Risa had registered to the university in order to major in journalism. She felt that being away from home for a while would do her good. The last thing she wanted to do was moping around, thinking about Nathaniel and the end of their relationship.
– Julian?! Are you studying here as well?
– Yes, in veterinary medicine. I actually have a room in this residence.
– Seriously? Me too! I’m so relieved there’s someone I know!
– Yeah, it’s reassuring. I was about to go to the welcome speech for new students. You want to come with me?
– Is there anyone else from our town?
– No, Penelope is not going to university. And I don’t think Claire will either.
– Are you working already?
– Well… I cannot allow myself to fail. My parents have spent a lot of money so that I can graduate.
Days went by, and they found themselves often studying together.
Risa sometimes felt the impulse to write to Nathaniel, like she used to do before. Whenever she typed “n” in the recipient box, his name would appear.
So many things had been left unsaid. Every time she thought about him, his father’s words came to her mind, and it made her shiver. The image of Nathaniel as a mafia gang leader just didn’t match what she knew of him. But if it was true… Maybe he was risking his life right now. Maybe he would be killed and she would not have any idea.
“Didn’t he say I wouldn’t be able to contact him anyway…? He wouldn’t reply if I sent an email…” She pressed “Delete” and tears welled up in her eyes. This was not the first time she cried over him and it wouldn’t be the last.
As for Julian, he was trying to make friends with the wild animals in the surroundings.
Without much luck.
“They’re not very friendly around here…”
And then one evening, there was this bonfire party…
When Risa wasn’t looking, one of the guys somehow convinced Julian to do a beer keg stand.
– What are you getting all worked up about? He’s having fun.
– But he never drinks!
– Stop that! You’re forcing him!
– Oh no, he wanted to do it, right man?
– Y… Yeah…
– Are you okay, Julian?
– I… I feel like…
– Throwing up?
“Risa, I love you…”
“Wha… I… You…?”
– Oh Risa, I’m sorry! I… I don’t know what I did that, it’s… It’s just…
– But… is it true? What you just said?
– Well… You know? I like you a lot, and so maybe I thought…
– If you’re not sure, don’t say things like that…
– I’m sorry…
Risa left shortly after, leaving Julian depressed. He meant what he had said: he had fallen in love with her, and now he had probably ruined his chances.