The four friends entered the territory of their new college, hand-in-hand.
“This campus is so huge!” gasped Ariel, gazing around delightedly as she twirled on her heels.
“This campus is so huge,” grumbled Alexia with a sigh.
“This campus is fantabulous!” both Janet and Max cried in unison.
“Oh well,” Alexia whispered to herself. “I guess I’m the odd one out once again!”
Ariel grabbed her elbow. “Come on, Alex, this will not hurt you! We’ll all make new friends, go to movies together – shopping together!!”
Alexia sighed. “I bet.”
Janet glared at her. “Kill joy much?!”
“I don’t even know what ‘joy’ means; it’s not in my vocabulary anymore.”
Her three friends looked at her in shocked silence.
She cowered under their gaze. “Sorry, I – kind of – blurted out something… Not really, I didn’t really mean it, you know…”
But, they still stared her. Only now, an evil smile appeared on their faces, even Max’s. She gulped: that meant trouble, for sure!
“Hey, wait, what are you guys thinking? I didn’t really mean all that I said, you know me!!”
“Oh, that we do, all right,” replied Janet. “There’s a handsome guy just a few feet in front of you and I bet you he’s a Taurus!”
“Look behind you, silly!”
Alexia turned around and caught sight of a tall, tanned boy; he had his head bent forward, following two guys in front of him, who seemed to be having more fun than he. He simply looked grumpy…as grumpy as her…
She shook these thoughts out of her head. “Ah, okay, so?” she said, trying to stop the curious questions that began pouring into her head out of the clear blue.
“So, don’t you see? A Taurus has the best compatibility with a Cancer!”
“Oh?” Alexia sounded sceptical – as always, when it came to Astrology.
“And you’re a Cancer, genius, or did you forget?!”
Both Janet and Max, twin siblings, were into astrology. Ariel liked the concept, although she did not necessarily believe in it. And Alexia simply rubbished it off.
“I’m sure,” she said now, rolling her eyes. “Even if he is a Taurus, how is it even likely that he would fall for a tomboy like me?”
Janet looked at her like as if she was out of her mind. “Can you even hear yourself speak?!”
“Oh sure, and you?” retorted Alexia, calmly.
Ariel and Max were laughing at this little drama, holding their aching stomachs.
“You’re kidding me! That girl!?” cried Gregory. He was staring at the feminine species that Jasper hinted at, a few feet away from them, seemingly arguing with her friend, with two others laughing their heads off. She did not look so bad – when she was angry anyway…
Coming back to his senses, he shook off the feelings he felt were stupid.
“Yep, a perfect Cancer, I’m sure!” exclaimed Jasper.
Gregory turned back to him. “How do you even know she’s a Cancer?!”
Jasper shrugged. “Do I have to? You were already mesmerised by her angry little cute face!”
“Shut up!” yelled Gregory and stomped off towards the hostel buildings.
“Dude, way to break it to him!” gasped Jason, as he held his stomach with all the laughing he had been doing: Gregory’s face sure was a sight to behold!
Jasper joined in the laughter. “I know right! He just wouldn’t accept!”
Gregory took a walk around the familiar environment.
Somehow, it all felt new to him all over again.
To top that, he could not shake her image out of his head. She looked so adorable when she was yelling at her friend. He could even hear a few words, although he could not make out what exactly they were. Maybe his friends were right: maybe he needed someone to tame the bull inside him.
‘What nonsense are you spouting now, Gregory Arnold!?’
He sighed as he approached the food court. He opened the doors and the first thing he saw was that cute face. Once again. She sat at a table right in the middle of the small room, her friends surrounding her, and was facing his direction.
He was about to turn around and leave, when he heard their conversation:
“You need someone to take care of you, is why!”
“No, I don’t! I am fine just the way I am!”
“So, you want to maintain a life of celibacy!”
“My brother means to ask you if you are willing to live the rest of your life as a spinster.”
There was a silence. No one spoke.
Gregory listened intently, as he came back inside the food court and positioned himself at a nearest possible table.
“I guess,” her voice was low and doubtful.
Gregory realised she sounded exactly like he would…!
Ariel put an arm around her best friend and gave her a half-hug. “Sweetie, I know you’re strong, but you know what? Even the strongest lamb needs a lion to take care of her.”
Janet cleared her throat. “Strongest crab and a bull,” she corrected Ariel.
