University of Britchester Campus Library
Looking up from my studies in the reference books at the university library, you know, the fat tomes you cannot check out but have to read there and take a felt 800 pages worth of notes so you don’t forget all that metric ton of information you just read, I sighed when I looked into a familiar face smiling back at me.
“We meet again!” he proclaimed, as if that was a good thing.
“Fancy that. A university student running into another at the university library. That never happened before! Alert the media! Although, it is Sunday, aka party day number 3, arguably to some of our fellow students every day is party day, so I guess you being here means that you don’t have a social life either. Welcome to the club of the lonely, sad rejects.” I replied coolly, watching him sit down across from me.
Unfortunately, my sour ways didn’t deter him as intended, after watching me take a sip of my obligatory coffee, more a statement of protest than because of thirst, he reached across the table and lifted the cover of the book I had been studying with his index finger, bending his head to read the title, whistling through his teeth before looking at me curiously.
“First psychology, now law, … some tough lecture for certain. I wonder if the next time we meet I may walk into you performing open heart surgery. You certainly are many-faceted, Arabella.”
I was about to protest as I abhorred being addressed wrong, you would not believe how many people stumbled over my name, which wasn’t really hard at all, but remembered just in time that I had given him that name myself. Oops. And why was I such a bitch to him? He had been nothing but polite and nice, and above all new, I remembered what being new on campus was like, I even had Bianca here back then and we both were so lost and confused all the time.
So, I inhaled, then told him a lot more politely,
“Ok, truth is both of those are study courses I am considering. Psychology or Law. My dad and brother are lawyers and I originally considered going that route myself when I applied here. Now I am thinking about changing my major. A bit last minute, I know, considering I am in my final semester, but maybe I’ll just add more classes or something and just graduate in a year, two at the most, holding two degrees. Then again, reading all this my brain feels like a strainer, 50% of what I just read already fell back out, the rest I am just confused about what I read in the first place. So, not sure.”
“May I ask why you are wishing to change so close to the end? Are you struggling? Maybe I can help? What is your current field?” he offered.
“Arts. Performing Arts to be exact. And I am not struggling, at least not academically. I am in the top 10% of my graduating class. It’s more a matter of what I ultimately want to do with my life long-term. Arts has been my thing since I was a little girl, but now it feels … empty.”
“A performer! How interesting. I am afraid I would not be able to be of much help there anyway, but it would most certainly explain the dramatis personae.”
“The what now?”
“Your penchant for dramatics. Theatrics. You want to be an actress I presume?” he smiled across the table at me, and I realized I didn’t dislike him, he was actually kinda …WHAT?! Oh, hell no! I projected my anger at myself for me accidentally liking a male that is not Rohan onto him, as I said snippily.
“You presume wrong. Music actually. And I am not a drama queen, thank you very much. My life just sucks at the moment.” I glared at him.
“Please, I meant no offense. I am not very good at college small talk. In Mt. Komorebi spare time was rather limited and dedicated to more silent studies.” he told me.
“Yes, I spent a few semesters there, before transferring to Britchester. Before that it was Switzerland, before that Rome and so on. My parents place much value on international experience. A lot more than I do, but here we are.”
“Ah. Business owners?” I guessed.
“Politicians, of sorts.” he smiled in a manner that closed that subject.
“Ah, I get it. Yeah, that makes sense.” nodding, I filed him under Diplomat’s son. That would explain a lot.
Somehow, I couldn’t help feeling like we were kindred spirits. I spent a lot of my time traveling and relocating because of my mom’s career and dad was very firm on Nick and me getting solid educations, whether we wanted them or not. Maybe not to the extent of Max’ folks, but … parents, am I right?
“Arabella, I am feeling rather peckish now. How about you?”
“You feel what?!” his accent, combined with his odd choice of terms sometimes threw me off.
“Hungry. I am famished. Would you join me for lunch?”
“Cafeteria doesn’t open again until dinner, unless you want to raid the vending machine.”
“No, I noticed a restaurant, but would have to defer to your superior knowledge of campus layout to find it again. I still haven’t gotten ’round to picking up one of those free maps you mentioned last time.”
“Oh, the ‘Food for Thought’ you mean? Yeah, I know where that is.” I snickered, considering it was right next to the campus home where I lived. Ironic.
“Would you do me the great honor of being my company and guest for lunch then?” he offered.
