"Well since I made you feel bad, I insist on taking you to dinner tonight," Doug said confidently.

I laughed, "Dude you don't give up, do you?"

Doug grinned, "Nope."

I shook my head and chuckled. "I can go to dinner with you, but just as friends."

Doug nodded, "Got it. Just friends."

I studied his mischievous grin and sighed, "I have a feeling I'm going to regret this."

"You won't," Doug said smiling like a kid and then he pecked me on the lips so fast that I didn't even realized it happened and when I did, he was already running to the stop light, leaving me staring after him dumbfounded.

"Come on slow poke!" he called out crossing the street and prompting me to run after him, with a genuine smile on my face this time.


The workload at NYU was pretty tough. I did the maximum load of 18 credits. I knew I could handle it, but it was still time consuming.

I joined some Chinese clubs and stuff and helped out at the teahouse because I wanted to show my face in the establishment.

I lived with Danny and we ate late meals together since our schedules didn't match completely. We hung out without really hanging out, like studying at the same table.

Ah the college life.

I also spent time with Doug.

I never saw him around campus and I knew that if I did, I would notice him.

True to his word, we hung out just as friends and nothing more. He was still flirty but I enjoyed his company. He was in a way helping me get over Grant.

Or at least helping me to not feel so damned lonely all the time.

The semester passed quickly enough. With a heavy routine everyday, the days blurred.

September and October was eaten up so fast, I didn't know where it had gone.

Now it was early November and I knew for a fact that Julie was visiting for the long weekend.

Danny was happy to see her in person. I knew talking or emailing wasn't enough.

Julie's mom also was planning a thanksgiving shinding since she also missed Julie. So at least I had thanksgiving plans or a nice meal to eat with people.

Of course Doug invited me over to his house, not knowing I already had plans.

It was sweet of him to think of me.

I'm glad that someone was.


"Got any plans for winter break?" Doug asked as we got some ice cream at Cold Stone Creamery.

"No, not really. Just enjoying my time not weighed down with books and papers and all that shit," I said as I sat back down at the table.

He smiled at me, "I hear ya. It was a tough semester."

"More so for you if you're a junior. Got to get your major requirements out of the way, right?" I asked.

"Yeah, but I'm pretty on top of all of it," he replied.

"Have to be. We're NYU students, not community college kids," I said in a fake snooty accent and he laughed.

I smiled as I ate more ice cream.

Since when did I love ice cream so much?

Since I went to Texas and ate out Jet's entire ice cream supply.

And since Grant unofficially dumped me.

Mending a broken heart.


"What are you thinking about?" Doug asked curiously.

"How fattening this ice cream is," I said instantly, "Or how sweet it is. So sweet that I might die from diabetes right on 42nd."

He shook his head, "You're a funny man Pete."

"Yeah, I'm a bundle of laughs," I said dryly, smiling at him.

"Want to go to Florida with me?" Doug asked.

"What?" I asked my eyebrows raised and my spoon stopped midway to my mouth.

"My half brother, who's really old, well not that old, like 35, is into real estate and has two condos down there. No one is living in the other one right now so I decided to make it a vacation. Get away from chilly northern weather," Doug said.

"How old is your Dad that your half brother is 35?" I asked.

Doug smiled, "My Dad is pretty old. My Mom is younger, by like 12 years."

I nodded, "Got ya."

"So want to come with?" he asked.

"Umm," I said, stalling for time.

"Just as friends," Doug added smiling, "I want some friendly company."

His smile as always was super infectious.

He must have noticed my skeptical expression.

"It would only be for a week. We can sit on the beach, tan, swim, sleep, eat junk food. It will be fun. Come on, I'm visiting my brother either way. Don't make me go alone. He can't spend all his time with me. He has a wife and two kids."

"When are you going?" I asked, wearing down.

Doug grinned, "After Christmas. Like literally, the day after. Want to make the most of break, you know."

I thought about it silently as Doug looked at me with a smile on his face, pleading with his eyes.

Well, it's not like I had anything else going on with my life.

I knew David would bug me to go to Texas, but I didn't really want to.

And Julie would be home and as much as I loved her, I knew she would be spending couple time with Danny and I didn't want to intrude on their alone time.

Gah, I hated it when best friends got together and I was left in the cold.

