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Roommate from Hell

Julie Steimle

Roommate from Hell

Hallowedspell Vimp Novel: Book 9


For those who find monsters under the bed and chat with them.


BookRix GmbH & Co. KG
80331 Munich

Chapter One

                

 

 "Is that all your things?”

I looked back at my father and smiled, turning from the window I had been gazing out of. On the third floor, the view of the campus from my dorm room was amazing. I could almost see the ocean from there. It was tempting to fly off and go surfing right away.

“Yeah, I think that is all,” I said walking over to my mother who reached out for a hug.

She enveloped me in her arms and kissed my forehead. “Are you sure you don’t want to room with your sister. You two might get lonely.”

I rolled my eyes as I pulled back a little. “Mom, Dawn and I have never shared a room before. I don’t think she wants to start now.”

My mother merely smiled at me and then turned toward my father. “We had better make sure Dawn is settled in also.”

“Yeah, you’d better go,” I said, winking at Travis, my older brother who would go back to UCLA as soon as Dawn and I were done settling into our first college dorm. “Or Dawn will think that you’re favoring me again.”

I could see the slight worry on my mother’s face as she nodded, though my father just shook his head at me for being silly. Since the day Dawn was born and I was adopted into the family there had always been some sort of jealousy and tension between her and me, though not so much in the later years. I think it had a great deal to do with me being cursed and all. Of course the last few years have been quite nice, but now we were going out into the world for real for the first time and I was nervous.

“Oh! Are you our third roommate?”

I looked to the doorway where I saw two brown-haired college girls standing. One of them wore sporty sweatpants and a white tee shirt, very little makeup except for lip-gloss and some slight mascara, and the other was dressed in a trendy blue halter-top with an open shirt over it. My brother was ogling her navel ring as well as her low cut pants and the tattoo of a butterfly that was exposed just barely above her belt line.

The trendy girl walked up to me grinning with a tilt of her slightly pulled back head of hair. “I’m Margaret Haine, but I require that you call me Star.”

“Require?” I blinked at her, murmuring to myself as I watched her walk over to the bunk bed. “Don’t you mean—?”

Star lifted her eyebrows at me as she passed me and tossed a small plastic shopping bag onto the top bunk. There, of course, I realized the star covered bedspread and pillowcase along with the glow-in-the-dark stars on the ceiling all belonged to her.

The sporty one walked in also, nodding to my parents as they tried to slip past to go up to the sixth floor to help Dawn settle in, though Travis was still checking my roommates out with a smirk on his face.

“I’m Lisa.” She stuck out her hand. I shrugged and took it, examining her healthy face and sun-streaked caramel colored hair. “Star and I were here for the summer term to get a head start. But don’t be uneasy. We’re both pretty relaxed.”

I glanced to my mother who smiled at me from the doorway with a wave.

“We had better get going and see Dawn,” she said.

My dad nodded to me also. “Meet in the quad at the statue for lunch after you’ve settled in?”

I nodded back. “Ok.”

Travis waved also as he walked out. Lisa watched them and then closed the door. Standing with her back to it, she gave Star a look and then exhaled with a grin. “They’re gone.”

I blinked at the pair of them, wondering what that meant, but Lisa strolled back to the lone bed on the other side of the room.

“Thank Heaven,” Star said with a roll of her eyes. She climbed to her upper bunk.

Of course that left me the lower one, which I had thought was odd when I found it vacant. With a shrug and a wonder what kind of girls these two were really, I started to heave up my suitcases onto the bed to unpack.

“You can have the far closet.” Lisa pointed to the open one. I had already planned to use that one anyway since the other two obviously looked occupied.

“What’s with your folks anyway?” Star suddenly said, hanging upside down from her bed. “Don’t you find them smothering?”

Blinking, I looked up at her. “Smothering?”

Star nodded. “Yeah, all that mushy ‘Have a nice day, dear’.”

Lisa snickered.

I gave them both looks of slight confusion as I opened my suitcase. Of course I had always realized that my parents were unusually protective and affectionate, but the way these girls snickered I felt like they thought I had been living in a childish bubble.

“Who else are they checking out? Do you have a twin sister?” Star asked. She practically hung from her waist upsidedown off the bed, staring at me with that smirk as the blood rushed into her face.

A twin. I set my hand to my forehead and started to laugh, shaking my head slowly. “No. Dawn, my sister, is not my twin. I’m older than her by two weeks. I’m adopted. But if you want to know, I have a physical condition that makes my parents overprotective.”

