Chapter 1

I walked through the college campus cautiously, making sure I could get to new my room without drawing too much attention to myself. I'm not really what you call a "social butterfly", so I really just wanted to get started on my studies. I flipped the stray strands of my ginger hair out of my face and scurried quickly into the dormitory section of the campus. The room numbers on each door weren't even close to mine. After about twenty minutes of wandering around blind, I found my room number. I took a deep breath and thought to myself.

"This is it, Rod," I thought, "I just hope my roommate is nice..." I straightened my red and black striped tie, fixed my blazer's collar up, and adjusted my glasses so that they weren't crooked. I opened the door and covered my mouth in shock at the sight of the room. There was garbage EVERYWHERE! I didn't know you could get stains on the ceiling! I was appalled! There was no way in HELL that I was going to stay there. No, it had to be a mistake. And just as I was about to turn and leave before I fully entered, a head popped out of a pile of clothes.

"Well hi!" He said, digging himself out of the mess. The guy stood up, dusted wrappers off of his indigo ripped jeans and beige hoodie, and gave me a friendly smile. I blushed, gave an awkward wave, and half-smiled. He walked up to me casually and I realized that he was about 8 inches taller than me. I was eye level with his chest, which made me both blush and gulp at the same time. I quickly wiped the sweat from my forehead, cleared my throat, and looked up at him. "You sure are dressed real fancy! Are you a teacher?" I rolled my eyes and handed him my student ID. He took it, read it to himself, and nodded. "OOOOOOOOH!" He said excitedly, "You're my roommate!" His smile grew, making me feel uncomfortable. What was there to be so damn happy about? I snatched my ID from him and looked behind him for a clean place to put my stuff down. He turned around to see where I was looking and laughed. "Oh I'm sorry!" He said, putting his hand on his forehead. "You must want to come in. And I'm standing here blocking your way!" He moved to the side and gestured his arm to the room. "Make yourself cozy!" As I stepped into the room, I could hear the crunch of crumbs underneath my shoes. The floor was sticky for a reason that I didn't want to know and the whole room had a disgusting unrecognizable odor. I winced at the sight of what I thought was my bed. Hard to tell, since it was SMOTHERED IN TRASH! As I was about to place my belongings on the only space that wasn't buried in garbage, the trash twitched. I shrieked,

"OH MY GOD IT MOVED!" And jumped back in fright. My roommate caught me in his arms, laughing hard. I looked up at him and scowled, pushing him away from me immediately. "Don't laugh at me!" He panted, breathless from laughing, and let out one last chuckle.

"I'm sorry," he said, "i-it's just, your scream, it was so priceless!" I put my hands on hips, clenched my teeth, and growled angrily.

"Well I don't think it was funny!" My nasally high-pitched voice cracked when I shouted. My roommate froze and looked at me. I covered my mouth in embarrassment, my face turning my white skin bright pink. My roommate put his hands in his pocket and bit his lip. He reached out to touch my shoulder, but I turned away. I felt nauseous, but it was hard to tell if that was because my anxiety or the odor of the room.

"Hey," said my roommate sympathetically, "I'm sorry. I didn't mean to make you upset, buddy. I wasn't laughing at ya, honest. I was laughing" I sighed.

"I know," I said looking down, "My voice is funny..." I frowned. My roommate put his hand on my shoulder and rubbed it gently. I looked up almost impulsively at him, realizing that he was closer to me than I thought. My eyes widened and my face must've been stop sign red.

"Your voice isn't funny," he said, "it's...unique. Yeah! That's the word!" My jaw dropped as the words kept flowing out of his mouth. "I hope you don't hate me because you think I was making fun of ya..." He kicked his foot against the rug and looked down sadly. I gasped lightly.

"No!" I said, louder than I wanted to. When he looked back at me, I cleared my throat and continued. "I mean, uh, no. I don't hate you. I accept your apology and thank you...for all those nice things you said. I don't usually get a lot of nice things said to me." My roommate frowned.

"Well that's a shame. Everyone deserves nice things said about them sometimes." I nodded. "Anyway, lemme get this crap off your bed." I awkwardly held my backpack close to my chest and twirled strands of my ginger hair in my fingers as my roommate "cleaned" my side of the room. "There!" He said, as he clapped crumbs off his hands, "All clean!" I shook my head and tisked.

"I don't think so. Hold this!" I put my backpack in my roommate's arms, opened my suitcase, and finally pulled out a small hand vacuum. I cleaned off the mattress and the area around it in a matter of minutes. I didn't mind cleaning, I found it fun actually. A clean home was a happy home in my book! "All done!" I said, admiring my own handiwork. My side of the room was almost sparkling with cleanliness. My roommate's eyes were wide and his jaw dropped. "I can do your side too if you like." He shook his head as he handed me my backpack.

"No thanks! I have a system going." I raised my eyebrow at him.

"Looks like a landfill to me," I said smugly. My roommate began to speak, but before he could finish, a dirty sock fell on his nose from the shelf. I snickered at that, hiding my smile behind my hand.

"Okay," he said, removing the sock from his face, "maybe I could clean up in here a little."

"A little?" I laughed. My roommate gave me a stern look at first, but then he laughed with me.

"Okay! A lot!" We both laughed for a solid 10 minutes, then I helped him pick up clothes and differentiate between what he should keep, and what he should throw away.

"By the way," he said as he threw away an old sneaker, "my name is Nicholas, but you can call me Nicky. All my friends do!" He smiled brightly at me again, making me blush.

"W-We're friends?" I said shyly. Nicky nodded.

"Of course! I can tell we're gonna be best buddies!" That felt good to hear. I never really had any good friends when I was younger. I was really only interested in my books. I still wasn't sure if I could trust Nicholas, though. I mean, what if this was some kind of college prank to make me look foolish? I had to keep my guard up. Still, it was nice to hear someone wanting to be my friend.

"Okay!" I said with a smile. "My name is Rodney, but, you can call me Rod." Nicky patted my back.

"Nice to meet ya, Rod!" For the rest of the evening, Nicky and I spent all our time cleaning our dorm. It may have been tiresome work, but it was oh so worth it.