August 6, 2016 by Lyn
This story takes place during the first week, Monday – Friday, of Year 5 of the Addergoole School (During Chapters 1 through 8.5).
Nikita looked lonely. He’d walked a thin line last year, keeping his own friends, so he had a place to sit that wasn’t with Ty’s crew, but, still, he kept glancing over at their table, over at Ty. Shiva didn’t fault him that. She’d spent the first week of last year doing much the same, sitting with Ivette and the Sycophants, looking over at Tya’s happy little circle and wondering what she was going to do with herself. It had taken Tya and Magnolia nearly dragging her away from the Cheerleeder Squad for her to feel welcome with the crew again. If Nikita was anything like Shiva (hard to tell; he’d always been quiet), he was probably still reeling a little from the break-up.
He’d take a nudge or two to be social again. She ambushed him Tuesday after dinner – after another day of him staring woefully at their table – and demanded, “Hey, come help me with my math homework.”
It turned out to be her helping him with his math, but he repaid her Wednesday, helping her with their History homework, and Thursday they helped each other with Chem and Physics.
Friday there was no thought of homework; for returning students, it was room party night. Nikita took a little coaxing, not to party, but to room-hop with her, instead of nursing a drink in the corner of Melchior’s room.
Melchior shot her a look that was half knowing approval and half warning when she coaxed Niki out of his room; she winked back at him insouciantly. “There’s more to partying than hiding in the back of a room,” she told Nikita; he muttered something rude but let her drag him down the hall.
She brought him with her from room to room, pouring his drinks as they went, nudging him into conversations, trying to decide if he was shy or just antisocial. She didn’t so much keep them away from Ty as make sure they shared only large, crowded parties with him, and not the small, intimate affairs that might lead either Niki or her into old habits; she kept a similar distance between them and what Anatoliy called her “line of boys.”
Around two or three in the morning, when she’d gotten to that point where honesty seemed like a good idea, even when it wasn’t, and the floor wasn’t quite as level as it should be, and Niki had gotten to the point where his words were slurring and he was calling her “Shiv,” not the most flattering of nicknames but not entirely inaccurate, she decided it was time to go home. Taking a long look at Niki, the adorable way his hair curled into his face, the firm curve of his ass, the careful steadiness on his feet, she decided he should be coming back home with her, too, and steered them that way.
“Come in,” she told him at the doorway, and he gave her a deer-in-the-headlights look before stumbling forward as if shoved.
She sat him down on her bed, poured them both a nightcap, and, sitting closer to him than was necessary, listened to him talk.
It took him a while to get around to Tya, but when he did, it was with wounds still raw and bleeding. “She just looks right past me,” he said, swallowing his drink hard, “like I’m not even there, or like it was my fault somehow. And,” he stared woefully at his empty glass, “I miss her, but…”
“…but you don’t miss being Owned,” Shiva hazarded, and was a little startled when he shook his head no, not quite meeting her eyes.
“…but I’m not gay,” he muttered, almost defiantly.
She didn’t laugh at him, though she fought to suppress a snicker. Her mildly-pickled brain was working through what he had said, and, more importantly, what he hadn’t said.
“Luckily for you,” she said, waiting for him to catch her eye, “I’m all girl.”
Category After-5, Bonus Stories, Restricted Section, The School Years | Tags:
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