Semester of the Dead 2, Chapter 2

Chapter 2

“Coffee?”

I’d never thought I’d smell it again when I am given a cup. The aroma of black coffee wafted heavily through this room they put us in. A long room. A room that had lights. Working lights. A sofa still intact that didn’t show signs of struggle from its previous owner being attacked by the Biters.

Little America smelled like hope. I didn’t know what hope smelled like until now. I had no idea hope would smell like coffee. The scent is piercing through the foggy veil of danger from the outside world with the smooth, rich scent of roasted beans. The invigorating odor, bridging the gap of time between childhood memory and present-day indulgence, drew me to feel as though this was a dream.

A loud sound outside causes all of us to jump.

“It’s just construction,” the woman says to us, “You’re safe.”

She is a heavy set woman with wide hips and big breasts. She didn’t look hungry. She wasn’t starving. She wasn’t dirty. Her square rimmed glasses seem to fit her face as though possibly they were prescribed for her and not found desperately through a dump pile in her travels.

“There’s no such thing as safe,” Iggy responds, “Not anymore.”

Iggy hasn’t sat. He refused to take the seat offered to him. He’s standing next to the window now, his broad shoulders still filling out his ripped shirt smeared with blood and grime, looking all the bit of a survivor and not being afraid to show it.

“I hope I can change your mind about that,” the woman states.

She reaches her hand out to shake Iggy’s hand. He doesn’t accept it. He’s looking around desperately. I know he’s coming off as rude but knowing Iggy he doesn’t really care. He had never been the type to really make friends. Even in high school, he was one of those anti-social guys that people were drawn to because they assumed from his handsome face and boy-next-door look that he wasn’t complicated. He was perhaps one of the most complicated people I’d ever known.

“That’s my brother Ignacio,” Valentina takes her hand with a welcoming smile that speaks for the rest of us, “This is Mitchell. And that’s…”

She turns to me as though forgetting at this moment she hates my guts and everything I stand for. When she remembers she gets silent. Is it that bad to even speak my name at this point? Was she really that upset?

I can’t tell.

“I’m Sunday,” I fill in the blanks.

The woman’s smile gets wider. Somewhere between Valentina looking as though she’s embarrassed to be so dirty and sitting on such clean furniture, Mitchell looking scared, and Iggy looking guarded, makes the stranger’s eyes make their way to settle on me. A neutral face. A confused face. I am a face still trying to understand what the hell we’ve wandered in on.

“My name is Mary Longstreet,” she states, “I’m the Vice President of Little America. The President is out gathering supplies with one of our Survival teams. When he gets back he will love to meet you.”

“Vice President?”

“As you know America no longer exists. We hadn’t known then but the South was hit first but it was the North that was hit hard. We believe there are no cities left above North Carolina.”

“And the West Coast?” Valentina asks.

“Gone.”

I don’t even know why Valentina even asks. Did she expect any different? Was she just curious or a glutton for punishment? I wasn’t going to say anything to her though. I knew our relationship was a little strained after what I had pulled getting us here.

Instead of dwelling on the bad I look around, “How is all of THIS possible in the midst of all of THAT?”

“We got lucky. The people who were here have natural protection with the Peninsula. We all managed to get less of an attack because Charleston’s center city separated by the Ashley River to the west and the Cooper River to the east. We built a wall. We kept our people strong. We made hard choices.”

Hard choices.

I sigh a little bit, “We all made hard choices.”

The others don’t respond to me. There is no level of support coming from them. Not even Iggy…

“This can be a home for you all, if you want it to be,” Vice President Longstreet tells us, “A new start. This can be hope.”

Hope. There she goes using that word again. The word that makes Mitchell’s eyes light up or makes Valentina look like she has a million additional questions. The word that makes me nervous. The word that immediately puts Iggy on the defense.

“What’s the catch?” Iggy asks.

“You follow our rules. You pass our survival class. That’s all,” she states.

Mitchell gets nervous almost immediately, “What kind of survival class?”

