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Leaving the Garden State

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"I think this is going to be a good thing for you Curly Q." his dad called up to him as they lugged boxes up the stairs to the apartment Julia rented in the city. He'd finally acquiesced to her demands that he transfer to Brakebills. He'd thought living at home and going to Rutgers would help his dad out, but it hadn’t. For the last year he only went out to go to class and to take the the occasional trip to the city to meet up with Julia. His dad had been pestering him too. He was sure the both of them had gotten together to push him out of his rut. When Julia's roommate Alice had finally moved in with her girlfriend, he'd let Julia persuade him.

"I know dad." He replied. And he did know. Julia would be with him and she'd show him all the ropes. She'd mentioned she had a group of friends that he would love. He'd hoped that would be the case. It wasn't easy for him to make friends and besides Julia he didn't really have any.

"You know you didn't tell me Julia lived on the eighth floor" his dad quipped as they continued trudging up the stairs with their boxes. He rearranged himself to get a better hold on his as they climbed closer to their destination.

 

“Q! Why didn’t you call ahead? I had no idea you were moving in now until I got that text you sent.” Julia yelled at him as she met them halfway.

He gave her an apologetic smile. He may not have told her exactly when he was moving in. Thinking back texting her that he would move in this weekend probably should have been more detailed.

“Sorry Jules. I didn’t want to you to feel like you had to help” which was true. He hadn’t wanted her to break her plans.

She huffed at him as she took a box from his arms, "Well I'm helping. How many more boxes do you have left? I could ask my neighbor to help if you wanted a pair of extra hands?"

"It's fine Jules. I've just got a few more." He did actually. He'd left a lot of stuff in his childhood bedroom.

"He's telling the truth Julia. He only brought about ten boxes." Ted added as he set his boxes down for a little bit as they finally reached Julia's floor.

They were taking up most of the hallway as Julia got her key out when her neighbor walked out of his door.

"Hey Eliot!" Julia greeted the tall and handsome stranger that apparently lived next door to his best friend and that he she had conveniently forgotten to tell him about.

Eliot looked at her and then over at him, "New roommate?" he asked casually as he locked his door.

"Yeah. Eliot this is my best friend Quentin. Quentin this is one of my neighbors Eliot." She gave him a look as she introduced them.

"Hey." was all he could muster giving Julia a pointed look back. He knew what that look meant and what she was trying to do. It had been a year since he and James had broken up. Since then she'd been trying to set him up with multiple people. He knew she meant well, but he wasn't going to tell her he was finally in a good enough place to think about dating again.

"Hey" Eliot replied without giving him too much notice as he maneuvered around them to leave.

 

An hour later, he and Julia were relaxing on the couch waiting for the pizza they’d ordered to arrive. They'd gotten all his boxes into his new room. None of them were unpacked, but they were in there. His dad had left after giving him a hug and a few words of advice.

"I'm glad you're finally here Q. I think this is gonna be good." Julia took his hand and squeezed it.

"You and my dad both. Was it that noticeable?" He'd thought he'd been hiding his moods well enough.

"Q I've known you my whole life. I knew it was bad, but I didn't know how bad until I talked to your dad."

"I guess it was hard anyways and then after everything with James it just got worse. I think you're right though I needed a fresh start." he knew they were right. He really did need this fresh start and he was excited to start classes. He'd heard her stories of how great the professors were and how much she loved her classes.

 

Q it's a new year and it's a new school and you and I are finally living together. I think it's gonna be great. Now what did you think of Eliot? Cute right? He and Margo just moved in last year. They’re part of my friend group and they go to Brakebills as well!" she gave him another look as she waited for his response. He knew fully she wasn't going to leave it until he gave her something.

"Definitely cute, but I don’t know. He was in a hurry. He probably didn’t even give me a passing glance. Can we just leave it? I’d much rather get as much information about my new school as possible.” He hoped that was enough for her. He was a little frustrated that she had not shared that certain piece of information that Eliot also attended Brakebills, but he was saved from getting more mad and having to say anything more by the sound of the doorbell.

 

They spent the rest of the night drinking and eating pizza. Julia regaled him with more stories about the school and all the gossip he should know. It was a lot, but he was ready.

He was on the floor and she was on the couch running her fingers through his hair, “I’m really happy you’re here Q.” she told him when they were thoroughly stuffed and maybe a little more than slightly buzzed.