The night playing Halo had been cool. But I’d almost missed class the next day because we played until close to dawn. Jamie had told me more about the gay-straight alliance on campus, and I’d decided to go.
Wrapped in my thoughts I heard. “Hey! Nathan!”
I stopped to see Jamie and Eli trotting toward me. As they approached, I smiled and gave them a little wave. “Hey, what’s up?”
“We’re going to the GSA meeting and figured we’d walk with you. Some of the rooms are tricky to find in the student union.”
“Oh, that’s cool. I appreciate the help. I’ve been lost so many times these last few weeks that I can’t believe it.”
“Yeah, campus is pretty wacky when you first get here. I went to the wrong class my first day. I didn’t want to look stupid, so I stayed through the whole lecture and missed the first day of the one I was really enrolled in,” said Eli.
I chuckled at the thought of him sitting through an entire class rather than walk out. Somehow when you looked at Eli you just knew he was a nice guy. Yeah, he was a little goofy, with ears that didn’t quite fit and a prominent roman nose. He couldn’t be more different from Jamie whose features were in perfect proportion and set off by his long hair. I couldn’t help but fantasize about Jamie as I walked along with them. We got to the entrance and I was so busy checking out Jamie’s ass that I almost ran into the door Eli was holding open.
“Sorry, dude. I should pay more attention.”
Eli smiled and swept his arm in front of himself and motioned me in. “Enter, fair prince.”
I walked past Eli with a chuckle then looked around the room. Even ten minutes early, it was fairly full. I stuck close to Eli and Jamie, comfortable with their familiar banter. Eli hammed it up with one of the girls, plopping himself in her lap and throwing his arms around her.
“Rachael! How was your summer, darlin’?”
She giggled and hugged Eli back. “Too quiet without you to brighten my life. How about you?”
“Oh, honey. I just can’t tell you how miserable my summer was without you. My mother could talk the horns off a billygoat.” Eli struck a pose, and then winked at Nathan. Grinning at Rachael, he moved to the seat beside her. “Hey, Rach. This is my buddy, Nathan. He’s a brand new freshman for us to torment.”
Rachael giggled again and squeezed Eli’s arm. After a few seconds, she held out her hand to me. “Nice to meet you, Nathan. Don’t let Eli get to you. He’s a big softy.”
“Well, he’s feeding my addiction, so that’s good,” I said.
“Oh, and what evil thing are you hooked on?”
“Gaming. I’m addicted. Hardcore.”
Rachael winked at him. “Rugby is mine. I get cranky if I miss practice.”
“Well it’s good to find another obsessive person.”
“Yup, it is.” She motioned for us to sit beside her. “Come on. Jamie is about to start.” She winked at us. “He get’s irritable if we don’t begin on time.”
Eli sat next to Rachael and motioned me beside him. They were catching up as the intro part of the meeting began. With Eli occupied, I didn’t feel bad about checking out the room. It didn’t take long for me to find Jamie seated beside Michael. As I watched, Jamie tucked his hair behind his ears again. He was so adorable and handsome. I couldn’t help but stare at him while he chatted with people around him.
Unfortunately, I spotted Michael’s hand anchored tight against Jamie’s thigh. Then he moved, put his arm over Jamie’s shoulder and pulled him in for a kiss.
“Michael’s always like that.”
I turned to find Eli smiling sadly at me, and my face grew hot with embarrassment. “I wasn’t—“
Eli shrugged. “Jamie’s good looking. A little of the exotic. Especially when most of us are pale here in the land of grey winters.”
I paused for a moment to consider Eli, and realized he was right. His pale skin stood out even more against his dark eyebrows and short unruly hair. In combination with his features, he couldn’t be considered classically handsome. I glanced back at Jamie, finding the difference more striking. Snapping back to the present, I realized the introductions had began. Fortunately, I’d heard the instructions.
“Hi, I’m Nathan, Nate. And my pronouns are he, his, and him.”
My focus on the meeting, I started listening for where I could fit in with this group.
Individual Wednesday Briefs authors.