#2: First Impressions
221 Lake St. This is the place.
The white two-level home sat on a corner two blocks off of Empire St., the main drag from which the ruckus of the college bars wafted over nightly. Whitley barely caught the address behind the cover of several low-hanging trees, her tires screeching as she swerved into the driveway. She expected her prospective roommates to investigate the vehicle that had nearly smashed into their kitchen, but instead she found herself scanning for any sign of life behind the dark blinds covering the windows.
Whitley checked her phone, realizing in her haste she'd arrived fifteen minutes early. She considered waiting in the car but figured it would seem too sketchy. Opening the door, Whitley unfolded her lengthy legs, her feet reaching the ground from the high driver's seat of her SUV. As she emerged, a young girl pedaled her training-wheeled bike across the narrow side-street towards her. The girl stopped directly in front of her and dismounted; her head barely reaching Whitley's thigh. Having not been around children recently, Whitley lacked the ability to peg the child's age but figured her less than ten and older than six. The girl craned her neck up and studied the figure towering above her.
"You're really, really tall," she said, pointing her finger up at Whitley.
Feeling ogre-ish, Whitley knelt down, though even on one knee she still dwarfed the kid substantially. "You sure you're not really, really small?"
The girl considered the possibility before a twisting of her expression indicated that the idea was utterly ludicrous. She shook her head vigorously and pointed at Whitley. "No. You're really, really tall."
"Well, you've got that right, kid. How tall do you think I am?"
"You're bigger than my mom and my dad."
"I imagine that's true."
"You're a giant."
"No, I'm Whitley, and I'm going to be moving in right here." Whitley gestured towards the house behind her.
Her face brightened. "Wow, I'm gonna have a giant neighbor!"
"Okay, let's not get carried away, kid. Where are your parents, anyways?"
"My mom's right there," the girl said, turning around and pointing at the house across the street. Whitley looked up only to catch a glimpse of the rustling curtains. I seriously wouldn't blame her for staring, Whitley thought.
"Well, your mom seems delightful. Maybe I'll drop by for dinner sometime, but right now I gotta' get moved in. I'll see you again soon, yeah?"
"You bet! Goodbye, Giant Whitley."
Whitley stood up to her full height, casting the girl in her shadow. "See ya, Tiny." The girl's initial reaction indicated she didn't like the nickname, but she decided to go with it. She pedaled to her home across the street, and Whitley again noticed the shifting curtains in her new neighbor's window.
Turning to her soon-to-be home, Whitley continued to look for signs of occupancy. It turned out blinds did not just cover the back windows, but every window, though there appeared to be lights on upstairs and in the basement. Checking the time, she still ten minutes until the agreed-upon time of arrival. She weighed whether or not she wanted to grab anything from her car, and she settled on a backpack, which seemed non-threatening enough. She then re-assessed her appearance, which consisted of gray jeans that ended at her calves and her crimson XXL Durrenburg University sweater, that didn't hide her height any, but took some of the excessive lankiness away from her shape.
Though she had parked near the rear door, she walked around to the front porch, climbing the steps up to a frustratingly low awning, which required her to crouch slightly. It angled upwards, allowing her more clearance as she moved forward. The porch light was out, and there was nothing short of her dropping to her knees that could make her look any less imposing. I'm overthinking this, she thought. Shit, I'm still kinda' high. Pulling her thoughts together, she backed up just enough the back of her head touched the overhang, reached forward to ring the doorbell, and waited.
Whitley thought she heard a creaking floorboard upstairs, and let a few more seconds pass before ringing the doorbell again. She thought she heard a door open inside, but she still heard nothing. Re-checking the time, she waited a full minute, then set her finger on the doorbell and pressed it three times in quick succession, before pulling away like she'd touched a scorpion.
Chaos instantly erupted inside, as a series of loud footsteps thundered from above and below, accompanied by unintelligible shouting. Whitley, in the meantime, prepared herself to make the worst possible first impression with a group of girls she assumed were wearing beauty masks, painting each others' nails, Skyping with boyfriends, or whatever sorority girls did. Whitley had no idea, in fact, what sorority girls did, and had no reason to think this was a sorority house, but when she imagined people who wouldn't like her, she always thought of sorority girls. A cacophony of footsteps indicated at least one person had stumbled down the stairs, and as the residents approached the front door, Whitley began to decipher the shouting:
"Is it seven already!?!?"
"It doesn't matter!"
"But I'm not done with my—"
"Alicia, answer the goddamned door!"
"Fine, but you better put something on!"
"I am trying, just give me one—"
"Too late, opening!"
Whitley was greeted by two girls making a visible effort to look as welcoming as possible, but she was not focused on either of their faces. The blonde wore a dust mask and striped cat-ear hood, and—judging by her extraordinary physique—adhered to a strict paleo and protein powder diet. Behind her, a mind-bogglingly busty Vietnamese girl with her hair tied up in a power bun struggled to stuff soccer-ball-sized breasts into a lacy bra barely large enough for softballs. The two regarded Whitley with little more than mild curiosity. The blonde pushed the screen open and pulled down her mask.
"Hi, Whitley! You got here earlier than we expected. I'm Alicia, and the one with the boobs is Krysta. Would you like a tour?