Gina tried to avoid her friend Amanda once school started up again. It was unusual for her, because seeing friends was the only good thing about returning to school. The problem was, she had told Amanda about her summer fling—excepting the part where he dumped her for no reason. Now, once she saw her, she would want details and all she could say was that it had been a dud.
Not for the first time since coming home, she cursed Vincente Cavalcante’s name. Because of him, she stuck close to the walls and kept her head down, hoping she could make it into the school building before being seen.
She was halfway across the parking lot, however, when her brother caught her eye.
He waved shortly and so did the cute red-head he was talking to. Then they fell back into conversation. Gina, despite her plan, stopped to look at the two of them. She just couldn’t help it; she was so happy anytime Giuliano got up the courage to talk to her. Her brother had been crushing on Flora forever. She knew because of the way he always stared admiringly at her hair, though her brother thought he was being discreet. Gina thought it was mutual as well—if nothing else, Flora blushed a lot whenever she asked Giuliano for help with maths.
“God, they are so cute,” a voice said.
Gina jumped and spun, coming face to face with Amanda. Her friend pretended like Gina hadn’t just done a frog-leap into the air, instead looking at Giulio and Flora.
“They’re very cute, yeah,” Gina said, hoping Amanda would be so taken with the cuteness that she could avoid an interrogation.
“It’s too bad she has a boyfriend now.”
That made Gina forget all about her own predicament for a second. “What? Giulio asked her? He didn’t tell—”
“No, silly, your brother’s way too shy. I heard she got a boyfriend while on vacation.”
“But she’s in love with my brother,” Gina sneered. “How dare she?”
Amanda laughed. “A girl can only wait so long, and he should have asked her out ages ago. Which reminds me…” Oh no… “Someone else got a boyfriend while on vacation, if I’m not mistaken.”
Gina looked away.
“I don’t want to talk about it.”
“Aaw, don’t leave me hanging. Who’s the guy? Is he hot? I’ve been dying to hear about it.”
“He was just some rich asshole who was looking for entertainment.”
As soon as she realised what her phrasing made it sound like, she held up her hands. It was too late, though, as Amanda’s mouth formed a surprised O, and she said:
“Oh my god, you did it?”
“No, I didn’t. And keep your fucking voice down. We’re not together anymore, he was just bored.”
“So he used you for sex?”
Gina groaned. “Are you deaf? I said we didn’t do it.”
“Didn’t do what?”
Both girls turned at a male voice, though while Amanda smiled big, Gina rolled her eyes. Doriano Montanari strolled over, looking, as ever, like he owned the world. That was because he pretty much did, or at least his family. They were obscenely wealthy, much like the boy whose name she didn’t like to think of. The difference was that while Vincente Cavalcante was—or at least seemed—gentle and careful, Doriano was loud, brazen, and immature. He had been hitting on Gina for a few years now. She may like cute guys, but she was smart enough to realise that a guy like him was bad news.
“Gina has a secret boyfriend,” Amanda said, before Gina could tell her to shut up.
“For the last time—no, I don’t,” she said through gritted teeth.
“Regina,” Doriano said. “My heart is broken. You let some stranger steal your heart while mine only beats for you?”
“She said he’s rich,” Amanda continued, as though all Gina’s protests were nothing but buzzing flies. “Oh, and very good-looking with blue eyes and black hair.”
Gina stared daggers at her friend.
“Seriously, if you don’t shut up I will shoot…”
“Blue eyes, huh?” Doriano said with a grin. “I know a family that’s simply full of blue-eyed rich men, and I’ve heard some say they’re handsome. He wouldn’t be a Cavalcante, now would he?”
“It’s none of your fucking business,” Gina said, trying to ignore the fact that the name tore at her heart.
She turned on her heel, sending both Doriano and Amanda an acidic look. She was halfway to the stairs when Doriano’s voice reached her:
“I’m sorry that it went poorly, Regina,” he said.
For once, he sounded like he meant it. Everything else he said was always said in a sarcastic or overly dramatic tone, but he smiled sympathetically and almost looked… nice. Gina had heard of this happening with boys: You didn’t see them for a few months and then they came back after the holidays with some much-needed maturity upgrades. She just didn’t think that would ever happen to Doriano, and considering what had happened in Collesena, she wasn’t inclined to be large with anyone. She continued walking, only glancing at him briefly to say:
“Fuck off, Doriano.”
The rest of the day turned out to be as awful as it had begun. Gina already had trouble suffering through Amanda’s endless, boring conversations, but usually she suffered it because she didn’t have many girlfriends. She started wondering why she even wanted friends who were girls, though, because today Amanda had done nothing but poke and prod at her for information about ‘her’ rich boy. Telling her to shut up didn’t help, threatening her didn’t help, nothing helped.
The only respite she found was around noon, when Amanda was distracted by a couple from their grade breaking up and Gina snuck out the front door of the school. At last she could breathe and let the emotions come in waves. She didn’t cry, there had been plenty of that at home, but she still felt it strongly. Not for the first time since coming home, she wondered at the sudden transformation. One moment he was so sweet and kind—if a little formal and reserved—then the next he was completely cold and arrogant.
