There was a really hot guy in your dorm room, which was extremely weird because you couldn’t recall having invited him to come chill in your dorm. He was an unexpected surprise but well appreciated, as he was quite lovely to stare at. It also occurred to you—as you awkwardly shut the door—that your roommate could have invited him in, but she wasn’t in the room either, which left you in a seriously awkward position.
He was smoking a cigarette, his eyes drawn to the picture frame he was holding in his hands. You recognized it as yours—the picture your mother had taken last spring of you and your precious bunny—a tiny baby Holland Lop named Penny. He placed the frame down when he saw you, taking the cigarette out of his mouth. He was a tall man, and though he was wearing a jacket, it seemed he was really well built as well. His dirty blond hair was all short except for in the front, where it was spiked up, and his serious eyes were a greenish-gold. A long blue-and-white striped scarf clung to his neck, and you could see a peek of the bright blue T-shirt he was wearing under his jacket, as well as a peek at his clavicle.
He bent down and snubbed the cigarette out against your trashcan before depositing it in there, and when he straightened himself out, he finally took a step towards you.
“Do you know where Bella is?” he asked you, his voice deep and rich. It was accented, though you couldn’t quite tell from where—maybe German or Dutch origins? However, what bothered you the most was how monotonous it was. “She showed me in only to escape a minute later.”
So, he did know Bella. You crinkled your nose a bit at the wasted, pungent tobacco left in your trashcan though. It didn’t matter how attractive he was; cigarettes were nasty, and now their smell was in your room.
“No, she didn’t say anything to me. Who…who are you?”
“I’m Bella’s brother. Abel Jansen.” That wasn’t Bella’s last name nor did the two look similar enough, but you figured that they had different fathers or something. “She abandoned me.”
The more you observed him, the more he looked familiar. Bella had mentioned her “older brother”, but she hadn’t spoken enough about him. However, his face was—ah. He was that rich junior who all the girls loved to fawn over, but he never actually dated them. You knew he lived in his own house—why did Bella live here then?—and you had seen him the cafeteria a few times. Now that you thought about it, you had seen him once with Bella—they had been sitting together, eating lunch as some of his fan-girls watched with crazy-wide eyes.
“Sorry. I can’t help you.” You moved past him to your bed, but you stopped when you noticed that on top of the mini-fridge between your bed and Bella’s, someone had placed a beautiful and elaborate vase with fresh and delicate tulips—two a bright red and several golden ones. “Ah, these are so beautiful,” you murmured as you stepped towards them, lightly touching the waxy petals.
“They’re from my garden,” he answered as he stepped down next to you. He smells lightly of his damned cigarettes, but he also has this heavenly fragrance mixed in—of dirt and flowers and fresh rain. “Bella asked me to bring some in for her.”
You had seen some girls crying over something when you had entered the building. It was an entire huddle of girls, whispering and wailing about how unfair it was that “he” was bringing flowers for “some girl”. You supposed it made sense. It must have been for Bella, his sister. If only those girls knew…
“I wish I could grow flowers. What’s the opposite of a green thumb?” You turned to face him, and you felt yourself sink a little when you had to crane your neck to look at his face properly. What did his parents feed him, to make him this tall? “I can call Bella, if you like. She might just be in the bathroom or something. Did you guys have plans for today?”
“She was supposed to take me out to eat.”
It sounded odd for you to hear that—an older brother who clearly lived in an affluent house and wore stylish and expensive looking clothing had his sister buying him food? But Bella did have a lot of money, so much that when you complained about having to pay for this dorm room next semester with not enough scholarship money to cover it, she had even offered to pay it. She had said that she loved you too much to let you go.
You whipped out your cellphone, quickly typing in Bella’s phone number, but before you could hit call, the door opened, revealing your cute roommate. Her blonde hair was pulled back into a curly ponytail, and she had on a flowery dress that stopped mid-thigh. She practically waltzed in towards the two of you, kissing your cheek lightly before she looped her arm with Abel’s, smiling brightly.
“Sorry to keep you waiting. I had to do something. Ready to go, Abel.” She turned to you, her sweet and sisterly face expressing a bit of concern. “I’m sorry for leaving him here without warning you. I’ll be back in an hour or two! See you later, (name).”
You said your adieus and made sure to lock the door after them before plopping down on your bed. You turned to look over at the tulips that Abel had brought and smiled.
He was a little intimidating and strange, but he loved flowers, it seemed, and that level of cuteness really made your heart pound.
It was raining hard outside.
You woke up to the annoying ringing of a phone. You lazily reached for yours, but it dropped to the floor. You rolled off the bed as you tried to catch, slamming into the hard floor, and that was what fully woke you from your slumber.
Besides, it wasn’t even your damn phone.
It was Bella’s.