Alexia broke the hug, looking quite determined. “And you know what? I am strong! I don’t need anyone! You guys are enough for me to protect!”
Ariel sighed at the futility of the situation.
All at once, though, Janet was irritated. She jumped up. “Okay, what if Ariel were to say that now that she found her soul mate, she doesn’t need your protection? Huh?! What will you answer to that!?”
Alexia looked at her friend beside her. “You won’t, will you?” she asked her in such an innocent voice that Janet had to allow herself a laugh.
“Oh well,” she muttered and sat back down. “I guess I can’t win against such beautiful innocence.”
Ariel and Max chortled at this remark – even Alexia gave a small smile.
However, she could help wondering if her friends were right. Did she really need someone to take care of her? Did her career of so-called ‘knighthood’ really end?
Later, as the four walked around the campus to get a feel of the new environment, Alexia spaced out as she usually did.
‘Will I fit here? I never did, back in school. It was just the four of us; I never even talked to anybody. Even my friends talk about stuff I sometimes don’t understand.‘
Her thoughts ran on and on, even as the four exited the little cafe and walked around, eventually reaching a statue of St. Marks, the founder of St. Marks College of Arts and Sciences. She stared up at St. Marks, as she thought back to the boy Janet had pointed out earlier that evening.
‘Is he really a Taurus? Hats off to Janet if she’s right! She usually is, though. I mean, she didn’t even know my birthday when she guessed I was a Cancer. I know I don’t believe all that much in astrology, but – oh well…’
Suddenly, her thoughts were interrupted by a tap on her shoulder. It was a small, normal touch, but it startled her nevertheless. She turned around and saw –
– The same boy Janet had hinted at! The Taurus!
Dazed, she blinked several times before she came back to her senses. She regained her defensive stance and said, “Yes? What do you want?”
The Taurus boy looked away. “Well, are you new to this campus?” he asked her in a quiet, hard voice.
“Yes, I am.” ‘Any problem?!’
“Well, it’s not a problem,” he responded, and her eyes went wide as she wondered if she thought aloud. “Just,” he looked at her sideways, “you seem to be quite alone. Didn’t you come with anybody?”
“Oh,” she gulped, as she recovered. She looked around and was once again startled, now to discover that her friends had just vanished and she was all alone at the statue!
“Ah – you don’t have to panic, please,” said the boy, voice softening a little. “I kind of know where they were headed.”
“You – you do?!” Stories of stalkers suddenly began to go round and round in her head.
“And, no, I am not stalking you, in case you were wondering. I just happen to know some things.”
More shocks: how did he find out?! Can he read minds? Perhaps, he is Edward Cullen disguised as –
“And yea, I cannot read minds, either. I’m not some Cullen.”
She just stared at him, utterly and truly shocked. It was a wonder that she did not get multiple heart-attacks then and there!
“So, you want to know where your friends are or what?” he asked, his voice going back to being hard.
“Um, uh…” She gulped, as she recovered from the multi-layered shock. “Oh, um, yes, sure! Why not!”
“Come along,” and turned around.
“Right behind you,” she replied rather timidly.
The boy indeed knew what he had been talking about: he took Alexia straight to her friends!
Alexia had been so scared, being all alone in a new place and then accepting to go along with a boy she did not know… She was worried she was being fooled in some way. Although, when she came to think about it, the Taurus boy – as she began to call him now – did not look half as scary as he led her to believe. He was, in fact, rather decent.
“Alexia! There you are, my sweetheart!” cried Ariel, when she spotted her best friend. Alexia gladly ran into her widespread arms. “I’m so pleased to see you! Or else, who would be there to protect me from college meanies?!”
“I’m sorry, I’m so sorry! I was just spacing out as usual…” Alexia felt rather guilty.
“Where?!” asked Max with an amused look.
“Near the statue,” she replied, going red.
“All the way there?!” said Max, still smiling.
Janet sighed and turned to the boy who brought their Alexia back to them. “Thank you so much! I don’t know how you found her – and us – but we really owe you one!”
“No, that’s okay,” the boy replied shortly. He shot a look at Alexia, who went red in the face for some reason.
“Th-thank you,” she stuttered.
He gave her a small smile. “Keep getting lost and I’ll be there to bring you back to your friends.” That’s what he wanted to say, but he could see that her getting so hopelessly lost had been a major blow to her tomboy side.
Her face reddened even more, as she smiled back.