"I swear I'm not joking! We saw those wolves again, and they almost attacked this time!" It's almost always the same topic of conversation at Lakewood University whenever Jared and his friends returned from their camping trips every other Friday. Hunter glanced over to meet his best friend Rosa's eyes. She rolls them, wrinkling her nose in annoyance.
According to Jared and his friends, they consistently encounter wolves on their camping trips in the boreal forests. Once, they had been forced to flee and abandon their things when the wolves got territorial. Rosa's other brother, Shawn, snorts.
"Maybe if you stop trespassing on the government-owned land, you wouldn't have this problem." Everyone knew that the forests near the university were governmental-owned, and it was forbidden to step foot into. Hunter wasn't sure how Jared and his friends hadn't been caught yet, given how frequent patrols were.
"It's the best kind of land to camp on." Jared argued, scowling fiercely. Hunter fought back a sigh, wanting Jared and his best friend, Kyle to leave their lunch table. He, Rosa and Shawn had their own little table in the university's cafe. Jared and Kyle interrupted our conversation, and like always, Jared's loud, attracting attention from everyone.
"With a bunch of wild animals who won't hesitate to rip you apart." Hunter spoke up. Jared shot him a glare with barely disguised disgust. Hunter didn't blink, remaining blank-faced, resisting the urge to curl his lip in response.
You're the fuck-face who sat his unwelcome ass down here.
"Leave him alone, he's got a perfectly valid point." Shawn interjected just as Jared opened his mouth to retaliate. Since Jared looked up to Shawn as his ice hockey captain, he backed down with a sneer.
"You could be trespassing on their territory." Rosa suggested. "But I'm surprised you haven't been caught by the WPR yet." The WPR were known as the Wildlife Protection Rangers, and everyone had heard of stories about people getting caught by the WPRs, and were punished.
Jared shrugged, before he stood up from Hunter's lunch table before jerking his head towards Kyle. Kyle followed obediently, and Hunter bit back the snicker. He was pretty sure that Jared and Kyle only came over with those stories to try to impress Rosa. Jared's crush was quite obvious, and there was the fact that Shawn was Jared's captain.
As for Hunter? He knew that Jared saw him as nothing but gum stuck beneath his shoe. Hunter didn't care, riling Jared up was too much fun. However, as Jared and Kyle went to leave the cafe, they ended up slamming into a girl who just walked in. The girl stumbled, nearly crashing into the nearest table, and a snicker ran through the cafe.
Hunter narrowed his eyes, but before he could say anything, the girl righted herself and in the blink of an eye, Jared was face-down on the ground, the cafe door banging against his head. The snicker turned into a collective gasp in the cafe.
It was the middle of the first semester, and Jared had already made a name for himself, portraying himself as rude, brash and quick to anger. Most of the freshmen strayed from his path. The girl, whom Hunter now recognized as Ellie Sivaughn, had a smug smirk on her face, stance confident. Jared slowly got to his feet, and Kyle advanced on Ellie, who didn't bat an eye.
"What the hell was that for, you bitch?" Kyle snarled at her. Ellie blinked, before shrugging a shoulder. She tilted her head in a deadly sweet manner.
"Ah... finally, someone sees me for who I am." Ellie replied, and Hunter caught the hint of an accent he couldn't place. Kyle blinked, obviously confused, but before he could say anything else, Jared shoved him away to tower over Ellie. Hunter saw Jared's fingers curl into a fist. Before Jared could do anything, Shawn's voice rang clear throughout the cafe.
"Jared Daniel Jackson, stop right this instant or I'll have you benched for the rest of the season. We don't want people spreading word and gaining a bad reputation about our rumors just because one of them can't control his temper." Shawn's tone was sharp, and the threat worked, because Jared backed down.
His face had turned several shades of red before he stormed outside, Kyle following like a lost puppy. Shawn heaved a sigh, flopping back down in the seat next to Hunter, draping his arm over Hunter's shoulder with a tired groan. Hunter watched as Ellie's gaze swept over the gawking students, before flicking her middle finger up to everyone staring, heading to get her own food.
"I like her attitude." Rosa commented, and Hunter nodded. Shawn nudged Hunter, and the younger male turned to Shawn curiously.
"What about me?" Shawn asked with a slight pout. Hunter rolled his eyes, before shoving Shawn away, picking up his sandwich to eat again.
