It took a day for everyone to know about the proposal. It only took two days for everyone to know how Sophie turned Broderick, the Broderick, down.
But considering I had a big exam Friday already and I didn't understand a word about Islam, I spent the past week living in the library.
Once I pulled out the book I was working on reading through the day before, I walked over to the table I deemed as "mine".
There was a problem though. There was someone in my spot, someone with their short, choppy, blonde hair covering their face. There was a pile of books sitting besides her along with one that she was vigorously reading.
I tapped the desk, "You know this is my table, right?"
She looked up and my stomach flopped as it always does when I look into Sophie's eyes. She flicked her hair out of her face and smiled, "I'm sorry, but i think there's more than one chair here."
I shoved her books out of my way and accepted the offered seat, "So uh, what are you here for?"
"What is this? A jail cell?" She was smiling, but it wasn't reaching her eyes, "I'm studying. Big psychology essay we're writing."
I gave her a confused look, "But...we're both in the same psychology class together and I don't know of any essay...unless...shit I wasn't paying attention?!" I grabbed fistfuls of my hair, feeling more and more stress fill my veins.
Sophie glanced up from her book only to quickly slam it shut and hiss under her breath.
I stared at her dumbfounded before she grabbed my wrist and silently sprinted into an aisle of bookshelves, grabbing the nearest book, opened it, and raised it to her face so she was covered, "What are you-"
"Shh," she put a finger to her lips, "I'm hiding from Broderick's gang."
Ah, it all made sense to me now. There was no essay, I thought happily to myself, it was simply...
"This is the last place they'd look. I'm shocked they even came here," Sophie whispered to me. She was close enough to me that I caught a slight whiff of her perfume: something like sweet berries. Just when I leaned in to breathe in more of it, she moved away and slammed a book into my face, "Cover yourself, quick!"
I took the book she was shoving under my nose and opened it to a random page. We both probably stayed that for a good period of time before she sighed and put her book back down, "Coast is clear Coop."
I took my book and put it back in the shelves while Sophie continued talking, "I'm going to have to face him tonight. There's a frat party that I'm demanded to attend," She rolled her eyes."
"Do you really have to go to it?"
She sighed, "I'm dating Broderick. I have to go."
I gave her a funny look, "Well...just don't do anything stupid ok?"
She smiled, took hold of my arm like she did a week ago, under the tree, "Cooper, you have way too much heart. I'll be perfectly fine."
With that, after a slight smile, Sophie walked off, my eyes following her out the door. And, smiling, I realized that I had the sudden desire to study. After all, I had to be free tonight.
* * *
This party was like any other frat party: tons of booze and illegal drugs and girls with their butts hanging out in skimpy dresses. Mine was one of the most appropriate and it barely reached the middle of my thighs.
And I was trying desperately to stay sober, but it seemed like every liquid in the house had alcohol included in some way. It was only 2 hours and I was already feeling a little tipsy.
At least I wasn't as bad off as Broderick. He was tripping over his feet and slurring every word. And the worst was how he wouldn't get his arm off of me. No matter where we were he was always touching me and breathing down my neck. What did he think I was going to do?
At about 11:30 I got sick of Broderick being so drunk and snuck up the stairs to find an open room. The room smelled of smoke, and gagging, I ran over to the window and threw it open, sticking my head completely out so I could get the first breath of fresh air I had all night. It was beautiful out, one of those rare autumn nights in New York where someone can wear a light jacket and be perfectly fine.
My study of the outside world was cut off by someone grabbing my hips and putting their hips against mine. I twisted around, ready to either fight or flight, when I took in the red curls and equally bloodshot eyes, "Broderick," I smiled, removing his hands from my sides, "What are you doing?"
"I want you Soph," something twinge in my heart; Cooper called me that. Broderick sluggishly caressed my face "Why won't you marry me? I-I don't understand."
I shook my head, "We've only dated for one year Brodericky. We need time, that's all-"
"Soph!" He was yelling hoarsely now, "Don't you understand? I-I-I neeeedd you," He grabbed my hand, but I ripped it out of his drunken grip before he had the chance to put it where I knew he was planning, "I told you, not until we're married!"
"Bands don't mean anything," he gritted, "Now get on the bed and take your fucking clothes off, or I'll do it for you."
I was worried now. Was this the alcohol getting to his head? Whatever it was, I started really debating that ring sitting on my nightstand. I stood strong though, daring not to give in to Broderick's wants.
It was futile though. I mean, who would win? The burly 6' 5'' football player or the tiny 5' 2'' bookworm? He easily picked me up and literally threw me on the bed, "Very well then, you asked for it," and his alcohol-stained breath filled my lungs as he began kissing me.
* * *
The house was big and loud. Not only that, but the scent of pot was obvious a block away. It was even the good, expensive stuff.
I had to admit, I was scared.
Here I was, the lean, pale, glasses-wearing boy sans a closet-full of jerseys, planning to crash a party full of jocks and all-around assholes.
