The only sound in the library is that of the rustling of paper as a student turns a page. No hushed conversations or mobile phones going off disturb the silence. Nobody wants to piss off the other students.
Molly and her friend Roger have been sitting at one of the tables in the big hall for two hours and Molly has done almost no studying. Today it’s really difficult for Molly to concentrate on the information on the pages. Her thoughts keep wondering to her father.
Her father had told her this morning that he wasn’t going to be able to spend Easter with her. He works for doctors without borders and they want him to go Africa, help them treat people who are suffering from Ebola.
This isn’t the first time of course, that he had to cancel on Molly. Being away from home most of the time is sort of a precondition for working for the organization. If he wants to help people who are either in the middle of a conflict or an epidemic, he needs to be there were those people are. But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t suck.
If Molly had a mother, she wouldn’t mind so much. She wouldn’t be facing spending Easter alone if that had been the case. But her mother, one of the many victims of cancer, died when Molly was really young. It has been just her and her father for almost all her life.
When Molly’s mum had died, her father had told Doctors Without Borders that he could no longer work for them, his daughter needed him. Instead, he started to work as a regular doctor so he could be home in time to cook Molly dinner and tuck her into bed.
He had stayed in the country up until Molly started to attend University. She had moved out and he had picked up his job as a doctor to the needy all around the world. From then on out, she couldn’t count on her father being at home for all the holidays or important events in her life.
At first, it had been hard on Molly. But after a year she had accepted that her father didn’t belong to her alone anymore. Okay, maybe accepted is a bit too optimistic. Molly still finds the absence of her father really difficult even after two years have passed. It’s just that her father had been her whole world for so long.
Luckily, she still has Roger. He’s been her best friend ever since he’d moved into the house next to that of Molly and her father in 2012. The fathers had become friends right away. Roger and Molly not so much. She’d liked his older brother better at first but then she’d discovered that Roger liked the same things as she did. He too loved reading books and like her was obsessed with biology.
When Molly had found that out, she had declared that she and Roger were going to be the best of friends. And so they were and still are. They share everything, tell each other everything. Well, almost everything.
Molly hasn’t told Roger about her father yet. She doesn’t want him to think she is ungrateful if she tells him she’s disappointed because she is not. She is happy that her father can do what he considers the best job in the world: helping people and making his living by doing so. But it’s just that she was looking forward to seeing him again. He had told her two weeks ago that he was going to be home for Easter, having done his part for the Syrian refugees in Greece. And now something has come up.
A sigh escapes from Molly’s lips. She lays her head on her hands, pressing the rims of her glass into her skin and closes her eyes. Her elbows tingle as the pages of her book attach themselves to her. It’s not a nice sensation but Molly doesn’t feel motivated to get the paper off of her skin.
She can hear Roger move next to her. He probably looked up from his book and saw Molly wasn’t doing okay. The chair next to her creaks as its occupant leans closer.
“Are you okay?” Roger asks in a hushed whisper, breaking the heavy silence in the students’ sanctuary.
Molly doesn’t want Roger to suffer the consequences of breaking the unspoken rule of the study hall, so she lifts her head and nods her head in the door’s direction while her eyes find Rogers.
Like Molly, Roger is wearing glasses and like her, the eyes behind them are the light shade of brown. The hair framing their faces are more different, hers is a light brown while his is almost black.
Like always, Roger gets what Molly tries to say right away. He nods his head and then closes his book. While he puts his things back in his backpack, Molly does the same. They try their best to be as silent as possible, but they still manage to collect a few angry glares thrown in their direction before they’ve made it outside.
A giggle escapes Molly as she turns her face towards the sun and Roger laughs with her. The soft spring breeze feels amazing against her tan skin. Thanks to her mother’s Italian roots, Molly doesn’t have to wait until summer to darken her skin. Roger can’t say the same thing, he’s as white as paste.
Roger puts his hand under Molly’s arm, bumps his hip against hers as they walk away from the library. The wind rustles the leaves, soothing Molly’s frayed nerves.
She always gets like this, strung up, when finals are close or when the deadlines of papers are fast approaching. Worrying comes natural to her, rearing its ugly head even when other people tell her she has nothing to be afraid of.
