CHAPTER 1


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The bell signals the start of the first period, and Airi could not care less as she stays in bed. She wants to go home so bad. But her dad would call tonight, and she is very bad at lying, even on the phone. She would be questioned, and when she does tell the truth, be possibly be laughed at for leaving university over something as petty as this, if not slightly perturbed. And it is true, it is petty, and stupid, and silly.

It happened a long time ago after all, it should have ended then—3 years ago, when she decided to put a stop to everything and left. Knowing her dad though, he will most likely let it slip, understanding her and what she could be feeling. Her dad is lenient with her in that sense, although it makes her guilty for some reason.

The breeze coming from the window felt nice and cool on her back as her hair blows behind her, coupled with the soft bed beneath her felt better, morning breezes are the best, she thought. For a while it made her forget what happened and who she just saw earlier. She turns her body so she could face the window and feel the gentle morning wind on her face. She felt the urge to stay in the clinic for the whole day.

When Airi was seven years old, she was a spoiled child. Cruel and a selfish brat; she goes around, displaying her princess syndrome to all her supposed subjects, so it was a given she doesn't have much friends. Save for a few people who only talk to her because she is incredibly close with Ren, or because of her brother.

Only her childhood friends, Ren and Zoey were the only people willing to put up with her, outside of family. Zoey is an outgoing girl who is not afraid of showing her emotions from happiness to straight up anger, she looks scary with her sharp eyes but she's actually very mom-like. She always goes around looking after Airi and stops her in her daily misfits and often scolds her for it; Airi doesn't listen though, never does. And surprisingly, Zoey is okay with that too.

While Ren is the opposite, who goes with her no matter what it is she does, when and where. Which is why he also gets scolded by Zoey most of the time. Growing up, Airi thinks Ren has this unusual fear of her because of it. Patient and understanding. He can't help but spoil her, which is why Airi loves him so much, and prefers him to Zoey any day.

A quiet person with a kind heart, it is no wonder he was the one hurt most of all by her actions. The image of him enters her mind, shocked with disbelief. His eyes quietly repressing rage, keeping them in and hurting himself more. It reminds her how much she has put him through, and that she will never forgive himself.

She rolls over, she wants to sleep it off for a whole day and wake up thinking about this situation calmly without panicking at the thought that she will probably see him every day from now on, for her heart to be still. She needs to calm herself down. Think and adjust.

Just like Ren smiling at her earlier, like nothing ever happened. She wants to be like that too.

But she just had to turn back and walk away, leaving Zoey alone. She rolls over to the other side of the bed again, wincing at her actions earlier, thinking she has some nerve to walk away when she is the one at fault here. UGH! She continues to roll side by side on the infirmary bed, frustrated and every bit displeased.

And why did he even have to transfer here? When there are better options for him out there! She was so sure he is going to V University in the city, his mom even said he passed the entrance exam with flying colors, which was supposed to be hard. And they are not even poor enough to have him transfer to a second-rate university like this one.

She did not want to blame him but its all his fault, he ruined all her plans! She still isn't ready to face him. It is still too soon, too early. It has only been three years!

She pauses, thinks. It's probably because of her influence. It would make sense if it did. She sighs.

The clinic doors click open and comes in a male teacher wearing a lab coat and holding on to what looks like a medical record, probably the physician, Airi suspects. His face looks too tired with his dark droopy eyes as if he slept late last night, if he even slept at all. He sees her and asks if she has any pains as he heads to his table and takes the medicine kit.

"Is it stomach pains? If so, its probably just the jitters from the new school year and all. You'll be fine if you rest a bit. But just in case it's something else, I'll give you some medicine to relieve the pain." he rummages through the kit and made a sound of frustration.

"We ran out of stomach medicines, so I recommend going to nearest drugstore instead." He takes a prescription pad, not giving Airi any time to speak.

