tagNovels and NovellasUniversity Life - First Ch. 14

University Life - First Ch. 14


'What the fuck just happened, Minty?' Rufus all but growled.

He was so confused. He had come in here to pick up Kainene but had met both girls looking like they were about to start tearing out each other's hair.

Then Araminta had said that thing about being Kainene's boyfriend. He had been in shock. But good shock. He was ecstatic that Kainene had called him that.

Her boyfriend.

He had considered asking her out properly and had asked some of his friends if that was cool. They had laughed at him derisively stating that no one did that anymore. People just started relationships without having to be formal. He had asked how he was then supposed to know the date of him and Kainene's anniversary and they had replied that the both of them could pick a date. In fact, one of them, Paddy had snorted so loudly, Rufus had cringed in embarrassment. Now he wished wholeheartedly that he had not listened to them. He was not a hundred percent sure, but he had a feeling this whole girlfriend/boyfriend thing was the cause of Kainene's displeasure with him.

He asked again, 'Minty, what just happened? Why does Kainene have to even prove that she's my girlfriend?'

Araminta just laughed as she sat back down and smoothed her short denim skirt over her toothpick like legs, 'Oh you don't have to worry about that anymore. She's obviously been set right about being your girlfriend. Poor deluded girl. But you did lead her on quite a bit you know. Making her think she was important. Ha!'

Rufus just stared at her like she had two heads. Her tinkling laughter slowly faded as she saw Rufus' look of abject disgust.

'What is it? I simply told her the truth.' She wailed petulantly, rolling her eyes as she did so.

Rufus stared at her with one eyebrow raised, his jaws ticking as he held unto his rapidly rising temper, 'And what exactly is the truth, Araminta?'

At that point, Araminta realised that she had made a grave mistake. Rufus had never called her by her full name. Ever.

She swallowed audibly as she threw a panicked look at a white-faced Heather. 'I just...I mean, we kinna had a little argument. About her being your girlfriend. But she was the one who started it! I was just having a conversation with Heather about her being on the wrong side of the tracks and she blew it out of proportion.'

Rufus nearly fainted at the statement Araminta had just made. He knew Kainene was a bit finicky about where she came from. Every time they joked and laughed and Kainene said something that, to her, was 'un-posh', a scared look always came into her eyes. As if she were afraid Rufus would mock her. But he didn't care about it. About anything. He did not care if English was not even her first language. He loved her plain and simple.

'You did what!?' He all but roared.

Araminta shrunk back into her chair in fear, 'I'm sorry. I truly am. I didn't know you really liked her like that. I mean, she's a good dancer and she's...pretty I guess, but I thought you were just...'

'What?' He said so quietly that Araminta nearly did not hear him, 'You thought I was just what? Fucking her? And you told her this, didn't you? You ganged up on her with that silly little sidekick of yours...do you know what that's called? It's bullying. I can't...' He broke off and clenched his jaw, running both hands through his hair as he stared above her head. 'I can't even look at you right now. It's all your mother's fault. Filling your head with such nonsense about class and propriety and bollocks. I can't believe I once considered you my cute little, if sometimes spoilt sister. I am so ashamed of you right now...you disgust me.'

Araminta gave a little cry at the venom that filled his voice with those last three words, 'Rufus...'

'Don't!' He raised a hand as if he could visibly stop his name from coming out of her poisonous lips. 'Don't even...just stay away from me. Stay the fuck away. You just hurt my girlfriend...yes my girlfriend. Someone I already love so much that I'm even thinking of marriage. You hurt her, and now she's upset with me. I just hope she forgives me. Because if she doesn't, I will never forgive you. I promise you.'

With that he walked out, almost stumbling as he ran his hand down in his face; grieving as if all was already lost.


'This is like the hundredth time he's called, Nens. Just pick up the phone.' Lorna said as she lay across her bed staring at the obstinate girl sitting by her room window.

Kainene just shook her head. She had told Lorna all that had happened and Lorna had been justifiably outraged, saying that she knew a couple of hoodlums who lived in Hiatt Baker and who would not hesitate to rough a girl up. Just one phone call from her and the rest was history. Kainene had laughed at this reluctantly, but it did not matter. What mattered was that Rufus had not backed her up. Had not replied that he was indeed her boyfriend. She had been made to look like a complete fool, and all in front of the worst person – Araminta. She groaned out loud as she remembered all that Minty had said to her. They had all been unbelievably rude and hurtful, but at the end of the day, true. She was not like them. She was not even like Lorna, yet they were best friends. Maybe Lorna would get tired of her once they all got back to their real lives. She forced herself to get rid of these thoughts as she could not even bear them.