"Mm, I'd say what you did was a little hot." Hunter shrugged in response. Shawn gaped, and Rosa barked out a laugh.
"Only a little?" Shawn clasped a hand over his chest. "I'm hurt. Give me a kiss to make me feel better." Hunter rolled his eyes, stealing a glance to his best friend as if to ask why her brother was obnoxious.
It was pretty obvious that both Hunter and Shawn felt something for the other. Hunter definitely wouldn't mind going out with Shawn, though. One would have to be blind to not acknowledge that Shawn was attractive.
Shawn's sandy brown hair was always a windswept mess, somehow managing to look careless and flawless at the same time. He had brilliant green eyes, full lips and rather aristocratic features. Not to mention, Shawn was built beneath his clothes. Or at least his torso was. Hunter had walked into Shawn's room once to ask to borrow a hoodie as he was staying the night.
Hunter wasn't even able to get a word out, mouth drying at the broad expanse of shoulders and muscle visible. Hunter hadn't been able to tear his eyes away, and it was even worse when Shawn had turned around with a raised brow. Hunter had only managed to sputter out a few words before Shawn had grinned, advancing slowly. Hunter had just barely managed to escape the room with the hoodie before he'd exploded in embarrassment.
So yeah, Hunter was definitely not going to deny his attraction to his best friend's older brother. Rosa even wanted them to get together. Shawn finally left both Rosa and Hunter at the cafe table to go to a meeting with his coach. Hunter found himself staring after the ice hockey captain until Rosa nudged him.
"So when are you guys gonna go out?" Rosa asked.
"I dunno." Hunter shrugged. "Shawn was flirting with other people this way and that the last two years before we arrived." Rosa rubbed the back of her neck, shrugging helplessly. Although Hunter knew that Shawn liked him (Shawn had said it himself), it still hurt to know that Shawn was flirting with others possibly even dating someone else instead.
"But he likes you." Rosa frowned. "Anyways..." She sighed. "Enough talk about my brother. How're your classes so far?"
"I'm going to fail calc." Hunter groaned, letting his head thump against the table. "I hate math. Why are core classes a thing? We had enough torture from high school. Why do I need math? When am I ever going to find the derivative of an equation later on?" Rosa snorted, leaning over to ruffle Hunter's hair, who swatted at her.
"At least Lakewood has good classes for digital arts and design." Rosa pointed out, and Hunter shrugged. Lakewood University was located in British Columbia, the boreal forests right on the outskirts of our little city. The forests that were nearby were absolutely gorgeous, even though they were restricted access.
"Pardon?" Both Rosa and Hunter looked up at the voice, startled to realize that it was Ellie. Ellie offered them a friendly smile and wave. "Apologies, but I overheard you when I was walking by. My older brother is quite smart, and he did major in mathematics and cybersecurity. I'm sure if you're alright with it, I can ask and he could tutor you."
"O-oh, wow. I-" Hunter didn't know how to respond. First things first, Hunter realized that Ellie was absolutely gorgeous. She had evenly tanned skin with a dusting of freckles over the bridge of her nose, wavy ebony hair that nearly reached her hips. Her eyes were a bright blue, with green and gold irises.
Unlike most of the girls in the university, who did nothing but strive to show off their wealth, Ellie dressed in casual, but stylish clothing: a loose black crop top beneath a pair of overall shorts, followed by a pair of black Converse.
At the clearing of a throat, Hunter jumped, cheeks flushing and he smiled sheepishly before apologizing. Ellie laughed, shrugging on shoulder.
"No worries." Ellie grinned, flipping her hair dramatically. "I know I'm pretty." Rosa chuckled with her, nudging Hunter playfully.
"I like your attitude." Rosa winked, and Ellie beamed.
"You're the first one to think so. Ah... also, thank the other boy who helped me out earlier for me? He was at this table, correct?" Ellie added, and Rosa nodded.
"That was my brother. I'll let him know." Rosa held up a thumbs up, before Ellie tilted her head back towards Hunter.
"So, what do you think? You're up for it?" She asked.
"I'll take any help I can get." Hunter blurted. Ellie nodded, as if satisfied, and held out a slender hand. Even the way she moved was graceful.
