”Congratulations to the both of you! You definitely deserve it. ”

”Tsk… Sigh… It pains me to say this, but yeah… Congratulations to you Natasha, and also you, Book. You guys earned that spot through your hard work and determination. Though let me tell you this, I didn doubt for even a single second throughout our time together that Book wouldn be chosen. You have always been her favorite. ”

Adam nodded at Saes words, not denying her words. He had nothing to be ashamed of since his grades were indeed near the top.

Owing to that, even if there were talks of favorites, there was no way they could complain about it. If they did, thatll be royally stupid of them, whoever they may be. This was one of his perks after all— having a really cool aunt. And perks were also counted as skills in this line of work.

Speaking of favorites, he soon smirked as he looked at Same, chucklingly reminding her of her relationship with the cool professor aunt of his.

”Perhaps you would be more popular with her if you did not call her an old hag the first time you two met. Seriously, just what were you thinking? . ”

”Kuh! ” Hearing Adams sniding remarks, Sae gripped her chest painfully, in absolute theatrical fashion, much like some anime girls she used to blabber about.

Seeing her groaning as she lamented her life decisions, Alberto and Natasha couldn help but snicker, obviously amused at her misery.

Indeed, the four of them have always been seated in the same place since the first class of their first year. It was a tradition at this point for them. Something that became a habit like brushing your teeth every time you woke up.

Furthermore, there wasn any roundabout or super specific reason for them to gather like this. They just happened to be the kind of guys that…despite being the highest-ranked students of the department, they were also the hideous bunch who didn pay any attention in class and would even disturb it sometimes for shits and giggles.

Fate had it that such a bunch just happened to gather together and sit in the same spot on that fateful day. They have been stuck together ever since.

Multiple times, they were accused of cheating to get the top rankings on the tests, well that was how it went at first as the professors just couldn accept how such undisciplined and unruly students who paid next to no attention in class could have such a high rank. They were more or less dumbfounded when they were proven wrong.

The accusations mostly centered around Natasha, Sae, and Alberto. The integrity of Adam had never been doubted since he was a student entering through the scholarship program at this prestigious university. He was, in fact, one of the star applicants that was given a full free tuition scholarship without any hitch.

The teachers initially believed that those three were bullying Adam and forcing him to write their own assignments and even to help them in cheating on the class tests and even finals. It was only but a misconception on their part.

Its always easier to kiss the ass of the teacher when you look like a nerd.

It was the bad thing about stereotypes. Its a given that one should never judge a book by its cover. But people could never escape from the illusion of impressions.

People thought that the first of the class should always be the nerdy fellow while the last one should always be the jock bully. Well, Adam did not mind playing with this perception of theirs. It benefited him anyways, so there was no need to play against his advantages.

”So guys, do you have any other classes for today? If you are free, how about going somewhere for dinner? I know about a new Italian joint that has some crazy good food. Lets go there if all of you are free, shall we? ” Alberto cheerfully threw that offer as they began to walk toward the door, leaving the classes for today.

”Sorry, but I will have to return home, unfortunate as that may be. My father was invited to a party tonight and I need to prepare myself and keep him company. I wouldve loved to attend otherwise. ”

Natasha answered, a frown etched on her face throughout the whole process of her explaining about her situation. Well, it wasn really a surprise to them as it wasn the first time that she was canceling things with that reasoning. Natashas family was extremely rich and prominent in Los Angeles city.

Her father worked in the tech industry and was a rather successful businessman in his own right, owning a multi-million dollar company.

Even though she wasn the heiress of her family, Natasha had many important duties to attend to, such as going to parties and looking pretty, just in case she would be able to snatch the eyes of an important bloke and add more opportunities for her family.

”Keh! Will your father try to hook you up with some rich dude again? ”

Sae snickered on the side as she mocked Natasha. But somewhere, a little bit of worry could be heard in her voice too. It was evident that no matter how much antagonistic they may seem to the onlookers, they still cared for each other in their own ways.

