Mina Barlow sighed happily as she leaned back in her chair and propped her freshly-pedicured feet on the desk. Life was good. It was a Friday afternoon, she already had a hot date lined up for her sorority's annual charity gala, and she had managed, without exerting much effort at all, to get a B+ on her cognitive psychology midterm.

Her zen moment was shattered by the strident voice of her neighbor, Cynthia. "…and you know what he was wearing? White board shorts. Who wears white board shorts in the fall? That's only acceptable in the summer. And that's not the worst part – the flowers on them were brown. It looked awful, like he'd had some kind of accident or something."

Mina rolled her eyes. Most of the time she loved her sisters, but the members of ΨΔΘ*, which had the reputation of being "the blonde sorority," certainly lived up to their name. Of course, she couldn't complain, since she was as blonde as the rest of them. She got up to shut her door, which muffled but didn't entirely drown out the rest of Cynthia's tirade.

As she made her way back to the chair, she noticed a very bedraggled, orange juice-stained sheaf of papers peeking out from under a pile of laundry. 'Oh, crap! It's that stat homework I was supposed to recopy after I spilled juice all over it!'

She glanced over at her alarm clock, whose glaring red numbers seemed even more ominous than usual. It was fifteen to five. Her cornflower blue eyes narrowed as she gauged her chances of making it to her to her TA's mailbox on time. If she ran, she could probably make it. She just hoped her work was still at least halfway readable.

As she sprinted down the hall, down the stairs, and out the front door, she heard Ashley, the Rush Chair, call after her, "Don't forget, tonight's the first rush event, Mina! Don't be late!"

Mina raced down the sidewalk, scattering dead leaves and curious onlookers in her wake. She almost paused to scope out some unbelievably hot eye candy – one was tall and black-haired, the other a blond, shorter and with a friendlier expression on his face – but she managed to keep herself on track.

'Must be seniors or sophomores,' she thought to herself. Mina knew the entire male population of her class, and these two didn't have the glazed-over look of freshmen. The blond was cute enough in a boy-next-door kind of way, but the dark-haired one brought "striking" to a whole new level.

She made it to the Triton Building with a minute to spare and didn't bother with the elevators. The sweet mix of victory and relief rushed through her when she discovered the pile of papers still in the TA's mailbox.

"Yes!" she exclaimed, shoving her homework in on top and punching her fist in the air. As she turned to go, Mina saw that while the department secretaries merely looked amused or bored, one guy, who looked to be about her age or a little older, shot her a dirty look.

She turned her nose up in the air and ignored his obvious disapproval. Unfortunately, he exited behind her, and she was stuck waiting for the elevator with him. As Mina tapped her foot impatiently, she noticed his gaze flick to her foot and then away.

'Geez. Is that grumpy look always pasted on his face, or is it just me?' she wondered, although she stopped tapping her foot. He'd been leaving a professor's office, she recalled. 'Probably a suck-up,' she thought, sneaking a quick peek at him as she preceded him into the elevator.

He was tall, broad-shouldered, and very fit. His muscle was well-distributed rather than concentrated in his arms or chest, which meant that he actually worked out the right way at the gym rather than focusing on the muscles he thought would impress girls. The eyes which regarded her with such disdain were an unusual shade of gray, pale and icy, and his hair was platinum blond. It must be her lucky day – what were her chances of spotting three such good-looking males, who hadn't yet dated any of her sorority sisters and were therefore considered fair game, all in a single afternoon?

"Can I help you with something?" he asked stiffly, and Mina flushed when she realized she'd been staring at him.

"Uh, no." Extremely grateful that it was just the two of them in the elevator so no one else was there to witness her embarrassment, she turned her attention to the front.

He got out on the first floor, and Mina made a face at his retreating back. Just as she was about to exit on the ground floor, she noticed a slim black wallet lying on the floor of the elevator.

"Jerk must have dropped it," she muttered, flipping it open. Sure enough, the picture on the driver's license matched the guy's appearance. "Kenton Jamison…"

Her attention was distracted by her cell phone ringing, and she walked out of the building to pick up. "Hi, Kat."

"Mina, where are you? Ashley said she saw you running out the door ages ago, and the event is about to start!" Katarina, the current president of the sorority, exclaimed.

