I was stuck, in a serious bind. I was living off campus when our entire building received notice that we had to vacate over the holidays. The building was being turned into condo’s or something, and we had a month to get out. Our lease was month-to-month, as it turned out were everybody’s.

Suddenly, sixteen students were out looking for a place to live. It wouldn’t have been so bad, if I hadn’t been away at the time, working on my grad project, off the coast of Brazil. I showed up, exhausted from a month at sea, and a bit depressed from the results of our sojourn, to find my entire building was under construction, and my apartment was gone.

A few hurried calls, and I was informed by my ex-roommates that my stuff was in storage, and I owed them $94. A bunch more calls, and I found out that nobody had space to spare.

After dozens of failed attempts at finding a new home, I found the notice on the campus bulletin board, and was knocking at the door of a big old house, about a mile off campus. I wasn’t an ideal match for their new roomie, but I figured I’d give it a chance anyway.

A gorgeous brunette opened the door, and glared at me. “Let me guess. Another perv looking to rent the room. Read the notice dip-shit. Women only.”

I had read the notice, but I was hoping to convince them that I was in desperate straits, and appeal to their kindness. It was instantly obvious this sneering bitch didn’t have a shred in her soul.

“Who is it?” I heard from inside.

The brunette turned her head. “Another dickwad with a fantasy,” she shouted back.

“Listen, I won’t be a problem, I swear,” I told the girl, hoping that if I could just get my plea in, I’d have a chance.

I really was desperate. I’d spent two days trying to find a place, and the guys whose floor I was sleeping on told me that his roommates wanted me gone. I had cleaned up the best I could, hoping that maybe my appearance would help. I’m told I’m not a bad looking guy, if a little on the skinny side. A month under the equatorial sun off the Brazilian coast, living on a boat, seasick half the time, had me dropping another 10 lbs, and I was brown as a berry from the intense sun. Not typical for late January in New England.

Another girl showed up beside the first. Equally beautiful, with diametrically different looks. Blonde, short, stacked, round in all the right places, compared to the long, lean brunette.

The new girl looked up at me. “Don’t I know you?”

I shrugged. “Same campus I guess.”

“No, I definitely know you. Biology?” she asked, squinting at me.

I remembered her now. “Last semester, Bio 143, morning session.”

Her eyes lit up. “Oh yeah! You were the TA!” I remembered her very well, once she’d spoken. The little hussy had come on to me, trying to better her grades. Came on strong. No way I was going to let a little pussy ruin my schooling and career. Even if it was prime, grade A.

She pulled the door open, “Come on in. You’re really looking for a place?”

The brunette turned on her. “No way, Ashley. You know the rules. The last thing we need is some testosterone laden jerk living here.”

“Chill Heather. It’s cool. He’s gay.”

Gay? What the fuck. Where did she get off telling someone I was gay? Just ’cause I didn’t want to . . .

Heather, the brunette, looked me up and down like a piece of meat. “You sure?”

Ashley grabbed my hand and dragged me into the building. “Of course. I mean, just look at him. Tan, manscaped, dressed like that. How obvious does he have to be? Hell, two of the girls in class told me about him, when I said I was going to get him to raise my grades, you know, with a little barter. I couldn’t even get him hard.”

Damn of course not! I was shitting my pants, that someone might walk in on us. She had taken her shirt off moments after entering my office, asking me what it was going to take. I’d almost run from the room when she had grabbed my crotch.

“So he didn’t go for it. Why would you want to think of giving him a place here?” Heather insisted.

“He was cool about it. Didn’t get flustered, and didn’t cause me any trouble. He just laughed and told me I was barking up the wrong tree. He did give me a chance to make up a test and do some extra credit. Got my grades up high enough to keep my scholarship. He’s one of the good guys. Plus, he’s a brain. Wouldn’t be bad to have our own tutor in the house.”

Around that time, another hottie made her presence known. I guess she’d been listening in from the hall. “Why are you looking for a place?” she immediately started in. “Boyfriend kick you out?”

“Look, it’s not like that. I was in Brazil, and when I came back my stuff was in a storage locker, and I had nowhere to stay. I’m sleeping on a friend’s floor. I could really use a place. I swear, I’m a quiet guy, and I’ll stay out of your hair. I just need to finish this semester.”