"What's your name and class?" He glanced at her, waiting for an answer as he readies his pen, his gaze said hurry up so she told him her name and class: Airi, a first year in the Literature Department. He nods in understanding and writes on the pad with incomprehensible letters, tears off the sheet and hands them to her, "Take as needed."

"I'm not feeling any stomach pains", she says finally. The teacher blinks, "openly admitting to skipping to a teacher huh, you got guts kid," he made a face that says he applauds her for being honest, that, or he is praising her for openly skipping. She wants to make a remark but can't deny it, because she really is skipping after all. She is scared to find out that she and Ren are in the same class, taking the same course, with the people he was with earlier. Although it is still a fifty-fifty chance, she just isn't ready.

The teacher, who is actually the Assistant Physician, Nathan Wilson, from the name tag clipped securely on his lab coat, looks like a pervert with his bearded chin and stressed eyes, she can not help but notice. You would expect him to actually shave since it is a new school year and all. That and he also needs a haircut, his hair is a curly mess, almost as messy as his necktie and, just, his look in general. There is just so many things about him to comment about, she stopped herself though, because to be honest, it is god-sent that she got to know a faculty staff in this university who does not care about whether the students skip or not. She wants to be on his good side.

"Still, you gotta need an excuse, right? Take this." He urges her to take the paper. She takes it without hesitation. Does not care but still helps, this guy probably saved a lot of students.

"Don't tell your prof I did the prescription though; tell him the attending physician Mrs. Taylor did it."

And probably pissed off a lot of teachers too.

She folded the note and kept it in her pocket. Although he looks the way he does, he is a comfortable person to hang around with, she notices, feeling herself relax with his company. Nathan, who is now sitting on his desk and reading newspaper, asks when she will be up and gone and she tells him, "probably lunch, more or less," which he replied is long.

"It's not that long, give me a break." She tells him, her tone more annoyed than she mean to that it surprised her. The atmosphere has become comfortable enough for her to talk back to him, she makes a note to herself to watch how she talks.

He flips a page, not minding her sass, "Well, this room is usually packed at lunchtime so if it bothers you, you better go ahead before then."

So, students really do love him.

She says "okay, thanks" and covers herself, closes her eyes. She still has two good hours to sleep. She thinks of Zoey and how she left her behind earlier. She is probably worried for her right now; she hasn't checked her phone yet, but she felt it vibrating earlier while she was talking with Nathan, but decide not to answer it anyway.

She mutters to herself, "sorry,", low enough so Nathan doesn't hear.

How selfish of her to do, she thought.

She's doing it all over again.

...

"Airi! Where have you been?! I was looking for you!" Zoey says running towards her on the hall. Airi just texted her that she will meet her at the cafeteria for lunch, and immediately she came running. She felt a pang of guilt when she saw the look on Zoey's face, full of worry. Tells herself she is such a selfish person.

She smiles awkwardly at her and tells her she has been resting at the clinic, "I'm so sorry for worrying you," she says, bowing her head lightly in front of her. She honestly didn't mean to leave her behind like she did, she was just overwhelmed then, "I'm really sorry!"

Zoey shakes her head, telling her it is okay, and that she understands. Airi hugged her best friend and says in mock-tears she doesn't deserve her or her kindness. Zoey laughs shyly at this and tells Airi they should go, "I'm pretty hungry," she says. Airi doesn't know if she wants to change the subject or Zoey just feels embarrassed; either way she agrees.

While eating, Airi notices Zoey's eyes squint in displeasure behind her, she has a gut feeling who it is for. She does not dare follow her gaze though and continues to eat instead, minding her own business.

"Hey, Zoey!" Three people approach them holding their own tray of food, the blonde guy, supposedly leading them, asks the two girls if they could sit with them. Zoey says "yeah, sure," moving closer to the edge of the seat. She explains to Airi that the three are their classmates in first period, Airi nods in understanding and moves further to make a seat for them. Since Zoey did not ignore them, it makes her think they are probably nice guys.

