Status: HIATUS. (apologies & many hugs to all; it is much appreciated)



“Did you smoke something before class?”

I hadn’t even realized I had zoned out until Ariel’s hand touched my arm. I snapped out of my daze, my face feeling suddenly warmer as she rolled her eyes. “I don’t know what you’re talking about.” How embarrassing. I need to cut that shit out.

“Well, you’re supposed to be paying attention to the oh-so fascinating lecture Brooks is enlightening us with,” Ariel whispered, her head inclined pointedly towards a balding, stout man standing in front of the class.

We looked at each other sheepishly as some guy behind Ariel “accidentally” kicked her chair.

“No need to be a jerk” was what I heard her mutter under her breath.

It wasn’t even halfway into the semester and I already regretted taking Anatomy. It wasn’t that I hated the class; I just hated how Mr. Brooks had a droning, monotonous voice, the worst sense of humor ever, and showered the front row of the class with his spittle. Maybe it was just the monotone. During the second week of class, he said we’d be having a pop quiz, his grubby hands wrapped around a stack of papers. Then he started passing out the sheets of paper and said, “I was only kidding; these are just some surveys from one of the philosophy professors.”

If there was anything in the world I hated about teachers was how they had an air of arrogance and superiority. Mr. Brooks was one of those teachers. It didn’t help matters that he knew us as the ones who walked in late (on the first day!) because of an incident involving her illegally parking my car in a tow away zone. Needless to say, I wanted to throttle her when I had the privilege of receiving the ticket, which she’d slipped under the door of my room. My roommate, Garrett, pointed it out to me when I was nearly out the door on my way to work.

“You’ve gotta be fucking kidding me.” I picked up the sheet of paper, brows furrowed in confusion.

Garrett shook his head. “That Ariel. Always knows how to surprise ya, huh?” He walked away, the bathroom door shutting behind him.

I stared at the ticket for a moment before taking out my phone and speed dialing Ariel. Then I walked out of the dorm, making my way across the expansive quad. I smiled at some people I recognized from class and kept on going, pushing open the door to the café. The phone rang almost four times before she answered.

“What the fuck do you want?”

I checked my phone’s caller ID, making sure that I had called Ariel. Because the person on the other line sounded like Morgan Freeman.

“Is Ariel there?” I asked, still wondering if I’d dialed the wrong number. Maybe Ariel had her phone stolen; that was plausible.

There was a loud crash, followed shortly afterward by Ariel’s muffled voice screaming “give me the goddamn phone right now, Etienne.”

I waited until she answered the phone with a curt, “hello.”

“Ariel, why do I have a ticket from the towing company saying that my car’s been impounded? We have class later. How are we supposed to get there if I don’t have car?!” I tried not to raise my voice as I busied myself with changing out the coffee machine filter.

She laughed nervously. “Yeah, well, you see, what happened is that. Um. I took your car keys last night because Etienne and I needed to go run some, er, errands.”

“Who the fuck is Etienne and why did you need to do errands with him?” Again, I lowered my voice and hoped that I wouldn’t be busted by my boss, Lars, for taking personal calls at work. Lars had a way of creeping up on me when I least expected it. You think I would’ve known better by now.

“He’s my new boy. . .thing,” she replied.

“And you expect me to pay this ticket even though it’s your fault my car is impounded,” I stated flatly, already expecting her answer.

“Yes. Now that wasn’t so difficult, was it? IgottagoTristanseeyabye!” She hung up before I could demand that she pay for the ticket. At least half of it, because god knows what Ariel spent her money on.

Despite the fact that Ariel had singlehandedly ruined any chances of me eating anything but instant ramen for the next two months, I still managed to get us to Brooks’s class after begging Garrett, who pretty much hated Ariel’s guts. Or as he liked to call her, “the girl with the ‘nads of steel.” I’m guessing it’s because when Ariel first met Garrett---I introduced them to each other---she took one look at him and asked if he was as douchey as he looked. He’d laughed but he was a bit taken aback by the blatant burn. They tried to be civil when I was around but the awkward tension between them was palpable. They just didn’t mesh well, and I’d learned that the hard way when I tried to hang out with them a few times.

Fast forward to when we left Brooks's class after the enlightening and fascinating lecture we endured; Ariel was convinced that something was bugging me.

“You can’t lie to me, Trist, it’s written all over your face that you’re sulking. Sulking over what though? This is what I wanna know.” Ariel glanced at me as we walked side by side, her shoulder bumping mine.

“And I repeat: I. Don’t. Know. What. You’re. Talking. About.”

“Are you still pining after whatsherface from the gas station?” she asked as we ascended the first flight of stairs to the dorms.

“No, why?” I said nonchalantly, ignoring the somewhat erratic beating of my heart.

It was at that moment when I accidentally ran into Marina Simmons, an instantaneous “sorry” tumbling from her lips as well as mine. Then, recognition appeared on her face and she smiled. “Hey, Tristan. I was just about to go to the café. Would you want to go too?” Out of the corner of my eye, I saw Ariel shrug indifferently.

“Ariel, are you going to be fine walking back alone to your dor---”

She pinched my cheek and smirked knowingly. She’d figured out what she had been wondering all along. “Just be back before curfew, Trissypoo.”

As soon as Ariel rounded the corner, I turned to Marina. “Did you really want to go to the café?”

Marina shook her head. “Not at all. We’re going out to town, Tristan. Think you can keep up?” There was a glimmer of mischief in her hazel eyes.

I grinned. “No doubt about it.”
♠ ♠ ♠
Well, this took longer to write than I expected.
I've been preparing for finals and it hasn't been a good time, let's just say that.

And o m g Ariel is such a fun character, although I'm guessing everyone is wondering how (& possibly why?) Tristan puts up with her fuckery. That's friendship right there.