Those Endless Summer Nights…
Some images are slightly NSFW
Summer, Year 6
Magnus is 53, Cristina is 26, Hollie is 25, Ethan is 25, Riccardo is 24, Elliott is 21, Rex is 21, Zoe is 20, Rohan is 20, Danielle is 20, Matteo is 20, Fabian is 20, Heath is 20
Danielle was flattered. One of her friends, Matteo, had been flirting with her a lot lately and she was enjoying it. Things hadn’t been so brilliant with her and Elliott lately; she’d barely seen him since he’s graduated. Even before then, she’d had suspicions that he was flirting and maybe even dating behind her back.
So she felt a little harmless flirting wouldn’t hurt.
It was almost time to finish for the year. It was exam week and the students were all getting a little nervous. Zoe was pleased to see her father, Magnus, turn up at the dorm unexpectedly one morning.
“Padre!” She exclaimed as she threw her arms around him.
“I wanted to see how you were,” Magnus explained and he hugged his daughter tightly.
Unfortunately, the visit took a sour turn when Magnus started nagging Zoe once again about her life and, more specifically, Rohan.
“Padre, I do wish you’d leave this alone,” Zoe said, irritably. “I love Rohan and it’s my life.”
“But it’s far too soon, Zoe! My Watcher, you should be focusing on your education!”
“You and Madre were married at my age,” Zoe pointed out.
“Yes but we didn’t have the educational opportunity you have. And while we’re on the subject, don’t you think you ought to be thinking a little more seriously about your career? I know you love drama and acting but is it really lucrative, do you think?”
Zoe sighed. “Padre, for goodness sake, please stop! This is my life, it’s my education and my future. Let me make the decisions!”
Magnus shook his head sadly.
In desperation, Zoe phoned Riccardo.
“Ricky, I need you! Padre’s at the dorm and he’s being impossible. I know you’re only in town to pick up some things but could you please come over to the dorm and talk to him? He’s nagging me constantly about my career, my education and Rohan.”
Content, she hung up after securing a promise from her brother that he was coming straight over. Riccardo was one of the few older siblings who wasn’t being nagged constantly by their father and he seemed to have a way with Magnus.
Riccardo did manage to calm their father down somewhat. It didn’t get Zoe entirely off the hook; she’d have to deal with his criticisms sooner or later but at least she’d get some peace to finish her exams.
Danielle was pleasantly surprised when she was asked out to The Rainbow Room by Elliott for the evening. She did feel a little guilty, since she’d been flirting up a storm with Matteo for several days but when she arrived at the venue and Elliott launched straight into battle, she felt a little less guilty.
It was time for a change, anyway.
She made the decision to split from Elliott. It hadn’t been easy but it had been on her mind for a while. They’d been together for two and a half years but she’d got to the stage where she didn’t know if she could trust him completely when she wasn’t around.
Elliott was crushed. Danielle felt a mild flash of guilt as she saw Elliott’s face crumple but ultimately, she knew she’d done the right thing. If the trust wasn’t there, and she didn’t think it could be worked through, then it just wasn’t worth hanging onto.
Broken-hearted, Elliott left.
Danielle sighed as she watched Elliott walk away and vaguely wondered if she’d see him again. Mentally shaking herself, she went inside the bar to grab a bite to eat. She was upset that it had come to this but, as she sobbed in the stalls in the toilets, she knew it was probably for the best.
Fabian and Rex were also at the Rainbow Room on a date. Fortunately, their evening was going a lot better than Danielle’s was as they danced together in the club.
As always, the atmosphere was hot and heavy by the time the guys were ready to leave.
They continued their passionate evening back at the dorm. They’d been together for a little more than a year and they were still going as strong as ever.
Danielle got back a little later than Fabian and Rex. Matteo was waiting for her.
“Are you okay?” he asked, studying her face as she arrived back in the dorm. “Have you been crying?”
Danielle shrugged. “A bit. I broke up with Elliott tonight.”
“Oh.” Matteo tried hard to look sympathetic. “I’m sorry to hear that.”
Smiling slightly, Danielle shook her head. “No, you’re not. Anyway, don’t be. It hasn’t been quite right for a while.” She shrugged again. “We had some great times together but long-term, I don’t think it was going to work.”
Matteo pulled her into a hug. “Come on. You need to smile. Dance with me.”
Unable to resist his smile, Danielle agreed. Breaking up with someone shouldn’t have to be a miserable affair, after all.
That weekend was the Up The Amp Music Festival in Del Sol Valley. Since exams weren’t until the end of the week, the students decided to pack up and head to the campsite for the weekend.
Rex and Fabian were already in festival mood when they arrived.
Matteo was determined to cheer Danielle up and dragged her on stage for a karaoke session. He’d always insisted that singing did you the world of good and Danielle couldn’t deny that.
“Let’s make a toast,” Matteo said. He’d brought a drink over to Danielle after their very shaky duet. “To the future, may it be brighter than the past!”
Danielle laughed. “To the future!”