“What’s going on?” Roger asks again, his voice this time at normal volume. He squeezes her arm, letting her know that she can lay her problems on him. Taking him up on the offer seems like a nice idea.
“My dad told me he can’t get back in time for Easter,” Molly tells her friend. Under lip curled, she directs the sigh that flows from between her lips upwards. The few stray hairs laying across her forehead rustle at the burst of air.
“You can just come home with me. Dad would love for you to come,” Roger assures Molly. His eyes are on her face and she turns her head to smile at him.
“I know, but thank you for telling me. It’s just that I don’t like being a third wheel, or a fourth wheel in this case,” Molly admits. She turns her head again, the sight in front of her suddenly more appealing then Roger’s face. “Easter is a holiday you spend with your family and I’m not family.”
“Of course you are,” Roger protests. He releases his hold on the crook of Molly’s elbow and grabs her upper arm instead.
Roger’s grip is soft but unrelenting as he turns Molly to face him, stopping both of them in their tracks. Molly’s eyes find his reluctantly and she finds her gaze caught by the intense emotion in Roger’s eyes.
“Really?” Molly’s voice is soft as she ask him to speak the truth.
“Really,” Roger assures her.
A warmth spreads in Molly’s chest, making it feel like she’s glowing with happiness. But Molly doesn’t mind, she doesn’t care if Roger knows how happy he’s made her. He can know how much it means to her to be considered as part of the Hamley family. It’s not as if he’ll know why his confession means so much to her.
“Are you sure your father won’t mind,” Molly still asks. Even though Roger considers her part of the family, it doesn’t mean his father does.
“Yeah, he won’t mind. He misses having you over.”
“I didn’t know,” Molly confesses, eyes widened with surprise.
Molly had known she was always welcome to visit the Hamley family but she’d always thought that was for the sake of Roger and his brother Osborn’s mother. Mrs. Hanley had always liked Molly, had seen her as a daughter she never had. When she and Roger became friends, he had become a reason to come by the house as well, but Molly didn’t know the father liked her company as well.
Which apparently he does. If she didn’t know Roger so well, Molly would have suspected Roger of lying about the affection that his father feels for his friend so that she won’t feel bad for spending Easter with his family. But as she does know him almost as well as she knows herself, she knows he is speaking the truth, or at least what he perceives the truth to be.
“Well, if you’re sure, I would love to come,” Molly tells Roger, a grin on her face.
Roger releases his hold on Molly’s arm and smiles at her. Even with his hand gone, her skin still tingles were he’d grabbed her.
“Do you want to go back to study or do you want to call it a day?” Roger asks. He turns around to look at the clock above the entrance of the library. “It’s already four o’clock. We can study for another hour.”
“Let’s study another hour,” Molly proposes. She hadn’t been able to take anything in before. Maybe, now she’s talked with Roger about what she was worrying about, she can finally upload some info into her brain.
The two friends walk back to the library and as quietly as possible reenter it. Some of the students look up from their laptops or books to watch them walk back to where they left their things, but most of them remain focused on their work.
Molly does manage to absorb some information that she’s going to need for a tests she’s going to have to take a week after Easter. After today, she has only got eight days to learn everything.
After an hour, they put their books and laptops in their backpacks as they’re finished with their study session. Roger takes Molly’s hand, something he does all the time but still makes Molly blush.
“Let’s get something to drink,” Roger whispers in to her ear, so nobody can accuse him of breaking the silence. His breath tickles the shell of Molly’s ear. A shiver runs down her spine at the sensation.
“Okay,” she whispers back.
Roger doesn’t let go of Molly’s hand as they make their way across the reading hall of the library. He does let go, however when they’ve made it outside.
“Do you want to get coffee off campus or on?”
Roger is looking at Molly, brown eyes sparkling in the spring sun and head crocked. It makes him look cute and breathtaking at the same time. Roger may not be conventionally handsome, with his glasses and pasty skin, but Molly thinks he’s fit.
That’s another thing that he and Molly have in common, she wouldn’t win any beauty pageants either. Like him, she has glasses but unlike him, she has a tan skin. Where Roger is tall, Molly is short. She has almost now boobs to speak off and her ass is non-existing. She is skinny, but not the attractive kind. No, she and Roger are not the people that have a long list of admirers.
