Chapter 30

It’s Nice to Have a Friend

I walked away from my father and Cecilia as quickly as I could. Of course my dad would drag out the goodbyes forever. He was always a bit sentimental when it came to me and Gracie. I remembered how he had teared up when she first started kindergarten.

Still, I would miss them too, so I hurried off before I started crying as well.

I wondered where Samuel was. Had he already arrived as well? The house had been deserted when we moved my stuff in. I’d even tried the door to his room, but it had been locked. He was probably out exploring campus like I was.

I shook myself mentally. Don’t think about Samuel. I was here to study and play football and get new friends. Not run around after Samuel like a lost puppy just because he felt… safe.

Even so, I found myself scanning for his dark curls as I walked around campus. I felt a little uneasy around all these strangers. So many people, just walking about or waiting for someone. There was even a Lobster Larry mascot to welcome the new students.

I ended up at the student hub, Larry’s Lagoon. I’d barely entered the building before a voice called my name.

On Wednesdays we wear turtlenecks.

“Freya? Hey, over here!”

“Oh, hey Jessica!”

I knew Jessica from my high school football team, but we hadn’t been that close. I was a little embarrassed that I didn’t even know she’d been accepted to Foxbury as well. She was sitting next to a blonde girl.

“Freya, this is Trisha, she lives in my dorm. Trisha, this is Freya, I think she’s in biology as well, right? And we’re all on the team!”

We chatted for a bit, mostly about football. I felt better now that I wasn’t all alone. It was really nice having someone I already knew around, and Trisha seemed pretty cool.

Suddenly, Trisha leaned over and whispered loudly.

“Girls, don’t look, but there’s a really hot guy coming over here.”

Of course I looked up immediately – only to see Samuel walking towards us.

“Freya! There you are!”, he smiled.


I wasn’t sure what to do, but Samuel politely introduced himself to the girls, expertly compensating for my lack of manners. Then he turned back to me.

“I have to go, I’m meeting up with my pre-med study group, but I’ll see you tonight. Ladies.”

He nodded to Jessica and Trisha and walked off.

As soon as he was out of hearing range, Jessica turned to me.

“Oh my gosh, he’s so cute! And a medical student? Are you guys dating?”

ᵒʰ ᵐʸ ᵍᵒᵈ ᵗʰᵉʸ ʷᵉʳᵉ ʳᵒᵒᵐᵐᵃᵗᵉˢ

“What? No, we’re… roommates. We’ve sort of been friends for years before we got here.”

“Oh, is he taken at all, then?”

“… No?”

“Don’t even think about it, Jess – I call dibs on Dr. Hotness.”

“Trisha! You can’t just call dibs on day one!”

Trisha rolled her eyes.

Fiiiiine, I’ll wait until tomorrow then. But mark my words, I will get the good doctor to do a personal exam before the midterms.”

They both laughed, and I tried to smile.

I hadn’t really thought about it before. I knew, logically, that Samuel would probably be dating here. He was a good-looking medical student, of course all the girls would be falling over themselves to get to know him.

For some reason, the thought of him spending time with other girls bothered me. He was my best friend, yes, but it would be very selfish of me to keep him all to myself. Just because I wasn’t going to date yet, there was no reason that my friends couldn’t, right?

And if I was a little bothered by it, it was only because it meant that he would have less time to hang out with me.

I’d completely lost track of whatever Trisha and Jessica were talking about, so I excused myself, telling them I’d see them at practice.

By the time I got back to the house, it was dark and the last of our roommates had arrived.

Shen and Tai were twins, exchange students from Mt. Komorebi.

Shen was a little… extravagant. He spoke loudly and wore even louder outfits, and spent an inordinate amount of time in front of mirrors or commenting on hot guys and their butts.

His sister Tai seemed pretty much the opposite, at least on first impression. But after sharing a house with her for a few weeks, I discovered that her mild exterior was hiding a personality just as intense as her brother’s.

The twins didn’t play sports, but they somehow managed to turn everything into a fierce competition – from video games to foosball to constantly trying to date the same guys with cute butts, apparently.

There was never a dull moment in the house around the Lei twins. I had no idea how they kept their grades up with the amount of dating and competing they engaged in.

The fifth inhabitant of the house was Griffin, who surprised me by also being a medical student. At first I was taken aback by his somewhat gruff demeanour, but I actually really liked him once I got to know him.

His commanding voice could call even the twins to order, and the fact that he was a few years older than the rest of us quickly made him the resident “dad”.

