Authors: L.L. Collins
“How was your second day of classes?” Hailey asked Alexis. “Any less overwhelming than the first?” They were both flopped on their beds after a long day. Hailey was an education major, though she was still only taking prerequisite classes right now. They had about an hour before practice, and that was a grueling several hours that they needed to be prepared for.
“I was actually glad to get past the syllabus explanation and do something,” Alexis admitted. “I met my Bio lab partner today, too.”
“Yeah?” Hailey sat up and eyed Alexis. “It’s a guy, right? It he hot?”
Alexis lay back, not sure she could vocalize the thoughts she had about meeting Greer. In two days of college, she had met two guys that had both affected her in completely different ways. Luke, who was a classic college guy, good-looking and charming, and Greer, who was magazine handsome but nothing about him was ‘usual’.
“Alexis Nichols,” Hailey said, now sitting completely up. “He’s hot, isn’t he?” She squealed. “Alexis! You’ve gotten two hot guys in two days. Is this awesome or
Alexis laughed. Leave it to Hailey to jump to conclusions before she even said a word. “Hailey, hold up. He’s good-looking…”
“Hot,” Hailey corrected, ignoring Alexis’ look.
“He’s very good looking,” Alexis said, trying not to giggle.
“College heartbreaker on day two,” Hailey teased. Alexis let her think what she wanted to think, because she couldn’t think of a way to talk to Hailey about who Greer was. She knew he was different from other guys. There was something that was interesting about him. In a good way. In a really good way. Even though she had never really had a boyfriend, she had been asked out by many different guys, all of which had one thing in common: they thought they were all that. Greer was probably the most attractive guy she had ever seen, surpassing Chasen and Luke and anyone in between. But he didn’t know it. Not at all. His hesitance to talk to her and say much about himself was a breath of fresh air.
She could tell in the way he talked and his mannerisms that he was different. That didn’t make her shy away from him or be afraid to be his partner. To her, that wasn’t a big deal at all. He hadn’t looked at her like a bimbo cheerleader that couldn’t do anything, or someone he could use and throw away like many college guys. That wasn’t her and never would be her. The farthest she had ever gone was kissing Chasen at homecoming and prom, and she was going to keep it that way.
“He’s a nice guy,” Alexis answered, swinging her legs over the side of the bed. She pulled out her cheer shorts and tank top and Hailey followed her.
“Let’s go eat before practice. At least when they try to kill us, I’ll have something in my stomach.” Alexis laughed, knowing that was true. They had thought cheerleading in high school was rough. It was nothing like being a college cheerleader.
Alexis walked into the Biology lab, her stomach fluttering with nerves. She had no idea why she felt so nervous to meet Greer here. They had been texting since yesterday and they had decided on ten in the morning. When he had texted ‘We can get lunch after, even though I don’t eat pizza on Thursdays’, she had smiled.
She had the directions on the lab they were to complete, so she started pulling out materials while she waited for him. It was only 9:45, but she knew from talking to him the little she had that he would be there early.
“Alexis,” Greer’s voice echoed throughout the lab. A few people looked up at him, watching as he made his way over to her. He was wearing a similar outfit to yesterdays: jeans, despite the Florida heat, a solid colored, v-necked tee shirt, and sneakers.
When his eyes met hers, she smiled. He didn’t smile back, and he looked away before she caught a hint of his lips curling up before he sat down next to her.
“What do we have to do today? I’m not late. You’re early.”
Alexis slid the lab sheet over to him. “I was early. How are you today, Greer?”
He finally looked at her, and when his pupils fixated on her face, she breathed out. He really was so handsome. Greer didn’t answer, just continued to look at her face. She noticed that he was looking at one feature at a time. First, her eyes, then her cheeks, nose, and lips. He then looked away quickly.
“Let’s do our lab. I don’t like when it gets busy in here.”
Alexis nodded. “I got the materials out already. We just need to fill this out as we go.”
After over two hours, they felt that they not only had the lab correct, but had mastered the concepts. Alexis felt proud. She had always been good at science, but Greer was really something. The terms and the facts that he knew were mind boggling. He was like a walking encyclopedia.
Her stomach growled, making her realize it was lunch time. “Do you want to go get lunch, Greer?”
Greer looked over her shoulder, seemingly trying to figure out something before he answered. She remembered him telling her that he couldn’t have pizza today.
“Want to get a sandwich today?” Alexis wasn’t sure if he liked sandwiches, or if he would break the routine, but she had to ask.
Finally, Greer looked at her briefly. “I like sandwiches. I eat sandwiches at home on Tuesday and Thursday.”
Alexis stood, putting her purse on her shoulder and gathering their notes. “Okay. I’ll see you tomorrow in class, Greer.” She turned to take a step when she felt his hand on her arm. As soon as she looked down, he withdrew it like a snake had bitten him.
“I’ve never liked being partners before,” he said softly. “But I do now. I can eat a sandwich with you.” Greer closed his eyes, then reopened them. “I… want to have lunch with you.”
Why did those words make her feel like cheering? For whatever reason, she knew that had been very hard for him to say. She wanted to ask him a million questions, but knew that he probably wouldn’t answer them.