"I had to turn in my stat homework. I'll be there in five minutes!" Mina exclaimed.

"You'd better be. Tardiness isn't becoming for our reputation." With that, Katarina hung up.

Mina groaned. It had only been twenty minutes. Ashley had had it in for her since freshman year, when her then-boyfriend had drunkenly confessed that he was only going out with her because Mina had refused to. They were also each other's main competitors for president next year. Up until this point, Katarina had been backing Mina, but her perpetual lateness wasn't helping.

Mina glanced down at the wallet in her hand. She didn't have time to try and find the Jerk – Kenton – now. He could be anywhere: the Triton Building was huge, and he could have left from the first floor exit by now. When she turned back to drop it off at the lost and found, a security guard blocked her way.

"Sorry, miss. The building's closed for the weekend."

She sighed. She'd forgotten that some of the buildings closed early on Fridays. 'I'll just have to track him down later. Tomorrow. Even if he is a jerk, it's pretty tough getting around without your wallet.'

She got back to the house just in time to hear the end of Ashley's sugary-sweet welcome speech. Rolling her eyes, she made her way through the crowd of hopeful freshman and sophomore girls to stand by her friend Rita.

"That was sickening," Rita whispered. She had even less love for Ashley than Mina did, since Ashley was constantly hitting on her boyfriend.

"I'm glad I missed most of it," Mina murmured back. She scanned the crowd, flashing a bright smile whenever anyone looked her way. She noticed a distinctive hairstyle in the back of the crowd, and her smile grew wider when she heard the owner of the hairstyle squeal, "I heard they have the best desserts!"

"Who's that?" Mina asked, pointing discreetly.

"Oh, that's Serena Wallace," Rita replied. "She's really cute. I got to talk to her during that pre-rush event you had to miss. I think if she does well over the next couple of days, we'll take her for sure."

"I think I know the girl standing next to her – Molly? She seemed nice, too."

"Yeah, I thought so too. Her name is Molly Baker, and she's Serena's roommate. But Ashley and Cynthia said no. Something about her having a weird accent."

"What? She has a Brooklyn accent. How is that weird?" Mina demanded.

The other girl shrugged helplessly. "You know how they are."

Mina gritted her teeth. Just before they started inviting the girls into the house, she remembered the wallet she had shoved into her back pocket. "Hey, do you know a guy named Kenton Jamison?"

"I don't think so. Why?"

"Oh, I don't know," she said vaguely. "I saw his name somewhere, and it looked kind of familiar for some reason. I'm sure it'll come to me later."

Rita shook her head. "You're so random, Mina."

"I know!" she said gaily, then made a beeline for Molly and Serena and introduced herself to them, making sure some of her sisters took interest in them before she moved on to talk to the other girls.

As they left ΨΔΘ, Molly said nervously, "I don't know if rushing is such a good idea, Serena."

"Why?" her roommate asked curiously, her long pigtails swinging behind her. "Didn't you have fun?"

"I did, but I don't think they'll take me. They're all blonde and beautiful, and I'm not like that," Molly said sadly.

"Don't say that! Your hair is such a pretty color. They just seem all beautiful and poised because they're older."

The redhead pointed out glumly, "Some of them are sophomores."

Serena ignored this and continued, "Anyway, just because ΨΔΘ has the rep for being the blonde sorority doesn't mean everyone has to be blonde. Rita isn't, and I'm pretty sure we met a few others who weren't. Come on, cheer up! You were the one who got us interested in all this, remember? And look what a great idea it turned out to be! Awesome food, great company, and lots of parties to look forward to. Don't be so down."

"That was before I realized I don't have a chance," Molly sighed. "But you should definitely keep going. I think you have a good shot. All of the sisters really liked you."

"They liked you, too! And we're in this together, you and me. If you don't want to rush anymore, then I'm not going to, either. But I think we should keep going, at least for a little bit," Serena coaxed as they neared their dorm.

"All right," Molly agreed pensively as they got in line to swipe their ID cards behind a tall, athletic-looking girl with brown hair and green eyes.

When they reached their room, Serena said encouragingly, "Mina was really nice, don't you think? And I liked Rita and Katarina, too."

