Tales From The Shoebox

Set in the Ducks senior year, Luis and Averman are sharing a room the size of a Shoebox, this leads to an unexpected friendship, and maybe more

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Chapter 2: Texas, Harems and Biting


By the way, should have said this in Part 1, thanks to Gabby for the idea. Very inspiring!

Oh, holy god, I miss Carla. Why on earth has she gone to Hawaii? How can she choose a vacation in a fabulous place with the marvellous Jake (where she can look for Stitch) instead of hanging with me online? I just don’t get it. *cries* And so what if she graduated… big deal. I’m here, online, and she’s not. (Just kidding, well done Carly-bobs, you rock my world, cyber, real and everything in between—and remember, I’m watching you!)

Wow, this is a lot of notes. The name Aisha is said Ay-sha, not I-eee-sha—not that it matters when you’re reading, but I think that pronunciation is prettier.

Luis hated room thirteen. When he and Averman awoke, they discovered that they both couldn’t get ready at the same time because of the lack of space, one of them had to stay in bed, while the other dashed around frantically. They also discovered that they were both the type of people who liked to hit the snooze button about fourteen times before dragging themselves out of bed. This did not seem like a marvellous combination to make the harsh reality of a school day morning as gentle as possible.

“We have to come up with a schedule of who has to get up first,” Luis said as he and Averman made their way down to breakfast. “Alternate days or something.”

“You mean you don’t want to get up half an hour earlier than you usually do for the rest of the school year?” Averman asked in mock surprise. “Gosh darn it, that’s annoying.”

Luis paused to smile at a group of girls who were staring at him. On making eye contact with one, the whole group burst into excited giggles and ran off.

“That’s even more annoying,” Averman commented. “Why can’t I have groupies?”

Luis considered the question. “Because in years to come you will have a cult following. You’ll be like Kevin Smith or something.”

“That’s nice.” Averman smiled. “But I’m not volunteering to get up first for the rest of my school life, we’re just gonna have to take turns.”

“This room is disgusting,” Annie decided, blowing a stray curl out of her eyes.

Averman pretended to take offence. “Well, we think it’s rather spiffy actually,” he said in a snippy tone.

“You could get Taz to paint a mural on the wall, maybe she could paint it to make it look bigger.” Annie suggested, taking a seat beside Luis on his bed. “By the way, that’s who I’m rooming with this year. Add to that the fact I’ve been made head cheerleader and I’ve hit rock bottom.”

“You could be rooming with her in here,” Luis pointed out.

“Ok, that would be a lower place.” She glanced around. “You know, if you shunted the beds against that wall you’d have more space.”

Averman and Luis followed her pointed finger. She was indicating the wall that the headboards of both beds were against.

“You mean put the beds side by side?” Luis asked tentatively.

Annie nodded. “Jess and Kim on my floor had to do the same thing yesterday, no biggie.”

“Actually, it is a big deal.” Averman replied.

Luis nodded. “Yep, sleeping together is just something guys don’t do. Like using the word ‘adorable’.”

“Or wearing pink,” Averman suggested. “Or spending seven hours looking for exactly the right pair of shoes.”

Annie snorted derisively. “Like I do any of those things, and I still bunk with the same sex.”

Luis sighed. “Yes, Annie, but you’re both female and gay. Kinda makes it hard for you to see our point.”

“Hrmm.” She glanced around again, her nose wrinkled in disgust at the tiny room, then her gaze landed on the clock. “Oh god, I’ve got to get to practice. Some head cheerleader I am, I’m already ten minutes late!” She ran out of the room, which at least proved her athleticism, without saying goodbye.

“I hate this room,” Luis said, largely to fill the silence. He’d invited Annie over to insult the room because of the awkward silences between himself and Averman. It was strange, he mused, that Averman could be so talkative in any situation that didn’t call for it, but was apt to lapse into silence when conversation would be appreciated.

“You’d think with us being seniors, we’d get a decent sized room,” Averman agreed. “They should only put freshman in a room this small. But at least you have the pleasure of having the entire four square inches of space to yourself every Thursday.”

“Why’s that?” Luis asked, pulling a book out of his bag, and sighing in despair at the length of the passage he needed to read before tomorrow.

“Drama, we have rehearsals then.” Averman grinned. “The room is all yours until after dinner, so feel free to invite over your harem.”

“My harem?” Luis laughed.

“Your gaggle of adoring fans that look like they should be attending Sweet Valley High instead of Eden Hall.” Averman paused, then added. “Not that I’ve actually read Sweet Valley High, it’s just, when you’ve got two sisters, these things become ingrained in you.”

“Well, my harem, as you call it, consists of Mindy’s youngest sister and her friends, they’re all freshman, so I don’t think I’ll be inviting any of them over.” Luis replied, absently underlining a particularly long passage. He didn’t understand it, but since the single paragraph took up nearly the whole page he figured it was pretty important. “What about you? Harem? Girlfriend?”

“Neither,” Averman replied with a grin. “I think I might become a monk. It’s a natural progression. I’m already used to living in…” he glanced around the room, “impoverished quarters. And it would also eliminate the hassle of decided what to wear every day.”

