Adam knew the minute all four of his roommates had returned to the dorm room in the early evening smelling of alcohol there was no way he was going to be able to get any reading done. Though he had attempted to do just that, after thirty minutes of furniture movement and loud yelps from the common living area of the suite, he gave up the cause as hopeless and wandered outside to find another place to work.
He had tried to understand the material but was still having a tough time getting through. The midterms were only two weeks away and he needed to pass that exam with no less than a B+ to keep up his average. Lifting the canvas bag higher on his broad shoulder, he glanced at his wristwatch and concluded the library was either closed or in the process of escorting the last remaining visitors toward the doors. As he crossed the quad, he remembered there was a café around the corner from the west entrance of the campus. Adam was almost positive there was free Wi-Fi there. He would need to look up certain topics online as he read them in the law textbook so as to keep a concrete understanding of the material.
For the last week, other than trying to get ready for exams, he was completely consumed with thoughts of Denise. After the fool he had made of himself, he could not bring himself to face her again. He made sure to avoid her as much as possible, which did not seem difficult since he was sure she was not looking for him. He had been rude to leave her at the table but could think of no other way of talking his way out of an embarrassing admission. He was ashamed for not having access to the privileges he was sure were available to Denise. The thought of how she would never want a relationship with someone like him, who had nothing to offer her, was already embedded at the back of his mind.
Life had not always been like this for him. Adam thought back to his early high school years in Reading, PA. He, his parents, and younger brother all lived in a two story townhouse. His father worked as an accountant in Philadelphia and his mother mostly tended to the home, although she did work as a substitute teacher from time to time to bring in a little extra money for the family. Everything had been great until that night. Adam almost felt his heart breaking all over again. Not wanting to dwell on the past and an uncertain future, he moved his thoughts back to studying. He allowed himself one final thought about the lost look Denise always seemed to have in her eyes. Maybe that was the reason he felt so drawn to her. They both seemed to be floating through life, unable or unwilling to connect to anything. She may be the one to bring him back to earth and help him gain a sentiment for life again, if only he could find a way to reach out to her without her or him pulling back.
By a little after eight o’clock that night, Adam’s eyes were near exhaustion. He had updated all the course blogs that required at least one posting per week and contacted some professors via the school intranet email to discuss any options for extra credit or preparing for midterms they could offer. He had even made it through several chapters in one of the litigation textbooks fairly well and decided to call it an evening.
After logging off and packing most of his belongings into the bag, Adam remembered one final task he had forgotten. Luckily, he had not shut down his laptop. All he needed to do was access his school email account again and take a quick look to see whether his little brother had sent him anything. Charles was in his early teens and, though Adam liked to check in with his brother as often as possible, as with every other teen in this day and age, Charles seemed to only want to communicate via the web or some other electrical device. Adam laughed to himself as he scrolled through the emails before coming across one that caught his eye. He clicked on the message as fast as his index finger would allow him.
To: Adam Aggeliki (firstname.lastname@example.org)
FROM: Denise Right (email@example.com)
Subject: (No Subject)
Hi Adam. It’s me, Denise. Sorry about the other day. I really would like to be friends with you. If you still need some help with that class, please let me know. You can call me at the number below anytime J
A tickle of hope ran through his chest as he searched his bag for his phone, making a mental note to send a text to his brother later, and then punched in the number displayed in the message on the screen.
One ring, two, three…
As the fourth one was about to start, Adam pulled the phone away from his ear and started to hit the end button when a heavenly voice came on the line.
Adam closed his eyes and took in the sweetness of her voice.
“Hello? Is this Adam?”
“Yeah, sorry. Hi, Denise. It’s me. Can I come see you?”
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