"Go ahead," Airi says to them, managing a smile.

One guy glances at her, one brow extended upwards. "Is she the person you were looking for earlier?" He asks Zoey, "I'm glad you manage to find her, you were panicking a whole lot back then that you messed up your introduction." He laughs.

Airi turns to Zoey with a bothered look and mouths sorry again. Zoey manages a laugh and says its okay, whilst giving the guy she introduced as Luke a punch. Luke is thankful he already laid his lunch down before receiving the premature punch, "that hurt," he says, giving a hurt laugh.

They seem easy to get along with too, Airi notes. And if Zoey can punch one of them already, it's a good sign.

"Still though," another one pipes in, introducing himself as Neil, "missing first period on the first day, you're quite the rebel," he continues as he settles beside Zoey. Airi laughs a bit and says she just wasn't feeling well so she rested in the clinic.

"Ah, so you met Nat, then?" The only girl in the group of three, Marie, speaks. She is probably talking about the assistant, Airi thinks.

"Oh, his real name is Nathan, but we just call him Nat because you know, it's easier," she explains, grinning, "you were probably surprised at how laid back he is," she laughs.

"Do you know him?" Zoey asks.

"Yeah, he used to be a teacher-in-training in our high school." Luke says, "He seemed like that, but he's actually a pretty hardworking guy."

Airi ponders, "It doesn't seem like it though", she says, remembering what the teacher looked like and how he was dressed. Far from it even.

"It's true!" Neil defends, "he is always being berated about being too laid-back, but he only looks like it. He's helped us hundreds of times. He's cool." he must really like Nathan to talk about him in such a way, Airi thought, also wondering if Neil was bribed in some way.

"Well, you're right about him being helpful. He gave me a prescription for a stomach ache even though I said I don't have it. Saved me from being absent on first period."

Zoey turns to her, brows raised in shock, "what the heck?"

"You're lying!" Marie says in mock-disbelief. Airi takes the folded paper out of her front pocket and shows it to them. see?

Everyone stares in awe.

Unbelievable! Marie says, while Luke and Neil take the paper and examines it, incredulous, "whoa, it's true."

"What a teacher..." Zoey comments as she drinks her juice. Airi couldn't help but laugh as Neil and Luke asks her how she managed to talk that Nathan into giving her this gold mine, "this essentially gives you the right to skip class for the whole day, holy shit."

"I'm pretty thankful for it though. He's a great guy." At this everyone agrees, laughing. Neil, still thoroughly examining the paper, is making a face like he is still not convinced, says that she must have done something to make him have a change of heart like this. Airi jokes that she was just that lucky, "now give me that."

"No way, you're not even going to use it! Let us have it!" Luke says, holding the paper away from Airi.

"Wait I think I have a correction tape here." Neil backs him up.

"Hey, quit bullying Airi!" Marie says, struggling to take the paper from Luke.

The fight for the paper continues, catching the attention of everyone around them. And finally Zoey stands up and punches Luke in the shoulder, "you're being a bother," she says as she takes the paper from him and lovingly giving it to Airi.

Airi takes the paper absentmindedly, pauses, and bursts laughing.

This. This is what she is aiming for. What she came to this university for. To start over with new friends and genuinely enjoy herself like a university student should. She feels a rush of excitement come through her, thinking about how from now on shell be experiencing new things. She's excited about what will happen from here on. She breathes in.

Because more than the fear of her past, or Ren and the thought of having to confront him sooner or later...

She is finally a college student.

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Author's Note:

Hi, good day! So chapter 1 is here! Thank you so much for reading and I honestly hope you guys like it!

Airi is doing her best to look on the bright side now that Ren is here. I just hope she could keep this up. lol

I'll post the other chapters soon, after proof-reading it for a bit. But if you amazing people can't wait, you can check it out on Wattpad instead. I provided the link on my profile.

Thanks again, and tell me how you guys think about it~ I love me some critiques

Regards,

Synon