The latest visitor gave me the same appraising look. I returned the favor. Her hair was dark red, the kind of red you only got out of a bottle, but her skin had that look you expect from a redhead. These girls ran the gamut of physical perfection. Heather the brunette looking like a model, little Ashley was more like a curvy cheerleader. This girl was between the two, maybe 5’4″, 5’5″, with all the right curves in all the right places, without going overboard like Ashley.

“What are you looking at perv?” she sneered.

“Not much,” I answered quickly. “Do you guys always judge so quickly? You won’t even hear what I have to say?”

“Trust me, we’ve heard it all. We don’t need the hassle. Besides, you don’t want this gig. It’s the smallest room, you have to share a bathroom, and you get laundry duty. Do you really want to be scrubbing out panties, and sorting through four girls’ things? Besides, how do we even know if you can cook?”

Ashley intervened. It was nice to think I had at least one champion, even if she had me all wrong. “Come on, Megan. We can at least talk about it right? Admit it, it would be nice to have a man around the house, even if he’s not really a man.” She turned to me. “How are you with tools? Fixin’ things.”

I shrugged. “Better than average. I took care of things at home for years, since it was just me, Mom, and my three sisters.”

The brunette seemed to warm up a little after I explained that. “Could you fix a plumbing leak?”

“Depends. I’d have to see it. Simple stuff, sure.”

Megan stood icy cold, arms crossed over her ample chest. “I don’t like it.”

“How about you give me a week? Trial basis. I really need a place to sleep, and you can keep looking in the mean time. If you really don’t want me around a week from now, I’m gone.”

“I don’t like the way you were checking me out, either,” Megan insisted.

“Jesus, Girl! Get over yourself. So you’ve got tits. Big deal. Ashley’s got better. If that’s what I was interested in, I wouldn’t give you a second look.” To be honest, I’m an ass man. From the looks of things, Megan had a tremendous one, but I wasn’t about to let her know that. I had no patience for snooty bitches.

Ashley giggled, and Megan turned bright red, almost matching her hair. “Told ya. Queer as they come. I mean he didn’t even give me a second thought, when I bared ’em for him.”

I was about to argue with her, but thought better of it. If they wanted to think I wasn’t interested, that worked for me. I wasn’t a kid at 26 years old, working on my PhD. I’d changed schools for my Doctorate in marine science and technology and didn’t know that many people on campus, outside of my specialty. I knew better than to shit where I eat anyway. Sure, I could play along, as long as it gave me somewhere to lay my head.

“It’s five-fifty a month,” Heather said, “but that includes utilities.”

“Five hundred and fifty dollars? Your flier said four-fifty,” I pointed out.

Heather shrugged. “For a girl. You get to pay a premium.”

Megan was still having none of it. “No way, Heather. We all agreed. No guys. None. Not now. Not after . . .”

Ashley jumped in. “Why don’t we let Bruna decide? Me and Heather are all for it. It’s not like we’ve had a lot of choices so far. If Bruna say no, it’s a no.”

It looked like Megan was pondering it. “Alright. She gets out of her last class around four. She’ll probably be here around five. Can you stop by after five?” she asked me.

“I’ll be here.”

* * *

At five-thirty I was parked in front of the house, with all my belongings in the back of my baby. If this didn’t work out, I’d be living on the street until something fell my way. I didn’t want to come across as desperate, but the fact is I was.

I checked my appearance in the glass beside the door before knocking. I heard a bustle inside the house, and the clatter of footsteps. Then the door was opened, and Ashley was shouting “He’s here!” She pulled the door open wide and stepped aside so I could enter. I saw Megan watching me from the entrance to the living room, and she didn’t appear any more pleased to see me than earlier. Oh well. She wasn’t the one I had to convince.

Ashley grabbed me by the hand and dragged me to the back of the house, toward the kitchen. “Bruna’s great. You’re going to love her.”

The mysterious fourth roommate was nothing like the others. Oh, she was attractive enough, but she seemed quiet. She was on the short side, with dark skin, and darker hair. Her smile was gentle enough but didn’t seem to reach as far as her eyes.

I stuck out my hand, trying to look as unintimidating as possible. “I’m Alex. Hopefully your new roommate.”

She nodded, and took a moment to glance at the other three. Then she looked me up and down. “Ashley says you’re smart. Could you help us?” The girl spoke with an accent, but her English was excellent.

