'Cause the spaces between my fingers are right where yours fit perfectly.
-Owl City, Vanilla Twilight
“So, you ready?” Gabe asked him.
Still staring straight ahead at the dorm building that would become his home for the next eight months, Cas nodded.
Gabe snapped in front of his face, getting Cas to finally look at him. “Hey, why don’t you go check in and I’ll park the truck where everyone’s unloading?” his older brother suggested.
“Y-yeah. Sounds good,” Cas stammered, fumbling with his seatbelt.
Gabe put his hand on his shoulder. “Chill out, little bro. Everything’s going to be fine. Promise.”
Cas nodded again, before hopping out his brother’s ancient Ford truck.
Everything’s going to be okay, he repeated to himself, before taking a deep breath and approaching the Norman Complex, the smallest dormitory on Birchwood’s campus. He was to be staying in Boyd hall. Normally, freshman stayed in at the Lawrence Complex but the halls there were known for being loud and rambunctious. Due to being an early applicant, he was among the first to choose where to live. And he picked Norman. The dining hall there was mediocre, nothing compared to Westwood or the Student Center, but it was certainly better than what Lawrence had to offer.
Inside the complex, he followed signs until he found his hall. Near the mailboxes, there was a table set up with who he assumed were the RAs checking students in. He stood in the surprisingly short line and waited his turn. When he approached a red-headed resident assistant with a clipboard, he gave her his name.
“Novak, Novak, Novak,” she said, turning a couple pages until she found him. “Ah, there you are. James? Or do you prefer Jim? Or Jimmy?”
“Uh, neither,” Cas admitted. “I go by my middle name, actually. Castiel. But, uh, everyone just calls me Cas.”
“Well, alright then, Cas,” the girl said with a smile. “My name’s Charlie and it looks like you’re on my floor. Here’s your welcome packet, and your key. If you’ll step over here so we can take your picture for your student ID.”
Charlie directed him towards the corner of the room where a simple grey backdrop was set up. He set his packet and key on the ground and posed with his arms crossed. It was a good thing he decided to dress up for move in.
“Okay, say, ‘cheese,’” she said, snapping the picture. She looked down at the digital camera. “Looking good. You wanna see? We can do up to one retake if you want.” She showed Cas the picture. Noticing his frown she quickly said, “Yeah, the IDs are in black and white. Sorry about that. Other than the old-fashioney-ness, you okay with this one or do you want a redo?”
Cas looked at the picture, squinting his eyes. “No, it’s okay. Thank you Charlie.”
“Not a problem. These should be printed and ready by tomorrow’s meeting. For now, the doors will be open for move in. Any questions?”
Cas bent down to pick up his things. “No, thank you,” he told her. “I’m just gonna find my brother and unpack.”
“Sure thing,” Charlie said, returning to assist the growing line of students.
Cas went back outside and looked around, quickly spotting his brother’s green and white pickup near the unloading area. He already had a cart and was stacking totes filled with all the essentials he’d need to be away from home for eight months. The truth was, home these days was his twenty-six year old brother’s apartment. His stuff had been packed away in totes all summer, ever since he’d gotten kicked out of his parents’ home.
See, the Novaks were extremely religious. Lutheran, to be specific. And when Castiel got accepted into Birchwood University in Chicago instead of Concordia or Augustana or any number of Lutheran colleges in the United States… Well, let’s just say his mother wasn’t too happy.
When asked why he didn’t just go to Concordia if he wanted to live in Chicago, Cas told he he wasn’t sure he believed in the same things she did. Apparently that was the wrong answer. She told him that she ‘didn’t ask for much’ but that belief in God was a requirement to live in her household. So he’d been crashing on the couch in his brother’s one bedroom apartment in Chicago since he graduated in June.
His parents, Chuck and Naomi Novak weren’t divorced but no longer lived with each other. His dad had been living with Aunt Amara for about a year now. Aunt Amara was eighteen years younger than his father and lived in California. Cas hadn’t seen his dad since the summer before his senior year. He didn’t even show up for his and his twin sister Anna’s graduation.
