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"Hey, you," Nash greeted me. I instantly looked away, finding the Anatomy poster he'd given me of sudden interest.

"Hi." I'd told myself that getting over him would be easy since my feelings for him never ran deeper than mere attraction. But he was very attractive, unfortunately for me.

"There's a football game tomorrow. You missed the last one. Think you'd like to come this time?"

I said nothing, trying to decipher his invite. It couldn't be a date since he'd be playing on the field. But I wasn't so sure if I wanted to go with Ava and Lucas. Besides, if David was discharged, I wanted to spend the day with him and Sofie.

"Another day, maybe?"

I could hear him shuffling around and he dropped his towel. I sat down on my bed, staring at the sheets. I decided to follow the patterns on them to keep from peeking behind me.

"You know, when you told me yes... I wanted to take you out. Like on a date."

"Why didn't you?" I asked, still not looking.

"Well... the party situation and then you confessed you liked someone else. Now I don't even know how to compete." I heard him sit on his bed before looking at him. He was fully dressed and I sighed quietly in relief.

"I'm sorry, Nash," I apologized. "But you're right. You can't compete."

"I don't believe that."

I huffed, throwing my hands up in frustration. "I've never yelled at anyone before. Do you really wanna be the first?"

"If you have something to get off your chest, I wanna hear it."

I calmed down before I could say anything stupid. "All my life, I wanted people to talk to and share experiences with. I had no graduation party, I didn't go to prom, and I certainly didn't throw a super huge 18th birthday bash at a club. I never enjoyed the luxury I used to consider friends, but if I could relive my life... I still wouldn't make any friends. They're all just a bunch of drama. A distraction. They're the ones who become your enemies."

"I get the feeling you mean... me, Ava, and Lucas? We're not your enemies, Cas. I'd never wanna hurt you."

"But you will. One day, you'll hurt me."

Nash shook his head, not believing me. "How can you be so sure?"

"Isn't it obvious? Trey is the reason I'm so sure."

He leaned back a little, finally understanding my fear. "Oh, Cas, you don't have to worry about him. I won't let him get to you, ever."

"It's not about him getting to me, it's about him getting to you. Listen, I need to go talk to Lucas. Good luck with the game tomorrow, okay?" I stood up, taking my phone with me and leaving the room.

I walked next door and knocked, waiting for it to open. It took a few seconds, but the door slowly opened. Looking exhausted and frustrated, Lucas stared at me as I entered his room, neither of us saying a word. He shut the door.

"Is Jonathan ever in here?" I wondered to lighten to air around us.

"He leaves every weekend and practically lives with his friend who's staying at one of the apartments nearby. So, no, he's never actually here." Lucas fell onto his bed with a heavy-hearted sigh.

"What's up? You look downright depressed; that's new."

He let out an abrupt, short laugh at my statement. "I assure you, it's nothing new," he murmured. He sucked in a breath. "Please excuse my desolate melancholia today. What's up?"

"Well, I just received a ticket to happiness and success today from none other than Mr. Montana." I smirked and he nodded.

"Ah, that."

"You've outdone yourself. If I go to Britain to shadow a surgeon, I'm gonna feel like a man on the moon."

"You should go. I think you'll have fun. My uncle's quite the character so I can assure you, there won't be a dull moment around him."

"Now I just have to get this past my parents. I don't know how they'd feel about me going to Britain when I've never even been outside of Nevada."

He tried to smile, but I could clearly see that his heart wasn't in it. I pouted. "What's wrong?"

He shrugged. "Nothing."

I gave him a look, telling him that I wasn't accepting that as an answer. "That's not true."

"My mom has a colorful vocabulary, that's all." He rubbed his hands together. "I asked her if I can come back home and she won't let me. I think... I might have to drop out but I have nowhere to go."

"That's terrible. Please don't dropout, Lucas."

"I have no choice. Unless I can conjure up ten hundred dollars in the next two months, I'm out of here."

"What about your uncle in Britain? Can't he help? I mean, this plane ticket could cover some of that money."

"No," he refused. "I wanted you to have this experience. Look, my uncle tolerates me. Just like everyone in my family, he thinks I have a gay virus and doesn't want me near his children so I urge you not to tell him you're attracted to boys. He's just not an option for me."

"I'll help you," I told him. "I'll do whatever I can to help you stay. You're smarter than me. Smart people shouldn't drop out. No one should."

**

"I see you're fit to drive," I teased, entering the passenger seat of David's car. He was parked behind a good handful of trees and far from the center of campus, where nobody could see us.

"Hello to you, too."

I leaned over and kissed him, quite eagerly might I add. "I've worried way too much about you."

"Aw, he cares," he joked and I rolled my eyes playfully, fastening my seat belt.

"It's not funny. I thought you were dead."

He put his car in drive. "I told you, I was a dolphin in my previous life and it's been hard living on land lately."

"I cannot believe you're joking about this." I tried to be serious, but I couldn't fight the smile making its way on my face at his intentional childishness. "You drive me crazy."

"In the good way?" He smiled.

I rolled my eyes again. "Sure." I felt his fingers slip through mine and my buzzing mind finally came to a calm.

"I'm sorry for worrying you."

"It's okay. I think I'll always worry about you."

"I have things to share with you. I tried to hide this from you because I just thought you wouldn't stick around me for long."

I gripped his hand tighter. "What is it?" I was afraid to find out.

"I'm resigning. After next week, I won't be teaching any more."

"Why?" I inquired with deep concern.

"The reason to that is what put me in the hospital. I just... I'm so sorry; I didn't wanna have to tell you this. I wanted to be there for you and keep you smiling. But I can't do that anymore. I feel like I've failed you, Casper."

*************

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