“Realize that everything connects to everything else.”Leonardo Da Vinci
San Myshuno Reed / Swanson Roommates Apartment
Everett rushed into Cordelia’s room after her, slamming shut the door behind himself, just like she had done seconds before him, right after getting up off the couch they had been sitting on, bickering, making her roommate Ashleigh visibly uncomfortable to the point that she disappeared to her room, rather than watch the rented movie.
“Mind telling me what your shitty mood and bitch-behavior is all about?! I thought we’re having a nice evening in, just us, instead not only is your roommate here practically in our laps, but you are in some kinda mood, and it ain’t no romantic one, no matter what I do or say, you snap at me.” Everett complained.
“Figures! That’s all you ever think about. Romantic, my foot. Just call it what it is, biding your time till we can go in here and do what you REALLY want.”
“What is that? Wanting to spend quality time with my girlfriend without an audience of quasi-exes? You know she and I have a history. And honestly, of all the roommates in the world, you just HAD TO move in with Ashleigh Swanson?! It’s almost like you purposely tried to make it super-awkward!”
“First of all, Ashleigh came to me with the idea, because she was ready to move out at home and neither one of us could afford a place like this on their own, the one bedroom ones were all overpriced crap. Personally, I had a very different roommate in mind, but without naming names, HE is still way too self-absorbed to even think about that.”
“Are you talking about me?”
“Ding ding ding!”
“Since when did we want to move in together? News to me! That never even came up, not once!”
“Of course not! Unless I bring it up, nothing ever gets discussed, unless it’s sexual or about your music. Those seem to be the only things on your mind! Anything beyond that you need pre-chewed and fed to you, bite by bite, after I suggest and beg until my lips fall off.”
“That is not true! And so what if I have a healthy sex drive? I am a young man in college, it would be shocking if that were NOT the case. At least now I am 100% exclusive, so what’s the big deal? Not like I ever had to ask you twice! And you have never known me NOT to be all about my music. Besides, who moves in with each other at 21?”
“First of all, I am older than you, and evidently now at an age you start planning and secondly: many couples do that, if they are serious about each other! Even your very … uh … let’s call it ‘delayed in everything’ nerd of a brother already moved in with his girlfriend! Not something I ever thought we’d see, let alone that he’d beat us to the punch. Yet you and I are no further than a year ago, or two, or three. No further than we were as teens.”
“Yeah, Declan did move in with Rory, after she asked him to! And Rory didn’t pull an Ashleigh out of her ass to move in with when Declan dragged his feet, because – let’s not forget this – he did blow her off for days! No, she made very clear to him what she wanted, not stew in it, expecting him to read her mind!” Everett countered.
“What is it with you and Ashleigh? We all went to school together. So you and her had a thing with each other when we all were teens … honestly, Rett, I rose above that kind of stuff long ago. If I were to keep away from any girl you ever had some sort of fling with, I’d be hard pressed to have even a single female friend, let alone a roommate!”
“Hey, come on now, I wasn’t THAT bad …”
“Except you were that bad. You were that bad even when we were already together! I just forgave you a lot!”
“Fine, I was a male whore and an asshole of a boyfriend. Happy? At least I am not now. I have shown my commitment. So, are we going to do this all night then? You know I only have tonight with you, tomorrow I am on the plane to Del Sol Valley for a two-week PR thing I told you about.” Everett pouted.
“Do this all night? Excuse me?! Sorry to ruin your night with wanting to talk about us rather than just mindlessly screw until we fall asleep, you immature egoist! I am so tired of this relationship spinning its tires, with hardly anything coming from your end unless I beg for it, pretty lop-sided wouldn’t you say?”
“Firstly, that is not true at all! And secondly, my God, fine, so I’ll get my shit after I get back from Del Sol Valley and move in here, so we can play our own little rendition of ‘Three’s Company’! You, me and Ashleigh living it up in this bitch! Whee!” Everett told her with an eye roll.
“You are just not getting it, are you? Or do you not WANT to get it?! Keeping your options open or something?”
“My options? What options? What the hell are you even talking about, because I am completely at a loss here, Cordelia. I am preparing for my finals, you just went through that yourself a little over a year ago, so I don’t have to tell you it’s rough. Whatever little time I have between trying to make sure I am going to graduate and getting my career going I have dedicated to you, barely see my own family at all anymore, not to mention my friends! And what for? So you can nag me about not piling my shit into your room here, when you know full well that most of the time I am on campus in Britchester anyway?! But sure, rather than saving my money, I’ll pay part of your rent to make your landlord richer if that makes you happy!”