It got awfully chilly and lonely out in the cold, or as the third wheel.

"Come on, you know you want to," Doug cajoled grinning at me and raising his eyebrows.

I would have fun with Doug in Florida. There was really nothing stopping me. I should take this opportunity.

I say when opportunity knocks, you don't slam your door in it's face.

That would be tres rude.

I smiled, "Ok."


I nodded.

"Awesome!" Doug cheered and I laughed. "Want me to come over later and help you book the flight info?" he asked.

"Sure," I said and I jotted down my address on a napkin.

"Cool. I can make you dinner too."

"Make me dinner?"

He nodded, "Pete dear, I am an artist. Naturally gifted. I can do it all, baby."

I looked at him wearily, "Alright. It better be good."

"Oh, it will be," he said winking at me.

I just shook my head and smiled.


"This is the best thing I have ever eaten," I said with my mouth full.

Doug came over the following week and helped me book the flight information and then as promised he cooked me food.

I was shocked when he brought over a huge grocery bag full of food.

"Ingredients," he said smiling at me as he made his way into my kitchen.

"Watch and learn," he said as he got to work washing the stuff and whipping out things as if he had been here all his life.

I watched in amazement and awe. It was kind of nice to have a guy who kind of liked me, cooking for me.

It felt good.

He shot me a genuine smile that I couldn't help returning.

And now as I sat down and ate his delicious creation, I was definitely seeing Doug in a new light.

Doug smirked, "Told you I was good."

"You are good," I agreed, "I bow down to you, oh mighty greatness."

Doug threw his head back and laughed, "Pete, it's just burritos!"

"I know, but you make it so good. I can never get the burrito to stay closed or stuck together, or whatever you call it."

Doug shook his head at me, "You need to press it to get it hot. It sticks better when its hot."

"Noted," I said taking another bite of his rice, cheese, chicken, and bean burrito.

"I love Mexican food," Doug said as he bit into his own, "Or all kinds of food. I kind of got into cooking when my parents got divorced because I needed to eat. My Dad can't cook for shit."

I smiled widely.

"That and my Dad works so much I wanted to make sure he had food to bring to work or something decent to eat when he got home."

"Aw, what a good boy," I teased him.

He stuck his tongue out at me.

"Be quiet, or I'll never cook for you again," he threatened good naturedly.

I made a show of closing my mouth and zipping it up. Then I continued to eat.

"You're gonna cook for me in Florida right?" I asked grinning.

"Of course Pete. You smart brainy people are useless when it comes to anything creative or isn't solved with a formula."

"Hey!" I protested.

Doug threw his head back and laughed. "Whatever, it's true!"

"Perhaps," I said thoughtfully. "I'm a little excited to go to Florida actually."

"A little?" Doug asked pretending to sound insulted.

I laughed, "Well, a lot. It's nice to go somewhere and just relax or be away from people. My best friends are dating and they always include me in everything, but somehow I still feel a little left out."

"You'll have a good time," Doug promised, "My brother has a nice place and we'll eat good meals, sleep on the beach, go swimming in warm water. It will be fun."

"Yay," I said as I popped the last of my burrito into my mouth. "Can I have another one?" I asked.

Doug widened his eyes, "Shit Pete. How do you stay so skinny when you have an appetite for like ten burritos?"

I grinned, "I'm a lucky ass mofo."


Thanksgiving was great.

It was really nice to have the family together or at least my surrogate family together.

Julie's and Danny's parents together, their grandparents, my grandmother, some of our neighborhood friends.

It was weird seeing Julie and Danny so couple like even after all this time, but everyone else seemed overjoyed with the pair of them, like their parents for example.

Either way I still had a great time.

I ate tons of food and even though I was full, I kept packing it in.

I admit, my stomach was aching a bit and I had a feeling I would be regretting my food binge later on tonight.

Like when I was sitting over the toilet or something.

The only bad part of this party was that I felt a little left out even if I was surrounded by people that I loved and that loved me.

The most messed up thing was that I missed David and our little one on one lunches and Kelly's insistent cooking. Or my staring match with Blair that I always won. I never had a brother, but even one as annoying as Blair, it was less lonely.

I missed Jet and Lawrence and their silly moments together. Or Parker and his odd humor.

I especially missed Grant.

My beautiful Grant.

