Previously on “Midnight Movie Club” – Four college students cross paths at the beginning of their freshman year at Farragut College; military brat and film lover Julie Wyndham, laid back musician Cole Scales, modern-day flower child Eleanor Freeman, and kind and outgoing Alexander de’Armound.
The pressure of midterms leads to a variety of carnal activities among the students of Farragut College – Alexander hooking up with Karen Zielinski over the final score of a Major League Soccer playoff game, Cole’s study partner Lynn Reed using him for stress relief after their History of Jazz test, and Julie’s crush on junior Jaxon Oglesby, president of the Farragut Film Society, giving way to a heated, intense sexual encounter that only leaves her craving more.
Upon returning to her dorm room, Julie and Eleanor are drifting off to sleep when Julie mentions her potential idea to belatedly celebrate Halloween – a late-night double-feature…
X X X X X
The faint aroma of garlic and fried vegetables lingered in the dorm room as Eleanor stepped back inside after disposing of the remnants of their Chinese takeout. “Thank you for keeping your promise for lunch,” she told her roommate.
“I wasn’t fulfilling a promise,” Julie countered. “I was honoring the deal we made last night. There is a difference. Deals are confirmed with handshakes. Promises are sealed by giving the three-fingered Scout salute.”
“Don’t tell me you were a Girl Scout too.”
Julie shook her head. “I moved around too often to make joining a troop worthwhile. What about you?”
“Nope,” Eleanor answered. “Growing up in the country with my family, I got all the Girl Scout-style training without having to sell cookies. With everything I know about camping and wilderness survival, I’d think I’d have a shot at becoming one of those Navy SEALs.”
“Perhaps.” Sitting at her desk, Julie smiled at her roommate. “But I don’t envision you as the sort to take orders from someone else.” Eleanor could feel the smirk that crossed her lips as a mental image of the intimate encounter with Beatrix the previous weekend flashed through her mind. “Now that we’ve finished enjoying our lunch we should open the windows,” Julie suggested, “and do our best to air out the room before the weather turns.”
“Definitely. Come sundown the temperature’s going to drop from 70 to 45 like it just saw a State Trooper. Let’s soak up that last bit of Indian Summer.” The scent of pine trees and lake water flowing through the newly opened windows momentarily pushed back the pungent remnants of their lunch. Underneath the burst of fresh air however, Eleanor detected the crisp smell of an incoming cold front. “Father Autumn’s on his way,” she said as she sat down in her chair. “And he’s got Grandfather Winter riding shotgun.”
“Do you think we’ll see snow anytime soon?”
Eleanor shrugged her shoulders. “Probably. The mountains got several inches of fresh snow just this past June. It’s why every time some smug prick wags their finger about ‘global warming’ I want to grab them by the collar and scream ‘climate change’ while shoving said finger straight up their ass.”
“So how did your Physics midterm go?”
“I think it went OK. I got hung up on one problem but it sounded like everyone else got hung up too. The professor said he’d post the scores Sunday evening. Hopefully, I can distract myself from the creeping sense of impending doom…”
“Hush.” Julie gave her friend a reassuring smile. “You studied dutifully and from what I observed you studied smart. Was I one to gamble I would place money on your grade being higher than you expect.”
Eleanor fought the urge to disagree. Instead, she tried to return Julie’s smile. “I will try not to misplace your optimism in me. Alright, so, change of topic. Talk to me about this double feature idea of yours.”
Turning her chair to better face her roommate, Julie began, “do you recall this past Wednesday when we were sitting in the cafeteria and I proposed a movie night for tomorrow evening? It would have been a moment before you and Alexander shoved off for his room to have sex?”
“I remember. The proposal,” Eleanor clarified, “not the sex. Although I remember the sex too…” After letting her thoughts drift away for a brief moment she shook her head. “Sorry. Go on.”
“When I made my proposal I was envisioning a single movie, horror-themed in celebration of Halloween, followed by the four of us possibly engaging in our usual post-viewing activities. However, after my conversation with Jaxon on Thursday night, I found my proposal…evolving.”
“In other words, you got hammered like a two-by-four, and getting laid isn’t a priority at the moment.”
An embarrassed grin was Julie’s reply. She ran her fingers along an earlobe, brushing back her black hair. “Before engaging in vigorous sexual intercourse with Jaxon…”
“Now you’re just bragging, girl.”
