Authors: Rachel Morgan
Tags: #happily ever after, #Humor, #musician, #sweet NA, #Romance, #The Trouble Series, #mature YA, #Love, #comedy, #nerd
The Trouble with Flirting
By Rachel Morgan
Copyright © 2014 Rachel Morgan
Cover and interior design by Morgan Media
Labeled a nerd for most of high school, Livi sees her first year of university as a chance to redefine herself. She can finally enter the popular crowd and maybe even land herself a super hot boyfriend. But Livi’s about to discover that the price of popularity may be more than she’s willing to pay, and that what—and who—she wants most has always been right in front of her.
This is a work of fiction. Names, places, characters, and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or, if real, used fictitiously.
The author makes no claims to, but instead acknowledges, the trademarked status and trademark owners of the word marks, products, and/or brands mentioned in this work of fiction.
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means without prior written permission from the author, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews. For more information please contact the author.
Mobi ISBN 978-0-9922339-4-5
Print ISBN 978-0-9922339-5-2
I had everything perfectly planned for my first year of university: I would be accepted to study my degree of choice; I would get into one of the best residences; I would secure myself an intelligent and attractive boyfriend; and, most importantly, I would finally ditch my high school nerd status. So eager was I to carry out my perfect plan, that—despite living on the other side of the world playing constant entertainer and caregiver to two German brats for the year leading up to Perfect Freshman Year—I had all my forms filled out and submitted long before any deadlines.
That, apparently, was a mistake.
Perhaps my forms landed at the bottom of the pile. Perhaps they were so early they ended up lost and someone only found them after the deadline had passed. Whatever the case, some grumpy admin lady took a look at my meticulously filled out residence application and came up with one word: rejected. My parents told me I should at least be grateful I was accepted to study my first choice of degree—a BBusSci in Marketing—at my number one university—UCT—but neither of them stayed in res when they were studying, so they have no idea what I’m missing out on.
Nevertheless, I moved onto Plan B. Digs. A room in a flat or a house. Surely I could find a group of people who needed a new housemate this year. After contacting everyone I had even the vaguest sort of friendship with at school, I found the light at the end of my darkened tunnel with Nicky, a fellow violinist from orchestra. “My dad owns a flat in Rondebosch,” she told me, “and there’s a second bedroom. I’ve been using it as a study, but I think Dad would appreciate the rent.”
Great. Sorted. I was back on track for Almost Perfect Freshman Year. That is, until three minutes ago when Nicky sent me a message that completely annihilated Plan B.
I’m SO sorry to do this to you a week before registration, but I can’t offer you a place at the flat anymore. With the divorce and everything, my dad decided he has to sell it, so I’m going to stay with my aunt in Kenilworth. I’m so, so sorry. But I’m sure you’ll find something.
Panics tightens my chest as I stare at the message. She’s
? She’s sure I’ll find
? One freaking week before registration? THIS IS NOT HAPPENING! And I can’t even get mad at her because her parents’ divorce has been super messy, so I’ll come across as mean and uncaring if I express my intense frustration.
My phone starts playing Dario Marianelli’s
from Pride and Prejudice. Sarah. Number one best friend, epic storyteller, and recent university dropout—which sounds a lot worse than it actually is. I flop back onto my queen-sized bed and answer the phone.
“Congratulations!” Sarah shouts before I can say anything.
“What?” For a moment I have no idea why she’s congratulating me. Then I remember that this day hasn’t been completely terrible. “Oh, yeah. Thanks.”
“What do you mean, ‘What?’?” she demands. “You pass your driver’s test on the first go, and an hour later you’ve forgotten about it?”
“I happen to be having a housing crisis that is currently shadowing the euphoria of becoming a licensed driver.”
“A housing crisis? In that gigantic mansion you call home?”
“Not this house, silly. You know I’m supposed to be moving into a flat in Cape Town with Nicky next week?”
“Yeah. Her father’s selling the flat.”
“What?” Sarah sounds suitably horrified. “Where are you supposed to live then?”
“Well, at this point, I’ll be camping in Adam’s lounge.” Adam. Number two best friend, fellow classic music lover, and UCT freshman this year.
Sarah laughs. “Does Adam know this?”
“You should tell him. Not just to find out if his couch is available, but because he might know somewhere else you can stay.”
“I doubt it.” I pull a blanket over my legs, then reach for the aircon’s remote control on my bedside table and increase the temperature a few degrees. “I’m pretty sure everyone’s made a plan already for this year.”
“Well, I guess that leaves Adam’s couch then,” Sarah says with a sigh. “It shouldn’t be too bad. Waking up every morning with three guys walking through your living quarters, one of whom is Adam’s Gross Cousin.”
