Alexander stared after Rika, the way he had done a little bit too often the last months.
She was in N3B and he in N3A, which had them circling around each other a little too often for comfort, and not often enough for him to get to know her. Which didn't stop him from falling hopelessly for her at all.
It wasn't that she was an exceptional beauty, or that he had a thing for Asian girls. It was more, well, more like an accident.
More like two accidents.
The first, mid autumn last year when her bike got caught in the tram rails, and she literally flew into his arms, and the second when he teased her about it during the second years' annual show almost two months later.
How she blushed red from neck to hairline fixated her face in his mind, and that he had remembered the incident made him realise she had been part of his thoughts ever since.
That was how his one sided crush on her began, and now, late Mars, he had less than three months to do something about it, because after that they both graduated, and unless fate dumped them in the same university that would probably be the last he ever saw of her.
Alexander knew he was something of a romantic, but he was in no way disconnected from reality. He'd forget her, and she'd never learn how he felt, and that would be it. But then there was that part of him being a romantic. Even if she rejected him, at least she would know. At least if he could summon up the courage to approach her.
So he sat on a bench in the park where students gathered during lunch break now when temperatures finally left freezing and the sun made pathetic attempts to spread some warmth over the Gothenburg spring.
As usual Rika took no notice of him, because she really didn't know him at all, and he could only watch as she chatted away with Jenny who clung to her boyfriend like an infatuated girl despite having been an item with him for half a year.
Theirs was a story in itself, and Alexander was dimly aware of Jun chasing her all the way from Japan if the rumours were true.
Alexander stared after the trio as they left the park, Rika and Jenny in jeans and pullovers, and Jun in something strangely reminiscent of a manga style Japanese school uniform. Always the three of them, and always the same style of clothing.
Today's chance had passed him by, as had yesterday's and every other day, and Alexander made ready to rise from his bench and spend the last half of his lunch break somewhere else where he could curse his lack of guts on his own.
But today turned out not to be just like every other day, because suddenly one of the girls from N3B sat down beside him.
"Have a moment?" she said.
Alexander silently swore at her since she stole the last seconds he could watch Rika's backside before it vanished down the street.
"Yes, why?" he said and turned to look at who had made him company.
She met his gaze and grimaced. "There's something I need to say."
He looked at her but said nothing. Cute, but not someone he'd give a second look. A classic Swedish blonde who'd blossom into a real beauty a few years down the line, and then that beauty would follow her for another ten before it slowly faded.
A bit cold hearted. But there was no denying he knew. Both his parents worked with cosmetics, so he grew up on a menu of assessing looks and how to alter them.
"Emma Andersson, nice to meet you."
Alexander took the outstretched hand. "Alexander..."
"Carlsson, I know," she said before he had time to offer her his last name.