“Probably in some subjects. I’m currently working on my doctorate in marine sciences. I’ve got a bachelor’s degree in marine bio, with a minor in sustainability. I’m good in the hard sciences, bio, chem, physics. I don’t know what your studying, but if I can help, I’m willing.”

She nodded. “Heather said you’re good fixing things. Could you do that?”

“I’m not the ultimate handyman, but I can do the basics. I wouldn’t mind helping out around the house, but doesn’t the landlord take care of that stuff?”

“He’s supposed to, but it never seems to happen,” she said. She had a strong accent, Hispanic, maybe Brazilian, from her coloring. Could be Caribbean. “You can’t have any boyfriends spend the night,” she added.

“Not a problem. I’m not in any relationship, and not looking for one. Right now, I’m all about finishing my dissertation, and taking care of my classes.”

She nodded. “Alright. Five hundred, your room is at the top of the stairs on the left. You get to cook dinner on Thursdays. Your share of the groceries is twenty dollars a week. Please fix the leak in the shower, and the back door gets stuck. Also, the window in Heather’s room doesn’t open.”

Before I could even absorb the sudden turn of events, Ashley piped up, “Is the car out front yours?”

“Mine and the banks,” I admitted.

That seemed to open a few eyes. Cars on campus were not necessarily a rarity. Immaculate classic cars were. I had a reserved parking spot, which was even rarer yet.

“You mind sharing, some time?” Ashley asked. “None of us have one.”

I was slow to answer. “I need it during the day, I have to go down to the bay pretty frequently. Evenings I wouldn’t mind running errands or shuttling around. I don’t like to let other people drive it.” That was an understatement. It seemed like nobody knew how to drive a manual transmission anymore. Plus, once most people felt the power of the 410 horsepower, they seemed to go a little crazy.

Ashley pouted, and grabbed my arm. “Not even your favorite roomy?”

I almost laughed. “It’s a stick shift. It’s very temperamental.”

“It’s a convertible, and gorgeous,” Ashley said.

True, very true. “We’ll see, alright? I’ll let you give it a test ride. If you know what you’re doing, then maybe.”

I was surprised when Megan spoke up. “I can drive a stick. Dad has a fifty-three Chevy thirty-one hundred truck, with four on the floor.”

“The five window?” I asked, impressed.

She nodded. “It’s a vee three twenty-seven. I’ve also driven his sixty-nine Road Runner with the four-forty six-pack four-speed. Like I said, I can drive a stick.”

Heh-heh. She said sixty-nine. Alright, sometimes I’m a little juvenile. I was in a good mood, I had a place to live. “Maybe you can, I’ll have to check it out myself.”

“Tonight?” she asked.

“Probably not. I still have to unload and settle in, and I wouldn’t want the first drive to be in the dark.”

“Then let’s get you started,” Ashley said, grabbing me by the arm again, and towing me toward the front of the house.

I didn’t expect to have four women helping me empty the vehicle, and even assist me unpacking. It felt a little awkward watching them paw through my stuff. Heather gave me an extra set of sheets for the twin bed that almost filled the tiny room. It took a little more than an hour to have me completely moved in.

The girls were chattering away the whole time, filling me in on their majors, background, problem areas, and the rules of the house. I filed it all away in my brain. I knew I was still on shaky ground. They could kick me out at any time, so I needed to be on my best behavior. As I hung up the last of my clothing, the girls watched from just outside the door.

“Can we go for a drive now?” Ashley asked.

“What about dinner?”

Bruna answered. “The sauce will keep. I’ve got it on its lowest setting. We can cook the noodles when we return.”

They were determined, and I wasn’t going to fight an unwinnable battle. “All right. Anyone other than Megan know how to drive a manual transmission?”

The answer was no. That made me feel a little better.

We gathered around my pride and joy. A 1963 Ford Galaxy 500XL, with the 427 engine, dual four-barrel carburetor, power everything. Rangoon red, with the white soft top, and red and white interior. I’d spent the better part of two years restoring it, and it was a thing of beauty.

“Can we put down the top?” Ashley asked.

“It’s gotta be less than fifty degrees outside,” I reminded her.

“Please? Pretty please?” she wheedled.

I sighed. “Get your coats on while I take down the top.”

That left me with just Megan, who moved to the other side of the vehicle. “Sweet car,” she said as she helped me undo the convertible front.


“You gonna let me drive it?”