I was envisioning his angelic blond curls and bright blue eyes and his adorable smile or his nose sprinkled with freckles.

I really wanted him here right now, eating with me until we were about to vomit.

I went outside and made a point to call David and wish him a happy Thanksgiving and even gave my best wishes to Kelly and Blair and of course Grant.

I chatted with him a bit and he was overjoyed to hear my voice since I hadn't called in awhile. I usually emailed.

Sighing, I looked around at Julie and Danny who were filling their plates some more.

They were talking close by to each other, laughing. They looked so good together. I bet there were gonna get married and have lots of babies and live happily ever fucking after.

Bitter bitch, yup, that was me.

I needed someone too. I didn't want to be alone anymore. I wanted to be held and kissed and have a warm body to cuddle with someone at night.

"Hey guys," I said as I walked up to Julie and Danny.

"Hey Pete," Julie said smiling at me as she dished out more rice.

"Want some more food?" Danny asked.

"Noo," I said rubbing my bloated stomach.

Julie laughed, "Come on, it's the holidays. Push it in," she said motioning with her hands.

"No way Julie. I'm about to be sick here," I exclaimed.

Danny kept his hand on Julie's lower back as they talked quietly among each other.

"Hey guys, I'm a little tired. I think I'm gonna head home," I said.

"Oh no," Julie said.

"Yeah, I'm not feeling so well. I think I ate too much," I said.

Danny studied me, but I shot him a look telling him I didn't want to talk further.

"Fine, but take some leftovers," Julie insisted.

"No, it's ok," I began.

"No, take some. We have so much food and everyone has already eaten one plate," she said walking into her kitchen.

"Dude, just take it," Danny said holding me back as I tried to go after her. "You know she'll get her way."

I nodded.

Danny eyed me, "You ok man? You can talk to me, you know."

"I know, but I'm not in the mood. I kinda wanna be alone."

He looked at me strangely.

I never liked being alone.

Except for nowadays.

"Pete," he began looking worried.

"Danny, I'm fine, ok?" I said forcing a smile, "Just have a good time. I just need to be alone and stuff, ok."

He nodded slowly, not looking happy, "Yeah."

"Here honey," Julie said presenting me with several containers of food.

"Thanks Julie," I said and I kissed her on the cheek and hugged Danny.

"I'll call you tomorrow," Danny said as I was leaving.

I lifted my hand in response and walked out the door.

I entered my dark apartment, heading straight for my room.

I took off all my clothes, climbed into bed, and closed my eyes.

My life felt like shit.

Things were supposed to be perfect freshman year of college.

How had things turned around so fast?

I didn't know what to do.

Thank god for winter break coming up. I could use the little get away with Doug.


"No way Doug," I said shaking my head as Doug followed me around the condo.

We had arrived in Florida a bit late due to delays and our flight was in the evening to begin with, so we took a taxi to his brother's spare condo and were getting settled in.

The following morning we planned to have breakfast with his family, but right now, I was being pestered by Doug.

"Come on!" Doug insisted, "I slept throughout the entire plane ride. I'm wired and I'm bored. I need something to do!"

"Well do anything you want, just don't dye my hair," I retorted moving towards the bedrooms.

"Come on, please," Doug pleaded trailing me.

"I'd look ridiculous!"

"You'd look great. You always look great!" Doug said.

I shot him a look, "Flattery usually gets you anywhere with me, but that isn't working."

"Hey, it's winter break. You won't have school for a whole month. Don't you want to mix things up a bit?" he asked.


He groaned in frustration as we reached the top floor.

"Which one is mine?" I asked.

He pointed to the one of the left.

I nodded and walked over, throwing my bags on the bed and jumping on the bed slightly, laying down.

Doug hopped on the bed beside me and laid beside me, his hands behind his head and he looked at the ceiling.

I couldn't read his expression, it seemed pretty neutral looking, but I suddenly felt bad.

I didn't think he would be upset over something like this, but I wanted him to have a good time on this trip and he did invite me after all.

"Ok," I said.


"Ok, you can dye my hair," I said sitting up slightly.

"Really?" he asked smiling as he propped himself up on one elbow.

I nodded, "Sure, why not? Like you said, I have one month to do whatever I want with myself before I have to transform back into my studious self as a good standing NYU student. May as well do it while I can."

