When her parents first came with her to campus at the beginning of the last term, Juno had felt a combination of dread and excitement. Excitement because she had been waiting for Uni for as long as she can remember, dread because she had never been away from her family before.
Of course, she can’t claim that she had been thrilled to share a house with her two brothers during the last year of high school – they’re constantly in her way, arguing and talking and keeping her from doing her things.
But that first day on campus she had missed them both terribly.
It had felt so large and so empty, even her small room had seemed too big for just one person to live in. And she’s never been the greatest at making lots of new friends, it’s like she’s trying too hard or something, especially with other girls. Everyone kept telling her before she went to Uni that here she’d meet people who are into the same things, people who like what she likes and whatever, but Juno wants to see that before she believes it.
So when Martha and Moe left her dorm that first time, Juno had struggled to look calm and cool and ready. She really had.
It got better once her classes started. She’s good at that, at least. Studying and writing and getting the hang of what’s important to read and what she can skip over unless she has oceans of time. Lots of students really don’t know how to handle it, but she does. She offers to study with some of them and they accept which is weird but fun. Not that teaching is her passion, but it’s pretty cool to feel like you know what you’re doing.
Turns out the dorm is a great place to meet people, too. No matter what time of the day it is, you can usually find someone who’s just back from a lecture or waiting to go to one; Juno is a psychology major, which no one else in her dorm is, but they still try to organise study groups in the evenings. Everyone brings their own textbooks, some snacks and then they just sit around, studying separately or whining about their homework.
One of the boys living in her dorm – David – is also terribly, terribly cute. And Juno wishes she was better at the whole flirting and dating thing. She’s been doing it on a very innocent level before, the most heated thing of her life had been a summer fling during the family vacation a couple of years back. And that’s just sad.
She can’t really tell David that, then he’ll run away screaming from her embarrassing self.
He does seem to enjoy hanging out with her, too, which should make her happy but it actually just makes her more nervous. Because if she messes up now that they’re almost friends, then everything will be so awkward and horrible for the rest of their time here on campus. She can’t stand that thought.
It’s weird being home for the summer, too, once she’s really settled down, but a summer moves fast and soon her parents drop her off on campus again.
This time, Juno can’t wait for them to get going already.
“You sure you have everything you need now?” Moe asks for the fifth time.
Juno nods. “Everything.”
Of course, it’s super awkward seeing David again after like three months apart. Juno almost regrets going into the common room at all, that first night. Her body feels heavy and strange and reluctant and she considers running upstairs to her room like the sad nerd she is, but then David spots her and grins and everything else sort of fades into the background.
One of the worst thing about the fall is that her Uni has some kind of sports themed month as the students arrive in hordes. It’s not mandatory, of course, but most people go there to hang out and check out the rest of the campus people, she suspects.
And she’s going because David had told her he’s going.
There are simply far too many cute girls around to leave him all alone at such an event.
She can’t claim it’s fun, but she gets to be around David for a couple of hours and he seems to have fun when they jokingly play football, which she sucks at.
He’s not a great talent either but at least he can manage to catch some of her useless attempts at scoring.
And at the end of the day, he goes to find her to ask if she wants to have company back home to the dorm, as though they’re the kind of people who go places together, a sort of unit. It feels strangely wonderful with those little details, those things that make her hope that perhaps he doesn’t think she’s just some ordinary girl in his dorm.
“I missed you over the summer,” he admits later that night as they have had dinner and watched some stupid quiz show with everyone else. He tagged along upstairs when she said goodnight and Juno walked slowly, afraid to break the magic and that sensation of waiting for something big to happen.
“I… missed you, too.” Her voice is much steadier than she would have thought it might be. “A lot.”
And then he kisses her and she can’t think of anything else.
* Juno and David are actually extremely cute. Always around each other, even before they kissed they were constantly doing things together.