“Even though I was an ass to you?”

I chuckled. “I get it, Megan. I can only imagine how many guys would love to live here. You’re cautious. That’s fine. I’m sure in time you’ll find that I’m a good roommate.”

She smiled, and it was a beauty. She was gorgeous, no doubt about it, even more so with that big toothy smile. “The car helps a lot. It’s a bitch getting around without wheels, especially doing the weekly shopping. If you really can fix a few things around the place, and cook halfway decently, I figure you’re a keeper.”

Megan’s accent made it clear she wasn’t a local. She had the midwest twang, not quite ‘Fargo’, but more like Iowa. I suspected she’d say ‘pop’ instead of soda. Ashley, on the other hand, sounded East coast, while Heather was pure Boston. It was an interesting mix.

By the time we were all present and accounted for, I’d put the top away under the boot and had it snapped down. Megan insisted she needed to sit up front, to see how the transmission worked. When that started an argument, I promised that everyone would get a chance to sit in the passenger seat.

I imagined we were quite a sight. Four beautiful women seated in that glorious vehicle, while we cruised around campus. Ashley seemed to know everybody, and anytime we passed a crowd, she was calling out names and waving. Megan was peppering me with questions about the car, while Bruna and Heather seemed to be holding some type of intense conversation in back.

After about a ten minute drive, Bruna leaned forward. “Can we go to the liquor store?” she asked.

It made me stop and think for a moment. I wondered how many, if any of my passengers were of drinking age. I knew Ashley was a sophomore at best. I didn’t need and more trouble. Then again, four pretty, drunken women had its own appeal. “Sure, I think we can manage that.”

We filled up a cart with beer and wine, and Bruna passed me eighty bucks. Looked like I was the designated payer, and she was the house treasurer. It wasn’t a problem, and they were all suitably impressed with the huge trunk as we loaded it up.

Ashley giggled. “I bet you could fit all of us back there. It’s ginormous!”

“Luckily, I’m not the kind of guy who fills his trunk with young women,” I said.

Once I’d closed the trunk, Megan was standing by the driver’s door, doing her best to look sweet and friendly. What a turn around. I put the keys in her hand, and she shrieked, practically dancing in place. Once I was situated, I gave her some last directions, and she started up the powerful engine.

“God, I love the sound of that,” she said, grinning at me. She had no trouble with the shifter on the column, and I was pleased that she was able to pull out smoothly and with no major issues. After only a few blocks, she seemed to get the hang of it, and I had to admit, she could probably drive as well as I could.

She turned to me, grinning from ear to ear, her hair blowing behind her. “What do you think?”

“You can drive a stick.”

I was surprised when she reached over and patted my thigh at a stop sign. “I appreciate it,” she said, before easing through the intersection. “I’d be scared to death to let anyone drive my baby. Thanks.”

At the next light, I encouraged her to pull over, and let someone else sit up front. I was comfortable with her driving. Ashley was eager to take her turn, and I wasn’t complaining about sitting in the back between Heather and Bruna. No, not complaining at all. We didn’t talk much, the back seat was noisy with the top down, but I leaned back and enjoyed the ride.

Dinner was good, and afterward we shared a couple of bottles of wine. It was good, and I was surprised at how comfortable it was to be around the four hotties, with no thoughts of getting in their pants interfering with the dynamics.

I’m not sure why Ashley was so friendly to me, but I wasn’t complaining. She made sure she was seated next to me at every opportunity, and was very touchy-feeley. When she took a break to go to the bathroom, Heather took her place, scooting up way too close for comfort.

“If Ashley gets to be too much, just let her know. She’s always like that.”

“Like what?”

“You know. Up close and personal. She loves everyone. I bet she considers you a challenge.”

I almost spit up my wine, and she giggled. “It’s cool, Alex.” She was already a little buzzed, and I almost leaped out of my seat, when she dragged her fingernails up the inside of my thigh. “That really does nothing for you?” she whispered.

Of course I lied. “I wish it did.”

“Too bad. So sad. What a waste,” she whispered, then kissed my cheek, abandoning her seat as Ashley entered the room, pouting that her place was taken.

Once Heather had moved, Ashley was right back at it, cuddling right up against me. “We’re gonna be best friends, Alex. Alright?”

Her open kindness, guileless look, and easy affection was hard to fight. “Nothing I’d like better,” I said.