“The emotion that can break your heart is sometimes the very one that heals it…”
Author's Note: All images were taken at night, I tried to lighten them to the best of my abilities without ruining them, but I created this chapter with two students actively enrolled in college and their days are FILLED. Between dealing with that and my vampires, this was unavoidable.
Del Sol Valley University Campus Main Parking Lot
Caelan appeared like a bat out of hell, looking around, worried and panicked alike, when he spotted her, hurried towards her while she came towards him at the same time.
“Oh, thank God there you are! Are you all right, little one?! Are you injured?” he asked hurried as he checked her over for apparent injuries at the same time.
She vehemently shook her head, sniffling.
“What’s wrong? Do you need a doctor?” Caelan asked, still worried. Her crying made him highly uncomfortable.
“No! Caelan, my heart was ripped from my chest … I can’t breathe! I didn’t know whom else to call, I need you to take me back to the U-Brite campus right now. I cannot get on a plane like this! Port me back with you, NOW. PLEASE! Hurry!” she sobbed, pressing herself up against him, her arms wrapped around him so tight as if trying to constrict him, so he did as she asked, landing them behind the on-campus housing she shared with Liam.
University of Britchester Campus Cameron/Vatore On-Campus Housing
Confused he gently pat her back, wondering what could be wrong. Caelan wasn’t the best if it came to reading between the lines, his social skills had never been great. Crying teen girls were well above his paygrade. Especially if that teen girl was his little Vivien. He felt helpless and very angry with whomever had brought this on, while at the same time wondering why she had been in Del Sol Valley. He had just spoken to his sister, her mother, Scarlett a few hours before, where she complained how much she was missing her. Left the assumption that her parents didn’t know she had been in town.
“Viv, I need more info. I don’t know what is wrong with you, why were you in Del Sol Valley and how can I help?!”
“You ARE helping. Thanks for taking me back! Please don’t tell anybody about any of this, okay?! Just hold me!” she sobbed, right before another heavy crying bout.
“Should I not better port you home instead? To your parents?”
“Maybe the castle then? I am sure your grandmother could …”
“CAELAN NO! But fine, if you don’t want to be here either, then GO! Leave me! I’ll fine on my own …” she pulled away, evidently he had said the exactly wrong thing.
Reaching out quickly, he held on to her, tightly, gently rocking her in his arms.
“Vivien, please tell me what happened! I am no good at this, you have to help me understand what you need from me. You know me, I am stupid if it comes to emotions.”
“Okay, I’ll tell you what happened! You were right! That’s what! Just lay it on me already, say it, say that you told me so! Tell me what a dumbass I am! Go ahead already!” she spat out.
Frowning, Caelan thought how glad he was to be single. If all girls were like this …
“You’re not a dumbass, Viv. And I was right about what? And why is that so terrible?”
“About Matt! He is going to DSVU.”
“What the heck is DSVU?”
“Oh my God! Del Sol Valley University! You just picked me up on their campus!”
“Oh. Okay. So … oh, I got it. You miss him. But he wasn’t there. Okay, sweet little one. I can fix that! I’ll just port you over with me and we look together …”
“NO! NO NO NO NO! I am never going back that that fucking campus!”
“Okay .. we won’t. I don’t know what to do here. I can’t get him, because .. ya know … then he’d know …”
“I never ever want to see him again! If I do, I will murder him! In front of everyone! I don’t even care!”
“Aha. So he fucked up somehow. Got it. Viv, what did he do? He didn’t … hurt you, did he? Cos if he did, you won’t get the chance to murder him. He is as good as dead.”
