Authors: Sophia Gray
Blue Ridge Love
Vol. 1 – The New Boy
By Sophia Gray
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of the publisher, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical reviews and certain other noncommercial uses permitted by copyright law.
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.
And above all – Enjoy!
The New Boy
“I really wish my parents could have sent me to a
“This is a real college.”
“Nadia, you’re always so accepting, and it irritates me.”
Nadia smiled lightly and moved her book bag from one shoulder to the other. The hallway was narrow and packed with students trying to maneuver quickly in both directions. The semester had been in session for a week, but not everyone had a class on the first day. Nadia dodged a boy with thick glasses that had his head one inch from his class schedule. Kristen unfortunately didn’t dodge him. They ran into each other face first and the boy dropped his books while immediately mumbling, “Sorry”. Kristen gave him her most dramatic eye roll and sigh.
“You should watch where you’re going!”
“Sorry.” Was the only response he seemed to know, and he quickly moved away; straightening his glasses.
“You can’t bring that tough girl attitude here, Kristen. Some of our fellow students are in their fifties.”
right? I guess the “community” in community college is no joke.”
“That’s right.” Nadia waved as her friend entered her class. Kristen had been Nadia's friend since seventh grade; as a matter of fact, her only friend ever. They were polar opposites. Nadia was olive skinned with straight black hair. She wore plain and baggy clothes to hide her boyish figure, whereas Kristen was pale with curly golden red hair and lively freckles to go with her lively personality. Her clothes usually fit like a second skin, which accentuated her voluptuous figure. Oh yes, Kristen was a favorite amongst the male species. Her constant battle with being a little heavy didn’t deter them at all. Nadia decided years ago that boys were a mystery, and not necessary for true existence.
She descended the steps slowly into the basement. Her next class was Physics with Professor Deedle. Professor Deedle looked like someone straight out of a 1950’s ad. He always had a pocket protector and his glasses were black framed. He even wore a short sleeved white button down shirt with a black tie. And he also was a whiner. He whined when he talked. He whined when he laughed. It felt like nails on a chalk board to Nadia. She was quiet and thought everyone else should be too. All she truly enjoyed were found between the pages of books. Since she was old enough to sit and hold a book on her own, she had made sure one was always with her.
The room was windowless and stuffy. Nadia went to her usual seat in the back. She was concentrating on the current assignment due when coldness settled over her. It wasn’t like a draft had entered the room. It was a war between temperatures. The feeling was chill fighting against pleasant warmth. She felt slightly confused and had the inexplicable fear of looking up from her book. Movement beside her indicated that someone had taken the seat to her right. She dared a sidelong glance and looked away after only seeing a glimpse of long pale arms.
“Hello.” The voice was velvet; soft but strong. Nadia turned her head slowly and looked into the darkest green eyes she had ever seen. The room became a vacuum. For a moment there were no other sounds. All that existed were the eyes staring out from a perfect face. Her hands shook and her tongue seemed to swell. She knew she looked like a total moron. “Um, I missed the first couple classes. Were there notes I could copy?” Nadia numbly nodded her head and slid her notebook towards him. “Thanks!” he said cheerily. “My name’s Foster.”
Nadia nodded and regained her self-composure.
“Nadia.” He said rolling her name across his tongue as if tasting it. “It means ‘Hope’ in Russian.”
“Yes, that’s right. But why would you know that?”
“I have a love for words, I guess. I like to study them.”
“Oh.” Was the only meager response Nadia could manage. Mr. Deedle had begun his nasally lecture, and Nadia was forced to sit quietly while every pore in her body screamed to hear his voice again.
The hour long class seemed to drag on forever. At some point Nadia’s notebook was slid back onto her desk, but she was having trouble concentrating and taking notes. She stole a glance as often as she could of Foster, and to her surprise he seemed to be stealing glances of her as well. Warmth spread into her face and she could feel the corners of her mouth straining upward. Mr. Deedle came to a halt and wished everyone a good day. For once she wished this class met more than three days a week. Monday seemed a long way off.
“What’s your next class?” Foster asked, rising from his seat.
Nadia slid her text and notebook into her bag. “This is my only one for today.”
“Yeah, me too. Are you on a full class load?”
“No, not really. I have Physics Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, and English 101 and European History on Tuesdays and Thursdays.”
“I am taking this and a Literature class Tuesdays and Thursdays.”
They stood for a moment in awkward silence. “Well, it was nice meeting you, Foster. I guess I will see you on Monday.”
He looked like he was on the cusp of saying something more. His eyes became a little darker and Nadia could feel the struggle of chill and warmth again. His mouth worked silently and finally settled on, “Yeah, ok, I’ll see you then.”
Nadia worked her way into the hall and up the stairs, feeling a rush of relief that it wasn’t as crowded as the previous hour. She wanted to catch up with Kristen and tell her about the boy, but she doubted Kristen would be impressed. Boys came and went in her life as quickly as she changed her underwear. Although, she had complained more than once that Nadia would become the crazy cat lady by middle age if she didn’t get a move on.
The door to Kristen’s class swung open as soon as Nadia leaned against the wall. She could hear Kristen cooing and giggling before she even saw her.
“Thank you, Trent, I never could have figured that out without you!” A tall gangly guy of about twenty, still sporting acne, smiled shyly at her. He gave her a short wave and moved up the hall looking back once.
“Not your type at all, Kris.”
She batted her eyes and leaned towards her. “Sweetie they are
my type!” She laughed lightly and leaned to the side to look behind Nadia. “Who’s this?”
“Who?” Nadia asked and turned to look too. Foster was about three feet from her leaning on the wall. Nadia jumped and closed her eyes. When she opened them again, her heart fluttered a bit at the lopsided smile he was giving her. “Kristin, this is Foster. He’s in Physics with me.”
