Living With The Boys (Journey to Love, #1)

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05. Rumours

Hope’s POV

I can really get used to waking up like this, waking up next to an amazing guy for two days in a row. There’s nothing that I could complain about, my life is just getting better and better, unlike how it started and the middle.

I used to think those people telling me all the time that it gets better and that you just have to hang on and keep going were just speaking pure bullshit. Now I know that they’re speaking from experience, it might be a couple of months or years in fact but there is always light at the end of the tunnel.

A couple of months ago how could I have known that moving into this house would change my life in such a way. I was terrified of living in this house with 3 other guys because what girl wouldn’t be but this move has turned out to be the best thing to ever happen to me.

“I don’t know how we’re going to be sleeping together when you wake up so damn early.” Martin groans from beside me, burying his face deeper into the pillow and the arm he had thrown over my waist tightens.

“You’re always the one that is up early before any of us.” I reply as I have always thought that Martin is a morning person as he works out most mornings and then also in the afternoon.

“You have no idea how many days that has been me not going to sleep at all or the amount of alarms I have in the morning just to get up on time, I’m one of those people.” He mumbles and I have to smile at how everything he does is either cute or sexy, he really is the perfect guy.

Yet, a small part of me wishes that I am in my normal bed with another guy, which is not fair to Martin as I love him also but I’m probably just missing what’s familiar to me, with how many times I’ve had to adapt in my life I find constant things very comforting.

I don’t dare voice any of these thoughts and feelings out loud in case I hurt him, as that is the last thing I want to do. I must be feeling like this because of some other reason, not because I wish I was with Mike.

“Then I look forward to watching you struggle to wake up every day.” I tease him with a smile as I sit up on the bed, now that I’m fully awake I can’t wait to get out of bed and start the day; I guess an orgasm and a good nights sleep does that to you.

“You’re an evil woman.” He groans and turns away from me, I’m assuming to go back to sleep so I get out of bed, giving him one last kiss while I make my way to the door so I can go and wash up in the bathroom.

It seems as though everything that happens in this house now feels like a reflex because I don’t realise that I’m walking into my room until I’m hit with the familiar scent that is Mike, something that I had not noticed in the months that I have been sleeping and living here, yet when I have been away for just a single night I find myself noticing things that I never have before.

I have no idea what time it is or what I should expect when I walk inside my room but I guess a small part of me was thinking that like in a romantic movie I would find Mike in our bed, hugging my pillow tight to his body as if he wishes that I was there; I guess there is a hopeless romantic in me after all.

So that small part of me was really disappointed when I looked towards the bed and saw that it was neatly made and Mike was nowhere in sight. It might be quite late anyway and as my brain is still foggy from sleeping but I thought that Mike only has a class in the afternoon, the same time with me which is why we agreed to have lunch together but I could be wrong, I’m not known for my good memory but you can blame that on the countless times that I was dropped as kid.

“I though you were supposed to be having lunch with me?” I hear from behind me and I must have been really deep in my head not to notice that there was someone behind me, when you’ve had the kind of life I had you quickly learn to be extra sensitive to everything around you.

“What time is it?” I ask as I try not to focus on the way he is leaning against the door with his arms crossed over his chest, I should really think about anything other than how edible he looks right there.

“It’s almost 1pm and I have tutorial at 2, so I guess it’s going to be a rain check on the lunch?” He asks and looks disappointed in the fact even though he should probably be relieved that I overslept because I’m not going to forgive him very easily.

“You get to live another day.” I joke with a small smile on my face because even though I am still hurt by what he did, I know that I had no claim over him last week and the only reason I’m reacting so strongly is because of my own insecurities, but that doesn’t make any of this easier.

“I was really looking forward to lunch.” He says quietly and I notice the sad smile that was there yesterday when I went to Martin’s room, he must have really meant when he said that he would miss me sleeping with him.

“Wasn’t going to end well for you.” I reply honestly as I continue moving around the room, picking up a change of clothes so I can shower, what I came to do in the first place.

“That doesn’t matter, I still need to talk to you and I fear that putting it off will cause more problems between us.” He doesn’t look like he wants to joke and not for the first time I’m wondering why he is so serious, I mean look at Mark and Martin and they have completely different personalities, but I like that Mike is serious and deals with things right away. I just always thought that I was one of those people as well.

