Chapter Nine

Chapter Nine

Professor Skye lives in a mansion. I wish I was kidding. How could I expect a renovated plantation house nearly the size of the white house? As it comes into view after nearly fifteen minutes of nothing but gravel driveway, I can’t help the gasp that rises in my throat. It’s beautiful; like something straight out of the civil war. I glance at Professor Skye and see that he’s watching me, studying my reaction. I can’t help but wonder how many other girls have been in this exact situation right now. I look away, back out the window, and realize I honestly don’t want to know.

He pulls into the wrap around drive and stops right in front of the house. He says nothing as he gets out and struts around the car, to open my door for me. I take his hand as I step out.

“What do you think?” He asks me. I note he’s still watching me like a hawk, as if he really does care what I think. I don’t know why. I’m no one special.

“It’s beautiful,” I reply. He pulls me flush against him and I nearly trip over my own feet, the clumsy idiot I am, and kisses me for the second time this evening. It’s a nice kiss. Not at all like the first one. It’s slow and heated, like lava opposed to a burning flame, but even hotter somehow. I find myself wrapping my arms around his neck and pulling myself closer. I can’t breathe, but that doesn’t matter because he’s breathing for me, together. Just when my head starts to spin, he pulls back, though he hands are still in my hair.

He stares into my eyes, so much like that fateful first day at PSU, and what I see there is raw, real. “Tonight will be different from the others after this.” He explains softly. “I won’t take your virginity violently.”

My stomach does a flip at that; whether good or bad, I’m not sure. I’m nervous- but who wouldn’t be? I just nod my head in reply, not trusting my voice.

“Come with me.” He purrs and pulls me along with him, up the front porch steps. He swipes a card to unlock the double doors, not unlike one would do at a hotel, and pushes them open with ease. I follow him inside and, once again, I am stunned by what I see.

It’s even more beautiful on the inside, if that’s even possible. A grand staircase that leads to a whole nother house upstairs… I can’t even guess how much the golden chandelier must have cost; probably more than my father ever made in his life. The thought makes me almost sad, that some people are so better off than others. I quickly dismiss the thought. I have other things to worry about. Even so, I can’t stop myself from asking… “How many bedrooms?”

“Sixteen,” he replies. “Though all but three are empty.” He’s watching me again.

Sixteen bedrooms. And all but three are empty. “That’s… amazing.” I struggle to find the right word to describe how I feel about that.

“You’re unhappy.” He notes, narrowing his eyes as if offended.

“No! No, of course not! Just surprised is all. I think this is the biggest house I’ve ever stepped foot in.” I smile to lighten the mood.

He doesn’t quite look like he believes me, but he decides to let it go. “My bedroom,” he says, “is just up this way…” He gestures up the stairs.

He leads the way, my hand in his. I wonder if he can feel how sweaty my hand is. I hope not. God, that would be embarrassing. He stops at the first door on the right, but before entering, he turns to face me. “And you’re sure this is what you want?” He asks carefully. “This isn’t something you can take back.”

I wish he wouldn’t say that sort of thing. It frightens me. “I’m sure.” I reply and I know, then and there, that I mean it. “I want you.” I add before I can stop myself. My cheeks flush at that.

He reaches up and brushes his fingers against my heated flesh. “Then you will have me.” He says, opening the door.

The bedroom is simple, not like the rest of the house, just a bed covered in red quilts and pillows, and a night stand. There are no pictures on the walls, no books. It leads me to believe he doesn’t spend much time here. I turn to ask him, but he interrupts me with a kiss.

God, he’s an amazing kisser. As his lips work on mine, he gently pushes against me, leading me to the edge of the bed. My knees brush against the fabric of the quilt and I find myself plopping down on the surface of the mattress. He follows me down, his lips never leaving mine, and kneels in front of me.

We stay in this position for a moment, before he starts to stand, and in doing so he gently pushes me back on the mattress, so that I’m laying down beneath him. He moves his lips from mine, down to my throat, where he gently suckles on the flesh above my pulse. Oh… That feels…amazing.

He raises my arms high above my head and then slides his hands downward, stopping at the hem of my dress. He starts to lift it up and I stiffen, nervous. He pauses for a moment, only to see if he may continue, and he does just that when I nod my head. The dress is easily tossed aside and I’m laying beneath him in nothing but my bra and panties. Thank God, I decided on my matching set before leaving the house.

He gently kisses down from his spot on my neck, to my collar bones, and then between my breasts. I can’t help but reach up and twist my fingers in his amazing hair. It feels so…good. I squeeze my thighs against him… I don’t think I’ve ever been so wet in my life.

“You have the most beautiful body I’ve ever seen.” He purrs, gliding his lips across my skin and landing on my left breast. “So smooth…so soft…” He reaches up and grasps both my breasts in his hands, squeezing gently. He pushes them together and plants soft kisses along the cleavage that gathers that. “And all mine…” He breathes. He leans up, careful to hold his weight on his knees on either side of me, and smirks down at me. “A front clasping bra?” He asks, as if unable to stop himself.

“It’s my favorite.” I reply breathlessly. My lips feel swollen and bruised from his kisses. The skin at which he had touched so intimately feels so cold and exposed without the feel of him. I can’t stop the movement of my hips beneath him. This is some unknown, uncontrollable longing I have never felt before. I need him.

“I think it will be mine too.” He replies. He slowly, ever so slowly, pops open the three clasps and pushes the fabric aside, exposing my bare chest to him. My nipples harden as the cool air caresses them…but I don’t think that’s the only reason. “Oh, so perfect…” He breathes, staring directly at them like a deer caught in headlights. I reach forward to cover them, embarrassed, but he stops me. “No.” He commands and, as if by instinct, I obey.

He leans down and sucks one into his mouth, achingly slow. He lets out a soft moan when doing so and then moves on to the other, mirroring his action on the first. His lips disconnect with a sucking sounds and he dives right back to the first one, massaging the other with his pointer finger and thumb. I can’t stop my moaning and, quite frankly, I don’t want to. This feels so amazing. I’m so, so wet…

To my surprise, he starts kissing even lower, once more, and I lean up on my elbows to watch as his tongue circles along the line of my panties and then even lower… I gasp when I feel his breath on my core. His tongue swipes right up the length of my quim, through the black fabric. Oh, fuck…

He pulls back and kisses from the inside of my knee and back down, but this time he skips over my quivering womanhood, and kisses right up the length of my thigh to my other knee. I groan in frustration and he chuckles at me. “Well, I can’t say you don’t know what you want.” He chuckles and dives in to the center of my panties again. I can’t stop bucking my hips against his face.

There’s a sudden breeze and before I realize what’s going on, his tongue meets my most private area. I gasp and look down once more, and see he’s pulled my panties to the side. I can hear the slurping and sucking sounds, but those are nothing compared to how fucking good it feels. I want to hold his head down and rub myself all over his tongue, but I force myself to lay back and let him take control. I’m so wet I can feel myself dripping…but he sucks it all up before it make a mess. My eyes roll in the back of my head. “Fuck yeah…” I whisper, unable to stop myself. He speeds up the pace at that, focusing now on the tiny little nub at the top part of my pussy. To my surprise, he pulls back and uses his hands to pull my folds apart, and when he returns, the tips of his tongue is dancing on my sweet spot.

Fuck. Fuck. Fuck.

I feel something icy hot building up inside the pit of my stomach. I don’t want him to stop. My hips jerk against him, as if on their own. He sucks something into his mouth and his tongue twitches as he does so.

I’m there.

I can’t stop the moan, almost scream, that escapes my lips… God, I’ve never felt this way before. This is heaven.