“If it makes me happy?! What?! Are you really that ignorant or purposely playing dumb to anger me?! I am not talking about right now. I am talking about that I wanted to talk to you about moving into a house together, after you graduated, but every time I tried you just talked over me about something totally irrelevant. You are making decent money with your music, I have a good career now and some savings, we can totally get a little starter home, maybe in the suburbs, Willow Creek or Newcrest or so.”
“Starter home in the suburbs? Cordelia, I am trying to make something of myself. A career in music. You have known that was my dream ever since Grade School and I have been working hard for it with my grandpa’s help since I was barely 14. If I move anywhere anytime soon, it will be Del Sol Valley, obviously! And I am not sure that I am gonna be ready for your little white picket fence nightmare for a long time – if ever! That’s just not me.”
“White picket fence nightmare?! Excuse me?! Having a real future with me is a nightmare?! I have plans too, not everything is always about you. I want to plan a real future, not chase rainbows in Del Sol Valley, but build a family and a home in the suburbs. Marriage, baby, all that. That takes time to prepare for. I am almost 23 now. I thought I was going to have a ring on my finger by 24, 25 tops and a nursery in planning by then.”
“A baby? Marriage? What the fuck?! Where is all that fresh hell coming from all of a sudden!? I just turned 21, barely old enough to legally drink, just became a senior in college, I cannot even properly describe how much none of that is on my radar yet, I am not even sure it ever will be! And way to kill the romance completely for the night with this bullshit now!”
“Maybe you should go, Rett.”
“Don’t have to tell me twice!”
Everett ran out of her room, completely confused about how a romantic evening and him staying overnight turned into a big fight.
Running through the apartment without really looking he almost crashed into Ashleigh in the hallway.
Just over a week later
After completing the PR tour in Del Sol Valley ahead of schedule, while trying to keep up with learning remotely, leaving him tired and exhausted, Rett fell into bed and slept for 13 hours straight when he was finally back at his parents’ house for the weekend. He had tried his best to get done earlier so he could get back home sooner to iron out the discord with Cordelia. He had texted her a few times, but barely got one syllable replies, signaling she was still very upset. He knew this was best patched up in person, a phone call just won’t do.
Once he felt rested, he got dressed up and went to surprise Cordelia. It was Saturday morning, she had weekends off, so he would make it all up to her, take her out to lunch, and just spend the day with her doing whatever it was she would want to do.
He was disappointed when her roommate answered the door, taken aback when he saw her freeze up, while looking at him as if he had grown a second head.
“Everett … oh! I thought you wouldn’t be back for another week or so. What a surprise … ahem, well… come in … ” Ashleigh mumbled, fidgeting, staring at him.
They had known each other since they were 7 or 8, neighbor kids and classmates growing up, even quite intimately for a short while as teens, so he knew her behavior was more than odd.
“Yeah, I went into overdrive to get back sooner. Is she not up yet? At 10 AM? No worries, I’ll wake the sleepyhead myself.” he winked at Ashleigh, smiling, which she didn’t return, instead she looked worried.
“Uh wait, Rett, let me … uh … talk to her first. Just have a seat here at the bar, okay? Just brewed some fresh coffee. Want some? I’ll get you a cup!” Ashleigh stuttered and something about her behavior made Everett suspicious. Something was up here, and he had a sneaky suspicion what that could be.
Instead of sitting down, he started walking across the kitchen, Ashleigh stepped in his way, pleading with him to just have a seat, but now he pushed past her and ran straight to Cordelia’s room, bursting in to find exactly what he had feared.
Cordelia, startled and surprised, in nothing but her underwear talking to another man in only his boxers … in her bedroom, both staring at him now and Everett felt like a horse kicked him. The scene was unmistakable.
“No. NO!” he mumbled, his voice tipping over.
The young man with Cordelia in the very unmistakable situation was none other than Julian DiLaurentis, one of Everett’s oldest friends.
His first impulse was to beat the crap out of him, but he felt frozen in place, completely incapable of moving or talking, his head pounding as if about to explode, once he could move again, he just turned and left.
That very moment would loop through Everett’s mind for a long time. Julian had been Brittney Bjergsen’s boyfriend in high school, she had dumped him to be with Rett after Cordelia had dumped Everett when he couldn’t be faithful to her when he was just 15 or 16.
Rett knew he hadn’t been a good friend to Julian, and a shitty boyfriend to Cordelia back then, and now it seemed like both were getting their late payback, even though that seemed to be more situational fallout and not at all planned or intentional.
Regardless, Everett ran out of the apartment and back to Windenburg to reflect on his life. He knew he and Cordelia were over. It hurt to get a taste of his own medicine when he least expected it.