Author's Note: The characters belong to squaresoft but everything else is mine. The characters may be a little off from their game-selves, but there is no way I can rip them out and put them in our world without severely changing their backgrounds, and if you change backgrounds, well, you change personalities. This story is inspired and influenced by works of Sodoshiin, Race Ulfson, Emily, and several others. Oh, and a lot of the pictures I had described are heavily inspired by works of the wonderful Japanese artist Maxim. Again, feedbacks are welcomed, both good and bad ones. (and flames still are laughed at) Thanks for all the people who liked Barbed Wire and provided feedback for me.

Connecticut

Chapter Three

By Jamaica

The house had two floors with an attic on top. Starting from the front door on first floor, a woodened passageway extended straight into the kitchen. On the left of the kitchen was the master bedroom, which belonged to Quistis and Irvine. They also had a master bathroom and a walk-in closet. The kitchen was connected to the small dining room on the right, followed by the living room with an excellent entertainment system and comfortable sofas. A half-bathroom hid itself between the passageway's and the living room's adjacent wall.

The stairs faced next to the front door, on the left. Second floor had four rooms in a cross shape. On the ends of the hallway were the two bedrooms, left occupied by Squall and the other by Seifer. A bathroom stayed in the middle, facing the stairway, and opposite of that was a laundry room with washer and dryer. A rope dangled from the ceiling in the middle of the corridor, leading up to the attic.

It was a finished and spacious attic. There was heating and cooling control in the room, the floor was carpeted, and the walls were padded somewhat to barricade outside weather's influences. There was a huge window without blinds or screen in the middle of the attic wall. The house was facing west, so the sunset could be seen every day, unhinged, from that window.

It was because of this view that Squall chose the attic to be his art studio.

His two suitcases were full of two things clothes and art supplies. Nothing else. No laptop, no books, no other sources of entertainment or even necessary objects like toothbrush and towels. The easel and bundles of canvas took up most of the first suitcase. The rest of the space were full of brushes, color palettes, paint thinners, etc. The other suitcase was all clothes, plus his make-up.

Squall was introduced to his housemates officially, in detail, this time. The other three were all sophomores, and none came here for the fine arts. It didn't mean they're not into the arts; quite contrary, all three were music-crazy, Quistis especially, despite her major field of Biology. Seifer took the English/Literature department while Irvine rooted in History. Aside from the obvious rich background of Miss Trepe, the two guys were from average income households. This eased Squall's feelings a little. There were other people similar to him after all, not the one with all the breaks.

And of course, he learned several *other* things during his first dinner at the resident that night. One, Quistis couldn't cook to save her life. She could clean quite well, though, as proved after dinner when clearing came around. Two, Seifer was horny 24/7 and a complete computer freak. He kept on trying to flirt with Irvine, despite Quistis' warnings, and Irvine naturally ignored him. After dinner Seifer perched himself in front of the Alienware '02 in the dining room, which was converted into a semi-study, and didn't get up until midnight. Three, Irvine loved basketball. He had been playing on a team since he was about 6. That was what his afternoon meeting about.

Now Squall was sitting on his bed, pondering how early he should get up the next morning and go shopping for the un-brought necessities. Good thing Ellone had told Quistis beforehand to at least provide a pillow and some covers. Not that it was freezing and he'd be uncomfortable in his clothes. He just didn't want to ruin the clothes by sleeping in them.

"You're still up?" A voice floated in from his door. It was Irvine.

"Yeah," Squall replied without looking. The figure waltzed in his room, grabbed a chair, and plopped down next to the bed. "You're too."

Irvine shrugged. "Don't you need toothbrush and make-up remover and stuff like that?"

Squall gave him a look. "Quistis sending her motherly regards?"

Irvine smiled. "Partly."

"I have make-up remover. Don't worry about me." Squall replied dryly. He half-expected Irvine to get up and go after delivering Quistis' message. But he didn't leave the chair. "Yes?"

"You barely talked at all during dinner. Something the matter, or is that I'm just used to people who never shut up?"

"The latter," Squall replied. This felt different. People usually leave him alone and he left them alone. But now he seemed to be living with Curious George's descendants, and there were 3 of them. "Why are you so concerned? We could scarcely call each other acquaintances yet."

"Oh, I'm just making sure Seifer didn't scare you already into silence. He has that effect on people. He's not a bad guy, no, but sometimes he can be a major ass. Well, if you're cool with it then I'm gone." Irvine stood up and headed toward the door.

"Hey, Irvine,"

"Yeah," He paused at Squall's voice.

"Why didn't you stop him when he tried to hit on you? Doesn't that make you uncomfortable?"

"He's like that to every single person he meets. No biggie. I'm not his target and he doesn't mean it. I mean, like I said, he's not a bad guy. I'll see ya." With that, Irvine walked out the door and closed it behind him.

It didn't take Squall but a moment to realize the purpose of this visit, and the things left unsaid.

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