He suddenly pulls back while I’m distracted and unbuttons his pants. He pulls his member out. He has something in his hand; a condom, I realize. I don’t watch him put it on; I’m too distracted. I do note he strokes himself twice, before leading it to my dripping hole. He shoves it in in one quick thrust.

I expect it to hurt- and maybe it does, but I’m too distracted by how good it feels to notice.

“Shit.” He groans once he’s in. “You’re so fucking tight.” He pulls himself almost completely out, and then shoves right back in again. I feel something tear near the opening and a small ounce of pain follows, but its quickly over powered by the pleasure I receive. “I’m not going to last long tonight.” He warns.

“Please.” I whisper. I want more. I need more.

He thrusts in once more and then out. I wrap my legs tightly around his waist, in an effort to hold him close against me.

I feel his rhythm growing sloppier and harder. “Please,” I say again because I can’t stop myself.

He grabs my shoulders and pulls me down hard on his member, and stiffens above me. “Fuck,” he groans… And all too soon, he’s pulling out and rolling off to lay beside me on the bed.

“Fuck,” he says again, breathless.

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Author’s Note

Thank you all for reading and following! I hope you’re enjoying the story so fair. I apologize for any mistakes you may find, but please remember this is a first draft! My goal is to update this blog/novel at least once a week!!!

 

Are you guys excited to read what happens with Professor Skye and Lena??? Let me know in the comments!

 

Much love,

 

Maddie

Chapter Eight

Chapter Eight

I didn’t know Professor Skye would want to meet tonight when I messaged him my list. I definitely wasn’t expecting him to reply almost instantly.
I’ll pick you up in forty five minutes and we’ll discuss
all options and limits in person. Dress formally.

-Jared Skye,

English Literature Professor,

PSU

I gap at my laptop’s screen. Forty five minutes? Dress formally? Where are we going? And it would have been nice of him to ask me first- but I guess that’s something I’ll have to get used to, if I fully agree to this unusual proposition. His bossy attitude, I mean.

I jump up, out of bed, and head to my closet. I have almost no formal clothes…except the little black dress Sadie once bought me, in hopes to break my self conscious shell. Needless to say, it didn’t work… Even now as I struggle to move it up my hips, I’m pretty nervous to see what it actually looks like on me.

It doesn’t look too bad, I admit to myself as I study my attire in the mirror of my little vanity. It definitely could be worse.

I throw my hair up in a sleek ponytail and add a smear of red lipstick for good measure. I don’t have any heels and I don’t think my converse would look too bad with the outfit, so that’s taken care… Now, if I can just find a way to sink out of the house without drawing any attention from Sadie. I don’t want her asking questions. Besides, it’s really none of her business.

I throw on a pair of socks and grab my purse. I take a deep breath and tiptoe out of my bedroom, towrds the foyer. It’s only as I’m struggling to stand up right and put on my shoes, that Sadie notices me.

“Where are you going?” She asks from her spot on the couch. She furrows her eyebrows at me as  she notices my formal attire. “Is that the dress I got you last year?” She straightens up now, obviously interested. “Are you going on a… date?”

“I honestly don’t think that’s any of your business.” I reply dryly.

She make an ugh sound. “Whatever. Like I care.” But even after she says it, I note that she keeps sending glances my way as I steady myself on two feet again.

I straighten the wrinkles out of my dress and check my phone. A simple messages flashes back at me, only two words: I’m here.

I head outside without so much as a second glance at Sadie. To my dismay, a small ping rises in my chest, but I quickly swallow it down… I can’t let her continue to treat me this way… It’s not fair. I have to be strong.

The Impala is waiting just outside my apartment complex. When Professor Skye sees me, he pops out of the driver side, and walks around the car, only to hold my door open for me.

I flush, all traces of stress from earlier disappearing at the sight of him. “Thank you,” I say, sliding into my side of the cab. He closes the door behind me and heads back around to the driver’s side.

We sit in silence for a moment, the car idling in the parking lot. I’m just about to ask him where we’re going when my words are suddenly cut off.

He’s suddenly reaching across the cab and pressing his lips on to mine.

This isn’t my first kiss, not by far, but it almost…feels like it. Or perhaps the start of something new. I’ve never felt this way when kissing any of the dorky boys I’d been on a few dates with in high school. No. This is different.

I can’t stop myself from wrapping my arms around his neck and pulling myself closer to him. He tastes amazing; like spearmint toothpaste. I can feel the tip of his tongue tracing the inner line of my lips, and I open my mouth wide, accepting his offering.

And then, just as suddenly as it began, the kiss is over and he’s scooting back to his spot in front of the stirring wheel.

I settle myself correctly into my seat and try to catch my breath without making it obvious that’s what I’m doing. Only one word comes to mind after such a kiss: Damn.

He says nothing as we speed away, and I’m too lost in my own scrambled thoughts to come up with a conversation starter on my own.

*****

Once again he holds my door open for me, and even goes so far as to hold my hand as I get out of the car. It makes me feel special. I love it.

We’re at a nice looking steak house. The air smells amazing as we walk up to the door. The host sees us as we enter and just nods his head, grabbing two menus, and leading us right to a privat table, with its own personal dinning area, never mind the ongoing line ahead of us. Did he call ahead of time to sit this up for us? Surely he couldn’t have done so in just forty five minutes alone…

“Two waters with lemon.” He says, his eyes never leaving mine. The host hurries off to fetch our drinks.

“Is ordering for me going to be a common occurrence?” I can’t stop myself from asking.

“Yes.” He says simply.

I don’t know how to reply. I want to argue, but I know this is part of the deal, and I don’t go back once I’ve set my mind to something. Instead, I change the subject. “My lists…” I begin, but he stops me by placing his finger to his lips. The host returns with our drinks, and then hurries off with no none sense of chit chat.

“As you were saying…” He says when we’re alone once more.

“Did you read them over completely?” Wow. I sound so…formal.

“I did.” He nods his head, smirking at me. He notices my frown at that, and his mouth fades back to formal almost instantly.

“Are there any questions?” Surely he should be the one asking me that.

“You gave me your limits. Why should I question them? I certainly have no intention on trying to change your mind or get you to agree to something you’ve written down as a Hard Limit. I’m a Master, Miss Kinney, not a bully.”

My mouth pops open like a fish at the sound of the title he has given himself. Master. It sounds so… ancient; barbaric even. My stomach twists in excitement. I scold myself. Now isn’t the time. I have to focus. “Well, I have some questions.” I reply.

“I would be disappointed if you didn’t. I suppose you didn’t bring any pen and paper with you?”

“Uh… No. Was I supposed to?”

“No. We’ll do fine without it. I’ll type it up as a document on my phone and then email it to you.” He pulls out an expensive looking Blackberry. I watch as his thumbs move across its surface at top speed. “Go on.”

“I’m a virgin.” I say and my cheeks warm at the sudden declaration. “Sorry.” I quickly add. “I just felt like that was something I need to tell you before we start anything.”

“A virgin?” He asks. He sounds like he doesn’t believe me. In fact, he lowers his eyes at me, as if testing to see if I’d fold and tell the truth under pressure.

“Yes.”

“Well that… complicates things.” He says finally when he sees that I’m telling the truth.

My stomach twists. Does that mean he doesn’t want me anymore? “I’m sorry.” I say again.

“Please. Don’t apologize. I just never expected this.” He admits almost sheepishly. Then, as if it finally dawns on him, he looks up. I swear I can see something deep, something bright, in his icy eyes. Excitement? Respect? I don’t know. “You’d give me your first time?” He asks.

I don’t know how to respond. “I… guess?” It comes out as as question.

