>Sollux: Be the badass.
That’s a load of shit and you know it. You are basically what nerd equates to in those shitty movies from 2001 where the nerd looks like a rebel with his Hot Topic clothes, but says cavalier things to let you know that he’s actually cool. You know what, fuck it. You can be a goddamn renegade if you want (if your WoW stats are anything to go on). Look at your in your sunglasses in spite of the lack of daylight. Actually, it’s a pretty stupid thing you do, but you do it anyway because of reasons. You have many reasons, but that’s neither here nor there because there’s shit to do. Important shit.
>Sollux: Wait for the bus.
Very important. Um, you've BEEN waiting for the bus. For the last 20 minutes. It's April, but the temperature is in the lower 60's. This morning it was nearly 70, so naturally you were stupid enough to just leave the house in a hoodie today. Whatever, you're running hot today and the wind isn't THAT hard to ignore. Besides, the chill isn't the worst thing about this city; the city itself is just the worst thing period. Pittsburgh is a wide swath of filth that spreads out for a few miles and burns off its sludge at the borders. The shithole is gracious enough to offer a bus route that leads straight from your apartment to your community college.
>Sollux: Skip ahead to when you are already on the bus.
All right. Now what?
>Sollux: Check your phone.
You lift your sunglasses for a second, just long enough to check the time.
There are two text messages. One is from Aradia.
y0u have t0 c0me t0 the cafe s0metime s00n, i want t0 try a new drink on y0u 0u0
As you attempt to type out a reply, your ringtone blares. She decided to call you right now. Fantastic.
>Sollux: Drop ridiculous pretense strictly to answer your phone.
Sollux numbly answered it, “Hello?”
"Hi Sollux! How's it going? Did you get home yet?"
"Almost. Bus took forever."
Aradia's voice was a cheerful melody as usual, "Oh bummer. Listen, I have to tell you...First, we have to hang out this weekend. We didn't last weekend, and that's just not right."
"Yeah, sorry about that. I had plans."
"That's okay, but the second thing...I don't know if you checked your email, but I maaaaay have spammed you with financial aid forms, hahaha...but seriously! You gotta come to my school, Sollux! And don't keep telling me no, because if I can get a scholarship, I know you can!"
"You spammed me with WHAT?" Halfway through her rambling he took the phone away from his ear and sighed, rubbing the side of his head with his fingers, "Woman, I'll get around to it, ok? I already applied there, I just can't do the whole huge fucking commute all the way to New Jersey every day."
"That's why you get a dorm, dur! You think that wasn't an issue for me, too?"
It was getting difficult to come up with reasons that sounded as logical outside of his head than inside, "Look, I'm fairly certain that this place is amazing as shit or whatever, but I don't get along with roommates as well as you do. If they had some fucking co-ed deal and I could stay with you I'd be fine with it, but me and a roommate? Right, that's gonna work."
"Come on, Sollux...it would be fun to go to school together, don't you think? We'd get to hang out sooo much more, and we wouldn't have to do this stupid twice-a-month-if-we're-lucky thing. I miss you. Just...think it over, would you? Please?"
He sighed in defeat, "You know, it is really, REALLY hard to say no to you, right?"
"I know. It's one of my superpowers. But you will, won't you?"
"You're willing to put me through hell with some dumbass jerk-off of a roommate just so I can put up with you all the time. Bluh bluh you're a huge bitch."
"Or I could be trying to socialize you and re-introduce you to the general population. Come on, Sollux, it'd be good for you to be among people. But hey, I know it's not my decision. Just think it over, okay?"
He heard his ringtone go off right in his ear and nearly dropped the phone with a yelp. He hit a random button just to shut it off, "Yeah yeah, just for you. I have to see what this text is, I'll talk to you later."
"Okay. Remember, this weekend! No backing out! Later, Sollux!"
He groaned out the most guttural sound imaginable, "FIIIINE. BYE."
>Sollux: Re-establish ridiculous pretense and check text message.
The text message is from a restricted number. It's a picture message of a clock. You immediately delete it and check out the window to see how far you are from your stop. Just a couple more. Your feet bounce impatiently, your heart pounding in your chest.
>Sollux: Get to your apartment building.
There already. What now?
>Sollux: Check your mail.
There's a manila envelope with just your name written on it.
> Sollux: Open it.
You can't open it here, dumbass!
> Sollux: Then go somewhere you CAN open it!
You grip it tightly in your hands and run up the stairs to your apartment on the third floor without thinking to catch your breath, you unlock the door quickly and lean against it once inside.
> Sollux: OPEN IT!
You carefully open where the package is sealed. There is money inside. Your eyes widen at the sight. The bills are all $100 bills.
> Sollux: Count how much is there.
You take a deep breath and count out how many are there as carefully as you can to make sure you don't make a mistake. There are 50 $100 bills there. You calculate that to be $5,000. You currently have $5,000 in your hands.
> Sollux: Drop ridiculous pretense out of sheer shock.
Sollux's hands were shaking as he stared at the money on his floor. This was dirty money. Dangerous money. Definitely illegal money, but nonetheless it was his. And as he had been assured by his employers, untraceable for the most part. And he would continue to receive this amount at least once every couple of months if he kept doing what he did best. He could actually keep his promise to Aradia to contemplate going to school. First though, he had business to take care of.
An hour later, he was back at his apartment and on his laptop, wading through the emails that Aradia had sent her throughout the day. He was wearing his first indulgent purchase of the last couple of years, a pair of designer sunglasses he had had his eye on for the last few months. Round black frames with red and blue lenses. He was about ready for college as he would ever be. Nobody could tell him what to do.
>Narrator: Understand implication of protagonist’s statement and grumble to self.