Categories > Original > Drama0 Reviews
"Before we go any further, there are three things you should know about me..." For Valerie, Mitchell is just another roommate; for Mitchell, Valerie is something of a godsend. But that's before E...
This has to be one of the worst months on record, ever, for Valerie Novak. It isn't bad enough that his prescription was upgraded (he is now, he found out at the clinic, Legally Blind). It isn't bad enough that his latest appointment with the seeing-eye dog agency got moved /again/. No. Of course, this has to be the month when his roommate of seven months gets sick and fucking tired of "his whiny shit".
Adam was never a very good roommate anyway. Brought home too many girls to be excused for his flirting in the kitchen; complained too much about Valerie's lack of a video library; left too many half-empty beer bottles lying on the floor for anybody's safety. Still, it's always a hassle, having to go through the audition process for a new roommate.
He makes it a week-and twenty-five other guys-before Mitchell Avery walks through his front door and looks like somebody just told him he might be eligible to win the lottery. Valerie thinks his face might look the same, but for entirely different reasons, once this strange young man comes into semi-focus.
Mitchell is different than the Other Guys, even different than Adam, or The Guy Before. He isn't a clean-cut yuppie from some country-club gated community, but he isn't some impoverished boho from the art district either, though he dresses more to the latter than the former. He's got short black hair that is very close on the sides and a net of spikes rising at least three inches from the top of his head, rosy skin and too many freckles, pale eyes, rings on all but three of his fingers and a blot of ink next to his eye-Valerie couldn't tell what it was.
"You the guy with the room?" His voice is higher than Valerie expected. It grates on his nerves for a second, but he smiles pleasantly.
"You a guy with a job?" Mitchell laughs at that, and that's when Valerie learns his name. It takes him a second to realize the kid's reached out to shake his hand, and he fumbles to grab it. To cover, he says, "Want a tour before I make myself look like even more of an idiot?"
Mitchell looks ready to say that Valerie doesn't look like an idiot, but Valerie stands, and gestures expansively. They move from the kitchen to the sitting room, then down the short hall to the shared bathroom, and the two bedrooms. He uses words he learned in his business class are good words for selling-cozy, low-maintenance. Mitchell is quieter than the other guys, and doesn't actually say anything until they're back in the kitchen.
"It seems pretty pricy," he says. Valerie shrugs.
"We split the bill fifty-fifty, maybe a little heavier to one side depending on how much either of us can afford to pay." He nods. Valerie adjusts his glasses, and watches him for a second.
It's all he needs to work up the courage he always has to work up when he gives The Speech-it's the same speech he's had for four years now, since his very first roommate stormed out on him and he found himself having to explain to too many potentials why his last roommate left. Now, he just prefaces the entire affair with The Speech. It's faster than having to suffer through a few weeks while they figure themselves and each other out.
"Before we go any further," he tells Mitchell, "There are three things you have to know about me. One: I have Macular Degeneration. I am legally blind. You might have to keep me from, you know, killing myself.
"Two: I love jellybeans. Seriously. It is a slightly unhealthy obsession, actually. If you've done something to piss me off, get me a bag of Jelly-Bellies. All will be forgiven.
"Three..." and here he stops for a second, before shaking his head and pressing on, "I'm gay." He stares at Mitchell evenly. "Still wanna move in?"
Mitchell is silent. He drums his fingers on the table, and Valerie is halfway to thanking him for his time when he suddenly laughs and smiles. Valerie has to swallow and try not to stare; Mitchell is-.
"I had a friend with glaucoma. I'm used to being around blind people. Do we get to have a puppy?" Valerie snorts at that, but Mitchell keeps talking. "I'll remember to buy you a bag of 'beans when I'm out getting groceries, but you better eat them all yourself; I've got Diabetes, so I can't have them unless I'm really low."
And then he is silent, before he smiles almost shyly and flips his head as though he were trying to get hair out of his eyes. "And so long as you don't try to, like, /get on me/, we should be just fine. It-is it okay if I have ... guests, and stuff? I don't want to make you uncomfortable, Mister Novak."
Valerie never had anybody care whether he'd be uncomfortable with guests in the house. He's almost flattered. Almost. "Don't call me 'Mister Novak', kid. You're what, nineteen?" And Mitchell nods. "I'm only eight years older than you, jeez. Call me Valerie. Val, even."
"Okay. Valerie." He says it with a mid-western lilt in his voice. Then he seems to realize what this all means: "Hey! Am I cool? Am I in?"
"You can move in your stuff tomorrow, if you'd like." Mitchell laughs merrily, jumps up and punches the air a few times. When he turns back, though, he's smiling sheepishly.
"Can I move in now? I've got my stuff in my car, see-"
"Cocky little fucker, aren't you?" Valerie tries to sound reproachful, but he actually thinks it's kind of cute, how blindly optimistic Mitchell apparently is. He hopes he's not a cynic at heart; it'd be much more fun to corrupt the kid.
Mitchell's smile goes dim. "I've actually been living out of it," he admits. "You're not too cocky when you can't give a rent history, I guess."
"Have Chris help you with your things; I'll leave the door open for you."
"The doorman." Mitchell makes a soft noise of assent, and then hurries away, thanking Valerie loudly as he goes.
Valerie watches him go. At least the apartment won't be quiet any more.
He has a very bad feeling about his decision.