He pulls his wallet out of his front pocket and plops a hundred dollar bill on the table. “Let’s go.” He says, standing and coming around to my side of the table. He offers me his hand as, almost automatically, I take it.

“Where are we going?” I ask, not quite understanding.

“My apartment.” He replies, leading me back to his car. I note that some of the same people from before are still waiting in line. They glare at us as we walk by.

“Why?” I still don’t understand.

“I believe you have something to give me.”

Chapter Seven

Chapter Seven

As I pull into the apartment complex, I notice Sadie’s car is in lot, parked right across from our door.

Great. I don’t want to do this right now. I have too much on my mind already. I just pray that Jake isn’t with her- I don’t think I’d be able to hold back my anger if he is.

I kick off my shoes in the doorway, pretending I don’t hear the TV in the living room. If I can just get to my room, and stay in there until she leaves, then everything will be fine.

“Lena.” Sadie seems to appear out of nowhere in the tiny foyer, her arms crossed against her chest as if she is the one who has the right to be mad. I know this game. She does something shitty and then tries to come up with excuses while being defensive because she can’t face her own mistakes or admit she’s wrong.

I push past her. I have nothing to say to her…but even so, I can’t stop the instant relief at the knowledge that she’s okay. For all I knew, she could have been kidnapped or held hostage for the past two weeks.

She grabs on to my upper arm. “Stop!” She says, trying to sound all stern.

“I don’t want to talk to you.” I reply, and it’s true. I just want to grab my laptop and hide away in my bedroom. After all, I have…erm… research to do.

“You’re being a child.” She scuffs, letting go of me and crossing her arms again.

“I’m being a child?” I ask, disbelief peppering my tone. “You ditched me. You took me to a strip club- under false pretenses- and then ditched me to go hook up with your ex boyfriend- who, by the way, cheated on you. Let’s not forget the fact that you never called or told me you were okay.”

“You never called me!” She gasped, taking a step back and looking all offended. “If you care so much why didn’t you make an effort to find me? If you really thought I could have been hurt, you did a shitty job of trying to help?” It comes out as a question, to further her “disbelief.”

Oh, so this is the game she wants to play? The “I may have done something shitty, but you did something even more shitty” game. No. I’m done. “I’m moving out. You and Jake can keep the apartment.” I don’t know why I say it. I haven’t even made a decision yet…but it feels amazing to see the wounded look on her face. “I didn’t sign up for this.” I quickly add on.

“You would do that?” She whispers. The hurt is evident in her eyes, but I ignore it. I’ve been through this too many times.

“Yes. And I am.” Great. I just keep digging the whole I’ve already got myself into.

“How? You don’t have a job! You’re living off savings and student loans.” She snaps back, searching for some grip on the argument. It doesn’t work.

“Better than living off Daddy. And trust me, I’ll find a way.” You have no idea.

Tears fill her baby blues and I force myself to look away. I refuse to be sucked back into her vicious cycle of manipulation. “I have a lot of homework to do.” I lie. When she doesn’t say anything, I head on to my bedroom. “And I’m glad you’re okay.” I say over my shoulder, unable to stop myself because I really am glad she’s okay.

She doesn’t reply.

*****

I change into my most comfortable pajamas- sweat pants with holes all in them, and an oversized white t-shirt I had swipped from my dad before I left home- and turn on my computer. It takes a few moments, so I sit on my bed, my head resting on my knees, and wait. I wish I hadn’t had told Sadie that I was for sure moving out, but I was so caught up in the moment… I sigh. God, sometimes I can be so stupid. I don’t want to hurt her…but I don’t want to forgive her either; not after the way she treated me.

Besides, I haven’t even made my decision yet. And I refuse to let her be the reason.

When the laptop is up and running, I pull it close to me. I open the search engine and bite my lower lip. What am I supposed to be researching exactly? He didn’t exactly give me any key words.

What did he say- he wants me to “submit” to him..? Maybe that’s where I should start.

And boy, I am taken aback by the porn sites that pop up. Some are quite…frightening. And that’s putting it mildly. They’re not exactly off putting…but different.

Could I do that?

Could I let him do that?

I scroll down the list of attached images and find myself… interested by some. Hands tied behind my back? I could go for that. Arms tied to the bed? Clamps on nipples? No problem… In fact, the very idea has me licking my lips in anticipation.

But, of course, there are some things I can’t even imagine trying. Not even once. Is that an apple in that girl’s-?

No. No. No. If I’m going to do this, then there is going to be some serious decisions ahead of time.

I roll over on my bed and grab the notebook on my nightstand. I flip it open and start right away, creating a list of things I’m willing to try and a list of things there’s no way in hell will ever happen.

I pause and bite the top of my pen. The Willing To Try list is growing way longer than I thought it would. Maybe I’m not as big a prude as I originally thought I was. And imagining Professor Skye, my English Lit. Professor, doing this things to me… Mmmm….

The thought is an instant turn on.

Chapter Six

Chapter Six

“P-proposition?” I ask, straightening up in my chair. I notice this and immediately shrink back down. I should not be this excited for what he’s about to say…but even so, I can’t control the butterflies that rise up my stomach and tickle my throat with a nervous giggle. I look down, at my hands folded on the table in front of me, so not to be hypnotized by those frosty eyes of his.

“Yes,” he replies pleasantly. Unfortunately he has to pause, as the waiter has brought us our steak and salad meal.

I thank the waiter, even though my stomach twangs with annoyance at his interruption. It isn’t his fault he has poor timing. Again, Professor Skye stares forward at me, not acknowledging the help. “That’s very rude,” I whisper when the waiter walks away. I reach for my fork and knife and dig in without second thought.

“He wants what I want.”

“Huh?” I ask through a bite of salad.

Professor Skye smirks at me and raises his eyebrows. I blush and turn back to my salad, deciding it would be better not to ask. “The proposition?” I direct us back to the original subject.

“Yes.” He says. He hasn’t touched his food and doesn’t seem very interested in doing so. I wonder why he ordered if that was the case- growing up in a poor household has made me very conscious food wastefulness.

“I would like to start out with a little… disclaimer, if you will.”

My stomach freezes. “Go on…” I say carefully, putting my fork down on my plate.

“If your answer is no, then we will go on from today as though none of this happened. I don’t want rumors flying around campus. I don’t want obvious awkwardness in the classroom. You must know that both our reputations (and much more) are at stake if such things were to be…publicized.” He said sternly, leaving no room for argument. Not that I would argue anyway.

“I understand.” It was simple. I wouldn’t tell anyone anyway.

“Now… You are very mature for your age. This much a know. You stopped eating.”

“Oh. Sorry.” I absently stuff a spoonful of loaded baked potatoe in my mouth. What was it with him and eating?

Something dark and unknown seems to flash in his eyes as I obeyed. I watch as his jaw tightened and the muscles jump, as if with the beat of his heart. It’s… strangely alluring.

“I want you.” He says imply. “There’s just something about you…something I’ve never experienced before with anyone else. I have to have you.”

I bite my lower lip. So the attraction wasn’t just me. That’s both exciting…and nerve wracking. “Maybe I want you to?” I try to come off as flirty, but it comes off as nervous. Another gust of anxious laughter rises up my throat. God, I’m such an idiot. Here I am, laughing, when the hottest man I’ve ever seen is telling me he wants me.

“I’m serious, Lena.” He says. “I know you want me too. I can see it in your eyes while I’m teaching the class. It’s what first attracted me to you.”

I flush. “You noticed?”

“How could I not? It’s been maddening…having to teach, to go on with the lesson, as if I don’t notice the way you clinch your thighs together under your desk… The way you bite your lip and twirl your hair.” He takes a deep breath, as if to steady himself. “I can’t take it anymore. I’ll simply go insane. I want you.” He says again.