Her roommate nodded as she hung up her jacket. "Me too. But some of the others were a little snobby."

Before Serena could reply, they heard a quiet knock at the door. "Come in!" Serena called.

The door opened to admit a tall, stylishly dressed woman. Her gleaming black hair held olive green highlights, and her skin was deeply tanned. "Hello. You must be Serena and Molly. I'm Trista Stevens, your GA. I'm sorry we didn't get to meet earlier, but I just got back to campus, so I wanted to stop in and introduce myself. I imagine you'll probably go to Julia or Nevan with most of your questions, since I'm not as familiar with the undergraduate curriculum, but if you have any questions or just want to chat, please feel free to stop by. I'm in room 521."

"Thanks!" Serena said, beaming. "It's nice to meet you."

After Molly echoed her greeting, Trista smiled a mysterious smile. "Well, I've got to introduce myself to the rest of your hallmates now, but I'm sure we'll see each other soon. Good night."

Zane Barlow was listening to music and working on his programming homework when he heard his roommate shuffle in. "Hey," he said, raising his hand in greeting without looking behind him.

"Hi," Melvin replied, his nasally voice sounding more breathless than usual.

Zane turned down his music and glanced over as Melvin carefully placed his backpack on his desk. "Are the guys throwing stuff at you again? I told you to tell me if they pull that shit again."

Melvin busied himself with rearranging his laptops. "They weren't throwing things."

Just after he finished speaking, the football players who lived next door passed their room, chuckling. One of them said to the other, "Did you see that? I just stuck out my foot and BOOM! He landed flat on his face, what a laugh."

Zane trained his gaze on Melvin. "So they tripped you."

"Not the same as throwing things," he mumbled, pushing his glasses further up his nose.

Zane sighed. He remembered, very clearly, their first meeting.

Approximately one month ago:

Zane snickered to himself as he read the other name on his door: Melvin Kelvin? If college was anything like high school, his roommate was going to get teased mercilessly.

He was in the middle of unpacking his stuff when a weedy-looking boy with messy brown hair and thick glasses showed up, breathing heavily under the strain of carrying two suitcases. His mother, an overbearing woman who was a tad on the heavy side, rushed in carrying more than Melvin.

"You must be Zane," she said, offering a large hand. "I'm Barbara Kelvin, Melvin's mother."

He stood up politely, brushing the dust off his palms before shaking her hand. "That's right. Nice to meet you, Mrs. Kelvin."

"Just call me Barbara, dear," she told him, before she turned her attention to Melvin. "Sweetheart, put those down before you give yourself an asthma attack. Where's your inhaler? Did you bring the two extras like I told you to?"

As she rummaged around in search of the inhalers, Zane gave Melvin a sympathetic look. "Hey."

"Hello," Melvin replied, wheezing slightly.

Zane helped them bring in the rest of Melvin's things, and then Barbara dragged Melvin off somewhere – he couldn't be sure, but he thought it was to introduce Melvin to the people at the front desk and to make sure they were aware of his food allergies.

They were living on a program floor for people interested in science and technology, which meant that a lot of the students were engineers or prospective math and computer science majors. Zane couldn't figure out why two football players had been assigned to their floor, but it wasn't long before they started in on Melvin and making snide remarks about his mother.

Luckily, Melvin got along well with most of the techies on the floor because of their shared passion for Star Wars, anime, and Linux. He just couldn't handle the bullying from the football players and some of their other hallmates.

Ordinarily, Zane wouldn't have bothered looking out for anyone except himself, particularly at the beginning of freshman year. But he figured he couldn't stand seeing his roommate scurrying into their room nervously whenever his adversaries were drunk, which was often, so Zane tried to put a stop to things when he was around.

"So what's new?" he asked to change the subject.

Melvin's face took on a beatific expression, one Zane had only seen when Melvin was fiddling with his graphics card and other computer components. Instead of answering, he asked shyly, "Zane, do you ever think about…"



The shock sent him into a sudden coughing fit.

Looking concerned, Melvin asked, "Are you all right?"

"Yeah, fine," Zane answered, clearing his throat. "Just swallowed the wrong way. So, uh, love? I've been known to think about it. On occasion. Why do you ask?"

