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The New Kid

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Jack’s beat up Toyota 4Runner slowed in front of the brick building as he killed the engine.

“You have arrived,” his phone chirped.

“Now or never,” Jack took a deep breath, peering through the window at his potential new home. He grabbed his backpack from the passenger seat and walked up the front steps. The address in his phone matched the address at the front of the building.

Kripke Hall
S.14 Bunker Way

“You lost?” a woman’s voice asked.

He looked up from his phone to find a cute redhead, a messenger bag tugging one shoulder down and a laptop in the other arm. She was wearing a red t-shirt with a cartoon of Hermione as a cat on the front.

“No, I’m meeting someone about renting a room,” Jack clarified, “I think this is the right place.”

“Jack? Are you Jack?” she asked excitedly, bouncing from foot to foot. “I’m Charlie!”

“Oh. Hi!” Jack responded. He had expected Charlie to be a guy, not a girl. “I’m Jack.” He shyly offered her his hand and chuckled when she shook it eagerly.

“Yay, so glad to meet you!” She tugged on his sleeve and pulled him towards the building. In spite of his confusion, Jack liked her immediately. “C’mon up, I’ll show you the apartment.”

“So this is Kripke Hall, or The Krip as we all call it.” Jack half listened to Charlie as they walked past a bank of mailboxes and a common area with a TV and fireplace. Jack smiled at people as they took the stairs up to the second floor. The building was old and clearly had a lot of history, but it was clean and recently renovated as off campus apartments for upperclassmen.

“Here we are.” Charlie unlocked and pushed open the door to #7.20. Jack smiled as he took in the main room and kitchen, large windows outlining the room and letting in lots of afternoon light. The kitchen appliances were fairly new and Charlie had decorated in bright colors with movie posters on the walls. A wide blue couch and a huge flat screen took up most of the living room. Jack raised his eyebrows and nodded in approval when he saw multiple gaming systems stacked up underneath.

“You had roommates before?” Charlie asked as she showed him the vacant bedroom and attached bathroom. Jack liked the fact that they each had their own bathroom and that the bedroom had nice built in bookshelves. The less furniture to move from home, the better.

“No, since I’m a transfer I couldn’t live in the freshman dorms,” Jack replied as he looked out the window. “I lived at home with my foster dad while I was going to community college my first two years. So I don’t have any friends here. Guess that makes me the new kid.”

Charlie smiled and nodded. “You’ll make friends fast. I’ve lived in this apartment for a year and a half now. All girls dorm before that. Got into my fair share of trouble there,” she winked. Jack blushed slightly when he realized her implication. “My last roommate Jo moved in with her boyfriend so now I need a new roomie.”

Loud cheering interrupted her through the open front door.

“Volume, Winchesters!” Charlie yelled.

“Sorry Charlie,” a deep voice replied. She rolled her eyes.

“Who’s that?” Jack asked as they paused in the middle of the kitchen.

“Guys across the hall, they’re brothers. They get riled up when there’s some kind of game on. Cool dudes though, usually only loud during the day,” she smiled.

“Are they juniors too?”

“Sam is, he’s in the nursing program. Dean is a grad student, working on his Masters in engineering. Do not get him started about cars. BORING,” Charlie rambled. “Their girlfriends are super nice, the three of us always watch How to Get Away with Murder on Thursdays. You seen that show?”

Jack shook his head

“Better catch up.”

Another shout, this time a one-word expletive.

“That was so over the line!” a different male voice argued, their noise dying down to a gentle bicker.

Charlie launched into more information about the apartment. “We’ll split utilities and rent, you buy your own groceries. We can of course make meals together, I just like to keep expenses separate.” Jack nodded in agreement before Charlie looked him in the eyes. “You’re free to be you here. Girlfriends, boyfriends, friends, whatever. Just no loud sex. And nothing illegal, well except for downloading movies but that doesn’t count. Oh and no snakes. We actually can’t have pets at all, but really- no snakes.”

Jack huffed a small laugh. “No problem there. Don’t you have any questions for me?”

“Your background check came back perfect, you seem nice and calm. No obvious satanic tattoos or Trump bumper stickers on your truck,” Charlie nodded. “I think you’ll be a good roomie. So when can you move in?”

Jack held up his checkbook in his left hand. “Can I write you a check for my deposit?”

Charlie grinned and stuck her hand out eagerly for the second time in an hour, “Welcome home, Little J.”