So he’s noticed this whole time. I can’t help the humiliating reddness in my cheeks. And I thought I was doing so well to hide my strange attraction from him. “So the proposition is… We get to sleep with each other, but I can’t tell anyone?”

“Oh, no. That’s just part of the rules… The proposition is simple: I want you to submit to me fully, sexually and otherwise, during the time of our relationship.”

“Submit..? Like… You want to boss me around- sexually and otherwise?” I can’t think of any other way to describe it.

“That’s exactly what I want to do.” He narrows his eyes at me, as if daring me to question him.

Could I do that? I’ve never…

“And what do I get in return?” I shoot back. If he wants me to let him control me, he better have something good hidden up his sleeve. Mamma didn’t raise no fool.

“Besides me?” He chuckles at his own joke. “Kidding. How about… your own studio apartment above the square, with a view of the city skyline. Equipped with maid services and your own driver, of course. And… because I’m feeling generous, your own credit card, set up to my account, with no spending limit.”

My mouth opens and closes like a fish out of water. It sounds too good to be true. I narrow my eyes at him. “How can you afford any of that on a Professor’s salary?” He may be better off, but certainly not by that much.

“My family owns Aria Publishing. I get a percentage of the yearly grossing and, once my father passes away, the company will belong to me.”

Wow. I did not know that. But still…. “Do I have to give my answer immediately… I would like a few days to think about this. Um, you know, do some research or something.”

“Of course. I’ll give you the week to come up with your final answer.” He singals the waiter over to collect the check.

“You didn’t eat any of your food.” I say, trying to ease the tension such a subject has left behind.

“It’s for you to take home for dinner tonight. Perhaps you can do your research while you eat it?” He smirks at me.

I gulp as he trades the waiter a shinning black credit card for a couple of to-go boxes.

As we’re walking out to the car, Professor Skye wraps his arm protectively around my shoulders, to fight off the wind. He was right. It definitely is going to rain.

The drive back to the University is… tense. He doesn’t park in the University parking lot, but instead in the one for the apartments across campus. I furrow my eyebrows, confused, but this it hits me. Not only is it seriously risky for him to even be driving with me in the car around campus, but probably pretty stupid too. I suppose this is something we’ll have to discuss when- if- I decide to take him up on his offer. He climbs out of the car and heads around to open the door for me.

God, I’ve never wanted to kiss someone so bad in my life.

“Thanks,” I mumble and go to hand him his jacket.

“Keep it. You don’t have one and the sky is getting pretty dark. I’ll be fine.”

I nod, not bothering to try and argue. Once I’m alone, I can sniff the fabric. (Does that make me weird)? “I’ll see you tomorrow.” I wave as I start to head off towards my next class.

“I’ll message you tonight.” He replies.

How I’m suppose to focus on class work with everything that’s happened within the last hour is beyond me.

Chapter Five

Chapter Five

The next morning is both exciting…and nerve wracking. It’s exciting because I get to do actual work in my favorite class, and not just packets asking silly, childish questions…but it’s nerve wracking because I know I’ll see Professor Skye again.

Sadie still han’t returned and I’m beginning to lose all hope that she ever will. Whatever. The apartment is in both our names. As long as she sends me the rent money, we won’t have a problem.

Today, I make sure I’m not the first person to arrive to class. I find myself waiting outside the classroom, shifting from foot to foot, waiting on Josh. I don’t realize how stupid an idea this is until his face brightens at the sight of me. Shit.

We take our usually seats and he chats about his morning happily. I don’t really pay much attention. I couldn’t care less what he ate for breakfast. Is that bad?

No. Instead, I’m entranced by the man at the front of the classroom. His back is to us and he’s scribbling something on the chalkboard. I can see the outline of his muscles through his tight, button up shirt. Surprisingly fit for a man of his age… I bite my lower lip and flush. God, he’s hot.

He turns around then, probably feeling my gaze on his back, and I drop my gaze. Even so, I can’t help the embarrassing smile raising on the corners of my mouth.I pretend to interested in Josh’s one sided conversation. “Oh, wow. Yeah, that’s awesome!” What’s awesome? I don’t know, but it seems to be the reaction Josh was hoping for.

Professor Skye is staring directly at me with his icy eyes…

Can anyone else feel the tension or is it just me?

Finally, I can bare it no longer, and I glance up discreetly over my eyelashes in his direction. He’s still looking at me. I drop my gaze and flush. I must look like a lobster I’m so red.

The class continues on, as it always does, and he doesn’t look at me again- that I know of. I force myself to take overly detailed notes on today’s subject, even if it is as simple as going over a well known play. I focus on his words, not his lips, not his voice, and pretend he’s someone else, so I may not get distracted.

It’s pretty pathetic, really.

By the time the class comes to a clothes, I’ve written almost three pages of notes, front and back.

“So what do you say?”

I look up. Crap. Josh has been talking to me this whole time and I don’t have a clue what he’s said. “I’m sorry… What?”

“About this weekend… You and me… Maybe dinner and a movie?” He looks like a deer in headlights. My heart swells for him.

“I’ll have to check my schedule. I’ll let you know tomorrow?” I quickly form some sort of excuse. I know I’m not being fair to him. He’s been nothing but kind to me since I’ve started school here… I just don’t think I could force myself to… you know, date him.

“Cool.” He smiles at me before grabbing his two backpacks and jogging off to whatever class he has next. I sigh when he’s out of sight. I really need to do something about him.

“He admires you.”

I look up and my breath catches in my throat. Professor Skye is standing right there, smirking as though he’s in on some sort of secret I don’t know about. He stands perfectly straight, his hands clasped behind his back.

“Maybe a little too much.” I admit sheepishly.

He raises his eyebrows at me, still smirking. “I can see that…but I don’t know if he can.”

“Maybe he just needs to pay more attention.”

“Boys do have trouble with that.” He agrees thoughtfully.

“And you don’t?” After all, that seems to be what he’s implying.

“I said boys. Not men.”

Oh.

“Have you heard anything from your roommate?”

“Sadie? No. I guess she’s planning on moving in with Jake now. I’m sure she’ll show up eventually.”

“You don’t sound concerned.”

“I really couldn’t care less.” I flush at the bite in my tone. It’s not him I’m pissed at. “Sorry. She does stuff like this a lot.”

“I understand.” He replies. “Now, would you like to get lunch with me?”

Wait- what? That took a turn I wasn’t expecting. “Huh?” I reply, like an idiot.

Professor Skye chuckles. “You have a break between classes- and so do I. I’m hungry- so are you, if the sound your stomach is making means anything. We’ll get lunch.”

“I-is that allowed?”

“Why wouldn’t it be?”

I flush. “Sure.” God, I should not have agreed to this.

“Good. Let’s go.” He stops by his desk to grab his navy blue jacket and hands it to me. “It’s supposed to rain soon. You don’t have a jacket. Use mine.”

“Um… Okay.” I take the jacket and hug it against my chest, fighting the urge to bring it to my nose and sniff. “Where do you want to go?”

“I’m thinking… Cibo Degli Dei.”

*****

Cibo Degli Dei is surprisingly empty. I say surprisingly because it happens to be one of the most elite Italian resturants in town. There are only three cars in the parking lot. I imagine it’s because it’s so early in the day.

Professor Skye holds the door open for me and a host greets us. “Hello, Sir. Just the two of you?” The host says. He’s a timid little man who keeps throwing glances at Skye. I want to roll my eyes. Even the men are attracted to him.

“Yes, please.” Skye replies and we follow after the man.

