Nothing In Life Is Ever Straightforward…
Some images are slightly NSFW
Autumn, Year 6
Maggie is 53, Hollie is 27, Cristina is 27, Ethan is 26, Lucia is 22, Ashley is 21, Elliott is 21, Anthony is 21, Arianna is 20, Christopher is 18, Emilio is 18 and Rosie is 17
“I can’t believe you’ve had the nerve to show up here again.”
Cristina shook her head in disbelief. She was out on a girls night out with Hollie when, not for the first time, she’d spotted Hollie’s ex-husband in the vicinity.
“Okay, Crissy, easy,” Hollie sighed. “Ethan and I are on good enough terms, it’s okay.”
Raising her eyebrows, Cristina muttered something about the bar and left Hollie alone with Ethan.
“So,” Hollie said, to break the ice. “It’s been a while. How’s Daisy and the baby?”
“Doing fine.” Ethan was quiet for a bit. “How’s the boyfriend?”
She sighed. “I thought that might be it.”
“Trying to keep him quiet, were you?”
“Ethan, don’t go there.” Hollie warned. “What I do with my personal life is no longer any of your business.”
“It is when it impacts my children.”
“Oh, so you having an affair with my sister didn’t impact the children but me having a new boyfriend does?” Hollie shook her head. “You’re unbelievable.”
“Your boyfriend is five years younger than you.”
“What difference does that make?” She mentally shook herself. “You know what, forget it. I’m done.” And she turned and walked away, leaving Ethan quietly seething.
At the dorms in Foxbury, Lucia was spending some quality time with Riccardo. She’d been wondering what to say the next time she saw him; it still bothered her that she hadn’t really met his parents properly yet.
Her head had been filled with visions of a future with him; the family she definitely knew she wanted. And as much as being near him made those feelings stronger, she knew it was time for a serious chat.
“Ricky, I need to talk to you,” she began.
“I don’t think I like the sound of that.” Riccardo pulled a face.
She smiled. “No, it’s okay. I just…Ricky, I feel like you’re always keeping me at a distance. I haven’t met your parents properly. I know we were all at Jared and Andrea’s party but it’s not the same, is it?” She bit her lip. “It’s just…I love you, Ricky but I sometimes wonder if you’re as…serious about this relationship as I am.”
Riccardo was quiet for a few moments. “Lucia, I’m sorry. It never occurred to me that that might be bothering you.” He sighed. “I should have done this ages ago. The only reason I haven’t yet is because of my father. He’s…not exactly wonderful, as you already know. So far he’s insulted Andrea before the wedding and he’s been pretty vile to Rohan because he’s with Zoe.” He winced slightly. “Lucia, I hate the thought of him criticising you. Padre seems to be having a problem with us all growing up and I wanted to…shield you, I suppose. But I realise that’s not my call to make.”
“You’re an incredible person, Lucia. I love you so much and the thought of my father insulting you or being rude to you hurts me a lot.”
Lucia nodded. She was flattered in a way because if it confirmed one thing, it’s that Riccardo did love her as much as she loved him. “Ricky, I do understand. But I can handle it; I really can.”
“Okay.” Riccardo smiled. “Look, I’ll see about maybe getting a dinner sorted soon. You, me and my parents. You’re right; it’s not fair that you haven’t met them properly yet.”
She flung her arms around him. “Thanks, Ricky.”
He grinned and lifted her off the floor. “Thanks for mentioning it. I don’t want you to feel like you can’t talk to me, or ask for what you need, Lucia. I always want to hear it.”
“Then why don’t we head to the bedroom and I’ll tell you what I need right now?” She suggesting and winked at him.
Riccardo didn’t need to be asked twice.
“Your roommate could walk in at any minute you know,” Riccardo said breathlessly. They’d moved to Lucia’s bed and were already half undressed.
“I know,” she replied, pulling him closer. “That’s half the fun.”
Afterwards, Riccardo caught a glimpse of the time. “Is that the time? I’d really better run soon.”
“Ahh, what a shame. I was enjoying keeping you here.” Lucia giggled and kissed him. “I’ll see you soon, yes?”