“…we briefly discussed Halloween movies. It Sakarya Escort wasn’t even a discussion so much as it was a few sentences in the larger framework of the overall conversation. Those words however were enough to bring about an eventual modification of my original proposal. I still wish to watch a horror movie, but I also wish to embrace some of the core DNA of the genre.”
Eleanor could sense the eagerness beginning to weave its way throughout Julie’s voice as she continued. “In the early days of cinema, it was rare for a movie to premiere at the same time across the country. There weren’t enough film reels to go around and crossing the country wasn’t as easy as it is today. A movie such as…High Noon seems appropriate for this discussion. High Noon would first open in the big cities. Once its run in the cinema was complete the studio or theater chain would send the film reel to another city for a run there. Eventually, the film would work its way to the smaller theaters. Imagine High Noon opening in Los Angeles in July of 1952. That same film reel might make its way to, say, San Diego come October. It wouldn’t make its way to a small town in New Mexico until the spring or summer of 1953.”
Eleanor nodded. “And having listened to you gush about films since the night we met, I’m guessing that you’re going to tell me horror movies were how theaters filled the gap between big movies.”
“Horror movies, science fiction movies, Westerns, and kung-fu movies in the ’70s.” Julie ticked off each genre on her fingers as she listed them. “All four kinds of movies could be made on a budget of next-to-nothing and shipped off on low-quality film stock. Or, they could be purchased on the cheap from a foreign market. The movies didn’t even have to be good. They just needed to fill the time. The entertainment choices in those days were the radio or three television channels. I imagine your grandparents would have no compunction choosing a movie such as THEM! over yet another episode of Leave it to Beaver.”
“Hell,” laughed Eleanor, “I’d pick Them and I don’t even know what it’s about.”
“No, not Them, THEM! You have to say it in capital letters and add the exclamation point at the end.”
“Close enough,” Julie smiled “Returning to my proposal, I present the horror movie marathons that AMC and Turner Movie Classics run during October as the final piece of the puzzle. They’re easy for the networks to show and convenient for viewers to watch, even if only as mere background noise.” She lightly clapped the tips of her fingers together with a uniquely hollow sound. “The conclusion I came to is that if we’re going to watch a movie on, or in this case near, Halloween there should be a certain uniqueness to the experience. Hence, the double feature.” Julie clasped her hands together. She leaned her chin against them as she looked at Eleanor. “What do you think?”
“You had me at ‘double feature,'” replied Eleanor. “I love the history lesson and your chain of supporting evidence, but remember, you’re the President of the Midnight Movie Club. You don’t have to make a case or anything. When it comes to movies, we pretty much follow your lead…”
Eleanor frowned as Julie’s eyes dropped to the floor. “I…I don’t want to be arbitrary,” she said quietly. “I see the MMC as a group effort…”
“Sweetie, I wasn’t trying to put you down.” Eleanor slid her chair across the carpet and took Julie’s hands in hers. “What I was trying to say is…you know movies. We trust your judgment. If anyone else…if God, Mother Nature, Buddha, and Ricky Gervais were members of a Joint Council on Movies and told me to watch Hard Ticket to Hawaii I’d still double-check with you first.” She gave her roommate’s hands a reassuring squeeze. “You light up when you talk about movies, like how Cole does when he talks about music or Alexander gushing about soccer. The way you talk, not just what you say but how you say it, it makes me want to listen. Not passive nodding-my-head-waiting-for-my-turn-to-talk listening, but active I-want-to-hear-more listening. With me?”
“I’m with you,” Julie nodded. “I’m just wary of being known as the weird girl who talks about movies all the time.”
“At worst you’d be known as the cool-ass girl who talks about movies all the time.”
Julie’s body shook as she chuckled. “You overestimate my capacity for social interaction.”
“It’s college. Just one more thing to learn. Alright.” Eleanor leaned back in her chair after letting go of Julie’s hands. “A double-feature meeting of the Midnight Movie Club. I like it. You know,” she said while tapping her finger against her lips, “we should go a little more all-in tomorrow night. Popcorn, candy, drinks, the works. We can hit the dollar store in town and pick up a bunch of cheap snacks while pretending we overpaid for them.”
“If that’s your wish, then we may need to open up a concession stand,” answered Julie. “There’s one other Sakarya Escort Bayan section to my proposal that I haven’t yet mentioned. Namely, that we invite other students to join us for the double feature.”
“Other students? You want to expand the club?”
