First Installment: Man Voice and the Water Heater
Previous Installment: Basses, Mafia, and Gray Eyes
Lia had too much homework. She knew that she wasn’t the only one that had too much homework, but she really was tired of all of this homework. There just wasn’t enough time to get this all done. Of course, it didn’t help that Amber had come over to wax poetic about her crush. If her crush were a poem, it would not be a sonnet nor a limerick. It would be an epic. On the other hand, Lia had discovered that Amber’s crush Joey and Brandon’s roommate Joey were in fact the same person.
According to Amber, he was practically perfect in every way. Lia was growing rather weary of of the male Mary Poppins. His name was Joey. He was tall and handsome. He had big, beautiful brown eyes. He was incredibly smart. He was dedicated to school work. He was a gentleman. He was cute. He was nice. He was handsome. He was far too talked about. He was redundant. He was stale. He was old news. He was boring. He was unbearable.
In fact, he was so unbearable that Lia felt herself driven from her own apartment. She announced her retreat by saying, “Amber, it’s been really fun chatting, but I have to go out. Now. And do something.”
“About your music group?” Amber asked as they walked to the front door together.
“Yes, it has to do with the music group,” Lia answered. Mainly, it has something to do with a certain irritating bass she’d like to throw out of a window. Only he was too big for her to pick up. She’d just have to lure him over close to an open window. “But only from the first floor,” she muttered under her breath, trying to be merciful in her vengeance.
“I hope that Joey takes you on a date soon,” Lia supplied smoothly. Honestly and truly, I do. “I’ll see you later, Amber.”
Lia and Amber parted ways in the hallway. Lia was left wondering where in fact she should go. She decided to go visit Brandon. She’s been to see him quite a few times over the past week, and he was quickly becoming one of her best friends. He was very good at helping her to just drop all the drama and worry of former boyfriends and five page papers. Brandon didn’t dabble in drama. Brandon dabbled and excelled in various forms of awesome cook, loud friend, and mustachioed individual.
When Brandon opened the door to her knock, Lia said, “Brandon, in a strange twist of irony, I am here to avoid your roommate Joey.”
“You want to avoid Joey?” Brandon asked as he ushered her to a couch.
“I know he’s your best friend, but really, I can’t tell you how unamiable he is.” At Brandon’s raised brow, Lia listed Joey’s shortcomings. “He has no sense of decorum, no sense of dignity, and no sense of allowing a lady enough time to accomplish the important items on her checklist.”
Brandon’s right brow raised to join the other.
“Brandon, I know that you are longing to add a verbal inquiry to those facial promptings, so I will allow you to do so.”
“He doesn’t shut up. Ever.”
“That’s not an actual word, Brandon, but I understand that you are communicating your confusion.”
“You got that right.”
Lia sighed. “Brandon, you’re a great guy, but I’m really quite tired of Joey. My friend has a crush on him, and enjoys talking about him. I’m sick of him. I just need a break from my paper and from Joey.”
“Oh. That kind of break. Well, I won’t talk about him if that helps.”
“That would be immeasurably appreciated. Thank you very much,” she replied.
“Well, here’s not a bad place to escape him after all,” Brandon said. “I’ve seen about as much of him as you have since he started that paper of his a few weeks ago.”
“So here’s a good place to avoid him?”
“As good as any,” Brandon confirmed.
Lia heard some thumpings from upstairs. Someone was in the bedrooms up there. The thudding didn’t give a clue as to who it was, however, since all three of the other boys living in Brandon’s apartment were six foot or taller, and very much walked in the manly fashion of tromping about the place.
“So how you been?” Brandon asked.
“Busy still,” Lia answered. She heard some more footsteps, then silence. “Papers can really start to add up. They always take more time than you think they will, but maybe that’s because you have two or three to write at the same time. But reading is really what’s getting to me.”
“Reading and papers, eh? What’s your major again?”
“I’m an English major.”
“Oh yeah. English major. That’s right.” Brandon’s carrying voice made this statement seem much more weighty and significant than Lia felt it deserved. She was about to tell him to stop aggrandizing her studies because she could do it much more loquaciously, when there was a sudden clattering.
