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In Real Life, There'll Be Me and You

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After long days of classes, completing homework that seems to never end, hanging out with friends, and going to his job, Chance Perez still has time for his own project.

Mainly he's the kid who manages to scrape money and pay for tuition, all his books, as well as dorm room fee. His roommate, Mikey Jimenez, doesn't seem to have an issue with money. Mikey offers to pay more than half for rent, but Chance refuses. It's not about pride (okay, maybe it is a little), but Chance is supposed to be independent and responsible.

Of course, having a limit to spending of money means eating packages of noodles every meal. Chance has a huge box of plastic forks stashed in his drawer, so it's basically a eat-and-run. He's eaten so many noodles the entire year, and they taste like rubber and dust. Sometimes if he's lucky, he can buy a burger at McDonalds.

But life is good.

Chance's classes are interesting, and although there is a lot of effort, it's worth it. He's taking History of Evolution, Cartoon Design, Sketching of Human Figures, and Famous Literature of the 18th Century. The campus of the university is large and it took at least a month to get used to walking from class A to class B.

When he was younger, he was fascinated about the world. Science was a favourite subject for him, and while he learned about physics, chemistry, and biology, the topic of evolution captivated his attention the most.

Along with having interest in life around him, Chance also likes comics. Mostly he reads about superheroes who are usually 'nerdy' and have powers. It sounds amazing, to change and help the world under a secret identity. Chance used to sketch a few comics, all of them centering around a boy who has super strength and the power to fly which is kind of a rip-off from Superman. The plot is basically different scenarios in which the protagonist will help save the day.

Chance was seven when he made his very first comic; it was about some thief in the school who stole a classmate's lunch money. His parents showed it to all his relatives, and although it may be out of politeness, they said it was amazing.

Chance wonders about that feeling - being some random kid who suddenly is a hero in everyone's eyes. He's too in love with the idea. It took him a few months to design the character who looks average but isn't. The hero has brown hair. Blue eyes. Lean figure. Jeans, red hoodie, sneakers - Chance is proud of the final outcome. The pencil in his hand is already familiar with the angles and shapes of the character he can draw it in his sleep.

Coming up with a superhero costume and name is tricky, however. Not to mention the powers, and sobbing backstory. What makes this hero stand out from others?

But for the human name, Chance decides that the character should be named Michael Conor. Definitely.

-

"Chance? Are you going to the party?" Mikey questions, standing behind the older boy who's concentrating on drawing a scene. The desk has papers littering the surface, some lead smudging the white, but Chance is too deep in thought to care.

"Huh? Uh, yeah. Just a minute."

"Why aren't you listening? C'mon, don't you want any fun?"

"This is fun." Chance turns around in his swivel chair. "Okay, sure. Whose party is it?"

"Drew Ramos. It's his birthday. There's only, like, an exclusive list."

"And I'm actually invited?"

"Of course." Mikey frowns. "I have no idea what I should wear, though. Help me."

"You literally have hair goals though."

"Duh." Mikey laughs. His mom works as a hair dresser, and so wielding the gift of hair, he makes people jealous. Along with having good looks, he's a potential crush for Chance but that'll be too weird.

Besides, after the roommate arrangement, they're more like siblings. Mikey's side usually has clothes strewn over the bed and on the floor. In the bathroom that they share, it's exploding with hair products, hair, and towels.

Chance is probably not the messiest person around; he always cleans after himself. But his desk has a mess of papers, pencils, and if you can decipher any of the scrawls on drafts it'll be related to the comic.

"Maybe you can find a guy." Mikey gives a suggestive look.

Chance sighs. That's the other thing. Mikey is not subtle at all, which sometimes ruins Chance's needing to blend in the crowd. Mikey craves for attention, so drama is definitely part of his schedule.

"I'm not looking for anyone."

"Don't worry, you're good-looking. Just keep smiling. I think you have a twink vibe going on anyway."

"Twink?" Chance scrunches his nose. "You mean Twinkie?"

"Do you really think I'm likening you to a sponge cake with white synthetic cream filling?"

"I don't know. You're confusing."

"Whatever. If you wanna get laid, wear the proper outfit."

Chance rolls his eyes, because most people think sex will happen after graduating high school. The hype is low. Parties are basically loud music playing and beer, which is boring, and people who are brave enough to make a move usually have STDs. The judgement is likely exaggerated, as Chance has only been to two parties, but nothing much happens.

There's a variety of people he'll see, too—yet Chance can't find a person who gives him butterflies and other nice metaphorical feelings.

"Come on! What is your type?" Mikey huffs, ruffling through his clothes. As predicted, jeans and shirts are scattering over the grey carpet flooring.

"Uh, blue eyes? Nice smile. Funny."

"You just named half of the students. Anything else?"

"Hey, unless you've ever met a guy with blue eyes and tells funny jokes, please tell me."

"J-Hype?"

"Ew. He's, like, ten years younger."

"Guess that leaves Brady Tutton out."

"Who?"

"One of my classmates little brother. Anyway, uh... Devin Hayes?"

Chance flushes. "Just a friend."

Smirking, Mikey gives a knowing look. "He's really good-looking. I think he likes you."

"I hope so. He's my best friend."

"I thought I was your best friend!"

"No, you're my roommate. So we're kind of forced into a relationship."

"If I were gay, I'd date you. Just saying." Mikey grabs his phone, texting some message out.

Chance suspects that Mikey has a girlfriend, but so far there's no notice.

"I can't wait for tonight. Still expecting something from you," Mikey says, and throws clothes at Chance's face.

The older boy manages to catch them. "Right. I'm getting a boyfriend for you."

"So funny. Just tell me what the surprise is."

"Surprise?" Chance is honestly getting confused.

"Right, it's a secret. I'll pretend I don't know yet."

Is he talking about Devin? Chance wonders, mind wandering. He hopes to see his friend at the party.