Anna, of course, like the dutiful daughter, was attending Concordia. Even though they’d be in the same city, Cas doubted they’d see each other. She was still under Naomi’s control, unfortunately.
Cas was one of seven children. There was his twin Anna, of course as well as his younger brother Alfie. Alf was only twelve and was the last child living in the Novak residence. Gabriel was the middle child at twenty-six and after that was thirty-two year old Nick, who Cas called Lucifer behind his back. There was also Uriel who was thirty-six and adopted as well as the Novak’s first child, Zach, whom they had when they were just nineteen years old. He was thirty-eight.
As for Naomi, she was now seeing a man twenty-one years younger than herself. Thirty-five year old Mike was younger than his mother’s eldest son, and Cas just found that to be gross, if he was being honest.
“Earth to Cas,” Gabe said, snapping him out of his daydream. “I asked if you knew what room you were in.”
“Uh,” Cas said, retrieving the key from his pocket. “Room 117.”
“Alright, Master Chief. Lead the way.”
Gabe pushed the cart while Cas navigated the maze of a hallway, until he found the room that would be his home for the next two semesters. To his surprise, the door was already propped open. Inside, was a boy laying on one of the beds, with earplugs in listening to music. His eyes were closed and one hand was behind his head, the other resting on his stomach. His shirt was hiked up a bit, revealing just a sliver of stomach. With his slightly feminine features and his light brown, almost blonde hair, he was, by far, the cutest boy Cas had ever seen.
“I don’t see why I can’t just room with you,” Dean grumbled as his best friend Charlie handed him his key and welcome packet.
The red-head rolled her eyes. “You know why,” she said. “Norman may be co-ed but that doesn’t mean they let boys and girls be roommates. Especially not since they have suite bathrooms! Besides, I’m an RA so I get a room to myself anyway.”
Dean stuck out his tongue at her. “Who’s my roommate anyway?” he asked, pulling out his student ID so he could swipe in to the dorms.
“Don’t bother,” Charlie told him. “They’re unlocked until the freshmen get their IDs printed out.” She looked down at the roster. “Uh, let’s see… Looks like his name is James Novak.”
“Does he have a picture?” Dean asked and Charlie sighed before getting up to move behind the counter where the RA’s as well as other student employees worked during ‘desk duty.’
She typed his name into the database. “Nope. Looks like you’re rooming with a freshman. Guy must’ve applied early to get out of living in Lawrence.”
Dean sighed. “At least it’s only for another year. Kevin said I could live with him junior year. He’s got that apartment off campus. If you don’t want to do the whole RA thing your senior year, you could stay with us,” Dean offered.
Charlie scoffed. “I didn’t get past the interview process just to do this one year, Dean. Besides, I get free room and board. No way I’m giving that up.”
Dean shrugged, pulling his lanyard out of his pocket (only freshman wore them around their necks) and put his new key on the ring. “Yeah, I guess. So this James guy isn’t moving in until tomorrow, I take it?”
Charlie nodded. “Yep. Friday move-ins are for Honors College and upperclassmen only.”
“Like anyone besides you guys lives in the dorms after their second year…” Dean said, annoyed that she said ‘upperclassmen’ instead of just ‘sophomores.’
Charlie narrowed her eyes at him. “Lots of people do, Dean. I’ve got a few juniors and seniors on the roster for our floor.”
“Whatever… Dad and Sammy are parking Bobby’s van. Better find them before Dad throws a hissy fit about me taking too long. If he knew I was talking to you…” Dean shook his head.
“What, your dad still thinks it’s gross that I’m a big ol’ lesbian?” the junior said, rolling her eyes.
“He thinks your a ‘bad influence’ on me,” Dean said, actually using air quotes even though they were super dorky.
Charlie snort-laughed. “If only he knew.”
“He doesn’t,” Dean said, pointing at her. “And he’s not gonna find out.”
She put up her hands in surrender. “It’s not my secret to tell.”