“No. The double-feature will not be an official meeting of the Midnight Movie Club. Rather, think of it as an opportunity to formally expand our social circle by inviting some of the people we’ve met here at Farragut over the past two months by hosting a movie viewing.”
“Oh!” Eleanor nodded, her eyes wide in understanding. “That’s a great idea! I can think of several people I’d love to invite. They’re cool and I think you’d guys would like them.”
“I have several individuals in mind as well.”
“And is one of them Jaxon,” Eleanor inquired with a waggle of her eyebrows.
“Yes. Although I would be inviting him solely as a friend and colleague. After last night, I’m allowing my lower body a day or two of rest.”
“Seriously? Julie, if the sex was that good, just…I mean, you’re a jogger. I’m sure you know how to take care of a sore body to get yourself back up and running.”
“I don’t believe one could apply the concept of ‘Rest, Ice, Compress, Elevate’ to their vagina. Is there anyone you have in mind to extend an invitation to?”
“I can think of…three people,” Eleanor said after a moment. “Four, maybe…wait…assuming you invite Jaxon and Cole and Alexander each invite somebody…even if all of us just invited one person that’s eight people crammed into one dorm room. That’s not gonna fly.”
Julie shook her head. “We wouldn’t be having the double feature in our room. We would be having it over in the student union, in the television lounge to be specific.”
Eleanor blinked in surprise. “We can do that? Don’t you need to sign up in advance or something?”
“I’ve observed our fellow students changing the channel on what seems to be a walk-in basis. Getting one of the high-end media rooms requires prior notice, but the student lounge in the basement appears to operate on a ‘finders keepers’ system. The television is of a recent make so Chromecasting from my smartpad or laptop shouldn’t be an issue.”
“We just have to be on the lookout for party foulers.” Eleanor motioned over her shoulder. “Our next-door neighbor would throw a fit if she saw us watching a horror movie in public. And the way Murphy’s Law works, Tricia would just happen to be in the student union on a Saturday night and walk past the lounge the very instant there’s a large amount of blood and guts on the screen. Or worse, she’ll peek in at the exact moment some bimbo flashes their tits.”
“I promise, we won’t be watching anything along the lines of Hostel or Re-Animator. In fact,” Julie added, “the two movies I have in mind are relatively tame even for horror movies.”
“Cool. Well, I guess I only have one question then. What movies are we going to watch?”
X X X X X
Eleanor took a deep breath at the sound of the voice. She made an active effort to relax her shoulders and unclench her fingers. She managed to work up a thin smile she hoped was friendly by the time the door opened. “Oh,” a severe voice proclaimed. “It’s you.”
“Hey, Tricia. Is Beatrix in by any chance?”
The regal young woman narrowed her eyes briefly at Eleanor’s question. “She is.” Tricia stepped to one side and motioned with her hand. The faint smell of lilacs brushed against Eleanor’s nose as she stepped past Tricia through the doorway. The right side of the room was bare of any personal items save for a simple wooden cross hanging above the headboard of the bed, a portrait frame standing on the nightstand, and an open laptop on the desk. A bird-shaped suncatcher hung in the window on the left side of the room, painting a portion of the room in a bright, colorful hue. Between the desk and the shared dresser was a brown three-level bookshelf neatly packed with a variety of textbooks and paperbacks.
“Beatrix,” Tricia said icily as she closed the door. “You have a visitor.”
Sitting at her desk, Beatrix looked up from the book she was reading. The pale-skinned, light-haired blonde smiled as she saw her guest. “Hello Eleanor,” she said, closing the book. “How are you faring?”
“Middling to fair,” answered Eleanor, inadvertently imitating Cole for a moment. “Yourself?”
“I am decompressing.” Beatrix motioned to her roommate who was now sitting down in front of the laptop. “Tricia and I both took our last midterm less than an hour ago. We both agreed that tonight would be a quiet evening of self-reflection and relaxation.”
“Oh! I’m sorry.” Eleanor lightly clasped her hand over her mouth. “I didn’t mean to disturb you.”
“Politely knocking on the door is far from a disturbance,” Beatrix answered.
Tricia didn’t look up from her laptop as she added, “knocking repeatedly on the wall, however.” Escort Sakarya
Eleanor glanced at Beatrix. The pale student raised an eyebrow. “In Eleanor’s defense, the disturbances have been less frequent and more muffled. To which I thank you. And I’m sure my erstwhile roommate does as well, does she not?”
