Love Is In The Heart

Spring Has Sprung At The Foxbury Institute!

Spring, Year 4
Riccardo kicked the training dummy hard and let out a grunt. The stress of the new Spring term was getting to him already and he needed to let off some steam.
“You’re really giving it your all today!” puffed Magnus as he strained against the punchbag. “Stressed already?”
“A little.” Riccardo gave the dummy another swift kick and staggered back. “Exams and everything.”
“And girls?” Magnus asked knowingly.
Riccardo kicked the dummy again in reply.

They finished their workout session and stepped out into the hallway. Elliott was sitting on one of the benches, frowning unhappily at his notes.
“I thought you were working out?” Riccardo said, wiping the sweat from his brow.
“I was,” Elliot replied. “But I can’t keep ignoring my coursework.”
Magnus smiled. “I’d better be going. Your mum will wonder where I am.”
Riccardo and his father embraced.

Meanwhile, back at the dorm, Rohan was entertaining a different visitor.
“So we’re on for tonight then?” Zoe asked as Rohan hugged her tight.
“Absolutely. I’ll meet you at Coastal?” Rohan said as he released her. His stomach was in knots as he gazed at Zoe. Riccardo would kill him if he found out but right now, it was worth the risk.
“Perfect!” Zoe grinned. “And not a word to Ricky, okay?”
“God no!” Rohan shuddered.

“Okay. See you tonight!” Zoe waved seductively and sauntered off. Rohan watched helplessly as she disappeared around the corner.
He bid a hasty retreat into the dorm to get himself ready. He didn’t want Riccardo or Elliott knowing he was on a date tonight, so he wanted to be out of the dorm before they got pack from Lux Park.

He succeeded and escaped the dorm before the others got back. He sauntered into Britechester itself and made his way along the river to Coastal.
He and Zoe had a fantastic first date. Rohan was still worried about Riccardo finding out about them, but Zoe assured him he’d come round eventually. Rohan wasn’t convinced but he put it from his mind for a while. He didn’t want to distract himself from Zoe.

The following morning brought another unexpected visitor to the dorms.
Emilio? What are you doing here?” Riccardo was surprised to see his brother standing in the hall.
“I wanted to talk to you. It’s about Zoe.” Emilio bit his lip. “She was out late last night. Madre was so worried last night and she came in really late. When Madre asked where she’d been, she said Britechester so we assumed she was with you last night?”
Riccardo frowned. “No, I didn’t see her at all yesterday.”
“Oh.” Emilio swallowed. “Who was she with, then?”
Shaking his head, Riccardo looked hard at his brother. “I don’t know, Emilio. But I’ll do my best to find out.”

Elliot was daydreaming while strumming his guitar. He was going to be seeing Danielle again soon and as a result, his concentration had gone right out of the window. He could hear arguments starting up around the dorm but his brain didn’t register them fully. Not even when he heard Riccardo shouting.

“What the hell are you doing, you headcase?” Riccardo yelped. Lucia had randomly attacked him after he’d come back in from seeing Emilio off. Riccardo had fought back and Lucia was clutching her head and looking stunned. Ashley shrieked in the background.
“I’m sorry!” Lucia gasped. “I don’t know what came over me!”
Later, while Lucia and Ashley were enjoying criticising the new reality singing show, Lucia glanced over her shoulder at Riccardo, who was finishing a meal. She smiled to herself.

“So, you got into a fight with Lucia earlier?” Anthony asked with a chuckle.
“Yeah, so?” Riccardo shrugged.
“Obviously she’s got a thing for you.”
Riccardo stared disbelievingly at Anthony. “You’re kidding.”
Anthony laughed. “No, I’m serious. Lucia’s funny that way. Usually has the desired effect though. Here, help me with this thing!”
Hoisting his dormmate up for a keg stand, Riccardo regarded the situation. If Lucia was interested in him, she had a funny way of expressing it. But maybe it was worth flirting with her a bit, see where it went.

By a strange coincidence, it worked. Lucia responded to Riccardo’s flirting and the two spent a wonderful afternoon together the following day for Valentine’s Day.

“Oh my God.” Christopher scowled as he glanced to his right. “Look who just walked in.”
Emilio grinned. “Come on Chris, you can’t begrudge your bother a date. I thought you said Danielle was nice.”
“She is. I just didn’t want them smooching with each other while I’m trying to eat.”
Rolling her eyes, Tara grinned at Emilio. “Are we going to order, or what? I’m starving!”
“Aren’t you at all worried about Zoe?” Emilio asked.
“Nope.” Tara shook her head. “Get over yourself, she’s old enough to know what she’s doing. Leave her alone.”
“Oh GOD, he’s giving her a rose now. How cheesy is that?” Christopher complained, still watching Elliot and Danielle.
“Leave your brother alone, you goof.” Tara laughed again. “Hurry up and order.”

“I am so sorry about my brother,” Elliot said nervously.
Danielle giggled. “Oh Elliot, don’t worry. That’s what little brothers are for!”
Elliot made a mental note to strangle Christopher when he next saw him. He wondered what his brother was doing out at The Tudor Tavern on Valentine’s day with Emilio, his best friend, and Tara, Emilio’s younger sister. Why wasn’t he at home?

In the meantime, Zoe had snuck up to the dorm again to see Rohan.
“Are you sure he’s not here?” She asked nervously as Rohan wrapped his arms around her.
“He’s not. I heard him making plans with Lucia earlier. They went out for an evening stroll around the campus, so you should be okay for a while.” He hugged her tighter and wondered what Riccardo would say if he found out they’d been seeing each other in secret.
“I knew it!” Came a very familiar voice. Rohan and Zoe froze.

“Ricky?” Zoe’s jaw dropped as her brother emerged.
“You two want to tell me what’s going on?” Riccardo’s face was unreadable as Zoe and Rohan sprang apart.
“Look, Ricky, don’t me angry,” Zoe began. “But, um…”
“Zoe and I are dating,” Rohan said quickly. He bit his lip. “I’m sorry we didn’t tell you, Rick. We weren’t sure what you’d say and Zoe was afraid…”
Riccardo held a hand up. “Why would I be upset?” He grinned. “You two have been circling each other for years! It was about time you started dating!” Laughing, he pulled his sister into a hug. “I’m really pleased for you both. And don’t worry about Madre, and Padre. I’ll talk to them, Zoe. I’ll sort everything out.”
“What about Jared?” Zoe asked.
“I’ll talk to him, too.”
Rohan thought he’d faint with relief.
Then Riccardo’s phone rang.

“I’ve come into some money,” Riccardo said incredulously.
“What, and I haven’t?” Zoe demanded. “That’s not fair!”
Rohan laughed.

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