“Ew, okay, you’re right. I should definitely ask him if he knows somewhere else I can stay.”
“Or, you know, your parents could just
a flat for you to live in. Or five flats. Then you can move around when you get bored.”
“Ha ha,” I say, injecting as much sarcasm into my words as I can. “You know how monumentally stingy my parents are when it comes to their one and only child. I have to learn how to provide for myself, blah, blah, blah.”
“Yeah, yeah, I’ve heard it all before. It’s a miracle they’re paying for your tuition and rent and not forcing you to use your au pair money for that.”
I wind a strand of unruly orange-red hair around my finger. “Don’t worry, I’ll be using that for all my other expenses.”
“Well, let’s hope it—oh, hang on.” I twist another piece of hair around my finger and listen to the muffled noises coming from Sarah’s side of the phone. “I’m sorry,” she says a moment later. “I’ve gotta go. Aiden just arrived.”
“Ooh.” I make some kissing noises while Sarah tells me to shut up. We both end up giggling, and then I let her go so she can make out with the newfound love of her life.
I slide my phone into my shorts pocket, then roll off the bed and cross the room. I open the French sliding doors that lead onto my balcony and step outside to warm up in the baking sun. In a few minutes I’ll be wilting, at which point it’ll be time to go back into my air-conditioned room. I lean on the railing and look out across the golf course. Beyond it, the sea is like flat, blue glass. A perfect day to be on the beach.
I wonder if I’ll miss this place. The perfectly maintained fairways, the infinity pools, the golf cars zipping around.
Probably not. I’m ready to say goodbye. I’m ready for my next adventure.
I remove my phone from my pocket and search for Adam’s number. He was the first person I called after Plan A fell through. Like me, he took a gap year and then decided to head to UCT this year, so he was also looking for accommodation in Cape Town for the first time. I got to him too late, though—he’d already made a plan with Gross Cousin Luke. Luke spent last year in a house with two other guys, one of whom decided to move back home at the end of last year, leaving a room free for Adam. Adam’s Plan A worked out perfectly.
I’ve just found Adam’s name under my recent contacts when the main theme from
Pirates of the Caribbean
starts playing, and Adam’s face appears on the screen. I’m tempted to leave it ringing for a while because I love the music so much, but my housing dilemma is more important.
I answer with, “Sarah told you, didn’t she.” I’m surprised she removed her lips from her boyfriend’s long enough to make contact with anyone else.
“She just sent me a message,” Adam says, his voice distorted against a noisy background.
“Where are you?” I ask.
“Home. Sorry, just—” I hear a shout, then a loud bang like the slamming of a door, and then the noise disappears. “Sorry, my brother’s got this new habit of blasting his music as loud as possible the moment he gets home from school.”
“Yip. Anyway, I phoned to give you some awesome news.”
“Oh yeah?” I head back inside and slide the French doors closed. “What’s that?”
“Mike’s transferring from UCT to Wits,” Adam says, as excited as if he just presented me with a brand new car. Which, incidentally, I could use now that I’m a licensed driver.
“Who’s Mike, and why is that good news?”
“It’s good news for
, because Mike is one of the guys I was going to be sharing a house with this year.”
I freeze in the middle of my bedroom. “What? Seriously?”
“There’s a room up for grabs?”
“Ohmygosh, ADAM! You are a LIFESAVER!” I jump onto my bed and hug the nearest cushion while squealing with delight. “Oh. Wait. You’re a guy.”
“And so is your cousin.”
“Well, that’s debatable.”
“Ugh, my parents wanted me to stay with girls.” I punch the cushion. “They were pretty insistent on that, remember? That’s why I was so happy when I discovered Nicky had a spare room. Quiet, hardworking,
student. My parents thought it was perfect.”
“Well, your parents have to realise that you don’t have many options at this point. And they know me, which will probably help.”
“Play up the whole safety aspect. It’s safer to stay with guys because they can beat up any criminals who break in.”
“Yeah, I’m not sure mentioning criminals is going to help.”
“Well, remind them how amazing I am, and then say it’s either this or they buy a flat for you.”
I consider that for a moment. “That could actually work.”
“It will work.”
“Okay, I’ll let you know tonight.”
“You’d better.” I hear the squeak of Adam’s desk chair as he spins around on it. “The news is already out there that we have a free room now, so it’s bound to go quickly.”
“Eeek! Okay, chat later.”
I put the phone down and start praying. “Please, please, please …”
Mon 3 Feb, 7:39 pm
I send emails cos I’m old fashioned that way