She looked down at the phone again as it rang and this time she picked it up and said tiredly, 'What is it, Rufus?'

Rufus's voice, awash with relief blared in her ear, 'Oh my God, Nens. Thank God you picked up. Are you okay? Are you at home?'

Kainene nodded then realised that he could not see her, 'Yes I am. Thanks for your concern. Is that all, 'cuz I've got other stuff to do.'

Lorna shook her head at her vehemently and Kainene looked away ignoring her.

Rufus replied hurriedly, 'No. No! It's not...look can we meet somewhere? I can't talk to you over the phone...and I really want to see you.'

Lorna could obviously hear him as she nodded vigorously.

Kainene simply sighed and said, 'Fine. Come over to mine.'

Rufus nearly stumbled over his words as he said, 'Yeah, yeah sure. No problem. Will be there in two ticks. Less than.'

Kainene just hung up.

'You have to give him a chance, Nens, you can't just break up with him over something as silly as Minty.'

Kainene gave a short bark of mirthless laughter, 'But how will breaking up with him be possible when we aren't even going out?'

Lorna just looked at her with so much sympathy in her eyes, 'Oh, Nens...'

Kainene shook her head once and vaulted off Lorna's study desk, 'I'm gonna go change into something else. He does not have the right to see me in my nightie anymore.'

Lorna just shook her head wordlessly as Kainene left her room.

The flat bell rang as Kainene threw her hoodie over her head. Rufus's college hoodie which she had taken from him as neatly folded on her bed. She let out one huge breath and walked to the door to open it. 'Hey.' She said and he smiled at her, though the smile was worried. She walked him into her room then watched as he sat on her bed.

She moved to her desk and sat too. 'What is it you wanted to say, Rufus? And that's your hoodie by the way. You can take it with you on your way out.'

Rufus sighed, his eyes filled with pain. 'You're upset with me, and I'm sorry. I wish Minty was a guy and I could pummel her for all she said to you but surely you must know that I don't think the way she does. I don't think any sane person does.'

Kainene shook her head sadly, 'It's not just what she said although I kinna see where she's coming from. The most hurtful bit is the fact that you didn't agree with me when she laughed about us being in a relationship. What have I been to you then? A fuck buddy? A...friend with benefits?'

Rufus shook his head, his hands going in the same motion, 'No! Of course not! Why would you even think that? I just...I kinna froze at that point cuz in my head, you've always been my girlfriend. I just didn't know if you felt that way.'

Kainene laughed bitterly, 'You didn't know if I felt that way? What the fuck, Rufus, do you think I give just anybody my virginity? What...I sew my hymen back in every time I fuck so it seems like it's a gift to every Tom, Dick and Harry?'

Rufus just looked at his hands as he replied in a soft voice, 'I love you Kainene. I really really do. And I'm sorry I didn't say anything then. But believe me, you aren't just my girlfriend...you're like my soul mate. I know it's been really short, the time between us, but it feels like you're the missing puzzle in the silly jigsaw that's my life.'

Kainene felt a tear slide down her cheek at that. Then she remembered, 'Fine. But what if Minty is right? I mean, I'm definitely a skanky donkey to your Thoroughbred-ness.'

Rufus looked a bit lost at that.

'I mean, I can't eat with the right fork; I definitely haven't gone skiing. I haven't even been out of this country except on field trips and it was to Paris to see the Eiffel Tower. Wow! What a brilliant, exotic life I live. Maybe you should find someone more suited to you.'

Rufus looked at her incredulously, 'Are you even listening to what you're saying? You're just as bad as Minty is.'

Kainene burst out, 'I am not! How dare you? It's the truth, I'm a chav and you're a Rah. Rah's are bitchy and horrible and incredibly rich. Granted you aren't the first two, but you're definitely the last. I mean, who drives a Maserati in first year?'

