‘Tis the Season…for Luv <3 

Tags: #columbiauniversityau #collegeau #holidayromance #yn #youngminouche #ageappropriateromance 

It was a chilly morning on Columbia’s campus when you awoke in your twin XL bed. You turned over to see if your roommate was awake, but they were still asleep, snug in their dark blue blanket and matching pillow set. You hopped out of bed, throwing your hair in a messy bun (gender neutral) and shrugging out of your pjs. You quickly put on a simple, but weather-appropriate outfit: a striped long sleeve (thrifted), baggy jeans (90s JNCOs), a woolen sweater (also thrifted), and a puffer (North Face, because you were never flashy like those prep school kids who wore Canada Goose). As you brushed your teeth in the mirror, you thought about all the tasks you had to do today: phone in your lab report for experimental psych, lunch with your besties, and a study sesh with that gorgeous kid from your economics class you’ve been trying to get the courage to flirt with all year. They’re tall, funny, and oh-so-smart, but you’re so shy, and you haven’t yet gathered the courage to even ask them about their life outside class… 

But first, breakfast! You quietly closed the door, leaving your roommate’s crude snores behind as you pattered down the hallway, 15 flights of stairs (the elevator was broken like usual), and into the cold. You tightened your handwoven scarf around your neck as you made your way to John Jay for breakfast. You swiped in, and loaded up your plate with the usual delicacies: a bagel toasted and topped with guacamole and cream cheese, mixed fruit, and a cup of oatmeal. As you looked around for a place to sit, you noticed your friends Leslie and Roar-ee already eating at one of the circular tables in the grand dining room. 

“Y/N!” they called out, motioning you over. 

“Hey guys!” you said cheerfully, pulling up a chair. 

“Mmm, looks delicious,” Roar-ee said, his mouth full of three-egg omelet (he’s a student athlete). “What’s up, buttercup?” 

You shrugged. “Just the usual. Lab, lunch with Lee and Mary, studying with Sian…”

“Sian?!” Leslie exclaimed. “The one you’ve had the hots for all semester long?” 

“Sshhh!” you laughed, shushing her in between bites of guacamole bagel. “It’s not that big of a deal. Plus, they could be in here!” 

Your two friends oh-so-subtly (that is, not subtly at all) turned their heads to scan the dining hall, then leaned in closer. 

“Not here…” Leslie whispered with a smirk.

 “So, Y/N, are you going to jump their bones in the stacks or what?” James asked with a grin. 

“Guys, stop!” You blushed. “It’s just a study sesh, nothing serious.” 

“Whatever you say, Y/N,” Roar-ee grinned, stacking up his silverware. “I gotta head to class.” 

“Me too,” said Leslie. “Catch you later, Y/N! Let us know how it goes.” She left with a parting eyebrow wag, and you sighed. Sure, a kiss under the Butler mistletoe wouldn’t be so bad, but you barely knew Sian, and you definitely didn’t know how they felt about you. Maybe sticking to your shy persona was for the best. After all, you had (emotional) walls. 

With your silverware in the bin and your plates on the proper tray, you began your ascent to Havemeyer, where your psych lab was located. You were so busy daydreaming about your soon-to-be-maybe-date with Sian that you didn’t notice a block of ice in your path, and as you climbed up Low Steps, you slipped and found yourself flat on your back! 

“Ow!” you cried out delicately. Where’s Captain Bayonne when you need him? You tried to lift yourself up, but you had crushed your arm in your fall, and it really hurt. Wincing, you turned your head only to meet the stormy brown eyes of your sworn enemy: Minouche Shafik. You and Minouche had hated each other since you were freshmen, as you had argued over dialectics in every one of your LitHum seminars. You had always been each other’s fiercest competition, constantly looking for weaknesses in the other’s academic prowess. You braced yourself, waiting for a trademark snarky remark at your expense. But when you raised your blue orbs to look at her brown ones, you saw something else. Concern? No, no, it couldn’t be…

Minouche knelt down. “Who did this to you?” she asked softly. 

“I… I..” you stammered. 

“Doesn’t matter.” she said, not unkindly. “Let’s get you up.” With surprising strength for her small stature, she lifted you up and put an arm around your waist as you hobbled up the rest of the stairs. You felt a warm and tingly sensation where her hand met your side, and suddenly, all thoughts of Sian seemed far, far away….