It’s Fresher’s Week At Foxbury Institute! Time To Meet Our Newest Students!
Autumn, Year 3
“Do make sure you eat properly, Riccardo,” Marie said tearfully as she hugged her son.
“Madre, I’ll be fine.” Riccardo laughed. “You fuss too much. I will honestly be fine and eat plenty of sensible meals.”
Riccardo arrived at Foxbury and stepped out of the lift into his dorm. He was the first to arrive; he’d be meeting Rohan and Elliot here later. He was excited and a little nervous. This was something he’d been looking forward to for a long time.
The other guys arrived a little later and set about making themselves at home in the dorm.
The guys went over to the new Foxbury commons, Larry’s Lagoon, to enjoy the Fresher’s Week Induction Day. Rohan felt a bit overwhelmed when he met with existing Foxbury students, Ashley, Tony and Tina. Riccardo came to his rescue and the guys danced with the older students. Rohan always felt better around Riccardo or Elliot because he knew them well.
Elliot was upstairs in the computer room getting to know some of the other students.
As the sun shone brightly through the windows, Elliot narrowed his eyes at Riccardo. This was war. The title of champion of ping pong rested entirely on the shoulders of Elliot, Riccardo, Rohan and Raúl. Who would be the victor?
As it turned out, Elliot was the victor. All the harsh, competitive games he’d played with his brothers had paid off!
Rohan woke up a bundle of nerves on the first day of classes. Not even going for a run could completely clear his head. He was afraid he’d fail and be a disappointment to his grandparents. He wanted to do well; really well, so they could move out of Britechester and into a new town with a new start. He owed them that much.
Later, after classes had finished and the sun was setting prettily over Foxbury, Elliot was also going for a run but for different reasons. He’d had an unpleasant phone call with his father and he was nervous about moving in with Ryan, which was apparently happening at Christmas. He wasn’t really sure he wanted to live in the city but it was looking like he might not have a choice.
“Mum?” Elliot shook his head in astonishment as he saw Maggie standing in the hallway the following morning. He wrapped his arms around her. “What are you doing out here?”
“I wanted to see you. Your phone was switched off last night and I wanted to know you were okay.” She sighed. “Your father didn’t really word it well when he told you and Ryan about the baby. I was a bit shell shocked myself. I’m sorry.”
“Mum, it’s okay. I’ll be fine, it’s Ryan I’m concerned about. He’s got an important job. I’m surprised Dad doesn’t understand that.”
“Your father believe duty comes first. Unfortunately, he also believes that family should come first – to everyone but himself, mind you. He’s merged the two in his head and sees taking you in as Ryan’s duty. I can’t convince him either way.” She squeezed Elliot’s arm. “I just didn’t want to you think we were chucking you out, Elliot. Because if it doesn’t work with you and Ryan, you come straight home and you can move in with Christopher.”
Elliot smiled. “I’ll be fine, Mum. Just fine.”
Several days later, Rohan was fighting the nervous feeling in his stomach again. He was on a lunch date at the Tudor Tavern with Rebecca Livingston, of all people. She’d met him at a karaoke bar Riccardo had dragged them to a few days previously and taken a liking to him, arranging a date.
While he felt smug that Rebecca had picked him, he was also a little worried; would she know he’d never date before?