“Yes. No. No. Yes, mom. I… Mom. Mom! Mom, I’m fine. No, I do not need you to come and pick me up. I’m fine. No, there are no drug dealers living next door nor are there prostitutes. Yes, I can get to the university easily. No. Yes. Yes. I am in the exact same condition as I was when you called me ten minutes ago. Mom. Mom, I’m… Mom! Stop worrying! No, no, don’t cry. Please, mom. I promise I’ll call you if anything happens but honestly, nothing will. I am fine, mom. I promise. Honest. No I haven’t met him yet. He’s not home right now. He said he’d be at his job when I arrived and won’t be back till six. He is not a drug dealer, mom. Well, no… The place doesn’t look like it’s being lived in by a drug dealer. Mom. No, I don’t know what a drug dealer’s apartment looks like, I’m just saying! Mom, nothing is going to happen to me and even if something does happen I know how to defend myself. I will be fine. Yes, I’ll call you. Mom, that’s ridiculous. I can’t call you every night. I promise to call you once a week, okay? Yes, mom. Je t’aime aussi, maman.”
Jean sighed once the call ended and flopped onto the brown couch. It wasn’t long enough to hold his entire length so his ankles and a little less than a quarter of his calves were hanging over the edge. He stared up at the white ceiling, the only thing disrupting the blankness being the light fixtures and the air conditioning unit against one of the walls.
Jean told himself that he should probably move his bags from the entrance and figure out which was his room. He should also get himself acquainted with the two-bedroom apartment, as he would be living in it for at least the next two years, maybe all four.
But he was way too tired and the brown couch was much too comfortable to get up from.
Jean shot up from the couch, but he had forgotten where he was and so he ended up falling onto the hardwood floor with a resounding thud.
“Fuck,” he groaned, grimacing as he got to his knees, rubbing his back. He was definitely going to have some kind of bruising. Maybe he could convince his roommate to invest in carpeting? Really fluffy, soft, and padded carpeting?
Jean heard footsteps and grumbling until the source of the noises came into view.
It was a boy Jean had never seen before. He had short black hair and a dusting of freckles across his nose and cheeks. He had a bag slung over one shoulder and was wearing a pair of old jeans and a plaid flannel shirt over a ragged t-shirt.
The newcomer stopped dead in his tracks when he saw Jean kneeling on the floor, holding his back as if he were some ninety-year-old man with a bad spine.
“Well you’re certainly not a burglar,” Freckles said, his lips quirking up into a small grin.
Jean rolled his eyes and got to his feet, “Don’t judge people by appearances. I could be a serial killer that focuses on freckle faced individuals.”
The boy laughed, “I’m generally a good judge of character. I’m Marco. Marco Bodt.”
“Jean Kirstein. I’m assuming you’re the guy from the website?”
Marco nodded, “Yes. It’s pretty convenient, huh? Made roommate hunting a lot easier and I didn’t have to worry about some forty year old serial rapist answering my ad.”
Jean nodded. Truthfully, that website caused him a lot of trouble. Well, his mom was the source of that trouble as she had been fussing over him when he was on it even though it was almost a hundred percent safe. It was a website that only students of Trost University could access. Many used it to find potential roommates as the dorm fees at TU were ridiculously high and it was cheaper to split the rent of a nearby apartment with one or two, sometimes three, other people.
Jean scratched the back of his neck, “So, I’ll go grab my bags from the front.”
“How about I show you around first?” Marco offered.
Jean nodded and Marco showed Jean around the simple apartment. There was a white tiled kitchenette, the living room he had fallen asleep in, one bathroom, and two bedrooms right next to each other.
“This one’s yours,” Marco said as he opened the door to the left. Inside, the set up was simple; twin bed, closet, desk, chair, and bookshelf. Jean immediately knew that the bookshelf would continue to collect dust or be the storage space for junk he was no doubt going to end up collecting somehow over the next couple years.
Jean walked up to the window and looked out, whistling low, “Nice view.”
Seeing as they were on the fourth floor, they got a pretty nice view of the Trost skyline. Trost wasn’t a city full of skyscrapers; the tallest building being only twelve floors high. Jean could even see the university not too far away. Definitely walking distance as Marco had promised.
“So, you like it?” Marco asked, biting his lip.
“Yeah, man, it’s great,” Jean said. “Now I just need to get a job. I’ve got money saved up from my old job back home but that won’t last four years.”
“You can try the Career Services office on campus or the old fashioned way of dropping into every store that has a hiring sign,” Marco said, leading the way out of Jean’s room and back to the entry way to help Jean with his bags. “The latter was how I got my part time gig at this café a couple blocks away.”
“I’ll check it out after freshers’ week,” Jean said, picking up his duffle while Marco grabbed his suitcase. When they deposited the bags in Jean’s new room, Jean’s phone went off.
“Goddammit,” Jean groaned, already knowing whom it would be. “Maman, pourquoi?”
Marco gave Jean a funny look as Jean dug through his pocket to grab his phone, groaning at the screen as he saw that he was right on the mark.
“Mom, seriously? I just got off the phone with you,” Jean whined. He winced as his mother yelled at him before replying, “Désolé. I’m tired, that’s all. I fell asleep on the couch. Nothing happened, I am in one complete piece and drug free. Yes, he’s back. What? I can’t, mom, no, please. Ugh, fine.”
Marco stood awkwardly near the bed, wringing his hands in front of him. He was looking everywhere but at Jean and seemed unsure of whether to leave or stay.
Jean sighed and eyed Marco with an inquisitive gaze as he informed his overprotective mother, “Black hair, freckles across his nose and cheeks, alert brown eyes, no signs of redness around the irises, about 180 centimeters, jeans and a flannel over a t-shirt, fit, no visible needle marks, no tattoos, no piercings, no facial hair, white teeth. Is that enough, mom, he probably thinks I’m some kind of creep now.”
Jean closed his eyes as his mother yammered on in his ear. He knew she meant well, but she was a bit more than a little overprotective. He didn’t want to imagine what would have happened if he had a younger sister. He’d pity the kid for sure.
Finally, his mother finished and Jean smiled softly as she started to get sentimental and weepy again, “I know. I miss you too. Je t’aime, maman. I’ll see you soon.”
Jean pocketed his phone and looked up to realize that Marco was still there. He flushed bright red, “Uh, sorry. My mom’s a bit… you know.”
Marco smiled and shook his head, “First time away from home?”
Jean sighed, “No, though you wouldn’t be able to tell with the way she’s been acting. This’ll just be the longest and farthest.”
Marco nodded, “My dad’s not so bad but he’s only three hours away by car. Let’s go out and get dinner. We can get to know each other over some steaks. My treat.”
“Who am I to say no to free food?” Jean said with a grin.
A/N: Heyyo! So this is highly experimental. My first attempt at a multi-chapter fanfic. I have no idea when this'll update as this is literally all I have written for it and I'm working on a bunch of other stories at the same time that I've prioritized, ie. Stubborn Wolf, Boss with Benefits, and Saviour. And then there's stuff I'm doing in the background too so basically, don't expect any updates for this story any time soon.