Something about his oddish ways made me smile. I hated to admit that I didn’t dislike him at all. And I was … what was that again? Peckish? Yeah, I was that. In a big way. I was also still fucking lonely and having lunch with someone interesting – cos, THAT mark he definitely checked off, along with ‘easy on the eye’. So, why not?
University of Britchester Campus
'Food For Thought' Restaurant
Then there we were at the restaurant and while he was studying the menu, I studied him.
He was actually kinda cute. I wasn’t much into guys with glasses usually, but they suited him. As did his nerdish way of dressing. Maybe he was the male equivalent of that sexy librarian fantasy so many men seemed to have, but for us girl. He definitely did the trick for me, as I couldn’t help wonder what an English guy would sound like in the … wait, what? Nix that. I am NOT going on record with those thoughts!
What can I say? I am only human and flawed. Lunch turned out enjoyable, so I invited him over afterwards. Much to my surprise, he actually agreed.
Oh, you bet I had naughty intentions. With him doing most of the talking, I was free to just stare at him, and the more I did that, the more I wanted to see what he looked like underneath the nerdy wear. I bet he was buff A.F. I mean, look at those shoulders and the way his shirt got tight around his upper arms when he moved a certain way.
Come on, I am Blaine Cameron’s granddaughter. It’s genetic. At least that is my story, and I am sticking to that. I huff in the general direction of you Wanna-Be Emily Posts out there.
Anyway, so after lunch, he insisted on paying for me, then we walked the few steps over to my door, ‘Bear’ sliding along with us, not unnoticed by Max.
University of Britchester Campus Cameron Home
At my door, I unlocked it and gestured him to enter, but Max shook his head.
“Oh no, that might look bad. I merely wanted to see you home. And now I know where you live too. We’re even. That bloke isn’t your roommate, is he?” Max pointed at ‘Bear’, hunkering down in his usual spot.
Laughing, I shook my head, then just pulled Max inside with me anyway, which he allowed politely. Behind closed doors I pointed at a few band posters on the walls of the small living room.
“Have you heard of any of these people before?”
“I believe so. This is 2Dark 2C for certain, my sister is a big admirer. I even know their names, Chase and Colton, and probably much more than I care to know about them, because of my sister’s obsession with them. And that, I believe, is Blaine Cameron. I think he is a rock musician.”
“Correct. They are also relatives of mine. Well, not Colton, but Chase is my uncle and Blaine my grandpa. And I am actually Aria-Grace Cameron. Not Arabella. I purposely didn’t put any posters of my mom up, cos we look so much alike and even a blind man would figure it out then. I’m ViVa’s daughter. That guy you keep seeing is my security. Long story why my parents think I need him.”
He arched an eyebrow, then the puzzled look changed to a smile, before looking back and forth between the posters and me.
“Yes, I can see the resemblance. Now it all makes a lot more sense, including your perpetual, oversized shadow outside. Aria-Grace is a very pretty name, unusual, just like it’s bearer. And thank you for telling me all this.” he smiled.
“Yeah, sure. So, now that we got a clean slate – do you want to have sex?” I blurted the last part out into the open.
Hey, don’t judge me. Did I mention he also smelled really good? I mean, REALLY good. If you have been to college, you know why that is noteworthy! Most boys here smell like sweaty clothing two weeks overdue for laundry, stale beer, yesterday’s pizza, which they tried to cover up with Axe or something like that. It doesn’t work! And my female bits slam shut when such a specimen gets too cozy at parties. Not getting over Rohan that way. I feel the banging him out of my mind might be worth a shot, no matter what Gavin said. I am not ready to try and find love, especially not on a college campus, I tried everything else to move on, nothing worked, and I am tired of pining after someone how is living his best life – without me. Rohan’s got the rainbows, while I have the dark rainclouds.
Max’ eyes got big for a moment. I definitely shocked him big time, but he found his usual composure.
“That is a very tempting offer, but I think for both our sakes I should decline.”
“OMG – you are seeing someone! Oh no! Don’t tell me you are gay too! Why do I keep attracting gay men?!” I exclaimed horrified, by the situation and my actions. What was wrong with me?!
“No, to both of that. But we have met a total of twice now and you clearly are getting over someone still, so I feel me accepting your offer might be a little too much too soon. Again, very tempting though and I feel honored, and I am most definitely interested in furthering our acquaintance. Fully dressed, for the time being.”
