Chapter Six: Formal Recruitment Day Two, or Exactly How Does Someone Difficult Manage to be Liked?
I once again found myself burying my head in my biology textbook. I hate biology. And I hate the fact that I have to take it. And as hard as I tried to concentrate, I couldn’t help but think of Brian over at Beta Sigma Beta. I wondered who else he laughed and made jokes with… And which guys he helped get asked back. Maybe I should have gotten his phone number… And maybe I should stop obsessing over the guy…. I let out a groan when there was a knock on the door.
“Why?!” I shouted.
“I’LL GET IT!!!” Blake ran into the room and threw open the door.
I turned around. I think that guy was Blake’s Rho Chi. I turned back to my biology book. Whatever, I didn’t have to worry about the Greeks anymore. I did the first day and I was done.
“How are you doing today, Adam?”
“Great. I brought your invites. Umm… Is your roommate Carter?”
“Yeah, he’s one of them. Right over there with his head in the book.”
“Great… Mike asked me to grab his invites too. Here. See you later.”
I picked up my head as the door shut. “Wait… Did he say I have invites? Why?”
Blake shrugged, “I don’t know. Here.” He handed me an envelope. “Let’s see what we have…” He tore open his envelope and his face fell slightly.
“There’s only two…”
I put my hand on his shoulder. “It could be worse… You could have none.” I gave him a smile.
He gave me a smile back, “Yeah.”
“So which ones are they?”
“Theta Eta and I-Phi.”
Smarts and… more smarts. Perfect for Blake.
“What about you?
I shook my head and shrugged. “I probably didn’t get any. I even got told I was being difficult.” I handed him the envelope back.
“Then why would they bring you an envelope?”
“Probably so I didn’t show up to ask about it. It’s easier to get rid of people that way.” I laughed and sat back down on the couch.
“You’re not even going to look?”
I gave him a smile as I pulled out my notes, “Nope.”
“Do you care if I open it then? I’m curious.”
I shrugged, “Whatever.”
There was silence and a crinkle. “Wow…”
“None, right?” I chuckled, “I must be the most difficult person in the entire world.”
“No… actually there’s a lot more than none…”
Wait… that can’t be right…. I masked my surprise the best I could, “You’re kidding.”
“No, I’m not… K-G… Xi Mu…. Sig Chi…”
I stood as he was reading off the names. I grabbed the envelope from him. He held the papers in his hands.
I stared at his hands. Why? Why did I get these when I was such a brat yesterday?
“The thing about the Greek system is that it’s interlaced with all these rules and stereotypes. But in the end, you join because of something you felt in your heart.”
Brian… Maybe Brian… “Ummm… Is there one from…”
Blake looked at the papers in his hands, “Nope, that’s it…” He handed me the envelope and walked back to his room with his own envelope.
I felt… a little sad… I don’t really know why… It was just a fraternity after all… I shook my head and threw the envelope, “Damnit.”
A fifth small piece of paper flew from the envelope. I bent over and picked it up, turning it over slowly. Beta Sigma Beta…
“And Nick, don’t give up on the Greek system so easily. You might be surprised.”
I smiled. Brian… Thanks.
The other four parties were a blur of more talk about parties, surfing, philanthropies, and living in the houses. Of course, that was especially awkward because the brothers were no longer in their houses and chose to go to local restaurants on the University’s social and residential thoroughfare, College Avenue. The real problem was that the only thing I could think about was Brian… And I sound like a woman again…
I buried my head in my hands again as I walked toward my last party of the night once more. Beta Sigma Beta had rented out local restaurant and bar The Faucet. The Chi Lams had mentioned that they tried to get it as their location this year, but the fraternities seem to have territory when it comes to their out of house rush parties. And Beta Sigma Beta's territory was always The Faucet.
I hung out by the door for a moment. Why was I even here? And would I actually get to see Brian again? I shook my head. Why did I care so much?
Other rushees walked past me. Some of them talked to each other excitedly. Others, like me, were dragging their feet. I took in one last breath. Okay Brian… Here I come. I pulled open the door to The Faucet and put on my best air of confidence. I was already labeled as "difficult," so why not "conceited" too?