Your phone declared that it was three in the morning, but Bella was definitely not in the room. She had gone out to a party with some of your other floor-mates, and it seemed as if she had forgotten her phone. You found it lying under her bed, and the screen lit up to say: ABEL JANSEN. Why was her brother calling so early in the morning?
It wasn’t right for you to pick up her phone without her permission, so you let it ring until it stopped. You picked it up and placed it next to that vase that Abel had brought in a few weeks ago—one whose flowers were replenished every other day, straight from Abel’s garden. You soothed the throbbing in your head, reminding yourself that you were lucky that fall against the carpeted floor had left you with nothing more than a slight bump and a headache. Still, you reached for your purse, pulling out some ibuprofen to ease the pain, and then you headed for the mini-fridge, pulling out a cold water bottle.
Bella’s phone rang again.
Bella had explained to you, a few nights ago, that Abel and her weren’t related at her, but they had been childhood friends for the longest. While she came from a family that had always been rich, Abel’s family had to work from the ground up for their wealth, and through his mother’s business and her father’s business, the two families had met and intertwined in a friendship that was almost familial. So, Abel wasn’t really her brother, but they and their families were so close, they kind of were siblings.
Abel had gone to this school to save money. He drove to school to save money on having to use a dorm. He was studying business so he could take over for his mother when she deemed him responsible enough. He currently worked in the outdoor section of Wal Mart, and he maintained a large garden in his backyard.
Also, he had purchased a Dwarf Hotot last summer, which explained why he had grown an interest in you—because you had a pet rabbit too.
The phone went silent once more, and you hoped that was the last of it. You were feeling anxious, thinking that maybe he was calling because he had some dire emergency, and not answering could have been the death of him. Maybe he had been stabbed and robbed after leaving his job—no, that didn’t make sense. They would have taken his phone. Maybe he had fallen down the stairs and injured both of his ankles—but wouldn’t his parents be home? But what if they weren’t? You told yourself, right then, that if he called one more time, you would definitely answer it.
After all, how could you let your crush—he brought you and Bella flowers every other day! The whole dorm thought it was adorable, how would you not? And he had bunnies!—die because of the agony of breaking both his ankles? You'd definitely pick up.
He was in luck.
You picked up first ring, breathlessly saying, “Hello?”
“Bella?” He sounded panicked, not like the few times he had actually talked to you. You had never heard so much emotion in his voice. “Bella, Pepper is—Pepper—holy shit, she just gave birth to another one—another bunny. What do I do? What do I do? Can you ask your roommate? Or Google this? I don’t know what to do.”
Your eyes widened—both at the situation and the fact that he valued your opinion on this. “T-this is she. (Name). I’m (name).” You got down, flat on your stomach, as you reached under your bed for your pair of rain boots. “Um…try…try Google, right now. What to do with kits.” You found one boot, now where was the other?
“I…I’m outside with them. I don’t want to leave them alone, even if they are in their hutch. And…and…” He whispered his next words. “My phone doesn’t have internet.”
Well, he did like to save money, so you supposed that it would make sense. Even if he was at home where a wireless internet connection probably did exist, if he had an older model without internet, he had no way to search up what to do.
“All right, well, right now, just don’t touch them. The kits—the baby bunnies. Have they all been born, or is she still giving birth? It can take a day or two.”
“I don’t know,” he replied, just as you located that last boot. You quickly pulled them on and then headed for your closet for a coat. “There’s four in there right now. They weren’t there when I gave her water at nine.”
“How did you know to come outside to check on her?”
“The rain woke me. I wanted to bring her inside because of it.”
It was such an endearing notion that a smile spread on your face.
You quickly wiped it away and grabbed your purse, making sure that your keys were in before you located your phone. “Okay, does she appear nervous? Maybe because of the rain? That might lead to her having problems giving birth, or cause her to kill the kits. For now, though, you shouldn’t disturb them, not for a few hours. In about two hours, you can distract her with some food and check on the kits, but for now, leave them alone.”
“A-all right.” You could hear his steps as he headed back into his house.
“Hey, copy down my phone number.” You rattled off the numbers when he consented—as you stood in front of Bella’s bed, waiting to end the call so you could leave. “I need you to text me your address, and I’ll be there soon to help you. Later.”
You ended the call and walked out the door, headed for the elevator down. You’d have to stop at the store to get some items, and the drive would take you at least forty minutes. But it was worth it. Precious bunnies were at stake.
There was an extremely hot guy in your dorm room, but that didn’t surprise you because since the bunnies had been born, Abel had practically made your dorm his second house. You already had pictures of him and Pepper and all the baby bunnies and even some of Archie, his male rabbit that had impregnated Pepper. Six of those pictures were on Bella’s side of the room, with washi tape, and one of all four of them was in a small frame on your desk.
