Adam's arms tremble as he struggles to carry the last box of my belongings. After inching his way through the door of my new dorm, he drops the heavy case on the ground with a loud thud.
“Careful!” I yell, holding my arms out in surprise. “One of my computers is in that!”
Adam tosses his dirty-blond hair away from his widened eyes, letting a tired groan escape his mouth.
“Another one!” he says. “How many do you have?”
He slumps himself over the box, letting out another groan.
“You have three computers?” he asks.
“Well… I brought three computers with me.” I say, rubbing the back of my neck with a sheepish smile.
Adam chuckles, smacking his hand on his forehead.
“I swear Cayne, you are such a computer nerd!” he says between laughs.
He isn't wrong. I do spend more time writing code and finding ways to improve my setup than I do anything else, so I'm computer nerd to the highest extent, not that I'm ashamed of it. I actually take pride in it.
I raise an eyebrow as my smile shrinks into a smirk.
“Did you expect me to deny that?” I say. Adam laughs harder before calming himself with a few deep breaths.
He gets up and ruffles his fingers through my hair, thoroughly messing up my brown locks.
“I've taught you well, my friend.” he says as he wraps his arm around my neck, his blue eyes still teary from laughing so much. “You've really come a long way since high school.”
My smile fades as I turn my eyes to the floor. High school wasn't that bad for me, but there is one thing I wish I could forget.
Adam gently places his hand on my shoulder and turns me to face him.
“Cayne, I know how you felt about her,” he says as images of Sona start forming in my mind. “but stop beating yourself up about it. It wasn't your fault.”
I let out a small sigh as I slide my hands into my jean pockets. More memories of Sona slowly creep their way into my head.
Her smile. Her platinum blonde hair and bright blue eyes. Her kindness and optimism. She meant the world to me.
I first met Sona at the start of my freshman year of high school. Before then, the only other friend I had was Adam. She was the first to introduce herself, with me being the shy boy that I was.
I was pretty introverted back then, so I didn't go out of my way to talk to other people. However, during lunch one day, when Adam was out sick, I was sitting alone in the grass. Sona approached me from the side, beaming a bright smile at me as her long platinum hair fell behind her.
“Hi.” she said as she sat down next to me. A hint of warmth appeared in my cheeks.
“He-Hello.” I replied. I mentally cursed myself for stuttering.
She giggled, turning her sky-blue eyes to me.
“You're Cayne, right?”
I gave a small nod as my face turned hotter.
“You're new here?”
“Yes, I am.” I said quietly, trying to hide my blushing cheeks behind the collar of my shirt.
To my surprise, Sona extended her hand to me. I shook it lightly as she beamed another smile at me.
“Well, welcome to the school!” she said.
That was the day I met the girl who would eventually be my first real love.
Over time, Sona and I became closer, with her helping me in any way she could, especially when it came to my Algebra homework. She was always smiling and bringing joy to anyone she met. It is no surprise that I fell for her.
Then, around the middle of my sophomore year, she started acting different.
Her smile slowly disappeared. Her boundless energy and optimism dwindled. Her shining eyes grew dull and lifeless.
Throughout the year, I watched the girl I loved become a completely different person. It tore me apart inside to watch her loose her zest for life, the very thing that made her who she was. It was almost like something was draining the life out of her.
Then, one day when I was walking her home, she collapsed beside me. I can still remember holding her limp body in my arms as I tried to bring her back to consciousness.
I called an ambulance for help. The paramedics pulled me away from her as they readied their equipment, the sirens drowning out the sound of my frantic crying.
After what felt like hours of waiting, one of the paramedics came and knelt in front of me, their gaze avoiding mine. He gently placed his hand on my shoulder before saying the last thing I wanted to hear.
“I'm sorry, but she's gone.”
The air in my lungs instantly froze as the world around me stopped moving. I fell forward, placing my hands on the cold concrete of the sidewalk as tears began to stream down the sides of my face. How could she be dead? I didn't even know where to begin processing the fact.
