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The Problem with Lena

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Summary

Lena knows all the right moves on the soccer field, but when it comes to matters of the heart, she's adrift in a sea of doubts. Enter Alex, the captivating enigma who sends her heart into a tailspin. Determined to win his heart, Lena hatches a daring plan. With her friends' help, she seeks the ultimate teacher in the art of seduction to capture the attention of the most popular guy in town. But as sparks fly and emotions intensify, Lena finds herself on an exhilarating roller-coaster ride of love and self-discovery. Can her lessons in love really tame the wild heart of Alex? Buckle up for a breathtaking ride filled with laughter, butterflies, and an intoxicating romance. Just a word of caution: this novel might leave you with a heart that beats for a captivating character you'll never forget!

Genre:
Romance / Erotica
Author:
Beca Aberdeen
Status:
Ongoing
Chapters:
4
Rating:
n/a
Age Rating:
18+

Chapter 1

“Awesome, Lena,” I muttered to myself with a hint of irony. “You need therapy just to handle therapy.”

That’s the conclusion I came to while standing in front of the school psychologist’s office. Not lurking near the entrance to catch him in action with his last patient, but strategically positioning myself six feet away, my back pressed against the fire escape door. It hit me like a ton of bricks—I was scared to death of going to therapy. Sitting face-to-face with a complete stranger, baring my soul while they analyzed every broken piece of me. Just thinking about it made me queasy.

I walked in there with a solid determination to fix my insecurities, but as soon as I stepped into the waiting room, doubts crept in. What would he think of me when he noticed my quivering voice and nerves? He’d probably peg me as a weirdo, someone with serious issues, but isn’t that the whole point of seeking therapy? Everyone else talking to their shrink seemed like a walk in the park, just like going to the doctor for a common cold. But when it came to me, I felt like there was something fundamentally flawed in my core. What if it was true? What if the therapist pointed a finger and said something along the lines of, “You’re a lost cause, Lena. No fixing you”? That would shatter any fantasy of being normal.

Way too much to handle.

I slipped away, retreating to the fire escape landing, and let the door click shut behind me.

A heavy sigh escaped my lips as I made a promise—I’d face it later. When I felt stronger. Clinging to that notion like a lifeline, it comforted me. It wasn’t all that bad, right? I didn’t suffer from anorexia or carve my legs like those girls in the movies. Sure, I was insecure, but who wasn’t in the chaotic realm of adolescence?

As I descended the stairs, Alex’s image flickered in my mind. It’d be incredible to conquer my insecurities and emerge bolder, a side effect of therapy. Maybe then I’d know how to captivate the new guy. Oh, Alex had been the “new guy” last year, fresh off the plane from Brazil, setting the entire school’s hormones on fire. But now, we couldn’t simply call him “new” anymore. We needed a nickname, like “the heartthrob,” “the hunk,” or “the smoldering Brazilian”... any of those would fit him like a glove.

“Perfect, Lena,” I muttered to myself with a hint of sarcasm. “You need therapy just to handle therapy.”

That’s the conclusion I reached while standing outside the school psychologist’s office. Not lurking near the entrance to catch him sneaking out with his last patient, but strategically positioning myself six feet away, back pressed against the fire escape door. It hit me like a ton of bricks—I was scared to death of going to therapy. Sitting face-to-face with a total stranger, spilling my guts while they analyzed every broken piece of me. Just the thought made my stomach churn.

I went in there with a rock-solid determination to work on my insecurities, but the moment I stepped into the waiting room, doubt flooded in. What would he think of me when he noticed my trembling voice and nerves? He’d probably peg me as a weirdo, someone with serious issues, but isn’t that the whole point of seeking therapy, right? Everyone else talking to their shrink seemed like a piece of cake, as simple as going to the doctor for a common cold. But when it came to me, I felt like there was something fundamentally flawed in my core. What if it was true? What if the therapist pointed a finger and said something like, “You’re a lost cause, Lena. There’s no fixing you”? That would shatter any fantasy of being normal.

Way too much to handle.

I slipped away, retreating to the fire escape landing, and let the door click shut behind me.

A heavy sigh escaped my lips as I made a promise—I’d face it later. When I felt stronger. Clinging to that notion like a lifeline, it comforted me. It wasn’t all that bad, right? I didn’t have anorexia or self-harm like those girls in the movies. Sure, I was insecure, but who wasn’t in the tumultuous realm of adolescence?

As I descended the stairs, Alex’s image flickered in my mind. It’d be incredible to conquer my insecurities and emerge bolder, as a side effect of therapy. Maybe then I’d know how to captivate the new guy. Oh, Alex had been the “new guy” last year, fresh off the plane from Brazil, setting the entire school’s hormones on fire. But now, we couldn’t simply call him “new” anymore. We needed a nickname, like “the heartthrob,” “the hunk,” or “the smoldering Brazilian”... any of those would fit him like a glove.

