(Author's Note - Story was previously posted on another account. I've deleted that one, and am now posting with this account)

ONE

RAINA

CHAPTER ONE

My hair was a mess, I wasn't sure if I brushed my teeth, and I had a bagel in my mouth while trying to put my laptop into my bag.

I walked past the mirror once, and almost gasped that my long, dark, curly hair was in shambles. I quickly braided my hair, swept it to the side, put on my pink leather jacket to hide the hello kitty t-shirt that I was too tired to change, and quickly packed my bag.

I had to make sure I did everything quietly since my cousin, Cora, was still sleeping.

I didn't care how I looked at the moment. The most important thing was that my business assignment was done. I spent all night creating charts, labelling graphs and making sure all my decimals were on point (pun intended).

I also spent the night perfecting my rose gold cupcakes that Mrs. Gladys ordered for her book club.

Balancing my business classes with my cupcake business was challenging, but the money was starting to be worth it.

I placed the final cupcake in the box, put on my backpack, and quickly made my way out of the apartment.

I had to deliver these cupcakes by 8 AM and get to my class and hand in my assignment by 9.

It sucked that I didn't have a car yet, so I used the bus to make my deliveries.

"Come on, come on, come on," I mumbled as I pressed the elevator button. I know pressing the elevator button a million times doesn't make the elevator come faster, but I couldn't help it.

The elevator door opened and staring at me were the Diaz brothers.

Mateo and Nico Diaz lived one floor above me for as long as I could remember.

Nico was 27 years old. He was my favourite Diaz. He was 6 feet, had short, beautiful, dark brown hair, and a smile that could make any person melt.

"Good morning Raina," Nico smiled. His deep voice always seemed to bring back my school girl crush.

"Hey Nico," I said getting into the elevator. Nico always treated me like his younger sister.

His brother, Mateo, made eye contact with me. I rolled my eyes in anger as I unintentionally made a scoffing sound.

Mateo was a skinnier, shorter and more emo version of his brother. He had the same dark brown eyes and his dark wavy hair was a bit longer. His wardrobe consisted of a lot of black and grey, and it usually involved a hoodie.

This was not to say Mateo Diaz wasn't attractive. If it wasn't for the stupid things he said and his constant laziness, I would consider Mateo Diaz just as cute. But cute doesn't cut it in my book. I knew Mateo ever since preschool, but we never really were friends.

"What? No good morning for me?" Mateo chuckled pushing his hair back. Mateo wasn't a talker, but he did like bickering with me.

Mateo was 19, the same age as me. We also used to go to the same high school but we never really talked or hung out with the same people - that was until I dated his best friend (but that's a long messy story).

Mateo and I were still destined to be stuck with each other though. We ended up in the same community college basically taking the same business classes together.

I was currently trying to start a small cupcake business, which is why I chose business as my program.

I wasn't really sure why Mateo was in the same business program as me, especially since he didn't seem to take it seriously.

I ignored Mateo's comment as I pressed the elevator door closed.

"Oh no bro," Nico laughed, "What did you do?"

"It's 7AM Raina," Mateo scoffed, "How did I piss you off already?"

He was clueless, I thought.

Mateo hadn't changed a bit from high school. He was still a slacker, he still procrastinated, and he was still completely oblivious to his surroundings.

Nico, on the other hand, was the hardest working person I knew. He was light hearted and was someone I could depend on. Nico was a construction worker downtown. He tried college when he was younger, but decided that it wasn't for him. He ended up working for his uncle's construction company as a carpenter.

"Well she's mad at you for a reason," Nico said, "Think about it."

"I can't think before my coffee," groaned Mateo.

"You can't think after your coffee either," I said still looking forward.

"I thought you weren't speaking to me," he mocked moving towards me.

I could hear Nico chuckle as I rolled my eyes once again. He always got a kick out of our arguments. It's been this way since we were kids.

I watched the elevator numbers change from 6..5..4...

"Did you take something and not return it?" Nico asked.

This is why I respected Nico. He actually made an effort to make sure his brother was held accountable for his actions.

"I really don't care anymore," Mateo groaned pushing the button on the elevator.

"That doesn't make the elevator go faster," I said in annoyed tone.

"Don't tell me what to do," he mumbled.

"Children," Nico said, "I'm dealing with children."

There was an awkward silence.

"Oh, he'll figure it out," I seethed.

"I didn't even do anything," he shrugged.

"Did you say something to her?" Nico asked.

