I'm finally posting this on my other accounts! I finally came up with a title (subject to change, however, since I'm not 100% happy with it) so I'll post these here. Some are nsfw and I'll warn appropriately, since the rest are rated K+ or T. Thanks for reading!
If Riza had to pick a favorite time of year, she doubted midterms would come anywhere near the top hundred. The weather was pleasantly cool and the brightly-colored leaves had begun to fall, but she had little opportunity to enjoy it. She had hardly even looked up from her notebook on the way to the library, where she now sat surrounded by books and papers.
"Do you really need the whole table?" said an irritated voice. Riza looked up to see Roy leaning back in the chair across from her.
"If you're actually here to study for once, I'll let you take half," she offered, sweeping her notes into a neat pile and stacking all but one of her books on the corner farthest from Roy.
He shook his head. "I'm afraid not. Come on, Riza, it's a beautiful day out there and you're missing it." Resting his chin in his hands, he leaned on his elbows and looked at her pleadingly.
Maybe he didn't need to study after all. If his goal was running for public office, she wasn't sure how anyone was supposed to resist him if he made that face. Riza kept her own as expressionless as possible as she pretended to read her textbook. "I suppose I could study later…"
"I'll help you," he said. Under the table, his foot brushed against the inside of her calf. "Everyone's staring at us now. Let's talk outside."
She wanted to ask whose fault that was but that would only draw more attention so she glared at him in silence as she tucked notes into her binder. Roy let his chair fall forward and jumped to his feet. Riza had scarcely managed to tuck her binder into her bag before he had lifted the pile of textbooks from the corner of the table. As best he could with both hands full, he gestured for her to pass him the one that lay open in front of her. She ignored him, slamming it shut and cramming it into her bag.
"I'll take those too," she said, holding out her arms expectantly.
He took a step back. "I already had to stitch your bag up once. I don't want it ripping again."
"I think it can handle two more books," she said, taking them when he backed into the next table. "There. Now it's even." With a satisfied smile tugging at her lips, she turned to place the books carefully in her bag. She zipped it shut, put her arms through the straps, and turned to leave, looking back at Roy over her shoulder with an expression she hoped was somewhere between seductive and amused.
Shifting the books under one arm as he jogged up to Riza, he wrapped the other around her shoulders. He plucked at the sleeve of her hoodie. "This is mine, isn't it?" he asked.
"You left it in my dorm last week," she said. "Would you like it back?"
"Nah, go ahead and keep it. It looks better on you anyway." His breath shifted loose strands of her hair over her ear.
The walk back to the dorms was a peaceful one: nearly everyone was inside studying. Riza tucked her hands into the pocket of her jacket as a cold breeze brushed past them, sending dry leaves swirling around their feet. Roy made an effort to step on as many as he could reach without pulling Riza off course. Smiling to herself, she shook her head.
"What's so funny, Riza?" he asked without even looking at her.
She dug her elbow gently into his ribs. "You."
Roy pulled her closer, dragging her toward a large pile of leaves just off the sidewalk. "We'll see about that."
"Don't ruin my books," she warned with a feeling of resignation.
"Wouldn't dream of it," he said. He cradled them to his chest as he sank backward into the leaves, pulling Riza down on top of him.
She raised her eyebrows. "Don't tell me you spent your entire Saturday gathering all the leaves you could find on campus just to do this."
"I don't have to tell you," he said smugly. "You figured it out yourself."
Of course he would do something like this. Silly and strange and almost a little romantic if she turned her head sideways and squinted. She pried her textbooks away from him to set them gently on the grass then leaned forward like she intended to kiss him. His eyes closed instinctively and her hands went to his waist, untucking his shirt. Her mouth was inches from his.
With parted lips, Roy let out a tiny sigh. "This isn't like you at all, Riza," he said, a note of pleasure in his tone. "Maybe you should drop one of your courses before the stress—"
She shoved an armful of leaves up his shirt. "You were saying?"
Roy's eyes snapped open and he struggled to get out from under her, leaves crunching against his stomach as she held him down.
"Riza?" Rebecca's surprised voice made the back of Riza's neck burn. "I thought you were studying."
"I was," Riza said, sitting up and craning her neck to look at her roommate. "I'm taking a break now."
Rebecca kicked a few stray leaves off the sidewalk, laughing. "I told you I'd be out all day. You two could've just gone back to our room."
"Careful," Roy warned from the ground where he was desperately trying to pick fragments of leaves from his stomach. "You'll be next."