The next day, we survived the most mind-numbing exam in history, literally. Lauren and I left before the maximum time to complete the test was up. Neither of us liked to dwell on the questions. We were usually among the first to finish exams. If I knew it, I knew it; I rarely found inspiration after staring at blank pages for an hour.

We sat on the stairs, debating some of the answers while Lauren sifted through her notes. I didn’t bother doing the same. What was the point? Our fate was already sealed, and after so little sleep, trying to review my notes would take more energy than I had left.

“Damn, the Italian Renaissance and Baroque painting hit hard, Lena,” Toni exclaimed as he left the classroom. He leaned over and planted an exaggeratedly loud kiss on my forehead. The previous afternoon, I had assured them both in the library that Hodgkin would ask questions about those two topics. “How do you always manage to predict the exam questions?”

“It’s easy. You just have to pay attention to the topics that excite the professors,” I explained my method with the seriousness of a scientist, and I heard a laugh behind me. When I looked over my shoulder, it came from Alex. He was leaning against the stair railing, ankles crossed. He was wearing a plain white cotton shirt that on anyone else wouldn’t have been particularly interesting, but on him, it emphasized the golden hue of his summer skin and the athletic shape of his shoulders. He had nothing with him, no notes, no backpack, not even a simple pen, which was very typical of him. He was like a god walking the hallways with just the clothes on his back, refusing to be burdened with belongings like the rest of us mortals.

The look he gave me, even with a shadow of a smile, made me blush. I quickly turned around, giving him my back so he wouldn’t notice.

“Alex, long time no see,” I greeted him with feigned calm. “How was your summer?”

I felt his eyes fixed on the back of my neck, and the silence before his response felt like a real caress.

“Missing you.”

His words made my pulse race, even though I knew they didn’t mean anything. Flirting was his favorite pastime, and nature created guys like him for that. Breathe, Lena, there’s still a long school year ahead, I told myself. I usually managed to keep my composure in Alex’s presence, but it had been months since I last saw him. My defenses were down, and that’s why my heart was beating so fast.

Luckily, Toni saved me from having to respond.

“Alex, let’s go,” he said, checking the time on his phone’s screen. “I need to buy underwear.”

“Isn’t that something a man should do for himself?” Alex joked, crossing his arms.

“I need you to take me to Valley,” Toni insisted, frowning. “I told you before.”

“Garotas,” Alex said goodbye in Portuguese. I had no idea what it meant, but it sounded warm and sensual on his lips.

They walked away down the hallway, and I sighed as I admired how well his jeans fit certain parts of his anatomy.

“Did you fall asleep?” Lauren asked Alisa, who was leaning against the wall with her eyes closed.

“I think she’s meditating,” I chimed in.

Alisa hissed.

“I’m imagining those two trying on underwear.”

“Eww... What stores let you try on underwear?” Lauren worried.

“My sexual fantasies don’t need a solid plot, okay?” Alisa replied. “They’re like porn.”

I laughed and got up from the stairs, remembering that sitting on a cold floor had given me a urinary tract infection on some occasions.

“Hey, how about we have pancakes for a snack?” Lauren suggested excitedly while we got moving. She was always obsessed with pancakes.

“I prefer spying on Alex and Toni at the mall,” Alisa objected. “Much healthier.”

Lauren huffed. She wasn’t worried about counting calories like Alisa and I. With her six feet tall and her build, she couldn’t care less about the number on the scale. She had long, blonde hair that reached her waist, blue eyes, rosy skin, and an adorable look like a Dutch farmer. I could picture her wearing a full-length tricolor skirt, two braids, and clogs.

“I’ll agree to have pancakes if we walk there,” I suggested with Swiss neutrality.

Lauren rolled her eyes.

“Why did I end up with sporty friends?” she complained to herself. She was wearing sandals with a little heel, which I guessed was the reason she refused to take a walk.

It wasn’t a problem for me. I never wore anything other than sneakers. Maybe that’s why guys tended to see me more as one of the guys than as a woman.

“Missing you

Yeah, I was damn sure Alex Fabri missed the hell outta me all summer long. Bet he thought of my existence in between all those parties, joints, and damn flowers.

The problem with a hot guy flirting with you was that, even if you knew it meant jack to him, you couldn’t get rid of the memories. Your treacherous brain just kept bugging you, replaying the scene over and over again.

From a scientific standpoint—or, well, my very own version—this is what happened in a girl’s body after being hit by a hottie’s provocative words:

My brain: It’s on! Lena, get yourself some.

