Vincente and Arnaud both left their family homes in Rosebud for a brand spanking new opportunity at Sim State University. Will they reinvent themselves or remain fairly true to the values their parents taught them? We'll see.
~*~*~*~*~Having left behind a crowded house, Vinnie felt hesitantly triumphant arriving at school. He wasn't scared - nothing worse could happen to him at university than had happened to him in life. He just wondered whether he would start to feel normal again.
It helped that Arnaud Beaumont would be coming along and staying in the same dorm. They had run into one another while lugging in boxes of stuff, recognized one another from home, and immediately began to stick together. Vinnie had never been one for a lot of socialization when he was home, but Arnaud seemed alright. They were both interested in cooking, anyway, and that gave them something to talk about.
Neither of them were much interested in schoolwork, really - the girls on campus were more interesting - but they picked things that they thought might translate well into a career in the culinary field and were content with their picks.
They watched a lot of the Yummy Channel together, pointing out techniques they'd tried and sharing tips they'd learned. Vinnie quickly realized Arnaud was much more skilled in the kitchen than he was, but then again, Arnaud had the luxury of having a normal family, with a mom and dad who took care of things and allowed him to be a teenager pursuing his interests. Vinnie felt a little bit bitter toward Arnaud because of it, but he let the feeling go.
After all, it wasn't Arnaud's fault, and besides, he was pretty popular on campus already, having made friends with some older kids from the new greek house on campus. His first night in the dorms, he was accosted by a chick with a jacket in the bathroom, of all places. He wasn't sure what was going on, but later that night, when he got a laughingly apologetic phone call from Kimi Tanaka for not warning him, he understood they'd recommended him for the secret society.
Arnaud liked the jacket, and the society. It seemed to impress the girls on campus, and Arnaud was eager to do just that. He'd slept with Kimi Tanaka, but she was such a vamp and he was so inexperienced that the whole thing seemed to go by in a blur. He was too busy worrying about her knowing that he'd never done it before that he barely remembered anything but his nerves. Now he was anxious to try himself, to see if he could find a nice girl and charm her a bit. Marisa Hanby, a pretty brunette in his dorm, seemed particularly charmed by his somewhat awkward, sweet advances.
He asked her if she might want to go on "a date sort of thing?" sheepishly, and she accepted. They went to Sue's Kitchen, where Arnaud hoped to impress her with his recipe for salmon.
He ended up winning the contest and a great deal of impressed affection from Marisa, who gifted him with a kiss at the end of the night, to Arnaud's delight.
He had been so busy paying attention to Marisa on the date that he never actually ATE anything he made at Sue's Kitchen, so when he got back to the dorms in the middle of the night, he decided to whip up some breakfast. It felt nice to cook again; in the dorm, he didn't really have the opportunity to cook much.
Vinnie came out later, and they sat down to talk over their pancakes. "I went on a date with Marisa last night? From the room down the hall?" Arnaud began, and told Vinnie all about it. Vinnie warmed to Arnaud more, despite the fact that he was typically standoffish. Arnaud was all right. They talked through breakfast, then parted ways for class.
Of course, class wasn't exactly their primary focus. Arnaud found that girls tended to like him. He wasn't sure why, but he thought they were lovely in every way with their soft skin, sweet scent, and gentle curves. He loved nothing better than to merely be in their presence, whether it was eating or taking a walk or looking up at the stars. Jessica Goldman, another girl who lived in the dorm and who was also in the secret society, was one particularly feminine girl Arnaud loved being around.
She was sort of a hippie chick with her long blonde hair and peasant skirt, and Arnaud enjoyed taking her to places she would enjoy, like the botanical garden...
...and the photo booth in the botanical garden. He couldn't help it! It was called the "Lost In Love" hedge maze, after all, and he felt constantly in love with every girl he met. How could he not be?
Later the next day, he went back to Sue's Kitchen and caught the eye of the pretty redhead working the bar there. He had seen her there when he was with Marisa and thought her delicate features were sweetly attractive. Her name was Steffi, and Arnaud immediately struck up a conversation with her.
He was surprised at how bold she was for such a delicate-looking creature. He'd never met a girl quite so...straightforward before, but he couldn't ignore the twist of excitement in his stomach at hearing her stories. They didn't sleep together there - they couldn't, and Arnaud didn't want to get her in trouble at work.
Instead, he stuck around for a while, trying out a new recipe for ribs he'd seen online.
He wasn't sure how he could compete with the fancy cake, particularly.
But it seemed that Arnaud truly had a gift. His second victory in a row gave him hope that perhaps he really had a chance to fulfill his dream of becoming a celebrity chef.
He stayed a while longer, experimenting with making candies - something he'd never had an opportunity to do before. He wasn't great at it, even though the machine did most of the work, and he decided he really needed to bone up on his knowledge of confections. He wanted to be well-rounded. He headed back to the dorm, where he could read up on some new techniques.
While Arnaud found every girl attractive, Vinnie had a hard time finding ANYONE he found attractive. All the girls on campus were pretty, sure, but they seemed so young and ditzy. They didn't have any sense of depth, of struggles survived. He was sort of disturbed with himself to realize that the person he felt most attracted to was his professor, Sophie Boyle.
He knew that it wasn't considered natural, but he liked her...stability. Her intelligence. How she seemed to have so much more substance than girls because she was a woman. He wasn't terribly attracted to her physically, but the other qualities in her MADE her attractive overall to him.
He was scared to death, but he leaned in and kissed her hesitantly. To his shock, she kissed him back. It was his first kiss, and he wasn't at all sure how to feel about it - excited, scared, greedy for more, worried for himself and for her. Were they even allowed to do this? He wasn't sure.