“There are no problems between us, I just need a little bit more time to get over some of my own insecurities. I had no claim over you when you slept with her and even now we have not made any promises to each other, despite how I feel about you.” I ramble on as I walk around the room, avoiding his gaze as I show him a very hurt and vulnerable side of me.

Even though I have been living with these guys for the past couple of months and I love them, we haven’t exactly had any deep talks and they don’t know everything about my past and why I had to move out or why I haven’t been ‘home’ since starting university. No matter who it is, I don’t like showing people the dark corners of my soul.

“You did have a claim over me, even if you didn’t know it then.” He replies as he steps into the room as I’m now trying to find some books and my pencil case, like I said anything so I don’t have to look directly at him. “I hate that I made you feel insecure.” He says quietly, somewhere very close behind me.

“Believe me, if wasn’t you who made me feel insecure.” I snap but quickly shut my mouth before I spill everything, now is not the time and we are definitely not at a place in our relationship for me to burden him with just how deep my insecurities lie.

“Looks like we have a lot of things to talk about.”

“I told you already, there is nothing to talk about and we’re going to be late for class if I don’t hop into the shower right now.” I reply and hope to stop where this conversation is heading as i already missed my classes this morning and I don’t want to completely waste the whole day, and then I have that dinner date tonight with Mark which I’m excited about.

“Fine, but we will talk more about this. Also you got an email that your classes this morning were cancelled as the lecturer couldn’t make it with all the strikes.” He concedes before grabbing his own bag and letting me have some privacy in the bathroom.

It feels surreal that it was only yesterday, right in this shower that I messed everything up but I have to look at the positive because if I think the way that I have been for the past couple of years then I’m going to drown, and this time I don’t think I will be able to swim back up to the surface.

However, as I have to get to my lecture and thinking this way has never helped me before. I have worked too damn hard to change the way I think and not have my feeling sabotage me but sometimes it feels like everything is stacked against me; but I know it’s my depression talking and I have to force myself to drive those thoughts away.

“You sure as hell take long ass showers, are we going to have to worry about our water bill tripling since you moved in?” says a voice from inside the bathroom and I jump a little, not noticing someone walking inside as this is Mike’s bathroom but of course I realise that its Mark but still not sure what he’s doing here.

“What are you doing in here? I haven’t been in here that long.” I reply as I since the shampoo out of my hair, not failing to notice how even though this is the first time we are doing something like this, I feel comfortable having him in the bathroom the same time as me.

“Martin is in the other one and I would rather be in the shower with you than him.” He replies and I can hear the water running, he must here to brush his teeth and do his morning routine, even though it’s nearing lunch.

“Well I had to wash my hands and remind you that it’s almost half past and you have a lecture at 2, like I said you can sometimes forget how much time you spend in the shower.” He jokes and I know he has turned off the water and I would not be surprised to see his head poke inside from somewhere.

“Thanks for letting me know and what are you doing here so late, don’t you have work today?” I ask because Thursdays are normally the days he has a full shift as it’s one of the days he has off from uni, he is a third year so has less contact hours than me but I’m sure that the workload is nothing compared to mine; I’m just getting started and already struggling.

“I took today off as I have been working overtime and I’m going to the library before our date tonight but I have some things to catch up on so I needed the time off.” He explains and not for the first time I can hear how tired these guys are as they work at the same time as trying to finish their degrees.

“What are we doing tonight?” I ask, trying hard not to sound too excited.

“What kind of first date would it be if there wasn’t a little mystery to it?” He jokes but I on the other hand am worried that he is working too hard and maybe going out might not the best thing. I don’t want him going out of his way to plan some elaborate date when just having the house to ourselves would be enough.

“I just wanna make sure that you’re not going to overdo it, I know that you’re tired and I really don’t mind if we just stay here and do something chill.” I say as I finish washing the shower gel off of my body and running my hands down my legs one last time to make sure that everything is smooth for tonight.

