3 A NEW ROOM IMMEDIATELY
I would like to claim that the familiar landscape on the drive through Washington State soothes me, or that a sense of adventure looms in me. Instead, I plan and organise like crazy all the time. I do not really get along with what Noah actually talks about, but I know that he's trying to distract me and is happy for me.
"Here we are!", My mother squeaks as we turn into the campus through a stone gate. The elegant old buildings look just as great as in the brochures and on the Internet. Hundreds of people stand around the grounds: parents hugging their children and saying goodbye to them with a kiss, greetings from undergraduates, head-to-toe in WCU-Gear, and a few lost stragglers.
The size of the campus area intimidates me a lot, but I hope that after a few weeks I will feel at home here. My mother insists that Noah and her accompany me to the introductory event. She actually manages to keep smiling for the full three hours while Noah listens attentively, as I do.
"Before we go home, I would like to see your room," my mother said after the official part is over. "Just to make sure it's up to standard." Her gaze wanders disapprovingly over the old house. Unfortunately, she has the habit of seeing the worse at everything. To lighten the mood, Noah smiles, and my mother's mood is getting better.
"I still can not believe that you are actually going to college now! My only daughter, a student who lives alone on campus." She dabbles her eyes delicately so as not to blur her make-up. Noah follows us with my bags as we search through the corridors. "We have to get to B22 ... now we're in the C-wing," I explain. Luckily I discover a big B on the wall at that moment.
"This way," I call, as my mother rushes in the opposite direction. I am glad that I packed only a few clothes, a blanket and some favourite books. Otherwise Noah would have to lug more and I'll unpack a lot afterwards. "B22," my mother breathes. Your heels are too high for the track we're running here. Finally, at the end of a long corridor, I put the key in the lock of the old wooden door, and when she opens up creaking, my mother gasped audibly.
The room is quite small, with two beds and two desks. Only at second glance do I realise what has shocked my mother so much: One half of the room is papered with music posters, I've never heard of the bands. The faces are pierced and their bodies are full of tattoos. On the bed below is a girl with bright red hair, her eyes framed with black eyeliner and colourful tattoos on her arms. "Hello," she says and smiles.
Surprisingly, I think her smile somehow sympathetic. "I am Steph." It rests on the elbows, allowing us to look quite deep into the neckline of her laced top. As I notice Noah fixing her chest, I nudge him slightly. "H-hello, I'm Tessa." I just croak. My good manners are suddenly blown away. "Hi Tessa, nice to meet you, and welcome to the WCU, where the rooms are tiny and the party gigantic." Her grin widens.
Then she throws her head back in laughter when she sees our three horrified faces. My mother's mouth is open, and Noah steps from one foot to the other with some uncertainty. Steph gets up, comes over to us and hugs me in greeting. For a moment I am frozen, overwhelmed by her friendliness, but then I return the hug.
When Noah just wants to leave my luggage, there is a knock on the door. Somehow I still hope that this is all a joke. "Come in!" Cries my new roommate. Even before she closes her mouth, the door opens and two guys come into the room. Men in the girls dorm, on the first day? Maybe Washington Central was not a good decision. Or maybe I should have somehow tried to get something out in advance about Steph?
If I look at my mother's tormented expression, her thoughts are probably going in the same direction. The poorest one looks like she's going to faint at any moment. "Hey, are you Steph's new roommate?", One of them asks. He has styled his blond hair up, his arms covered with tattoos and his earrings as big as five-cent coins.
"Er ... yes, I'm Tessa," I bring out. "I'm Nate, do not look so scared." Smiling, he touches my shoulder. "You will surely like it here." His expression is friendly and open despite his rather unusual appearance. "I'm ready, boys," says Steph, grabbing a big black handbag from the bed. My gaze wanders to the big guy in the black T-shirt leaning against the wall. The dense, curly brown hair he has stripped from the forehead, and in the eyebrow and lip, he has metal.
His arms are tattooed, so thick that not a centimetre of skin is visible in between. Unlike Steph and Nate, he seems more likely to stand on black and white and Gray tattoos. He's tall and slim, and though I know I'm staring at him, I just can not look away. I'm waiting for him to introduce himself as his mate, but he's dumb, just staring annoyed, and pulling a cell phone from the pocket of his black jeans. He's definitely not nearly as friendly as Steph and Nate. But somehow he is much more attractive, because I find it difficult to take his eyes off his face.
When I notice how Noah looks at me weirdly, I quickly act as if I am shocked by the look of this guy. Because that's it, is not it? "I'm sure we'll meet again, Tessa.", Nate shouts to me before the three disappear. Trembling, I exhale. Describing the past few minutes as unpleasant would be quite an understatement. "We'll get you a new room immediately!", My mother scolds as soon as the door is closed. "No, that will not work," I sigh.
"I'll be fine," I assure her, trying not to show my nervousness. After all, I have no idea how that works, but the last thing I want is for my overprotective mother to make a scene on my first college day. "I'm sure she will not be there much anyway", I try to convince her and myself at the same time. "It's out of the question, we trade immediately." The clean look of my mother is in stark contrast to her angry expression.
Although she hangs a hair in the face, but her curls are still in perfect shape. "You're not going to share the room with someone who just lets men in - and then punks too!" I look at her first, then Noah. "Mother, please let's just wait and see how it goes, please," I implore. I do not want to imagine what a last-minute room swap would cause for chaos. And how humiliating it would feel. My mother looks around the room again, studying Steph's side and snorting dramatically because the decoration is so dark. "Alright," she hisses to my surprise. "But first we'll talk to each other."