Shit, if I wasn't already attracted to Shawn I'd definitely be head over heels this girl already. How does she not have a hundred admirers? Hunter technically already knew the reason why. Every day, Ellie was dropped off and picked up by a mysterious young man no one knew the name of.
Theories and rumors popped up that Ellie and the young man were dating, and that everyone was afraid to get close to Ellie, as they believed the young man was part of a mafia, or some shit. Hunter snorted softly, before he handed his phone over to Ellie.
"Then I'll text you later tonight." Ellie smiled. "I've gotta run, though. I have an appointment with a teacher. Hope to talk soon!" Rosa and Hunter waved, and Ellie quickly departed the cafeteria.
"What's her accent?" Rosa asked. Hunter shrugged. "Anyways, I like her. Seems like you do too." Hunter scowled at that, and Rosa grinned.
At the end of the day, Hunter and Rosa headed out of the university and to the bus stop, shoving past the group of students who were always gathered at the entrance every day before and after school.
"Move." Hunter grumbled as he shoved his way through. "Every fucking day." Rosa stumbled to follow after him. Catching sight of the young man everyone deemed a "Mystery Man", Hunter slowed slightly, tilting his head curiously. Mystery Man had a similar style to Ellie's, casual but stylish. He always wore sunglasses, so his facial features were hidden.
Mystery Man suddenly lifted his sunglasses slightly to meet Hunter's curious gaze. The boy froze, feeling his breath catch when he saw cerulean blue orbs staring back at him. Then, Mystery Man winked, lowering the sunglasses. Hunter felt his face flush several shades of red, and immediately looked away.
"Brother!" Both Hunter and Rosa turned back around at the sound of Ellie's shriek, the young girl practically flying across the field to throw herself at Mystery Man. He laughs, and catches her before they go toppling over. The students finally disperse, having found their answer for who this "Mystery Man" was.
Hunter and Rosa awkwardly stayed by the bus stop, well aware that it was only a few paces away from where Ellie and her brother were. Then, Ellie was dragging him over to the pair, and Hunter nudged Rosa in the ribs. She shot him a scowl, but Hunter tilted his head towards Ellie.
"Oh." Was all Rosa managed before Ellie and her brother stopped before them.
"Hey! This is my brother, Zeph- I mean Tristian. Trist, this is... well fuck, I didn't get your names earlier. This is awkward." The young man, Tristian let out a soft snort of amusement before he ruffled Ellie's hair, who swatted at him with a scowl.
"I'm Rosa, and this is my best friend Hunter." Rosa introduced them both.
"Hunter needs help with math tutoring, and I heard, so I mentioned that you're smart and could help." Ellie said, rocking on the balls of her feet.
"Heard, or eavesdropped?" Tristian asked, and Hunter could tell that his accent was much more prominent in his voice. Hunter bit back the swallow at the husky timbre of Tristian's voice.
"Overheard when passing!" Ellie scowled fiercely. Though Hunter couldn't see Tristian's eyes, he could fee the weight of the other male's eyes on him. Hunter was confused when he felt his breath hitch, staring down at his feet.
"Sure, I'm up for it." Tristian said. He reached into his back pocket, before handing Hunter a sleek iPhone, his movements just as elegant as Ellie's were. After Hunter input his information, he handed it back, unable to fight the slight shiver of delight that ran down his spine.
"I'll text you to let you know when I'm free." Tristian said, glancing down at his phone before pocketing it. "What class are you in?"
"Alright, that gives me a gauge on what to start out with."
"I- thanks." Hunter stuttered, and Tristian simply quirked his lips up in a smirk, before giving us a two fingered salute in farewell. Ellie waved, and bounded after her brother.
"Whew! He's hot." Rosa gushed, fanning herself. Hunter rolled his eyes, batting her away as she turned towards him. "Damn, I could feel that sexual attention in the air."
"What tension?" Hunter scowled.
"You know, you'd be a cute couple." Rosa continued, ignoring Hunter completely. "Just the way he looked at you was cute, and hot."
"He had sunglasses on, Rosa." Hunter rolled his eyes.
"Still. Although I like the idea of you and Shawn together, there's also that factor that ew, my older brother and best friend are dating." Rosa continued. Then, with a jolt, Hunter realized that the entire time that he'd been staring at Tristian's obviously attractive features, and internally gushing about that husky timbre of his voice, Shawn hadn't crossed his mind once.