He was also a former chef who now wanted to become a surgeon. I had asked him why, once, but he had just winked and said that he already knew how to handle a knife, so it couldn’t be too difficult. He completely took over the kitchen, and would offer to whip up a quick salad when I came home late from practice and was starving.

Things were going pretty well as we settled into our new routines. I didn’t have Samuel to myself much, but we still got to spend a lot of time together, even if it was mostly while eating or studying. And since the house wasn’t that big, Griffin, Shen and Tai were constantly around. But it was something.

I needed other friends than Samuel anyway. I did my best to socialise, even though it had never been my strong suit. But I got along pretty well with my football team, which, in addition to Trisha and Jessica, included a girl called Daria.

Football definitely took up a lot of my time, and it annoyed me to admit that the university had probably been right in preventing me from joining both football and basketball. It often felt like I was trying to do my coursework while running from classes to football practice.

Still, I enjoyed being busy. And it felt great when we won our first match against our arch-rivals, those posh people from University of Britechester. They always thought they owned the entire town just because they were here first.

I don’t know how sports work and at this point I’m too afraid to ask.

Trisha was team captain, and she was good. After the match, she managed to hit just the right balance between praise and letting us know that this wasn’t the time to get complacent.

If you feel called out by this, then… same, I guess.

I really liked all the girls. But I still struggled with making proper friends – no one but Samuel ever got close. I wasn’t sure what to say or do half the time. Instead, I tried to work as hard as possible during practice and matches, hoping it would somehow make up for my lack of social skills.

Jessica had befriended Trisha on the very first day, and she was quick to befriend Daria as well. I wished I had her confidence. She never seemed worried that people might reject her friendship. And they never did.

As I walked home that night, I wondered if Samuel was only my friend because we happened to grow up together and now he couldn’t get rid of me. Would he still have chosen me as his friend if he’d had a choice?

And what would happen if I ever gave him that choice?

It seemed like I would get the answer whether I wanted it or not. As the first and second semesters passed, Samuel and I talked less. We were both busy, and his medical studies were extremely taxing. But it wasn’t just that.

He didn’t talk about it, but I’d see him around campus with various girls, and although none of them seemed to be serious girlfriends so far, I knew that some nights he came home late – or not at all.

He does seem to prefer brunettes.

Part of me had been waiting for things to become “normal” again. Meaning that Samuel and I would once more spend all our spare time together, joking around and talking about anything and everything. But I had to accept that this was the new normal. We couldn’t stay attached at the hip forever, and he was clearly eager to go out and get on with his life. Without me.

Even notorious flirt Shen had finally found someone with a cute enough butt to settle for, apparently. It seemed like everyone else were moving forward with their lives.

I should probably do the same.

I was still surprised when I came home from practice one evening to find my roommates having a little impromptu party.

Music was playing, Shen was cuddling with his boyfriend, and Griffin seemed to be teaching Tai some sort of dance – or maybe it was the other way around, it was hard to tell.

Samuel was talking to a girl I hadn’t seen before. But I saw the expression on her face, her hand resting possessively on his waist. I immediately announced that I was going to bed and went upstairs. I didn’t want to look at them.

It was still too early for me to sleep, so I decided to call my mom. She and Conrad lived in a giant mansion in Del Sol Valley. They were rolling in cash with her investments paying off and him making it big as the star of a really popular sci-fi series. I hadn’t watched it myself, but I knew he got rave reviews, especially from women. Trisha had freaked out when she heard that he was my stepdad.

I’d only been to the mansion a few times after they moved, but the view was spectacular. The place was way too big for my taste, though, too empty for just two people, although they threw a lot of parties. I’d rather have a smaller house and a bigger family, but I guess they didn’t have that choice.

My mother picked up immediately as usual. “Hi, sweetie! So nice to hear from you! How’s this semester going so far?”

“Hi mom. It’s… great. Everything’s pretty great… Actually, it’s not. Mom, am I a prude?”

Oh hi Conrad

She laughed.

“Sweetie! Why do you ask? Did someone call you Mrs. Crumplebottom again?”

“No, it’s just… It seems like everyone around me is dating and stuff, and I’m apparently the only one who thinks it’s better to wait a bit.”

Really, former dean Dr. Gilscarbo Richards, PhD.? Are you really sure you weren’t a great role model?

“Right. I mean, your father and I were probably not the best role models for… correct behaviour, sweetie. But this is not about what you should and shouldn’t do, it’s about what you want. And if waiting is what you really want…”

Focus, Katherine! Focus!

