Definitely, Maybe in Love(5)

By: Ophelia London

I really shouldn’t have been going out at all. Professor Masen was expecting an update on my new project Monday morning, and so far, I didn’t have even a glimmer of a plan.

“As I recall,” I said, going back to a less traumatic subject, “you didn’t even like Tommy. Wasn’t he the one who made you go Dutch when he took you to dinner?”

“That’s him.” Julia tsked. “A gentleman should treat a lady like a lady. That’s what my grandmother always says.”

Julia was as old-fashioned as they came. In that respect, she and I were about as opposite as you could get. Even so, I loved her—from her perfectly blown-out hair to the delicate Celtic knot pinkie ring she wore every day.

“Hello? Anybody home? Springer?”

“Up here!” I called out to my best friend, Melanie, as she slammed the front door below.

She’d texted an hour ago. Already pissed off at her dorm-mate for parking in her spot, Mel was walking over to tonight’s street party with us. By the time she made it up the stairs, she was wheezing, face flushed, brown eyes wild. I thought she might be sick, but she was all smiles. Her curlicues of coffee-colored hair were bouncier than usual.

“So, tell me everything.” Mel beamed, catching her breath. She was dressed in a black lacy top, black low-rise pants, and black sling-back open-toed heels, Stanford crimson red splashed across her nails. While hanging on to the door jam with one hand, she bent back like a contortionist and reached behind her to adjust the strap of one shoe.

“About what?” I asked, hobbling to my feet, careful not to smudge my shiny polish.

Mel’s smile practically split her face. “About the new guys across the street.”

Oh. I said nothing, but continued to gaze at her blankly. She didn’t need to know I’d already been caught semi-spying on one of them.

“New guys?” Julia froze, her eyeliner hovering in front of her face. She was going for the whole nonchalance thing, even though she knew—as we all did—that Mel was the eyes, ears, nose, and throat of “Cardinal Society” at Stanford. She’d worked in the admin’s office freshman year and still had major internal connections. Nothing went on at our university that she didn’t catch wind of first.

A grin of satisfaction spread across Mel’s face. “They’re moving in as we speak. Today. Right now.” She paused, taking in my blank expression. “Seriously, where have you been?”

“I’ve got a research project I’m trying to wrap my brain around, so I’ve been…” I trailed off, noticing that Mel was gazing at me while pointing in the direction of Julia’s bedroom window across the hall, the one facing the street.

Following the point, Julia made her way to the window, Mel right behind her. I stayed put in the bathroom.

“Know anything about them?” I heard Julia say.

As if she had to ask.

“Well, the blond one’s name is Dart,” Mel said. “Transferred from Duke. He’s a grad student in Kinesiology. He’s had three serious girlfriends and his father won a Nobel Prize.”

Melanie was a fountain of information.

I bit my lip and pushed off the wall, caving to curiosity, keeping up with current events, so to speak. I should know about my new neighbors, right? More than the fact that one of them drives a Viper, has the face of a movie star but is kind of a jackass.

Mel grinned when I entered the room.

“Not a word,” I warned her as I came up beside Julia, who was staring out the window. While Mel talked on about Dart, I lifted up on the balls of my feet and peered through the window. From what I could make out, there were two guys milling about their front yard. I spotted the dark-haired one first. The light-haired one I didn’t find nearly as eye-catching.

When Julia unleashed a wistful sigh, I glanced at her. One side of her mouth curled up.

“Dart.” She said the name, then repeated it twice. Methodically, her long fingers tucked a wisp of hair behind an ear. “That’s an interesting name, don’t you think? I wonder what it means. Sounds familiar, right? Like it’s short for something.” She moved her lips, muttering the name over and over like a tick.

“So, Mel,” I said. “What—”

“D’Artagnan!” Julia exclaimed, making me jump. “I’ll bet anything his real name is D’Artagnan. It’s from The Three Musketeers. He’s a royal knight.”

Her use of the present tense did not escape me. She pressed her fingertips against the glass and leaned in. “Dart. He’s very handsome, isn’t he? Almost dashing.”