Too Close For Comfort
I really wanted to have something on this acc, at least. This is the first part of a kinda long story I have planned out that I will hopefully get around to doing more for. It’s pretty hasty and mostly character setup - apologies for any spelling or grammar mistakes. Hope you enjoy!
The first thing I saw when I arrived for move-in day at Bramhall University - the first thing everyone saw, I’m sure - was the display set up on a lawn beside the main gates. It seemed to be pretty casual - a couple of beefy-looking older students were playing volleyball, and a few others with similar builds lounged on grass or chairs in the same area. What stood out, though, were the signs. Right next to the road stretched a banner, bright red, that shouted “JOIN EPSIE ALPHA TAU… ONE WAY OR ANOTHER”. Around it, staked into the ground or propped against coolers or chairs, were more; “FRESH MEAT THIS WAY”, “CAMPUS FOOD NEVER LOOKED SO GOOD”, and one that simply read “YOU SIGNED UP FOR THIS”. In the midst of all of it sat a few boys, each with a prominent, rounded gut - one of them still seemingly twitching with the final movements of whomever was unlucky enough to be trapped in it.
Me and Nate both watched as the frat boy whose gut was moving pounded his chest and let out a long belch. From where we were in the car, we could barely hear it, but I knew what it meant. Nate let out a chuckle as the stomach stilled.
“I don’t remember them being so flashy.” He turned his eyes back to the road as the line moved forwards.
“What, no signs at the entrance in your day?”
“They used to be more about reputation, not intimidation.”
“I don’t know,” I said. I watched as the frat boy belched again, coughing up a snapback in the process. He grinned and slapped it down on his neighbor’s head. “Their reputation is still pretty strong.”
The line pulled forward again, and the Epsie Alpha Tau display disappeared from sight. “I mean, you’ve definitely still gotta watch out for the Epsies, Carter. They go through freshmen like they’re candy. Top of the food chain, even among the other pred frats.”
“How did you make it through?” I looked over at Nate. He had graduated from Bramhall University five years before me, which was an achievement in itself. College campuses functioned a lot like proving grounds, or buffets, depending on who you were. Rules and limits were theoretical more than anything, and if you made it to graduation, you’d get a degree as well as a level of respect from other established preds. A school with large pred frats like Bramhall upped both the danger and the reward at the end of the tunnel.
“I had already eaten my first prey by the time I was in college. I could hold my own. Unlike some people.” Now, Nate was looking at me. I was acutely aware of how thin my frame looked next to the meaty arms, chest, and gut that strained his t-shirt - all signs of an active pred.
“Look, I’ll probably down someone at an opening-week party, okay? You can stop bringing it up.”
“You better, otherwise you’re gonna be someone’s waistline by week three. Hell, you probably still will be. There’s a lot of guys who have got a taste for that big gut you get after your first prey.”
“Way to support your little brother.”
Nate half-shrugged. “I’m just being realistic. That’s why you should’ve eaten someone over the summer, you could’ve worked that belly down. And I wouldn’t have eaten you.” He considered. “Probably.”
“I’m just gonna keep my head low, okay? Blend in.”
We finally pulled into the parking lot and Nate clapped me roughly on the shoulder. “That’s probably your best chance. Hey, you make it to winter break, I’ll split the Ricci twins from down the street with you. Call them a holiday meal.”
It seemed like a perfect plan. We unloaded the car, figured out the room assignments, and headed up to unpack. I hadn’t had any interaction with my roommates yet, so I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, except for the fact we had a three-person dorm. We were on the top floor - a prime place to avoid any action that might happen in the stairwells - and far enough back that I felt safe from an accidental drunken encounter with a hungry hallmate. All things considered, it was a good spot to lay low.
I keyed into the door, hoping for an empty room. Picking a prime bed and desk were part of the plan, too, but that was dashed by the sight of a few suitcases and bags already thrown around the place. Shit, I thought, then tried to put on a friendly face as I turned to face my roommates.
