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Be My Experiment

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Rule number one of Jean Preparatory Academy: You do not touch the Vargas brothers.

Raised by combination lawyer and CEO of a vast Seafood interprise, both sat on more money than the school itself had been built with, and both knew how to wield the power that came with such wealth.

Feliciano Vargas, the milder of the two, took on the persona of gentle, good-natured friend and drew great crowds of loyal friends from all four grades. Hooked on both arms were always a multitude of girls, and anyone who dared make him cry faced the wrath of his friends, his father, and his brother.

Lovino Vargas, on the other hand, was always known for his attitude problems and extreme arrogance—and if it wasn’t for his money few would put up with him. He tended to remain aloof from the majority of the student body, only opening up to flirt with girls who found his sullen demeanor charming. Still, there was a lot to like about him from a distance; he always dressed in foreign brand clothes that were stylish to a fault, hinting toward city chic even if his jeans were a bit too tight. His face--though like his brothers--was calmer, more contemplative even when darkened by a scowl. Girls died to run their fingers through his hair.

But nowadays, only one girl ran her fingers through Lovino’s hair and got away with it.

“Lovino, are you going to drink your coffee or just sit there all day like some kind of zombie?” Her fingers teased apart the little hairs at the nape of his neck. The other hand rested on a pile of books.

Lovino leaned closer into her, scooting along the padded seat in their enclosed booth. His coffee sat forgotten, virtually untouched; the trail of steam climbing upward had long since dissipated. “I’m getting there, Belle.”

He glanced at her. She truly was beautiful, with a playful bob that curled just beneath delicate ears and eyes that always shined with playful light. There was a fluidity to her body that moved even when she was still, tucking in perfect curves from where her waist dipped in to the full circle of her hips. But…truth told, he was beginning to wonder if his attraction to her was purely aesthetic, and the thought terrified him. Countless people had told him that she was the full package—and she was. Beautiful, smart, witty…and tolerable of Lovino. She’d been voted the best match for Lovino by far, and he knew about the murmured whisper of how gorgeous they were together. To give up something like that because of a little doubt would be reckless. Stupid. And even Lovino Vargas knew that. Still something gnawed at him that he couldn’t place.

“Something is troubling you,” she said. Green eyes dripped sympathy, but the expectant pout in her lips demanded something else. She cocked her head toward him and brushed blond hair behind her ear where she’d stuck a pencil.

But the other just glared at the grain of the table. “L-like hell is something bothering me.” His eyes darted to the next booth over of their own accord, where two guys from his school were leaned in across the table, hands clasped while locked in some intimate conversation. Lovino stiffened when one finally closed the ever decreasing gap between their lips and they kissed, slowly, passionately.

Throat suddenly dry, Lovino swallowed, then jerked his head back toward Belle with a shaky breath. The gnawing inside increased.

Belle had followed his gaze. “Kind of weird that no one has kicked them out for that. That’s downright unnatural.” She rolled her eyes. The only person working at this time in the evening—once the regular crowds had died down and only a few stragglers remained—was a cheerful guy who looked a few years older than Lovino. He did not seem to mind the pair making out, instead removing their empty cups quietly before moving on, then scooping up Belle’s empty cup, pausing to wink at Lovino.

He had gone before Lovino’s cheeks erupted in bright pink.

“Lovino.” Belle hit him with the full force of a fresh pout, which twitched into a mischievous smile as she caught him unaware with a kiss. He stiffed, unprepared, but she pulled him closer and coaxed his mouth open and teased his lips until he finally returned the gesture. They parted gently.

Belle grinned. “We showed them a thing or two.”

They had already left.

Sighing, Belle patted Lovino’s wrist, stood up, and collected her books. “Honey, I have a bit more studying to do tonight and you need to get some rest.” She bent over to kiss his cheek then his lips again, hand caressing down his cheek. “See you tomorrow.”

Once she’d left, the waiter returned and set a fresh cup of coffee in front of Lovino in return for the cold one. “You look like you could use it.” A Spanish lilt teased his syllables.

Lovino blinked. “H-huh? This place is closing, right?”

The waiter shrugged and threw a towel of his shoulder. “Yeah, I guess, though I’m in no hurry to lock up.” He hit Lovino with a dazzling grin, teeth contrasting with his skin like vanilla against sun-warmed milk chocolate.

The other turned, abashed, and wrapped his hands around the coffee while the Spaniard wandered off to wipe down a few tables. With a start, Lovino realized that he’d been ogling his ass as he bent to reach the far edge of the nearby booth. Pink tinged his cheeks darker.

“Y-you’re not from here,” Lovino said. The statement had tumbled out of his mouth before he had time to stop it, but he was desperate to hear the melody-tinted accent and catch more of the Spaniard’s lazy smile. He chided himself in a panic as the other turned, and wanted to slam his head against the table. The hell was he thinking about? If anything, Lovino should be going home and calling his girlfriend, not staring at some (aesthetically pleasing, dammit, but not sexy!) guy. He, Lovino Vargas, had a girlfriend. There was no way he’d want anything else.

“Hmm?”

“I-I mean, your accent.” He wished he could sink into the bottom of his seat into a puddle beneath the table. Most the people in this town were from around the world, as rich students flocked from all over to attend this school. Though this guy didn’t appear to be very wealthy, as none of the kids at school chose to work such menial jobs, and his shirt could certainly use patching.

“Si. I actually moved here a few weeks ago from Spain.” He shrugged but stuck out a hand, the other ruffling through his curly mop of hair. “My name is Antonio, by the way. Antonio Carriedo.”

Though he made a great show of scowling, Lovino accepted the hand and shook. “Lovino. Uh, Vargas.”

He dreamed about Antonio that night.