five

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"Let's play a game."

Nicholas looked up only to be met with Dina's bright smile, showing off her pearly white teeth. She wore a gray scarf today with her casual gray hoodie and sweats. Compared to the girls who walked around campus, Nicholas found Dina's outfits the best. Dina wasn't like most girls, a fact that Nicholas was starting to believe was true. 

"No thanks," he said as he turned back to his book. 

Dina leaned over the desk, her grin widening as she saw the book Nicholas was reading. "You're into Percy Jackson now?"

Nicholas immediately closed his book, heat crawling up from the back of his neck to his cheeks. He looked away from her.

"No," he mumbled. 

"Yes you are! You're even blushing!" she laughed. 

Nicholas scowled, "Leave me alone, you creep."

Dina only laughed louder, people around them gave her stares, but she didn't care. Nicholas slowly looked back at her, seeing her perfect smile still planted on her lips. Her brown eyes sparkled with amusement and Nicholas couldn't help but feel a warm tingling sensation at the pit of his stomach. It was an odd feeling, yet he found himself welcoming it. 

"Don't you mean the awesome girl that introduced you to the amazing world of Percy Jackson?" she smirked, knowing she was right. 

"I have no idea what you're talking about," he denied, flatly.

She rolled her eyes. "No need to be embarrassed."

"I'm not."

She took the book out of his hand before he could even react. Her slender fingers flipped through the pages until she landed on the spot he was reading. Her eyes hungrily scanned the words as if trying to drown herself in the plot. Nicholas leaned his cheek against the palm of his hand, silently observing her. 

"You're getting to the good part," she said as she flipped through more pages. 

"I don't know about that. The whole thing is pretty good so far," he admitted. 

She looked up. "You like it?" 

He shyly nodded, peering at her through his thick blonde lashes. "I liked it better when you read it to me," he said lowly.

A faint crimson color found its way to her cheeks, creating her innocent persona even more. Her lips formed an 'o' shape and her brown eyes widened at the hidden meaning behind his words. Nicholas felt fear inside him. He thought he was too direct. Well done, Nicholas, he thought. You scared her before you could even do anything.

Nicholas cleared his throat, unable to handle her silence. 

This seemed to snap Dina out of her trance and she smiled. "Nemo," she said softly. "You could have just asked me to read to you again. I don't mind."

His stomach flipped and churned internally. The gentle look in her eyes was making him feel weak. No girl had ever shown this much interest towards his hobbies or what he was into. She was the first. For a moment, Nicholas forgot how to breathe as she gazed at him with her doe like eyes. He opened his mouth to say something, but the words were lost on his tongue. 

"Want me to read to you?" she asked. 

"I'm perfectly capable of reading myself."

She pursued her lips and narrowed her eyes at him. "Boys are so sensitive," she muttered.

"I heard that."

"Great, do you want an award?" 

Nicholas chuckled, "An award would be nice."

She shook her head at him and looked around the library, noticing the small group of students whispering to each other in the corner. Some of the girls in tight shorts and crop tops giggled as they looked at Dina, who simply tore her eyes away from them. The whispering continued. Some of the guys even joined in.

It was obvious that they were talking behind Dina's back. Anger burned deep into Nicholas's soul. Dina's smile had dropped and she completely turned the other way, not wanting to see them. Nicholas didn't like how sad she seemed. He wanted to see the bright smile on her face and her eyes gleaming with amusement again, but at the same time Nicholas was too afraid to step in. 

He was a nobody, a geek, a loser, a nerd

The group came up to the front desk, the girls were latched onto the the guys' arms, batting their fake eyelashes and twirling their hair around their fingers. Nicholas saw Dina tense as the group walked by. 

"Nerds," one of the guys with the dark brown hair snickered. 

Dina turned around, one hand on her hip. "What did you just call us?" she glared, her voice was threateningly low.

The guy seemed shocked at her response, before the cocky look returned back into his green eyes. "I called you a nerd, you midget. Must be nice to hang around terrorists for a change, right Nicholas?" he smirked in Nicholas's direction. 

Nicholas clenched his fist, he was feeling the tremors of anger in his bloodstream. "Well," he said slowly. "Nerds do get far in life, don't they, Dina?"

Dina grinned. "Oh yeah. Actually this particular nerd right here," she pointed at herself, "knows self defense. Wait let me say it in a way you'll understand. Since I'm a terrorist in your eyes, I guess I could always just throw a bomb at you."

"Freaks," the guy spat out before he escorted his group out of the library.

"Man, white people get scared so easily," she laughed. 

Nicholas found himself laughing with her, enjoying her bubbly presence. He knew a lot of kids at his university had misconceptions, but Nicholas was always neutral when it came to such debates. He knew Muslim students got bullied a lot more as well, but he'd never heard a Muslim girl use their stereotypes against them. It was refreshing.

"We make a good team," he said.

She smiled, "We do."

"So," Nicholas trailed off, "how about that book reading?" 

Her eyes lit up. "Thought you'd never ask." 

Nicholas pulled a chair over to his side and Dina took a seat beside him, reading the words plastered on the page and creating an imaginative world full of Greek mythology and adventures. Nicholas closed his eyes, listening to the sweet sound of her voice. He felt a warm tingling feeling in his chest, and Nicholas knew it was because of Dina. As the two of them sat together, Nicholas felt himself drawing even closer to her.

----

That was sweet. Did you guys check the wicked new cover for this book? It's so beautiful! 

Anyway, don't forget to vote, comment, and follow me!

Anyway, don't forget to vote, comment, and follow me!

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