Melvin fiddled with his plastic watch nervously. "Well, there's this girl…"

He leaned forward curiously, waiting to hear what kind of girl his roommate was interested in.

"…her name is Molly, and she's really nice. She lives in Charon Hall, and we're in the same writing tutorial. But she's way out of my league."

"You're selling yourself short, Melvin. Have more confidence in yourself." Zane hoped he wasn't setting the guy up for a painful rejection, but on the off chance that this Molly girl was into nerdy guys… "Maybe you should find out more about her."

"Like what?"

He rolled his eyes. "You know. What she likes, what kind of guys she's into, if she's seeing anyone right now. That last one's a biggie. You don't want someone kicking your ass for making a move on their girl."

"I'm pretty sure she doesn't have a boyfriend," Melvin said nervously. "She seems really busy right now, though."

"Yeah? With what?"

"She's rushing a sorority."

Zane, who had just taken a gulp from the half-finished can of soda on his desk, spit out his mouthful. "What? She's a sorority girl?"

Melvin took off his glasses and meticulously wiped the lenses clean. "Well, she's not actually in the sorority yet. I think she's rushing ΨΔΘ."

"The blonde sorority? Oh, no, no, no, Melvin my friend. Are you out of your mind? Guys like us don't go after girls like that.

"You were just telling me to be more confident."

"I was. You should be." Zane got up to pace around the room, kicking aside some of the junk littering their floor. "The problem's not with you, it's with this girl. Sorority girls are trouble. They'll chew you up and spit you out, and that's if they even bother to give you the time of day."

Melvin asked, "Isn't your cousin in ΨΔΘ?"

Zane gave him a pained look. "Yes. Trust me, Mina's been making my life hell since before I could talk. Anyway, we're engineers, Melvin. Does that mean anything to you? We have the reputation of being the dorkiest guys on campus. We're not popular; we get made fun of by the popular kids. We speak Javascript and Klingon, not shoes and hairstyles."

His roommate frowned pensively. "Molly's not like that."

"Well, you just wait until she's inducted," he predicted in a dark tone.

"Weren't you hanging out with Theresa and Sara Ann last weekend? They're in sororities, but they didn't seem to have a problem with you being an engineer," Melvin pointed out.

Zane smiled angelically. "That's because they didn't know I'm an engineer." His smile turned into a wicked smirk as he tossed his bangs out of his eyes and added, "Besides, I didn't ask them to go out with me. I just wanted to…'hang out' with them."

As he turned back to his work, still looking as smug as the cat that ate the canary, Melvin booted up his computers with a sigh. In times like these, only anime therapy would suffice.

"I hate Fridays," Ami Ellison said dismally, even though no one was around to hear her. She had a single on the third floor of Mariner Hall, a rare luxury for freshmen, but her mother had been happy to pay the additional rent – anything to help her concentrate on her studies, of course.

Unfortunately, having a room all to herself wasn't going to make a difference when the bass next door was throbbing loud enough to give her a massive headache. She actually felt seasick, which was a new experience for her, as Ami never got seasick. She knew she wasn't going to be able to get any studying done in her room, so her best recourse was to stay at the library until it closed. Unfortunately, it was only a temporary solution, because the library closed at 9 pm on Fridays. She just hoped she would be able to fall asleep later.

As she shoved her books into her backpack, Ami wished she had learned social skills instead of calculus. She regretted fostering good study habits instead of friendships. She paused when she heard one of the girls who lived in her hall sobbing about how she had done something unmentionable with a guy she'd met at a party and how he didn't want anything to do with her now that he was sober.

Ami winced as the girl started wailing inconsolably. Maybe it was time to rethink that desire to make friends. She wasn't sure she would have wanted to fit in with the girls in her dorm. After a few minutes, she poked her head out into the hallway cautiously and decided she was safe. The crying girl seemed to have disappeared into her room. She locked her door and headed for the stairwell, but she ran into Christine and Nicole as they exited from Kimberly and Lisa's room.

"That was beyond pathetic," Christine said, and Nicole nodded in agreement, her heavily mascaraed eyes glittering with malice.

When they noticed Ami, they stopped and scrutinized her. She shifted uncomfortably as their critical glances lingered on her heelless shoes, knee-length skirt, and old-fashioned cardigan.

