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Call it Fate or Confusion

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Ray was laid out on his bed, trying to figure out what the fuck he was going to do considering he didn’t have another class for a few hours. He was thinking he was going to jerk off but he wasn’t sure if he was like feeling it. Mostly he didn’t want to have to clean up a mess, or have to change clothes. Instead he was staring blankly up at his ceiling wondering if it would be shitty of him to show up to class high on the first day. Then Michael walked into his room staring at his phone, and greeted Ray in his usual loud way.

“What’s up asshole?” he left the door open and tossed himself onto Ray’s twin sized bed.

Ray sighed. He’d known Michael all his life, and personal space wasn’t his strong suit in any sense of the word. He’d crashed through Ray’s barriers years ago. Though he was sure to find a few new barriers to break through now that they shared an apartment together.

“Well I was trying to decide between smoking a bowl and jerking off. But since you’re here I guess I’m just gonna jerk off,” Ray said, reaching for the button of his jeans. Michael laughed and smacked his hand away from his dick.

“You’re such a prick,” Michael said.

“Maybe I wouldn’t be if you just let me jerk off-,”

“Shut up dumbass- where’s your weed?” Michael asked, already rummaging around in Ray’s nightstand drawer, answering his own question when he finds it.

Then Michael’s passing him a pipe and Ray sat up to take a hit.

Ray was sure that if this was what college was going to be like for the next few years, then he was either gonna have a good time, or get bored really fucking quick. Michael was sitting glued to his side as he answered texts, Ray stared at the ceiling again and wondered if this was what all friends do.

“Dude, Jack was telling me that there’s gonna be this party at his place tonight,” Michael glanced at him as Ray tried not to tense. Ray didn’t do parties. It was always a lot of people he didn’t know acting stupid together. He respected it, but it wasn’t always his thing. Michael knew this, and had been actively fighting it since high school.

So Ray had spent a lot of time wandering around parties for Michael’s sake.

“It’s supposed to be fun, you in?” Michael asked, hopefully.

Ray scratched the back of his neck idly, letting the high make him comfortable with telling Michael no.

“Sorry dude, I think I just wanna lay low for a while, y’know?” Ray responded, and Michael nodded understandingly, “Maybe next time.”

“Alright, I’ll let it slide. Let me know if you change your mind though, it’ll be way better if you come.” Michael’s phone made a soft noise as he sent a message to Jack, and Ray blew smoke out of his nose and chuckled.

“Michael, I’m a fucking dragon.”

Michael looked up at him and laughed loudly and Ray smirked. They played Zombies in Call of Duty for a while, until Ray remembered he had class and had to stumble around his room looking for his backpack before taking off (the backpack had been right next to his shoes and- oh shit he needed to put on his shoes).

Ray took the short stroll to school leisurely, already sure he was late and not sure he was going to make it at all. He probably wouldn’t be in college at all if it hadn’t been for Michael. He had sat around for weeks avoiding college applications while Michael nudged and poked at him to fucking fill out something at least. Finally Ray gave in when Michael had written up half of his application for UT Austin, the school Michael had already been accepted to. Ray wasn’t really interested in school, but he was interested in getting the fuck away from home, so he was grateful in the end.

He was squinting at the university map on his phone, eventually walking into a room he thought was the right one and clearly interrupting class with his lateness. The whole room turned to look at him as he slammed the door open, he just mumbled, “Excuse me,” and sat in the nearest empty desk. The professor shrugged and went on mumbling monotonously about the syllabus.

It was a small class, Ray noticed as he doodled in the margins of his empty notebook. TV had always convinced him that college classes would be auditorium-sized monstrosities, so this was a welcome surprise. Ray briefly wondered what time the class was supposed to end, when he felt someone tap lightly on his shoulder. Ray jumped out of his fucking skin and turned around to see who it was.

Blue eyes. That was the first thing that Ray saw, and then once he was stuck on his eyes it was like Ray was dying to look anywhere else because the eyes… were intense. He settled on staring at the guy’s mouth, which was a good idea because if he hadn’t read his lips he probably wouldn’t have understood when the guy whispered.

“D’you need to take a picture of my syllabus? He’s not putting it online,” the lips said, attached to what Ray realized was a nice-looking face. He looked like a nice person, this blue-eyed dude. Ray didn’t want to fucking take a picture of the syllabus, but he nodded anyway, taking the syllabus as it was offered to him.

As he waited for his camera app to open on his piece of shit phone, he read the first page for lack of something to do and felt strangely watched by the blue-eyed guy.

Intro to Business Programming

What the fuck.

“What the fuck,” Ray mumbled, taking a few pictures blindly, and then handed the packet back to the guy. He didn’t register for Intro to Business Programming. Then how was he in this class? This was supposed to be College Algebra.

He stared at the pictures he took of the syllabus and then looked at the room number it had printed on the page. 206. He scrolled through the pictures until he found the screenshot of his schedule. 205.

He was in the wrong fucking room.

“Oh my god.” Ray sighed to himself pathetically. He turned back around to the dude.

“When does this class end?” Ray asked, and the guy checked his phone before answering.

“Like five minutes.”

“Oh. Thanks dude,” Ray said and then turned around again. Fuck. No point in walking out now. His leg shook restlessly as he waited for the professor to let them go. When he finally did, Ray wanted to race out of there, but didn’t really see the point, so instead he slowly put his shit in his bag and got up at to leave.

“Hey,” someone said, and Ray kept walking, assuming it was meant for someone else. Then there was a hand on his shoulder and he flinched, frowning to himself for being so jumpy all the damn time. He turned around, and it was blue-eyes, or whatever the fuck this guy’s name was.

“Oh. Hi.” Ray said, noticing how tall the guy was when he made eye contact with the dude’s collarbones.