As they drained their glasses, Danielle felt her stomach flip. She’d been wanting to say something to Matteo but she was afraid of ruining their friendship.
Matteo could see she was struggling to say something and pulled her into a hug. “What is it, cara mia? You’re upset?”
Before she could stop herself, she was sobbing onto his shoulder. “I’m sorry. I’ve been wanting to talk to you about something but-“
“-you can’t find the words?” Matteo finished for her. “Then don’t say the words. Actions speak louder than words, don’t they?”
Suddenly, Danielle had an idea. She gathered her courage together.
Danielle made her decision and grabbed Matteo. Before he had time to blink, she kissed him. Matteo froze and for a terrible moment, Danielle thought she’d blown it before even getting the chance to go on a date with him.
Terrified, she pulled away but before she could speak, Matteo lightly grabbed her wrists and pulled her back towards him.
“About time, cara mia,” he murmured against her lips.
For a while, they stood together, arms wrapped around each other and gazing in each other’s eyes. Danielle briefly wondered what this meant for them but quickly decided that, for now, she didn’t care. She was happy and that was enough for now.
Meanwhile, Heath found himself face to face with Hollie. He couldn’t believe his luck; he’d hardly been able to get her out of his head ever since they’d met and got talking at the nightclub a few months previously.
As they chatted for a while, Heath began to get the feeling that Hollie was interested in him. She was hanging on his every word. He decided to see where this could go.
He started decisively flirting back and was satisfied to see Hollie’s eyes light up. He knew she’d been through a tough divorce last summer, so he decided to play it cool and take thing slowly. After all, it wasn’t every day he got the opportunity to flirt shamelessly with a University lecturer.
He’d never got around to getting her number the last time they’d met; he’d been too nervous to ask but this time he wasn’t letting her get away. He decided it had to be fate that had helped him meet her again at the festival and if fate wanted them to get together, he was more than happy to oblige.
“I want to take you out sometime,” Heath said, kissing her hands.
Hollie was momentarily startled. “Oh Heath, I don’t know.” She bit her lip. “I like you a lot, I really do but…well, I am divorced…”
“A year ago. You got divorced a year ago, Hollie. Isn’t it time to give a new relationship a try?”
“Well, I suppose so.” She still looked unsure. “But Heath, I do have children.”
“Doesn’t worry me.” He smiled and looked into her eyes. “Why should it?”
Hollie was lost for words.
Heath hugged her tightly. “Look, I know it’s not going to be straightforward. I know you’re worrying about your ex and about your children but it’s okay. We can take it slow and see how things go.”
She nodded. “Okay. That sounds like a good idea.”
“Come on,” he said, grinning. “Dance with me.”
“How can I resist such an invitation?” Hollie said, laughing.
They danced in silence for a while, enjoying the music and the laughter from the other festival goers. At length, Heath broke the comfortable silence between them.
“Are you free on Sunday? Maybe a coffee?”
Hollie looked thoughtful for a moment. “Yes. What about we go for a coffee at Coastal? I’ll be at the library for most of the day, researching for a paper I’m doing. Emily’s babysitting the children for me, so maybe we can get together in the afternoon?”
“Done. Say about 4 o’clock?” Heath smiled as Hollie nodded. “I’ll see you then.”
Unbeknown to Hollie and Heath as they made plans for their first date, Ethan was staring in disbelief from the dancefloor. He’d seen Hollie and had been contemplating going over to see her when he’d spotted Heath kissing her hands and dancing with her.
“What in the Watcher’s name is she doing?” Ethan asked.
“I don’t think that’s any of your business any more, is it?” Cristina appeared suddenly beside Ethan.
“That was a rhetorical question,” Ethan grumbled, unable to tear his gaze away from his ex-wife. “Isn’t he a bit young for her?”
Cristina gave a hollow laugh. “He’s about 20, I think. Not that much younger than Daisy, you know.” She shook her head. “Amazing. Nobody minds when a man dates a younger woman but as soon as a woman starts dating a younger man, everybody has an opinion.” She poked Ethan in the shoulder. “And you’ve got a nerve, Ethan. You cheated on her, remember? With her sister, of all people. You have absolutely no right to be speculating about her love life now. It’s been a year, Ethan.” Suddenly, her voice softened. “It’s time to let her go now.”
Ethan could barely hear Cristina as the thundering of his heartbeat filled his ears.
Rex and Fabian were enjoying the evening sunshine as the sun began to disappear over the horizon. The festival atmosphere was catching and the guys spent ages huddled on a chair beside the stage.
Zoe had finally found Rohan at the festival and flung herself into his arms. She’d not seen too much of him lately and she’d been dying to talk about some wedding ideas for when they’d both graduated.
As the night fell across the campsite, Zoe leaned on one of the cars outside the campsite and she and Rohan kissed. Sometimes she wondered if they were doing the right thing, planning a wedding when they were still so young. But in spite of her flirting with other guys, she did like Rohan. She liked him a lot and she had invested a lot into their relationship. She wasn’t going to let him go just yet.