“I really think you should drop this class.”
I turn to look at Adrian, and he’s still carrying the same troubled expression that has plagued my mind since I arrived back to Madrid.
“I know it’s the last thing you want to hear right now, but I think it’ll be for the best. Maybe there’s another class you can take,” he continues.
I sigh a bit dramatically. After his bodyguard display from yesterday, I still don’t know what to think about the whole situation. Neither of them has given me any answers yet. Nico certainly doesn’t want to talk to me as he’s now acting like he’s comatose save for the one text he sent me saying sorry, and Adrian keeps telling me it’s not his story to tell. Oddly, I now feel like I can trust Adrian more than Nico, when it should be the other way around.
“Yeah, I’ll think about it,” I respond.
“Okay. See you after class,” he says. He waits until I’m actually seated in my classroom to leave and I shake my head. If there’s one thing for certain, I will never really understand that boy.
“Miss Durant,” the professor calls me.
I go up to his desk and he’s looking at me with a puzzled expression. “I thought you dropped my class.”
“Um, no. Well, I was thinking about it, but haven’t decided yet,” I explain.
“Well, you’re no longer showing up on my roster, so it would appear so.” He proceeds to show me a printout and I don’t see my name on the list. “I just got an updated list this morning so it’s current. I suggest you go check with the registrar’s office as this class is now full.”
I am literally speechless. “Okay, thank you for bringing this to my attention,” I tell him.
I grab my bag and head over to the admin office. I can’t believe Adrian would do this. I mean, why would he ask me about it not even five minutes ago if he apparently has already decided for me?
When I get to the office, I’m glad to see that at least there isn’t a crazy line of people and I’m passed to see someone pretty quickly. I explain the situation, and in effect, I have been dropped out of the class. The woman tells me there is another class I can take at a different hour, but it involves moving my entire schedule around.
I accept the changes as I’m already a semester behind and I can’t afford to miss out on any more credits. I had initially thought about taking an extra course this semester to try to catch up, but given my academic history, I thought it would be best not to push it. One step at a time.
As I make my way to my new classroom, which now I’ll be late for, I realize I am beyond pissed about this. Not only is Adrian making decisions for me behind my back, but I’m in this whole mess to start with because of him and Nico and whatever issue they have going on with that other idiot Ruiz.
Why can’t my life be normal for once? All I want is to go to class and get good grades. That is my only goal. Instead, I have to deal with the aftermath of other people’s problems and stress about things that have nothing to do with actual classes.
I’m so infuriated that I send Adrian a text telling him I don’t need his ushering services any longer and turn off my phone soon after. I don’t even want to hear his response. I decide to ignore him for the rest of the day, and unlike yesterday, I’m able to forget about all the unnecessary drama and can actually concentrate in class.
I’m about to head out to the car to wait for the guys there until they finish soccer practice, but I remember Adrian’s paranoia about parking lots and the last thing I want is to get yelled at again. I decide to go to the bleachers around the soccer field instead. He can’t complain about anything if I’m in plain sight.
Once I arrive, I immediately spot both of them doing drills on the field. Neither of them is hard to miss, but I find myself staring at Adrian, as mad as I am at him. He’s really good and it’s simply amazing to watch. Of course I’ve seen him play many times over the years, but I’d forgotten how incredible he is. I’m surprised a professional soccer team hasn’t snatched him up yet seeing that he is about to graduate.
I still can’t believe he’s living at my house. Even worse, I can’t believe my family didn’t think to tell me about it. I guess he’s always been considered part of the family, so naturally my dad would offer for him to live with us when his parents had to move back to Chicago for work.
Though it still feels incredibly weird for me that we are living under the same roof, and I know he certainly feels the same way. Especially with my parents gone half the time and no real adult supervision.
I pull a textbook out of my bag to get away from my thoughts. I might as well get an early start on my homework. I begin working on an assignment for Business Calculus and I already know I’m going to struggle through this class. Maybe I can talk to the teacher’s assistant to see if he can tutor me or can recommend someone for private lessons.
“Hey,” I hear a voice greet me.
I look up and see a guy standing next to me. He looks familiar and I think he might be in one of my classes.
“Um, hi,” I respond.
“Sofia, right? You’re in my calc class.”
“Yeah, that’s me. Sorry, I didn’t catch your name.”
“Mike. It’s nice to meet you,” he says, extending his hand.
“Nice to meet you, too,” I respond, shaking it. He seems pretty friendly so I smile at him.
“Are you waiting for someone? Do you mind if I sit down?”
“Sure, no problem. I’m just waiting for my brother, he’s playing soccer.”
He takes a seat next to me and looks at the field. “It’s Nico, right?”
“Yeah, do you know him?”
“We had a few classes together last semester. Nice guy.”
“Well, sometimes,” I mumble. Definitely not yesterday.
“Yeah, well at least until he broke up with his girlfriend. He kind of changed after that. She goes to a different school, right?”
What? Nico broke up with Ana? They were so perfect together. When the hell did that happen? Even worse, why hasn’t he told me? I can’t believe I just found out this information through a side comment from a random person.
“Yeah. She’s in art school,” I answer, still trying to process this.
“Did you just start this semester? I don’t think I’ve seen you before,” Mike says.
“Yeah, I was in London for a bit but just moved back,” I explain. To a crazy house apparently, I might add.
“Oh, that’s cool. So I see you’re already doing homework for class, huh?” he nudges me.
He’s a bit too close to me for my liking, especially that I barely know him. I run my fingers through my hair and look at my books in front of me. “Yeah, I’m not very good at this stuff so just trying to make sense of it all.”