A shallow sigh escaped from Tricia. After taking a deep breath that almost caused her body to rise from her chair, she gave a swift, short, sharp nod. “Yes. Thank you, Eleanor, for making the effort to downplay the sounds of your carnal proclivities. So what brings you over here this evening?”
“I wanted to extend an invitation,” Eleanor said as she clasped her hands in front of her chest. “To both of you. Julie and I are going to watch some movies over in the student union tomorrow night and you two are specifically invited.”
“Why the student union,” inquired Beatrix. “Normally you hold your movie nights in your dorm room. Are you expanding your erotic interests into exhibitionism?”
Tricia spun around in her chair. “Beatrix,” she proclaimed alarmedly.
“Considering what we’ve heard from next door, I believe it’s a valid question.” Beatrix looked at Eleanor with the purest of faux innocence. “Well?”
“No! No, nothing like that,” Eleanor responded. Tricia’s glare was turned in her direction now, while the faintest hint of a smirk touched Beatrix’s lips. “Since we really didn’t get to celebrate Halloween this year due to midterms Julie had the idea for late-night double-feature where we invite some of the new people we’ve met so far.”
“I guess then you’ll be watching horror movies,” Tricia sniffed.
Eleanor nodded in confirmation. “Yeah. The original Halloween from the ’70s and the Halloween that came out a few years ago.”
Tricia took another deep breath. Eleanor prepared herself for the barrage of fundamentalism to come her way. Instead, Tricia exhaled before quickly shaking her head. “No thank you,” she said firmly. “I appreciate your invitation, however, I don’t accept it. Blood and sex are not how I wish to spend my Saturday evening.” With that, Tricia turned back to her laptop.
“I, on the other hand, both appreciate and accept your invitation.” Beatrix smiled at Eleanor. “What time will the showing commence?”
“8 o’clock in the student lounge over in the union. We’ll have popcorn, candy, soda, all cheap stuff from the dollar store.”
“Are we allowed to bring our own snacks into the theater,” Beatrix teased.
“I’ll have to check with the manager,” Eleanor laughed, “however that shouldn’t be a problem. So, what are your plans for decompressing tonight?”
Beatrix held up the hardcover book that had been sitting on her desk. “After reading solely for academia during the past two weeks, I plan to spend the evening reading for pleasure, courtesy of a lurid crime thriller.”
“Cool.” After a moment, Eleanor looked over at Tricia. She was sitting ramrod straight in her chair, fingers clicking away at the keyboard of her laptop. “How about you, Tricia,” she ventured. “How are you going to destress?”
“By surfing the Internet,” Tricia answered crisply. “I plan to spend the evening going back and forth between Reddit and Imgur to see what interests me.”
“Oh. Good luck navigating those minefields,” Eleanor said. “You’re a braver woman than I am.”
Eleanor thought she caught a smile brushing against the corner of Tricia’s mouth. “It isn’t so bad if you know how to tread carefully through said minefields. Or when the best time is to set a mine off.”
“Still, my ‘good luck’ stands. And you’re more than welcome to join us tomorrow night if you change your mind.” Eleanor sketched a half-wave to Tricia before turning to give a full one to Beatrix. “See you at the show.”
“I’ll walk you out,” Beatrix said, standing up from her chair. Tricia didn’t look away from her screen as Beatrix opened the door. “Please tell Julie that I approve of her idea,” she told Eleanor while following her out into the hallway. “I haven’t yet had an opportunity to truly meet your roommate. I’m looking forward to it.”
“You two have been ships passing in the night,” Eleanor responded while Beatrix pulled the door closed behind her, “and I think Julie…”
Eleanor’s sentence was cut off when Beatrix suddenly pushed her backward. Before Eleanor could react the pale freshman was pinning her against the cinderblock wall. Her body pressed against Eleanor’s as she kissed her hungrily. Overcome with shock, it took a moment for Eleanor to realize that Beatrix had also grabbed her wrists to help keep her in place. Instead of fighting back, however, Eleanor set her foot flat against the wall and pushed back against Beatrix. She did her best to drive her tongue into Beatrix’s mouth and was rewarded by Beatrix redoubling her own efforts. A flash of heat rolled through Eleanor for a brief moment as the two women willingly struggled against one another before Beatrix broke off, freeing Eleanor from her temporary entrapment. Panting intensely, Eleanor recovered her mental faculties in time to see Beatrix, a thin smile on her face, open her door. “I will see you tomorrow at 8 PM, Eleanor,” she said in a quietly cheerful tone before stepping back inside of her room.