Dean spent the whole afternoon unpacking, with his father and little brother’s help of course. After his family hugged him goodbye and went back to Lebanon, Kansas, Dean went down to Norman’s cafeteria and ordered a personal pan pizza. It wasn’t the fanciest eating establishment on campus, but he was signed up for the twenty-one meals a week plan and he got four dollars for breakfast, and eight for lunch and dinner to spend as well as one-hundred in what they called ‘bulldog cash’ as spending money to use on toiletries and in case he went over his meal allotment. He could also use it on laundry if he wanted to. Although, he usually just used one of the rolls of quarters his parents gave him at the beginning of each semester. Birchwood was just awesome like that. In fact, five years in a row it had been rated the top University dining in the state. Nothing compared.
As an RA, Charlie had to be on call three weekends out of the month. Meaning, even if she wasn’t on duty, she still had to be in the building by midnight, just in case there was an emergency. And since Kevin wasn’t going to move into his apartment until the next morning, Dean spent the evening hanging out with Charlie until the wee hours of the morning. Even though boys and girls weren't allowed to live with each other, the dorms had no rules about co-eds from the same hall staying the night with one another. It was a loophole many students used to their advantage. The rules were even relaxed for students from other dorms, only requiring them to sign in every night. Non-students needed a visitor pass and couldn’t stay more than three consecutive nights. Again, Birchwood was a pretty awesome school. Some of the schools Dean’s high school buddies went to wouldn't’ even allow opposite gender students to stay the night. Which was stupid, considering they were all adults.
When Dean woke up the next morning, he was pretty groggy. But, he didn’t want to be asleep in case his roomate arrived early. Move in started at nine, so, even though he went to bed at three in the morning, his alarm blared at eight thirty. He got dressed and grabbed some grub before returning to his room and flinging himself on the bed. He pulled up Spotify on his phone and put in his ear plugs, hoping that some music would keep him awake.
The next thing he knew, he was being awoken by the sound of furniture moving across the linoleum floor. He rubbed his eyes and squinted at the origin of the offensive noise.
“Sorry,” said one of the deepest voices Dean had ever heard. “I didn’t mean to wake you. I just… I prefer the desk over here, otherwise the sun is in my eyes and-”
“You must be Jimmy,” Dean said, sitting up. He stretched his arms above his head.
“Uh… Actually, I prefer to go by Cas.”
“Cas? Is that a middle name or something?” Dean asked, finally getting a good look at the guy. Looking back at him were a pair of the bluest eyes Dean had ever seen, framed by a head of dark messy hair. The guy had high cheekbones and a button nose and a small bit of dark stubble lining his jaw. His lips were pink and plush and downright kissable. He was wearing a dress shirt with a tie and suspenders, which normally Dean would be rather turned off by, but on this guy it was just… cute.
“Yeah,” the gorgeous man answered. “It’s short for Castiel.”
To be continued...
"College age" Misha ladies and gentlegerms. Cas is 18.
And here we have a "college age" Jensen. Dean is 19.
I'm actually not sure how old they are in these pictures but I wanted to give you guys a visual reference. And besides, ain't they adorable?
Here's a Richard who appears to be in his mid-twenties/early thirties (although there's no way to be sure). Gabe is 26.
And here's a young looking Felicia Day. Again, don't quote me on their ages. Charlie is supposed to be 20.
Here is what I pictured for Naomi. A much more casual "mom look" compared to her angel business attire. Let's age her up a bit from 52 to 57, shall we. They had Zach when they were 19.
And a "dad" Chuck look. A lot better than the sweatshirts and tees he wears on the show (let's pretend he's 57).
Aunt Amara. She's 18 years younger than Chuck at 39 (Emily is 38).
Naomi's new boyfriend. He's 35 (same age as Matt) so... 21 years younger than Naomi.
And the kiddos! The rest of the Novak brood...
18 year old Anna:
12 year old Alfie:
32 year old Nick (no idea how old Mark is here):
36 year old Uriel (this is actually Mike Colter because I couldn't find a young picture of the actor who plays Uriel lol):
And, finally, the eldest child, Zach, I used Tyler Hilton since I needed a modern pic and he plays his son (?) on a tv show. He's 34 but the glasses make him look older, maybe? So let's just say 38.
And that's everyone you "met" this chapter! Yay!