6: "It does mean we will be alone."
It must’ve been around five am when my phone began to vibrate on the bedside table. I reached out groggily, trying to hit the dismiss button on my alarm, when I saw it was a UK number calling.
What the fuck?
I panicked, answering the phone quickly so the ringing didn’t wake my Aunt.
The voice was soft, yet incredibly deep. It was the voice I used to wake up to and yearn to hear whenever I felt down.
The voice belonged to my ex, Alexander.
“What do you want?” I asked coldly, as I heard him sigh, moving the phone around noisily whilst I sat up. My heart was racing and I swallowed, nerves making my body tremble.
“You,” he whispered into the phone, making my stomach fall and tears prick my eyes.
“This isn’t fair- you promised-”
“I know what I said. But-
“Alexander, I can’t do this.”
I hung up, realising my hands were shaking.
I tried to get back to sleep, punching the pillow with annoyance.
A few hours later my alarm really did go off and I struggled to get up. Somehow I managed to make it to school in time, but only just. I scanned the room for Jones, but I didn’t see her. The only available seat was beside Doherty, who looked at me with a bored expression as I sat down beside him.
“Why is it so busy?” I hissed, pulling my notebook out as I popped the lid from my pen with my mouth.
“We start studying Shakespeare today, darling. Someone else from your country.”
Ooh, I didn’t realise that was today.
“Let me guess. You’ve inhaled the entire works,” he said dryly, giving me a knowing smile.
“No, actually. I’ve only read Romeo & Juliet and Macbeth-What about you?”
“Most of them. All I do is read. I have no life.”
I studied him, remembering his little name trick the other night at the party.
“So what was your deal the other night?” I asked, making notes in my pad as the professor started to speak, his voice echoing loudly around the room.
“My game? Coming from you?” he muttered, as I frowned at him in confusion.
“Excuse me? What’s that supposed to mean?” I snapped, as he rolled his eyes.
“So which is it? Greg or Simon?”
He chuckled softly, before turning to me.
“Its Greg. I was just playing with your friend.”
“Dick move,” I scoffed as the professor sent me a warning look.
“You know, I never would’ve guessed airhead footballers were your thing,” he murmured, making me sigh with irritation. “You seemed too intelligent for that.”
“You know, if I didn’t know better, I would say you sound jealous,” I remarked, as he turned to stare at me.
“Who could compete with that specimen?”
He turned away then, as I pretended to be concentrating on the lesson. As the professor spoke about the real meaning behind Shakespeare’s work, I wondered what on Earth Greg meant by that. He didn’t speak to me for the remainder of the lesson, jumping up to leave as soon as the class was over.
I grabbed his arm as he frowned at me, his eyes clouding over with confusion.
“Greg, I’m sorry if I’ve offended you. I didn’t mean to. Maybe we could hang out sometime?”
“Yeah, maybe,” he smiled, before walking away. I really wasn’t sure what I’d done to upset the guy, but I didn’t want any enemies this early on in the course. I wondered again where Jones was, and I fished my phone out to ask her as much. I made my way to the library, secretly proud that I was now managing to remember my way on certain routes. This route took me around the back of the buildings, near the car park. I slid my earphones in, playing my music whilst I walked briskly. I had made a promise to myself to at least try to get fitter, and walking seemed like a good way to start.
The library was amazing, floor to ceiling books across all four walls, complete with little brass ladders that the librarians must use to put books back once finished with. I always found it fascinating walking into a library, seeing all these portals to different worlds awaiting me. I loved watching people select books, wondering what made them choose that exact one. Had they read it before? Was it recommended? Did something just call out to them? For me, I always chose books based on their synopsis. I made my way to a table tucked away in the corner, elated to see it was vacant. I made myself comfortable, before pulling my dog eared copy of Great Expectations from my bag.
I was busy throwing myself from cliffhanger to cliffhanger courtesy of Dickens, when I noticed someone sit down in front of me, the deep green eyes meeting mine.
“God, you scared me,” I breathed, blinking to ring myself back to reality. I noticed then that it had grown dark outside, the rain splattering against the window.
“Hardly the greeting one wants to hear when he sees a beautiful girl.”
I closed my book, as Drake leaned forward to whisper to me.
“You are, you know. So beautiful. Especially when you are reading. Your mouth turns up at the corners when you reach a funny part, and when you reach a sad bit you frown.”
“Stalker much?” I whispered hoarsely as he grinned.
“No. I’m just intrigued. I love this side of you, you seem... happy.”
We gazed at each other for a moment, before he slid the book over to him.
"Great Expectations. What is it about?”
“It’s about an orphan called Pip who learns that affection and loyalty are worth more than wealth and class, to put it bluntly.”
“I didn’t really understand that, but it doesn’t mean I don’t want to. Do you read all of the time?”
I shifted in my seat as I nodded.
“My mum died when I was really young, so it was just me and my dad for the most of the time. He was always reading, and encouraged me to do the same. What can I say...he gave me the greatest gift.”
His stare softened as his body relaxed.
“Was?” he asked quietly, his eyes fixed on mine.
I felt a lump in my throat suddenly, as I nodded.
“He passed away recently. That’s why I’m here. Living with my only surviving relatives.”
“I’m so sorry. I’m really close to my folks, so I really feel for you. He must have been real proud of you though. Beauty and brains.”
I swallowed, before inhaling deeply.
“Just another thing I don’t want to talk about, so add that to the list,” I shrugged, my hair falling into my eyes as I went to move it.
“If you ever do want to talk about it, just say,” he murmured, his fingers softly moving my hair away from my eyes. I looked over at him then, my eyes drawn to his delicious forearms. I looked away quickly when he stood up, holding his hand out for me. “I don’t know what you are doing tonight but I have a film at home I bet you would love to watch.”
“You’re asking me to come round to your house? Are your parents home?”
He chuckled then, before sighing.
“My dad has some big event at work that they have gone to- it does mean we would be alone. If you can trust me, that is?”
I trusted him just fine.
It was myself I was struggling with.