Both Star and Lisa blinked at me.

Star immediately flipped off her bed and landing in front of me to peer at my face. “What kind of condition?”

Lisa examined me too, mostly taking in how pale I was with a slight nod accompanying a guess to what my condition was.

Taking a step back, I lifted up my hands. “Do you really want to know? It kinda freaks people out.”

“Cool!” Star’s eyes grew wider with excitement. She hopped forward.

“We’re roomies,” Lisa added with a nod to Star. “Just tell us.”

Giving a shrug, I sighed. “Ok.”

They would find out sooner or later that I wasn’t normal. And my philosophy was that sooner was always better because at least I could control how they found out I was the ultimate of weird.

Reaching into my open suitcase, I pulled out my huge pump bottle of SPF 90 sun block. I held it out to them. “I have a rare form of albinism. I don’t tan. I burn. So I have to put this on three times a day.”

Star shared an immediate disappointed look with Lisa who pretended to be concerned. I could tell they both thought I was being anxious over nothing. That was a good sign, so I decided to take it a step further.

“And…” I reached into my duffle bag and pulled out my sunglasses as well as my contacts container with eye drops. “I have a strange eye color that makes people nervous. My eyes really aren’t brown. I used to just wear sunglasses to keep people from being nervous, but it didn’t work all that well so now I wear color contacts.”

They both leaned in, watching me take out one of my contacts. I peeked up at them and smiled with a closed mouth. This time they drew in breaths.

I nodded. “I also have odd allergies because of this condition.”

“How is it your eye is orange?” Star reached out as if to touch my eye, ignoring what I said about allergies. Instead she looked at the brown color contact that I had taken out. “I thought albinos had pink eyes.”

Shrugging with a look to the ceiling I opened the contact case then took up the lens cleaner to wash my contact. “I told you, what I’ve got is rare.”

They watched me as I silently put the lens back into my eye, blinking it until it felt comfortable. It was strange having an audience, considering that throughout my childhood nearly all of my classmates stayed as far from me as they could. Both of my roommates’ gazes were that of real curiosity.

“I thought albinos had white hair,” Lisa murmured. “Do you wear a—”

Star slapped Lisa on the shoulder. “Don’t ask her that! That’s embarrassing.”

I chuckled and took a hold of my long black hair, tugging on it. “No. My hair is not a wig. I told you, I have a rare form of albinism. I get it from my father.”

They both looked to the door.

“No.” I laughed again. “My birth father.”

Both Lisa and Star nodded.

“I see.” Star smirked at me. “And those two things are why your parents are so overprotective.”

I stepped back to unload my things again, delving into the bags. “They’re not overprotective. Not really…. Well, the kids at home used to call me ‘monster’ and nastier names, but…no, they allow me a lot of freedom.”

Both girls smirked, sharing another look.

I returned the look with a shake of my head. “No, they really do. It’s just I’ve had it rough for a while. They just don’t want that sort of thing to happen to me again.”

Star still cast me another incredulous look, walking back to her bunk to climb up. “Whatever. Your mom is Molly Homemaker and your dad is a doting papa. I’ve never seen such clean-cut out-a-fifties-sitcom kind of people in real life before. Where did you move from? Utah?”

Gazing at her dryly I started to unpack again. “No. Northern California. I grew up in the same town my whole life.”

“Small town?” Star’s smirk returned.

I lifted out my jeans then walked over to the dresser in the closet, pulling out a drawer. “Not that small.”

“More than one stoplight?” Star asked, masking a snicker.

Turning around, I cast her an irritated look. “Plenty more.”

“More than one high school?” Star’s grin widened.

Shaking my head, I went back to my bag, taking out the rest of my pants. Star watched me, her grin remaining the same. I did not answer her. In comparison to her, I guess I was a small town girl.

“Is your dad a farmer?” Star asked.

I whipped around. “He’s a dentist.”

Lisa stood up, standing between Star and me. “Ok. That’s enough. Quit teasing her. It is obvious she has never been out of her town before. We can open her horizons.”

Star gave Lisa a small, disappointed grunt but then said, “Ok.”

“We never asked what your name was,” Lisa turned around to face me. “Let’s start again. I’m Lisa Lowell. I grew up in Riverside. Star grew up in L.A.”

“Van Nuys,” Star corrected, lifting a finger of warning. She pulled a paperback book out from under her pillow and opened it, starting to read as if I had suddenly gotten boring.

