The Endless Chain

This story is a romantic short story/play. It's about love, the dangers of it and how it can effect everyone. Oh, and it's in reverse order (There are 10 chapters). I used this as a final project for my English class and received an A on it. Apparently it was one of the best stories my teacher had ever read. Let's see if he's right...

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7. Chapter 7

Dining Hall, May 9th, 2013

 

            I made my way across Chestnut Street avoiding the oncoming traffic that was speeding up from the light a couple hundred feet away to my right.

 

The ongoing construction going on at the Dining Hall was a major inconvenience, needing to walk around walls and walls that blocked off the construction in front of you. With the scaffolding above it felt more like a paintball course than a walkway. The construction wouldn’t be as bad if the place being inconveniently blocking off was good. However, as sad as it is, the Dining Hall is not good. It’s horrific, horrendous and just downright disgusting.

 

I recollect one time going there with my friend Zach. We sat down in a booth, talked and ate. The food that day was good for the Dining Hall standard. But as I slid out of my seat, the cushion part of the seat moved off the wooden rectangle that was supporting it. And you could clearly see a mousetrap there. Thank god there was no dead mouse, because if there were I would have thrown up. Never again will I sit in a booth at the Dining Hall, I’m afraid I’m going to contract the bubonic plague or some ridiculous disease like that.

 

I continued my decent to the hell that is the Dining Hall. A left turn here, another left turn, and another left turn. What is this, NASCAR? There we go, a right turn, then a staircase, and finally a hallway that made you feel like you were back in high-school because of all the lockers lined up on the side of the hall. After all that you get to hand the ladies at the cash register your card so they can charge you a meal swipe. I asked for a to go box.

 

I never actually fill up the container and go, like you’re supposed to. Instead, I stick the container in my backpack for later. I grab my food like I normally would, sit down and eat. Then, when I’m done eating I put my tray away, grab the box from out of my backpack and fill it to the brim with cereal. I found this to be extremely resourceful. First off you’re only using one meal swipe for two meals. Not to mention, you have breakfast or a late night snack for later and you can take it to class if you get hungry. One of the smarter decisions I’ve made since coming to college. 

 

I made my way to the cafeteria area to get my food. It was a Thursday, so the food was on its usual downhill spiral from the Wednesday high.

 

My options today… The usual omelet, burrito, pasta, pizza, burger or fries. Then there was beef lo mein at the Asian Station, some Cajun turkey thing, and some pork dish. I decided to go with the beef lo mein and a burger with some fries. I went over to the salad bar and put some lettuce and jalapeños on my burger. I then went down to the right where the dressing was and grabbed the Cajun seasoning from up on the spice rack and put it on my fries. I found that some of the littlest things made the food more palatable.

 

I looked around the cafeteria area before I left, to see if there was anyone I knew around. There was really no one there, which is weird for a Thursday at about one thirty in the afternoon. There were about two people getting drinks at the soda machine in the corner by the baked goods. There was the short Asian lady at the Asian station scooping around the rice. I didn’t understand why she didn’t say you’re welcome after I said thanks when she served me…

 

There was one black lady at the Burger station who was playing with her hair net. There was a tall caucasian guy at the grill flipping few burgers. He was always nice to me when I said thanks, or even hi. A shorter black male with round glasses was at the pasta station. He was cleaning the pans with a pink rag. I quickly turned past the other stations and didn’t see anyone I knew.

 

I walked to the paper coffee cups in front of the deli and grabbed one. I then navigated my way around the left side around the ice cream and to the drink station in the back. Depending on where you were sitting the new location of the drink station was also an inconvenience. I filled my cup up with some watermelon flavored water since I was cutting back on soda.

 

I then took my drink and my food over to the infamously named “lonely hearts bar.” I sat there, alone, and started to eat my burger, taking the occasional fry or two after each bite.

 

I felt something hit me on my shoulder. I turned to my left and saw Sam standing there smiling her gorgeous smile. “Hey Sam, care to join me at the lonely hearts bar?”

 

She started to put her bag down next to the chair to my left. “It only seems fitting, doesn’t it?’ she said as her smile faded to a slight frown.

 

“I suppose so…” I answered awkwardly. “Where are you coming from?”

 

“I just had math in the Dungeon.” She said as she stuck a fork into some pasta with alfredo sauce. “How about you?”

 

“Just came from bio recitation. The quiz was ridiculously easy… and coming from me, that’s saying something.” I said, looking into her green eyes.

 

There was one thing I never understood with my relationship with Sam. Generally, when I talk to anyone I don’t know I get nervous. This goes about five times as much for a female. However, I get to know this person and continuously talk to them, the nervousness goes away. So, as I was saying, the weird thing about my relationship with Sam is that I never had these nerves talking to her. Sure, I was little nervous, but not as nervous as I was when I first met Ashley, or even Rebecca.

