Excited and mousey chatter found it’s way throughout the main entrance of Glendale College as young women anxiously awaited the arrival of fresh faces and masculine bodies. Most had spent all of their formative years in an array of schools for girls, and the joyous news of cohabitation with the opposite sex spread like wildfire. 

It seemed the whole student body, as it were, stood in front of Athens Hall, awaiting the start of what had been deemed by campus journalists as the impending Beefcake Parade; and within that crowd of curious souls stood Constance Lane. Unlike the other young women who pranced around in bright colors, shortened skirts, form fitting blouses, and heels; she stood comfortably in her best pantsuit, her neat curls pinned atop her head and white pearls that barely offset the tones of gray she adorned herself in.

Holding tight to her notebooks, she looked around, trying to spot her best friend in the sea of curls, bouffants, and ponytails.

 

Running all the way from the dean’s office, Barbara Doolittle rejoiced with lightness in her voice and an extra bit of pep in her step, singing loudly as her peers clapped in sheer excitement. “Have you heard the good neeeews? Gotta have good news!” She stopped before Constance, taking a deep breath before she pressed forward. “Girls, we’re gonna have good news! The men are pulling up!”

Constance chuckled at her friend, speaking lowly as their peers surrounded them, growing giddier by the second as vehicles they’d never seen on campus began to roll up. “Babe, how is it that you’re the happiest of all the other girls, when you’ve already got a boyfriend? A great one at that.”

Barbara rolled her eyes, smoothing the bottom of her pink pleated skirt before she looked up at her dearest friend. The more experienced of the two, in the game of ‘love’, she knew Constance held a starry eyed view of all relationships she viewed from the outside. No, they didn’t all have to be complicated or hard, but most often Constance couldn’t fathom there being faults when she saw none for herself. “Nothing is ever as it truly seems, Connie. Sure, he’s a great guy, in front of others, but not always with me and in private. And despite what he likes to believe and make known when he visits, that man does not own me. Why,” she huffed, speaking in a rushed manner. “He won’t even claim me when we’re around his family, and that speaks volumes to me. Besides, lately I haven’t been able to shake the idea that he plays around, and I’m not just talking about playing on that dang football field. He’s already attending an institution that was co-ed, with girls far more gorgeous than I am. He’s always had an affinity for cheerleaders, which I am not and will never be. And, the first chance to finally join me, after ‘crying’ about distance and the trouble it takes to drive here, he turns it down? Tuh, I won’t allow him to hold me back or hold me captive when he’s not fully committed.”

Constance nodded her head, understanding her friend’s point, though she felt Barbara may have been making assumptions or jumping to conclusions. “Well, just don’t go doing anything that you’ll regret.”

Barbara smirked, speaking a bit wickedly. “You could benefit from doing one little thing you’ll wake up regretting.”

Constance gasped, playfully pushing her best friend as shrieks and squeals rang out.

 

Men. Men. Men galore. Tall men, short men, thin men, buff men. Men with skin as black as the beautiful midnight sky. Men with skin as pale as pristine porcelain. Light eyes, dark eyes, beards, clean shaven. Short hair, long hair colored from jet black to fiery red. Some obviously athletic, some obviously of the more scholarly background. Some dressed exceptionally well, no doubt living within great means. Some dressed a bit down by what would be Glendale standards.

Barbara and Constance watched with lustful eyes as men passed before them, staring them down as they made their way into Athens Hall to complete their registration. “Such glorious specimen of all races. I’m kind of partial to the beautiful black kings, myself.”

Nodding her head in agreement, Constance gulped and took a deep breath before pulling herself together. “They’ll only be a distraction if young women chose to lose focus. I don’t know why it took so long for the dean to cosign.”

“Because they know most of us will choose to lose focus. I certainly have not a single care for the foreign language class I’ve been assigned this year.”

“Oh, Babe.”

Barbara laughed, doing a little shimmy as she perked up, pulling Constance away from the crowd. “Get hip, Connie! Who knows, you may even find love.”

“Ha, hysterical.”

“The blue bird of happiness is flying high, and Connie, it’s a time to live a little.” They strolled towards their dorm, both agreeing they’d like to enjoy a bit of quiet before the onrush of the other girls that occupied their floor came in talking about the men they already had their eyes on. 

 

As they approached the heavily populated steps, they took notice of a new face and figure, one that didn’t hop out of any of the vehicles that carried the new male students. The girl was gorgeous, adorned in threads that probably cost more than their tuition and upkeep combined. Her hair was pulled back into a neatly coiffed bun, the silk of her dress clinging to her slender frame. 

She stood tall, perfectly poised with one leg jutted out just enough to show off the peach pumps she paired with the sleeveless dress she wore. Her features were felineish, especially her eyes, and her smokey eyed makeup accentuated the dramatic shape they held. Patricia’s plump, pink stained lips turned upright in a smile as she looked out into a sea of envy. 

“Who’s she?”

Constance shrugged, intrigued… wishing she too possessed such beauty and an aura that commanded attention from all who crossed her, even if they didn’t know her. “Never seen her a day in my life, Babe.”

They stood still, listening quietly as their dean spoke. “I’d like very much for you all to welcome and embrace Patricia McClellan with opened arms. She’s joining us after spending many years at a dreary boarding and finishing school in France, hoping to gain a sense of normalcy and camaraderie with young ladies like herself. Naturally I felt she’d fit in perfectly here with in the Seals Dormitory. I hope I’m not wrong.”

The young woman got plenty of stares, most of which were harsh and unfriendly. They followed her until she reached the spot where Constance and Barbara stood. She simply nodded her head as they muttered hello, stepping past them as she followed the dean across the campus yard.

“Well, judging by the looks of the other girls, I think she’ll end up bunking with us, Connie.”

“I don’t mind. She might even make a great friend, never know.” Constance smiled. “However, as gorgeous as she is, I doubt we’ll see much of her outside of any classes we have together.”

“Yeah, I just hope she doesn’t catch the eye of all of the fine guys. I can just imagine the first official mixer being such a bore if they’re all clamouring behind her.” Constance shrugged the thought off. Unbeknownst to Barbara, she had no intentions of attending anyhow. “Come on, let’s go make room for her just in case the other girls get snippy when she returns.”

They rushed inside, excusing themselves as they moved through the crowd of bodies slowly dissipating from their dormitory steps.

3 thoughts on “New On Campus (Untitled Novel Intro) by Cortney Joseph #ShortStoryAugust

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