"Oh, hi, Ami. There's a party going on in Jason's room," Christine told her, naming the owner of the hellish bass. "Why don't you come with us?"

"Thank you, but I'm on my way to the library," Ami said, hoping that would be the end of the matter.

"The library?" Nicole asked, as if she had said "landfill" instead of "library."

The two exchanged incredulous looks. Christine said, "Honey, it's a Friday night. You should get out more. Come on, the party'll be fun."

Ami couldn't think of anything that sounded less fun at this point, except going back into the room to have her temples pummeled by the bass until she vomited, or stripping naked and running around campus.

"Parties aren't really my thing," she said weakly, looking down at her feet.

"Whatever," Nicole said in a bored voice. "Come on, Christine, if she doesn't want to come, she doesn't want to come."

They linked arms and walked off together in the direction of the bass. Before they were out of earshot, Ami heard Nicole ask, "Why did you invite her, anyway? She'd stick out like a sore thumb there. All Little Miss Perfect ever does is study. She'll be lucky if a guy ever looks twice at her."

Ami walked into the stairwell, navigating the stairs blindly as the tears pricked her eyes. 'It's not true. Even if it's true, I don't care. My life doesn't revolve around boys and clothes and drinking.'

A nasty, needling voice in her head added, 'That's right. Your life revolves around biopolymers and manifolds and algorithms. That's the way it's always been, and that's the way it always will be.'

She swiped her sleeve across her eyes and walked out of Mariner. Although there were a lot of students out on a Friday night, she didn't recognize any of them, and she hadn't made any close friends since coming to college. She had never felt so alone.

Rei Hino gritted her teeth, glaring at the piece of paper her partner had ripped out of his notebook. She hated group work. Refusing to let the project ruin her weekend, she had suggested – all right, insisted – they meet on Friday night. It served the dual purpose of getting the work out of the way early and ruining his night if he was into the party scene. He certainly looked the type, with his neatly cropped blond hair and good looks.

Unfortunately, he had been completely unfazed and readily agreed to meet on Friday. His reaction had surprised her, and Rei didn't like it when people surprised her. Her eyes narrowed as she scanned the paper again, carefully entering the digits. She pressed the "call" button, wondering if he would even pick up.

He did, on the second ring. "Hello?"

"Hello? Is this Jayden?"

"Yeah, that's me."

"This is Rei. Rei Hino. Your partner for Pre-Modern Japanese History?" she reminded him.

Over the phone, his voice sounded both relaxed and amused, just as it did in person. "I know who you are, Rei."

She sniffed audibly. "Just in case you needed a reminder. Anyway, I was calling about our meeting tonight. I forgot that the library closes early on Fridays, so we should probably meet somewhere else."

"Oh, right. Well, how about a study lounge? Do you live in one of the dorms?"

"I live in Magellan," she said rather unwillingly, wishing she didn't have to share the information with him.

Jayden responded, "Great. I live in Miranda. Do you have a preference for either of those places?"

She debated her options. She could make him walk over, which was an enticing choice…but then he might suggest moving to her room if all the lounges were full or noisy, and she didn't want to let him into her room. "I'll meet you on the second floor of Miranda."

"Sounds good to me," he said agreeably. "I'll see you at nine, then?"

"Yes. See you later," Rei said tersely, ending the call.

When she reached Miranda, she was surprised to find him already waiting on the second floor. She hadn't expected him to be prompt, let alone ten minutes early.

"Hi," he greeted her. "How's your night going?"

"All right. How are you?" she asked coolly.

"I'm doing well. I think the Myerson Lounge is free," he said, pointing it out to her. When they went in, she found that he had already plugged in his laptop and had the textbook open on the table.

As Rei took out her own textbook and notebook, Jayden asked, "So, no plans for tonight?"

"Obviously not, or I wouldn't have suggested we meet at this time. Am I keeping you from something?"

Instead of taking offense at her unfriendliness, he just raised his eyebrows and replied, "Not at all. I'm not really into the party scene, either."

The assumption irked her. Rei considered telling him she was into parties just to make him think he'd pegged her incorrectly, but decided it wasn't worth the effort. "Do you have any ideas about what we should do our project on?" she asked instead. She was expecting something vague and stereotypical, like "samurai" or, even worse, "geishas."