It shouldn't be too bad.
Hand shaking, I feebly knocked on the door. No one answered for a good 2 minutes.
Right when I began turning my back, the door opened to reveal one of Broderick's buddies with an obviously platinum blonde riding his back. The guy looked at me, confused, "You lost Math elite?"
"No I...I," Damn, I stuttered, "I'm just looking for a friend of mine."
"Who's thhhhe kid?" The blond slurred, "He's kinda cuutee."
"Ali, be quiet. I'm sorry, but I don't think your type would be here-"
The boy looked confused for another second, then smiled, "Oh you’re that kid. She went upstairs 15 minutes ago and Broderick followed. I'm sure even you know what that means," the guy winked and I couldn't help but feel ill, "Uhm...yeah, thanks then."
Defeated, I stepped off the stoop and started back towards my dorm. But right when I finally passed the frat house and was walking along the row of bushes, a ruckus began.
I turned back to the house to se an open window at the second level and the sounds were obviously coming from the room attached to said window. There was a but more smashing before someone's head, then body, crawled out the window.
Even if it was dark I knew that body and facial features anywhere. I went and crawled into the bushes next to me as Sophie stood up on the roof, heels missing from her feet. She walked over to the edge and, quickly and lithely, lowered herself to the ground.
And when she was walking right by the bushes, I grabbed her, immediately saying, "Don't scream, it's Coop."
She tore my hand away from her mouth and hissed, "What the hell are you doing hiding in the bushes?!"
"I went to look for you at the party, but the guy who answered said you went upstairs and..." I wasn't sure if she noticed the blush I grew in the nighttime. I hoped she didn't.
"Ugh I should've known," Sophie stormed out of the bush, leaving me inclined to follow. She was walking at a brisk pace, shoes strangely still missing, and she was angrily ripping the bush's leaves out of her hair. Once I caught up to her she began ranting, "I went upstairs to get away from the damn party. To a breath of fresh air instead of a breath of pot! But no, my piss-ass drunk boyfriend had to join me and pratically raped me!"
I felt jealousy ink through me from the talk of Broderick, but something sounded funny, "Practically raped? How did he-"
"I'm not wearing underwear," she responded in a montone, almost eerily calm voice, "Or shoes. But nothing happened."
That was when Sophie came to a stop, "I don't know where the hell I'm even going. I can't go back to my house. Who knows what'll be waiting for me there."
It took me a good minute before I stated quietly, "You can come to my dorm room. I mean, I have a room mate but I doubt he'll be there. He never is."
"You wouldn't mind?"
My back bristled when I thought of my desk drawer full of pictures of us, "No, I don't mind."
As we walked up the steps we noticed all the stares. Everyone knew who Sophie was and worse, they knew who her boyfriend was too. So for her to go into the dorm room of another boy in a skimpy dress would be, obviously, the talk on Monday.
"Hang on" I said, putting my hand up to stop her. I opened my room's door and went in, first making sure Zack wasn't around. Then I began hiding all sorts of paraphenalia. The pot, pictures of Sophie and I, gifts she gave me, and Zack's Playboys all were shoved into my desk drawer. When all was safe, I left Sophie in.
She looked around the room, then asked, "Who's your room mate?"
I shrugged, "Zack something. I've never really talked to him," a lie, "Like I said, he's never really around much. Want to sit?" I acknowledged a chair, and as she accepted it, making sure her legs stayed tightly together, her nose crinkled, "What's that smell?"
Oh God, did it smell like pot? Would she know what that would smell like? Of course she does, considering that entire house stank of it, "Uh...must be something of Zack's, I don't know," I noticed how squirmy and uncomfortable Sophie seemed, "Do you want a pair of sweats or something?"
She lit up and tore the pants from my hands the minute I picked them up.
"So," I began, with Sophie looking ten times more comfortable, "What happened?"
She shrugged, "Broderick was drunk. He wanted to have sex. I said no. It happens around the world all the time."
"Why'd you say no?"
She hesitated, it seemed, for a second, "I don't...approve of it, drunk sex," she sniffed, "It only leads to people getting hurt."
We were both silent, the only sound was the desk chair squeaking as she rocked in it. The she sighed, "Where's your alcohol?"
She stood up, "I said, where is your alcohol?" But she didn't wait for me to answer, instead Sophie went and began digging through my closet.
"Soph, I don't know why you'd think that I-"
"Ah! Here it is!" In her hands was my bottle of brandy.
"-Would have any alcohol," finishing my sentence with a groan. She sat back in the chair and got the top off with a pop, then put the bottle to her lips.
Upon watching her take three big gulps, I put my hand on her shoulder, "Hey can you slow down?"
I was generally worried about her state. There was obviously alcohol by the barrel load at that party and she already seemed tipsy. But thankfully my mind found a solution to the situation, "I mean, at least save some for me."