He tries to hand us our menus, but Skye stops him. “No need. We’ll have the steak, medium rare, and salad please. Baked potatoes and ranch.” He answers the host’s questions before he can even ask them. “And we’ll both have a lemon water.”

I frown at him. There he goes again, ordering for me. I wonder if he does that with everyone. “That was very…bossy.” I say, unable to find the correct word to describe him.

“I’m a bossy man.” He replies.

I furrow my eyebrows at him. It’s obvious he’s telling the truth. “Maybe I like Italian dressing.” I counter.

“You don’t.”

Damn. He’s right. But how did he know?

The host brings us our waters and informs us that some guy named Mike will be our server. I thank him, but Skye doesn’t say anything. He’s too busy looking at me.

I flush and take a sip of my water to cool off. “So… Why did you ask me here?” I’ve been dying to ask this question since I got in the car, but was too afraid to bring it up while we were alone. At least here there are witnesses and I know he won’t freak out on me.

He blinks at me and I feel panic rising in my throat. God, maybe I assumed too much. Maybe there is nothing behind this lunch other than that- lunch.

He sits forward in his chair, crossing his elbows on the table. “You are far more observant than I give you credit for.”

Is that a compliment?

He seems lost in thought for a moment, debating with himself on whether or not to say something. He rubs his smooth face with his left hand and leans back in his chair. He stares at me for a moment and the anticipation is killing me. What is it? Why did he bring me here?

“I have… a little proposition for you.” He finally says.

Chapter Four

Chapter Four

Sadie doesn’t come home the rest of the weekend. I don’t bother waiting up for her. The very thought of her waltzing in as though nothing happened is nauseating.

By the time Monday rolls around, and I’m up making myself some oatmeal with cream and blueberries, she still hasn’t arrived. I don’t hesitate before heading to school. She can find her own ride- like I did mine.

Besides, I have more important stuff on my mind. I can’t help but wonder if it’s going to be awkward in English Lit today. I can’t imagine it won’t be… But when I arrive at the classroom (a few minutes early, like I always do) Professor Skye is nowhere to be seen.

As a matter of fact, a strange woman is sitting in his place at his desk. Wait- not a strange woman at all. The strange woman. The older woman from my first day. What’s she doing here?

Of course, she’s just as beautiful as before. Her long ultra white hair is pulled back into a tight, no nonsense style ponytail. The color of her sleek skirt suit matches the color of her hair. In fact, the only thing she’s wearing that’s not white is a pair of six inch heels and reading glasses- and both of those are black as coal. She looks up, probably feeling my gaze, and gives me a gentle smile. I note that her eyes are almost the same exact shade of blue as Professor Skye’s.

“Hi,” I say lamely, shifting the weight of my backpack from one shoulder to the other. “Where’s Professor Skye?”

She doesn’t seem as tense as before. Perhaps she was just having a bad day last week? “I’m Professor Bella. Professor Skye is ill. I believe I will be filling in for him for the next couple of days.”

Hmmm… He seemed just fine last night. For some reason, I don’t think that reply would sit well with Professor Bella. “Oh, I’m sorry to hear that.” I mumble. I say nothing more on the subject as I head to take my seat at my usual chair.

Maybe he got food poisoning from the chicken fried steak or something… but wouldn’t I have gotten it to? I bite my lower lip and my cheeks flush a violent red. God, I hope I’m not the reason he isn’t in school today. He was acting really strange when we said goodbye last night… but then again, I suppose if he really is sick, his stomach could have started hurting him? But that still doesn’t explain the weird hesitation he held outside my apartment complex…

“Lena!”

I nearly jump out of my chair, my musings coming to a complete stand still as Josh tosses his backpack on the ground between our chairs. As always, he is the second one to arrive. It seems to be a little tradition we’re creating.

“Hi, Josh.” I smile at him. He always looks so flustered.

“Hi…” He says and I immediately know something is off. He’s too quiet. After a moment of silence passes, he shrugs his shoulder nervously. “Hey, Lena… I was wondering…if you’re not doing anything this Friday…”

“Attention class.” Professor Bella stands from her spot at Professor Skye’s desk.

Oh, thank God.

“Professor Skye is out sick today, so I’ll be taking over until he feels better. You can call me Bella.” She smiles warmly at the class. She’s nothing like the icy woman from that first day. It’s… strange. Also, I notice her eyes keep finding their way back to me- even for the slightest second. It makes me uncomfortable.

The “lesson plan” for today is really just a six page packet with silly questions- what’s your favorite book? Who’s your favorite author? What do you expect to accomplish this semester? At least it’s easy. I finish it just before the bell rings.

I don’t wade around today. I’m out of my seat and turning in my paper before the high pitched buzzing sound has finished. I don’t want Josh to catch me alone.

I eat lunch alone in the University cafeteria. It’s not as bad as everyone says. My ham and cheese sandwich has real ham- and the chips aren’t that stale either. Even so, I’d much rather go out with a friend…

I believe this is the slowest day I’ve had since starting school. The classes seem to lurch and drag on, like some dying animal. Or maybe I’m the dying animal.

When I get home that night, Sadie is still nowhere to be seen. I do, notice, however, that all her stuff in the bathroom has disappeared. This frustrates me. What? So she’s going to ditch me and move out all in one week- without confronting me herself? I don’t know what the hell I did and she obviously doesn’t plan on sharing this information.

Fuck her. I don’t care.

I grab a granola bar from the kitchen cabinet and just head to bed.

 

****

Professor Skye (and Sadie, I admit grudgingly) don’t return for the rest of the week.

When Sunday comes around I break my little promise to myself and head to my parent’s house for the day. I don’t know why I do this. All they do is make me feel worse about myself.

That night, I find myself watching Family Guy reruns on Netflix and scrolling through my Twitter account. I’m already caught up on homework and I smoked the last of my weed two days ago. So far it has been a boring (and kind of depressing) weekend. Perhaps I should have taken Josh up on his offer… At least then I wouldn’t feel so alone.

My cellphone bleeps, letting me know I’ve received an instant message. I check it without second thought… And my heart catches in my throat.

Miss Kinney,

My apologies for contacting you so informally.

Is Professor Bella giving out the packets I left her?

For some reason I can’t seem to get ahold of her.

 

Jared Skye,

English Literature Professor,

PSU

 

Professor Skye has messaged me on Facebook asking about the sub. But why ME? Certainly he could have asked a number of students. Then again, why am I making a big deal out of it? God, I must be paranoid.

 

Professor Skye,

It’s no problem. Yeah, she gave out the packets.

 

I press send and then stare at my phone in horror. Was that too casual? Damn it! I wear the inside of my bottom lip as a I await a reply.

 

Good. How are you?

 

How am I? I frown. Then I realize the last time he saw me I was high as a kite, not to mention my best friend had completely pulled a Courtney Love on me.

 

I’m okay. When will you be returning to class?

 

It takes him awhile to reply. I can see him typing… and then he stops… and then he starts up again. This happens a total of three times. It makes me anxious. Perhaps I shouldn’t have asked.

 

Tomorrow.

 

I sign in relief. At least now I won’t have to deal with Professor Bella’s usual stares. And we’ll be finished with those stupid packets.

And you’ll get to see Professor Skye… A little voice inside my head whispers.

I clamp down on that thought, forcing myself to lock it away into a fictional filing cabinet in my head, never to be opened again. That’s too dangerous. Too… wrong. What am I doing? I shouldn’t even be messaging him right now.

I close the Messenger app and turn off my phone so I’m not tempted to reply. When I check the clock I see it’s almost two in the morning and I have to get up early.

A quick shower and I’m off to bed…
But even as I lay in bed, all alone in this small, empty apartment, I can’t help the excitement that bounces in the pit of my stomach at the thought of seeing him again.