“In the last year, we implemented a survival class in order to make sure everyone who comes into our community has something to contribute. Those who don’t pass are not allowed to stay.”

“I can’t go back out there… I can’t go back…” Mitchell starts off.

Someone gives him a  look that shuts him up. I don’t see it. It could be Valentina or even Iggy for that matter. There was no telling.

“I don’t think you all should have anything to worry about, however. How long has it been? Two years since the outbreak? If you four have survived this long then I have no worries.”

She was wrong. We’d barely survived. If it wasn’t for my ability to feel when the swarms were coming I doubt we would have. Plus, we hadn’t survived alone. The strongest amongst us were gone now. I know Mitchell was nervous about this “class”. I am assuming he had a reason to be. What kind of lessons could they teach us in something like this?

His voice trembles to a low, almost mute, “Oh…”

The concern is all in his tone and the scary thing is…he’s not the only one.

“The offer is yours. I can get you all a home or two to settle into…”

“Two,” Valentina states, “I’m not staying with him.”

She looks at me as she says that. She’s angry. She’s very angry. I know it’s awkward to have this discussion in front of a stranger and the only person more inclined to privacy is Iggy.

He hasn’t sat down. He hasn’t gotten comfortable. He folds up his ripped sleeves and immediately states, “We need a minute.”

With that, the Vice President dangles two keys in front of us. She places them on the table. You would think she was placing liquid gold on the table by how Valentina and Mitchell look at those keys. I don’t blame them. The things we’ve lived in over the last few months would make a homeless person squirm.

When the Vice President leaves there is silence. It’s one of those silences that says there is a lot of unfinished business between the four of us. We’ve been through so much together. So fucking much. This was our hope. This was our way out.

Or it should have been?

“We can’t trust them,” Iggy breaks the news, “We can’t trust anyone but ourselves.”

“Seems like we can’t even trust ourselves lately,” Mitchell whispers.

I shuffle in my chair. It would have been easier to have the Vice President in the room then to face my friends feeling disappointed about the decision I made to abandon the others to die.

Iggy crosses his arm, “Let’s lay off of him for now.”

“You would say that,” Valentina rolls her eyes, “You’ve always babied him.”

“He’s like our little brother…”

“I don’t kiss my little brother,” Valentina corrects her twin, “Not in the mouth.”

It’s not for Valentina to understand why I made the decision I made. It’s not for Mitchell or Iggy, even. It was for Alaric. I couldn’t live with people who had caused him to die. I just couldn’t. It was selfish and maybe I was going to burn in hell for it already. But the way I looked at it—this was hell already. Hell on Earth.

Iggy Ignore’s his sister and addresses me directly.

“Whatever you did—-you helped us by bringing us here,” Iggy states, “And we’ll stick together. That being said we need to make a choice. We don’t have the best history with other groups.”

Iggy may have been talking about the last group we were with. My father and the military group that had bunkers out of the ground. They weren’t sustainable. We didn’t fit in with their operation. Too much emotion perhaps. These men couldn’t be bothered with teenage angst. Then there was Beric West and his group. We should have gotten along on paper. Beric West was Nixon’s brother. He was Alaric’s brother. But they were as paranoid as we were. I still have nightmares about the little girl that died during that encounter. Or Iggy could have been talking about his own mother. His mother was a scientist with the NEO CDC who wanted me. She wanted to kill me in hopes of perhaps getting a vaccine for this disease.

“This isn’t a group Iggy,” Valentina says, “This is a community. This is civilization. Do we really have a choice here?”

She was right. I can tell by the way Iggy frowns up his face that he knew she was right. Iggy wasn’t the type of guy who liked to rely on someone else. He was our leader. We all felt that even though no one specifically said it. Now that Nixon and his group were gone there was no one else.

Iggy nods, “Fine. But we do it together. We stay together.”

“Iggy…” Valentina looks like she is about to object. No doubt her objection had to do with me.

