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Authors: Jessie L. Star

Tags: #romance, #university, #college, #new adult

So Much to Learn

BOOK: So Much to Learn
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So Much to
Learn

Jessie L. Star

Copyright ©
2005 Jessie L. Star

Smashwords
Edition

All characters
in this publication are fictitious and any resemblance to real
persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

Cover art
photo: Romantic Couple Holding Hands © Beemanja. Licensed from
Dreamstime.

Cover art
design by the incredibly talented Master Ning.

Please note
this novel is written in Australian English and was originally
published under the penname star123.

Dedicated to
the glorious FP-ers, whether you were with me from the beginning
(stalwart stars that you are!), or once spent a few minutes reading
one of my one shots. You beautiful people taught me how to be a
writer and I’m incredibly appreciative. Cheers!

Chapter 1

 

"Jack, I need
you!"

Never had truer
words been spoken.

Although how
true I had no way of knowing at the time. This sentence was just
one of many things that turned out to be somewhat prophetic that
night…note how similar ‘prophetic’ sounds to ‘pathetic’ and you
have the whole scenario pretty much summed up.

However, I've
begun at what is not technically the beginning. The impetus behind
me uttering those four rather fateful words is not pretty, in fact
it is downright humiliating, but spilling the beans, the more
embarrassing the beans the better, is inescapably cathartic. And
thus I must take you back, back to 7 in the evening on a Wednesday
night not so long ago….

 

~*~

 

The music for
the 7 'o' clock news started as I walked into my boyfriend's flat,
my bag weighing heavily on my shoulders and my body weary from a
very long day. I dumped my bag on the floor and staggered over to
the kitchen where I turned on the kitchen tap and, cupping my hands
beneath it to capture the water, took a long drink. OK, so it
would've only taken a couple of extra seconds to get a glass, but
it was one of those days where even that tiny amount of additional
effort could have been my undoing.

I hate
Wednesdays. Thinking of all the crap you've gone through by
Wednesday and then realising you've got that much time again before
the weekend rolls around is absolutely heartbreaking.

I hated this
Wednesday in particular.

My classes had
been interminably boring, I had missed lunch due to unfinished
coursework that I had to complete in my break, and work had been
hellishly busy. The only saving grace was that I had got off duty
early as one of the other girls was desperate for more hours. I had
willingly given them to her and headed off a couple of hours
earlier than I normally would have done, not with a spring in my
step as you would imagine, but with a heavy heart knowing that I
would just use the extra time to get some reading done.

Well, I would
get onto the homework bit after visiting my boyfriend, Brad (not
the best of names I know, but we work with what we have). After
all, aren't we university students always being told that study
isn't everything and that we have to have a balance between work
and play in our lives? Well, that was the line we were being fed at
the moment anyway due to the worryingly high levels of stress being
detected amongst those of us doing first year law at Grove
University.

Wiping my wet
hands on my jeans I wandered down the corridor towards Brad's
bedroom wondering why he hadn't come out to greet me. He must have
heard me come in, after all I wasn't exactly tiptoeing about.

I began talking
before I'd even put my hand on the doorknob, an old habit of mine,
and so it was that the true awfulness of that Wednesday began with,
"Brad, are you busy? Sorry to just barge in, but...huh."

The 'huh' came
out as it did because of the huge, heaving, naked bosom I
encountered as the door swung open. Well, really, what was I
supposed to say? 'Nice rack?' I think that would really have pushed
the boundaries of decency which were, by the looks of it, already
being severely tested.

So, we've
established that my first reaction was 'huh', the second, I'm
afraid, was no more dramatic. The only thing I could think of was
covering up those massive mammary monstrosities (yes, even in my
darkest hours I can pull off a good bit of alliteration) and so I
grabbed one of Brad's jumpers which was hanging over his desk
chair. I then wordlessly passed it to the girl who had the enormous
responsibility of lugging those bazookas around everywhere.

Finally,
thankfully, those breasts were put away into the dark and my visual
boundaries expanded dramatically. I lifted my eyes up from the
chest area and saw that I actually recognised the girl standing
awkwardly in Brad's hideous, knitted jumper.

"Hi, Allison,"
I said politely. "What the fuck's going on?" OK so I said that less
politely, but I believe, under the circumstances, I had fair reason
to use the profanity.

"Hi, Talia,"
she said nervously. "I'm just, um, going to go…" She started edging
around me towards the door, but I put an arm out to stop her.

"You've only
got a jumper on. Get your stuff," feeling I was being a bit too
nice I added in a harder tone of voice, "and then go."

It was at this
point that I finally looked at Brad. He was lying in amongst the
dishevelled bedclothes, but had propped himself up on one arm while
the other searched about on the floor for his boxer shorts. While
Allison collected her clothes and hurriedly changed, I watched with
no small amount of satisfaction as the tips of Brad's fingers
continually just missed the silky fabric of his undergarments.

The whole thing
felt so surreal. Brad and I had been dating for about six months
and I had thought we were pretty solid. He was two years above me
in law and we had met at one of the 'get to know you' BBQs the uni
was constantly holding. He was good looking in that 'I spend my
spare time brooding about the futility of life in dark rooms' way
with pale skin, black wavy hair and similarly dark eyes. Despite
his looks he wasn't one of those deep, philosophical types who
wanted to take me to indie films in different languages. No, he was
just a typical third year law student meaning he drank a lot of
beer and knew more than was decently possible about torts.