“What’s your name? Where are you from, roomie?” Lisa smiled at me with that genuine grin. I knew it was genuine because my condition had a lot more details than I had told them. You see, I could hear the shouting voices of the tiny little devils that tempted people into doing naughty things. I could also see them. In fact, I had not told my new roommates even the half of the things that plagued me. They wouldn’t understand. After all, I wasn’t human.

I stuck out my hand to shake hers. “Eve McAllister. Cliffcoast.”

 

 *

Dawn’s room was in the same building, but on the sixth floor. From what I heard, she was rooming with a sophomore in a room just a tad smaller than mine, with only the two beds. My oldest brother, Will, was helping her carry her things to her room when my folks were helping me. When I had unpacked all my belongings, including finding a place for my surfboard to fit (it had been in the hall [something that made both Star and Lisa stare at me funny when they realized that I surfed]) I hopped out into the hall and started for Dawn’s room to see if I could help her out.

The hallways of our dorms were busier than I ever thought they’d be, and going through them was like traversing a psychotic gauntlet. The girls going around in the halls were without a doubt the strangest collection of people, and that is saying something considering the kinds of people I had met in my short life already. Acid rock blaring from one room, next to one twanging country, across a room booming with R&B—it was an insane cacophony; not to mention the shrieking and shouting of their imps combined with that. It made the world a lot more crowded for me than for others. Noisier too. I started to wonder if sleeping at night in the dorms was going to be a problem.

You see, listening to Lisa’s and Star’s imps alone was disturbing. For starters, Lisa was a bit of an exercise maniac. Her imps kept telling her she was too fat and she ought to take laxatives to help her lose the half-pound she had gained at lunch, if that was even possible. As for Star, she had even more serious issues. All her smirks and smiles were hiding how broken she was inside. She was a self-mutilator dealing with depression. I could tell. I had heard those kinds of imps before while I was in high school. Melissa Pickles was a self-mutilator after her parents’ divorce. In our senior year, my best friend Jane and I had to stop her from committing suicide, all because I could hear her imps and I could see she was listening to them. Star was only slightly different in that she was still fighting it.

Passing floor after floor, I could hear all kinds of noises and shouts, the surreal echoes of pain in the hearts of people around me. When I had first started hearing the imps when I was fourteen, it nearly drove me crazy. It took a while to get used to them, taken haven in the home where only milder impish suggestions were shouted.

Star was right on that account. I had been sheltered. The imps outside my home had always been more extreme. Imps only suggested temptations that were plausible to the owner. Good people had imps that did not shout things they would never conceive of doing. Here at college, the vast number of temptations the imps suggested these girls to do were grotesquely obscene.

Panting, I reached the top floor, setting my hand to my head to kick their voices out.

“Eve!” Will jogged over to me. “Did you wear yourself out coming up here?”

I lifted my eyes to my oldest brother and smiled. “No. Not exactly. I came to help Dawn.”

He cast me a mild smirk, helping me straighten up. “She’s nearly unpacked. By the way, Dad tells me one of your roommates is a character.”

Meeting his eyes, I smirked, glancing back to the stairs. “I can handle them.”

With a small laugh, he nodded.

We went to Dawn’s room, which was at the end of the hall at the corner, and stopped at the open doorway. Dangling from a peg on the front of the door over the numbers sixty-six was a rope of garlic.

I smacked my hand to my nose and pointed at it, backing away. “Is this some sort of joke?”

“That’s what we thought,” my father said. He looked over to Dawn, my gorgeously blond sister who always counterbalanced her cherubic look with pink and black Goth clothes. She rolled her eyes as she was already unpacking her suitcase. She then walked over to the doorway and pushed it further open.

“I’d remove it, but I already heard that my roommate would sooner cut off my hands than let me touch her things.” Dawn rolled her eyes again, beckoning me in. “Believe me, I tried.”

I walked inside the room. There the air was clearer, the aroma of garlic not so strong. “So you met your roommate already?”

Dawn cast me a tired look through her thick black mascara covered lashes. “Not yet, but she has a reputation.”

“As a witch?” I asked, glancing back at the garlic rope.

Dawn snorted, glancing at my parents who did look concerned. “No, but practically. She’s a Medieval Lit major. I hear she takes occult things seriously.”