"Nothing gets you down, does it?"
It felt like I jumped ten feet in the air. Shit, that came out of no where! I grabbed my chest and took in a few breaths to compose myself.
There was a laugh.
Wait, I recognized that laugh… I turned and sure enough, there was Brian standing right next to me. "Brian!"
"You finally showed? I was starting to think you decided to drop out after all."
"No, I had four other parties to go to…"
"Wait, wait…" Brian held his hand up, "Mr. Difficult to a fault got invited back to other houses? Wow…"
"Maybe I wasn't as difficult as we all thought." I gave him a warm smile.
He started laughing again. "Oh, no, you were definitely a pain the butt." He leaned closer, "This is a secret, but I had to fight pretty hard to get you back here."
He gave me a wink, "So play nice today, okay?"
"With you? Sure. As long as we can strum air guitars and laugh our lungs out again."
He laughed, "Well, today I thought I would sing into a fork instead, you know, since we’re at a restaurant."
"Only if I can play the air drums with butter knives." I laughed also.
He gave me a thumbs up, "Perfect, but there's someone I want you to meet."
My face fell slightly, "I can't talk to you again?"
"No you can. We can talk to whoever we want at this party." He turned away slightly, "But if you just talk to me, you'll only have one person here who's got your back." He laughed again.
Is it bad that that's all I really want? I just want to be friends with Brian. Who cares about the fraternity?
I shook my head, "Sorry, yeah, I'll meet whoever it is you want."
Brian led me through the rooms of The Faucet until we reached a table where a few guys were sitting around a round of Cokes and laughing loudly. At first glance, I couldn't tell if they were brothers or rushees, but after examining their interactions, I assumed they must have been brothers. After all, apparently I'm the only rushee that would ever dream of dying from laughter at a rush party because they're serious stuff. I rolled my eyes at the thought.
Brian elbowed me slightly as a large smile grew on his face.
One of the guys at the table looked up and started laughing, "Brian! Don't hit rushees! Kevin will kill you."
"Cousin Kevin?" Brian rolled his eyes, "I'm not scared of him."
"I would be," a second piped up, pulling a pair of sunglasses down his nose. "Who have we got here?"
"You're only a sophomore, of course you're still afraid of Kevin." The third brother shook his head as he moved down a seat for Brian.
Brian pulled a fifth chair to the table before sitting down next to the brother that had moved for him.
They all stared up at me.
"Sit, sit!" The first commanded.
As I sat down, the brother wearing the sunglasses pushed them back up the bridge of his nose.
"Aren't you going to introduce us, Rok?" he asked.
"Sorry," Brian rose a hand and motioned toward me, "This is Nick."
The third brother laughed, "Oh, so this is the abnormally difficult one."
"G-grant," the first stammered, "He's not supposed to know that, right?"
Brian shook his head, "I already told him, but he was so obnoxious, even he realized it."
Grant laughed, "That's pretty bad. We can only go off of what Johns told us."
I furrowed my eyebrows, "Who?"
Brian leaned over to me and whispered, "The guy who asked me to rescue him yesterday."
He laughed again, "Anyway…" He motioned to the guy next to him; "This is Grant. He's my roommate and we're on the Club Basketball team together."
Grant reached over Brian and extended his hand, "It's great to meet you. Even if Johns didn't approve of you, I know anyone Brian recommends that highly has to be the shit!"
"Ummm… thanks…" I smiled.
Brian shook his head and laughed again. "And across the table we have Grant's two Little Brothers…"
Grant laughed again, "These two are too crazy to be related to me."
The one across from Grant, the stickler for rules, reached his hand toward me also, "Nate."
The one in the sunglasses looked at the others and produced his hand as well, "Alex. But the brothers call me AJ."
"Hey, do you want a Coke or some other soda?" Grant asked as he stood.
"There's a soda besides Coke?" I laughed.