"I try my best not to..." he emphasized.

"Is it school related?" Nico continued.

Wait for it.

3...2...1.

"Oh shit, the essay..." Mateo exclaimed.

"Ding, ding, ding, we have a winner," I declared dramatically as the elevator doors finally opened.

"Oh shit," Mateo groaned as he followed right behind me.

"I texted you seven times," I told him turning around, "And called you 4 times."

Mateo's eyes widened as he started to pat his pockets. He then looked inside his backpack.

"Oh shit," he repeated, "I must have left my phone at Carter's house."

"Of course you did," I said.

I internally screamed when he said Carter's name.

"You wrote the paper?" he asked quietly.

"I wrote the paper," I repeated.

"Any chance that...you might put my name on it too?" he flashed an innocent smile.

"You can go screw yourself Mateo," I scoffed.

"Ya, I deserve that..." Mateo sighed.

"At least you're man enough to admit that," Nico said patting his brother's back.

I sighed and shook my head. I then looked back at his older brother.

"I'll see you later Nico," I smiled as I made my way out of the building.

I wasn't going to let Mateo get to me. He always did this.

Anytime we were partners, I always ended up doing all of the work.

The only reason we ended up partners was because our professor paired us up together.

I made my way across the street, holding my cupcake box tightly so it didn't fall.

"Raina wait!" I heard Mateo's voice from behind me.

I groaned. I already knew where this was going. I turned around to see Mateo's regretful face.

"Raina, I'm sorry. I'm begging you," Mateo said, "I need you to put my name on that paper"

"And why should I?" I scoffed, "I'm the one who pulled an all nighter to finish it. And this isn't the first time either."

"I'll pay you," he offered. His marks must have been bad if he was willing to pay money. Mateo and I didn't exactly come from wealthy backgrounds, but he was not as careful with money as I was.

"I don't need your money hun," I said turning back around. I held the box of cupcakes tightly to make sure I didn't drop it out of anger.

"Look, you don't understand, if I left Carter yesterday, he was going to do something stupid."

Carter was Mateo's best friend. He was also my ex-boyfriend. Carter loved to party a lot. It was one of the many reasons we broke up.

"I'm not getting you out of this one Mateo," I shook my head, "If you decided to go drinking with Carter, you live with the consequences."

"I wasn't drinking," he quickly cut me off.

"As if," I said, "I saw Carter's snapchat. He was totally wasted."

"I'm serious, I wasn't drinking," Mateo said again forcefully.

I didn't think he would be taken so aback by the drinking comment.

"And what are you doing following your ex's snapchat," he continued.

"Like you haven't done the same," I tilted my head.

"Touché," he said with a bit of a smile.

"Okay, you weren't drinking," I repeated, "But that doesn't mean you're off the hook. I depended on you as a partner."

"Come on Raina, if you do this for me, I'll do the paper next time for the both of us."

I shook my head, "I'm not going to risk my marks in your hands."

I continued walking with the box in my hand.

"If you put my name on that paper," Mateo said, "I will deliver your cupcakes for a week."

Now that was a proper business proposition. Making cupcakes was well...a piece of cake for me. Delivering cupcakes was a pain the ass. I didn't have enough to buy a car since my income went to my rent. Sometimes Nico was willing to drive me to farther places if he had a time, but I couldn't bother him every week. However, if I had a delivery person, I would be able to make much more money.

This was a deal I could get into.

"For a month." I grinned.

"Two weeks."

"A month," I said again.

"Raina!" he exclaimed.

"Hun, you know I'm not gonna budge," I smiled.

I thought Mateo was going to get pissed. Instead, he faintly smiled and raised his hand.

"Deal," he nodded putting his hand out for a handshake.

"Then it starts now," I said handing him the box instead of shaking his hand.

"What?"

"I have to go and reprint the essay to include your name," I explained, "And I won't have time to do that if I deliver these cupcakes."

Mateo nodded, "Fair, just text me the address then."

He didn't argue back - that was an improvement.

"Pleasure doing business with you Mateo," I smiled as he turned around walking back into the building.

"You are going to be the death of me Raina," he groaned.

"Whatever you say hun," I smiled to myself.

Mateo being annoyed was always a bonus.

I watched him take carefully take my box and walk back to the building.

Mateo Diaz wasn't a bad guy. Deep down in my heart I knew he could be genuine.

Sometimes I thought I was only mean to him because he was friends with my ex. On the other hand, sometimes I thought I was being nice to him because I liked his brother.