Chapter Three

Chapter Three

As it turns out, Professor Skye drives a vintage Impala. He opens the passenger door for me and I climb in. The front seat is one giant leather cushion; not a scratch or tear in sight. He must take good care of the car. I absently wonder if he’s one of those weird OCD guys that doesn’t allow food or drink in the vehicle. God, I hate those guys.

God. I’m still stoned, but thankfully the claustrophobia attack has all but subsided. I roll down my window (by hand, not electric) and stick my head semi out the window. The air is cool on my clammy skin.

I want to be mad. I want to stomp back that skanky place, pull Sadie right off Jake’s lap, and demand to know what her problem is. Why would she feel the need to lie to me? What was the plan? To ditch me the second we got there to go meet up with her cheater ex-boyfriend? Apparently. I’m fuming by the time Professor Skye comes around and slides into the driver’s side.

“What’s your address?” He demands the second he shuts the door.

I flinch at his tone. I guess I can understand why he’d be so pissed. As my professor he probably feels the need to protect me against the evils of illegal drugs (even if they are just a plant)… Even so, I still don’t understand what he was doing here at Gents. in the first place… But I suppose teacher’s do have their own lives to live.

“You can just drop me off at the Seven Eleven on Main.” I reply. I don’t want him trying to figure out which apartment I bought the pot from and calling for some sort of college drug bust.

“What’s your address?” He says again, this time leaving little room for arguments.

I tell him my address without second thought.

He pulls out of the parking lot at top speed. It’s seriously late (maybe one or two o’clock in the morning) and there isn’t much traffic. He easily speeds through the city.

I watch him carefully. He looks really mad. And he’s going about a hundred miles an hour. “Are you feeling okay?” I find myself asking. Shouldn’t he be the one asking me that?

“Are you feeling okay?” He counters back. His hands tighten on the stirring wheel. “Out past one in the morning. Smoking marijuana. Driving while intoxicated.” He mumbles and I can’t tell if he’s talking to me or himself.

“I’m sorry.” Why am I apologizing? I don’t owe him anything! I can do whatever I very well please.

“If you were mine this wouldn’t have happened.” He growled, swerving to pass the car in front of us.

“Excuse me?” What does that even mean? My high just in immediately took a nose dive down south. And why does my stomach turn into butterflies at the thought of being labeled his?

He doesn’t reply. He just keeps driving.

I lean back against the seat and close my eyes. Ugh. I’m coming down hard and I really just want to go to bed. I could probably fall asleep here if I wanted to…

I sit up and open my eyes when I notice the car slowly… Only to see that we have, in fact, not made it to my house. Instead, he’s pulling into a local twenty four hour diner. “Um… What are we doing here?”

Again, he doesn’t reply. He parks, gets out of the car, and walks around to open my door for me. “You need coffee- decaf. And to eat something.” He replies, shutting the door behind me.

“Is this really necessary?” I ask as we head up the sidewalk. Once again, he opens the door for me and I flush. I wish more guys did stuff like that.

“Yes.” He says simply.

A Please Seat Anywhere sign greets us and he leads the way to a small booth in the back corner of the dinning area. I take my seat across from and say nothing. I don’t want to meet his gaze. I’m not ashamed of what I did (It was just pot, for God’s sake!) but it is embarrassing getting caught by my professor…at a strip club.

“Look,” I finally sigh. I don’t know how to explain myself. There really isn’t a way. Thankfully, I’m interrupted by an older waitress coming to take our drinks.

She hands us our menus and pulls out her notepad. “What can I get you all to drink?”

I notice she keeps throwing glances at Professor Skye. I guess I understand, since they’re about the same age and everything, but it makes me uncomfortable.

“A decaf coffee and two ice waters please,” Professor Skye replies before I can say anything.

“Alright. I’ll be right back with your drinks.” She quickly writes our order down and runs off behind the counter to fetch our refreshments.

I smirk across the table. Someone has an admirer. I wonder if she thinks I’m his daughter.

Professor Skye picks up his menu and studies the contents. The way his icy eyes scan through the writing is almost hypnotic. I hope I’m not staring. I bite my lower lip and flush at the thought.

“Have you decided on what you want?” He doesn’t look up.

Honestly, I’m not hungry. I probably ate about an hour and a half ago… But for some reason I don’t think that will sit well with him. “I just want some of those cinna bun French toast things from the commercial.”

He narrows his eyes at me over the menu disapprovingly, but says nothing against it. “Very well.”

A few moment pass and the waitress comes back. She sits our drinks in front of us, making sure to position the coffee in front of him. She turns to me. “And perhaps a hot chocolate for the young lady?”

Wow. Bitch.

“Actually, I think we’re ready to order.” Professor Skye replies before I can open my mouth and embarrass myself. “I’ll have the chicken fried steak with mashed potatoes and a side salad. And she’ll have the same.”

I gap at him as she writes the order down and heads back to the kitchen. “I can order for myself, you know.” I snap at him, pulling the decaf coffee over to me. I take a long drag and burn my tongue. I try not to make it obvious.

“You need the protein.”

“I just ate.”

Professor Skye frowns at me and looks as though he would argue with me, if he could find an angle to do so. Instead, he says and clasps his hands together on the table. He stares at me, right into my eyes, and it’s as if I’m back in his classroom for the first time again. My breath catches in my throat. God, how can someone I hardly know (certainly don’t know personally) effect me like this? It’s…maddening.

I drop my gaze first, looking down at my lap like a scolded puppy. It occurs to me that I never actually thanked him for rescuing me. Who knows what could have happened if I had been left alone at that place? Sadie obviously doesn’t care if I’m kidnapped or raped. “Thank you,” I say. “For taking me home, I mean.” Although… He didn’t technically…

The waitress comes back with our food within a matter of minutes (super great service!) and we eat in silence. It’s not an annoying, dragging silence… more like we both have nothing to say and are comfortable enough to go without the need to fill every ounce of silence that passes between us.

When we’re finished, he insists on paying the bill- even though I assure him many times that I have more than enough for myself.

The drive home is, even more so, in silence. I begin to wonder if it’s something I said.

He drives just as fast as before, swerving to avoid hitting cars head on. We make it to my apartment complex in a matter of minutes.

“Thanks again,” I say shyly. He’s making me self conscious. I note that his hand grips the steering wheel harder than necessary; his skin is stretched tight over the bones and tendons, making it appear whiter than it actually is. “I’ll see you Monday?” Why does it sound like a question?

“Lena.” He says as I start to get out.

I pause, waiting. When it takes him a moment, I raise my eyebrows at him.

“Don’t go to one of those places again- not without someone you trust. Someone who can take care of you.” He says, surprising me.

I can’t help the flattered smile that rises on my lips. “Oh, trust me, Professor Skye. I won’t.” It’s a promise I know I can keep.

“Goodnight.” He says and his voice sounds strained, like he’s trying to hold something back.

“Goodnight.” I reply, watching him carefully. After a moment passes, I shut the door to the Impala and make my way up to my apartment. He doesn’t drive off until I’ve reached the door. When I come in, I can’t help but double check to make sure he isn’t still out there. It’s not a paranoid, scared feeling per say, but it is one of being watched.

I make sure to lock the deadbolt that night.

Chapter Two

Chapter Two

The first week passes easily, without incident. Professor Skye doesn’t talk to me again. By the time the weekend rolls around I’m loaded down with so much homework I can’t even think straight. College is certainly nothing like high school and I’m still deciding if that’s a good or bad thing.