“I’m Ryan,” the dude said pleasantly. Ryan.

“Ryan,” Ray said, trying to do the thing that helps you remember names, “I’m Ray.”

“Cool. So, uh, I don’t know if you heard the professor, but he was talking about a group project thing, and we only need one other guy if you wanna-,” Ryan said gesturing to some guys behind him and Ray was flushed with embarrassment as he interrupted.

“Listen, I straight-up walked into the wrong class, so you’re just wasting your time,” Ray said bluntly, staring at Ryan’s collarbones and slowly making the trip up to his actual face.

“Oh,” Ryan chuckled awkwardly, adjusting his backpack over his shoulder, “Why didn’t you just leave?”

“Because I’m a fucking idiot, apparently,” Ray replied, looking at his nose now.

“Nah, you’re fine,” Ryan smiled.

Ray shrugged and after a short silence between them made to leave, his jaw clenching idly as he spun away, and Ryan called out after him.

“I guess I’ll see you around?”

“Maybe,” Ray said back, trudging out of the room and pulling out his phone to call Michael.

**

“You what?” Michael shouted, followed by a cackle. Ray let him laugh for a bit as he walked out of the building. He heard a voice on the other side of the line, like Michael was with someone.

“Yep. Wrong fucking class. And then some dude stopped me to ask if I wanted to be in his group… Stop fucking laughing I look like a moron!” Ray yelled into the phone, a few passing people turning to look at him. Ray walked away from the building a little faster.

“God, you are a moron. Were you still high when you left?”

“Take a fucking guess, dude.” Ray mumbled.

Michael laughed again, and Ray could definitely hear someone in the background of the call.

“Who the fuck are you with?” Ray asked.

“Some british prick,” Michael replied. Ray shook his head, laughing as he heard, “Oi!” loud and clear in the background.

“You make the weirdest fucking friends,” Ray said. Michael was always fast to make friends with whoever the fuck was around. It had its ups and downs, but the ups were people like Geoff and Jack, so it was worth it.

“Yeah, have you seen yourself lately dude?” Michael laughed and Ray rolled his eyes.

“You can’t see me, but I’m flipping you off.”

“Good, I fucking hate you,” Michael laughed.

“Aw, that’s so sweet I hate you too, freckles,” Ray said in a ridiculous voice.

“Come meet us, I got you some shitty pizza.”

“Fuck yeah. I’m on my way.” Ray said, hanging up and looking at the school map on his phone again.

**

Ray met Michael and (“Hey, uh, who are you?” “Oh, I’m Gavin,”) Gavin and they left back to Ray and Michael’s apartment after wolfing down the pizza.

“So, you coming to this party or what Ray?” Gavin asked as he crashed into the sofa. Michael shoved him over to make room for him and Ray to sit. They only had the one couch, and their TV was on the floor but it was all they really needed. The apartment was pretty bare beyond that, except for the boxes of crap that were stacked along the walls. They figured they’d get to them eventually.

“Uh, I don’t know.” Ray said, surprising himself since he already told Michael no.

“Oh, are you thinking about it now?” Michael sat up with interest. Michael raised his eyebrows at Ray and Ray sighed internally. He exposed a “maybe” to Michael and Michael always fucking knew how to turn Ray’s maybe into a “Fuck it, why not.”

“Michael-,”

“Ray, come on, what are you gonna do by yourself all night?” Michael whined, grabbing Ray’s shoulders and shaking him as he did.

“Maybe I’ll finally get to jerk off,” Ray laughed out.

“You have your whole life to jerk off, Ray!” Gavin said, laughing along with him.

It did seem kind of sad, staying home from the first party of his college life or whatever, but how sad was it really? He was probably just gonna get high and play video games, it’s not like he was going to stay home and cry while watching sad movies. Well he might cry, but probably not at the same time as watching a sad movie. At least not on purpose. Whatever- the point was, that even if he did, no one would find out because he’d be alone and not at a crowded party with strangers.

“I’m gonna pass guys,” Ray said and they groaned in unison, “No hard feelings, I’m just tired.”

“From what, going to the wrong class and talking to a whole entire person afterwards?” Michael joked.

“Yeah, you know my limit is like two conversations per week.” Ray said. Michael ignored him in favor of talking to Gavin.

“You a party boy, Gavin?”

“Yeah!” Gavin replied enthusiastically.

“Ray, you’ve officially been replaced, get your shit and get out.” Michael said.

Ray got up, making his way to his room, “Don’t need to tell me twice, dude.”

“Ray!” Michael yelled just as Ray got to his door. Ray stopped and turned around dramatically, playing along.

“I… I’ll always love you!” Michael screamed, clutching his chest and collapsing back against the couch. Ray tried to school his face into something solemn as Gavin laughed his fucking ass off beside Michael.

“Well, I NEVER LOVED YOU!” Ray shouted dramatically before stepping into his room and slamming the door shut. He stood by the door for a minute, just smiling at the sounds of Michael and Gavin giggling on the couch until their laughter turned into murmurs of conversation. Ray had already seen that look of awe in Gavin’s eyes that people got from just being around Michael, so he was sure he would be seeing Gavin again. Michael had that effect on people, like a laugh that made you want to laugh even if you didn’t get the joke.

He sighed, and rested his head against his door as he stood there for a while longer. God, he felt like such an idiot for missing class like that. And on top of that being found out by that fucking guy in the programming class. Ryan. With those blue eyes that were kind of stuck in his head. Christ.

What ever happened to the ‘no one talks to each other unless it’s strictly necessary’ part of college life? And Ray had been such a prick to him too, he had seemed like an alright guy. Ray shut his eyes warily as he dropped himself onto his mattress.

“I’m an asshole,” he muttered to himself under his breath before falling asleep.