He put it out of his mind though, and a few days later, he invited Professor Sophie out on a date. There was something about the way she was behaving that made him uneasy...he wasn't sure how he felt about her, but she seemed very keen on keeping a hold of him.
One thing led to another while they were out, aided in no small part by a bit of drink on both sides.
Vinnie was shocked when they exited the photo booth to a crowd of people cheering, and his face turned beet red. It REALLY wasn't good that they had drawn that much attention to themselves. What if he got in trouble? What if Professor Sophie did?
It didn't help matters any that an old lady who was offended came and slapped Vinnie with her pocketbook angrily, poking his chest with a bony finger and lecturing him about being "an indecent youth with no morals." He left the date feeling uneasy, biting his lip with worry as he headed home to the dorms, after a passionate goodbye kiss and some whispered words from Professor Sophie that terrified him.
The gift she left on the porch didn't ease his nerves any. This was getting way too serious. He wasn't sure at all what he had gotten himself into, but he knew he needed to get out of it. For the next few days, he avoided taking her calls and didn't contact her. He knew it was cruel, but he wasn't sure how to handle this situation.
A day later, he got inducted into the secret society, on Arnaud's recommendation. Vinnie had confided in his friend about the situation with the professor, and Arnaud had suggested Vinnie join the Landgrabb Society as both a distraction and a place to possibly meet someone else.
Arnaud, meanwhile, got a call from Aldric Davis, a friend of Marisa's. He mentioned that Marisa had commented that Arnaud was a pretty cool guy, and he suggested they get together and do something downtown. Arnaud agreed.
Unfortunately, what Arnaud didn't realize is that Aldric was more than a friend of Marisa's. He was her BOYFRIEND. When Arnaud reached over to hold Marisa's hand, Aldric rushed up and accused her angrily of cheating. Arnaud stepped back, somewhat terrified and very apologetic. "I'm sorry, I didn't realize..." he stammered, never getting out the rest of the sentence. The outing was ruined, so Arnaud slunk home quietly, unhappy that Marisa had turned him into a homewrecker without his knowledge.
Later that night, Marisa came to apologize to Arnaud, and though he was standoffish, he was no match for her feminine wiles. She told him that she and Aldric had been about to break up anyway and asked if she could stay with him, she was so upset about the events of the night. Arnaud, ever the gentleman, of course said yes.
The next day, Arnaud officially became a member of the Urele Cham house. Vinnie had heard about Kimi Tanaka before but never seen her. When he did, he couldn't get over how incredibly attractive she was. And she wasn't shallow like most girls either - she'd been through hardship just like he had.
Unfortunately, Vinnie found that he still wasn't over his attraction to older women. Now he had begun to develop a crush on ANOTHER of his professors, Professor Deirdre. She wasn't an elder, but she was still much older than Vinnie.
Distraught with what he now perceived to be something wrong with him, he decided to force himself to flirt with some college-age girls. There was a pretty girl he'd met at the Landgrabb Society, and he gave her his best charming words. Sadly for Vinnie, in his desperation, he failed to notice Professor Sophie coming to visit him since he hadn't been answering calls from her.
She was horrified and angry and slapped him roughly, tears in her eyes. Vinnie had them in his eyes too. He'd never meant to hurt her. She stormed off, and his face stung from where her hand had connected. Maybe it was better this way, he thought sadly, sniffling as he retreated to his dorm room to be alone.
Later, he emerged from his room, figuring he could at least do some schoolwork. That wouldn't involve any heartbreak, confusion, or slapped faces. To his surprise, Mariko Tanaka, from the greek house, was there, still handing out. She told him about her girlfriend Stella Terrano and discussed how lovely and attractive she was.
Vinnie had to agree she sounded great.
As Vinnie was trying to distract himself, Arnaud was busy meeting a lovely tan blonde named Kendal Tang who happened to walk by the dorm one day. She reminded him of Jessica Goldman, the pretty blonde hippie girl, but Kendal was definitely more worldly. She'd been to faraway places and wore designer clothes and spoke of places that Arnaud could hardly imagine. She was enchanting.
It wasn't long before he could no longer resist kissing her, and she was none too disappointed about smooching this charming French boy so obviously enamored of her.
Not too much later, they were happily snuggling after a passionate woohoo when Arnaud heard a banging noise and jumped out of bed.
Marisa had heard that Arnaud went into his room with a girl, and she was furious. "You jerk! You cheating jerk! How could you sleep with another girl!?" Arnaud could hardly believe what was happening, and frankly, he was terrified of Marisa - she was livid. "I-I-I-..." he was only able to get out, trying to explain that it wasn't that he didn't think she was lovely, it was just that he thought ALL women were lovely. It was probably better he couldn't say it anyway; it probably wouldn't have helped much.
But Marisa wasn't done. When she'd slapped Arnaud, she immediately went after Kendal, who was trying to sneak out unnoticed. Marisa whopped her one, and Kendal slapped her back, not one to step down. Grabbing her things and rolling her eyes in obvious disgust at Marisa's uncouth outburst, Kendal strode out the front door, making a "call me" gesture at Arnaud.
Arnaud was sick at thinking he could have hurt Marisa's feelings. He wasn't quite sure he understood - after all, she'd slept with him after sleeping with Aldic. He thought this was the definition of a double standard, but he'd never say so, and it merely confused him, not anger him. He apologized profusely to Marisa, though he thought perhaps they shouldn't sleep together again. They parted ways that night with their relationship restored but with the determination of Arnaud to let their romance slip into obscurity.
He wasn't the only one. Professor Sophie actively hated Vinnie, which broke his heart. And so, the two boys graduated their sophomore year feeling very much older, more learned, more heartbroken, and a hell of a lot more confused than they started it.
To be continued in University - Round 2 - Part 3: The Cleary-Vinci Household...