“I can help you if you want. I already took calculus in high school, but didn’t manage to get the college credit for it.”
“Really? That would be awesome. I was actually thinking I should get a tutor or something.”
I suddenly hear a rumbling coming from the field and I see a bunch of players hovering over someone who is on the ground.
“Wow, that guy just took a major hit to the head,” Mike says.
I immediately stand up to get a better view. “Did you see who it was?”
“Yeah, it was number eight. I think he’s the captain.”
Adrian. I feel my heart drop to my stomach. I’m about to run off towards him when I see that Nico is helping him get up. He looks disoriented, but he immediately lifts his head and looks right in my direction.
I see the coach talking to him, trying to inspect him further, but he waves him off. He says something to him and makes his way off the field. I imagine he’s trying to walk it off, but I soon realize he’s making his way towards me.
What the hell is he doing?
I hear Mike saying something behind me, but I don’t listen to what he says as I make my way down from the bleachers. Adrian has a strange look on his face, but he seems to calm down when he sees I’m walking to meet him. We’re just about to reach each other on the track, when he collapses to the floor right in front of me.
I let out a scream and rush towards him. His body is completely lifeless on the ground and I think I’m about to faint just from the sight.
“Adrian!” I yell, shaking him roughly by the shoulders. I check his pulse under his neck and I can see that he is still breathing. I continue shaking him and end up slapping his cheeks.
“Adrian. Please, wake up,” I cry, the tears already forming in my eyes.
I see his lashes flutter and nearly sob when they finally open.
“Adrian? Are you okay?” I ask still panicked.
“Hey princess,” he whispers. He reaches a hand up and grabs my face. I instinctively grab his hand over mine and lean into him.
“Hey, captain,” I smile in relief.
“So beautiful,” he says, still appearing somewhat unstable.
I blush and avert my gaze from him. It’s then that I realize I’m completely straddling him and my position over him is highly inappropriate.
I start to move away from him, but he holds me in place. “No, don’t go.”
I begin to protest when someone pushes me to the side.
“Carter, are you okay?”
I realize it’s another soccer player, and all of a sudden there are several of them huddling over him.
“Don’t push her!” he yells. He shoves them out of the way and reaches for me again. “Are you okay?” he asks me.
“Yes. Are you?”
“Yeah,” he responds.
“Carter! To the infirmary. Now,” a voice yells. “Rest of you, back to practice.”
I realize it’s the coach barking orders and he doesn’t look very happy. He helps us both up to our feet. “Have the girl take you. You might have a concussion.”
“Yes, sir,” Adrian responds and pulls me away.
I notice Mike is still part of the lingering crowd and gives me a small wave. I wave back, and I feel Adrian’s arm go around my waist and a grunt come out of him.
“Are you sure you’re okay? You fell pretty hard,” I tell him.
“I feel fine but I guess we’ll find out now.”
I wait in the infirmary for almost half an hour and they finally dismiss him, clearing him of a concussion but they say to watch for any signs of headache or dizziness. They also prohibit him from playing soccer for the next two days out of precaution, something that he is clearly pissed about.
“So are you going to tell me what happened?” I ask him on our way out.
“I got distracted,” he grumbles.
He shakes his head and glances over at me. “By you.”
“Me? What did I do?”
He chooses to stop at that moment to take a drink from a water fountain we pass by. “You were at the bleachers,” he says wiping his mouth with the back of his hand.
I can’t help but stare at his moist lips for a few seconds. “So?”
“I was worried about you and then that guy shows up out of nowhere …”
“You can’t be serious. He was offering to help me with calculus, he’s in my class,” I interrupt him.
“Well, it didn’t look like that was what he was doing.”
“Adrian, you have to stop this. Not every guy I come across has bad intentions. Plus, I can take care of myself. You don’t have to worry about me.”
“You can’t hang out at the bleachers anymore,” he says, ignoring everything I just said.
“Quit ordering me around. I only went there because you had a problem with the parking lot.”
“Yeah well this was a bad idea, too.”
“So where am I supposed to go? Are you going to hand me a map and X out all the places that are apparently off limits to me?”
“I don’t know. Just anywhere but those two places. Maybe you can join the debate team or something. They meet at the same hour as us.”
“You think this is funny? I’m not joining the damn debate team! Stop trying to control me.”
“I’m not. It was just a suggestion,” he defends.
“Oh, so dropping my class without my permission was also a suggestion?”
“What are you talking about?”
“You suggest I drop my class, but you had already done it anyway. Seems kind of absurd, doesn’t it?”
“That wasn’t me, Sofia. How would I even do that? It’s not like I have your school login or anything.”
At the mention of that, I remember Nico helped me set it up the day I arrived after helping me with the Internet at home. God, Nico. I should have known. If it’s not one of them, it’s the other messing with my stuff.
“It was Nico, wasn’t it?” he asks, seeing the realization on my face.
“Yeah,” I sigh. I start to walk again towards the exit. Suddenly I can’t wait to get out of this place.
I feel him catch up to me, and his warm hand is now on my arm. “Sofia, I’m sorry. This is all new for me too, and I’m just trying to adjust. We all are.”
I know he’s apologizing, but the word adjust rubs me the wrong way. As if he’s adapting or conforming because of me. As if I’m not supposed to be here. As if I don’t belong.
Maybe I should just do us all a favor and move back to London.
I remove his hand from my arm and step away from him. “I’m sorry my presence is such an inconvenience for you,” I tell him, trying to keep the emotion out of my voice.
I hear my words echo in the solitary hallway and this time he doesn’t follow me.