“Is he now?” She practically pushed Nadia out of the way and extended her hand. Foster looked at it like it was a snake ready to strike. Kristin took the hint and slowly lowered it. The look on her face told Nadia that she was getting ready to show Foster the rough side of her upbringing. He didn’t give her the chance.
“Nadia, I was wondering if you wanted to grab some lunch, since neither of us have another class today.”
course she would
!” Kristin beamed, the slight already forgotten in the face of Nadia actually having a male admirer.
Foster raised his eyebrows and looked form one girl to the other.
“Sure. That would be nice. I have to be at work by three, but we should have time to eat.”
Kristen gave her an exasperated look. “Nadia it’s ten thirty in the morning. I think you’ll make it.”
Nadia began following Foster down the hall and looked back at Kristen. She made the universal symbol for a telephone next to her ear with her thumb and pinky, and mouthed “Call me”. Nadia nodded once. Foster was tall, at least 6’4”. She couldn’t steal many sidelong glances without lifting her head since he was at least a foot taller than her. But it didn’t matter. A fire was beginning to burn from somewhere deep within her. She felt reckless. She felt free. She felt silly. If lunch could elicit these kinds of feeling, what would…dare she think it?...a kiss do?
Nadia followed Foster to a tiny restaurant about a mile from the college.
It was one of those quaint yet noisy places, with scratched wooden tables and high wooden booths. The floor was slightly uneven, and a bottle of every beer imaginable lined the wall above a mirror behind the bar. The waitress took them to one of the booths with the high back, and asked them what they would like to drink. Nadia ordered her usual spring water and was inexplicably impressed when Foster ordered the same. They perused the menus in silence until Foster gathered enough nerve to speak.
“See anything good?”
Nadia smiled and nodded. “A large bowl of Tabbouleh with veggies sounds wonderful.”
“Rabbit food, but good rabbit food, I admit!”
Nadia laughed out loud. “And what will you eat, a greasy burger and fries?”
“Oh yes!” He laid the menu aside and grinned. His smile was contagious. Nadia was mesmerized by his eyes once again. They were such an unusual shade of dark green. Words left her lips before she could stop them.
“Your eyes are so beautiful.” Warmth spread up her face and she lowered her eyes.
“Thank you.” He said quietly. “So are yours.”
. Nadia thought.
A compliment for a compliment. Right.
“They’re just brown.”
“Brown is beautiful, and comes in many shades. Your eyes are ebony brown.”
Nadia gave him a steady gaze which he returned without flinching. It was a trick she had used before when boys talked sweet nothings to her. She was able, except for one incident of bad judgment, to determine honesty. It was an unfortunate trait that had earned the label “witch” a few times. Honesty was all she saw on his face.
The waitress returned to take their order and the spell was momentarily broken, until she retreated to the kitchen.
“So, have you lived here your whole life?”
“In Virginia, yes, we moved from Orange when I was in sixth grade.”
Foster grinned. “Not much difference then.”
“What about you?”
“Yes. We have lived here the whole twenty years of my existence.” His face became darker, and Nadia suspected he yearned as much as she did to see the world. “So, what do your parents do?”
“Well, my Mom works part time at the Lodge, and my Dad is mechanic. Pretty boring really. What about yours?”
“Ah, boring too. My Mom is just a housewife, and my Dad…well let’s just say his work keeps him traveling.”
His face became dark again. “Something like that.” Foster leaned forward and sipped some of his water. He toyed with his napkin and Nadia decided it wouldn’t be wise to push him more on the subject. She had the distinct impression that he didn’t agree with whatever it was that his father did for a living. “So, where do you work?”
Nadia leaned back and placed her palms on the cool wood of her seat. “I have the entertaining job of sales clerk at the Book Nook.”
“Wow! I would enjoy that! I have been in there a few times, but I don’t remember seeing you.”
“I enjoy being around the books for sure, but I would rather no people be involved.”
Foster laughed out loud. The waitress came with their food and couldn’t help but smile with them.
The rest of the lunch was spent discussing college around mouthfuls of food, and the current political climate. Eventually they discussed all of their favorite books. Nadia was in the corner of her side of the booth with her knees drawn up to her chest watching Foster draw, what he concluded, would have been a better route for Frodo and Sam into Mount Doom; when her phone announced that she had a text message. She dug it out of her bag, and sighed with a small smile.
Nadia shook her head and laughed. “Kristen texted me and says there is no way I am still eating lunch, and why haven’t I called her yet. She also said, I am a ho.” Foster laughed out loud again with his head thrown back.
“She seems comical.”
“You have no idea.” Nadia looked at her phone again and frowned. “I better get going. I didn’t realize it was already two o’clock.”
Foster seemed disappointed as he laid money out with the check. The waitress appeared almost instantly. The flash of green turned her adequate promptness into something super human. They paid and then Foster walked Nadia to her car and leaned into his SUV parked next to her, to grab a small notebook. He scribbled something on one of the pages and ripped it out. Nadia took it and saw that it was a phone number. She ripped a piece off the bottom and wrote her number for him.
They stood in a silence that demanded more than a simple goodbye. Something seemed to be happening between them. A warm September breeze was touching their skin and the sun was dancing in and out of shadow. Foster’s face had become deadly series and he moved towards her.
Nadia wasn’t sure what was happening but it felt mysterious and delicious.
Foster’s face was only an inch from hers and Nadia could smell faint traces of soap, but something more powerful was coming from his skin. She just couldn’t put a finger on what it was. Her mind exploded into nothing as his lips gently touched her own.
He leaned back and smiled before turning to get into his truck. Later Nadia would think about the smells mixed with soap and try to name what they were. The only words that came to mind were of the earth: leaves, dirt, sun light. The other barely discernible smell only had one, strange name: metallic.