Me: Shut it! Can’t you see he’s gonna break my heart?

My heart: Don’t blame me, girl. I only come alive when I see Mr. Fabri. Or when you have those dreams of freefalling.

Me: Yeah, easy for you to say now...

My vagina: Ladies and gents, we’re open for business.

Me: Watch it... don’t get involved.

My vagina: That’s right, Lena... keep pretending I ain’t here.

Alright, maybe not the most scientifically accurate explanation, but it’s my damn truth.

Those pancakes tasted triple amazing ’cause I just kicked an exam’s ass. The school year felt like a fresh start, and the afternoon heat had me in that summer vacation mode.

I scraped every bit of Nutella off that plate as Alisa shared her cat’s progress. Few months ago, that furball had been diagnosed with a heart issue, and things looked grim. But some pills and dietary changes worked wonders for Botón’s recovery. She named him that ’cause his nose was so darn squished, it looked like a button.

After a brief moment of silence, Alisa switched gears with her news anchor voice.

“Oh, and speaking of news, Lena’s birthday. Next week, right? What’s the plan?”

“To die?” I said with a dramatic flair.

“That sounds fun. Tell us more,” Lauren quipped, raising an eyebrow.

“A bit too early to hate birthdays, ain’t it?” Lauren chimed in.

I sighed, playing with a crumpled napkin on the table. She was the last of my close friends turning eighteen, and while it was a big deal for everyone else, officially becoming an adult, I had something else on my mind for the past month.

Leaning in a bit, I whispered to them, “Do you think there are people in our class who haven’t... y’know, done... uh, I mean, who’re still virgins?” Embarrassed as hell.

My friends seemed to expect something juicier, and they relaxed.

“Oh, Lena... why worry about that? Who gives a damn about your age when you lose it?” Lauren made a face.

Whispering even quieter, I looked around, paranoid as hell, “Honey, you can lose it whenever you damn well please,” Alisa reminded discreetly.

And that’s the issue. I ain’t even close to taking that step. The guys around me ain’t inspiring enough to picture it with them. I got crushes on celebs who’re way outta my league. Well, except Alex, but I got more chance with Shawn Mendes than with him, and Mendes lives on another damn continent, and he ain’t even aware I exist.

“I’m a failure when it comes to sex,” I muttered dramatically.

Alisa and Lauren chuckled at my theatrics.

It ain’t just about sex. I ain’t even kissed many guys with tongues. My experience hours are barely filled. So much I don’t know. During my teens, it didn’t bother me, but suddenly, boom, in a few days, I’ll be eighteen with the experience of a twelve-year-old. Weird, ain’t it? And I already feel different enough without having to add that to my resume.

“I’m a sexual recluse,” I murmured dramatically.

The girls laughed.

“In some cultures, purity is seen as a positive trait in women,” Alisa suggested, trying to console me.

“Yeah, I wish I lived in one of those places,” I pouted.

“Don’t say that; the misogyny in those places... you wouldn’t wanna live there.” Lauren waved her hands in horror.

“What ’bout Alex?” Alisa suggested, like it’s the idea of the century. Like every girl between thirteen and the cemetery hasn’t thought the same damn thing.

“What ’bout the Pope?” I mocked, faking excitement. “What’s the Vatican’s number?”

Alisa laughed, catching my sarcasm to the tee.

“I don’t think it’s far-fetched. He missed you all summer,” she said with a suggestive tone.

A tingling sensation hit my stomach at the reminder.

“Yeah... what was that comment about?” Lauren asked, squinting her eyes.

“He was just flirting,” I cut them off before they planned my wedding. “That’s what Alex does—flirt with anything that moves ’cause that’s how guys like him spread happiness in the world.”

“He hasn’t said anything to me,” Alisa insisted, tilting her head. She looked at Lauren. “Has he said anything to you about missing you during the summer?”

“Nope,” Lauren supported her.

I rolled my eyes and sighed.

“We gotta get out there more,” I chimed in, trying to shift the focus from impossible scenarios to something more down-to-earth. “There’s gotta be some guy on this planet or maybe even in the whole damn solar system (no need to limit ourselves) who could be into me and vice versa, right? I mean, that’s how we all come into this world, right?”

“Yep, that’s the universal truth,” Alisa agreed, nodding.

“Millions of years of human evolution gotta mean there’s hope, even for someone like me,” I muttered.

Lauren frowned and pointed at me, “See, that’s the thing. Why do you say ‘even for someone like you’? Like you’re some kind of damaged goods. Girl, you’re gorgeous, smart, and funny, even if you don’t see it. We all got that inner insecurity, Lena, but you don’t have to let it control you, you know?”

Alisa chimed in, “That voice is one hell of a nasty bitch.”

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