Grant snapped his fingers and pointed at me, "I like this one, Brian. He's quick on the draw." He picked his glass up from the table. "Refills? Get 'em now or get 'em yourself."
Nate and Alex shook their heads.
Grant rose his arms in the air, "Your loss." He smacked Brian on the back, "Be back with one for you too, buddy."
Brian coughed and hid it with a chuckle.
Nate and Alex both leaned toward me.
"So," Nate started, "Other than being difficult, we don't know anything about you… Tell us something interesting."
"Yup, something that would set you apart."
"Well, I like surfing…"
"Boring," Alex rolled his eyes. Or at least I think he did. I couldn't tell behind those sunglasses. And why the heck would he wear them inside? I would bump into things.
Grant sat back down and pushed a Coke towards me and one towards Brian.
"Oh, I watched Brian strum an air guitar yesterday."
"But we already know all about B," Grant laughed.
"Yeah… You would… Wouldn't you?"
Alex leaned forward, "Well, I didn't know you could even strum an air guitar."
"That's what I said!" I started laughing.
"Please," Brian shook his head, "Real men play the acoustic guitar. It takes more skill because your hands aren't moving fifty miles an hour and people can actually see what you're doing."
Grant shook his head, "Music majors…" He turned to Nate, "Am I right, Little Bro?"
"Everything is about skills with them," he laughed.
I leaned forward, "What are your majors?"
"I'm business," Grant smiled, "Accounting. It's practical."
"Biology," Nate smiled.
"I'm taking Bio this semester."
"Me too," he smiled back. "Oh, and I'm still waiting for an interesting fact."
I paused for a moment. "I can shove my whole fist in my mouth, wanna see?"
Everyone but Brian leaned forward expectantly, "Yes!"
I rose my fist to my mouth, but Brian pulled it away, "No!"
Grant shook his head, "You're no fun, B."
"I don't want to deal with it when he suffocates."
Grant laughed, "Always the thinker, aren't you, B?"
"So, would you want to deal with it when he suffocated?" I gave Brian a wink and motioned toward Grant.
"I don't want to deal with anyone suffocating." Brian admitted with a laugh.
Grant grabbed his chest and gave Brian a sniff, "That stung, B."
"Well Nick, there you go. That's what this system is all about." Brian started laughing.
"Keeping people from doing stupid things? Are you sure?"
"Well, if by 'stupid,' you mean something like shoving their fist in their mouth, then yes!" Brian continued laughing.
Grant shrugged, "Well, that's a damper on things then, I've never tried shoving my entire fist in my mouth."
"It's not too late to start," I prodded.
Grant put his hand to his chin, "You know… I think I'll save that for once I'm out of college and I'm trying to win bar bets in my forties." He laughed.
"See, maybe you should work on jokes to tell at bars. They're friendlier than trying to win bar bets."
Grant laughed, "I'm a business major. We're practical kind of guys, so we're not very funny."
Alex rolled his eyes, "You're lying through your teeth." He turned to me, "What kind of joke would you tell?"
"Well a duck, a kangaroo, and a koala walk into a bar in Australia. The bar tender looks at the three animals and turns to the duck and says 'Sorry, this is a Marsupial bar, we don't serve ducks here.' So he gives the kangaroo and the koala a drink and tells the bouncer to take the duck outside. Disgruntled, the duck eventually sued the bartender and the headline that appeared in the newspaper was 'Duck Billed Platypus.'"
There was a long silence. I grabbed my Coke and took a gulp. Did they not get it?
Alex started laughing, "You have to be kidding me, that's it?"
Everyone but Brian roared with laughter, "That's the worst joke I ever I heard!"
Nate smacked the table with his hands, "Did you make that up?"
"While you were on drugs?"
They roared with laughter.
I pouted for a moment, but went with it anyway, "Well, I tried sniffing coke once… But the ice cubes got stuck up my nose."
They stopped laughing for a few moments.
"Burn!" Grant shouted, "BURN!!!" He began cracking up again.
I started laughing, and so did Brian. Eventually, even Alex and Nate started laughing again.
