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?”
“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.