As Autumn Arrives, It’s Time For The University Students To Return To Campus!
Autumn, Year 4
The sun was unseasonably strong as the students arrived at Britechester. This year had the largest intake of students at Foxbury and it was likely to be a challenging year. For now though, they enjoyed the sunshine as they made their way to their dorms, ready to start their first term.
Rohan made straight for the computers at Larry’s Lagoon. It might be Fresher’s Day but he’d rather get cracking on some studying. Sadly, his attention wasn’t entirely on the task at hand; his mind kept going back to Zoe and the disastrous attempts at meeting her family. The atmosphere hadn’t improved and he was reluctant to meet up with Zoe if she wasn’t going to take his worries seriously. He really wanted to like Magnus and Marie. Marie was fine on her own but it was Magnus who was the problem.
Rohan couldn’t understand it. He’d known the De Luca’s for years; they’d been great support for him when his parents had died. Riccardo was a few years older than him but he’d been like a brother to Rohan during that fraught period. Magnus and Marie had been honorary parents for years; their sudden hostility towards him didn’t make sense.
Realising that he wasn’t achieving much on the computer, Rohan sauntered downstairs and cracked open his books. Within minutes, a shadow appeared over his books. Glancing up, he saw Lucia sit down next to him.
“You okay Rohan?” she asked.
He nodded. “More or less.”
“New term and all that.” She smiled. “And I suppose the troubles with the De Luca parents isn’t helping either.”
He sighed and leaned back in his chair. “No, not really. I don’t get it, Lucia. I’ve known them all for years; they helped me so much after my parents died.” Rohan bit his lip. “Suddenly Magnus acts like I’m the devil incarnate and I don’t understand it.”
“Ricky thinks his Dad’s having a hard time letting Zoe go. She’s an adult but he seems to forget that. I think it’ll take time but he’ll get there.”
“I hope so.” Rohan scratched his forehead. “Its not helping that Zoe’s not here.”
Frowning, Lucia looked around. “Where is she?”
“Wait; Zoe didn’t pick the same university as you?” Lucia’s eyes widened. “Wow. Didn’t see that coming.”
“Nope, me neither. She got accepted onto the best Drama course there, so of course she had to go. But I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t a shock.”
Lucia reached out and squeezed Rohan’s hand. “I’m sorry, Rohan.”
“Yeah,” Rohan said, nodding. “Yeah, me too.”
Outside, the Fresher’s Party had kicked off. Lucia dragged Rohan away from his books and insisted he enjoy himself. “There’s no point moping. You’ve got all year for that. Let’s get out, meet some new people and get really drunk!”
Rohan didn’t really have an argument for that.
“So you’re really new to the area then?” Ashley asked one of the new girls.
“Yeah.” The girl smiled shyly. “My name’s Anna. My parents moved from Monte Vista to Oasis Springs in the summer, so I haven’t had a chance to really meet many people yet.”
“Well don’t you worry,” Ashley said, grinning. “I’ll show you around. There’s loads of great people for you to meet!”
Later that night, after the party started to wind down, Lucia staggered back to the house she was sharing with some of the others, including Riccardo. She was hoping this year to have a serious, proper relationship with Ricky and she decided that fate had put her in the same accommodation as him this year.
Whipping out her guitar, she started up a sing song. She was triumphant when she spotted Riccardo come over to listen with their new housemate, Giovanni. Both men were listening to her play with rapt attention and Lucia felt that this year could get to be very interesting.
Early the following morning was the first practice for the Foxbury Football Club. Anthony and Ashley were meeting with two new players, Keith and Racquel.
“Practice is every couple of days, okay?” Anthony said as he kicked the ball towards Racquel. “We really want to beat UBrite this year!”
After an hour’s practice on the quad, the girls made it over to Larry’s Lagoon for some table tennis.
“I’m sorry Lucia but I really can’t right now.” Riccardo shook his head.
“Ricky, I don’t see the problem. I’m only suggesting we actually make something a little more…official out of our relationship.” Lucia frowned.
“We don’t have a serious relationship, Lucia. This really isn’t the time to be considering a serious relationship.” Standing up, he shook his head. “Look, I’m sorry. I really like you but I really want to focus on my studies right now.”
Lucia watched him leave with tears in her eyes.
Anthony sipped a drink. It was a few days after practice and he was feeling restless. Classes had been going well but there hadn’t been much happening in his life.
He sat down at one of the tables to chill out. Claire sat opposite him and smiled weakly. Anthony sat forward a little. He liked Claire but unfortunately, she was already seeing someone.
“Hey Claire.” Anthony nodded in her direction. “Why so blue?”
“I miss Tony,” she sighed. “He’s not planning on coming back.”
“Seriously?” Anthony raised his eyebrows. “What’s he doing instead?”
“Stand up comedy.” Claire swallowed. “He’s trying for a regular routine.”
Anthony raised his eyebrows and laughed. “Well, good luck to him! He’ll need it.”
Aside from his conversation with Claire, the highlight of Anthony’s afternoon was taking a photo with the school mascot.
As the night fell, he trudged towards the statue. It always broke his heart to see the statue vandalised and with toilet roll covering it now, he wondered how the UBrite vandals had managed to sneak into the grounds.
Sadly, he set about cleaning the statue alone.
Across the quad, Raúl slowly descended the steps. He’d seen the photos, he’d read the articles. The photos of Hayley kissing some army guy at the UTA festival in the summer were burned into his brain. She’d made a fool of him and it hurt.
Not even going for a jog was able to clear his head. He needed to see her and soon. A simple phone call or text won’t cut it; this needed to be face to face and he was dreading it with every fibre of his being.
While Raúl agonised over his impending break up, some of the girls met up at the library for a study group.
“Hey Sasha? Can you rehearse with me for a bit?” Ashley caught up with Sasha outside the library. “I haven’t rehearsed at all and I’ve got a monologue to perform soon.”
“Sure.” Sasha smiled shyly. She didn’t normally talk much to others but as she was studying drama too, she wanted to get as much practice in as she could.
Ashley later met up with Anna and Arianna, two of the new girls at the University. Studying at the library turned out not to be the quiet experience they thought it would be and after a large number of interruptions, they gave up.
The first term wasn’t turning out to be quite what anyone expected.
“Hayley.” Raúl felt the anger rising as he saw the singer standing on the sand. “I need to talk to you.”
“Raúl!” Hayley reached out to him but he backed off quickly. She looked surprised. “What’s wrong?”
“You.” His face was contorted with anger. “You and that army bastard.”
“Oh.” She closed her eyes. “Raúl, I-”
“No, I don’t want to hear it.” He took another step back. “We’re done. It was fun but I…I can’t be with someone who’s going to treat me like this. You get on with your flash celebrity life and your legion of boyfriends and stay the hell away from me.” He turned on his heel and, without looking back, walked away. For good.