Close as Strangers // LH

Summary

After some long over due thinking, Nikki decided to transfer to a new university to get a leg up on the competition of teaching. She's slightly socially awkward and is not the typical college type of girl. She mainly keeps to herself most of the time, studying or zoning out to music. And since transferring as a senior, it won't be easy to "fit right in". Cliques have been made, friends have become sisters and enemies may be in a ditch somewhere. Her plan of staying on the down low is quickly interrupted by a tall blue eyed beaut and she's not sure if it's for the good or not!

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11. You Sure Are a Sucker.

Nic's POV

Sleep has been a joke ever since coming home. Sam's couch is comfortable but my mind is constantly running a thousand miles per minute. I blow a piece of hair out of my face. Luke's text this afternoon has me for a loop. I don't know if he's being sincere or setting me up. If it was even him. I glance over at my phone and slide it off the coffee table. Anxiety rushes through me as I hold in the power button, turning the phone on. Nothing comes through at first, but soon after message after message start piling in. Numbers I have no clue belong to you with messages of hate and slander. Campus whore. Desperate bitch. Slut. Basically every name under the sun.

"They're just words. They're just words," I breathe.

I toss my phone to the floor and flip over, shoving my face in my pillow. I try to muffle my sobs once again. I'm such an idiot. I set myself up for such failure and I'm paying for it. My mind finally shows some mercy and allows me to fall asleep but not for long as I feel someone shaking my shoulder.

"Hi Nic," I hear looking up at Gemma's boyfriend, Liam.
"Hi," I mumble.

His British accent is a cruel reminder even if Luke is Australian.

"It's 3 o'clock. Gemma sent me over to check on you. Would you like some food?"

I groan, sitting up, "No, that's not necessary."
"Come on, you know me and food."

I rub my eyes, adjusting them some more. Liam gives me a sympathetic smile, sitting down next to me.

"So? Food?"
"Okay," I nod.
He jumps up, "Awesome. I'll get to it."
"Mind if I hop in the shower?"
"Go ahead. Don't be too long though. Foooood."

I drag myself off the couch and up to the shower. I welcome the sting of the hot water. My shower comes to an end all too quick and I'm rejoining Liam downstairs.

"Just in time," Liam smirks setting a plate in front of me at the table. I look down at the French toast and scrambled eggs. Looks and smells delicious but I have no appetite. I pick up my fork and push the food around.

"Look, Gemma didn't tell me all the details, but I know you and her are strong women. You can overcome this, babe."
"I'm trying," I mumble.
"Did you really like this guy?"

I shrug.

"Okay, okay. I'm done prying."
"Sorry, it's just-"
"No," he raises his hand, "you don't have to explain. I understand."

I give him a weak smile, looking down at my nearly untouched food.

"I need to go pack things for my trip back. I got a not so nice email from my professor."

"Oh, okay," Liam frowns.

I wait till Gemma gets home, thank her and Liam and set my GPS for school. The hour and a half drive takes me a little longer than usual. I guess I'm in no real rush to get there. Once I do, I park in a different spot and go the back entrance to my dorm. I hike up the steps and am immediately met by a poster. A photo of me from vacation with the words, WARNING. CAMPUS WHORE. I rip the paper down, crumbling it up it a ball. I swing open the exit door and am horrified at what I see. The same poster is plastered everywhere along the walls leading to my door. On my door is a picture of me with my face crossed out surrounded by the same posters. I want to rip it all down but if I don't want people to know I'm back, it all has to stay. I take a deep breath and unlock my door greeted by even more posters that they slid under the door. I quickly pick those up and toss them in the trash.

The rest of my evening consists of writing my paper that was due yesterday and worrying about how I was going to deal with tomorrow. I plan on throwing my hair up and wearing my reading glasses that I don't wear but should. Maybe then people won't recognize me. I pray that sleep will come easier tonight as I close my eyes and focus on the strumming of a soft playing guitar coming from above my room.

I'm late to start my morning as I rush out of my dorm to the lecture hall. I ignore the stares and glares from people as I hustle to class. I make it just in time and pick a seat in the far back. Unfortunately, I can see Luke from where I'm at. He's wearing a gray hoodie with his signature maroon hat and dark jeans. The growth in his face is abundant as his hair shags through the front of his backwards placed hat. I drag my eyes away from him, the feelings all too fresh. Professor Stoltz saves me from self pity as his clearing of the throat indicates the starting of class. Class that drags on for 2 hours and one I have to stay after for.

"Alright. Read those chapters and have notes down by Friday. You're dismissed."

I grab my notes and books shoving them into my bag. The greed in me causes me to glance over towards Luke as I stand. Our eyes connect for a brief second before I hustle down the steps to Stoltz' desk.

"Here you are professor. Sorry for any inconvenience."

He gives me a bland look, taking my paper.

"It's not like you to miss my class, Nicole."
"I had a family emergency."
"Ahhh, my apologies. See you on Friday."
"Yes, sir," I nod.

I hike back up the steps, praying Luke isn't waiting for me outside. I try to make myself as small as possible but I hear his voice. His sweet fucking gorgeous voice.

"Nic.."

I ignore him though, walking towards my building.

"Please," he gently grabs my arm.
"No," I pull away from him, "I'm done. I don't need this shit. Because it will never be you. It will always be me."

He lets go of me, slowing his hurried pace to a stop.

"You don't think I've been worried about you?"
"Why should you be, Luke? You and Kelsey are a-okay and here I am the campus whore. Just stop by my dorm. You'll see."

Anger filters through me. None of this seems fair.

"Come with me?"
"You're kidding, right?"
"No. I want to take you somewhere."
"No way. Have a nice day, Luke."
"Nic, please."