THUMP! BASH! CLUD CLUD CLUD CLUD!
Lia found herself staring at a white rectangle of paper surrounded by a halo of hair that had been worried by frantic hands, tugged by the roots to stand out like a brunet version of Einstein. She could tell by the warmth emanating from the paper just inches from her face that this was a product hot off the presses.
There were words coming towards her from behind the paper. Lia reached out her hand out and pushed the paper down slightly. Joey was speaking rapidly, and then paused, looking intently at her. Was he waiting for a response?
“I beg your pardon, but I was so distracted by the Night Before Christmas reenactment that I was unable to attend to your request just now,” Lia said, still looking over the top of the paper into Joey’s distressed brown eyes.
He dropped the paper slightly. “The what?”
“I was sitting here peacefully when there arose such a clatter- and such an enthusiastic clatter that I did not even have to go anywhere to see what was the matter,” Lia said. “Obviously you are not well acquainted with the famous Christmas poem.”
“I like Christmas just fine, but I need to finish this paper before then. I have to turn this in!” Joey said, raising the paper again. “I’ve done all the proofreading I can, but I need someone with an eye for writing to look through it for me. Do you think that you could help me please?” His voice trailed away from conversational to inquiring to pleading as he finished his request.
Lia smiled as she pushed the paper back down. “I enjoy editing papers, I’d be glad to help you.” She noted that the paper in question had not moved more than a foot away from her face during their whole conversation. “And I know that many nerds wear glasses, and though I do in fact have a pair of rather cute pink ones, I can assure you that I am not so nearsighted as to need the paper quite so close to my eyes.”
Joey pulled the paper back towards him with a relieved smile. He looked down at it, and then offered it to her. “I can’t tell you how grateful I am for your help.”
“Can you give me ten or twenty minutes to read through this? Just come on over to my place then.” Lia looked over at Brandon. “Thanks a lot for helping me out, but I can’t help but point out that my purpose in coming here has been rather thwarted. Maybe better luck next time, hey Brandon?”
Lia walked out of the door as she heard Joey asking what that was all about. She smiled to herself as she looked down at the paper. So much for avoiding papers and Joey.
By the time that Lia was sitting in her living room a few minutes later, she could tell that Joey was going to need to make quite a few corrections and would need to reprint the paper. Since she had some extra time before Joey was coming over, Lia decided to help him out with the blank List of Tables and List of Figures. Not only was it a very blank page, but she could tell that Joey was very stressed. He probably just needed a good laugh to help break up some of the tension of school.
She grabbed a pencil, and carefully drew a stick figure-esque drawing of a ping pong table, a coffee table, Mario, Luigi, and a princess skipping through some flowers. She heard the door open but didn’t look up until she heard Ally saying, “There she is. Hard at work obviously.”
Lia realized that she was sticking her tongue out to the side while she was drawing. And Joey and Ally were just staring at her, one confused, the other amused.
“Hello, Joey,” Lia said, whipping her tongue back inside her mouth. She’d let him be the one to drool over her magnificent pictures. “I’ve gone over your paper, and I found the worst mistakes in the beginning.”
“Really?” he said in a deflated tone. “Because I spent the most time going over that first page to make sure my argument was well grounded in the introduction.” Joey seated himself on the couch next to Lia.
“Oh, your argument is fine,” Lia assured him. “I was referring to your blatant lack of tables and figures. I took the liberty of helping you acquire some.”
With a quirk of her lips she looked up at him as she showed him her great works of art. She waited for a laugh. A smile. A raised eyebrow? Any kind of recognition or acknowledgement? Nope. Nothing. This man obviously had no sense of humor.
“Sorry about that, moving on,” Lia said hurriedly, grabbing the paper from Joey so that she could turn the page. “Here are some of my editorial notes.” As she was going over some of the more logical and practical notes, Lia mourned the loss of her clever play on figures and tables. Who didn’t laugh at stick figures and ping pong tables?
Next installment: Wordsworth's First Name Is Not Joey