Iggy doesn’t allow it though, “He’s one of us. We are here because of him. That’s the last I want to hear about it. None of you better tell anyone here who Sunday is.”

Looking at Valentina and Mitchell, I don’t feel they even hear Iggy completely. It’s crazy how two people you see as your closest friends can so quickly become your biggest concern.

They nod but I swear I hear Mitchell lean over and whisper something to Valentina. It’s something like, “Or what he is…”

~

“What’s that smell…”

“Lyle…”

“They stink…”

Two boys are standing in front of us. They are handing us things that we hadn’t seen in such a long time. New toothbrushes, soap, hairbrushes…and all these things we’d taken for granted. They have these strange uniforms on. One green uniform and one tan. They were both young. The one named Lyle seemed turned off by us.  He was a tall slim white boy with hair the color of bananas. The other one seemed just as bothered by how we smelled but he tried at least to be nice about it.

I’m embarrassed. But not as embarrassed as Valentina. She has been reduced to tears to the point that Iggy is standing over her rubbing her back and whispering words of encouragement in her ears. I felt like a lab rat. A crowd of people had formulated not too far from us. Half of them were holding their noses and the other half looked like we were aliens or something.

Then there were the two young soldiers who had to get close to us. It would have been less embarrassing if they were older like Vice President Longstreet. Then they would be mature enough to handle this situation. It is even worse that these were nice looking guys especially the nice one.

“You think your shit don’t stink, Lyle?” the guy talking to Lyle says, “You probably haven’t pulled your head out of your ass long enough to smell the difference.”

The guy named Lyle moves down the line and I’m left with the nice one.  Lyle is looking after Ignacio and from how he changes to a smile I am assuming he likes it over there a little bit more. I kind of get a bit jealous when I see him reach over and pet Iggy’s shoulder. He smiles at me but I don’t smile back. I hadn’t seen a mirror but I couldn’t imagine how I looked.

“I apologize about my friend,” he states.

I nod. No answer.

He looks up at me, “I’m Channing Wiley.”

Channing has a unique accent.  It’s strange because he has the look of an American male model.  A very intimidating American male model.  He seems to have the Black and Asian thing going for him.  Tiger Woods if Tiger Woods were sexy.  Slanted Asian eyes but dark skin.  I’m assuming by his British accent that his eyes are just slanted in that way and he’s not really half Asian.  He has a prominent jawline with rigid features except for his soft eyes and pillowy lips. He has a dark skin tone that seems golden rich with a yellow undertone. He has long thick luscious full black dreadlocks. His black hair has strands of brown in it and they fall all the way to his butt.  He has it tied in a tight ponytail to keep it away from his face. He has a 5 o clock shadow that seems intentional that seems to add a bit of edge to his whole demeanor.  There is something carefree about him.

He offers me his hand.

I stare at it like it’s an alien. He has an athletic build, well-defined muscles, and a sturdy frame. Looking at him I can’t help but to just not feel worthy to even touch him. Maybe that’s why I decide after an awkward second or two that perhaps these might be the most awkward seconds in my life. I settle on retreating and keeping my hands tucked shyly underneath my thighs. I sit securely on my dirty fingers.

“It’s dirty.”

Can’t he smell me? Doesn’t he assume? I look over at his friend Lyle who is holding his breath. He can smell me.

Channing doesn’t deny its dirty, “I can always wash my hands after…”

”I see…”

“I was joking.”

He laughs a little bit. I wonder if he expects me to laugh with him. He’s a very intriguing looking guy and his strong laughter seems to get to me a little bit even if I don’t know quite how to return it in these moments.

“Damn I know I can be corny sometimes but usually I at least get a courtesy smile,” he asks.

I don’t answer.

“Damn I must be that bad huh?”

I still don’t answer.

“I see you’ve met Channing,” Vice President Longstreet states walking towards us with her cheeky smile and her positive attitude, “Channing, Sunday and his friends will be joining the class soon.”

“Great. We just had a compelling conversation,” he sneers, “Almost as good as it was in the vault?”