I'd been a bit
astonished, to be honest with you, when he'd approached me and
asked if I'd wanted another drink. The older students, as a general
rule, didn’t often descend from on high to mingle with the first
years and, although passing pretty when I made the effort, I didn’t
consider myself attractive enough to have voided the year group
divide.

My honey brown
hair leans towards blonde on some days, whilst, on other days,
couldn't be described as anything other than brown. Following the
example set by my hair my hazel eyes never seemed to be able to
decide what colour they should be either. I'm medium build, medium
height, medium everything really. Even my dress sense screamed
medium; I usually went for layered tops and a pair of jeans,
perfect for my life that revolved around uni and work, neither of
which required an excess of halter tops or miniskirts.

Considering the
situation I'd walked in on with Allison, by all rights on that
first day I met him Brad should have leeringly asked me if I wanted
some sausage, which would have seen me walking away very quickly.
That wasn't what had happened, however, I’d accepted the offer of a
drink and, after he'd brought back a plastic cup filled with tepid
beer, we'd spent the rest of the afternoon talking together.

He was polite,
interesting and, most importantly, he didn't treat me like a JAFFY
(just another f-ing first year) as most of the other older law
students I had met had done. When the sun had begun to set and we'd
realised that just about everybody had left he had asked me out for
a proper drink and I'd had no hesitation in saying yes.

After that we
dated as much as possible, but, as we had different classes and
jobs, it wasn't always easy to snatch time together. Still, we'd
managed to go out a couple of times a week and I’d been happy with
that.

Fine, there had
been moments when I'd thought he was a bit of a dick, like when
he'd not turned up at my cousin's wedding when he'd promised he'd
be there, or when he'd said he didn't understand why people got so
het up over footy. Still, I'd forgiven him those trespasses and the
other little niggling things weren't worth getting upset over. So
what if he was a touchy feely person and I, well, wasn't? He
respected that I liked to keep my distance and we got along
fine.

Or so I'd
thought. Clearly the Brad fumbling around to cover his nakedness
wasn't the one I knew.

Allison finally
had all her stuff together and she'd thrown on a skirt, not
bothering to fix it as it hung askew off her hips. Scuttling to the
door she paused only long enough to mouth 'sorry' although whether
it was directed at me or at Brad I don't know. She closed the door
behind her with a soft thump and my boyfriend and I were left
staring at each other in complete silence.

I wasn't trying
to unnerve him with the silence or anything, I just honestly didn't
know what to say so I waited for him to begin. He'd finally found
his boxers and he wriggled them back on under the covers, making
him look for all the world like a pale grub amongst his dark
sheets.

Apparently my
silence got to him and he snapped, "Well go on then, yell and
scream and all that. Let's get it over with."

Thinking back I can't believe how I managed to hold my temper.
How dare he be angry at
me
? I hated when people did that,
turned the tables when they were feeling guilty. However, I was so
much in a state of shock that I only lifted my eyebrows slightly in
response, something that seemed to unnerve him even more than if I
had pulled a full harpy act on him.

"For God’s
sake, Talia, say something," he exploded after another few moments
where all that could be heard was the traffic outside his
window.

Finally emerging out of my stupor I said, rather randomly,
"You don't even
like
Allison."

He snorted and
then shrugged in that kind of 'what's a guy to do?' sort of way
that finally succeeded in cutting through my stupor and woke me up
to what I had walked in on.

"You were
having sex with Allison, in your flat, on a Wednesday evening while
I was at work?"

Don't ask me
why I felt the issue needed clarification, it wasn't as if the
situation was in any way ambiguous. He opened his mouth to answer,
but I cut across him. "How long? How long have you been rooting
her?"

"Allison? Only
for a couple of weeks. Honestly, she meant nothing, baby." Brad got
off the bed and came towards me with his arms outstretched, but I
stepped quickly out of the way. Something about the way he'd wanted
to check if I meant Allison in particular making my stomach feel
queasy.

"She's not the
only one is she? You've been having it off with other girls while
we've been going out? Jesus, Brad, how many?" I asked.

He reached for
me again. "Not that many, don't make a big deal out of it. It was
only sex," he added as an afterthought.

What a cliché!
Did any guy out there actually think that made it OK? If so they're
in for a rude awakening and it was my duty to explain this to Brad.
I thought about calmly explaining to him that I had this thing
called a conscience and believed in the concept of fidelity, but it
seemed too time consuming so I settled for the shortened
version.

"You bastard."
There. That about covered it I felt.

He dropped his
arms and his conciliatory tone then and looked angry again.

"Well come on,
Talia, you can't really have been surprised," he snarled.

Not surprised?
Was he insane? Did he really think I would have stayed with him if
I’d suspected he was cheating?

"Why wouldn't I
be surprised?" I asked with, what I considered, admirable
self-restraint. What I really wanted to do at that moment, you see,
was smash something hard into his private bits.

He laughed, a
little irritating laugh that made me clench my hands behind my back
to hold myself in check. "You can't possibly be that naïve. You
know things have been awkward for ages now ever since Rory's
party."

I winced.

I hadn't
thought about that for ages now. In truth I had tried to block it
completely from my memory, but it was one of those moments that I
knew, no matter how I tried to erase it, I would always
remember.

Rory was one of
Brad's friends renowned for the extravagant shindigs he threw where
just about the entire university was invited and nearly everyone
showed up. They had been known to carry on over the entire weekend,
only breaking up on the Monday when people blearily staggered off
to lectures.

BOOK: So Much to Learn
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