Or rather, roommate. Lounging on the one already-made bed was a hulking guy about my age. I felt a twist of nervousness settle in my gut as I looked at him; he was honestly bigger than Nate, with thickset shoulders and a barrel of a chest. What stood out, though, was his gut. He was laying on his back, surfing his phone, and rising up from his waist was a dome of thick bellyfat. He wasn’t even trying to cover it with his shirt, instead leaving the cloth pulled up to his pecs. He glanced over at me; if I wasn’t so nervous, I probably would have found him cute. The circumstances made that pretty hard, though. He was one of the most predatory guys I had ever seen.
“Hey,” he said. “You the third roomie?”
I heard Nate step into the room behind me and I knew he could sense the guy’s nature too. “Yeah, I think so. Is the second already here?”
The guy on the bed grinned. “Good news, actually. This is a two-person room now.” He pushed himself up into a sitting position, and his gut sloshed and ballooned out into his lap. “Second guy came by earlier. This is his bed, actually.” He held up the phone he had been scrolling through. “His phone, too.” He stifled a belch and let his hand fall onto the upper curve of his gut. “And this is him. And his dad, actually. They’re probably… eh, soup by now. Tasty stuff.”
“Well, that’s good, Carter,” Nate said. “More room for the two of you.”
“Yeah, I’m just gonna take his bed, cuz it’s already made. You can have either of the others.”
I laid my bags down on the bed furthest from his. Nate stepped towards the roommate, out of reach but close enough to talk. “So,” he said nonchalantly, “You still planning on eating more today?”
He considered it. “Nah,” he said. “These two were both pretty chunky, and I still wanna enjoy digestin’ them. And he -“ here he pointed towards me - “isn’t really my type. You, on the other hand…”
Nate laughed. “Bold. I can get behind that. I take that to mean I’m safe for now, though?”
“When are you gonna come back to visit? I can just down you then.”
I stayed silent. This was exactly the kind of conversation I wanted to avoid; two preds sizing each other up, playing cat and mouse. Nate reached out and grabbed a handful of the roommate’s gut.
“Seems like this thing’s gonna claim its share of guys this year.” He looked over at me. “Carter, I’ll be excited to come back and see how many inches you add to him.”
The roommate reached out, almost lazily, and grabbed Nate’s gut, too. “When you do, I hope there’ll be more of this for me to digest.”
I looked at them incredulously. ‘What?” Nate said. “I told you, gotta be realistic. This is what I was talking about.” He looked back at the guy on the bed. “Nate Torres,” he said. “That’s my brother, Carter.”
“Wyatt Boyan. Pleasure to meet you.”
Nate stepped back. “Well, seems like you two will get along. I’m gonna head out before Wyatt here changes his mind.” He walked over to me. “Look at you, pred roommate and everything. Good luck, bro. Try and fatten up for him a bit. I want him to be nice and thick when I get my hands on him.” He smiled back at Wyatt and closed the door.
The silence was as thick as the soup in Wyatt’s swollen gut before he spoke. “Nice brother you got.”
“Yeah, well, I didn’t think I’d get sold out like that.”
Wyatt chuckled. “Don’t worry, that’s just pred talk. And I can tell you aren’t a pred.”
“Is that gonna be an… issue?”
“Nah. I don’t go for skinny meals. Your brother’s much more my type.”
“You can have him,” I grumbled. “Bastard.”
“Well,” he said with a yawn, “invite him back and I’ll do that. For now, I’m gonna sleep these two off. Don’t wake me up or I might find an appetite for a scrawny guy like you.” He laid back, gut sloshing, and closed his eyes.
I started unpacking my bags, slowly. This was not how I wanted the year to start. The plan was going to have to change.
By the time the evening fell, Wyatt’s gut had made a sizable dent in its contents. He woke up, bleary-eyed, and pulled his shirt down over his pot belly. I had long ago set up my corner of the room, and I watched him warily.
“I’m gonna head out,” he said. “I heard there’s some early frat shit going down, and I wanna get in a good word.” He stopped and considered me. “If you don’t wanna become someone’s dinner, don’t go out tonight.”
I ignored the comment. “Where are you rushing?”
“Epsie Alpha Tau,” he said. “I’ve got the appetite for it.” He sauntered out the door, letting it close on its own behind him.
I groaned and laid back on my bed. Of course he had to be an Epsie. I was gonna be lucky to make it out of orientation week.