“Vault?” I ask.

Weird thing to say.

The Vice President shakes her head, “He’s just babbling.  Channing, why don’t you leave us alone for a minute?”

I’m beyond embarrassed as he walks off clearly not finding me the least bit interesting.  It’s weird how he mentioned something about a vault. He goes on to help Mitchell who seems to be staring at him with the same awe that I am. It’s good to know I’m not the only one intimidated that this perfect specimen was a representative from Little America.

I wonder if I’m coming off as anti-social. Perhaps I am. Perhaps Iggy is rubbing off on me. Maybe it’s even past Iggy. I just still feel like this is all a dream. Little America couldn’t possibly be real. This boy couldn’t possibly be this clean.

I’m glad when it’s time to move on.

I’m glad when the Vice President takes over and the handsome soldiers stay back.

“Our community has two grocery stores. It has several laundry centers. It has a recreational center,” Vice President Longstreet gives us a tour, “Credits are loaded on wristbands. The more you contribute to the community, the more credits you’ll get for your personal needs.”

I have forgotten streets could be clean. I recall how certain streets were torn up by a demolition crew when we walked through them. That is what a Stampede of biters could do when it went through a town. They destroyed the people, but they also destroyed the infrastructure so that any people who survived would have nothing left to return to.

“What the hell are you looking at?”

This is coming from Iggy. Mitchell and Valentina literally have to hold him back and he jerks towards a man passing by that has been staring. I feel his hand on his gun holstered at his side as he does it. I get why he is acting like this. People aren’t just walking past us. They are staring. They know we are new. It’s clear but it’s also clear that they may not have had a new person for a little while by how they are staring so hard.

“Please forgive the stares,” she states, “The longer we’ve gone without new survivors, the more people assumed there was no one left out there.”

No one left? Had it been that bad? Was it really so terrible? Was it everywhere? Was it just the United States? Had it made it’s way overseas? There were so many questions I had about the virus.

“No we apologize,” Valentina says, “Isn’t that right Iggy?”

Valentina’s embarrassed. She is trying her best to maintain some sort of self-esteem which is hard to do. We looked dirty. We had become savage out there. Iggy hadn’t been the only one acting weird. I was smelling and touching everything I can. Mitchell was jumpy walking during the tour of the city as though he was scared a biter would jump out at any moment.

We weren’t normal…and it showed.

“Just check your people,” Iggy responds.

“I will,” she states, “But I also would like you to hand over your weapons. Until you pass Survival school, we cannot attest to your ability to use these weapons effectively and we’d like to be on the safer side.”

You would think she asked Iggy for his firstborn child by how he looks at her. He wants to argue. I can see it all in his face. He wants to be difficult because he’s gone so long depending on his gun. The crazy thing is I don’t even think he had any more bullets in that gun after he saved Valentina from the Biters but he was attached to the thing. It was the only gun we had left and I knew it had gotten us out of a lot of shit.

But slowly, surely he gives it up.

“This is one of your homes,” she states, “Which two will be staying here?”

I look over at Iggy. His face says it all. He mouths out a quick ‘sorry’. The kind of apology that lets me know he has to put Valentina over me at this moment and will stay with her instead.

Mitchell and I move forward.

“Us,” he states.

“Get situated. Rest. Shower and relax. Tomorrow I’ll have someone come get you for Day 1 of Survival school?”

“Already?” Mitchell asks.

“We’ve survived this long by being aggressive,” the Vice President explains unapologetically, “We must make sure everyone here can contribute.”

Mitchell is nervous as the Vice President walks away with the Serrano twins. I look over at him and I can tell this is all overwhelming. Mitchell was never a tough guy. He was the kind of guy who needed someone to take care of him. He was always that way.

“We’ll be OK,” I state, “Whatever this test is…this Survival Class…we’ll get through it together. This WILL be our new home. I promise.”

I reach over to put my hand on him. I want to comfort him but I get a cold shoulder. He basically pushes me off of him.