“Let’s go then,” she said cheerfully, holding out her hand for him. She had no idea what had come over her, but she wanted him to know she cared. Greer looked down at her hand, then up to her. She saw his throat work, then swallow as he reached his pinky finger out and linked it with hers. When his finger curled around hers, she grinned. They walked in silence all the way to get that sandwich.
“Tell me about you,” Alexis said, picking bread off her sandwich. Greer hadn’t said much since they had walked halfway across campus holding pinkies before he’d let go.
He put his sandwich down and wiped his face with the napkin. “Nothing to tell,” he answered, still looking at his sandwich.
“Greer,” Alexis said. He didn’t look up. “Greer.”
He lifted his eyes and looked at her, and she smiled. “Want me to tell you about me?”
He nodded, looking back at his sandwich. Okay, she could do that. “I’m from Sunset Beach. Do you know where that is?”
Greer nodded. “It’s on the west coast, approximately 300 miles from here.”
Alexis laughed, and his eyes snapped up to hers. She realized he thought she was laughing at him, and her stomach dropped. What had this boy been through in his life? “I’m not laughing at you,” she whispered. “I think that’s amazing that you know that.”
He nodded, his eyes looking over her. She was used to that from him by now. “I grew up in Sunset Beach. My dad died before I was born, but my mom remarried when I was very little. He’s been my dad my whole life. I have three siblings: two brothers and a sister. My dad is a doctor and my mom is a physical therapist. I’ve always loved school and have done really well in science my whole life. I started cheering when I was young, but got really serious with it in 5
grade. My best friend, Cate, goes to UCF, and my roommate Hailey and I have been friends since freshman year in high school. Hmmm… what else. Anything else you want to know?”
Greer blinked his eyes, but didn’t say anything. She wondered if she had said too much, or if he really didn’t want to know all of that. “My mom stays at home. My dad is a lawyer. He specializes in family law. I’m an only child because my mom couldn’t have kids any more after me. I’ve never been into any sports, because I’m not good at them. I like to work out, but never in a gym. There’s too many people there. I don’t like people, and they don’t like me. I’m really good with computers and graduated valedictorian of my class. My only friend is Camden. He goes to a different school.”
Alexis was stunned. She thought that might’ve been the most she had heard out of his mouth since she met him earlier this week. Her heart constricted when he said that he didn’t like people and people didn’t like him.
“Why don’t you like people? You’re a really nice guy.” She wasn’t telling a story; he really was. She knew he probably didn’t realize that about himself.
“Awww, look at that. Aren’t they
?” Alexis turned at the voice that was obviously talking to them. It was then that she recognized Ainsley, one of the sophomore cheerleaders. Rayne, another cheerleader, was walking with her. And their eyes were trained on Greer.
Alexis looked from them to Greer, confused. Why did it seem like they were making fun of them? He was looking down at his sandwich, his hands working together in his lap.
“Hey Ainsley, Rayne,” Alexis said.
They looked at her briefly, then back to Greer. “Alexis, is this guy
you?” Alexis opened and closed her mouth. She didn’t know Ainsley or Rayne very well, but now it was obvious that she didn’t want to. She had seen a lot of mean girls in high school, but had hoped she had left it behind.
“Of course not,” Alexis answered nervously. “This is my friend, Greer.”
Both girls laughed. “Friend?” Rayne giggled. “This freak doesn’t know what a
is. Do you Greer? Alexis, you are
above hanging out with this… queer. You’re a
All guys want you. Well, except him. He likes guys. He would have to since he didn’t get excited from having six cheerleaders surrounding him, touching him.”
Alexis felt sick. She stood up abruptly, knocking her drink off the table. Greer stopped it as it rolled under his foot. He was gripping his hands together so hard that his knuckles were white. She didn’t think she had ever been so mad in all of her life.
“Leave. Him. Alone.” She had never wanted to hit anyone, but she sure had the feeling now.
Ainsley and Rayne stared at her like she had just spoken another language. Alexis felt like she was either going to start bawling or screaming. Neither was a good choice right now.
“What did he ever do to you?” Alexis spat. She was an easygoing person, until the line was crossed. “Why does he deserve you calling him names? He’s a
just like you.” She looked down at Greer. “Greer. Let’s go.” He didn’t move. “Greer.”
“He’s a weirdo, Alexis. Can’t you see? He won’t even look up and defend himself. What kind of
acts like such a pansy? He’s a waste of a hot body and a nice face.” Ainsley smiled at Rayne and they both crossed their arms in front of their chest.
Alexis jumped as the chair crashed to the ground. She turned only to see Greer running away from the table. “Greer!” She picked up her bag and started running after him, leaving Ainsley and Rayne standing there at their empty table.
He was fast. She was in shape, but he was taller and had longer legs. He didn’t look back at her once, and after he turned the corner, she lost him. Alexis stopped, leaning over to catch her breath. Sobs overtook her, and she crumpled onto a bench. Why were people so cruel? Why did Greer deserve what they said? And how was she going to go to practice and face them?
She knew that Greer wasn’t what people would consider ‘normal’. She didn’t know why, but it also didn’t matter to her. Alexis pulled out her phone and selected his number. It rang and rang, but he didn’t pick up. When his voicemail came on, Alexis began crying again.
“Greer,” she started, her voice shaking. “I’m sorry. I don’t know why they acted like that. I barely know them. I don’t think anything they said was true, Greer. Please call me. Talk to me.”