Tom awoke, rather groggy, but glad that the room was still dim. He looked over at his alarm. 7.14. Ashley was still in bed, facing the opposite wall; thankfully not snoring, something Tom had feared for several weeks. He slowly dragged himself from under the covers, careful not to wake Ashley; and headed for the bathroom, grabbing some clothes on the way. Closing and locking the door behind him, Tom looked around; mouth agape. The entire other half of the bathroom was just an open shower, the full bathroom almost the same size as their bedroom.
"Cool." He headed over to the shower, careful to aim the nozzle at the wall so he wasn't showered by the initial icy blast, then proceeded to undress.
There was a light knock on the door, "Yeah?"
"Oh, hey. Are you busy?"
"Well yeah, I'm about to have a shower."
"Ah, Ok. I'm gonna head off and grab some breakfast, I don't know when I'll be back."
Tom shut off the shower, "Why don't I quickly have a shower? Then we can both head out together."
There was a moment of silence, "Uh.. Yeah, sure. I'll just get a head start on unpacking while you're in there."
"Alright," Tom switched the shower back on, waited a moment, then ducked under the warm spray, "We can go exploring after breakfast, we'll do the rest of your stuff when we return." He called out from under the water.
Tom simply let the water run down him a few moments, despite everything, he hadn't really thought through what it would be like at University. It was all a little overwhelming, being so close to the real world, and the life of adulthood. Before any negative thoughts wriggled their way to the forefront of his mind, Tom quickly busied himself with getting washed. Though felt ridiculous when he realised his wash-bag was still in his pack, along with its contents.
"Ashley?!" There was a short pause before a reply came.
"This is really stupid, but... I've left my wash-bag in my pack, could you grab it please?"
"Uh... yeah sure, one sec." It was a few moments before Ashley knocked on the bathroom door, "Got it, sorry; I was just finishing off a bag."
"That's fine," Tom unlocked the door, and cracked it open slightly, reaching his arm out. "Thanks, I feel like such an idiot." Tom closed the door quickly, grabbing out a bottle of shampoo from the bag.
"No problem, good thing I didn't leave; else we'd have a soaked floor already." Ashley chuckled nervously.
"Yeah, anyway thanks." He left the bag by the sink, and jumped back under the water.
Tom came back in the room just having finished drying his hair, though with trousers already on, and shirt in one hand. Ashley was leaning over, packing some folded clothes into a drawer. Tom thanked his stars he'd found a roommate that knew how to keep tidy, things were getting better. Tom pulled his top over his head, hanging his towel over the curtain rail to dry. The noise caused Ashley to turn, "Oh, hey. Ready to go?"
"Just need to chuck some shoes on, then I will. You?"
"Yeah." Tom noticed that Ashley had almost finished packing his first bag, which was strange.
"You want me to just help you finish that one."
Ashley went a little still, "Uh.. n-no. It's okay, I'll do it, you just finish getting ready."
"You alright?" Tom was a little concerned, but he just assumed Ashley was a unused to be staying with a stranger, it was different to anything they'd done before.
"Yeah, 'course I'm alright. I'm just, sort of getting used to all this, y'know?"
"It is kinda new. I like it though, being around people you don't know; sort of inspires curiosity."
"I want to get to know all the new things I'm around, starting with you." Tom finished tying his last lace, and Ashley was now just leaning against the doorframe, slightly more relaxed than just now. "Let's go, I'm pretty hungry."
Though still early morning, the Café was bustling; people hurrying in and out rushing for work. "All this makes me glad we've had such a long holiday. Imagine working non-stop almost all the time, I hated school as a kid; now I just wish I could go back."
"Yeah, it's all pretty scary."
A young waitress brought their drinks over, her eyes resting on both of them for a few moments, "If there's anything else, just call." She smiled widely and walked away.
"Thanks," Tom called after, "She was nice; it's so rare you find someone that makes the effort to smile for customers."
"I don't think that required any effort on her part," they both chuckled slightly, "anyway, you said you wanted to get to know me. Ask away."
"Well, as you can imagine; my first question is - Where're you from?"
"Oh god," Ashley smiled a little, looking at the ground," Devon."