”Blyad! My father is such an old-timer. But no, not this time. Its an important deal for him and he can waste his time trying to set me up with some arrogant bastard just so I can bring more opportunities to spread his business in further avenues. ”

”I see. Then I wish you good luck! Who knows? Perhaps you might find someone you like. ”

Alberto hugged Natasha tightly before turning to face Sae and Adam.

”As for me, I am part of the committee for our Halloween Party!! So, I will have to participate in the meeting. Ugh! It will finish rather late in the night. I wished to ditch the party on the excuse of us partying a bit but oh well. ”

”I do not have any other classes but I need to go prepare for my part-time job. ”

Alberto frowned a little and gazed at the dark circles under Adams eyes. He wanted to say something but in the end, he simply held back and smiled, patting Adams shoulders for good measure.

”Too bad. Lets do this another time then. ”

You are really a good man, Alberto.

Adam sighed inwardly. One didn need to be a detective to see that he was utterly tired. His part-time job as well as his studies were making it so that he barely had any time for himself.

Sae smiled ambiguously on the side but Adam ignored her. He knew what she wanted to say, but he didn want to pay much attention to her.

”You won meet the girl from the library? ”

”I already told you that you are misunderstanding things here. She is just an acquaintance. ”

”Heh~! If you say so. Though looking at her following you with puppy eyes every time you two are in the same room is rather funny. I don know if you are dense or if you are doing it intentionally. ”

”Are you for real? You call me dense even though Steve never remarked on your feelings for him after nearly two decades of both of you being together? Seriously? ”

Sae covered her face in shame and embarrassment. Clearly, Adam had hit a particularly sore spot in her psyche with that topic.

”I don know how to go through that blockhead short of throwing myself at him. ”

”Hmmm… ” Natasha tilted her head, ”I might seem weird saying this, but why don you, you know, just confess? ”

”You think I didn !? On the last day of high school, I was in his room and I told him I really loved him. Do you know what the dumbass answered me? That he also liked me very much and that I didn have to worry. I was so happy! But only later did I understand that he misunderstood my confession and thought I only liked him as a friend! Fuck! How could I confess again after such an epic fail? ”

”Ouch! ”

Adam and Natasha visibly winced after hearing that detail. Indeed, confessing was something that took one all his or her courage to do.

Having to do it a second time was basically ten times harder in comparison at least.

Alberto coughed a little with an unnatural face, perhaps hiding a laugh. He obviously didn want to seem insensitive in this situation, but it was funny as all hell to him.

”Well, talking about love is great and all but I am in a hurry. See ya! ”

Looking at his watch, Adam waved his hand and began to walk away.

”Sayonara! ”

”Arrivederci! ”

”Proshchay! ”

Each of them waved goodbye to him in their own languages as they separated.

It was so cringr that it was goosebumps-inducing. However, at the same time, it was their way of showing how close they were.


Adam, now walking alone in the wide hallway of the university, could now let himself relax the tiniest bit.

He didn mind being close to those three and even liked them quite a bit, but at the end of the day, he could only really feel at ease when he was alone by himself.

This allowed him to think about his current situation and what he had to do to overcome his circumstances.

But it was then that his phone vibrated. At first, he dismissed it, but as the vibration became more frenetic he couldn help but wonder what happened.

Why is Shuri calling me like this?

He wondered if it had something to do with his internship.

[Hello. Adam, where are you now?]

”Me? Still at school. Why? ”

[Adam. I need you to calm down and listen to me.]

A foreboding feeling arose in his heart and his throat became dry.

”You know very well that telling someone to calm down only has the opposite effect, right? Please, speak clearly. ”

[… Sigh…She didn want me to tell you but. I can keep this for myself. You are not a kid anymore. Adam…Your mother collapsed during work. I am currently with her at the hospital.]

Adam felt like the sky was crashing on his head and the ground had split open.

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