If anything, that might be the only real downside to living and being with these boys, now that it seems like there is going to be no slowing down for us in the bedroom, or whatever room we find ourselves in, I am going to have to shave almost every single day to keep up with them. Damn, it sometimes sucks being a woman.

“You don’t have to worry about me and if we stay here then it won’t be our date, and tonight I don’t wanna share you with the guys. They’ve both had their turns so now its mine, and you try getting those lazy asses out of the house long enough for us to have a proper date.” He replies and I hate to say it but what he is saying makes sense, we’re never going to be alone in this house, much less on such short notice.

I love spending time with all of them at once but I also don’t wanna hurt Mark because I have spent a lot of time with Mike and Martin; Mark deserves the same and anyway I love being around him because he’s always so relaxed and in a similar way like Mike he just makes me feel so safe and protected, something you never take for granted when you have felt the opposite.

“You’re right, so what time do you want me to be ready?” I ask as I turn the water off and grab a towel from the rack, tightly tying it around my body as I step out of the shower to finally get a good look at him.

“We should probably leave at 7 so be ready by then.” He smiles as me and that dimple that I love makes an appearance, making me once again question what he sees in me but I don’t complain as he leans forward and presses a chaste but sweet little kiss on my lips.

I’m so glad that he understand that I don’t want everything to be about sex all the time, I know that tonight is going to be amazing and now my whole body is buzzing with excitement as I mentally count down the hours until our date.

“I’ll see you later, gorgeous.” He winks at me as he walks out of the bathroom as if that one little kiss didn’t just take away all feeling in my legs.

For the next half an hour its like I am walking on clouds, in my head it all blurs together from me walking out of the bathroom to getting dressed and grabbing my notebook and pen for my lecture. Tying my wet hair in bun which I will dry tonight when I get ready for our date, not putting on any makeup as I don’t have the time and don’t really need to as I’m only going to class.

It seems like I don’t wake up until I see Lily waiting for me outside of the doors, always with that smile on her face and I find myself smiling back at her as I get closer to her and even though I have not known her for such a long time, I have become quite close to her and I can see myself being friends with her for years to come; which reminds me that I should really call my best friend and see how he’s settling in to medical school.

“What took you so long bitch? It’s not your job to be late, that’s mine.” She says loudly as soon as I am in talking distance, which to her I think is a little bit different than mine but its one of those things that’s sometimes annoying but as I am in a good mood right now, I find it cute.

“I only woke up at 1 and then I had to take a shower, which apparently means that I spend about half an hour in there. And it’s about time that you had to wait for me and not the other way around.” I quip back and it’s all harmless as Lily rolled her eyes at me and drags me inside.

The lecturer is not here yet even though it’s 2.05 but then again I wasn’t on time either so I can’t judge her. As it’s not the first week of December and we have finally got into the routine of starting university, there are of course less and less people coming to most lectures so as before we would have had to sit right at the back because there we no other seats, now the room is half empty and we have plenty of seats to choose from.

“Did you read the chapter we were supposed to for this module?” Asks Lily as we settle in our seats which are around the middle but it’s really weird how people either chose to sit right at the front or the back, rarely the middle.

“No, I didn’t have time to and to be honest I kind of don’t want to read anything because you know much I hate this module.” I repeat something that I have been saying since probably week 2 of the term, I hate this module and I really don’t care if I barely pass it; just as long as I do.

“I swear you say that about every single class we go to.” She laughs once again, finding my pain amusing.

“Can’t we just skip the school and actually start the work. I’m here because I want to work with children, not because I find statistics interesting.” I reply once again, making sure to have plenty of sarcasm coating my words.

“When we actually start work, you’re going to be wishing that we could go back to school.” She fires at me and now it’s my turn to roll my eyes.

“You sound like a mother.” I tease her because she is older than me at 20 while I am turning 18 in about a month and a half but I don’t miss a time to remind that she is older.

“You’re never going to let that one go.” She groans and just in time for our professor to turn up and for some reason it always annoys me when she looks like the happiest person in the world but I get it, she loves what she does; I just don’t share the same feelings as her.

My phone vibrates on the desk in front of me and even before I look I know that it’s going to Lily texting me, which is something she does pretty often but I like it as it distracts me from the train wreck that is the front of the room. “Wanna grab a coffee after this?”