“I don’t need any fuckin’ promises from you,” He states, “I don’t need your help and I don’t need your friendship. Look—-it’s a big house. So you can stay the fuck away from me.”

With that, he walks away. I’d been through a lot. Hearing my mother die while on the phone with her. Surviving the end of the world. Finding out that my blood was possibly what started the virus in the first place. All of that hurt but it was these moments where people I cared about turn their backs on me that I really felt true emotion.

~

I am in the shower when the tears start coming. I’d never thought I’d feel a shower again. I never thought that I’d feel hot water on my skin again. It’s strange that I look down and so much dirt goes down the tub that rings start to immediately formulate. I was THAT dirty. And I’m crying because I feel emotion. A swell of emotion. Sadness, fear, anxiety, but also happiness, hope, and excitement.

Shaving. Cleaning. Scrubbing. Rinsing out the tub and doing it again for what feels like hours. I’m trying not only to scrub off the dirt. I want to scrub off the memories.

I walk out of the bathroom and notice Iggy sitting on my bed.

“Mitchell let me in,” he states.

I am in my towel. Iggy’s seen me in a towel a million times even before the outbreak. We grew up together. His mother was friends with my mother or so I thought. I was nothing more than an experiment to his mother though in the end.

“Is your house far?”

“Yeah but they have buses,” he states.

“No shit?”

Iggy smiles, “Swear to god. Toasters. Dishwashers. Valentina spent an hour listening to the fridge’s ice making machine.  It’s so fucking weird.”

“Thought I was the only one thinking that.  It’s almost like this city is too normal. Like they don’t even know what’s going on out there.”

“Nah.  Not just you.  Well regardless of how weird this place is…I’m glad you brought us here. My stomach is too.”

We laugh together. It’s nice to see Iggy laugh. It’s nice we still can laugh together, even after all we went through. Even if it’s just amongst ourselves.

“Thanks for not hating me,” I state.

Him being here right now was well needed.

“Hate? Never. Matter of fact I would have supported what you did to Nixon. Nixon was responsible for Alaric’s death. It was karma. If he could do that to his brother then he could have done it to the rest of us too.”

“Still, maybe I shouldn’t have included Power and Quest.”

“What’s done is done,” he states, “Here…look what I got?”

That’s when he reveals a bottle of New Amsterdam Vodka. It’s sealed. Seeing vodka at that moment just adds to everything. Little America was hopeful but it was also overwhelming. It would take Iggy to know exactly what I needed at this moment and be able to come through.

He sits the vodka on the nightstand. Then he scoots in close to me opening it up and taking a long swig.

I drink after him…feeling it burn my throat, “I need this.”

He smiles a little bit at me, “You deserve it.”

An hour passes and before I know it we are sitting on my floor drinking. I’ve gotten comfortable in my towel. Besides, I had gotten used to the elements and the heat in the house made it too hot. The bed was too soft for me to sit. I was used to the hard floor. Hell…even the soft carpet just felt too comfortable.

“Fuckin carpet feels like a baby butt,” I state.

“What the hell do you know about baby’s butts?” he asks, “When is the last time you’ve seen a baby?”

I laugh, “Hell doubt they even exist still…”

“Nah,” he says, “I think they have them here. I think people feel safe here. Safe enough to get pregnant. Fuckin idiots. I’d give this place a month…”

He’s drunk and clearly slurring his words. He drinks the last of the bottle. Somehow Iggy has managed to get out of his shirt. He wasn’t like Nixon or even Alaric for that matter. The West brothers had a way to sell sex naturally. Iggy didn’t see himself as sexy. Or at least that wasn’t important to him. He wasn’t the kind of guy who walked around showing off how sexy he was all the time. But he WAS. He was so fuckin attractive.

“What if we COULD live here though?” I ask, “What if we pass this class of their’s and this can be our home forever.”

“Nowhere is safe,” he tells me, “Not anymore.”

“But what if it is?”

