#Chapter 38: Lovelorn
Nina and I shook hands and agreed to be “friends” for now.
“You can’t just let this happen,” Fio growled, angry with me for letting it come to this as I watched Nina walk away.
“I know,” I replied with an outward sigh, sticking my hands in my pockets and making my way toward where my motorcycle was parked.
I wasn’t going to let this happen. For whatever reason, Nina Harper was
special to me and I had to have her. If being a good “friend” for a while was what it would take to get her to see that I was the best choice, then so be it; but that didn’t mean that I wasn’t going to try in some other ways to gain her affection, too.
I went to hockey practice that day and let out my frustrations by training harder than I had in a long time. My teammates were both surprised and annoyed by the grueling training regimen I inflicted on them, but I was too angry to care.
“Enzo, we’ve been doing drills for two hours!” Matt complained, stopping suddenly in the middle of a drill in the middle of the rink and doubling over with his hands on his knees. The other players stopped as well and started complaining, too– all except for Justin, who was the lone teammate to keep pushing through the drill, skating back and forth with all his might on the rink.
Was he punishing himself too for what
he did to Nina, or was he trying to
Either way, I praised him after practice in front of the whole team.
“The rest of you could have done better today,” I said as we got changed in the locker room, which caused a chorus of grumbles from everyone.
I turned to face the team and folded my arms as I watched them get changed, then shook my head with a sigh and grabbed my bag to leave.
As I was leaving, I heard Justin call my name. He jogged to catch up to me as I walked toward the dining hall.
“Hey, Enzo!” he said, catching up with me and matching my stride. I didn’t slow down, because frankly I didn’t want to be talking to him despite his good performance during practice.
“What’s up?” I said, keeping my gaze straight ahead.
“I just wanted to say I’m sorry for starting that argument with you the other day,” he said. “I’m just angry with myself for doing what I did to Nina. I shouldn’t be taking it out on you. I’m trying to be different from now on. Better.”
I raised an eyebrow, surprised at Justin’s sudden change in demeanor. As long as I had known him, he was always a bit of an insufferable jackass. Did Nina really have such an effect on people? I thought about how I used to be; how I used to sleep around almost every night, using girls as merely a means to let off steam and then discard them, and now I was scheming how to get this ordinary human girl to be my girlfriend.
I cleared my throat and forced a smile, turning toward Justin and patting him on the shoulder. “I’m glad to hear it,” I said, although what I really wanted to say was “Don’t you dare even try to get back together with Nina. She’s mine
now.” But I controlled myself.
“Thanks,” Justin said with a somewhat meek smile. “Well, see you tomorrow at practice.”
Yeah, I thought to myself as I watched Justin walk away, narrowing my eyes as I wondered what he was scheming. See you tomorrow.
I didn’t have time to worry about whatever dumbass angle Justin was trying to get, because I had big plans the next day to get Nina’s attention.
First thing in the morning, I rode my motorcycle to town. I got a haircut, bought myself a new set of clothes — a nice flannel, new jeans, and even a new pair of boots — and then made my way over to the florist. I bought a dozen roses with a little teddy bear and a box of chocolates.
After that, I stopped at the liquor store and bought a bottle of wine, then picked up fancy pastries from the bakery. I had never noticed what sort of foods and flowers Nina liked, but how could any girl refuse roses and chocolate croissants?
By this time, it was already almost lunchtime so I had to rush back to the campus to set up what would hopefully be a date. I knew Nina would be heading across the quad to get lunch, so I set up a picnic blanket with everything I got for her and stood nearby with the flowers, waiting for her to cross my
Soon enough, there she was.
She looked beautiful. Instead of her usual oversized sweater and jeans, she was wearing a short dress that flowed at the bottom with thigh high socks and boots with a bit of a heel. She had her usual braids in, which I had always liked, and seemed to be wearing her glasses all of the time now — which I also liked. There was an academic, casual sexiness to her that none of the other girls I had ever been interested in before possessed.
I cleared my throat to call out for her, but before I did, my voice faltered as I saw her walk right past me… and toward someone else.
The same guy who I had seen her leave with after the hockey game the other day.
My heart sank as I watched her walk up to him with a smile on her face.
I wasn’t close enough to hear everything, but I could hear snippets of their conversation: something about studying at the coffee shop.
Maybe they are just studying, I
thought to myself as I watched them walk off together. Even then, I couldn’t contain my jealousy. I had never been the jealous type, and Nina was allowed to see whoever she wanted to see, but it didn’t stop my heart from breaking to know that she was repeatedly spending alone time with this guy.
I felt a sharp prick in my palm and looked down to see that I had been crumpling the roses in my hands, and a thorn had made its way through my skin. I felt numb as I looked down at the trickle of blood, not bothering to heal myself.
What was so special about this human girl that I was so enthralled by her? Was I, too, a victim of her strange scent like Luke and all of the other shifters were?
I watched Nina and her friend, or whatever he was to her, disappear behind a building. Choking down my rage, I stiffly walked over to a trash can and threw the roses in. I left the picnic setup for the squirrels or another student to steal and stormed off, blood dripping from my palm.
Whatever this obsession with Nina was, it had to stop… Once and for all.
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