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When I walk with you (I forget my fears)

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May, 20XX

 

“Um, sir, are you serious?” Andrew asked.

 

“Extremely! I would not joke about some of the best editing potential I’ve ever seen.” The voice at the other end of the line responded.

 

“With all due respect, Professor Dawso-”

 

“Please, Andrew, call me Shane. And this is an opportunity I would not offer to just anyone.”

 

Andrew sat baffled as he tried to process what was happening. At 21, Andrew Siwicki was currently enrolled at a hell pit for a college. He couldn’t afford his dream school, The Queen University for the Arts, so he had to settle on the small community-technical college that taught him things he already knew about editing. Day in, day out he never felt challenged, none of the homework was thrilling or something he looked forward to because his professor had told him he was making some of the other students feel inferior and needed to dial it back. All he wanted to do was create cool videos and make people happy, but he couldn’t do either in his current situation. Entering a video editing contest had really just been off of a whim, he wouldn’t have even done it if it hadn’t been a contest from Queen University, or for the ‘Mystery Prize,’ the curiosity would have killed him. And what can you do, curiosity is a great motivator. The contest gave some simple footage, and the objective was to make it “lively ” and “ full of energy”. Andrew had finally found something interesting.

 

He never thought he would ACTUALLY win. Yet, here he was, sitting in his small shared dorm room, roommate passed out and snoring, talking to the Dean of the Film and Media department of Queen University, about said prize. Which, apparently, was a full ride.

 

“With that being said, however,” Shane started, “there is one minor catch. I’ve been in need of an assistant. Someone who will help me edit the videos for my online courses, organize the storage units for the department and just generally help me out. The department is going through a reboot, per say, and I haven’t found a student with enough ‘umph’ to be of any use.”

 

Head swimming Andrew tried to respond coherently. “So.. me, you want.. Me? Sir, er, Shane, you realize I don’t have any money? Even with a full ride, I couldn’t afford to move to or live in Los Angeles.”

 

“Oh! You don’t have to worry about that, everything will be covered. An airline ticket here and individual dorm on campus will be provided for you. And obviously, you’ll be paid for the hours you work.” As Shane rattled off the things he would be providing, Andrew started to smile, he smiled so wide he thought he would either injure himself or end up like the joker.

 

“So, will you do it?” Shane asked.

 

The answer to that simple fucking question would change Andrew’s life. He could leave this little town and this stupid community college and further his passion for video editing. So, in full Andrew fashion, he answered,

 

“Yeah.”