Iggy turns to me, “I don’t trust this place and I don’t want you to trust it either. We’ll play their rules but keep your eyes open. The minute this place starts going south as Atlanta or Savannah did, we are out of here. If anything happened to you I don’t know what I’d do. God is the only thing we can trust in.”

I watch Iggy say a little prayer to himself. He is very spiritual in that way. I can’t help but stare at him. I’m amazed by everything.

“I forget how handsome you were under all that shit,” I started looking at him.

He’s shaved really nice. I’m going to have to ask him to outline my head as he did his. He could be a barber if he wanted to be. That was just the Iggy independence thing.

“I know I’m not one of those models they called soldiers…” he laughs.

He’s talking about Channing and Lyle from earlier. He must have taken note about how handsome those young soldiers were as well. Then again—anyone would be handsome compared to what we looked like when we came in here. At least now we weren’t a hot fuckin mess.

“Nah. You could DEFINITELY fit in with the Abercrombie models,” I laugh.

He is amused, “Maybe more like I can pose for a gun ad. I’m glad that you think I can make the cut though—whatever the hell that means.”

“You know what it means. It means I’ve always found you attractive.”

There is a pause. I’m drunk. I wouldn’t be saying this if I weren’t. That’s when I see him turn to me. He looks at me. He’s drunk as well. Somehow as we are drunk we’ve managed to get really close to one another. So close that his thighs fold over the mind. So close that he sways back and forth and I can feel the liquor on his breath because his lips are so close to mine.

“You know—we spent forever sneaking kisses because you had a boyfriend,” he states, “That’s not the case anymore.”

”No, it’s not.”

“Now I don’t have to hide it.”

“You don’t?”

He bites his lips. Fuck it drives me crazy the way he bites his lips.

“Nah. I talked to Valentina.”

“She’s OK with me?”

“Fuck no. She hates you. But I talked to her about it,” he states, “You know what that means?”

“What?”

“There’s nothing left to hide. No reason I can’t do this…”

That’s when he kisses me. It’s amazing knowing that he can kiss me and he can kiss me for however long he wants to kiss me for. This happens to not be that long after all. He grabs me scooping me up and placing me on the bed. He’s kissing me again but not on my lips. He’s kissing me down my chest. He’s kissing my stomach. He makes his way into my pubic region and the towel disappears.

I take a deep breath.

That’s when I feel him, not hesitating to wrap his mouth around my dick. He’s slow. I know this is new territory for him. I’d been around Iggy long enough to know he hadn’t gone this far with a man before. It feels good, even if he just swabs his tongue around my dick nervously trying to get comfortable enough to go deeper. Soon however he lifts up my legs and he begins to eat me out. He’s much better at this. He’s much more comfortable. Maybe it’s because he’s drunk but I can see him immediately getting excited by this.

“It tastes so good. Do you want me to go deeper?”

“Yes…fuck yes.”

“I got something I can go deeper with?”

“Yeah?”

“You ready for it?”

“Yeah, Alaric.”

It hits me immediately that I have mistaken Iggy for Alaric. I hope he doesn’t hear it. At first, I think he does because he stops but then I realize it’s only because he’s spitting into his hands. When he does that he rubs his dick. I look down at his dick. It’s swollen with veins. It’s long but it’s the thickness that shocks me really. Iggy’s dick is beyond thick.

He squeezes it into me. Pressing it in. I don’t talk anymore because when he’s in me he folds over the top of me. He kisses me before thrusting.

It’s as though he knows it’s going to hurt…

And that’s when I exhale deeply feeling us finally cross that line. Iggy enters deep inside of me taking me over, pressing his cheek next to me. Holding me and letting me know that there is a whole new world on the other side of this.

~

It’s morning and I lean over.  I see something that is a little weird.  Vault 001.  There was that word again.  Vault.  I wonder what it meant.  I shake off the thought though when I wake up and feel him next to me. He shuffles off the bed and is getting dressed.

“Last night was…amazing,” I state.