Before he left, he posed with her for some photos. “What’s this?” he asked, amused. “Proof we’re together? Are you uploading these?”
Grinning, Lucia snapped the camera on her phone. “Oh absolutely. I’m just making this Simstagram Official.”
After Riccardo had gone, Lucia settled down to her studies. As much as she wanted to spend every waking moment with Riccardo these days, she did want to get her degree. She’d been dreaming of becoming a detective and she knew that wasn’t likely to happen unless she gained some qualifications.
Meanwhile, the Foxbury football team were snacking at Larry’s Lagoon after an intense practice session and tensions were high.
“Look, I know I’m new to the team and everything but is it really good for team morale for everyone to be so angry all the time?” Christopher asked. “I mean, Grace is refusing to speak to Anthony and Arianna, you’re permanently angry. Is it really doing the team any good?”
“Oh, because you’re so perfect,” Arianna snapped. “For your information, Baby Face, I am not permanently angry. I’m just a little upset after an argument, that’s all.”
Christopher winced and sighed. This wasn’t getting him anywhere.
Once again, University life wasn’t what he’d expected. Frustrated, he left the commons and set off back to the dorms. He had a presentation to work on.
He showered and changed and pulled out the notes he’d been making. He was enjoying his studies and classes; drama was something he’d loved for years and in spite of all the hassles he’d had so far, it was still better than staying at home.
The stress of exams seemed to be getting to nearly everyone in the dorm over the following few days. Lucia found herself doubled over with toothache and needed a wisdom tooth extracted; Ashley was diagnosed with chronic migraines, which had explained a lot of her headaches. Arianna had been feeling generally under the weather for a few days and Anthony was diagnosed with eczema.
Christopher was the only one who escaped unscathed, in spite of his stresses being twice that of his dormmates.
As it was, he was in the middle of a falling-out with Rosie.
“What’s your problem with Emilio?” Christopher asked. Rosie had been visiting him in Britechester a lot since he’d moved there and was always complaining about their father.
“Nothing to do with you, Chris.” Rosie said irritably. “Mind your own business for a change.”
“Well it sort of is my business. Look, Emilio told me a few things and I do think we need to talk about it, Rosie.” Christopher was concerned. It had taken a lot for Emilio to come out to him and he was angry with Rosie for being so dismissive.
“We have nothing to talk about.” Rosie retorted. “What could you possibly know about having a boyfriend or girlfriend, anyway? You’re still single!”
Christopher winced. He was sure his sister was getting nastier with each visit.
He felt better when Elliott arrived to collect Rosie. He’d been wanting his brother’s feedback on his presentation for a while because Elliott was great at being honest and helpful but not rude.
As expected, Elliott did give some very useful feedback which inspired Christopher to get his presentation finished. By the time Rosie and Elliott had gone, he was feeling calmer again.
After finishing the presentation, Christopher dropped a text to Emilio, to see if he wanted to go for a run.
“Listen, I spoke to Rosie earlier,” Christopher began as the two friends set off across the campus.
“Oh?” Emilio felt his stomach tighten a bit. “What happened?”
“She asked what I could possibly know since I’m still single.” Christopher rolled his eyes. “Sorry, mate. I just don’t seem to be getting through to her.”
Emilio shrugged. “Don’t worry. I haven’t really decided what I’m going to do yet but talking to her would be a good start.”
Christopher nodded and the conversation quickly flowed on to easy topics.
After his run, he showered and changed. He was incredibly surprised to find Maggie waiting for him.
“Mum? What are you doing here?” Christopher reached out to hug his mother but never got the chance.
“What are you doing, interfering with Rosie’s life? Don’t you think you should leave her alone?” Maggie began. “She gets all you boys nagging her. I thought you would have been the most supportive, since she’s dating your best friend!”
“Mum, you don’t understand-” Christopher started but then stopped himself. He realised he couldn’t explain the situation to his mother. Emilio’s sexuality wasn’t something he should discuss with anyone else without his friend’s permission. So instead, he stayed silent while his mother berated him in front of everyone.
Life really didn’t seem fair.