Sunday, February 12, 2006

Excerpt from COVENANT by Rashid Darden

I woke up in bed next to a glassy-eyed stranger, not knowing who he was, but feeling oddly at ease with him.

“What the fuck?” I said softly. My eyes adjusted to the harsh rays of sunlight piercing my blinds until I was able to focus on the furry stranger in my bed. His eyes, genuinely made of glass, stared back at me, smiling – elated that he had been placed in my care.

“A damn teddy bear,” I grumbled, grinning on the inside. He wore a “Somebody at Potomac University Loves Me” shirt over his light brown fur. He wasn’t a large bear by any means, but large enough to be noticeable to the visitors of my room.

He did it again.

The last thing I remembered from the night before was talking to him, he who had stopped by unexpectedly just to say hello. I was already in bed when he came by. Heavy rapping at the door made me believe that one of my roommates had forgotten their key.

I swung the door open, surprised to see him standing there.

“Adrian,” he said, sizing me up in a deliberate floor-to-ceiling gesture with his head.

“Hey,” I said, feeling naked in my white sleeveless t-shirt, which clung tightly to my slender torso while my blue basketball shorts slung low on my hips, revealing the white FTL band of my boxer briefs.

“Can I come in?” he asked, peering around the door and trying to take a glance at my living room.

“Um,” I said, uncertain whether he was intent on breaking the pact before the school year had even begun.

“Dude, just for a minute,” he said. “You know I’m not going to go back on my promise. I just…I just had to see you before we…we…”

“Okay,” I interrupted. “You can stay for a while.”

I tried to hide my smile from him, so I quickly walked toward the kitchenette. “You want something to drink?”

“Naw,” he said, closing the door behind him. He sat down on the old brown couch and let his old, tattered gym bag fall to the floor at his feet while I got myself a glass of water. I sat in the gray cushioned chair across from him and slowly sipped my drink.

“You seem uncomfortable,” he said.

“Naw…just nervous, I guess.”

“Nervous?” he said, leaning forward on the couch, as close to me as he could without sliding off.

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