I read the text and quickly whisper yes to her, as this room is weirdly good at carrying sound so we avoid talking while it’s this quiet, so we text which is nothing out of the ordinary as every single person in the room is on their phone at some point.

I would be lying if I said that the next 2 hours flew by, because they fucking didn’t. I almost jump out of my seat as soon as I see that she is on the last slide and done for the day, I would never have thought that an hour or 2 hour lecture could drain a person so much but yet I am reminded every single time that I am at one.

“Was there anything that you wanted to talk about?” I ask as we wait in line at the cafe, as all the other times I have gone to get coffee with Lily there has always been something that she’s wanted to talk about, or she finds something to fill the next hour or more as she’s quite the talker, but that’s something I like about her.

“This time it’s not going to be about me.” She throws over her shoulder as she grabs her cup and goes to find a table, I’m right behind her as my hot chocolate is done seconds after her caramel latte.

“So you just wanted to catch up?” I ask confused as we text all the time and I see her almost every day as we have all of our lectures together, but even then you can’t replace doing something simple as getting coffee like this.

“No, I wanted to make sure you were alright as there are some rumours going around and wanted you to know.” She says in a serious tone which is so unlike her as she is always joking around and making me laugh, and it’s news to me that there are rumours about me; I thought that no one even noticed me.

“What rumours, what are you talking about?” I ask confused.

“There are rumours going around campus that you’re fucking all 3 of the guys and people are not being nice about it.” She whispers as she leans closer to me and looks around us to see if anyone can hear us but to my surprise there are plenty of people staring at me.

“Why would anyone be saying that?” I ask and lie through my teeth because even though I don’t see why it’s such a big deal because the guys make me happy, many others won’t and don’t see it like that; I am going to be labeled a slut, once again.

“It seems that Alyssa’s claws are really coming out, she’s out for blood.” Lily replies and she really has that worried look on her face, as if a couple of rumours are going to break me.

“So she’s spreading rumours about me, why should that bother me?” I ask and I see the surprise on Lily’s face at my answer.

“Because the rumours are about you and they don’t exactly paint you in a good light. I mean if they’re true I want to high five you for landing all of them at once but I’ve heard what others are saying about you and even though we’ve been friends for such a short time I want to make sure that you’re going to be alright.” Lily rambles on and still keeps checking around us, and if anything it makes me angry that people really waste their time gossiping about little old me, don’t they have anything better to do?

“What if it is true? My private life has nothing to do with anyone on campus or even Alyssa because she’s the one that cheated on Mike and they’ve been broken up for half a year and he wants nothing to do with her.” I argue and as soon as that last part is out of my mouth I start feeling sick, knowing that he wanted something to do with her last week. I really need to find a way to get over that.

“I agree with you which is why I’m here telling you about this so you don’t overhear something and get caught off guard. I mean I’ve defended you and cussed out a lot of people but of course that either makes me biased or defensive, I mean I’m not exactly a virgin so I know what its like to be talked about like I’m doing something wrong when in fact I’m just having fun.” She continues to ramble on and I find myself focusing only on a couple of her words.

I’ve never really had anyone defend me and it almost brings tears to my eyes to know that someone I have known for a 3 months is willing to defend me even though she doesn’t know the truth herself, and I know that even if I told her then she would not judge me; that feeling is unlike anything else I have ever felt. To know that she is not going to judge me as long as I’m happy.

“There’s nothing I can do about this, whatever I say or do, they’re still going to talk about me behind my back so what’s the point.” I reply as I lean back in my chair and stir my hot chocolate which is not so hot anymore.

“You’re amazing, this is why we’re friends.” She laughs as she leans back in her own chair and drinks her coffee, and I have to agree with her, this right here is why we’re friends. I love the easy going dynamic we have and the fact that she doesn’t know everything about me yet I know that I can tell her everything and she will understand.

“Now, you have to tell me everything!” She exclaims loudly and if the stares weren’t there before, they’re really obvious now but all I can do is laugh as I see her blush for the first time since I’ve met her but she still has that grin on her face as she waits for me to give her the details.

I’ll have her to blame if I’m late for my date tonight.

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