Roommates

I wrote this as an assignment for my creative writing class. The assignment was to take a cliched situation and add a twist at the end that brought other pieces of the story to light. I hope you like it. 

The shouting bounced through the halls of the dorm.

Room 220 was usually quiet, its two occupants barely speaking to each other as they floated through their studies, activities, lives. The tall, willowy girl with mousy hair and alabaster skin, Alison, tended to be the more outgoing of the two, but even she rarely spoke when in her own room if her roommate was present. And her roommate Annabelle, small, and so thin a strong bass note from the parties that raged upstairs might break her, barely spoke at all.

It hadn’t always been so quiet in their room. The first few weeks the two girls had gotten along splendidly. They shared interests in books and movies, and they were taking many of the same classes. It looked as if they would be the best of friends, until Annabelle got a boyfriend. Annabelle was very quiet, so it was a surprise, even to her, when Ben in their chemistry class asked her out. She’d said yes though, whispered it really. And ever since the two girls just hadn’t gotten on the same. Alison had barely uttered a word to her roommate since. Even though Ben and Annabelle broke up after only a few weeks, the two girls never resumed their friendship.

Annabelle spent most evenings curled on her bed, books spread around her, buttery hair splayed across her baby pink comforter. Whenever Alison had friends in the room Annabelle walled herself in with books, hiding, protecting herself. But Alison rarely had friends in the room. She usually studiously ignored Annabelle. Headphones in, laptop open, she sat on the futon under her lofted bed, keeping the legs of her bed between them as a barrier to conversation.

Things probably would have continued in this way, each girl seemingly ignoring the other, if Annabelle hadn’t accidentally picked up one of Alison’s skirts when she did laundry one Tuesday. And that night, when she returned with her basket, in it was one horribly shrunken and misshapen scrap of fabric that used to be Alison’s skirt.

“Um… Alison?” Annabelle ventured. She didn’t usually speak to her roommate, so it took Alison a minute to realize what was happening.

Alison tugged an ear bud from her ear, barely looking up. Annabelle stood next to her closet, the remnants of the skirt in hand. It had obviously been a delicate wash only item, and Annabelle didn’t have any such clothing. It was irrevocably ruined.

“What’s up?” Alison asked, eyes on her screen.

Annabelle held up the ruined skirt. “I’m really sorry, but I think I accidentally washed one of your skirts, and-”

“Is that mine?” Alison was on her feet and had the skirt before Annabelle could finish her sentence. The smaller girl shrunk backwards, almost into her closet.

“It’s ruined!” Alison screeched, her voice echoing through the dorm walls, which were thin as newsprint. “Why would you wash this?!”

“I’m sorry,” Annabelle whispered, still clutching one of her own shirts.

Alison’s voice filled the tiny room. “How dare you? I bet you wore my clothes and just forgot to put it back! Didn’t you?”

“No! I-”

“You never respect my privacy! You’re always looking thought my things!” Alison’s face was flushed, and she towered over Annabelle, her height almost comical next to Annabelle’s petite form.

Annabelle was practically cowering. “I don’t! It was an accident!”

“An accident,” scoffed Alison.

“It was!” Annabelle said, as firmly as she had even said anything.

Alison spun away from her roommate, her brown hair whipping around her. She raked one hand through the dark waves, the other still clasped the ruined skirt.

She flung herself onto the futon, plopping her head into her hands. “Ugh!”

“Look Alison, I’m really sorry.” Annabelle tried, edging out of the closet, trying to extricate herself from the hanging sweaters that had engulfed her.

Alison’s voice was stony, but she kept her head down. “I don’t care about the skirt Annabelle.”

Annabelle stepped forward to stand in front of the futon, hands spread in front of her, a yellow top still slung over one arm. “Yes, you do, and I’m really sorry.”

“I said I didn’t care Anna!” Alison burst out, jumping to her feet, she ripped the shirt from Annabelle’s arm, wrenching it apart, shredding it until the small golden pieces of fabric drifted to the floor.

Annabelle’s face grew crimson, and she drew up to the very tallest her small frame would support. “That was my favorite shir-”

But Alison cut her off.

With her lips.

On

Annabelle’s

Lips.

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