I woke up to the sweet and musky scent of AXE. It was not the vanilla I was use too. When I opened my eyes the ceiling was missing my glow in the dark stars. Lifting the covers revealed a lack of any clothing. My head fell back on the pillow.
“Jesus girl.” I huffed. “How do you get yourself in these situations?”
“My guess is the mystery punch.”
The deep voice startled me. I sat up quickly. The owner of the voice was lounging in an oversized arm chair in the corner of the room, reading a text book. When he covered his eyes I blushed. I pulled the covers up over my breasts.
He peeked through his fingers, and then put his hand down. “Thank you cause you have bout used up all the will power I have.”
“Nothing. Not that you didn’t put forth some serious effort.”
“I don’t take advantage of tricky situations when it comes to young ladies.”
“I do my best.” He smiled.
“Well, sir, would you be so kind as to point me in the direction of my clothes.”
He smiled and I actually felt comfortable. I knew he was telling the truth but was also glad he didn’t take the opportunity to lie. He got up and I suddenly felt really small. He had to be about six foot five inches tall and was shaped like an athlete. He laid my clothes across my legs.
“Here you are. I’ll step out so you can get dressed.”
Danny came and sat down next to me in the grass. “For someone who got back to the room at 3am, you sure left out early.”
My canned laughter came softly through my lips. I had been living with Danny for a month and still wasn’t sure about her.
“So rumor has it that you were seen leaving the party with Xavier last night.”
“I don’t listen to rumors.”
“Me either but I heard his girlfriend is pissed and she is one of those confrontational bitches.” Danny got up. Her facial expression, eyes pushed together, made me think she was annoyed with me.
“Hey, thanks for letting me know.” I smiled. I may not have been sure about her, but I didn’t want to burn one of the few bridges that I had at school.
“Girl, no problem. I got your back.” She leaned down to me. “Xavier is coming over here.”
“See you later.” I looked back at my accounting book. As the shadow descended upon me it took a lot of control not to look up.
Finally, after another forced moment, I looked up. “Hi.”
“When I came back to the room you were gone. I just wanted to check and make sure you were okay.”
“The gentleman act continues.” My eyes rolled up in my head.
“It’s not an act.”
“Okay. I am fine. Thank you for checking and thank you for letting me have a nap in your bed.”
“Not a problem. I didn’t think you would be safe left at the party.”
“I’m a big girl. I would have been fine.” His concern seemed genuine and sweet, but still a bit unbelievable.
“Okay. Well I won’t linger too long.” Xavier looked off to the other side of the quad. “I guess I will see you around.”
“I guess.” I couldn’t help but watch Xavier walk across the quad. His stride was very confident. Halfway across, he met up with a very angry looking girl. Xavier grabbed her by the arm as she tried to come past him towards me and took her back to the other side of the quad.
“The confrontational bitch.” I laughed and went back to my text.
He would tell me that I had a ‘beautifully sexual body’. One day I got up the nerve to ask what he meant by that. At fourteen, I had never heard that before.
He tugged me closer to him and unbuttoned my school blouse. ‘You have a woman’s body, unlike most women I know’. He ran his hands gently across my breasts. They were already a c-cup at that point. His hands slid down my little waist and pushed my skirt off. A chill went down my back when he rested his head against my belly. My heart beat so hard in my confusion. That chill danced through my body as his hand went between my thighs.
The vibration under my pillow startled me. I sat up, pulled out my phone, and turned off the alarm. It was time for a run.
Two miles, and a half hour later, I lay in the grass and watched the sun come up. The sight was amazing but rather difficult to enjoy as I attempted to catch my breath.
“I have extra water.”
I sat up and looked around. My eyes didn’t see anyone in the orange tinted scenery.
“I’m on the other side of the tree.”
I got up slowly and found Xavier on the other side of the tree that was behind me. “Um…”
“I am not a stalker. My running buddy flaked on me for a girl.”
“Not for him.”
Xavier held up the bottle of water. “Thirsty?”
“Hell yeah.” I sat down next to him. “I forgot mine.”
“Distracted when you left?”
“Running is good for clearing your mind.”
“More healthy than vodka.”
“Not as effective.” Xavier winked at me.
“Please. I envy those who black out.”
“You’d rather not know.”
“So you knew nothing happened the other night?”
“Yeah, but I was hoping I blacked out and missed something.”
“So sorry to disappoint you.”
I chugged some of the water. “Not disappointed. Pleasantly surprised.”
Xavier smiled and then lay back in the grass. “Do you believe men and women can be friends?”
After another swig of water, I plopped in the grass next to him. “Nope.”
“Sex gets in the way.”
The blue began to water down the sky. “Why do you ask?”
“What do you think?”
“I want to believe it could happen. Relationships cannot survive without the foundation of friendship.”
“But that implies that what starts as a friendship is expected to change into a relationship.”
“So then men and women cannot just be friends. It always leads to more.”
“From one side or the other feelings get in the way.”
Xavier sighed. “Speaking from experience?”
I laughed. “One too many experiences.”
“Sorry to hear that.”