"Devon?! Land of the farmers, not what I expected."
"Hey!" Ashley chuckled a bit, "Granted, Devon has a lot of farmers there, but eighty percent of the people are just regular Joes. Though actually, where I live, there are three different farms surrounding me; but that doesn't matter."
"Sorry, I just... you're really well spoken for a country bumpkin."
"Watch it buddy, treading on thin ice here," Ashley laughed a little, "Yeah well, my grandmother was really well spoken, so I guess I got it from her. I spent most of my life around her." He swirled his straw a little, taking a sip from his drink," Funny thing actually, my grandparents were farmers. My grandfather, however, was terrible with money; and they ended up having to sell the place. We still own the cottage next door, though the farm has now been converted into houses."
"Oh cool, well as I'm sure you've guessed, I'm from -"
"- Wales. Yeah I guessed. Did you get the train in?"
Tom just smiled, "Nope. We left at 8 yesterday morning and drove all the way," he shook his head a little, smiling, "Surprisingly, it was still a fun journey; my mum's a complete comedian." Ashley laughed a little too, once again taking a small sip. "What about you? Did your come down with your parents?"
"No, just my Dad. My parents split when I was young, and I live with him; so he drove me up, though as you know that was not fun."
"Oh, sorry. That must be tough."
"Oh no, it's fine. I mean, I still stay at hers for the weekend every fortnight, and stay there during some holidays. I see her all the time, so it's not that bad."
"Ah, Ok." It was Tom's turn to sip awkwardly from his drink." Alright, next topic of conversation. What're you studying?"
"Anglo-Saxon, Norse and Celtic History." Ashley chuckled a little, "People never fail to say how fun it sounds."
"As long as you enjoy it. What's your favourite aspect?" Tom inquired, hoping to learn a little more about Ashley.
"Roman-Britain, precisely Boudicca."
"Oh, well. I've no idea what Boudicca is, what is it you like about it?"
"Her. Boudicca was a woman. Long-story short, she led a revolt against the Roman-Empire, and ended up being brutally slaughtered. It was the reason she fought, and how successful she was until the end that I really like. Anyway, stop side-tracking me, this stuff isn't interesting. What are you studying?"
"Well, come Monday; I'll be studying for a Masters in Theoretical Physics, and if all goes well; I'll be gunning for a PhD in Particle Physics after that."
"Wow, good luck with that. Strange that we are in the same dorm room, our topics are far from similar."
"Yeah, I guess they were pretty cramped for space this year."
The waitress returned, their breakfast in tow on a small trolley, "Here you go," she placed their plates on the table, "Anything else I can get you?"
"Um, not for me thanks."
"Me neither, thanks anyway."
"My pleasure, again, just call if you need anything." She left once again, leaving the two to eat.
Tom wiped his mouth with a serviette, "Wow, I might just come here for the next few years."
"Ha, yeah. That was surprisingly good. Well, shall we?"
"Yeah," Tom ushered over the waitress, "Could we have the bill please?" She headed off, as Tom began to pull his wallet out.
Ashley went to do the same, "Hey, don't worry. I've got this one."
"What? No, we've only just met. I can't let you do that."
"First impressions." Tom smiled, and Ashley put his wallet away.
"Thanks, but I'm buying next time."
The waitress returned, carrying a small device in her hand, "Paying by cash or by card?"
"Okay, that will be.. £13.10." Tom handed her a ten and a five.
"Keep the change." Her smile widened.
"Thank you very much, have a nice day."
"You too." Both boys chimed.
They both wandered out of the Café, automatically heading towards Campus. "I vote we explore Campus before anywhere else, at least then if we get lost; we'll be able to tell whether we're actually on Campus or not."
Ashley chuckled, and nodded his head in agreement, "Fingers crossed they have a pool."
"Yeah, quite often; I did all sorts, kind of an all rounder."
"Cool, I swim all the time. One of my favourite pastimes. So yeah, fingers crossed they have a pool."
Thanks guys, I'm sorry for any typos; and I the previously uber short stories. Part 4 will be coming probably at the same time as this or soon after, I think I'll just write a bunch of these, and then upload them together.