Unlike Molly’s roommate. She’s gorgeous. She has an arse that almost rivals Beyonce’s, big blue eyes, brown hair that falls down in wavy tresses, boobs that are just the right size, flawless skin and legs that seem to go on for hours. Every boy on campus wants to sleep with her. And still, she choose to date Roger.
Nobody had expected it, not even Molly, who’s friends with both of them. She hadn’t thought her roommate Cynthia was interested in Roger. She did know that Roger was interested in her, of course. But Cynthia had surprised everybody by saying yes to Roger.
“On campus. I don’t feel like always all the way to Lanshire today,” Molly admits. Being bend over her books and laptop have made her tired. She just want to get the coffee, go back to her dorm to watch some Orphan Black and then go to bed early. She doesn’t think she’ll be able to walk all the way to the small town near the University.
The coffee shop isn’t too far away from the library. With ten minutes, Roger and Molly are sitting at a table in the back, having just ordered Irish Coffee and a Cappuccino respectively. It isn’t too busy, most students are either in their dorms or in the library studying.
Molly’s neck feels as stiff as a board and it is aching like there’s no tomorrow. She really needs to find a better position to read her books in. Bending over for hours is not conducive to her well-being.
If she and Roger were a couple, she’d ask him if he could massage her neck, but as their not, she’s going to have to do it herself.
“So, did you manage to study?” Roger asks. He himself has started to massage his own neck. As he digs into the tendons in his neck, he turns to Molly and looks at her with big eyes.
“A bit,” Molly admits, shrugging her shoulders. “Most of it I already knew. It isn’t enough for an 70, though. So, after Easter I’m going to read the book a couple more times.”
Because Roger is just like her, he doesn’t tease her that she doesn’t permit herself to get a 70. Like her, he always aims to get either an 80 or an 90. Both expects the best from themselves.
The ache in her neck is making her head throb as well. Without hesitation, she presses her fingers into her neck and starts kneading. She grins at Roger and he grins back. They must look like quiet the pair.
“Here you go.”
Molly turns her head to look at the barista. The face of the man putting Molly’s drink in front of her, is as well known to her as his voice. Her cheeks ache as she smiles at him.
“Osborn, how are you on this fine day?” she asks. Her eyes follow the barista as he walks to the other side of the table and puts the Cappuccino in front of his brother.
It’s clear that Roger is the older one. He’s taller and there’s a maturity to his eyes that Roger’s equally brown ones lack. Unlike Roger, Osborn has inherited their father’s straight hair while Roger is blessed with their late mother’s brown curls. Like his younger brother, Osborn has a pale skin and full lips. Unlike his brother, he’s rather a hit with the ladies.
“I’m terrible. I’m working on the one day I don’t have to study,” Osborn complains as he shakes his head. There’s a smile tucked into the corner of his mouth, telling Molly her friend’s brother doesn’t mind having to work today as much as he’s letting on. Typical Osborn. He has always had the flair for the dramatic, or at least for as long as Molly has known him.
“How terrible. I feel so bad for you,” Roger mocks, teasing with good humor.
“Oh, just shut up,” Osborn grumbles. He narrows his eyes in a way that makes him look cute instead of menacing, which is not on accident.
The brothers like teasing each other like this, pretend they’re mad at each other. People expect the two of them to not be able to stand each other – like most brothers do who are compared to each other by their fathers – maybe that’s why they like to pretend that they’re like people expect them to.
At least, that’s what Molly thinks, thanks to her psychology minor. She thought it a good idea to follow a minor that has nothing to do with her major – Geography. The behavior of people had always fascinated her, so her choice had been made quite easily.
Osborn goes back to work and Roger and Molly drink their beverages. When the clocks strikes six, the two friends have finished their drinks and they’re making their way towards the register to pay for them.
“I’ll pay,” Roger tells Molly. His warm hand envelops hers as he stops her from reaching for her wallet.
Molly can feel , much to her mortification, a blush creep unto her cheeks. The affection she feels towards Roger is displayed, visible for everyone to see.
