Never Sweeter (Dark Obsession #1)(6)

By: Charlotte Stein

If anything, everyone else was more of a problem. Halfway through a PowerPoint presentation on gender bias in modern cinema, she got that creeping, self-conscious feeling. The one that used to come over her whenever she studied too hard in front of Tate in some class he didn’t care for. Usually it meant that he was watching her with that bright spark of amusement in the corners of his eyes, just waiting to make trouble.

But when she scanned the lecture hall—with her head still down to appear as inconspicuous as possible—there were no signs of him. He hadn’t slipped in as her attention waned.

It was other people. A girl seven rows down was looking directly at her with the oddest expression on her face. It seemed like curiosity, but it was lacking something. Some vital component that made it make sense—and after a second she realized what it was. The girl looked happy, not angry or cruel or annoyed. Her eyes were bright, but not with evil intent. And then just to cap it off, she smiled.

She smiled and waved.

What the hell was a complete stranger doing smiling and waving? She checked behind herself to see if the girl was communicating to someone else, but the only thing back there was a wall and a window, several feet above her head. It was such a certain thing she simply had to wave back, in case she was just knee-jerk rejecting a potential friend. A good friend, the kind she’d hoped to find here.

And then there was the other girl. The even more popular and pretty one, who was bizarrely being about a hundred times less subtle than the first. This girl had turned all the way around in her chair, and was actually whispering, “Hey,” over and over at her. It was so bad that her friend—who had quite possibly the most amazing haircut Letty had ever seen, like a stripe of animal fur down the center of her head—was tugging at her arm and kind of telling her to knock it off.

“Sam, leave the poor girl alone,” Hair Stripe hissed.

Yet even that seemed without cruelty. It still made her skin prickle all over, and she had the strongest urge to scratch the scar around her ear. But she couldn’t just ignore them. She even found herself leaning forward after a moment, to better hear what the girl was saying.

But Professor Harrison got in the way.

“Ladies, I am aware of how poorly I compete with the topic du jour. But if we could just leave that aside until the end? Especially in light of the fact that you two are not supposed to be here at all.”

The two in question immediately slid back into their seats and paid attention. But though Letty tried to do the same, she found herself struggling.

Once they were out in the hall, they kept on looking at her. Blondie’s face was so wildly animated it was scary.

“So you’re dating the hunk, right? You have got to be dating him.”

“The…what? Dating…who?”

“The hunk! You know, the hunk.”

Blondie made circles in the air with her hands, but it didn’t help.

Nor did her friend’s expression—more reasonable but no less convinced that she should understand.

“I have literally no idea what you’re talking about. I can, however, assure you that I’ve never dated anyone that could even remotely deserve the label hunk.”

“Soooo…he just carried you because he’s like…a super awesome Disney prince?”

“Someone carried me? Carried me where?”

She was laughing as she said it, though the laugh soon died.

Now the more reasonable one was frowning, and when she whispered, Letty caught some of the words.

They sounded a lot like she doesn’t know.

“He carried you down this hall that we are standing in right now. Everyone practically applauded. Several girls fainted, probably in the hopes that they would be carried, too.” She paused, suddenly as concerned as her friend seemed. “Do you seriously not remember any of this?”

“Sam, I think it’s hard to remember things when you’re unconscious,” the reasonable one said, but Blondie paid no attention. She was intent now on getting to the bottom of this mystery.

“Yeah, but he must have told you. Didn’t he tell you that he swept you into his manly, macho arms and whisked you away to the campus med room?”

“No. Nobody told me that.”

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