He wrapped her in an impromptu hug, holding her tight for a few seconds. The closeness and warmth cause a tickling sensation in the back of her throat. Oh, Goddess, she was going to cry some more, but instead of silent tears leaking out in the dark, it would be big ugly gasping cries. The thought made her break free of his embrace and dart for the entrance. She lunged past another girl opening the door, ignoring her muttered complaint.
Her dart up the stairs had her holding her side as she reached her own door. The sobs welled out as she swung open the door. No roommate in sight, which was good. She didn’t want to explain why she was crying. It was hard to understand herself. Mitch considered her perfect, a definite improvement on her father’s opinion.
Dropping to her bed, she pulled the covers over her not bothering to remove her shoes and cried.
The sound of the door closing along with talking woke her. Stella blinked a couple of times, finding focusing difficult. Her fingers moved over her swollen eyes under the shielding covers.
A masculine voice she recognized as her roomie’s current squeeze spoke. “Looks like ice queen tied one on. You said she was boring straight.”
A snort, then a loud laugh rattled the room. How many people were in the room staring at her blanket-shrouded body?
“No way, she probably passed out from studying too much. I did hear a rumor she had a guy but never saw any sign of it.”
“Looks like one person under the covers to me. Should I lift them to discover?”
Stella, curled in a fetal position, faced the wall holding tight to the polyester cocoon she had wrapped around herself. She squeezed her eyes shut to block out the brightness. Why couldn’t she get a little privacy?
“Stop it. “ The hissed words pierced the mental fog enveloping her. “We’re here just to get the weed and leave. Remember?”
A masculine mumble indicating nothing served as a response. A few footsteps and drawers opening and slamming, then a door shutting indicated they were gone. Maybe. Stella counted to one hundred just to be safe. Slowly removing the blanket, she blinked in the glare of the light left on.
So straight she was boring, huh? It wasn’t a horrible thing to be. It sounded sad, but there were worse things such as getting kicked out of school for having drugs on the premises. Somehow, she’d have to get a new roommate. What excuse could she use without narcing out her roomie? Maybe she should use her roomie’s excuse that she couldn’t get enough studying done in her current environment. Hard for a college to argue against that one.
The swollen skin around her eyes pinched and stretched. Her face would be a mess tomorrow if she didn’t use ice or even cold tea bags to take down the swelling. Standing, she stumbled in the direction of the small cabinet where she kept her food. Opening the door, she peered into the empty chamber. “What the…?” Her surprise morphed into anger. Damn, another reason she needed a new roommate.
For the most part, she didn’t have anything worth stealing, but apparently a box of breakfast bars, instant soup, and teabags must have disappeared with her visitors. Stella balled her hands on her hips. Probably just swept everything into a bag without even examining what they were grabbing. Difficult to imagine hot tea as a go-to beverage to accompany the pot high munchies.
Pushing the door shut, she moved to the tiny fridge, not expecting too much inside. Stooping, she discovered a yogurt past its due date, a carton of takeout food that wasn’t hers, and a tiny bottle of energy drink. None of it tempted her or was what she needed. She opened the even smaller freezer compartment for the two plastic ice trays. At least the ice would serve instead of the tea bags.
A sigh escaped her lips. At last, something was going her way. She pulled out the first tray only to discover it was empty. “Seriously.” She flung the tray toward her roommate’s bed. Maybe the second one had ice in it. Her fingers lifted the light tray already knowing the answer before she tipped it up to the light. Empty.
The second tray followed the first as it flew across the room. Stella stumbled back to her bed. Too tired to do anything anyway. Tomorrow could be a mental health day. Goddess knows plenty of students took them. Mitch would cover for her at work, but she’d have to call him. The thought had her falling back on the bed.
How could she explain her bizarre behavior? The light was still on, but she didn’t feel like she had the energy to turn it off. Rolling over, she freed her cover and pulled it over her, dimming the light. Tomorrow, she’d deal with everything.