Sadie doesn’t talk to me much. She seems to have fallen into a small bout of depression; probably things to Jake’s constant calls and text. I’m proud of her for standing her ground, but I’m really starting to worry.

I  spend Friday evening writing two essays and filling out four worksheets. I finished a little before five in the morning. Now I’ll have two days to do nothing. I can already feel a routine in the making.

I visit my family Saturday, only out of obligation. They live in the next town over. Even growing up they never withheld their distaste for me and I with them. I tell them all about my school, which they ignore. I’m relieved when it comes time to leave. We say our goodbyes and I make a mental note not to return until the holidays.

It’s dark by the time I get home and Sadie is sitting on the couch, watching a rerun of The Notebook on ABC Family and eating out of the giant tub of ice cream sitting on her lap.

“Hey,” I say as I kick off my shoes in the doorway. She looks awful.

“Hi,” she replies miserably. I note she’s using a wooden spoon to eat the ice cream- time to do the dishes.

Her phone tings and she ignores it.

I glanced at the TV and see the movie is at the part where Noah and Alie are forced breakup.

I jerk the remote away and change the channel to MTV. “Why are you watching that hideousness?”

Sadie sniffles. “Alie loved Noah so much…”

“Enough!” Geez. I sound bossy, even to my own ears. Sadie glances up at me with big, tear stained eyes and I continue. “We’re going out to eat. Get dressed. No wait- first…” A smile breaks out across my face and I’m sure I resemble the chesire cat.

****

Sadie giggles into her palm. “Dude, where did you even find this?” She giggles again, then hiccups.

“We live in a college apartment complex,” I reply, squinting at her. My eyes can’t decide what to focus on; her face across from me or the blue smoke floating lazily around. It’s like trying to look through a microscope someone keeps focusing and refocusing.

“This was such a great idea,” Sadie says. ” I wish I had thought of it. I don’t think we’ve done this since sophomore year.”

She’s right. God, I hope I can still drive like this.

“You know what I don’t get,” Sadie says. She readjusts herself on the couch, pulling her legs up under her butt. “Why do men think it’s okay to go screw a random whore when they have a nice, respectable pussy waiting for them at home? And do the random whores even feel bad about it? Do they know what it’s like to be waiting at home while..?” Her dopey, marijuana induced smile fades.

Crap. Too deep! Too deep!

“I’m thinking Denny’s for dinner.” I reply, pretending not to hear her. The truth is, I don’t know the answers to questions and I really don’t want to see her cry again.

Avoiding uncomfortable situations is my specialty, thanks to the life that I grew up in.

“I could definitely go for a diner burger.” My subject change works.

****

I forgot how amazing Denny’s is; or, I should say, how amazing it is after you’ve smoked three bowls.

“Do you think – I mean, why do we need air to survive? I mean really think about it. Why are we made the way we are?” There are endless possibilities.

God, I’m so stoned. And I really have to pee.

Sadie is too busy munching her burger to pay attention to me.

By the time I return, Sadie has finished her plate and is scrolling absently through her phone. She looks up when I sit down and suddenly a big smile spreads across her cheeks. “Hey,” she says.

I regard her carefully. I’ve seen that smile before. “Hi,” I reply.

“You wanna do something fun?”

****

This is, by far, one of the stupidest things we have ever done.

” I thought you said the strippers were dudes.” I gap as a half naked lady, carrying a tray of drinks, struts by us.

“The place is called Gents! I thought it meant ‘Gents’ as in dudes. Like male strippers!”

“Gents as in Gentleman’s Club! Sadie! Omigod, we have to get out of here!”

The low lighting and fog machine make it that much more difficult to locate the exit. Plus, I’m still high as balls. The smell of sex and sweat hangings the air, making it hard to even think straight. Everyone seems to be touching everyone… It’s too crowded. I feel the claustrophobia creeping up on me, raising the hair on the back of my neck.

“I think I’m going to be sick,” I groan, but when I look over Sadie seems to have disappeared among the crowd of perverted, sweaty men.

I’m all alone… I feel like I can’t breathe. A loud buzzing rings in my ears, drowning out the Tove Lo blaring over the speakers, and I get the feeling that this is what fainting feels like.

“Lena?”

Wait- is that? NO.

“Lena!” He sounds more urgent when I don’t reply the first time.

I force myself to look up.

Professor Skye isn’t wearing his usual teaching a tire. Instead he has on casual jeans and a grey t-shirt. And right now, he looks concerned and almost angry. “Are you alright?”

“I’m fine,” I grumble, trying weakly to push away the hand that’s studying me. God, this is humiliating.

“Don’t tell me you came here alone,” he growls.

I shake my head and wince when the room spins. “I came with a friend.” Why does he care?

“Well, where is he? Surely your friend wouldn’t be stupid enough to leave you alone in a place like this?”

“She,” I correct him, ” probably ran off to find the bathroom or something.” Where the hell is Sadie?

Hold on…. What is my professor doing here?

“Lena, are you high on drugs?”

Shit. Fuck. “No.” My lie is obvious.

“How did you get here?” He demands.

“I drove.”

“Under the influence?”

Wow. He sounds mad. Oh, God. Am I going to get kicked out of school? My stomach twists at the idea of losing my scholarship. That, plus the mega claustrophobia attack, and I spill my dinner up all over the floor of the club.

“Jesus Christ!” Professor Skye barely jumps out of the way in time to avoid being splashed. He quickly reaches forward and pulls my hair back from my face. “Well, go get help!” He shouts at someone from over his shoulder.

The ringing is back louder than ever. “Sorry,” I groan.

“I’m taking you home.” It isn’t a question.

“But my friend-“

As if on cue the crowd parts, probably to get away from the girl who just vomited everywhere, and I see Sadie. She sitting on Jake lap, her lips pressed against his.

WHAT?

“It seems she has other arrangements.”

I glanced at him and he staring down at me, his lips pressed into a tight line. I can’t help the crashing wave of betrayal. She brought me here under false pretenses and then ditched me to make out with her ex.

“Just take me home,” I whisper.

Chapter One

Author’s Note: This novel is completely unedited and unbeta read. THIS IS A FIRST DRAFT. Any and all mistakes you find are mine and mine alone, and will be fixed once this draft is completed.

 

Chapter One

The first day of school is always nerve wracking. The first day of college, however, is practically panic inducing. After all, it is the first day of the rest of your life. Or so the high school guidance counselors spend four years beating into our brains.


I frown at the contents of my closet. I have absolutely nothing to wear. Normally, I’d just throw on simple jeans and a t-shirt (Hell, sometimes I wouldn’t bother changing out of the sweatpants I had slept in the night before) but today is different. I want to make a nice, professional first impression with my professors.

“Hurry up!” my best friend and roommate, Sadie Johnston, calls from the kitchen. “I don’t want to be late. You’re my ride, girlie.”

I sigh and decide on my only dress- a pink poke-a-dotted frock that comes to rest just above my knees. That and a pair of black tights, my sneakers, and my gray jacket, and I’m ready.

“Whoa.” Sadie says when I enter the kitchen to grab a quick breakfast. She raises her perfectly plucked blonde brows at me. “What’s the special occasion?”

“Har har.” Sadie is effortlessly beautiful; blonde hair, thin, perfectly clear skin. “Do we still have some peanut butter left?” We’ve been living off peanut butter sandwiches all summer. The life of a new college student.

“Barely. It’s in the cabinet.” Sadie leans against the counter and sighs. “So Jake and I broke up.” Jake is Sadie’s on again, off again boyfriend

“Seriously? Sadie why do you put up with him?” It’s always the same story; They’re together and happy one minute, the next minute one of them cheats on the other (she’s far from innoncent), they break up for two weeks, and there they go again. It’s been going on since freshman year of high school.