“There went that guard.”
I sat up. “Thanks for the water.”
“You are welcome.” Xavier sat up. “Heading back now.”
“Can’t lie out here forever.” Slowly I got up. I looked down at Xavier for a moment then looked away. His eyes felt like they were trying to look inside my soul.
“Okay. I would offer to escort you…”
“But you know I don’t need an escort.”
“Just hoping you would want one.”
I smiled, picked up the bottle of water, and began to run. A few yards away I stopped and turned to where Xavier was still sitting. “Just don’t slow me down, okay?”
Xavier smiled, got up and ran over to me. “I will do my best.”
Picking pairs in college is just like it was in high school. The cliques emerge quickly after the professor gives the word. I watched the Greek letters and colors match up. The jocks grouped up together. Even the nerds and teacher’s pets flocked together. In my awe I ended up not having a project partner.
“Ms. Williams, it looks as though you may need to…” Dr. Lee paused as the door to the lecture hall opened. “Ah, Mr. Taylor. Once again you have reminded me that I forget to lock the door once class starts. You will pair up with Ms. Williams.”
“Thank you Dr. Lee.” A few seconds later the guy came and sat next to me. “What is she talking about?”
“The semester project.”
“Tenth grade flashback?”
I fought to hold in my laughter.
“Okay ladies and gentlemen, you have the rest of the session to brainstorm. Proposals due next week.”
“I am Daevon by the way.”
“Okay, Angel, any ideas?”
“Not without coffee.”
“Oh.” I called myself reading over the assignment requirements but I couldn’t focus.
Daevon stood up. “Question Dr. Lee.”
“Yes Mr. Taylor.”
“It is a little loud in here. Is it cool if we go someplace else?”
“But you just arrived.” Dr. Lee raised an eyebrow. Daevon flashed a smile that cause his dimples to be more pronounced and I couldn’t help but smile. Apparently they worked on Dr. Lee as well. “Goodbye Mr. Taylor and Ms. Williams. Please be on time next week and prepared as you two will present to me first.”
“Will do.” Daevon looked down at me. “Coffee?”
“Um… sure.” I grabbed my things and followed him out of the lecture hall.
We headed over to a nearby coffee shop. Daevon found a booth by the window for us to set up. He headed over to the counter and I began to get comfortable. A couple of seconds later he was back.
“My brain isn’t functioning.” He pulled out his lap top and logged on. “I noticed you didn’t have one with you.”
“The line is long. In case you want to surf.”
He walked a few steps away and then turned back. “Coffee?”
“Mango smoothie with a shot of caffeine.”
I felt a little weird using Daevon’s computer so I just began playing Solitaire. The game occupied me for a few moments before someone sat across from me.
“Just the person I wanted to talk to.”
I looked up to see the confrontational bitch mugging me.
“I would appreciate it if you left Xavier alone.”
She seemed to wait for me to respond. My eyes went back to my card game.
She huffed. “I know you know he is with me and I just don’t want you to be that pathetic broad trying to take something that doesn’t belong to you.”
I calmly held my tongue knowing she was trying to bait me.
“Because I heard about the party and you are lucky I trust Xavier…”
I was finding the tricky thing about Solitaire was that the card you want is always trapped underneath something and you can’t get to it.
“It is just like him to come to the aide of some chick in distress but you need not read into that…”
Even if you start the game over again and do things differently, there are some games that are just not winnable.
“Because I am secure in my relationship…”
It is frustrating to give up on a game, but there is no point in going in circles.
“Like I said, just do yourself a favor and leave my man alone.”
“Do yourself a favor and get out my seat.”
I looked up at Daevon as he handed me my smoothie. “Thanks.”
“Move faster.” Daevon raised his eyebrow as she got up and moved out of the booth. “Damn.”
I laughed as he sat down. I turned the laptop around. “Here you are.”
“Thanks.” Daevon took a sip of his coffee and then turned to Xavier’s girlfriend who was still standing there. “Are you going to stand there and watch us work? You could put yourself to good use and go get me some home fries from the sub shop around the corner.”
“Whatever.” She huffed and walked away.
“Member of your fan club?”
Daevon laughed. “Nice.”
“Thanks. How is the coffee?”
“Genius. How is that smoothie?”
“Can’t help but be nosey especially the way she was marking her territory.”
“That she was. Why I will probably never know.”
“You mean you aren’t trying to steal her man?” Daevon’s eyes got sarcastically wide.
I smiled. “He is too big for me to shove in my back pack and run away with. He is trying to be a friend, I think.”
“I’m not sure that is possible though.”
“What is possible?”
“Men and women being just friends.”
“What do you think?”
“I have some female friends.”
“Yeah, I mean we have been friends since like elementary school.”
“That is more like family than friends.”
Daevon laughed. “I guess you could say that. Okay. I see what you are saying. So you think he is trying to sleep with you?”
“He had the opportunity and didn’t. I think he is crazy. But that is cool.”
“I think he is crazy too.” Daevon winked at me. “So if we can’t be friends I guess we shall be business associates.”
I laughed. “Okay.”
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