You didn’t dare tell him how much you liked having that picture there. Not just because of the rabbits, but since you had realized how much he cared for them, you had begun to like his rare smile and even his scent of cigarettes and the earth. You enjoyed his spikey hair and those green eyes and the way his facial expressions melted into pure happiness when he was with his bunnies. You didn’t mind that he spent so much time over, whether it was to ask advice from you on proper bunny care or to spend time with his younger sister.
This dangerously attractive guy held a bouquet of flowers in his hands and another cigarette in his mouth—he honestly looked much better when you were at his house, when he wasn’t smoking and instead taking care of the rabbits or his beautiful garden. He smirked at you, giving you a nod. If it wasn’t about bunnies and Bella wasn’t there, there was honestly nothing to talk about with him, and that disappointed you.
“You should really stop smoking. It’s bad for your health,” you blurted as you closed the door behind you, moving towards him. You plucked the unlit cigarette from his mouth. “And if you can’t, I would very much appreciate it if you didn’t do it in my room. This college is a no-smoking zone, and I don’t like the smell of it in getting into my curtains.”
You wanted to mentally slap yourself for reprimanding him. He didn’t always smoke inside your room, but you didn’t know what else to say. Hey, you look hot today. Let’s make-out?
He held the flowers out for you. You stared at him. “You said you liked these, from my garden.” But weren’t flowers normally a romantic gesture? Could it be…? “A thank you, for helping me with Daisy and Pepper for this entire summer.”
Gratitude. Reality stung just a little bit, but at least he acknowledged your hard work.
You smiled as you accepted the flowers, placing them down on your bed. “How are they?” Back to your typical conversation. Great. You were a genius with words, weren’t you?
“Good,” he answered.
Where was Bella?
“Is your sister making you wait again?” You tried to laugh naturally. “You know how she is. She’s always caring for others, so don’t mind her. She’ll be here soon, I’m sure. And you’re welcome to wait here.” You grabbed your lap top. “I’ll be gone anyway. If you’re bored, the control to the television should be somewhere on Bella’s bed.”
For some reason, his stoic expression faltered for a bit. He seemed to be cringing a bit. Weird. “Yeah, I promised Antonio I’d study with him.” Abel’s jaw tightened. Bella had mentioned that he pretty much hated Antonio, which was always such a strange notion to you considering that Antonio was the coolest guy you knew. “Finals are coming up, and he and I are worried about our Chem class,” you continued, placing your lap top on your desk as you decided to pull up your hair. Abel continued to look at you, but his expression had softened. “Anyway, I have to go. I’ll see you around.”
“Wait,” he called out, and you froze. “It might get cold out there.” He looked around, and then he reached for his scarf, taking it off so he could wrap it around you. “There.”
Your heart pounded as you quickly grasped your lap top. “Thank you,” you replied, turning around before he could notice the color of your burning cheeks. “Thank you, but…it’s actually a bit hot today,” you pointed out as you gingerly took off the striped scarf. Or perhaps the heat was just you. “Besides, it’s yours. I’d feel awkward wearing it, as if it was mine.” You held it against your chest, the cigarette still in your hand, and with your free hand, you waved him to bend down closer to you. You were surprised when he did. “Thank you for your help,” you whispered before wrapping it around him.
And then boldness took over you, and you realized you were quite the opportunist. With his face so close to yours, and his vibrant green eyes with threads of golden silk woven in almost leveled with yours, smothered emotions rose inside of you, and you brusquely kissed the tall man before he had a chance to pull back.
You smiled. “Gratitude,” you pointed out before placing the cigarette back into his mouth. “A thank you for all you’ve done for me—well, for us. Bella and me. The flowers, I mean. And I always enjoy being around rabbits, so thank you for that too.”
The cigarette fell from his mouth, colliding with the ground as his lightly grasped your chin and neck and the soft tendrils near your neck, and his lips found yours, as if he had been searching for them for so long, and he pinned your down against your bed, whispering words to you in a language you did not understand. You vaguely made out words as your fingertips explored every inch of exposed skin, and your gasps got lost within his, and had anything else ever felt so perfect?
But there was once phrase you did make out which you had to search up the next day to find the meaning of. For now, studying could wait.
“Ik denk dat ik van je houden.”
I think I love you.
Bella opened the door to her dorm and saw her older brother and roommate sharing the same bed. They were clothed and only sleeping, but Bella knew that rabbits left unprotected could breed like crazy. Hadn’t Pepper and Archie taught them that?
And ah, she was wearing his scarf. He practically proposed to her. After all, a papa bun needed a mama bun.
Sisterly worry for the both of them began to take over, and Bella looked down at the box she had just purchased, having sensed their sexual tension from day one. And with both being in love with rabbits, situations were bound to arise. She took a condom out and slipped it into her brother’s pocket, and then she left the box next to the vase of flowers.
Maybe she’d sleep elsewhere tonight.