I looked around at the room. There were no telltale signs that the girl was a practitioner of witchcraft. In fact, there were statues of catholic saints on one shelf and a large gold leaf-trimmed cross on another wall over a neatly made bed, with a broad mirror that matched it with dangling prayer beads and thick copies of the Bible set among the other aged volumes of text on the study desk. It seemed more like she was studying to become a nun or an exorcist.

“Seriously, how?” I looked back to Dawn who had now unpacked and unfolded her fluffy pink comforter, spreading it over the sheets our mom had just put onto the bed.

Dawn lifted her eyes to mine with a teasing smirk. “I don’t know exactly, but I hear she can detect evil spirits.”

I cringed. “Ooh. I guess that means I should stay away from her, then.”

Dawn let her shoulders sag with a dry look.

“Well, honestly…” I threw up my hands. “If she really can detect evil spirits, and she’s living on the sixth floor in room sixty-six—”

“The dorm mother did that to her as a prank. Why do you have to take things so literally? You’re so gullible,” Dawn said, rolling her eyes. “She’s just an intense Bible basher that the dorm mother doesn’t like very much. That’s all. Everyone else is yanking my chain. Right now my roommate is contending the room change, or at least that’s what everyone says. They all moved her stuff without her knowing.”

Oh, that kind of girl. Perhaps the garlic was also part of the prank.

“I see.” I turned from the garlicky doorway to walk to the window to get a peek at the view. “But why did you choose a place so high up? Especially a room on the sixth floor with the number—”

“Because,” Dawn said as she set her hand over my mouth, meeting my eyes. “I wanted to have a room far away from you that you won’t be passing every single frigging day. I need my space. I don’t care about the number.”

She took her hand off.

“I don’t want to be forever known as freaky Eve McAllister’s sister, you know.” Dawn returned to unpacking, taking out the patchwork quilt next, leaving that folded at the end of the bed. Next to her roommate’s stuff, it was just so pink.

“Dawn!” Our mom set her hands on her hips, staring aghast at her. “Take that back! That is completely uncalled for!”

I walked from the window, going between them. Setting a hand on my mother’s shoulder as I passed, I shook my head. “Mom, don’t bother. I already knew this was how she felt. I don’t want a room near her either.”

Dawn blinked at me this time, halting in what she was doing. “What?”

I cast her a look, then stuck out my tongue at her. “You think it is hard being Eve McAllister’s sister? Well, it is pretty hard being Dawn McAllister’s sister too. See if I’m gonna save you from a kidnapping Irishman again.”

Dawn rolled her eyes with a shake of her head as she went back to her unpacking. She knew I didn’t mean it. It was why I was being so silly. She didn’t really mean it either. It was just that she got so petulant sometimes. I understood how it had to be hard being known as the sister to the freaky monster.

Will and Travis exchanged looks and then glanced to our father who shook his head with a smirk. Only our mother remained flustered by our exchange, but then that was how she always was.

Dad went to her side to calm her down, whispering that we were only teasing one another. He then urged the rest of them to go downstairs beckoning us to hurry after them as soon as I could. I remained with Dawn, closing the door—mostly to keep the garlic smell out.

“Are you really fine with this?” I asked, glancing around the room.

She made a face as she looked up at me. “I can handle one kook.”

I shook my head. “No. I mean, us going to the same college. Living in the same dorm building.”

Dawn halted then turned, giving me the eye. “You could have gone to Stanford, you know.”

Rolling my eyes, I nodded. “I know.”

“You could have been with Jane,” Dawn said, blinking at me. “And Will.”

I nodded again. “I know. But….”

She met my gaze and sighed. “But what?”

I took a step closer to her. “But I didn’t want to be in the middle of their romantic mush—and you would have gotten lonely.”

At first she just stared at me. Then, walking over to me, Dawn reached out with a hug. “Why are you like this, Eve? Why are you so nice to me? I’ve always been so mean to you.”

I stood bashfully as she tried to meet my eyes again when we broke apart.

“You know, you shouldn’t always be so self-sacrificing,” she said.

I rolled my eyes. “I am not always self-sacrificing. I’ve caused my fair share of trouble for selfish reasons.”

Biting her lip, Dawn grinned at me, then nudged me like we did when we were kids. I nudged her back. She then shoved me with a laugh. I shoved her back, giggling. Immediately we got into a shoving match, which accumulated into one of those unpacking gleeful fights where we ended up tossing her clothes at each other. Some of it made it into her drawer though most of it ended up on the floor.

But then the door opened and standing in it was not what I would have described as a Bible-belt chick, but a trendy redhead ...

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