But Jayden just smiled calmly and answered, "Well, I came up with two projects I think would be interesting. The first would be to analyze the strategy of the Minamoto samurai in deflecting the Mongol invasions during the Kamakura period. The second would be how visual art in pre-modern Japan reflected societal issues of a specific time period."

It took considerable effort to keep her jaw from dropping. "I see. So you think that art reflects life, rather than the reverse? Because I happen to think it's both rather than one or the other."

He waited for her to finish presenting her case, listening attentively without making any attempt to interrupt. When she came to a triumphant finish, Jayden said, "That was a very elegant argument. I agree with you completely. I just happen to think that arguing from one viewpoint is more controversial and, as a result, more interesting."

"What? You want to be controversial? This isn't a debate class. It's a history class."

He inclined his head. "Of course. History can be very controversial. I would also point out that it's a history class, not an English class. I doubt the professor will be quibbling over the finer points of what represents what. Of course, we could discuss both sides of the matter, but I think we'd have a difficult time keeping within the page limit."

"Fine!" she snapped, unwilling to argue with him further. "Let's go with the first topic, then."

Jayden's smile widened. "Great. That was the one I was more interested in."

Rei's irritation only increased over the course of the night, when she discovered that he knew more about Japanese history than anyone she had met at college so far. Of course, he didn't know as much as she did, a fact he readily conceded. That just made her more annoyed. So did his insistence on walking her back to her dorm when they were finished.

"I have a boyfriend, you know," she informed him, hoping that would end the matter.

"Did you want to call him and have him walk you back instead?" Jayden asked, his azure blue eyes dancing with mirth.


He blinked innocently. "So he would rather have you walk back alone, in the dark, after midnight, all the way across campus just to escape my nefarious clutches?"

Rei's glare would have left scorch marks on anyone else. As it was, Jayden just accepted her graceless acceptance without further comment. He didn't even try to make conversation as they walked back to Magellan Hall.

Rather than go into the building with her, he stopped at the gate. "It was nice working with you, Rei."

She mumbled something – he could almost make out "Thanks for walking me back." Almost.

"Well, good night, then. See you in class on Monday."

Rei watched him walk off, whistling cheerily, and stabbed her key into the lock viciously. She wondered if she could make an exception to her rule about not cutting classes. Just this once. Or maybe for the rest of the semester.

Sometime past noon the next day, Mina dragged herself out of bed. As she sat down on her unmade bed, yawning sleepily, her eyes fell on Kenton's wallet. "Great," she muttered. She found his address through their student directory easily enough, but it took her another hour to shower and make herself presentable.

As a result, it was half past three when she strolled into the lobby of his apartment building. It was one of the most expensive places for students to live, but she knew for a fact that the rooms were much less impressive than the lobby.

Since she'd been here to visit friends before, she knew how it worked. She went up to the security desk and smiled cheerfully. "Hi. I'm here to see Kenton Jamison. Could you call him for me?"

"Name?" the guard asked in a bored voice.

"Um…" Mina was fairly sure he wouldn't recognize her name, and she didn't want to say, "Oh, he doesn't know me, but I've got his wallet." After a few seconds of quick thinking, she came up with, "I wanted to surprise him! Can you just tell him someone's here to see him?"

"All right," she agreed skeptically, giving Mina a dubious look. Her movements were painfully slow as she looked up Kenton's number and dialed the phone. "Hello? Is this the resident in room 519? This is the front desk. You've got a visitor. Should I let her up?"

Without saying goodbye, she hung up the phone and turned back to Mina. "He says he'll come down."

"Okay. Thanks!" The guard gave no sign of having heard her, so Mina leaned against the counter and began inspecting her fingernails. Luckily, they hadn't chipped during the mad dash from her house to the Triton Building.

Within a few minutes, one of the elevator doors opened and the guy from the day before stepped out. He looked around, as if hoping to spot someone else in the lobby, but when it was clear she was the only visitor, he walked up to her slowly.

"Hi. You must be Kenton. I, uh, I'm Mina. We kind of met yesterday but not really. At the Triton Building."

He said nothing for a minute, letting his cool gray gaze bore through her. "I remember you. You're the girl in the elevator, the one who made such a fuss in the stat department."

