DISCLAIMER: We just love the characters, SMeyer Owns them
HELLO! COLLAB TIME! Both me and the AWESOME Mouse555 have worked on this, and there will be more chapters, of course! Enjoy!
I kept my head down as I wandered through the quadrangle, half-wondering why it was nobody had noticed me at the last three meetings. Sighing, I drew my coat around me, far tighter than I had last night, and nibbled on my bottom lip, the safe gluey feeling of Vaseline-Lip-Balm and Hot Chocolate making me feel as though I belonged in this world.
Cambridge was cold in the winds of September, and the spaces between the buildings were simply wind tunnels asking to knock you off your feet. I shuddered harder as I let out a sigh and watched my breath fogging up before me.
"It can't be that cold," I murmured to nobody in particular, hoping that by mentioning it, I would be able to imagine my problems away. "Really," I carried on muttering to myself as I let my legs carry me to my favourite Cafe on campus. It was near the railway station, and not too far from the Botanic garden, so I could sit and sketch in solitude for as long as I wished.
I wouldn't be surprised if people started muttering about Mary-Alice Brandon, the crazy art-student who couldn't keep quiet long enough to even walk somewhere. I would, quite clearly, be outcast once more, and I blamed myself entirely for it. Stupidly trusting my roommates with my past, telling them what I thought I trust them to keep safe...
Sighing, once again, I stumbled across the road, hoping I didn't lose my mobile from my bag as I tripped and collapsed over the kerb again. My hair caught about my face and I sighed, turning down the street and making my way to the river, hoping I could catch a softer light and better breeze down at my favourite spot.
"Hey! Ali!" I turned to see Emmett running toward me, his backpack flying in every direction but the one it probably should have been. "Ali, wait up...shit!" He tripped over his own foot in his pursuit of me.
"What, Emmett?" I smiled up at him, though I was slightly irritated that my happy... okay, tranquil time alone, had been intruded upon. "And if you mention the club at all, I'm going to kill you."
"Following in the footsteps of your father, are you Brandon?" A rough voice made me jump out of my skin; sneering from behind me and making me feel so sick as his arm shoved violently into my shoulder. "Nice to see that murder runs in the family."
I hadn't realised we were so close to the river. It was nice to stare out into the glistening sunshine as he shouted things at me, watch the young guy who was rowing a couple across from one side of the Cam to the other. Emmett was stunned into silence – he, of course, had no idea, because hell, I wasn't sharing this with everyone...
Apparently Tyler Crowley was.
"Well, Brandon? Are you gonna fess up?" I cringed as he shoved me again, and I heard the crunch of my Thermos as it fell to the floor in my well-worn bag. Apparently, we were making quire the racket, because a voice made me freeze under the shoving and pushing, stumbling and falling to my knees beside Crowley's furious shouts.
"Hey! Arsehole!" Crowley turned at the voice and I couldn't help but stare at the shaggy-haired lunatic who was standing up in his boat, struggling to stay upright. I could see his anger turn to panic as he rose and his body did exactly the opposite of what he wanted it to do.
His wind milling arms made me smile as he shouted out again.
"Lea-leave her a-a-aloo-" With an epic and awesome splash, he was gone. I looked over at Emmett, who had collapsed almost immediately, rolling on his back like a beetle, wriggling and shaking, his guffaw filling the surrounding peace and shattering it.
"Oh, fuck this," Crowley kicked out at my bag after a second, then turned on his heel and wandered off in the direction of the railway station. Slowly, I rose to see a bedraggled blonde rising awkwardly in the waist deep water, soaked down to the skin in his white button-down and black jeans. Biting my bottom lip, I picked up my bag and almost sprinted across the lawn, reaching down the bank to try and pull him up. Like my five-two, eight-stone pixie frame was gonna help out here.
"Hey, hey, you okay?" His words were smooth and soft and I was almost sold on him already. His hand was clamped around mine, and that's where his eyes were focussed, but as he looked up at me, his bright green eyes locking with mine... that was it. He was it.
"I should be asking you the same thing." I smiled and winked at him, the corners of his lips tugging into a small smile as he saw I was okay.
"No, no, darlin'," He smiled, "I'm used to this. I'm the proverbial Hugh-Grant-Notting-Hill type when it comes to boats..."
"Really?" Emmett's voice sidled into my reply, easily lifting the soaked boater onto the riverside. Resigned, I shook my head, "You looked like a pretty mean rower there..." He paused, "Do you row?"
"Excuse him, he has no manners," I rolled my eyes as I shoved Emmett with my elbow. OW! The boy laughed, "I'm Mary Alice, by the way." I held out my hand to him and he smiled, his eyes widening as we touched, electricity running through my hand.
"J-Jasper." He winked again, "But you can call me Jazz."
"Hi," I smiled, suddenly taken by the way his soaking hair was sticking to the lines of his face. We blinked at each other and he smiled again.
"Hey, Jasper?" Emmett's booming made the pair of us turn, and Jazz almost fall off the dock again.
"Uhhuh?" He tilted his head, our hands still joined together.
"Team meetings are Wednesday, you turn up, you get along, and I'll be glad to let you date Ms. Pixie, here." He winked at me, then at Jasper, then grabbed my arm and practically pulled us apart.
I smiled apologetically, and sighed as I found myself on my feet once more.
"Er...ok." He shrugged, "Rowing, right?" Emmett nodded, "Never thought much about it, but I'll give it a go." Jasper smiled at me. "On one condition."
"What's that?" Emmett's persistence was getting on my nerves now. "My band is playing a gig at the SU tonight and we never get much of a turn out. Come along and I'll come to your team meeting." I grinned, this Jasper could barter.
Emmett stared at him for a minute, narrowing his eyes just a little way, then realising that Jasper wouldn't be one to back down, laughed and nodded.
"Done," He grinned, "Now, go get changed. You're soaked."
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