Grant patted me on the shoulder, "You're something else, buddy."
I smiled, "Thanks."
He leaned across Brian slightly, “I’ve got your back.” He gave me a hard smack on the back.
I coughed and started trying to hide it by laughing.
“Looks like you fit in already.” Nate chuckled as he motioned to Brian.
Brian gave me a smile.
Alex leaned forward, toward Brian, “When are you going to introduce him to D?”
Brian smiled, “We’ll talk about that soon. It looks like the party’s about to end…”
I turned around. Brothers were herding rushees out of The Faucet. I turned back to my table and smiled as I stood. “I’d better go too, then. Thanks for talking with me today.”
Grant waved, “Hope to see you again soon, Nick.” He elbowed Nate and Alex until they waved as well.
Brian stood up also, “Come on, I’ll walk you to the door.”
When we were leaving, he patted my shoulder, “Thanks for playing nice today.”
I put my head down slightly, “It was… a lot easier today for some reason…”
“What did I tell you?” he smiled, “Something about this system could surprise you.”
I looked up at him only slightly, “What if I don’t know that it has yet?”
He patted my shoulder again, “There’s still time.” He smiled. “Oh, how did your roommate make out?”
He rolled his eyes, “No, the girls that are already in the system.”
I stuck my tongue out at him.
He grabbed for it and I shrunk back. “Wow, Brian, juvenile much?”
“I was about to say the same thing.” He laughed.
I shook it off, “Blake got asked back to Theta Eta and I-Phi.”
Brian nodded, “Good. He sounded like that’s where he belonged when the other guys were talking about him.”
“You can peg where guys should go?”
“Sure. It’s a skill you learn when you’ve been in the system for a while.”
“What about me?”
“Where’d you get called back?”
“Here, K-G, Sig Chi, Chi Lam, and Xi Mu.”
Brian smiled as he pushed me out the door, “Ask me in a few days.”
“Wait! Brian!” Damnit, he already walked away. Damnit! Why… Why wouldn’t he answer me? “Brian!”
I shook my head and walked home. It was time to do my Bio homework… And you know how much I love that.
I leaned against the door frame of my apartment for a moment before I opened the door. All three of my roommates sat at the bar stools near the counter between the kitchen and the living room.
“And the prodigal son returns.” Blake shook his head as he stood.
“That’s a good one,” I laughed. First Bio and now this? I hate my life.
Blake ignored me and continued walking toward his room.
“Blake, come back,” Morgan called after him.
Amy patted the now empty seat next to her. “Sit down, Nick.” She smiled.
Amy was back to being her nice and sweet self. This bet really did turn around our relationship these days. Part of me wanted to hate her. But she was still one of my best friends. Why does the Greek system make everything so complicated?
I sat down on the stool in-between the two girls.
Morgan leaned toward me, “So, how was the Beta house? Did they like you?”
“Uh, no…. They didn’t invite me back.”
She hit the counter, “What? I specifically told them to invite you back.”
“It’s okay, Morgan.”
“No it’s not! You would be a perfect Beta!”
Amy leaned forward, “Morgan, he’s not a trust fund baby.”
“Beta only likes trust fund babies.”
Morgan flipped her hair, “Okay… It’s okay… Where did you get invited back to?”
“Their parties are okay…” Morgan brushed her hand against her hair again, “But that’s all. You don’t want to be a K-G.”
“I don’t know…. A lot of them are really nice,” Amy shrugged.
“No, no,” Morgan shook her head, “They throw good parties. That’s it.”
“That’s it.” Morgan took in a breath, “Where else, Nick?”
“Aww, Nick they think you’re pretty and that you get around…”
“Isn’t that a good thing?”
“Nick…. You have to be diseased to be a Sig Chi. No girl actually wants to date a Sig Chi.”
“Plus they’ve all got the collective brain cell of a jock.”
“Jocks happen to be very good looking.”
“And good looking.”
I slammed my hands on the counter. I’d had just about enough of this argument. “I’m done.”
“Nick…” Morgan started.
I stood up, “I’m done with this conversation.”
