This past month, Her Campus partnered with Figment, a site where writers and readers can connect over original fiction. Writers featured advice from our very own Real Live College Guy columnists in a Valentine's Day-themed short story. Figment readers chose the top ten finalists earlier this month; now, we're excited to share the grand prize winner with Her Campus. The winning story is called "I Like You," by B.D. Legan and features a pair of friends where one person wants something more. Check out what the author has to say about her piece:
The Real Live College Guys column is mostly geared towards women with advice about men, and I wanted to take a unique approach to the writing prompt. By presenting the characters as literally any two people in the world, the mind was free to wander, and to preconceive them as they wanted. I wrote the ending, not to be shocking so much, but as to be realistic, yet hopeful all the same, with a message that love comes in all shapes and forms, and everyone deserves it, regardless of orientation.
Scroll to read B.D.'s story!
The cursor disappears.
And it’s back.
And then it’s gone again.
It flashes with the beat of my heart, which is about to explode within my chest.
God, that’s annoying. I shift my eyes to the little green button below it. My thumb hovers a mere two inches from it, trembling.
Just call! I say inwardly. Nothing abnormal about this.
But there is.
I take a deep breath, then punch the button. Before I have time to press the ‘end call’ key, I shove the phone to my ear.
The line rings once.
Okay, you’re not going to answer. I’ll just hang up now—
“You rang?” a smoky, sultry voice asks—your voice.
I manage a small laugh. “Uh yeah. Obviously.”
You let a breath escape through your nose. I know you have that cute, cocky half grin plastered on your lips and your eyes are sparking like a cool cenoté—they always remind me of our senior trip to Mexico—it was one of the best weeks of my life.
I swallow, then stammer, “Uh, um… You wanna come over? I uh, wanna talk to you. I mean—I need to talk to you.”
“Yup, sure,” you say, and the line returns to silence with a click!
I sit, rooted in my spot, staring at your contact page in my phone. Your picture stares back at me—your blue eyes piercing. I smile at the ringtone—Let’s Get It On. You set it as a joke, thinking I’d get mad. But I never changed it. I blame it on my lack of technical knowledge. But that’s a lie.
Sometimes I forget our dorms are only a few doors from each other. I take a deep breath and stand up, straightening my shirt, and run a hand through my tangled hair.
“House kee-ping!” you shout, your voice shrill, imitating a favorite movie of ours—Tommy Boy.
I roll my eyes, but can’t hide the smirk on my face as I shout, “Door’s open!”
You knock again. “House kee-ping, you want towel?”
“Get in here,” I say, throwing open the door.
You lean casually against the doorframe, your muscled arms crossed over your chest. Your chestnut hair is messily tossed to one side. “House kee-ping, you want mint for pillow?”
“No, I don’t,” I murmur, pulling you through the doorframe, kicking the door closed behind us. I give you a shove in the direction of my desk chair, then bound to the mini-fridge, pushing a few text books and papers away. I curse as I step on a tube of watercolor paint, and hastily wipe up the small drop that leaked out. I pull out a brown bottle and check my reflection on the stainless-steel door. “You want a brewski?”
You mutter a yes, so I pull one out for you, the liquid sloshing from my shaky hands. I close the tiny door and spot you messing with the Xbox.
The article said no distractions…
“What’re you doing?” I ask, trying to sound nonchalant as I sit the drinks on the desk beside my bed. I busy my hands by stacking up some loose sketches in a pile.
“Dude, can’t chill without some Black Ops,” you say, giving me that heart melting half grin. You pick up a controller and toss me the other.
“But I—“ I stutter, “—I wanted to talk to you about something.”
“Talk away,” you say, a carefree laugh escaping your lips. The game starts and you begin furiously punching the keys on the controller. You notice I’m not playing. “Come’on! These zombies aren’t going to kill themselves!”
“Well, I uh—“
“Pick up the controller and start shooting,” you shout, the vein on your forehead protruding. I couldn’t help but smile at the cute imperfection.
“Hey, I just wanted to talk to you about—“ I start again.
“Kill zombies now—we can talk later,” you snarl.
Your tone sends a cold chill up my back. I try to shake it off. God, okay—I can do this. I take another deep breath and step in front of the little TV.
“What the he—What are you doing?” you yell, leaning to one side to try and see the screen.
“I like you,” I manage to choke.
“Uh, yeah, bro—I like you, too,” you say impatiently, leaning to the other side in an attempt to see the monitor. “Now sit down and let’s play.”
“No.” I stand firmly. “I mean—I like like you.”
Your fingers stop pressing the buttons on the controller and you sit there, your mouth unhinged. “What?”
“I do,” I say, nodding. “I really do!”
“Yeah, real funny, man,” you whisper, rolling your azure eyes.
“I’m not being funny,” I assure.
You raise a thick brow and look around the room. “Alright, who paid you? Where’s the hidden camera?”
“No, it’s not like that,” I say, furrowing my brows. “I’ve been debating for a while now if I should tell you, and then I read this article on the internet that said I needed to—“
You raise a hand meant to silence me then sit the controller gently on the floor. You slowly rest your elbows on your knees, and rub your temples. “Okay, what is this? Like, some weird little man crush or somethin’? If this is a joke, it’s not funny.”
I bit my lip. “Y-you think this is a joke?”
You suddenly rise to your feet, your fists clenched. “It better be a frickin’ joke! What kind of sick trick are you trying to pull on me?”
“I’m not tricking you,” I whisper, my voice breaking.
You shake your head and kick my dresser with your bare foot, then curse as pain lights up your toe. “Just… stay away from me,” you say, giving me a venomous look. “There’s no room for your kind in my life.”
You give me one last murderous glare, then storm out of the room, slamming the door behind you.
And in that moment, when you leave me standing there, wide mouthed and bleary-eyed, I have a realization—and epiphany, if you will: hate consumes people. Hate blinds people. Hate creates ignorant, close-minded people—people who have been taught to discriminate and hate—people who will one day teach their children to hate and discriminate with the same ignorance and close-mindedness. And it will continue in that same high-velocity path—the same cruel, incessant cycle—until someone says, “No! I’ve had enough!” I’ve had enough. I will stand tall and face adversity; I will fight until there is nothing left to fight for. Will you stand and fight with me? Will you be that person?