Wicked Needs (Wicked Bay Book 5)(89)

By: L.A. Cotton

At first, I thought it was a joke, but there was a note of sadness in his voice and look of defeat etched into his expression that suggested it wasn't a joke at all. What is it with this place?

The man walked to a small desk at the side of the stage and pressed a button, causing an interactive board to flicker to life. "We start with the classics. Irving, Poe, Twain, Hemingway. You should have all seen a copy of the reading list, purchased, and read said books, but for those of you who did none of the above, catch up. You've got a month before we start comparing works by Poe and Hemingway."

For the next hour, the professor introduced us to the course with a series of slides and a monosyllabic explanation. After a while, his voice became a robotic beat and I was no longer hearing definitive words, only a jumble of sounds and grunts.

My eyes wandered from my position at the back of the room. It was a first-year course, so I figured most, if not all, of the students were freshmen. Some yawned, doodling on their notebooks, while others were holding their own whispered conversations. I even spotted one guy, sitting two rows in front of me, asleep. As I chuckled under my breath, my pen started to roll and before I could catch it, it dropped off the end of the table, clattering to the floor.

A couple of heads turned in my direction, but I ignored their stares and leaned down to pick up the pen. My fingers fumbled around until I grasped it and straightened in my seat. Someone on the end of the row in front of me was turned in my direction, watching me. Except it wasn't just anyone—it was toggle guy. His greens sparkled, widening slightly in recognition as a slow smile spread over his face. We stayed that way for a few seconds, staring at each other, before the redhead sitting next to him placed her hand on his arm and commanded his attention. She glanced behind her, locking eyes with mine. They spoke volumes as they narrowed at me, and I received her message loud and clear: Back off, he's mine.

The professor’s voice cut through our stare off. "...I want a two-thousand word paper on your favorite classic author, due next week. Class dismissed."

The room erupted into chaos as students packed up and hurried out of the room. I hung back, preferring to avoid the crush. Besides, I was in no great hurry to get to the cafeteria and endure Elena trying to talk me into yet another party.

I couldn't help but watch toggle guy and the redhead. She seemed to hang off his every word as they headed up the stairs toward the exit. Toward me. She stood close to him, mirroring his stride, but he seemed less interested in her. When they reached me, she let out a snort of disapproval, but the guy smiled right at me, and my stomach fluttered. It was only subtle, and if I had been moving, I probably wouldn't have noticed, but it happened...I had felt it. The feeling was strange—alien, something I had only ever experienced with one other person, and not in a very long time. The torrent of emotion left me a little winded. The sadness, the memories, the regret...the excitement. It wasn't right, though, to be feeling a rush of excitement after everything. I didn't deserve it.