With that in mind, I do what comes naturally to my overly organized brain.
I make a list.
Nell’s To-Do List
• Check off Normal College Thing #2:
Make New Friends.
• Do some laundry, you bum.
You know,” Dylan says, “when I invited you to go play Ultimate Frisbee with Silas’s friends, I never expected you to accept.”
I wince. “Did you not want me to come?” I tug at the too-tight sports bra that has my boobs pushed so high that I feel like they might rebel and rip the fabric right down the middle. I borrowed the stupid thing from Dylan because I’ve never had much of an occasion to own a sports bra myself. But she’s at least two cup sizes smaller than me, and now I’m afraid I might suffocate in my own cleavage. “I don’t have to. Really.”
I make a mental note to put “buy a sports bra” on my to-do list.
“No! No. I’m excited for you to meet them all. I just . . . I was surprised, that’s all.”
I shrug. “I’ve been thinking about what you said last week. About exploring all that college has to offer.” Dylan smiles at me, and I’m fairly certain that look I’m seeing on her face qualifies as smug. I add, “Plus I have no tests coming up, and I’m caught up on all assigned work through the next week and a half.”
She shakes her head and leans forward to fiddle with the air-conditioning in her car.
“Of course you are.”
She turns the air up, and I’m grateful for the cool blast. Only in Texas is it still this warm in October. I pull my hair up off my neck, glad at least that I always have a hair band on my wrist. The air feels good across the newly liberated and sweaty skin of my neck.
“So, tell me what I need to know about these people.”
Dylan drums her fingers thoughtfully on the steering wheel and says, “Well, you’ve met Silas. Sort of. He is . . . he’s . . . well, he’s hard to describe, but he’ll be nice to you. So you don’t have to worry about that. They’re all really nice. Both of his roommates will be there. Isaiah Brookes—the guys call him either by his last name or Zay—I think you’ll probably like him. He can be a little hard to pin down sometimes, but he’s very . . . thoughtful. Smart. Straightforward. The two of you have that in common. His other roommate is Torres.”
“Another last name?” I ask.
“Mateo Torres. But everyone calls everyone by their last names. It’s a sports thing. Or a guy thing. I’m not really sure. But you get used to it.”
“I don’t want people calling me De Luca. That’s just weird. I’ll have to become accustomed to answering to a different name, and while learning a sport I’ve never played. That seems stressful.”
“They don’t do it as much with the girls. And really, Ultimate Frisbee isn’t complicated. You’ll be fine. I promise.”
“Fine. Back to the people. You were talking about someone named Torres.”
Dylan makes a face and cagily replies, “Maybe it would be better if you didn’t spend too much time with Torres.”
“Why? Is he dangerous?”
“God, no. He’s just shameless. I know how you don’t like being embarrassed, and with Torres around . . . well, that kind of thing is inevitable. He’ll either say something or do something or take off his clothes.”
More naked guys? Seriously?
“Steer clear of Torres. Got it. Check. Next.”
“Then there’s Carson and Dallas. They’ve been dating for about a year now. They’re sort of the calm center of the group. Carson is the quarterback, so he’s the team leader, and he tends to take on that same role off the field.”
I purse my lips. “Interesting. Is that common? Do they all display their athletic tendencies and strengths off the field?”
Dylan considers that for a moment. “Maybe. Yeah, I guess. I hadn’t really thought of it that way, but yes. Carson is the one who controls the team, who reads them all. Silas is the strength on the field. He makes the short, hard runs through tough defense. He’s like that in real life, too. He can weather just about anything. Torres is flashy on the field and off. Brookes plays the same position as Torres, but he tends to be the more reliable one. He’s the one they go to for the simpler throws, whereas Torres makes the bigger, riskier plays.”
I think about that for the moment, but it’s too much information to digest about people I’ve never even met. So I file it away for later, when I can put faces to the names.
“Okay. Who else?”
“Well, there’s also Ryan. He’s not on the team, but he’s the manager. He’s funny, Easygoing. I mentioned Dallas. She’s fun. Spunky. Honest. I’m not sure if Stella will be there or not. She’s Dallas’s roommate. She’s cool, but . . .”
“Nothing. She’s just been a little unpredictable lately.”
“It just depends on the day. Normally, she’s vibrant and outgoing and the center of the crowd. But she’s just . . . she’s dealing with some stuff right now, and so there are some moments when she’s . . . different.”
Dylan sighs, and I’m pretty sure I’m asking too many questions. A fault of mine. Or an advantage, depending on the situation.
“I don’t know, Nell. It varies. Just be understanding with her, and I’m sure everything will be fine.”