He doesn’t respond. Something’s wrong. I can tell by how he is avoiding eye contact with me. He just keeps looking down. Something is definitely wrong. Something is definitely making him uncomfortable.

Then slowly, almost as though drowning me, he turns back and Iggy says, “Last night was a mistake.”

I feel as though the last person I have is abandoning me. I feel so alone at that moment. I reach for him grasping for him but he quickly moves away towards the door. His shirt isn’t even on. His pants are barely on. He just can’t STAND to be near me right now.

“What the hell are you talking about?” I ask, “Last night was everything.”

“You called me Alaric 5 times,” he states.

5 times.

I remember the first time. I don’t remember the other times. I sit back on the bed. Fuck. It comes at me harshly. How the fuck could I let that slip out five fucking times.

“I’m sorry…I…”

I don’t know what to say. I understand why he would be upset about it. I understand why he would be turned off by it. I understand why he thinks it was a mistake now.

“I came 2nd to Alaric West. I got that. He was your first crush. I came 2nd to Nixon West. That didn’t make sense at all. But I waded my time. I refuse to come 2nd to a fucking memory.”

He walks out of the room.

The fact that Alaric West has been dead for so long and he was still a major factor in my life is shocking, to say the least. I didn’t know how to explain it.

When I finally get the guts to go out and beg Alaric to stay I’m faced down by Mitchell who has just come out of his room at as well.

“God, you’re such a fuckin’ slut…” Mitchell states.

He’s never spoken to me like that before. I think I hear it wrong when he does say it.

“Excuse me?”

“You moved on from Nixon that quick,” he states.

He rolls his eyes and looks almost disgusted at me. Iggy is still downstairs. From the sound of it, Valentina is as well. From the sound of it, Valentina is just as annoyed at Iggy as Mitchell is at me. Well, I doubt Valentina was calling her brother a slut though. If it was anyone else I would have took issue with what he said but hearing Mitchell say those things to me I am overwhelmed.

Had I moved on too fast?

Not from Nixon. Fuck Nixon.

Did I still have feelings for Alaric?

I try to ignore him and make my way down the steps only to be confronted with Valentina going off on him.

“You couldn’t wait until the dust settles before you came here and put your dick in him?” she asks her brother.

Iggy has his eyes on the floor. He hears me coming and that’s when he responds, all the while looking right into my face.

“It was a mistake. I regret it. It won’t happen again.”

I feel stupid. I don’t respond though. I just stand there.

“What are you doing here?” I ask Valentina, “Thought you didn’t want to even be around me any longer.”

She doesn’t skip a beat, “ I don’t. Unfortunately, this was the meeting place we were issued.”

“Meeting place?”

“A messenger came knocking. The President would like to meet the new recruits before we are allowed into his school…”

Sitting in a house with Iggy, Valentina and Mitchell is something I’ve done forever but this time it’s weird. They all are mad at me for one reason or the other. Iggy was the only person I had and it’s clear that now he’s even over me. The fact is though he had to enjoy the sex. He didn’t stop when I said Alaric’s name. He finished. I remembered that much even though I was drunk. None of that made it any better though. Maybe it was a mistake to touch him. Now I had ruined a perfectly good friendship by having sex with one of my best friends.

And at the end of the day, I still kept thinking about Alaric West. When was I going to be over him? When was I going to let him rest in peace?

The doorbell rings…

“I’m not getting it,” Mitchell states, clearly trying to be petty.

I sigh realizing how hard this was going to be to live with him if we hadn’t gotten over our issues sometime soon. I get up though and walk to the door. That’s when I’m shocked.

“Fuck…”

I thought I had seen the last West.

“Hello,” he states, “Wow…so it is true.  When they showed me a picture of the new residents I thought it was a joke.”

“Oh my god…” my heart is racing.

It can’t be.

“Didn’t think you’d see me again, did you?” he asks.

I felt like I was seeing a ghost.  Right here in front of my face.

“Alaric?”