Rolling her eyes, Rebecca turned away. "You kids have fun," she called over her shoulder.
Riza moved off of Roy to kneel in the leaves beside him. The last thing she wanted was for more people to find them like that. She gathered her books to her chest and stood, brushing leaves from her clothes with her free hand before extending it to Roy.
"Thanks," he said, tucking his shirt in again. He seemed to have given up on getting the leaves out. Riza stared at him, head cocked slightly in amusement. "What are you looking at?"
"You have a leaf in your hair." She reached for it but he got there first. He twirled the stem between his fingers as he examined it. Without warning, he dipped it forward to tickle Riza's nose. She sneezed in response.
"Bless you," Roy said. He tossed the leaf aside.
Riza rubbed her nose on her sleeve. While she was distracted, Roy took the books back. "I can carry those," she protested, holding out her hands.
"You just got snot all over my jacket. I think you need all the help you can get."
"I did not." She held up her arm for inspection as they started walking again. "And I thought it was mine anyhow, considering you told me to keep it."
Wrapping an arm around Riza, Roy bumped his hip into hers. "So, dinner tonight?"
"We have dinner every night," she said.
"At the cafeteria. I was thinking we could go somewhere nice for once." He gave her a quick squeeze and she leaned into it contentedly, slipping her arm around his waist. His warmth provided a nice contrast to the chilly afternoon and it was nice to be close to him when they had hardly seen each other at all in the past week.
Back in Riza's room, Roy flopped onto her bed after depositing her books on the desk. She supposed he was exhausted after spending the day preparing to surprise her with a pile of leaves, and as guilty as she felt for taking time off from studying, she was grateful to him. They hadn't played in the leaves like that since they were kids, and it was nice to know that, even now that they were juniors in college, he still had a sense of mischief. She had always loved that about him in spite of herself.
"So," he said as she knelt beside the bed to exchange her backpack for a purse, "how long do you think we have before Rebecca comes back?"
She stood to look at him, sprawled out in what she now recognized as an attempt at seduction rather than an expression of exhaustion. It wasn't even a good attempt, but she leaned down to kiss him anyway. "Not long enough," she said. She pressed her lips to his once again, this time allowing him to deepen the kiss. His lips were chapped from his time out in the wind but his tongue was soft against hers, and surprisingly gentle.
His eyes fluttered open when she pulled away, lips still parted. Her stomach growled and his tender expression immediately dissolved into a smirk. "Someone's hungry. It's a good thing I rescued you when I did."
"I was planning to eat when I got hungry," she said. "So let's go." She extended a hand to pull him up.
Fortunately, it turned out that Roy's idea of "someplace nice" wasn't the Taco Bell across the street the way she had quietly feared. Instead, he led her down a tree-lined path on the far side of campus. The path curved but Roy continued straight through the underbrush until they reached a crowded parking lot.
They had to wait for a table and Riza picked up a menu to read while they waited, although she wasn't sure how much trouble she would have deciding what to eat at a pizza place. She felt Roy's arm around her again. "Smile, Riza," he said and she looked up to see him holding up his phone. Her hair was a mess and she had bags under her eyes, but as she leaned into him, she smiled nonetheless.
"You're going to post that, aren't you?" she asked, stifling a yawn.
He looked genuinely surprised. "You don't like it?"
"I look like I haven't slept all week."
"At least I finally have proof that you're human," he teased, brushing her bangs out of her face.
A waitress appeared before Riza could respond past giving Roy a dirty look. They settled into a small booth beside the window. Blinding golden light from the sunset streamed through the glass, and Riza struggled to read her menu through the scratched plastic cover. She propped it up against the window. Beneath the table, Roy's foot nudged hers.
"I think you're beautiful," he said once he had her attention. "In the picture. And now."
Unsure of how best to respond, she looked back at the menu. "Thanks," she said softly. With her free hand, she reached up to unclip her hair, smoothing out the kinks where the clip had been. His foot touched hers again, the toe of his shoe running along the inside of hers, tracing the arch of her foot. Riza tucked the clip into her pocket and rested her hand on the table.
"You ready to order?" he asked, reaching out to lace his fingers through hers.
Riza closed the menu and set it on the edge of the table. "I suppose so. Are you?"
"I think you should choose what kind of pizza we get. To make up for lost study time." He squeezed her hand.
"If that's what you're worried about," she said, using the other hand to rifle through her purse until she found a stack of index cards, "you can quiz me while we wait."