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The Other Side
Moving out had been the best thing Cruz could have done. He was nineteen after all, he could do this. Most kids did this when they went to college -- they stayed in dorm or frat houses or had their own places. Some, stayed home. He'd been part of that, and since moving out he'd made new friends. Not that Nox and Sage didn't bring a great deal of friendship to the table, but neither of them were really interested in him. Nox was being paid, and Sage was only there because of Nox's sister -- though that wasn't the complete truth. They lived such drama filled lives.

But now Cruz was out on his own. He had his own life and was making new friends. Gordey and Felix weren't exactly friend, but they did like to study together -- mostly because Cruz helped them with the harder things. But they loved to code or hack their way through things. They were Computer Science majors and they made fun of Cruz when he said he was only minoring in Computer Science. His major was much more complex than just programming -- Computer Engineering was the bread and butter of his courses, but he also minored in medicine and human biology and he was even planning on taking a few courses in psych. His ultimate goal was to map the human body through Aurora's holographic computer interface. He had a grim prototype of it up and running. At least of medical scans and the like. Cruz wanted to have a 3D holographic image of the body. He had plans, and tons of lines of code in his head. Seeing the tumor and practicing on it before you ever touch the real thing... epic.

Gordey and Felix didn't see down the line. They just wanted to get from one class to the next and get out from under their parents noses. They didn't live at home, but they had been spending more and more of their time crashing on Cruz' couch. The three of them were becoming fast friends at Cruz's expense -- not that he minded. They bought food -- they ate a lot of food. They drank more than they ate. And wine wasn't their thing. They forayed into various other recreational drugs. And to the point they stood now, he's refused their offers, but it was becoming increasingly harder and harder with each refusal. What would it harm?

"Come on, Cruz." Felix yelled from the door. "You don't have to worry you look great. And the money will attract the ladies more than the duds, so let's move it."

Cruz rolled his eyes. Felix insisted people knew he had money just from the way he dressed and the way he moved or spoke. Maybe he was right. Cruz had been trying to fit in, and never really did. He took tips from what he knew of Nox and Sage. Felix and Gordey dressed like slops unless they were going out. Even Nox's ratty hoodie looed better than these two. A pair of dark blue jeans, a stole sarcastic shirt from Nox's room from days gone past, it read If you don't want a stupid answer don't ask a stupid question. Cruz didn't remember why he had taken he shirt, but it was one of his favorites when he was trying to be a typical college kid.

Cruz pulled on a leather jacket that didn't scream I have money or I'm a lofty rich kid unless you looked at the name on the tag -- or you knew the jacket by it's design. But few kids at Moscow University knew the names of the labels Cruz owned.

"Fine. I'm ready. Let's go." Cruz didn't wait for them to drag him out the door like usual. Today he went willingly. A club -- he had no idea where. He didn't care. Tonight was all about getting smashed after a long run of finals.
They dragged Cruz through club after club and stopped in front of one they knew they couldn't get into. A wicked smile grew on Groddies lips. "You think you could get us in?" He wrapped his arm around Cruz and laughed in his ear. "I've never seen the inside of this joing."

To be honest neither had Cruz. None of them were hardly dressed to go into Manifesto. Not even close. Not that jeans and such were discouraged, you'd just stick out like a sore thumb. Specially wearing t-shirts like they were. But he could get them in. Not that they could afford anything but the cheapest drink which were the high end of their price range. Likely Cruz was going to have give them a stipend. He sighed and nodded with reluctance. He would have gone to Manifesto anytime he wanted, this was not how the other side lived. But the price you pay he thought to himself.

"We can't get in dressed like this." Cruz informed them.

Felix pouted.

"I didn't say we couldn't go in, just not dressed like this. Come one back to my place."

[[ continued in De Capo ]]

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