I turn towards my building and starting walking again. My heart is literally in pieces. I didn't realize how much I actually care for him and I hate myself for it. I shouldn't feel bad for him at all.

Instead of staying cramped in my dorm, I walk past my building and head out to the north lawn. I pick a random tree and sit my ass. I'm so close to just quitting or transferring or whatever. I pull my knees to my chest, hugging my arms around them. I've cried enough tears to float a boat these past few days. I rest my head across my knee, breathing slowly through my nose. I can't wallow in this. Yes the situation sucks but I can't let it consume me. I take one last deep breath and push myself up. It's just past noon and my stomach is surely letting me know that. Time to grow some balls, Nic. Running isn't going to do shit. I need to face the music. I spot my table but with no on seated there. Must be because I'm like over an hour later than usual. But the loud hustle and bustle of "the" table is still there. I don't pay much mind to them as work my way to the kitchen. After picking out some food, I settle down at the table and yank out my notebook. Might as well write notes for class. I keep my eyes low, focusing on my notes and food. Soon enough, the hall quiets down indicating the departure of the table. Although I'm still nervous, I feel a slight relief. I didn't die from being out in the public eye. Go me!

"Hey," I hear an Australian accent speak. I look up to see Calum staring at me.
"Hi," I respond.
"How are you?"
"Just dandy. How about you?"
"I'm okay," he shrugs.
"That's good."

I return to my notes, highlighting a few things. Calum clears his throat. I look up at him.

"Hey," he smiles.
"Yes? Do you need something?"
"I was just checking on you."
"Well, thank you," I smile, "I'm doing just fine."

He nods, patting the table before leaving.

"Wait, Calum. I'm sorry."
He turns around, "For which part? Falling for Luke or acting like I'm the asshole here?"
I stare at him blankly.
"That's what I thought. Look, Nic. I won't be bothering you anymore. I should have listened to Kels."
"Right," I mumble watching him walk away.

I finish up my notes then head off to my last class of the day.

"Nikki, girl, where have you been?" I hear Bridgette whisper.
"In hiding," I mumble.
She frowns, backing off, "I'm sorry."
"It's not your fault," I whisper, "we'll talk more after class."

And we do just that. I meet up with Bridgette outside of class.

"I told you no rock stars. Especially the lead singer."
I laugh, "I should have listened."
"But in all seriousness, it took everything in me not to beat Kelsey's ass. That little tramp." "She is a piece of work."

Bridgette nods, grabbing a piece of gum from her purse.
"So you tried to jump his bones or is that just the story Luke was telling."
"He initiated everything, I took the blame for it."
Bridgette stops, "WHY?!"
"Because I care for him."
"Oh my god, Nic. Clearly he doesn't care for you. He let his bitch ass girlfriend slander you to hell and back."
I look down at the ground, "I'm stupid? I don't know."
"No, no you're not. Just caught up in an unfortunate situation. That's all."

I nod agreeing with her.

Bridgette looks at me. "You're in love with him, aren't you?"
"What?" I quickly respond.
"You're in love with Hemmings."
I shake my head, "He's not mine to love."
"Smart girl," she smiles patting me on the back, "I'll catch up with you later!"
"See ya, girl."

I continue my way to English hall thinking about what Bridgette just asked me. Am I in love with him? I mean, the butterflies, the want to see him, the temptation. I huff, blowing a piece of hair out of my face. I can't focus at all during my next lecture. My mind is too consumed with what my next move is with this whole situation. Wait. Why am I even contemplating this? What if everything he told me was just to get in my pants?

"Have those chapters read by tomorrow. Thank you."

The professor's loud voice snaps me from my thoughts. This is ridiculous. Why do I care so much?! I groan in frustration hiking up the steps outside. The evening is brisk and of course I didn't bring a jacket.

"You look slightly chilly," I hear Beck say coming up behind me. He drapes his jacket over my shoulders.
"Thank you, Beck," I smile.
"Ha ha!" He laughs, "I got you to smile."

I nod, rolling my eyes.

"Bridgette told me what happened.."
"As if you didn't already know," I groan.
"Well I did some digging-"
"What?" I look at him.
He puts up his hands, "Relax, relax. I talked with Ashton. He seems to be the only level headed one out of that group."
"Okay.."
"He couldn't tell me much because he didn't know but he told me that I should warn you to be careful. He thinks Kelsey is up to something."
"Like?"
"I'm not sure," he frowns, "I wish I could tell you."
"Just great. Why can't she just leave me alone? She won the battle."
"Has she?"
"Yes, she has," I huff stopping in front of my building.
"I'm not so sure," he smirks, "see you tomorrow, darling."

I hand Beck his jacket.

"See you tomorrow and thank you."

He gives me a wink and continues down the sidewalk. I hustle inside the double doors and up to my dorm. I'm greeted by a folded piece of paper as I step into my room. I quickly snatch it up, reading it. Meet me at the South lawn at 8 -L My brain is screaming fuck no but my heart is saying, YES. LUKE. GO. It's 7:15 so I have about 40 minutes to get my back there. I whip up a salad, scarf that down and change into more seasonal clothing. I leave my skinny jeans on and slip into my grey peacoat jacket. I shove my phone into my pocket along with my keys and slide out the door. I toss up my hood as I walk down the steps and out into the crisp night air. It doesn't take long for me to reach the south lawn, but I see no one. Just me, myself and I. I quickly take out my phone and shoot Luke a text. I'm here.

"Wow," I hear Kelsey laugh, "boy, this was too easy. You sure are a sucker."

 

What Yes Kelsey Had A Plan All The Time.

Hope You Like It.

~Angie

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