From making new friends in classes to Fred, I finally felt like myself. Greg even commented one week that I had a certain glow about me.
“I just showered,” I answered.
“Nah, that’s not it.”
Matt came in from a run. His athletic body didn’t interest me at all anymore. “What’s up,” he said rather than asked.
“Eh.” Greg took another swig of his beer.
Alissa perked up from the couch behind us. “You know it’s ten in the morning, right?”
“You know it’s Friday, right? Want one?”
Alissa shrugged and accepted. “Lauren, are you coming to the soccer game with us tonight?”
“I was going to hang out with Fred, but let me ask him.”
I pulled out my phone but Alissa was over in seconds to swat it from my hands. “What are you doing? You’re lucky enough to have your guy right across the street. Leave the texting for long-distance.”
I ran my fingers through my short hair and marched out the door, heart thrumming at the idea of seeing Fred in his apron that somehow made him look even hotter. I glanced inside the bakery, seeing that darn apron and loving how it complemented his tan skin and dark hair.
Seconds before I shoved the door open, I heard American girls—you can always hear them, we’re so loud and obvious—approach from behind me. Something one of them said halted me in my tracks: “Fred told me to visit him.”
I didn’t turn around, didn’t want to see them or acknowledge how much it hurt my heart. Yet I couldn’t stop listening.
“You’re obsessed with this dude.”
“Whatever, look at him. He’s so hot. What would you do if the perfect Italian asked you out?”
Invisible as usual, they didn’t notice me as they pushed into the store. Fred looked up and locked eyes on the girl, not even seeing me.
I should’ve known, no one ever chose the quiet girl, the awkward one. I’d been fooling myself.
I couldn’t get home fast enough.
I whipped open the door and hit something: Matt. The last person I wanted to see. He’d wrapped a towel around himself and had that all-American boy look about him. The type of guy I’d never get back home, but would also never want.
His light eyes met mine and almost softened when he saw me. Was my pain that obvious? Matt moved out of the way and welcomed me into the apartment. With that, he walked away.
I ignored Alissa and rushed to the shower where I could ugly cry and sulk for thirty minutes. The shower water piled under my feet and I sat in my own filth, not even noticing the water raining on my head from above.
Fred tricked me. Been nice to keep me quiet about what I saw weeks before.
How had I fallen for that?