Doug grinned, his dark brown eyes beaming and I realized I felt happy I could make him smile that big.

"Yay!" he cheered and I couldn't help chuckling as he grabbed my hand and dragged me off the bed towards the bathroom.

I gave a muffled grunt when he threw me onto the toilet seat and ran out of the bathroom, rummaging through his luggage he had left in the kitchen.

I raised my brow at him when he returned with some hair dye kits. "Do you always carry that with you?"

"No," Doug replied smiling, "I was thinking of changing my own hair while I was here. I like to change my look. It's the artist in me," he added shrugging.

He studied me until I began to feel self conscious.

"What?" I asked blinking a little uncertainly.

"Just trying to decide what color I should do you hair. And what goes best with your skin," he murmured thoughtfully.

"We're not doing my entire head," I said adamantly.

Doug didn't say anything to that as he continued to stare at me, "You have such beautiful skin Pete," he said softly.

I frowned slightly as he looked at me still, his eyes holding a longing look to them.

Then he shook his head and the look faded from his eyes. "Um, no we won't do your entire head. That's so out," he said snapping his fingers and grinning at me, "I was thinking of doing the tips of your hair, just to give you a little bit of a kick to your too polished look."

"What color were you planning?" I said.

"You have such a nice ivory complexion. I don't want to drab it with blue or anything, but something to bring out the soft tones, red?"

"Red?" I asked.

"Perfect against your dark hair," he said smiling as he began getting the materials ready, fussing with stuff as I watched.

"Take off your shirt," he commanded.

"What?" I asked in shock.

"Either that or change into something shitty. In case something drips," he said focusing on mixing the chemicals.

"I don't have shitty clothes," I said.

Doug smiled at me, "Then strip baby!"

I rolled my eyes and took off my shirt, draping in behind the door.

Doug stared at my torso and I felt that familiar flush on my cheeks.

"Stop staring at me Doug," I said.

He smiled again, "I can't help it Doug," he said, his tone laced with awe, "You're so ripped."

I snorted, "Don't you mean skinny. I can't be ripped if I don't workout."

"True, but wow, man, you're muscles are totally popping out of your skin. Your six pack, the veins in your arms," he said, panting slightly.

I looked at him.

"You're turning me on a bit Pete," Doug admitted.

"Maybe this wasn't such a good idea," I said reaching for my shirt.

He took my arm and pushed me back onto the toilet seat firmly, "Relax Pete. I'll behave."

And he did behave.

He was really focused on dying my hair. Like he would paint a section of my head and then lean back and study my hair, biting his lip in concentration.

I found it cute actually, that he took something like dying hair so seriously.

Then when he found whatever he was looking for, he would resume painting pieces of my hair.

While I let the color set in, he did his own hair, dying his entire head black.

"I want that sexy brooding look," he joked as he rubbed dye thoroughly into his hair with his glove covered hands.

As we waited for the color to set in, Doug and I walked into the kitchen where it was fully stocked, apparently by his brother.

Doug made something simple: some tuna sandwiches.

"I love pickles," he said practically finishing the entire jar.

I eyed him, "It's full of salt. You're gonna have like high blood pressure."

"Ah well, what a way to go."

I curled my lip mocking, "By eating pickles? I'd rather die by having heart failure during a sex orgy!"

Doug choked slightly on his food and he coughed while I laughed as he tried to regain his composure.

"Fuck, Pete, watch that mouth of yours, it's fucking lethal!"

I continued to laugh, my shoulders shaking.

"You have no idea how lethal my mouth can be," I said in a leering manner as I winked suggestively.

That comment only caused Doug to choke some more.

It took us nearly forever to finish dinner as we exchanged banter throughout.

"Dude, my head is itching. I have to wash this dye out," Doug said standing up.

I followed him into the bathroom.

"I'll wash out your hair first. I'll just wash mine when I shower since the black die runs a lot," he said as he nudged me over the sink.

His fingers gently rinsed the dye out and he gave my scalp a slight massage, his fingers feeling strong and soothing.

"Alright, I'm gonna shower. I'll be fast," Doug said as he turned on the water.

I left the bathroom and headed back to my room, studying my reflection.

The red tips did look pretty good actually.

It made my look different and more exciting and young.

I felt a little better.

I needed more change in my life.

I guess my hair was a good start.


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