I don’t know. Maybe I don’t understand because in all my nineteen years I’ve never been in a serious relationship. Sure, I’ve been on plenty of dates, and some of them were really nice guys… but there was never really a spark. Maybe I’m just not what you consider romantic.

Sadie doesn’t reply. In the years that this has been going on, she has long since learned not to answer that question.

“Are you nervous about today?” Sadie changes the subject, and I can’t help but wonder why she even brought it up in the first place.

“Definitely,” I reply, using a butter knife from the drawer to try and wrangle up enough peanut butter to make a sandwich.

“Same. I hear the professors at PSU are seriously strict. Like, they’ll kick you out of class in front of everyone if you look at them the wrong way.”

I roll my eyes at her dramatics. “What classes do you have today?”

“Art Appreciation, History of Music, and Study of the Liberal Arts.” Sadie is an art major, if you couldn’t tell. She wants to teach high school choir. “You?”

“English Lit., Creative Writing, and Journalism.”

She pours two cups of coffee and hands me one. Though she drowns her’s in cream and sugar, I drink it straight. I prefer my coffee black and bitter, and strong enough to leave a tangy aftertaste.

I finished my sandwich in three bites and check the time on my phone. “We should probably get going soon. If the professors are as bad as you say, I don’t even want to chance it.” I down the rest of my coffee and grab my keys.

Thankfully the little apartment complex where Sadie and I live is only a ten minute drive from the University, with city traffic. We arrive with twenty minutes to spare.

The school is gorgeous, of course, and made of some kind of gray brick and thick glass windows. A large water fountain decorates the front courtyard, spitting cool, clear liquid high up into the clear summer sky.

My first class, English Lit., is in the A building. I say my goodbyes to Sadie, who’s class is on the other side of campus, and we make plans to meet up for lunch after class.

I double check my schedule, just to be sure. It would be straight up humiliating if I accidentally walked into the wrong classroom. My cheeks warm at the thought.

To my dismay, I’m the first one to arrive, and when I check my phone it says I still have ten minutes to spare. I sigh. You would think at least one other new student would want a few extra minutes to get ready. Hell, the professor isn’t even here yet.

As it turns out, I’m not alone for very long. About five minutes in, a frustrated looking nerdy boy in round glasses comes sprinting in. Literally sprinting. He struggles with two obviously heavy backpacks, one on each shoulder. And, of course, out of all the empty seats in this empty classroom, he decides to sit right next to me.

“Hi,” he says after he settles himself in. He offers me his hand. I notice he has a sparkly brand new Rolex on his wrist. “Name’s Josh Aarons. Arts major.”

I smile as a shake his hand. The way he introduces himself is so…cartoonish. Silly. “Lena Kinney. English Lit.”

“Lena,” he repeats thoughtfully. “That’s a nice name.” He seems overly friendly, overly confident, overly…everything. “I’ve been here a few years so if you need anything, don’t hesitate to ask.” Definitely overly confident.

“I won’t. Thanks.” I smile at him. He’s a sweet little guy. My smile quickly fades and I suck on my bottom lip. “Actually… The professors. Are they really as bad as everyone says?” After all, that’s the one thing I can’t wrap my head around. Thanks, Sadie.

“Nah. The usually pretty cool if you get your work done and turned in on time-“

“Joshua Aarons. What a pleasure to see you here…again.” The professor has finally showed up, bringing with him a flood of dozing students.

Holy fuck. He’s hot. In an older man, Alan Rickman-y sort of way.

What was his name again? A quick glance at my schedule in front of me informs me that his name is Professor Jared Skye.

Damn.

His hair is a light fading brown with streaks of silver running through the sides, and perfectly combed. His eyes (timeless and strangely young), staring directly at me, are an icy blue, almost gray… And the way his gray suit fits his body…the way his pants fit low on his hips…

He smirks at me, and moves his gaze to the whole of the classroom, to the sleepy students using their seats.

I flush, realizing I’m staring with my mouth hanging open like a moron, and quickly look away. Well, there goes that first impression.

“You alright?” Josh asks, noting my flushed cheeks. I nod, not trusting my voice.

“So for many of you,” Professor Skye says, sanding his hands together, “this is your first year college. Yay. Congratulations. You got through the easy part.”  He turns his back and scribbles on the chalkboard. “My name is Professor Skye and I will be your English Literature teacher for the remainder of this semester. Now that that’s out of the way, if you could all take out your notebooks…”

The confidence in which he holds himself is extremely disarming and I can’t help but wonder if I’m the only one so… affected by him. I glance around the room. If anyone else is then they’re hiding it well.

I’m a bit surprised that the class goes by so quickly. It’s nothing major; mostly just going over what we’d be learning this semester. I’m grateful the professor gets right into it and doesn’t bother with introductions. The entire period I find myself trying to understand Professor Skye’s  personality. He gives off a strange vibe; he knows us but he doesn’t want us to know him. I can’t help but be intrigued.

“Maybe I’ll see you around later… Or something?” Josh says, lifting his packs onto his shoulders with more than a little difficulty. His face is flushed a bright pink.

“Sure.” I can’t help but smile at him. He really is nice.

“Sweet!” He gushes and sprints out the door. He’s obviously one of those kids that look like an Anime character. I frown after him, hoping I hadn’t been too friendly.

Of course, I am the first to arrive and the last to leave.

“Lena,” a smooth voice, like the surface of stone sanded by years of erosion, draws my attention from stuffing my notebook in my backpack.

Once again I am taken aback by how attractive he is. I want to ask how he knows my name, since he hadn’t bothered with introductions, but for some reason I can’t find my words.

“Professor.” I manage.

He smirks and leans against the desk in front of mine, crossing his arms against his well sculpted chest. “I read your transcript and I was seriously impressed. I look forward to having you in my class this semester. I think you’ll do very well at PSU.”

“Thanks.” I reply lamely. “I hope so.”

“I know so.”

Before I can reply, a pretty older woman strides into the classroom. She’s dressed in all white. Even her hair hangs in silver waves down to her chest. Is she his wife? “Jared.” She says tartly and her tone has me raising my eyebrows.

He doesn’t drop my gaze when he replies. “I’ll be right there.”

“Actually, I should probably get going… I’ve got lunch plans.” I grab my backpack and head out. “See you tomorrow.” I mumble back over my shoulder. He’s still leaning against the desk, staring at me.

That’s…intense.

The woman glares at me as I pass by.

I give Sadie the details on the strange encounter over sushi.

“I wonder if he reads everyone’s transcript,” I muse, picking at my Philly roll. I suck my lower lip into my mouth; a nervous habit I’ve had since I was a little girl.

“Probably,” Sadie replies. “And I bet you’re right about that woman being his wife or something, and she was being bitchy because you guys were alone. I wouldn’t like that either.”

Hmmm. That makes sense. Then again, what would I know?

Her phone tings and I know exactly who it is when she doesn’t bother checking it.

“Begging you to come back already?”

“He wants to get back together…but keep an open relationship.” I see tears swell in her eyes.

“No.” I choke on my soda. Despite everything, I feel awful for her.

“It’s whatever.” She shrugs. “Are you gonna eat that ragoon?”

The rest of the day goes by in an exhausting blur. Unlike Professor Skye, all my other professors insist on making each student stand up, state their name, and two facts about themselves, like we’re in the first grade. It’s beyond humiliating.

I’m surprised by how tired I actually am by the time I finally get home:  the con of a lazy, relaxing summer.

A bowl of Campbell’s tomato soup for dinner and I hit the hay, thankful there was no homework on the first day of school.

That night I dream of good grades and empty classrooms.