“You’re weird.” I said it, I meant it, processing what had to be the most polite and fancy way anyone has ever been shut down for sex.
“Apologies, it comes from a place of sincere respect. The impression I have of you is that you are a wholesome, intelligent and kind young woman, but clouded by pain, making you act unlike your usual self. Expanding on this romantically or sexually would be nothing short of exploitation and I am not willing to see us go that route. I am very interested in getting to know you better as a person instead. Please don’t hold any of this against me, Aria-Grace.”
Okay, the way my name sounded when he said it just totally did something to me. I am not, I repeat NOT, the type to fall on first sight or a sucker for accents but … but this guy was starting to REALLY pique my interest.
“Look, Max, I … ahem … I feel like I should explain myself here. I am not normally a slut, you’re right, I am getting over someone who hurt me in the worst way, without it being his fault, which makes it so much worse, since I can’t even hate him like you normally would, to help work through the pain. We even still kinda love each other, but on a different level, one I didn’t want to be on. You know the friendzone kinda thing. I tried everything to forget him, but we’re still friends and he’s around and I want him to be, but … hard to explain. I tried everything to feel better and more like myself again, but I am running out of ideas, so I thought, maybe if I slept with you … even after only two dates … maybe I could move on. For real.”
“Oh, I didn’t think ill of you, I already suspected that you were processing something, which makes you act out of character, and this is college after all. However, I must insist that neither of the two encounters we had so far should be considered ‘dates’. I hold myself to a higher standard than consider an awkward conversation on a bridge or at a school library a date, and even the lunch wasn’t much more than me boring you with irrelevant banter while you were miles away mentally.” he smiled kindly.
I blushed harder.
He cocked his head slightly, and his smile was warm, not gleeful, as he continued.
“That being said, would you honor me with an actual date, Aria-Grace? I am afraid that I won’t be as exciting as your famous musician relatives, but I will do my best to be as entertaining as I can muster and I would love for us to get to know each other better.” he looked at me, seriously and sincere, his gaze held mine.
“Did you just ask me out?” I needed confirmation.
“I have indeed, yes.”
I giggled. Don’t ask me why. I have no clue. Nor can I tell you why I blushed AGAIN! What the hell was happening here?
“Okay. I’ll go out with you. Oh, Max, please, promise me that you will not tell anyone about me. Some people figured it out, but no need to rub anyone’s face in it, okay?”
“My lips are sealed. I am but the humble keeper of secrets, Aria-Grace. On that note, I shall part by saying ‘…that bitter word, which closed all earthly friendships and finished every feast of love – farewell’. Although I sincerely hope for us it merely is goodbye for now.” he smiled, implying a bow, I responded in kind and for the first time in weeks I felt as if there could really be a life after Rohan for me.
“A man who knows his Shakespeare. Color me impressed, Mr. Max! Are you an Art student as well?” I wondered, feeling guilty that I still had not asked him anything about himself. Wow, me.
“I am afraid my family pressed for more practical studies. Economics, my major is in International Business Management. But I am no stranger to the fine arts, my fair maiden.” he winked, implied a bow, then turned to leave. Standing in the doorway I watched him walk off until he disappeared from view, my eyes glazed over while I was probably wearing the most idiotic smile.
I don’t know what’s wrong with me these days, all I know is that Max is like medicine. I feel so much better now. Finally! And – the best part: I have a date!
3 thoughts on “Chapter 364) Prelude to Something”
I think I may be falling for Max myself. Lol
These have been the sweetest 2 chapters and I feel elated for AG. Even if this doesn’t last, just knowing she’s feeling better is great.
I can hear his voice (and accent) in the dialogue, and I think he’s great and will be great for AG. Here’s keeping my fingers crossed!
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I have to say I like Max too. ❤️ I love the way he talks, all pompous and formal, but getting to know him a bit better, although we still don’t know much, you can tell it’s just the way he is and he’s not trying to be arrogant or show off. And I love he turned her down, letting her know he understands she doesn’t normally act this way and is getting over a heart break, and instead of taking advantage, he wants to get to know her. He has some Rohan qualities which might be why she is falling for him so quickly. He’s definitely more mature, which she needs, and is very smart, sweet and respectful. Yep. I hope there isn’t any hidden agenda from him. I don’t feel,like there us, but could be wrong.
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He’s a real gentleman. I’m going to choose to believe he’s above board until otherwise ‘told’. 😊
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