“Valid point.” Luis nodded, wondering if Averman could ever be serious. Luis gave up trying to read the book in front of him and resigned himself to copying off Annie tomorrow—a thought that horrified him, Annie was apt to ask for bizarre favours in return for copying. He reached for his math homework instead. Far simpler, in math, you didn’t need a quote to back up your answer.

“Hey guys!” Their door swung inwards swiftly, the momentum embedding the door handle in the wall.

Averman and Luis looked up to see Charlie in their doorway. He didn’t seem to notice that he’d almost destroyed their room with his enthusiastic entrance.

“That’s fine, we didn’t like the wall anyway,” Averman commented airily.

“Actually, we don’t like any of the walls,” Luis added.

Charlie looked perplexed, missing what they were getting at. “Right, horrible colour?” he ventured.

“Yeah, that… and the fact there’s a hole the size of Texas behind the door!” Averman yelled.

“There is?” Charlie turned to inspect the damage. “Wow, you’re right.” He said, easing the doorknob out of the wall. “You should report that to the Dorm Supervisor.”

Luis rolled his eyes. “Ok, in the interest of saving time—”

“And potential damage,” Averman added.

“Yep, that too, Charlie, what do you want?”

He smiled. “I was just calling in to remind you that we have practice tomorrow, six a.m. start.”

“Ah,” Averman replied, “because after three years, it’s highly likely we would forget the rota.”

“Hey guys!” A voice called from behind Charlie. Averman and Luis peered around him. As they caught sight of the purple hair Luis caught a very distinct sigh of despair from Averman. “Just the people I was looking for!” She commented cheerfully, digging Charlie in the back so he would shuffle forwards, thus allowing her to cross the threshold of their room.

“Taz,” Luis said tiredly. “What can we do for you?” She wasn’t in the habit of talking to him, much less seeking him out after school, and it was public knowledge that Taz and Averman were simply waiting for homicide to be legalised before they addressed the issues they had with each other. He crossed his fingers, hoping that she was looking for Charlie and would take him away from their room.

“Wow, did you guys know there’s a hole behind your door?” she asked.

“It’s been brought to our attention,” Averman said dryly.

“Right.” She grinned at him, then wriggled under Charlie’s arm so she could see Luis clearly. “I hear you’re single now?”

Luis sighed deeply. This was none of her business, but it was unlikely she’d go away if he didn’t answer, and it was downright unthinkable that she might shut up. “Yes, I am.”

“Excellent!” she said excitedly, then paused, realising that it probably didn’t feel ‘excellent’ to Luis. “Um, sorry. It’s just that my friend Aisha really likes you. Um, she told me to be subtle, can we pretend that I was? And I was told to ask you if you were busy on Thursday, but make it seem casual.”

Luis sighed again, something he really liked in girls was confidence, not this skating around the issue. He was convinced that in an alternate universe, Annie would be his wife, she was just so direct and to the point. And another thing, how did this Aisha know she really liked him? He didn’t even know who she was, which meant that they probably hadn’t got past the nodding ‘hi’ in the halls stage. How could she know that she really liked him? “Sorry, I’m busy then,” he lied.

“Oh.” Her face fell. “What are you doing?”

Argh! He hadn’t expected her to ask. “I’m watching Averman rehearse for drama,” he replied smoothly, surprising himself.

Averman looked momentarily surprised by this, but nodded nonetheless.

“Just so you know,” Averman said, when Taz and Charlie finally left their domicile. “We’re not actually rehearsing anything on Thursday, we’re just doing improv, so I won’t hold you to attending.”

“You’re doing what?” he asked.

“Improvisation. You stand in a circle, two people start, just acting a scene out off the top of their heads, then someone shouts two names and they join in. Then another two names are called, the first two leave and the next pair join in. Oh, and drama games.”

“You get to play games in your classes?” Luis asked. “Why didn’t I sign up?”

“Maybe because these games involve humiliating yourself?” Averman suggested. “It’s weird stuff, trust exercises. Like the blind game, you pair up with someone, put on a blindfold and feel their face, then they move away from you, and you have to find your partner by feeling the face of everyone in the room.”

“That doesn’t sound so bad,” Luis said.

“Well, it’s not. Until you’re feeling the face of someone who doesn’t like you, I’ve been bitten a couple of times. And I’ve been slapped more than once when I accidentally felt a girl a lot taller than me.”

Luis laughed. “Ok, when you put it like that…” he paused. “I’d actually really like to come and watch, if you don’t mind.”

Averman looked surprised. “Really?”

“It’s that or Midsummer Night’s Dream.” He indicated the book he had been unsuccessfully trying to read for English.

“Well, you’re welcome to come along.”

Sorry it took so long to update, I’ve had a really heavy week. Sometimes I just wanna quit my job and stay at home, writing fic and eating Pringles. Damn it, now I’m getting flashbacks to drama games. Yes, I really did get bitten. And slapped. Harsh times, boys and girls. Harsh times.


  • The Girl, Official stalker of Carla, Tangible Muse and Bod Who Generally Fixes the Mean Nasty Coding That Makes Carla Cry (After Having Broken It In The First Place)