Rufus stared at her for a second, then let out a small dark smile, 'Wow. You ARE like Minty, only yours is like reverse snobbery, and possibly inferiority complex. You take the piss out of yourself at every turn but if someone else like Minty points it out you're incredibly quick when you're insulting our 'privileged lives'. Have you never wondered why I don't tell you stuff about my family, yet I know everything about yours? Your friends, college...everything? It's because I don't want to irritate you, Kainene. I don't want to talk about the trip I took to my family's house in the Hamptons, or the time I went for the weekend to our villa in Hawaii just 'cuz I was bored. I don't tell you all these not because you'd get jealous or 'cuz I want to lord our differences over you. It's because you'd start beating yourself up. Because you'd start thinking about your accent or clothes or home. Sometimes you tell me about these wonderful memories without hesitating but I have to sift through mine because almost all of them have to do with some form of wealth or the other, and I don't want you going on the defensive like you always do.'

Kainene started, 'I don't go on the defensive...'

'Yes you do!' He burst out, making her jump. He lowered his voice, 'You do, Nens. You think I don't notice how you hurry to jump out of my car if you see anyone black, or how you flinch every time you use words you think are 'ghetto'? How you let go off my hand when we're out before forcing yourself to take it again? At first I thought it was a race thing...that you were ashamed of my race...then I realised that I was right...it is a race thing. Only you aren't ashamed of my race, you're ashamed of yours. Not only that, you're ashamed of how you are. I love you, poor, rich, black or white. I love the way you talk, the way you laugh...the little freckles on your nose that you think aren't visible 'cuz of your skin colour but I know they are...I love everything about you Nens, but you'll never understand or believe that fully until you learn to let go of this complex thing you carry about and love yourself too.'

'So are you turning this around and saying that I'm the cause of this problem? I thought the issue was the fact that you denied me? Oh and that your silly family friend was rude to me; but now it's all about the way I've been acting? The way I accept the truth that I'm ghetto and you're posh?'

Rufus sighed resignedly, 'You're doing it again, Nens. Please just stop. We'll never truly be happy until you stop lumping us into different categories.'

Kainene shook her head as she cried out, 'I'm not the one lumping us, it's society. I'm merely telling you to take off your rose-coloured glasses and accept the truth.'

Rufus looked at her, 'The truth. So you basically think we can't work, is that it? Because one person, out of the numerous friends we both have, someone who isn't even a friend...just a spoilt little girl...cuz that one person talked about this rubbish class affair, you want to throw away something beautiful?'

'No! I'm not saying that, I'm just...I don't know...you're right...maybe I can learn.'

Rufus began to smile.

Kainene continued, 'I mean, people take elocution lessons right? And I can always learn this...posh stuff. And become...'

Rufus's smile faded as he said, 'You want to change then? Become another person, so what? You can 'fit in'? Don't you know you're perfect just the way you are?'

Kainene replied hotly, 'I'm doing this for you, can't you see that? I'm making life easier for you...for us, but mostly for you. This way no one's gonna take the mick outta you for having a ghetto girlfriend.'

Rufus just sighed tiredly, 'There's that word again, ghetto.' He ran his hand through his head tiredly. 'I can't do this. I can't watch you destroy yourself over something so stupid and unnecessary.'

Kainene stared at him as her heart galloped, 'So what...you're breaking up with me? We just made this official remember?' She tried to smile but her lips did not have the strength to curve.

'I'm not breaking up with you. I just....think we should go on a little hiatus. Till you learn to love yourself a little.'

Kainene smiled bitterly as she slumped against the wall, 'Don't put this on me, Rufus. Don't give me an ultimatum which doesn't even make sense. If you want to end this, do it properly and stop beating around the bush.'

Rufus stood up and made to walk towards her then stopped himself. He walked to the door.

'If you walk out, we're truly done. I won't wait for you, Rufus. I'm willing to work this out, I told you that before. Don't end something you just called beautiful.' Kainene whispered her voice taut.

Rufus had a hand on the door knob as he stopped, but he did not turn around, 'No, Nens. You aren't willing to work this out. You're willing to become a Sloane Clone. That's not the person I am in love with. And till you're ready to accept who you are and live with it happily then...I'll wait till then but I can't be with you now. You need help, and I would have loved to do it, but this is something you need to work out yourself.'

He opened the door as Kainene mouthed, her voice soundless, 'Don't leave, Rufus. Don't.'

He shut the door gently behind him and walked out of the flat, ignoring the tear that slid down his cheek.

Kainene stared, dry eyed at the door, and when she heard the flat door shut she blinked.


Her door opened but she could not see who it was that entered. She heard Lorna's voice, as if it was coming from far away asking, 'Are you okay? Nens? Nens, talk to me.'

She felt as if she was in a haze. Rufus had just broken up with her.

He left.

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