I decided not to go to the funeral service Sona's parents held for her. I spent the day in bed, completely unresponsive to anything around me. The first girl I truly loved died in front of me. What else was I supposed to do?
Adam saw how much Sona's death affected me. Not only did he know about my feelings for her, he convinced me to tell her how I felt when I took her home. Unfortunately, I never got the chance.
If it wasn't for Adam dragging me out of my room every weekend, “forcing” me to get out every now and then, I probably wouldn't have recovered the way I have.
My smile slowly returns as I bring my head up.
“Thanks, Adam.” I say before releasing another short sigh.
He ruffles his fingers through my hair again, nearly getting his hand tangled in the thick waves and folds.
“That's my boy.” he says. “Besides, you know there are going to be tons of cute girls here!”
I chuckle at his statement before removing myself from his arm. He has always been the more outgoing of the two of us.
“You haven't changed at all since high school.” I say, giving Adam a playful punch on his arm.
“Thank you, my good sir.” he says, giving a “gentlemanly bow.”
I walk over to open the window, letting a cool breeze flow through the room as the sun starts to set outside. I turn around to see Adam trying to untangle his fingers from a bundle of wires from one of my open boxes.
“Hey, why don't you let me unpack these myself.” I say, sliding the bundle of cords off his fingers.
Adam stands up before looking at me with a raised eyebrow.
“Are you sure?” he asks.
“Well, I do know more about this stuff than you do.” I say as I nod my head.
He lets out a small laugh. Honestly, I just don't want Adam to break any of my things, but I can't tell him that.
“I won't deny that.” he says, starting his way towards the door.
“Are you still going to help me unpack my stuff tomorrow?” he asks, gripping the door knob.
“Well, I'm not sure I can carry all of those sketchbooks, but I'll lend a hand.” I say, giving Adam a thumbs up.
“Thanks Cayne.” he says as he steps out. He looks over his shoulder at me.
“Remember buddy, these are supposed to be the best years of our lives, so don't waste them.”
“Yeah, I know.” I roll my eyes as I kneel down to the open box of wires.
“See you tomorrow!” he says, waving to me as he closes the door behind him.
I start untangling my mess of cables as I ponder Adam's words.
Sona was the first girl I ever loved, and it crushed me when she passed. I know it was three years ago, but I still feel guilty about it. It isn't that I don't want to move on, but it feels as if a part of me simply won't let me forget her.
I set one of my three monitors on my desk as I continue contemplating the years ahead.
Adam is right. There will be a lot of cute girls on campus once classes start. Maybe I will find someone here. Although, I don't think I'll ever feel the same way I felt about Sona with anyone else. Well, first love is always they most painful, I guess.
After checking all of my connections, I check the time on my phone. My eyes widen when I see it's already past midnight. Setting up my computers took a lot longer than I thought it would.
I stretch my arms over my head, yawning as I start to slip off my jacket. I set my phone to charge on the nightstand by my bed before turning off the lights.
As I lay atop the soft sheets, a small grin forms on my face.
Finally, I'm starting a new chapter in my life. College is going to be awesome!
My eyes close slowly as I fall asleep, my smile still obvious on my features.
My cell phone blares a loud metal song as my alarm startles me awake. My tired fingers shut it off as my eyes adjust to the morning light. I stretch my arms before pulling myself out of bed.
Since it's still early, I decide to walk around the campus and see where everything is. After slipping on my white hoodie and black tennis shoes, I stuff my phone, wallet, and dorm key into my jean pockets before heading out the door.
The sunlight almost blinds me when I exit the dormitory. Holding my hand over my eyes, I start walking around the campus, seeing the different facilities and departments scattered all around, making mental notes as to where everything is..
I notice some other students gathered at the cafe near the center of the campus, chatting and laughing amongst themselves. Many of them look slightly older than me. I wonder how long they've been here.
I grin as I pass by, watching the other students enjoying themselves. These are going to be some of the best times of my life before I enter the “real world.” I swear, I will live the time I have here to the fullest.
Before I can turn my eyes back to the walkway, I hear a loud thud. Looking ahead, I see a brown-haired girl, face down in front of me.
