“What have you been up to?” Audrey asks.
“Not much.” I shove my hands in the front pockets of my shorts, glancing around, seeing nothing, no pretty yellow dress and long, wavy dark hair. I want out of here. I don’t want to talk to Audrey, I want to go home and forget this stupid night ever happened. What a waste of time. I pull my keys out of my pocket and clutch them tight.
“Don’t tell me you’re already leaving. It’s still early.” Audrey reaches out and touches my wrist, trying to wrap her fingers around it. “We only just got here. I’d love to catch up with you. See what you’re up to.”
“Yeah, sorry I can’t stick around but I gotta go.” I offer her a sympathetic smile. “I have an early class tomorrow and being the first day and all, I don’t want to make a bad impression right out the gate. You know what I mean?” I’m so full of shit it’s almost painful.
“Oh wow. Who knew you were so studious?” She offers me a coy smile. “That’s so sexy.”
I almost roll my eyes but refrain myself. “I’ll see you around then?”
“You know it,” she says just before she and her friend dissolve into giggles as they rush toward the front door of the bar. They push open the glass door, loud music and the sound of drunken females singing off key wafting out and I wince.
“Damn it,” I mutter once the door shuts behind them, thankful the bad singing is nothing but muffled, indistinct noise now. I run my hand through my hair and stare off into the distance, going over what I saw—what I thought I saw. Thwarted in my pursuit of the yellow dress. Though it was most likely pure speculation on my part. I want to find Lucy so fucking bad I think I see her in every dark haired chick out there. I’m being stupid.
I’m acting like a damn fool.
My last class of the day is packed, in one of those auditorium style rooms where there are rows stacked upon rows of seats with those tiny desks that can barely accommodate a tablet, let alone your laptop. The giant room could probably seat two hundred, maybe even more, and I swear the room was more than half full.
More like mostly full.
Considering the university has a strong business program I guess I shouldn’t be surprised at the packed attendance. I’m not a business major, but I thought a course in Principals in Marketing would be a smart choice since I’m a marketing major. Plus, it sounded interesting. I took the majority of my general education courses in community college but there are a few I still need to pick up. This semester includes one general ed course and the rest are classes that go toward my major.
If I work really hard and push myself to take summer school, I’ll graduate in another two years. That’ll save me time and money, both things I desperately need.
I finally found the building after trudging across the huge campus in the boiling hot sun, and dashed into the room with barely a minute to spare. Hot and pretty much out of breath, I sat in a seat in the back row at the very top.
The professor was down at the bottom of the room, so far away he was just a tiny speck of a man standing next to the podium, a desk to his right just behind him. He looks young, dressed in a pale blue button down with the sleeves rolled up and khakis, and when I glance around the room, I realize I’m in a class mostly filled with females. Many of them are watching him with what I can only describe as adoring looks on their faces, with lots of giggling and whispering included.
Hmm. Looks to me like they’re hot for teacher.
The room is warm and it’s early afternoon. I’m tired from staying up too late last night at the bar with Gina and waking up early this morning with a serious case of nerves—plus the teeniest hangover. I’ve been going to the local community college for the last two years, went there straight after high school. You’d think this was no big deal, transferring to a big university.
But the campus is huge, like this sprawling, intricate maze I keep getting lost in. There are so many people here, way more than at my old college. I lost my way more than once today, getting completely turned around even after having a tour of this place and a map to follow. I even used Siri on my phone and that bitch was no help.
Doesn’t help that Professor Bailey is droning on about the class syllabus, what he expects from us, how we’re going to be working on group projects a lot throughout the semester and our final grade will depend a whopping fifty percent on them. A lot of the same type of information I heard in my previous classes so I’m feeling a little bored. A lot sleepy. I rest my chin on my fist, my elbow propped on the tiny desk and my eyes slide kind of half closed.
Okay, there’s no kind of about it. My eyes are closed. It’s warm. So very, deliciously warm. And he keeps talking in this deep, monotone voice I find soothing. He’s attractive yes, but it’s not a good trait when he can put me to sleep within ten minutes of hearing him talk. Not that I’m hot for teacher. No, I’m completely ridiculous and still holding onto feelings for a guy who’s completely unattainable.
At least I had him though, right? Even if only for a little while…
My mind drifts down the rabbit hole known as Gabe Land. Just thinking about him makes me tingle in all the good places. I saw a guy earlier today walking ahead of me while I was trying to find the building for my second class, and the way he moved reminded me of Gabe. He almost swaggered, his posture perfect, his wide shoulders straight. He wore a T-shirt and cargo shorts, something Gabe would wear and I was so tempted to run up and catch him. Grab his hand and anticipate seeing his handsome face as he turned to look at me.
Then again, I wouldn’t want Gabe to be on campus with me…would I? It was difficult enough, having to keep up the pretense of being a rich girl with him. Not that it seemed to matter. Most of the time when we hung out, we never talked about our pasts or our families, or money or any of that stuff. We kept it easy. Simple. I know he’s not a big fan of his family and really, I kept my mouth shut most of the time. I was so quiet most of the time that he told me I intrigued him.
Me. The mysterious girl. Imagine that.
But with Gabe, I was. I pretended to go along with his assessments of me because his speculation gave me a break. I didn’t have to come up with a backstory and it was awesome. He did all the hard work for me. And though I played along with his plan, like I was the poor little rich girl neglected by her daddy and always seeking his love, it kind of sucked.
I didn’t like being a liar. It hurt, holding back my truth from him. Would he really care? He didn’t seem judgmental but I don’t know. I’m sure his parents wouldn’t approve of me. Maybe Gabe ultimately wouldn’t approve of me either. Fun enough to fuck around with, but get serious with the girl? That was another thing entirely.
Ouch. Just thinking that is painful.
Though I was the one who insisted on it being just a summer affair between us, I did that to save my heart. I didn’t want to develop feelings for him because it was pointless. Nothing would ever happen between us.
The professor is still droning on and I close my eyes briefly once. Twice. A little longer every time. I could sleep just like this. Well, maybe not full on sleep but definitely doze. Yeah, doze off for a little bit. Not like I’m missing anything. I already read the class syllabus online earlier this morning when I couldn’t sleep. I know what’s expected of us for the semester. After class, I still need to go to the bookstore and pick up a few books. I only have two classes tomorrow and I’ll be done by noon. I’m taking fifteen units this semester and if I can get a job on campus I could earn a couple more units for that as well…