Melinda’s story will return in Episode 96.
I was sick of being home. Walter spent most of the week playing video games. I spent it laying on my bed, staring at the ceiling. I wasn’t sleeping well. At night, I would dream about kissing Melinda. Holding Melinda. Talking to Melinda. During the day, I would think of things I wanted to tell her. Sometimes my phone was in my hand before I remembered that we had broken up.
On Sunday, I convinced Mom to let me and Walter return to school early. We arrived on campus as the dining hall was opening for lunch. At Walter’s suggestion, I parked near my dorm, joining him for lunch before I needed to move my car to the TRAC.
No one was back on campus yet. There were a handful of students and faculty members in the dining hall, but none of our friends. I sat with Walter and picked at my food. I think he tried to talk to me, but I didn’t hear what he was saying.
Eventually, I grew tired of waiting for my gluttonous brother to finish eating. I made up some excuse about needing to move my car and left. Honestly, I think I needed to get away from him.
I took my time returning to my dorm, enjoying the brisk winter air in my lungs. I was halfway to my car when I realized I had accidentally left the key on my desk. I was about to head to my room when I glimpsed my car. It was rocking slightly back and forth. The windows were foggy in the cold air and I knew immediately someone was in there. Had I locked it? I couldn’t remember.
I opened the door and immediately shielded my eyes as I screamed at my roommate.
“What are you doing?”
“Shut the door!”
“Get out here!”
I slammed the door closed. He had better be putting his clothes back on. I glanced around as I waited for him. More people were returning, but most were parking in front of the buildings. Hopefully, no one had seen what was going on.
A moment later, Frank came out of the car with a girl I didn’t recognize. It certainly wasn’t Melinda’s friend, his girlfriend. Thankfully, they were again fully dressed. She scampered away.
I swore at Frank. “How did you get in my car?”
Frank handed me the key. “I saw it on your desk. Thought I’d borrow it. We needed somewhere to go to—you know.” Frank was beaming. He was actually proud of his actions.
I was disgusted. Saying nothing, I stormed upstairs to our room. Where I walked in to find Chloe and Zach in bed. My bed.
How long was I at lunch that all of my friends had completely lost their minds? I flipped out. I didn’t even bother giving them privacy as I started screaming.
“What do you think you’re doing?”
“I can explain.” Zach more or less fell out of the bed as he and Chloe both hurried to put their clothes on.
“I don’t want to hear it. Has everyone gone crazy? First Frank, now you two?”
Zach looked at Frank as Chloe snuck out of the room. Frank shrugged. “He caught me in his car.”
“Did you—” Zach sent him a sly smile.
Frank nodded. “Oh yeah.”
They exchanged fist bumps while I stood there in shock. When I finally found my voice, I was too angry to scream.
“I can’t believe you two. You think I’m okay with this? My car? My bed? What were you thinking? Pat’s not using it, so we might as well go for it?”
“It’s not like that,” Frank said. “We just wanted to be alone. What’s-her-name was all over me. We were kissing, and one thing led to another. What was I supposed to do? Say no?”
“Yes! I can’t believe you don’t even know her name.”
Zach shrugged a shoulder. “Chloe and I were in such a hurry, we didn’t want to waste time getting to the top bunk. It kills the mood.”
“I can’t believe—both of you—”
“You just don’t get it. You’ve never been with a girl that you want so badly, you have to have her. Right then.”
Zach swore. “We need to get you a real woman. Melinda’s sweet and everything, but she’s too young for you. You just don’t understand.”
“I don’t understand? You think I don’t understand? Every time I’m with Melinda, I’m in pain. Actual physical pain because I want her so badly. I just don’t let it cloud my judgment.”
Frank’s smile almost made me sick. “So, if she were seventeen, you would sleep with her?”
This conversation was going nowhere. I didn’t bother answering as I stormed down the hall to my advisor. Thankfully, he was in his apartment. I paced his living room as I explained the scenario.
“My roommates and I—we don’t agree on some moral issues. I’m not comfortable living with them anymore. Would it be possible for me to move?”
Davidson sent me a compassionate look. “Could you explain a little more about what’s going on?”
“My roommates have shown complete disrespect towards me and my property. I’m not looking to get anyone in trouble. But one of them was entertaining a friend in my bed.”
“That is disrespectful.”
“I don’t want trouble. I just want out.”
“Let me see what I can do. It will probably take an hour.”
“I can’t stay here. Can you email me? I’m gonna go for a walk.”
I walked two dorms down to Walter. He was just getting back from lunch. I have no idea what was written on my face, but it was enough to alarm him.
“Whoa. What happened? You look ready to kill someone.”
Someone knocked on the open door. I looked behind me and saw the kid across the hall. He shrank back a little when he saw my expression.
“I was just saying hi. I can come back later.” He turned to leave. Something clicked in my brain.
“Wait. Your sister is going out with Frank—I mean, Pete Wu—right?”
“Get in here. And shut the door.”
I told Walter and his friend about what had happened. The friend—Andy, I remembered later—was almost as livid as me. Walter wasn’t too pleased, either.
“What’re you gonna do?” Walter asked.
“I asked Davidson if I could move. We’ll see what happens there.”
“You can hang out here until then. I don’t think you should be near them. Hey! Wanna go for a run?”
Andy stood up. “I wanna go punch something. Let’s hit the weight room.”
After punching the speed bag for a while, Andy was calm enough to talk to his sister. I needed to go for a run before I was calm enough to even check my email. It took some effort, including a visit to my dean, but just before dinner I was told there was a single available in Mitchell, a dorm right on the corner where the two main roads cross.
I spent the beginning of study hours moving in. I was grateful to have my car on campus. It helped expedite things. I spent the rest of study hours laying on my bed staring at my ceiling. I fell asleep sometime during the break.
Monday morning, everywhere I turned, people kept asking how I was. Mostly, they were being polite and asking about my break. But it felt like they knew about everything that had happened. The dorm. The car. Melinda.
Bethany more or less confronted me in physics. “I saw your interview last week. Why’d you say you weren’t seeing anyone?”
“Shut up, Bethany.”
She didn’t deserve it and the hurt look she sent me should have made me apologize, but I just couldn’t. This happened in nearly every class. As soon as Latin was over, I went to hide in my room.
Melinda is always trying to build her vocabulary. What were some words in this episode that were new to you? She will add them to her vocabulary journal.