“Are you okay?” I ask as I rush over to her, offering my hand.
She slowly brings her head up to me, tears forming in the corners of her emerald green eyes. She rubs her nose as she takes my hand in hers.
“Yeah, I'm okay.” she says as I pull her upright. “Thanks.”
She quickly pulls her hand away as her eyes shift to the ground, her fair skinned face turning a light shade of red as she fiddles with her fingers. Is she actually blushing?
“I'm sorry,” she says, her gaze still facing the ground, “but do you know your way around here?”
“I'm just looking around the place. It's my first semester.” I ask, scratching the back of my head.
The girl jerks her head up, her eyes wide in surprise before immediately turning back to the ground.
“I'm so sorry!” she says. “I thought you might know your way around here!”
She must be new here as well. I do not see why she's apologizing for asking for directions. Wait… is she crying?
“Hey, there's no need to be sorry!” I say, lightly placing my hand on her shoulder.
She looks up at me as she wipes her eyes with the long sleeve of her black shirt.
“How about we look around together?” I say softly.
She beams a big smile as she pulls me into as tight hug. My lungs tighten as she squeezes my back. She certainly got over that quickly.
“Thank you so much!” she exclaims, squeezing harder. I grunt in pain, immediately being released from her grip.
“Sorry!” she says, waving her hands wildly.
Again with the apologizing. Although, this time she did actually hurt me. This girl seems… “interesting.”
“It's no problem.” I say between coughs, trying to catch my breath.
“I'm Cayne, by the way.” I say as I offer a handshake.
“I'm Angela.” she says as she takes my hand in hers, shaking it lightly with light blush on her face.
She jerks her hand back to her side. I clear my throat as my own face starts to feel warm. Wait, why am I blushing? Sure, she's cute, but I just met this girl.
“So, shall we get started?” I ask.
Angela smiles, nodding her head before moving next to me.
“Lead the way.” she says with a small giggle.
Adam's comment regarding the girls on campus repeats itself in my head. Angela does seem a little “off,” but she does seem like a decent person.
Angela and I walk around for a good while, talking the entire time. We learn a lot about each other. To my surprise, Angela and I are not only Computer Science majors, but we even share the same programming course, which starts tomorrow.
For some reason, Angela is really easy to talk to. The two of us go on about our time in high school, our friends, our hopes for after we earn our degrees. Some friends of hers are moving into their dorms later today from what she tells me. She laughs hysterically when I tell her about Adam and some of the antics he pulled in high school to hit on girls.
“He sounds crazy!” she says between laughs.
“He is,” I say, “but he's the fun kind of crazy.”
Angela and I eventually decide to sit in the courtyard for a while. I try to decline when she offers to buy some drinks, but she insists it as her treat.
She's buying a drink for a guy she just met. She's really thoughtful, and cute. Wait, what am I thinking? Cayne, you just met her! You can't be falling for her yet!
My phone vibrates in my pocket, interrupting my internal rant. My eyes widen in shock as I read a message from Adam.
Cayne, where r u?! U said u wud help me out today?!
I shoot up from the bench as Angela comes back with two bottles of soda.
“Are you alright?” she asks with concerned in her eyes.
I let out an agitated groan as I shoot her a small smile.
“Yes, I'm fine, I just remembered I was supposed to help Adam move into his dorm today.”
“So you have to leave?” Angela's lips form a small pout as her eyes start to grow wide. She looks like a puppy! Well, maybe she won't mind coming along.
“Well, do you want to meet him?” I ask, “I think you'll like him.”
Her pout instantly turns into a smile as she hands me a bottle
“Sure, I'd love to.”
“Okay, then lets hurry!” I say as I unscrew the cap of my drink before dashing towards the dormitory.
I knock on Adam's door, panting as I place my hands on my knees. Maybe running at full speed wasn't my best idea. Adam comes out, kneeling to my level.
“Dude, did you run here?” he asks as I slowly walk into his dorm.
“Yes.” I say, still panting heavily. “Sorry, I got caught up in something. Speaking of...”