Mina felt her face starting to burn. "Right. Well, anyway, you dropped your wallet in the elevator, but um, you left before I could give it back to you." She handed it to him expectantly, waiting for him to drop the act and be properly grateful.

Instead, he just took it with a mildly surprised expression. All he said was, "Thank you for going out of your way to return it to me."

"Oh, well, not a problem. I didn't have plans for today anyway, and Triton closed early on Friday, so I figured you'd want this back before Monday." Mina knew she was babbling, but something about Kenton made her feel like she had to explain herself.

If it were any other guy, a nice, normal guy who was as good-looking as Kenton but didn't have the social skills of shower scum, she would have flirted with him and teased him about owing her a date for bringing back his wallet. Talking to him was like talking to a rock, but worse. At least rocks didn't make you feel bad.

"Well, I guess I'll be going now. Bye!"

She walked off quickly, without waiting to hear if he said anything else. With every step she took on the way back to her house, Mina saw red. It was a miracle that she was still able to spot the familiar figure with long, wavy brown hair playing football on the quad.

"Hey, Mina!" he yelled, handing the ball off as he jogged over to her. He took one look at her and did a double take. "You look kind of pissed. What's going on?"

"I just met the most obnoxious jerk in the world," she informed him.

"That's too bad. I thought you said I was the most obnoxious jerk in the world. Want me to beat him up for you so I can reclaim my title?"

Mina gave him a considering look. Nevan was around the same height, and he was pretty fit. He might be able to take Kenton. "Nah. He's not worth the effort. I'll think of a new title for you."

"All right, if you're sure." He grinned at her charmingly and asked, "Want to play football with us?"

She gave him an incredulous look. "Uh huh. You want dainty little me to get all dirty and bruised playing in the mud with you guys? You think that will make me feel better?"

Before he could answer, one of his friends shouted, "Stop flirting and get your ass back here, Starre!"

Mina waved her hand at him languidly. "Go on. I'm heading back to the house. Are you coming to the party tonight?"

Nevan was in a fraternity, but he didn't live in his frat house, preferring the relative quiet and minimally superior hygiene of the dorms. Although he attended many of the Greek events, he wasn't as into the scene as Mina was, preferring to pay more attention to his double major in astronomy and classical studies and his job as an RA in Charon Hall.

"Wouldn't miss it for the world. Catch you later!" he called as he ran back, expertly intercepting a pass.

His friend Joe, the one who had told him stop flirting and get back to the game, nudged him in the ribs. "So when are you going to ask her out?"

"Huh? Who, Mina?" Nevan laughed, keeping his eyes on the ball. "We're just friends."

"Sure. Dude, are you brain dead? She's, like, only the hottest girl in our year. Are you one of those guys who doesn't date sorority girls or something?"

"No. Remember Alicia? And Kristen?" he asked, naming two of his two ex-girlfriends, who had also been in sororities. "Anyway, Mina's cute, but she's just not my type."

Joe thumped him on the shoulder. "What the hell is wrong with you? Mina Barlow is every guy's type."

"Whatever. Go be QB," he ordered. He didn't want to tell any of his friends that he was hung up on a freshman in the hotel school who lived on his hall, one who had endlessly long legs, masses of soft brown curls, and sparkling green eyes.

*As far as I know, this isn't the name of an existing frat or sorority.

'' is for thoughts, "" is for spoken words

DISCLAIMER: This is a work of (fan)fiction. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, places, etc. is purely coincidental. Please don't take this fanfic seriously! I am well aware that all sorority girls are not airheads, all TAs are not jerks, etc. and it is not my intention that readers should receive this impression. The characters' experiences are not modeled on real college experiences – the majority of the situations are caricatures for the purposes of providing comic relief or fleshing out the background/setting.

Who's who:

Usagi: Serena Wallace

Minako: Mina Barlow

Rei: Rei Hino

Makoto: Lita Aronson

Ami: Ami Ellison

Mamoru: Darien Shields

Kunzite: Kenton Jamison

Jadeite: Jayden Luminar

Nephrite: Nevan Starre

Zoisite: Zane Barlow

and you may be able to spot some cameo appearances by other SM characters…