 

I could see Paul off in the distance behind Sam. He was sitting with some of his friends from his fraternity.

 

Sam finished her pasta and pushed the plate away, as if she was expecting a waiter to appear out of nowhere and take her plate away. I took a sip of my flavored water. The moment of silence continued between us. Then Sam spoke up.

 

“Do you think I’m pretty Tony?” she asked as she fluffed her hair.

 

I was caught off guard by this question. I stared at her as she continued to play with her reddish-brown hair. It was especially hard to distinguish her hair color with the dim lighting of the Dining Hall. I figured I would be a good friend and flatter her. “I would be lying if I said no.”

 

She continued, firing a cannonball of a question at me. “Would you want to go out and see a movie sometime and maybe grab some dinner?”

 

I sat there shocked. I looked down at the floor and scratched the back of my head. “Sam… I need to tell you something. As great as we get along, and as compatible as we are…” I paused. “I’m in love with Ashley.”

 

She sat there in disappointment. I tried to explain, “Look… I wish I knew what it was. But I can’t stop thinking about her. If I could explain how I feel about her I would. But words just can’t describe it….I’m sorry, but my mind would be elsewhere, and it’s not fair to either of us if we were to get in a relationship with each other.”

 

Sam sighed, “I understand. I guess we wouldn’t want to ruin our great friendship either. I’m curious… what do you think of Rebecca?” She trailed off.

 

“Assuming you’re talking about relationships, that’s a no go. Especially after the stunt she pulled during the floor even when we met.” I looked at my watch. “Shit! It’s 1:57! I have physics lab in three minutes.” I hurriedly grabbed my backpack from the floor and swung it over my shoulder, nearly knocking myself down in the process. I grabbed my tray, “I’ll see you later. And if you still want to talk, text me or I’ll meet you somewhere.”

 

She smiled a little. “Nah, I’ll make it. Thanks though. Wanna meet me here tonight for dinner?”

 

            I started to walk backwards, “Yeah. I’ll text you and we’ll meet at the gym since I’ll be there around dinner time. See ya!” I turned around and made my way to class.

 

Sam takes her spoon and starts to continuously stir her soup around as she stares down at it. She remembers the days back in high school when she was carefree and happy-go-lucky like Ashley. But since she had arrived to college, she had become more serious and more mother-like. That’s not to say that she has fun, but she’s a lot more focused on school work than she was in high school.

 

Paul leaves his friends from his fraternity at their table and walks in front of the lonely hearts bar. He stops in front of where Sam was sitting and crouches to get into her eyesight.

 

“Hey Sam.” He glanced over to the table where his fraternity brothers were sitting. They were laughing and staring at Paul.

 

“Hi Paul.” She tried to mask her sadness, and looked up from her soup.

 

Paul stood up. “Want to grab a table over there? You look quite lonely over here.” he pointed to the three to four person tables by the ice cream.

 

“Yeah su…” Sam was interrupted by a jackhammer coming from behind the wall that blocked off the construction from the rest of the Dining Hall. “Damn it. This Berlin Wall is going to drive me crazy if I have to deal with it the rest of the year.”

 

Paul laughed. “Funny you called it that. I dubbed it the Iron Curtain.”

 

Sam stood up as Paul offered to grab her bag. They walked over to the table by the ice cream. Sam sat down as Paul continued to stand on the opposite side of the table. “Do you want anything to drink while I’m up?”

 

Sam held up her full glass of PowerAde, “I’m good, thanks.”

 

Paul disappeared for a couple of minutes and then reappeared with some fries and a cup of root beer. He sat down across from Sam. “How have you been? I feel like I haven’t seen you in a week.”

 

“I’m alright. I’ve just been busy with work. How have you been?” She said as she stirred her soup around some more. She thought that Paul looked more attractive in the darker lit Dining Hall than outside. Or maybe it was due to the fact that he was wearing a tank top and his muscles were exposed.

 

“I’ve been better, and I’ve been worse. So I won’t complain.” Paul said while playing with his fries. He stopped playing with his fries and looked at Sam. “Sam, would you be opposed to going out on a date?”

 

Sam thought about it. Would she really go out with Paul in spite of Tony? She was attracted to Paul, but not as much as Tony. It was a definite back up plan. But she didn’t know how long it would take Tony to get over Ashley assuming she rejects him. Sam wasn’t willing to wait. She wanted a relationship now, someone to talk to and lay with at night.

 

“I would be opposed to going out on a date.” Sam said, keeping a straight face.

 

“Oh, well. I guess…” Paul was interrupted.

 

“Let’s just skip all that bullshit and just jump into the relationship.” Sam said demandingly.

 

“Well… I was not expecting that. But if you want to jump into it and give it a go, count me in.” Paul said happily.

 

Sam and Paul then started to make out from across the table as Paul’s fraternity brothers’ start to hi-five each other.

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