She trailed off, clearly distracted.

“But what if I’m not sure what I… Mom, is that Conrad?”

Conrad, this is not helpful. This is the opposite of helpful.

She giggled.

“… No?”

“Mom, I can literally hear him breathing.”

Conrad’s smooth baritone replied somewhere in the background.

“Hey Freya, hope you’re having a good semester. You should come visit soon, your mother misses you.”

“Thanks, Conrad. I better leave you to it, mom. Bye.”

I hung up before she could reply.

Classic mom and Conrad. It felt like everyone else were having more fun than I did. I thought about what she had said. What did I really want?

I wanted what both of my parents had, separately. But without the absolute dumpster fire of a relationship that resulted in me. Dad and Cecilia seemed blissfully in love, and mom and Conrad could never keep their hands off each other, even in their late fifties.

Of course I wanted a boyfriend. Rather desperately, if I was being honest. I wanted to experience the same things that everyone else did, the excitement and the kissing and the touching. But I also wanted a family that wasn’t broken.

Ideally, I’d find a really solid husband who never drank alcohol, never talked to other women, loved me, and never left. And then we’d have a couple of perfect, well-behaved kids, I’d be a famous football player and the best mother ever and we’d live happily ever after.

I rolled over and sighed. It actually sounded a little dull when I spelled it out like that. But I didn’t want the pain and heartbreak that my parents had been suffering through – or causing.

Most of all, I never wanted any of my children to feel like an accident.

Maybe I was foolish for thinking that I’d get to control everything. I tried to fall asleep, but I couldn’t relax.

Then I heard it.

I could just make out voices, quietly talking and laughing in the hallway outside my door, before moving to the other side of the wall. Samuels’ room. It got very quiet for a while. And then, the faint moans of a girl.

I sat up. Oh no. Anything but this.

The moans got slightly louder. I wasn’t sure what to do. If I went downstairs, they’d know I could hear them. I felt paralysed by the sheer awkwardness of the situation.

The moaning was now accompanied by a faint, rhythmic knocking of wooden bed against the wall. Shit. I wondered if I’d be able to get my headphones without making any noise, but for some reason I couldn’t move.

The girl giggled. “Oh, Sammy!

I was seething. His name is Samuel. I didn’t have time to seethe for long, however, because a much deeper groan now joined in.

I had never heard him sound like that. I got chills. I wanted to hear more of that voice, wanted it to be moaning in my ear, whispering my name. I needed to drown myself in that voice.

On the other side of the wall, Samuel groaned again as the girl babbled on inanely.

I wanted to make it stop, to run in and rip Samuel away from her. I wanted to kill her. I wanted to do unmentionable things to him, to have him do unmentionable things to me.

I had to get away, immediately.

I leapt out of bed, stomped across my room and loudly slammed my door before stomping into the bathroom, slamming that door as well. As I passed Samuel’s room, it was quiet. Good. Hopefully the mood was spoiled.

Samuel definitely does not want to build a snowman right now.

I waited anxiously by the bathroom door, straining to hear what was happening outside. A minute or so later, I heard Samuel’s door open, quiet voices, and someone going down the stairs.

Yes! She was leaving! I exited the bathroom, relief washing over me.

Only to immediately find myself face to face with Samuel, waiting for me outside. He looked about as displeased as could be expected.

“Freya, what the actual fuck was that about?”

“What, did I ruin something? Maybe if you’d tone it down a bit, I would be sleeping by now!”

“Well, if you… Never mind.”

Stupid sexy Samuel.

As he turned his back on me, he paused briefly, shaking his head.

“You can be such a piece of work, Freya, did you know that?”

Then he shut the door behind him.

I sat on my bed, feeling like I’d somehow won a battle but lost the war.

“It’s-a me, libido!”

I hated him. I wanted him. Fuck, when did he get so hot? The sound of his groans still rang in my ears, his naked torso seared into my memory. My entire body felt like it was on fire.

I wouldn’t call it revenge, but only because “returning the favour” sounds so much nicer.

My hands moved down, almost on their own, and for the first time in my life, I made no efforts to be quiet. I’d show him exactly how much of a piece of work I could be.

We were nearing the end of our final semester, and in some ways it felt like a relief. The situation was becoming unbearable, the tension between Samuel and I almost palpable.

