The Seven Year Itch: Chapter 1

Seven Years Earlier

Alexander Bastian Roberts walks over to a body slumped over one of the low seated tables in Lauinger Library. All of the other tables were taken, crammed full of students studying for midterms. He needed a seat. Studying in his dorm room wasn’t an option as his roommate Seth thought this was the perfect time to have keg party. All of the noise, all of the drunken madness wouldn’t help him successfully pass Monday’s chemistry test.

Sleeping beauty has found a perfect spot in a corner on the fourth floor with a window facing 37th Street. The trees rustle in the wind, students rushing up and down the stairs near the library either heading to or away from campus. It was the only vacant seat left on all of the floors of the library and he planned to make the sleeping student share their spot, no matter what.

He taps unconscious man’s shoulder—at least he hoped it was a man. It’s hard to tell what the lump was, dressed in a Georgetown hoodie, sweats, and sneakers.

“Wwwhhhat? What? What time is it?” The sleepy face looks around, her hood falls away revealing brown curls in a lopsided ponytail.

Alex tries not to laugh at the picture of the bleary-eyed girl, with whatever sheet of paper she was reading now stuck to the side of her face. He reaches over and removes the crumpled mass she was using as a make-shift pillow.

“Long night, huh? What were you, uh, studying?” Alex asks

“Oh you mean what did I try to learn through osmosis? Well before I conked out I was reviewing my notes for the history exam Monday. Hopefully I didn’t drool through what I wrote” a groggy voice replies.

Alex realizes he knows the girl. They’re both in Prof. Lakes Intro to Philosophy class. She wouldn’t recognize him as he sits and the back, and she sits in the front three seats away from the door. During class he sometimes watches her furiously scribble down notes and listen attentively as Prof. Lake drones on about morality and scientific theories. He wanted to talk to her before, find out more about her, but she always rushes away as soon as class ends.

“You’re in Professor Lake’s class right? I’m Alex by the way, Alexander Roberts to be exact. Do you mind if I sit down”.

Trixie stops rubbing her eyes and smacking her cheeks enough to notice that the boy is still standing next to her after he woke her from her nap. She blushes, realizing that he not only witnessed her drooling and homely state but he was still talking to her while she had completely forgotten his presence.

“Oh, hi! I’m Beatrice Eibhlin Browne, but everyone just calls me Trixie. Yes I’m in Lake’s class. Uh, why do you wanna sit down?”

“Well if you haven’t noticed, there aren’t very many available seats left in the library. I also have a test on Monday, and my roommate thinks this is the perfect time to have a party.”

“Oh no! I mean yes. Yes, please sit down. I’m sorry I’m being rude. I’m just so tired. Who knew freshman year would be this rough, right?”

Hair tumbles in front of Trixie’s face as the ponytail holder slips from her loose bun. Alex sits down in the seat adjacent to hers, laying his books on the table. While she fixes her hair, she inspects Alex out of the corner of her eye. How could she have missed this guy on campus? Granted there were at least six thousand people at Georgetown. But it would have been hard to forget a face as handsome as his. His ported his black hair in a Caesar cut remnant of Will Smith in Enemy of the State. Strong eyebrows framed hazel eyes with the longest lashes Trixie had ever seen. He had a square jaw, laced with the barest hint of stubble. He wore blue Georgetown hoodie, same as she with Jeans and white Chucks.  He had a silver Omega watch on his arm. As Alex leaned back in his chair and opened his Chemistry book, Trixie noticed his hands. He had the kind of hands that made you think of walking in winter, his warmth fusing with yours as your fingers intertwine.

Trixie looks down at her own Anne Klein watch with the brown leather band, “is it really only 11:30? *sigh* I think I’ll go get some coffee. Would you mind watching my stuff? I’ll treat you to something at Midnight Mug”

“Naw, I’m good. Thanks though”.

“Alright bet.” Just as Trixie turns away she remembers she didn’t grab her wallet. She turns back around only to meet Alex’s eyes. She blushes.

“uhh… I forgot my wallet”. Trixie fumbles in her backpack for her wristlet. Alex clears his throat having been caught checking out Trixie’s butt.

“Right, right. I’ve changed my mind as well. Can you bring me a bagel with peanut butter?”

When Trixie returns they both settle in for a long night of cramming. The next time she looks up it’s close to 3a.m. and Alex has dozed off with his head in his hand. She takes a few moments to check him out. She notices his chocolate skin, such a contrast to his hazel eyes. His frame his tall, lanky, it’s a wonder he could cram his legs under the desk. He has long fingers, short clipped clean nails, his high school signet ring on his right hand. Trixie hears a soft rumble and Alex rubs his stomach unconsciously.

Gosh he must be hungry she thinks. Trixie lifts her hand and squeezes Alex’s shoulder. Should there be so much muscle there? Are men’s shoulder’s always this hard?

Alex opens his eyes looking into Trixie’s face. Awkwardly Trixie lowers her hand back to her lap and clears her throat.

“You know as much as I’d love to sit here and listen to your stomach rumble, I was thinking maybe heading back to my dorm room for some food. I have some cold cuts in my fridge and can make us a couple of sandwiches if you’re interested.”

“Haha. That would be great actually. Aside from breakfast and that bagel I haven’t eaten today. Where do you live?”

“Harbin Hall. The caf doesn’t open for a few hours so I’ll make you something to tide you over until then.”

“Word? I’m in Harbin Hall too. Third floor”

“I’m on the sixth floor. Why don’t we head over and then you can drop your stuff off at your room, meet me in the kitchen. I should be ready by then.”


They both pack up their laptops and their books to head out of the library. Once outside, Trixie checks her phone.

“I have to imagine your boyfriend would be wondering where you are. It’s not safe to wander around campus this late at night”.

“Boyfriend? Not likely. More like my grandmother. She raised my brother Jason and I after my father died. She always calls me at midnight when my brother gets home from training at the police academy. I guess I didn’t hear my phone ring in the library. “

“I’m sorry to hear about your father. What about your mom?”

“She’s around. I think she’s currently touring Italy with her second husband. She’s French, Creole more specifically. When my dad died, she couldn’t handle it. Went back to her family in Louisiana and stayed there until she met her second husband Rick. He didn’t want kids. By then I was 16 and Jarlath was 18. We were happy staying with Grams, my dad’s mom. She has this great farm in Oregon. We stayed with her every summer growing up. In some ways living there made it easier to accept my dad’s passing, for me at least”.

“It must have been hard to grow up without your moms. My mom and I are really close. She raised me alone since I was five when my father left. Not much of a loss I guess, word on the street he was a horrible womanizer. Even when he was around, he really wasn’t there.”

They arrived at the side entrance to Harbin. Alex held the door for Trixie as they passed the guard. Alex decides to take the stairs since the elevator was always slow. Trixie presses the button and waits for the elevator.

“So sixth floor. Just come up when you’re ready, I’ll be in the kitchen”

“Yea give me a second to set my stuff down and I’ll head up”.

(to be continued…)