Gina squeezed her eyes closed and set her jaw, wishing she could find him and punch him. Violence may not be the answer, but it would make her feel better.
“He really did a number on you, didn’t he, Regina?”
Gina’s eyes popped open to find Doriano towering over her.
“I told you to leave me alone,” she said, rolling her eyes.
She pushed off from the railing she had been leaning on and made to leave, but he caught her arm.
“Are you okay?” he asked.
“I will be, once you leave me alone.” She tried to tear her arm out of his grasp.
“Come on, Regina, I’m just checking up on you. I know that guy, remember? He does that kind of thing all the time.”
She stopped struggling, her interest suddenly peaked. “He does?”
Doriano nodded. “He does. He’s kind of notorious for it. His old man has to rein him in all the time. Wouldn’t be surprised if he ends up getting some girl pregnant someday.”
“But he didn’t even try to—” Gina stopped herself and looked away as a blush spread over her cheeks.
“Guess his dad got to him before he could convince you to sleep with him, huh? I’m glad to hear it.”
“Why?” Gina retorted. “Because you want to be in on the action first? Piss off.”
She walked off, but yet again he caught her. He put an arm around her and gave her a gentle squeeze.
“No, Regina. It’s because I’m glad he didn’t hurt you more. You don’t deserve that.”
Gina looked up and, in spite of herself, smiled a little, then immediately snuffed out the smile and glowered. “You don’t care if I’m hurt.”
“How long have we known each other?” he asked. “Since kindergarten pretty much. It’s impossible to know someone for so long and not care.”
She shook her head and removed his hand from her arm.
“I have to get back in.”
Doriano took a step back from her and fixed her with a smile.
“Okay, Regina. Just let me say again: I’m sorry for how things turned out. You deserve better.”
“Um, thanks,” she said.
Gina still wasn’t sure about him, but once she went inside, she realised she didn’t care as much about Amanda’s incessant pestering. She kept returning to what he had said: She deserved better. And it sounded like he believed it.
Doriano’s words were still stuck in her head once she left school and she was almost feeling better. That was, until the most annoying voice in the world sounded somewhere behind her:
“Regina, can I talk to you?”
Gina looked over her shoulder at Carlotta Allegri. Like Doriano, she had known Carlotta since kindergarten, but while Gina was merely wary of Doriano, she absolutely loathed Carlotta. Carlotta was blonde and a teacher’s pet. She always did her homework, always got top marks, and acted like an intolerable know-it-all because of it.
“I’m a bit busy, Carlotta,” Gina said.
“It’s important,” the blonde girl said.
Gina groaned, but turned and faced her.
“Make it quick.”
“That was the plan,” Carlotta said with a sardonic smile. “Wouldn’t want to keep you from… whatever it is you do all day instead of your schoolwork.”
“A social life,” Gina spat back. “It’s called a social life, Carlotta. Can’t blame you for not knowing, though.”
Carlotta rolled her eyes.
“Right, whatever. Look, I just wanted to warn you against Doriano’s bullshit.”
“Um, what bullshit?”
“Oh, don’t play dumb with me. You know very well what he’s like, and usually you’re not susceptible to his tactics—you’re not entirely stupid, even if your talents aren’t in any academic fields that have been invented yet.”
Gina curled her hands into fists.
“Are you done?” she asked. “Or do you want to continue insulting me?”
“I’m not done, no. I’m trying to say that I can tell something happened to make you vulnerable. Whatever it is, Doriano knows and he preys on it. Whenever a girl is weak is when he strikes.”
“Stop being so dramatic. He isn’t a vampire or something.”
“He may as well be and you should know that. Don’t let him exploit you, because it’ll only make the hurt worse once he tosses you aside.”
“I’m not hurt, Carlotta, so mind your own fucking business.”
The blonde dropped her shoulders, defeated, and said: “Fine, Regina, do whatever you please. I’m only trying to help.”
Regina, of course, soon realised that she should have heeded Carlotta’s warning.
Author’s note: Hi guyyyssss! And welcome back to another thing that I did at some point. The disadvantage of being so far ahead in the story is that I took these pictures what feels like centuries ago, so I hate the lighting in them so much. This was before I started playing with my environmental mods and I’m not super fond of my old lighting mod since I changed it 😛 Other things to note include: 1. at this point I started putting teen Gina in adult clothing by using MasterController, which means she looks more mature. 2. I hate Doriano so much. Not at his worst here, but oh brother… you will see later. I hate him. 3. This chapter used to contain a little bit with Enzo, but boyfriend had some very fair criticisms about it and I couldn’t fix it in time. It was a very short section (2000 characters), so I cut it from this chapter. It fits with the plan I have in my head anyway and just means that next chapter will be Enzo only 🙂
Finally, before I go, I’ve been spamming something fierce through my Christmas break and it resulted in a taggy thing and a 2018 retrospective, in case anyone’s curious. No? Oh well, it’s there if you get bored or need something to read while waiting on the bus or something 🙂 There’s a posedump for all your criminal needs (or is that just me?), which is maybe more interesting. Anyway, that’s it from me for now. Sorry for the short chapter with lazy pictures. I hope everyone’s having a nice 2019 so far and I’ll see you for the next post.