“But, I want to hear about the rest of your parties, Nick…” Amy protested.
Morgan grabbed my arm, “Nick, come on…”
“Why? Why does it matter so much to you?”
“Why does it matter?” Morgan stood as well, “The Greek system is the most important thing to me. And I want my friends to get into good houses.”
“Well, Blake and I aren’t destined to be Betas. Doesn’t that bother you?”
“Yes!” She gripped the side of the counter, “It bothers me a lot! But I’m dealing with it, so you can deal with this conversation!” She shoved me back down to the stool.
I almost got the wind knocked out of me. I took in a breath and stared at her.
She sat back in her stool and folded her hands over each other. “Now, where else did you get invited back to?”
She put her hand on my shoulder, “Oh, sweetie, you’re not from California. They would never keep you.”
“Florida is… almost California….”
Morgan started laughing, “Oh Amy, please…. Florida wishes it were California.”
“Morgan…” I started.
“Next house, Nick, next house.”
She put her hand on my shoulder again, “Nick, do you really want to be in a fraternity where all the other houses scream ‘extreme’ as you walk by?”
“They like surfing.”
“They wear their pants at their knees.”
“They do seem a… little over the top, Nick,” Amy agreed.
“Who else, Nick?” Morgan smiled.
“Beta Sigma Beta.”
Morgan stared at me blankly. Almost… There was a twinge of something else there too… I just couldn’t figure out what it was…
“I just… don’t know a lot about them, they’re really secretive…” She seemed to stammer over her words.
“They’re good guys. I like talking with them.”
“Nick, they’re even more exclusive than the Betas and ATO. They don’t even have open parties that often.”
“One of the other pledges used to date one last semester,” Amy piped up, “They’re one of the strongest fraternities on campus. They’re supposed to be really good guys.”
“Why doesn’t she date him anymore?”
“His dad developed health problems, so he transferred closer to home.”
“I think you should go for Beta Sig, Nick.” Amy smiled.
Morgan laughed, “Nick, you know Amy hasn’t been in the system as long as I have. Listen, the Beta Sigs haven’t even had a party with the Delta Pis. That counts against them pretty highly.”
“Aren’t the sororities the ones that organize fraternity mixers?” Amy scoffed.
“Well, sure, but they never said they were interested.”
“That’s because you all always go with the Betas.”
Morgan put up a hand, “Amy, we’ll discuss this in a minute.” She turned back to me, “Nick, your prospects aren’t very good… But I think if you can keep them interested in you, Chi Lam is your best choice.” She patted my shoulder. “Good luck.”
Amy leaned in to me, “I still think Beta Sig is a good choice.”
“Amy, I’m not done talking to you! What right do you have to knock on the Betas?!”
Amy stood up and followed Morgan, “Why is everything about the Betas with you?!”
“The Betas are a very reputable fraternity!”
“You’re not Pro Greek, you’re pro money!”
“I can’t believe you would say that, Amy!”
I buried my face in my hands. This… this is why I hate the Greek system.
The girls continued screaming about something.
I shook my head. Brian… I don’t know what you see.
And as always, there’s so much Greek lingo out there. Nick sends his regards.
Invites-An invitation to a Rush party. The first party at every house is open to all rushees. In more informal rush situations, subsequent parties may also be open to whoever is interested. In formal rush, most parties following the first are invitation only, so invites let the rushees know if they are welcome back to the house.
College Avenue- RMU’s hub of restaurants, bars, and residencies. It is bordered by Greek Row on one side.
The Faucet-A popular campus restaurant and bar located on College Avenue. It is Beta Sigma Beta’s “Rush Turf” for out of house parties.
Fraternity mixers-Sorority hosted parties held at local bars and restaurants. They can also revolve around an activity such as skating or bowling. They are usually theme parties, such Studio 54 or Brownies and Boy Scouts. Only one fraternity is invited to court the sorority sisters for the night.
Author's Chapter Notes:
Yay, a new update! I hope you all are liking the JDR collaboration. I sacrificed this one for it.
Have an update. :o)