I turn to see Angela trailing behind me, gasping for breath until she reaches us at the door. Running here at full speed was definitely not a good idea.
“You're fast.” she says, looking up at me.
I stand myself up to face Adam, gently placing my hand on Angela's shoulder.
“Adam, this is Angela.” I say before turning to Angela. “This is my best friend, Adam.”
Adam gives me a mischievous smirk before throwing his arm around my neck.
“Is this what I think it is, Cayne?” she says with a devious look in his eye. Adam clearly has his mind in the gutter again, not that it ever wasn't.
Angela's face turns redder than ever as I elbow Adam in the gut.
“It's not like that. I just met her a little while ago.” I say as Adam pulls away from me.
Adam chuckles as he tosses his hair back.
“I'm just messing with you.” he says before offering his hand to Angela. “Nice to meet you.”
Angela cautiously takes Adam's hand, giving it a light shake before jerking it back to her side. Adam's eyes widen, but he laughs it off without worry. I think they're going to get along just fine.
“So, would you mind helping me unpack my things?” Adam asks.
“Sure, I don't mind at all.” Angela replies after nodding her head with a hum.
We get to work unloading Adam's boxes. Stacks of sketchpads and old drawings spill from his packages as we work to stash them away. He eventually settles for leaving some of his older drawings in their boxes, taking out the newer ones to be placed in the drawers of his desk. After a couple of hours of sorting through pages of old artwork, and placing sketchpads in drawers, the three of us finish up by carrying the boxes to the dumpster outside.
“Angela.” Adam says over his shoulder as he throws away the last box. “Thanks for helping us out.”
She turns to face me as the three of us walk to the entrance of the dormitory.
“Well, I felt like it was the least I could do.” she says, looking at me with gentle eyes. “Cayne helped me earlier, so I figured I should help him out with something.”
Angela smiles at me as my face turns warm again. Why does she have to be so cute? I'm never going to hear the end of this from Adam!
A smirk appears on Adam's face as he turns to me with a familiar glint in his eye.
“Oh, what did he help you with?” he asks as his smirk turns into a sly grin. He's in the gutter again.
Angela explains that I looked around the campus with her, since she's also new to the school. Adam moves to throw his arm around me as we walk into his dorm.
“That's Cayne for you,” he says, “always helping wherever he can.”
Adam's sly grin grows wider as he removes his arm. He's already trying to set me up. I've known him long enough to see what he's doing.
Angela suddenly jumps in surprise, releasing a short yelp.
“Oh my god!” she yells with wide eyes, “I have to go!”
“What's wrong?” I ask.
“I just remembered I was supposed to help my friend with her stuff earlier!”
She quickly runs towards the door before turning around, her straight brown hair whipping behind her back.
“It was nice to meet you Cayne.” she says, pulling me into another hug.
She dashes for the door after releasing me, looking over her shoulder as she steps through.
“I hope I see you around!” she says, winking at me before closing the door behind her.
I feel my cheeks turn hot again as Adam chuckles next to me.
“That's my boy.” he says giving me a light punch on the shoulder.
“It's not like that.” I say, turning away.
Honestly, I know it could be, but I just met the girl. She can't like me in that way already. Can she?
“Sure it's not.” Adam says, rolling his eye in obvious sarcasm with a big smile.
“Well, I should get going.” I say turning towards the door. “My first class starts tomorrow morning.”
“Alright, see you later.” Adam says, his smile still plastered on his features.
I take a step out the door before Adam calls out to me.
“Remember, Cayne.” he says as his signature smirk makes another appearance. “Use protection.”
I feel my face turn red as I turn back through the door.
“Shut up!” I say as I slam the door behind me.
I walk into my own dorm, changing into a t-shirt and sweatpants before crawling in between my sheets. Adam's notion of Angela floats around in my head as I lay in bed.
Sure, she's really cute, but she does seem to be a little strange. Maybe she's just shy around new people. Either way, I think she's a decent girl.
I shut off the light before turning underneath my covers, and drifting to sleep.