 

~~~~

 

August, 20XX

 

After four months of planning, packing, and getting extremely excited every two seconds, Andrew was finally in Los Angeles and heading to meet Shane at his office. He had gotten to his dorm the day before and unloaded and set-up shop. It was a crazy thought to think he got to have a room all to himself, sure it was all the way across campus from the F&M building but Andrew couldn’t complain. The campus may have been in LA but it was tucked into the mountains, surrounded by hiking trails on one side and the forest on the other, it made it seem like it was in its own little universe. Not to mention that the campus had its own restaurants, a few shops, and Andrew thought he even saw a police building. Even so, there was still a little over a week before classes started, so the campus seemed much quieter than it should have been. His footsteps echoed across mostly empty buildings, sounding loud in his own ears. But the excitement to be on the campus way outweighed the strangely quiet walk.

 

Finally, Andrew reached the Film and Media building. A wide and tall two-story brick building with one wall entirely made up of colored glass panels, Andrew recalled reading somewhere that those were used as solar panels to produce energy. Excitement made its way through his body again while staring at such a stunning building, he quickly climbed the stairs and entered through a pair of glass doors. Inside a man was talking animatedly to a girl behind the front desk.

 

“I’m telling you, Morgan, this is a great idea.” He motions across the air with his hand. “‘Two types of Sisters!’ It’ll be hilarious, Boujee vs. Budget.”  The girl, Morgan, gives a sarcastic look over her laptop and says with a slightly sing-song voice, “Whatever you say, Ryland.”

 

Andrew reaches the counter where they’re talking, he’s about to ask where he needs to be when...

 

“AH!! You must be Andrew!” What was his name again? Ryan? “It’s so nice to finally meet you, I’m Professor Ryland Adams, you can just call me Ryland. I’ve heard so much about you from Shane. He couldn’t stop laughing at the video you sent in for the contest! The cat one? I saw it, too, it really is hilarious.” There was a cough over his shoulder. “Oh, right, this is my sister Morgan, she’s also going to college here.”

 

“Hey, nice to meet you, Andrew.” She said

 

“Hello Ryland, Hi Morgan. It’s nice to meet you guys, too. I’m actually headed to see Shane, could you all point me in the right direction of his office?” Andrew asked.

 

Rylands face perked up, “Oh yeah, that’s what I came down for, Shane wanted me to show you around the building a bit before you start working.” He turned to Morgan, “I still wanna talk about that idea later, okay?”

 

“Heh, sure, okay.” She seemed amused but then put her focus back to whatever was on her laptop.

 

Ryland led Andrew further into the building, starting to explain where everything was and where he would be for his classes. They had started in the east wing of the building, which held most of the classrooms. Everything was insanely big and open, the ceilings had to be at least twenty feet up. Not to mention that none of the classroom walls went all the way up to the ceiling, which was nothing but catwalks and lighting equipment.

 

“The first floor is mostly for the Film and Acting majors. Plus, we like to film in these classrooms, sometimes, so the catwalks are for cameras and whatnot. We think it makes the learning experience much more immersive.” Ryland explains, “The second floor is more for professors offices and the students that like the technical aspects, learning those in’s-and-out’s and such.”

 

“Cool, cool.” Andrew tried to make a good impression and start up an actual conversation, “And, you said you are a professor, right? What do you teach?”

 

“Oooh, tea! I’m kind of a new professor, it’s just my second year, so I’m exploring some classes. But, my favorite classes to teach are Costuming and Acting 101, both of which I doubt you’ll be taking. You are more of a behind the camera type of guy right?”

 

“Yeah, I really enjoy editing and filming really cool shots. Although I really haven’t had a chance to explore anything else, my last college was really slow paced and didn’t have a fourth of the equipment we needed.” Andrew couldn’t help but get excited again at the thought of never having to listen to those professors ever again.

 

“Well, I know you are going to love it here! We consider everyone family and will always fight for the best opportunities for our students.” Ryland said with a genuine smile.

 

All this was so crazy, Andrew was being led through the hallways of his dream school by one of the kindest professors he’d ever meet, and he was going to meet the Dean who literally made his dreams a reality. Andrew had a fleeting moment where he thought he actually died and went to heaven. As Ryland led him through the U-shaped east wing, then the identical west wing, talking animatedly about classes and how Andrew would find friends almost immediately he couldn’t help but feel like he was already fitting in. Ryland finally led him up a staircase and started showing him the second floor, which looked more like a regular college. Albeit there was more colorful and creative decor, but that was just a given. All the doors were glass, too, something Andrew thought was really cool. He was starting to get a little nervous when the duo came to a glass door etched with the words ‘Shane Dawson - Deans office.’ Andrew straightened his shirt, wanting to look presentable, as Ryland entered without so much as a knock. Whatever Andrew was expecting, this was not it.

 

First of all, ‘office’ must be a loose term here. The room just was a large sectional plus a coffee table, with a mini fridge, and microwave in one corner. A man, head covered in a blanket, was sat in the center of the couch intently staring at his Macbook. Andrew was thoroughly shocked.

 

“Ugh! Shane!” Ryland yelped.

 

“What?!” Shane seemed shocked as his head whipped up from his screen in confusion, the blanket falling back unto his shoulders.

 

“I’m sorry about this, Andrew, he’s normally a little better than this. I mean he showers sometimes.” Ryland seemed a bit embarrassed. Andrew was desperately trying not to laugh at the whole situation. He had been nervous about making a good impression, yet here was the dean in gym shorts and a tee shirt, slouched on a sofa. This was hilarious.

 

“MEAN!! I’ll have you know I showered this month, you should be proud.” Shane pulled a sarcastic face. Andrew gave up his fight and clutched his sides as he bent over in a fit of giggles.

 

“Oh my gosh, Shane, you broke him!” Ryland seemed amused as Shane set his laptop down and rose from his spot on the couch.

 

“Holy cow, I’m so excited to be here, you guys are the best,” Andrew said as his laughter died down a bit.

 

Shane gave him a large smile, came over and put his hand on Andrews' shoulder, “ We are beyond excited you are here, too. I have to tell you, I’ve been in a bit of a rut lately, but after seeing the video you edited I’ve been so inspired again. I can’t wait to work with you.” Shane was beaming at this point and Andrew probably wore a similar expression.

 

“I am excited you guys have finally met, and I’d love to stay and chat but I have some lesson plans to finish, nice to meet you, Andrew, I’ll make my exit!” Ryland waved his arms in a dramatic fashion then leaned up and gave Shane a kiss on the cheek and left.

 

Shanes' eyes followed Ryland until he left, a fond smile on his lips, “Oh, hope you are okay with that by the way,” he seemed to just realize. “Me and Ryland are partners.”

 

“Of course, you guys seem really in love,” Andrew said.

 

There was that smile again as he said, “Yeah, we are.” A small part of Andrew couldn’t help but want to experience a love like that, but he pushed that feeling away, he was far to busy to maintain a relationship. Shane cleared his throat, “Anyway, welcome to my team! I haven’t really had the chance to formally introduce myself, I’m fairly sure you know, but I’m Shane Dawson, the Dean of the Film and Media Department here at Queen University.” Shanes' face was bright and excited, emotions Andrew felt as well in this moment.

 

“I’m Andrew Siwicki and I don’t really have a title.” Andrew shrugged.

 

“Hah! Don’t worry about it, you’ll get there! But for right now, I’m a bit unconventional, I hope you are okay with working on a couch while editing. That will be your main job in being my assistant. I’d like to get to know your personality a bit more as well so let's go see the equipment rooms then we can come back and chat!” Shane started towards the door and slipped on what looked like Gucci slides.

 

“Cool, I’m down for anything.” Andrew followed.

 

