It really was cold outside. That was the first thing Samantha noticed as she stepped out onto the roof. The second came a few minutes later, after she had gotten settled on top of the tower and dangled her legs dangerously over the edge. Fighting for a distraction, a moment of clarity in her messy, drama filled head, she peered around until she spotted a boy sitting on the rooftop over.
Samantha Earhart was a sophomore with blonde hair and grey eyes, and she got off on the rush she felt whenever she flirted with death. It was a habit of hers, sneaking away from her sorority sisters whenever they became too much, and finding her freedom in the form of unforgiving winds and a long way down. She found herself on the roof of the sorority tower often, knees bent protectively into her chest, and breath lost somewhere in the atmosphere. She would sit there until the cold sank into her bones, fingers screaming hypothermia, and then she would give in and join the rest of society once more.
But no matter how many times she found herself on that roof, she had never before noticed someone else with the same bad habit. Maybe she was simply unobservant, or perhaps she just never cared enough to really look before, but she decided on the boy’s presence being new as far as she was concerned. One more PSU birthed oddity to add to the ever-growing list.
Fox Tower was a story shorter than the sorority tower, and it was #3 on Samantha’s list of oddities. Anyone with eyes could see how messy it was. The building itself was older and well-lived in, but the real threat came in the form of its inhabitants. A collection of lost things with a penchant for starting fires — usually metaphorical, but sometimes not. Exy had never been an interest of Samantha’s (sports had never been an interest of Samantha’s), but the Palmetto Foxes always did have a way of catching eyes. Living in the tower next to them was both a blessing and a curse. On one hand, you got front row seats to whatever mess they managed to get into next, but on the other, you had to deal with their brutal fights and a fair share of collateral damage. Whenever they succeeded in pissing off the Raven fans, Fox Tower wasn’t the only building painted in graffiti and misplaced threats.
However, as Samantha watched the boy ease himself to his feet and closer to the edge than humanly conceivable, she decided that the perks simply weren’t worth the misfortunes.
Without thinking, Samantha pulled out her phone and shot off a text to her not-really-ex-girlfriend and best friend Elisa Copley. Elisa was a childhood friend of hers, the source of a lot of her headaches, but no matter how pain-inducing the other girl could be, she was the only one under Samantha’s favorites.
To: whatever bitch
-- oh my god, im going to watch a man die
The reply was instantaneous.
From: whatever bitch
Samantha looked from the text back to the suicidal boy and didn’t bother to respond. She was too busy cataloging her options. She knew that she could always just walk away. She could turn on her heel, stick up her nose, and pretend like she had never seen anything. Once, maybe, she would have. But Samantha had stood by and watched one too many tragedies to let even her prickly attitude and molten interior get in the way this time. She debated which was more likely to respond first, suicide hotline or 911, and was halfway through typing the three numbers when the boy finally moved back from the edge and lit a smoke like nothing happened.
Samantha continued to watch him, waiting for him to lean forward, waiting for the wind to break as he fell, but he never did, and Samantha didn’t know what that meant. An oddity indeed. She watched as the boy sat back down, closer to the edge but far enough away to convince her he didn’t have a death-wish, and she felt her fingers move to cancel the call before realising she had even moved at all. Eventually the boy must have grown tired doing whatever it was that he was doing, and he turned and disappeared back into the building. Samantha didn’t move. For awhile she sat there, fighting the cold and staring at the empty space like it may give her an explanation if she looked hard enough. When nothing happened and she could still feel the sick clench of her heart in her chest, it was only the vibration from her phone that brought her back.
From: whatever bitch
-- uh… sam? what the fuck do you mean?
Samantha blinked once, then twice, and then shook her head clear before standing and dusting herself off. She didn’t know why she even cared.
To: whatever bitch
-- nvm, it was a false alarm. just a fox being a fox.
But even hours later, while she laid in her bed and stared at the ceiling above her, she couldn’t get the image of that odd boy out of her head.
Over the next few weeks Samantha continued to find herself on the roof, continued to test her limits, and continued to watch who she eventually discovered to be Andrew Minyard as he smoked and inched closer and closer to the edge.
Samantha knew of Andrew Minyard. Everyone at PSU knew of Andrew Minyard. Andrew was a walking time-bomb, ticking louder and louder by the day, and whenever he did explode the fall out was catastrophic. Samantha didn’t have to be into exy to know that. Even though half of everything she knew was based off of rumor, it was more than enough to keep her away.
Samantha thought that maybe everyone felt that way, because as the weeks went by she never saw anyone but Andrew sitting on that roof. Until one day, she did. The other boy walked out while Andrew was halfway through a cigarette, and she had no idea what they were saying, but the oddness of it was enough to keep her watching. Andrew continued to stare off into middle ground and the other boy stood there for what felt like forever. Eventually, Andrew handed over what Samantha presumed to be a cigarette, and they sat with their cigarettes lit and held a conversation that Samantha couldn’t hear.
Samantha really didn’t care. She had no reason to. She didn’t care about sports, she didn’t care about exy, she didn’t care about Andrew Minyard, and she definitely didn’t care about this new addition. But for as much as she didn’t care, she was nosy, and as the weird rooftop interactions increased in frequency, Samantha found herself as an outside observer.
For weeks nothing changed. Samantha would sit on the roof, legs over the edge, and sometimes the other boys would be there and sometimes they wouldn’t be. If they weren’t then Samantha would go back to dancing with the inevitable, and if they were then Samantha would eye them for awhile until she felt too much like a creeper and disappeared back inside. It seemed like the other two were friends, but when Elisa told her that the second boy was the new exy striker Neil Josten, she only wondered for a second how much money a secret video of them would get her. She may of been a little too invested in figuring out what they were doing, but she wasn’t a rat, and she refused to be one.
It wasn’t until weeks later that something new happened. Right when Samantha looked from the ground over to the tower, she saw Andrew throw Neil’s keys over the edge much like he had his earlier cigarette. For a second, they just continued to talk until Andrew turned away and Neil went back inside. Samantha looked down, trying to see if she could spot them, and huffed when she couldn’t. She only had a couple of minutes to wonder what the fuck happened, before Neil walked out of the building and grabbed his keys from the snow. Then, he hesitated before picking up something else. It was hard to make out from where Samantha was, but it sort of looked like a cigarette. When Neil looked back up, he put it to his mouth, and Samantha really wished she was able to make out their facial expressions, because she herself was lost. Andrew and Neil stood staring at each other, until Andrew turned and walked inside, and Neil dropped the cigarette back down and walked back into the building.
Samantha felt ruffled. She stayed at her perch on the roof, glancing between the ground below and the rooftop over, and tried to decide when her creepy people watching turned into a drama. Brows furrowed, she thought about everything she witnessed over the last month and a half, and everything she might’ve missed, and then decided it really didn’t matter. If Andrew Minyard and Neil Josten wanted to have a secret, avant garde relationship on rooftops, then that was their prerogative.
When Samantha finally walked back into her own tower, she decided that she was done with her rooftop escapades. Whatever Andrew and Neil had going on, it wasn’t any of her business, and she didn’t have the time in her day to care, anyway. As the door clanked shut behind her, she thought wistfully once more about how much money she could’ve made, and then walked down the stairs leading to the roof one final time.