‘Calm the fuck down,’ Molly scolds herself. ‘Do you want Roger to find out?’
There’s a queue of six people in front of the till. Students with wallets in their hands wait for their turn, talking amongst themselves all the while. Roger and Molly join it at the rear.
“Are you sure? I have enough money,” Molly asks, voice hoarse. It really is a miracle Roger hasn’t found out her secret yet. She’s being so obvious, it’s painful.
Roger turns to Molly, her hand still in his. His touch burns her, alights a fire inside her. If only he knew what doing something as simple as holding her hand does to her. He would probably stop doing it and things would become very awkward between them.
“Yeah, I’m sure. It’s my treat,” Roger assures her.
He’s smiling at Molly and he’s looking at her with those eyes of his. She can feel herself become weak in the knees as he stares at her, all of his attention on her face. For a moment, she dares imagine he’s going to lean down and kiss her.
But he doesn’t, because he has a girlfriend and it isn’t Molly.
Rudely awakened, Molly tears her eyes away from Roger’s penetrating gaze and pulls her hand away from his. She can feel him tense behind her, probably confused by her sudden unwillingness to hold his hand.
There’s an uncomfortable silence as they move to the head of the queue. Roger pays for the drinks when they’ve made it to the end. When he’s done, he walks towards the door and Molly follows him, her stomach in knots.
The sun is still shining brightly as the two friends exit the coffee shop. A gust of wind rushes by, making Molly shiver in her white shirt. Next time, she’s taking her jacket with her to the library.
Roger comes to a standstill right in front of the shop and turns to Molly. She doesn’t avoid his gaze, looks him straight in the eyes as her heart beats rapidly in her chest.
There is no suspicion in Roger’s brown eyes or confusion. It looks like he’s forgotten Molly’s weird behavior in the coffee shop only moments ago.
“Let’s meet up at eight, tomorrow. I think we’ll have enough time to study when we start at twelve ,” Roger advices.
“Okay. Yeah.You’re probably right,” Molly admits and she nods her head. “Okay, let’s start at eight.”
“Good.” Roger smiles at Molly and nods her head. “Well, see you tomorrow, then.”
Roger kisses Molly on her cheek. As he pulls back, he squeezes her upper arm and he smiles at her, eyes above his pink lips warm, once again make Molly weak in the knees.
Molly’s voice threatens to break when she starts to speak again but thankful, it holds. “See you tomorrow.”
Smile still on his lips, Roger turns around and walks away. Molly’s eyes follow him until he disappears into the crowd.
Cynthia is walking around the dorm in her underwear when Molly enters their shared lodgings. Both her bra and her knickers are black and she looks stunning in them – like she does in everything she owns.
“Hey, Molly. How did studying go?” she asks cheerfully as she makes her way to the closet.
“It went alright. Not as well as I’d hoped,” Molly admits. She walks towards the couch she and Cynthia share and dumps her backpack on it. She sits down next to it a moment later.
Cynthia’s head disappears inside the closet, as do both of her hands as she searchers for an outfit dhr wants to wear on her date with Roger in an hour.
“That’s a shame.” Cynthia’s voice is muffled. A moment later, her head reappears from the closet and with an elegant twirl she turns around and holds up the dress she’s found. It’s red and strapless. It will look beautiful on her.
Cynthia pulls the dress over her head and down her body. The red cotton hugs her curves as it falls down her tall body.
“You look beautiful,” Molly tells her friend. The envy she feels inside her chest isn’t audible in her voice, thankfully.
“Thank you.” Cynthia’s voice sounds sincere. Even with so many people complimenting her, lusting after her, she is still thankful whenever someone expresses their good opinion of her.
“What are you going to do tonight?” Cynthia asks. As she waits for Molly’s answer, she walks towards where the mirror is standing in front of the wall and looks at herself in the reflective surface. She turns this and that way to look at her dress at different angles.
“Going to watch Orphan Black, have dinner and then go to bed,” Molly replies. She fiddles her thumbs as she watches Cynthia adjust her dress.
Is this going to be how she’s going to spend the rest of her life? Watch Cynthia and Roger date, get engaged, marry and have children and all the while pine after Roger but not intervening because she wants Cynthia to be happy as well?