“No! That’s not it. Okay, listen. So, I missed him soooo much, right? Even before high school graduation he begged me to go to DSVU with him, but I wanted to go to Britchester like mom and dad had, and I promised Liam long ago that we would go there together, so we could be roomies. Long before I ever knew Matt. No way I’d break my promise to Liam and now I am so glad I didn’t! But I felt bad, for Matt, so I have been working like a maniac to get all my papers done early, got on a plane right after class today to go see him. Told nobody so no spoilers. When I finally found his room, I ended up walking in on him. He wasn’t alone, Cae. He was with someone. You know, he was doing someone else. Having sex right before my eyes. We waited, Caelan, waited for that very special moment, so it would be perfect. I was ready before we left for uni. I wanted it, but he kept saying the time is not right yet, to wait a little longer. Semester break maybe. Ha, guess he was done waiting now. But that’s not even the worst of it all. It was a boy! He was having sex with a boy! And I saw it. All of it! I cannot breathe!” she sobbed heartwrenchingly, a terrible sound to Caelan.
“Oh, fucking hell! Shit, Viv, I am really so very sorry! I wish I would have been wrong about him. Hey, but maybe he’s bi and … never mind.” Caelan realized he was only making things worse.
“I don’t care if he’s gay or bi! If he were my friend I would have ZERO problem with that. But he wasn’t my friend. He was my BOYFRIEND. He asked me to be his girl, not the other way around. He kissed me first, he initiated our first kiss, not me. Why, if he likes boys?! He took that special moment from me forever with his lie! Every girl looks back to her first kiss, with that special boy … her first love, first boyfriend … mom still talks about it today and she’s even married to hers now! Oh my god, my parents are so cute when they talk about how they first started out. I will never have that now, not ever, because my very first kiss was a LIE! He asked me for our first date, not the other way. He held my hand first. All those firsts, only lies! I guess I should be grateful that he didn’t let us have that other first together too, to destroy that as well. Now here I am, 18 years old, single, virgin, I feel like a total reject! I can’t even just have casual sex with some boy I meet here, because it wouldn’t be special then. So I have to wait until I can find a special guy … feeling like the old, stale bagel nobody wants. WHY, CaeCae, why?! We used to be just friends, Matt and I. I was good with that, had he told me then he liked boys, I would have been totally cool with that. Sure, I was crushing on him, but … I would have gotten over it. Been supportive. Still would have hurt less. This just hurts SO BAD. If it were a girl he had been with, I could at least consider fighting for him, for us … but … how am I supposed to go up against a boy?!”
Caelan was frowning throughout her rant, not only because her pain was hurting him too, but because hearing his niece, whom he held as a baby, talk about first times with boys curled up his toenails. Still, he tried his best to be supportive.
“You don’t. You are too good for that moron! I do not like the idea of him stringing you along!”
“CaeCae, please tell nobody. Not about this and not about me being in Del Sol Valley. Mom and dad would be so heartbroken if they knew I was there and didn’t come see them, but I can’t. They’d know something is terribly wrong, but I cannot tell them. I swear, I would die for humiliation. The official story will be that our relationship didn’t survive the long-distance thing. Four more years … it’s believable. Promise me you won’t tell.”
“Of course not. My lips are sealed. I won’t tell a soul. You know you can trust me.”
“Thank you Cae. Hey, can you stick around for a bit? I am not great company, I know, but I really could use a friend now.”
“Sure. As long as you need me, little one.”
It didn’t even take two full days until Matteo showed up at Vivien and Liam’s on-campus housing. Vivien tried to get him to leave, but he begged her to listen and she knew, he wouldn’t give up, potentially cause a scene, which she desperately wanted to avoid.
“I am sorry, Viv. I never meant to hurt you. I just felt so overwhelmed, alone. All the pressure …”
“You think you’re the only one under pressure? You think they just rain passing grades on me for a cute smile?! It’s fucking hard, and I miss my crazy patchwork family so bad. Still didn’t make me go out and do some chicks!”
“Okay, I am still sorry. Please don’t hate me!”
“Hard not to! Not only did you just go off and cheat on me, after only a few weeks apart, but with a dude! How am I supposed to feel about that? What about us? Everything was a lie! Luckily we didn’t do what you did with him yet, I would have really hated to have lost my virginity to a guy whom it means nothing at all to. All my other important firsts are TRASH because of you!”