~~~~

 

They realized they probably needed to stop talking when it got dark outside. The past few hours had been Andrew and Shane talking like they were old friends, at one point Ryland came up and they ate dinner. Chipotle, obviously. Then, much like before Ryland went back to work, and he and Shane continued to talk. Andrew knew this was going to be more than just a boss and employee relationship, it was going to be more like friends who just so happen to get to work together.

 

“Shit, did it already get dark out? I’ve still got to get a few things wrapped up here, Ryland’s probably gonna want to leave soon, too.” Shane turned to Andrew. “You can start working tomorrow, I’ll film some lessons tomorrow morning and give you the footage in the afternoon. Oh, and tomorrow we can work on your schedule.”

 

“Awesome, I’ll be in at around 1 pm tomorrow, how’s that?” Andrew asked.

 

“Perfect,” Shane had already delved back into his laptop. “I’ll see you tomorrow, Andrew, Have a good night.”

 

“You too,” Andrew muttered, laughing slightly, knowing Shane was to busy with whatever lesson he had to finish.

 

He made his way down to the lobby, he checked his phone as he walked. It wasn’t as late as he thought, only about nine twenty-ish. He checked out the few twitter notifications he had gotten as he reached the lobby. Morgan was still sitting at the front desk, she was typing on her phone this time.

 

“You still here, Morgan?” Andrew inquired.

 

Morgan looked up from her phone a bit surprised, “Oh, hah, yeah, I work ‘til 11. It’s a pretty sweet gig in the summer, all I have to do is sit here!”

 

“Nice! I’ll head out then, you working tomorrow?” Andrew asked.

