Chapter 19

“Who the fuck are you?!” Julia screeched at Vince.

“Um, I’m Vince,” he said lamely. “Sasha and I were meeting to go get breakfast.”

“Vince, thank God,” Hershel cried, dashing over to his dorm mate’s side and all but cowering. “This woman has gone mad, she won’t listen to anything.”

“Why are you in a blanket?” Vince asked.

“Why do you know this guy?” Sasha asked.

“WHY WERE YOU IN MY BED?” Julia thundered. Vince was impressed, he would have never thought a girl her size would have pipes like that.

“I keep trying to tell you that. You fell asleep with me,” Hershel said with as much projection as he had. It turns out that wasn’t much, but Julia’s eruption had silenced the room pretty effectively.

“Bullshit I did,” Julia denied. “I was... with... Roy last night. You know, the tall, hard-bodied man that you definitely are not!”

“Can someone please tell me what the hell is going on?” Vince tossed out, hoping to get some sense of what was happening around him.

“I’ve been listening to them for a while,” Sasha said. “I think I understand the gist of it. If you two don’t mind, I’ll recap and we can see where the disagreement is.” Both Hershel and Julia nodded their agreement, though Hershel with gratitude and Julia with barely-suppressed rage.

“Thanks,” Sasha continued. “So, Julia met Roy last night at the karaoke part of Casino Night. They came home and got busy-”

“Get busy? That’s presumptuous,” Julia butted in.

“There was a tie on the door, I slept on the living room couch, and these walls are a lot thinner than you seem to think they are,” Sasha replied succinctly.

“Oh,” Julia said, a bit of the wind leaking out of her sails.

“Whatever, I don’t give a damn, I was just recapping,” Sasha said. “So they were at it for a few hours, kudos to Roy, by the way, then finally passed out and we all got some sleep. I wake up this morning to her throwing a hissy fit and beating the shit out of the guy in the towel. It seems she and sex-man passed out last night but she and that guy were the ones that woke up together.”

“Which I can explain,” Hershel interjected before Julia could build up to another tirade. “If Vince would please shut the door.” Vince complied and Hershel continued. “I am Roy... technically. He’s the version of me with powers.”

“I thought you were a shifter,” Vince said.

“I am. I shift into Roy. He’s the part of me with abilities. Also charm and confidence,” Hershel admitted a bit sadly.

“And looks,” Julia spat out.

“Hey, now,” Vince said. “There’s no need for that. Hershel didn’t sneak into your room and crawl into your bed. You took him home and he turned back in his sleep.”

“So he couldn’t have warned me?” Julia asked.

“Roy was a bit... preoccupied,” Hershel said, blushing freely.

“Wait, so Roy is a hot, Super version of you?” Sasha asked. “I’m just trying to get a grip on this.”

“Yes and no,” Hershel said. “Same body, with the obvious alterations, but we have entirely different personalities. Roy tends to be... easily distracted.”

“So I was a distraction? Well, why the hell isn’t Roy here explaining all of this?” Julia asked.

“Roy is rarely inclined toward dealing with the morning after,” Hershel said. Without warning, Julia whipped the shoe in a straight path for his head. Sasha knocked it away faster than Vince could see, literally, and Hershel desperately tried to cool the blonde. “It wasn’t just that! There’s a certain trigger that brings Roy out and when it wears off I go back to being me. It was an unavoidable change. I know that Roy liked you very much!”

“He did?” Julia suddenly seemed to calm exponentially. “How do you know? What did he say about me?”

“Well, we don’t talk... not really. But we have access to each other’s memories and what we were thinking or feeling at any given time,” Hershel explained.

“Oh,” Julia said. “Wait, does that mean you remember everything from last night?”

“Well... yes,” Hershel said, bracing himself for assault. This time though, it was Julia’s turn to go red.

“Ummmmm, well, this clearly seems like just a giant misunderstanding,” Julia said quickly. “Hershel, I’m sorry I threw things at you why don’t you grab your pants I’m going to be in the shower I’ll see you all later.” Without a pause or a breath Julia snatched up a towel from inside her room and bolted out of the living room, on a beeline toward the showers and away from the remaining three.

“Huh,” Sasha said. “That must have been some kinky shit.”

“I’d really like not to comment,” Hershel said as he gathered up the clothes from Sasha and Julia’s bedroom floor.

“Hershel, it doesn’t look like those really fit you,” Vince pointed out.

“They don’t,” he said. “I’ll be able to get home in them, though. Besides, we make it a rule to take care of the other’s clothing whenever possible. It’s a consideration that keeps both of our wardrobes intact.”

“So... still haven’t told me how you know each other,” Sasha pointed out.

“Remember when we saw the name Roy on the boards yesterday and I told you about my dorm mate, Hershel?” Vince asked.

“Ohhh,” Sasha said. “Well, that explains why Hershel wasn’t up there at least.”

Hershel had shut the door to the bedroom and was presumably getting dressed.

“Poor guy,” Vince said. “I can’t imagine this was how he wanted to start his career at Lander.”

“I wouldn’t feel too bad for them. I got a front audio seat for last night’s show and I have a feeling the memories of that experience were worth it,” Sasha said.

“You think your roommate is that good?” Vince asked.

“Maybe, but I also know something you don’t,” Sasha said.

“Do tell.”

“I know that Julia’s power is to make duplicates of herself,” Sasha said.

“Like, illusions or dummies?” Vince asked.

“Like real live, walking, talking, capable of independent action duplicates,” Sasha elaborated.

“Well... imagine that,” Vince said.

“No need,” Hershel replied as he stepped out of the bedroom. It was an awkward ensemble that adorned his body since Roy was clearly taller and leaner, but nothing was bursting so it seemed Hershel was right and he would be able to get back to Melbrook. “I’m afraid I’ll have to apologize, but knowing she has that ability means I’m almost positive Roy will be calling on her again.”

“Just spare me the morning fiasco next time,” Sasha said. “And if possible keep Silver here awake instead of me. Melbrook is probably just as nice a place to get it on.”

“I’ll keep that in mind, but sadly I can make no promises,” Hershel said. “I’ll see you at Melbrook, Vince. Sasha, thank you for your understanding.”

“No worries,” Sasha said with a wave. “I sort of expected this. It is college, after all.”

With a nod Hershel stepped out the door, keeping his eyes peeled for fear of running into Julia, leaving Vince and Sasha alone in the living room area.

“So,” Sasha said after a moment, “you wishing you had talked to the girl that’s a walking orgy instead of the chick with the colored hair?”

“Nah,” Vince replied. “I’ve got a thing for girls in grey workout shorts, so you’re still narrowly in the lead.”

Sasha laughed then looked at what she was wearing. For the first time all morning she became all too aware of just how well her shorts lived up to their name, and the fact that her tight pink shirt wasn’t being hampered by the presence of a bra. The thought riding on the coattails of the previous two was the realization that Vince must be just as aware of these things.

“Ready for food in five!” Sasha yelped as she moved past Vince in a blur and slammed the door to her bedroom behind her. Vince wished he could have seen her mad dash for cover, but that was the sacrifice you made when you hit on a girl with super speed.