“It does mean something to me! I am not … I am … I don’t know for sure that I … oh damn. Actually I am pretty sure now. I am sorry Vivien. I didn’t mean for it to be this way. I wasn’t sure that I preferred men, when you and I started out. You are such a nice girl and it felt good being with you. But now that I know how it can feel, I realize something had always been off. I didn’t mean to cheat on you, it just somehow evolved, it felt so good, so right for the first time in my life. It all happened so fast, and before I knew it … and then there you were.”
“Well, I hope you and your Mr. Right will be very happy. Enjoy. I need to go study now, because my perfect little easy life isn’t actually all that perfect and most definitely not easy. Partially thanks to you.”
“Vivien, please don’t.”
“Don’t what?! Don’t be angry?! Are you serious!? You hurt me! Of course I am angry, I have every right to be!”
“Yes, you do. But please don’t break up with me.”
“WHAT!?! Of course we break up! We are so broken up already, it’s not even funny! You like dudes! I am not one! So what would you even want with me?! I know you have never seen me all the way naked, but you have seen me in a bikini and I thought it was pretty obvious that I am anatomically 100% female! So you should have ended this back when you first started having doubts, rather than string me along and ruin my life!”
“Viv, please ! And it’s also because of my father. He would never accept this, would never forgive me. He must not know. Maybe we can …”
“Oh hell no! That is exactly what Caelan told me would happen. You needed a beard! I was your beard! I get it. This is tough on you. I know your father. I do get why you couldn’t tell anyone. But you know you could have told me, Matt! Instead you used me. Had you told me, I am sure we could have figured something out. But not like this.”
“I know. I am really sorry. I do love you, Viv, just … differently. I wasn’t lying when I said that to you. Kissing you wasn’t bad.”
“Oh, great. Imagine my relief. That’s what every girl wants to hear. I’ll be sure to bring that up to the next guy who’s interested! Hey, wanna date? Heard kissing me isn’t so bad.”
“Vivien, no! That’s not how I meant it! I am trying to make you understand. I am really in a tough spot. I have to at least keep this a secret until after I graduate. Then I have a chance to get away and start fresh, on my own.”
“I couldn’t live like that. That’s too big a lie. I am sure if I came out gay my dad wouldn’t exactly do backflips, but he would 100% have my back. If your parents can’t deal with that, their loss. Fuck them! I mean, I’d even offer you to go with you to come out to them, but I am not gonna help you live a lie. And what about me anyway? I want to date. A chance for happiness, live like a college student should. How could I, if I played your fake girlfriend. You’d have your fun and I’d go without, or people would think I am a whore, even though I am not. But honestly, Matt, I am ready to have my first time. And with someone special. Those don’t grow on trees. Being cast as your beard wouldn’t be fair to me. Sorry, it’s gotta be a no from me. You need to grow a pair and come out or figure out how to hide it all yourself.”
“You’re right. I didn’t think about that. You deserve all the happiness. I am sorry, again. I hope one day, we can get past this and maybe be friends again.”
“Maybe, one day, but not anytime soon, Matt. This cut too deep, still bleeding vicariously. Had you come to me, and told me. But me finding out the hard way, by literally walking in on you like that, no. I need distance and time. Lots of both.”
The door burst open and Liam appeared.
“Everything okay out here, Viv?” he asked, suspiciously eyeing Matteo, then trying to read Vivien’s tormented facial expression.
“Fine, Liam. Matteo was just leaving.”
“Vivien, please …” Matt tried to reach for he, she stepped back, pulling out of reach.
Liam stepped in between them, shoving Matteo backwards against the railing.
“Hey, you heard her. Leave, or I will help you leave. Won’t feel good, bud!”
“No, wait. Liam, it’s okay. I’ll walk him to the main street. I got this.”
She pulled Matteo with her, they walked down the street, next to each other, quietly before she stopped.
“I’ll miss you, Viv.” he said sadly.
“Please don’t, not that, not yet. I gotta get back now. Just follow this road till you reach a plaza. There are always cabs waiting. Have a good flight. And good luck. With everything.”
Vivien turned around quickly and hurried away, crying silent tears that almost blinded her.
Once back in her room, it took only seconds before Liam came in, he had to have heard her come back, just knelt in front of where she had dropped to her knees and quietly held her as she bitterly sobbed.