 

“Kind of, Ryland wants me to help him act in a video, so I’ll be around.” She sounded like she faintly regretted agreeing to the earlier proposition from Ryland.

 

Andrew laughed quietly and responded, “Heh, alright I’ll probably see you tomorrow then. Night.”

 

Morgan raised a hand as a goodbye and Andrew turned to face the door. He only made it a few steps before, all of a sudden, his heart started hammering in his chest, hands clenched at his sides. Looking out into the dark night, he stood almost weak-kneed, staring at the glass double doors outside. The outside that would lead him to his dorm, his bed, a wonderful night's sleep, but he felt the familiar grip of fear around his stomach and gave him chills that ran down his arms. The dark terrified him right down to his toes. Andrew had no idea why he was so afraid of the dark, it was a childish fear most people lost when they started middle school. Yet, here he was, terrified to step outside because it was dark.

 

‘‘I thought I was over this…’’ Andrew whispered to himself.

 

Morgan must have taken notice of his hesitancy to leave, she called over to him from the front desk, “Hey, Andrew, are you okay?”

 

“Uh, can I be honest with you?” Andrew asked.

 

“Yeah, sure.” Morgan sounded more concerned than bothered, and Andrew already considered them friends, so he decided to be honest.

 

“It’s kind of embarrassing, but, uh, I’m like, extremely afraid of the dark,” Andrew confessed.

 

At first, she seemed confused, like the words he said made no sense. But then Morgan burst out into laughter and clamped a hand over her mouth, which did little to stifle the noise. “I’m sorry, W H A T?”

 

“Hey, shut up, it’s not that funny!” Even Andrew couldn’t help but laugh a bit, it helped ebb the fear, but only slightly.

 

Trying to catch her breath Morgan said, “I’m really not tryna be mean here, but, that's a little funny.”

 

“Yeah,” Andrew chuckled, “Why aren’t there any lit lamp posts out there? I know I saw them earlier… It’s like pitch black outside.”

 

“Well, the school likes to conserve energy during the summer and on weekends, so they just don’t use ‘em.” Andrew visibly gulped, and after what looked like a moment of intense thought, Morgans face lit up. “You know,” She wore something of an all-knowing grin, “we actually have an escort service for students, it’s used by female students normally, where a police officer will walk with you across campus if you feel unsafe, or in this case,” Morgan stifled another laugh, “afraid.”

 

“A police officer?” Andrew didn’t hate the idea but it was kind of embarrassing, “I don’t know Morgan…”

 

“Oh, don’t worry, there is only one police officer that’s working this late in the summer and he,” there is that smile again, “will be more than willing to help out. He’s a friend of mine.” She pulled out her phone and started texting before Andrew could protest. That smile slightly concerned him, but he let it slide considering they were apparently friends, and because he was starting to feel fear grip him again.

 

“He’ll be here soon, the station is like a two-minute walk from here. And I can’t leave so we can just hang out for a bit!” Andrew could tell him and Morgan would turn out to be great friends, she seemed super chill and easygoing. They talked for a bit longer than two minutes, about the school and whatnot, Andrew was just starting to get a bit nervous when he heard the glass doors beside him open.

 

Fuck.

 

The man that walks through the door has to be over six feet tall, was broad and extremely handsome. He was wearing a black police uniform with a belt that could’ve been a size bigger. It was wrapped tautly around his chest and biceps, rippling with his muscles as he moved towards the front desk, it was as if his clothes had painted on. Andrews' mouth grew dry as he swept his eyes across the man's body, he was built. Strong arms attached to a defined chest all leading down to sculpted legs, or at least as sculpted as what Andrew could tell in the pants of the uniform. Looking up, his face was just as good, sporting a wide grin and a slightly goofy looking expression, he had a strong jaw and high cheekbones. His sandy blonde hair looked freshly cut but was pushed forward in a messy way. Andrew felt a slight tingle at the back of his neck looking at such a man.

 

FUCK.