We had avoided each other for weeks, much to the confusion of our roommates. I spent as little time as possible in the house, opting to either go for endless runs or do all my studying at Larry’s Lagoon.

I finally made a real attempt at befriending Jessica, and we actually became pretty close. It was much easier for me to hang out with her alone than trying to deal with the entire team at once, and she quickly picked up on that.

I thew myself into the final matches with wild abandon, even resulting in a few injuries, and whenever I had to stay home, I locked myself in my room and studied alone.

I missed Griffin’s horrifying kitchen accident anecdotes and the chaotic energies of Tai and Shen, but I just couldn’t be around Samuel. Besides, everyone was busy preparing for finals, especially the med students.

Whenever I caught a glimpse of Samuel, he looked frustrated. Whether it was only because of the looming exams, I couldn’t tell.

The nights were quiet now, but I still couldn’t sleep. Samuel hadn’t had any more visitors, and I knew he’d slept in his own bed every single night since the incident.

I longed for the semester to be over so we could go our separate ways. He’d probably move away to become a doctor and I’d never have to see him again.


I sat up, feeling like someone had dumped a bucket of ice water over me.

Never seeing Samuel again? What was I thinking? The very idea was insane, impossible.

I almost felt sick. I needed Samuel in my life, needed him like the air I breathed.

I realised that deep down I had always thought that we would be together forever. Being without Samuel? That was never truly an option.

I loved him, more than anything. He had always been mine, and I had somehow assumed that he always would be.

I stared at the rain drops running down my window. After this semester, Samuel was going to disappear from my life. I couldn’t let that happen.

I had no idea what to do with these feelings for Samuel. Now that the floodgates had been opened, I ached to touch him, kiss him, bury my hands in his soft curls. The fact that he was now actively avoiding me only made it so much more painful. Every girl he spoke to felt like a personal attack.

At the end of the final semester, we threw a party at our house.

I was out of control. I wanted Samuel to notice me, to want me, but I didn’t know how. He had wanted me once, years ago, even tried to kiss me. But how did I get us back to that?

Sadly, Freya never wore glasses so she can’t remove them to reveal her true beauty for this 90’s movie makeover.

I had finally asked Jessica for help. She rallied the team, and tonight I found myself wearing one of her dresses. There had been no time for me to learn how to walk in heels, but Daria had some sandals that would do. Trisha even helped me with a tiny bit of makeup.

The party had started by the time I had gathered my courage and came downstairs.

With my heart hammering in my chest, I entered the living room. I wasn’t even sure what I was trying to accomplish, but I needed Samuel to notice me.

He definitely saw me, but his face remained unreadable.

Freya: 100 % maximum no chill

An hour or so passed. I made sure to stay near him, trying to catch his eyes, but it felt like he was doing his best to ignore me. I wasn’t getting anywhere.

Everyone else was having fun, Daria and Griffin even started doing keg stands. Slightly discouraged, I went over to cheer them on instead.

And then, just as Daria dropped Griffin on the floor, Samuel appeared next to me.

He grabbed me by the arm, not too gently.


“Ow! Samuel, what -“

Talking? What a novel idea!

“We need to talk. Upstairs, now.”

I followed him.

As we entered my room, Samuel closed the door and turned to me.

“Now please enlighten me, Freya. What are you playing at?”

I hadn’t actually planned this far. I was never good at talking about my feelings, but I knew that this could be my last chance, so I just blurted it out.

“Samuel… I really miss you – and I hate that we never talk anymore, and I don’t want you to… be with someone else.”

Samuel said nothing.

“I love you. I’m sorry I didn’t figure it out sooner, but I love you.”

He stared at me for a second.

“For fuck’s sake, Freya. NOW you tell me? After I spent the last seven years trying to get over you? And now you’ve finally decided that you love me? That isn’t how it works! That isn’t how any of this works!

Once more, he turned his back on me.

“Samuel, wait…”

He slammed the door behind him. The silence was deafening.

Why did I even try? I should have expected this. The tears were burning in my eyes.

The door was torn open again almost immediately and Samuel marched back into the room.

“Dammit, Freya!”

“I’m sorry, I know I’m an idiot.”

“Yes, you really are”, he croaked, closing the distance between us.

“But you’re my idiot.”

1 thought on “Chapter 30

  1. Dawwwwe. Also…I forgot what I was gonna say.

    Oh yeah. Phone calls. Really don’t get why some folks don’t have respect for phone calls. If you’re with someone all the time just let them talk to whoever they need to and give them their space.


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