Clara looked down from the top corner of the living room. The others were quiet today. They had been quiet for almost two years now. The only thing that would pull them from their stupor was a new set of students moving into the house. She didn’t blame them; every four years, the new students seemed less promising than the last and they were beginning to lose hope. Clara, being the youngest, was still hopeful and she knew today was move day. So, she waited.
Jordan lifted the large cardboard box up the three steps to the front door of the house. It was a small three-bedroom, old looking but well kept. The white paint on the siding was not as bright as it must have once been and there was a green cast to the roof, but it might as well have been a castle for all he cared. He was the first one in his family to go to college and the surge of pride that rushed through his body overshadowed the faintly musty odor that greeted him as he wrestled open the door.
He set the box down on the counter and ran his fingers through his short black hair as he looked around. The tiny specks of dust drifting through the beams of sunlight threatened to mesmerize him until a sudden revelation snapped him out of it. This was going to be his home for the next four years! He took a deep breath and released a slow and contented sigh and smiled.
It looked like he was the first to arrive. His two roommates should be arriving at any moment. Sweet! he thought. Dibs on the best room! He ran outside to grab the rest of his stuff.
Clara watched the boy bolt from the house and mused to herself. It was too early to tell what kind of person he was, but already she could feel the air of confidence about him. It wasn’t arrogance, he was just sure of himself, sure of his ability and experience. He showed promise, even if she had only observed him for thirty seconds so far. She could feel one of the others stirring, but she couldn’t tell which one it was. She hoped they would stay awake longer this time. Two years is a long time to be by yourself.
Jordan rushed back through the door with a backpack slung over one shoulder and a suitcase in one hand. He took the stairs two at a time and opened the first door. It was a closet. The second door was the bathroom. The third door revealed the first bedroom. It was small; twin bed, closet, drawers, small window.
He found the next bedroom and it was pretty much the same as first, except the walls were white instead of beige and there were two windows instead of one. The room behind the last door was the master bedroom, no larger than the others, but it had its own small bathroom. Jordan set his backpack down on the bed and the suitcase on the floor.
He flicked the bathroom light on. Like the rest of the house, it looked old but clean. The medicine cabinet squeaked as he pulled it open and he thought he saw the movement of the air stir up a tiny swirl of dust in one of the back corners. He ran his finger over the surface of the shelf, but his finger came away clean. He raised his eyebrows and shrugged. His thoughts drifted back to his car and all he had left to unpack, so he made his way back down the stairs.
Clara felt a presence beside her. It was Dergen. Dergen was disoriented and she could sense slightly grumpy.
“He woke me up,” Dergen said in his usual gruff manor. Clara giggled. Dergen liked to sleep in the master bath medicine cabinet; she could never figure out why. The boy must have chosen the master bedroom for himself. They both watched as he made his way past with another large box in his arms. Dergen didn’t like to talk, not usually anyway. Clara was just happy he was there.
“Hello! Anybody home?” The voice came from the tall boy with spiky brown hair in the doorway, the second of the three boys that would be living in the house. His sunglasses seemed a little too large for his face and his baby blue T-shirt seemed just a little too tight for his well-toned body. If Clara had eyes, she would have rolled them. She could never keep up with the current fashions.
Jordan bounded down the stairs and almost ran into the newcomer. He held out his hand, “Hi, are you living here too?”
Val pulled his sunglasses down and gave a quick appraisal to who was apparently his new roommate. His no-name jeans were baggier than Val would have worn, but the red Converse shoes he was wearing were cool. He was pale, but cute and the one dimple he sported on his left cheek probably drove the girls crazy. He seemed friendly enough.
Val flashed his too-white smile and firmly grasped the outstretched hand. “Hi, I’m Val. And yes, I’m going to be living here.”
“I’m Jordan. I claimed the room at the end of the hall; I hope you don’t mind. It’s not any bigger than the other rooms, but it has its own bathroom. A small one.”
Val smiled through Jordan’s little explanation. At least he had the good sense to appear sheepish for grabbing the master bedroom before his roommates had gotten there. He held on to Jordan’s hand just long enough to make him uncomfortable, then released it. “That’s fine,” he said, smiling. “So, does that mean I’m sharing a bathroom with the other guy?”
“Yeah,” said Jordan, pointing up the stairs. “It’s the second door on the right.”
Val climbed up the stairs to claim a room for himself.
“Interesting dynamic there,” Dergen commented after they both left the room. If Clara had a head, she would have nodded.