Dylan had an eight-page paper on colonialist symbolism in “Heart of Darkness” to write and he couldn’t do it at home. He’d tried valiantly for a few days, but the deadline was rapidly approaching and he’d been largely unsuccessful. He blamed most of this on his roommates, even though it really wasn’t either of their faults. Mostly he did that so that he would be able to watch Luke huff in annoyance. Everything annoyed him. Literally everything. Dylan went out of his way to annoy him because he found it so amusing, but sometimes he didn’t even have to try. A lot of the time he was merely surprised by things that annoyed Luke because most of them were things that no one else would ever find irritating, such as pickles and milk cartons with twist caps.
In any case, Dylan took to the library on campus to write his paper. He was one of thousands with the same idea. He struggled a bit to find a table where he could settle and, even when he did find an available seat, it was at a table that was already being occupied by one other person. It was a girl in a July Talk band t-shirt with platinum blonde hair and a tattoo of a black snake slithering up the inside of her elbow and underneath the cuff of her t-shirt sleeve. She barely looked up when Dylan sat down so he figured it was okay for him to be there. They worked in harmonious silence for a good hour and a half before she got up and spoke for the first time since he’d arrived.
“Hey, will you watch my bag, man?” She asked, gesturing to her backpack as if he was somehow unaware of what she was talking about. Dylan looked up at her and sighed.
“To what end?” He asked. “Because I’ll keep a casual eye on it, but if someone wants to steal it, they’re going to get away. I wouldn’t even fight someone for my own shit.”
The girl was unimpressed with this answer. She gave him a long, appraising look with one eyebrow raised.
“That surprises me very little,” she told him flatly. “Your arms look like the plasticine arms of Claymation people, only with less strength.”
“Um, I think those little dudes are made of clay,” Dylan returned. “That’s why it’s called Claymation.”
“I think it’s called Claymation because plasticinemation sounds stupid,” she countered before walking away so that he didn’t even have the chance to argue.
When she came back, Dylan waited a full fifteen minutes before he spoke.
“It’s made using plasticine clay,” he announced, having spent a good portion of time googling it while she was away. “So I guess we’re both right.”
“Yeah, but I was more right,” she returned smugly. Dylan waited another fifteen minutes before he introduced himself to her. Her name was Gin and, as it turned out, they were in the same 18th century British literature seminar. There were only twenty people in the class. Dylan recognized her after she’d pointed that out. She said she related to Dylan because she too was older than most of the people in her class. Of course, she was twenty-two compared to everyone else’s twenty. He didn’t think it was quite the same as being a full five years older than most everybody else, but he let that slide.
Dylan ended up bringing Gin back home with him after they had worked beside each other consecutively for four hours with a few breaks. She bought him a Mars bar from the vending machine by the bathrooms two hours in so Dylan decided it was only fair that he offer her dinner in return. Of course, he wasn’t actually going to make her dinner. He would be asking Luke to make her dinner. Luke, unsurprisingly, wasn’t thrilled about this, but did it anyway. He made them all, Godfrey included, chicken penne with a side salad and homemade tiramisu.
“Oh, you have a dog?” Gin cried excitedly, bent over Gus to pet his head. Dylan saw Luke grimace at her out of the corner of his eye and shook his head.
“Luke needs you to know that Gus is his dog,” Dylan told Gin, who looked up at him, still bent over Gus. “Because he loves Gus more than he loves actual human people, including probably his own mother.”
Luke glared at him, which was how Dylan knew it was true and that Luke did in fact love Gus more than his own mom. Dylan knew Luke’s mother quite well and she was a charming delight. It just went to show how much Luke loved Gus.
Over dinner, Gin declared to Dylan and Godfrey that it was “hella rad” that they had a roommate who cooked for them because all her roommate offered her was the curtesy of not openly having sex in their shared living room while Gin was home. This appeased Luke slightly, as much as was probably possible. Then she decided that the four of them should go out that evening. It was a Thursday. Dylan had kind of forgotten what it was like to be a normal undergrad student. He had finished one full year at university when he was nineteen, but it had been quite some time since then and now, as a twenty-five year old adult, he didn’t have the same interests or habits as most of his classmates. He had a job and two fully grown roommates who had even realer jobs. None of them went out on Thursday nights, despite Luke and Dylan’s generally flexible schedules. Regardless, and for reasons unclear to even Dylan, they agreed to go out with Gin. Part of Dylan thought it would just be casual drinks at a bar. Part of him suspected it would be much more than that. That part was right.
Gin, as it turned out, could hold her liquor impressively well. She chalked it up to being old and experienced, but at three years her senior, Dylan wasn’t sure that was quite the case. They went to a nondescript bar close to the apartment and got hammered. Dylan hadn’t been prepared for it. After several hours and several rounds of drinks, they ate after-bar poutine and then stumbled back to the apartment. Gin stayed over because it was too late to catch a subway and Dylan, as the chivalrous gentleman he was, refused to let her take a cab home on her home lest she be abducted and murdered.
When he awoke in the morning, he was sleeping in Luke’s bed with Gus squished between them. It was about a hundred degrees and his brain felt like it was on fire. He wanted eggs. He wanted all the eggs in the world. And he wanted Luke to make them for him. He thought about waking him up and demanding eggs, but it seemed unreasonably cruel. Luke was curled into a ball and Gus, who was awake and blinking up at Dylan, had his head on Luke’s stomach. So instead of waking Luke for eggs, Dylan laid in bed beside him and Gus for the next hour and a half until Luke woke up of his own accord.
“I want eggs,” Dylan announced, looking up at the ceiling, when he felt Luke start to fidget next to him.
“I am not making you eggs,” Luke returned in a raspy voice. Dylan actually believed him this time. Normally Luke could be swayed, but not this time.
They found Godfrey and Gin in the living room. Gin had spent the night asleep in Dylan’s bed and, though she looked tired, she looked generally much better than the rest of them. Dylan chalked it up to her youthful complexion. She was hungover, but she didn’t look like she’d actually died and was being propped up from behind by a small person like Luke did, nor did she look like she was in any immediate danger of vomiting, as Godfrey did.
“Team breakfast?” Gin asked, looking around at the sorry state of Luke, Godfrey, and Dylan. It was eleven-thirty on a Friday morning.
“Shouldn’t you be at work?” Dylan asked Godfrey, pointing to him as if to emphasize who he was speaking to, like Godfrey might have somehow forgotten who he was and that he had a job.
“Called in sick,” Godfrey answered simply. From the looks of him, nothing had ever been more accurate.