A little back story first. Danika is seventeen and has led a pretty sheltered life. She has a gift that makes her stand out from other people and her mother didn't want her to suffer the judgment of the other kids at school. Since her mom passed, Danika is now taking her own life in to her hands and is starting college. Her cousin Samantha attends the same college and is also her room mate. Today is the beginning of a new chapter in Danika's life...
“Hey, you coming?”
I turned to my left and looked at the source of the voice. It came from a huge, muscled chest standing not more than a foot away from me. My eyes traced the chest up to the thick neck above it and slowly up to the handsome face staring down at me. I wasn’t short by any means, at five foot eight, but this guy seemed to tower over me. He had the most amazing green eyes I had ever seen that crinkled at the corners as he smiled. My eyes slipped down to his lips, deliciously curved in a big smile with perfect white teeth. My eyes continued to scan up and down his face, to his dark brown wavy hair and back down to his perfect nose and then to his strong jawline. He was tanned, muscular and hot as hell. I felt my knees go weak and my heart beat race. He was so close that I could smell his soap and shampoo; he smelled of citrus and a hint of something musky. I opened my mouth to speak, but it was too late. Mr. Corbin, the professor announced the start of class and asked us to take our seats.
Mr. Hottie moved past me, and his arm brushed gently against mine as he did. He winked at me as I just stood there. I was completely mesmerized and dumbstruck. Professor Corbin cleared his throat and I hustled inside, taking a seat as far as away from everyone, including Mr. Hottie, as I could.
I focused on Professor Corbin for the remainder of the time. He was talking about what he required of his students, basic math principles and the curriculum for the course. As I sat there, I felt someone looking at me. I dared not look, but I had a feeling it was Mr. Hottie. I tried not to look, honest. It was just that I dropped my pencil and couldn’t help but see him when I straightened back up in my seat. Yep, Mr. Hottie was staring at me. My stomach did some weird flip-flop. There was a look in his eyes that I didn’t understand. What good was an IQ of over 160 if a person had no people skills? I felt utterly confused and uncomfortable.
As Professor wrapped up class, I put my books together. I couldn’t stay here, not near him. I needed to get away and forget those eyes. Those dreamy emerald eyes that did funny things to my stomach. I waited until all of the other students left, pretending I was busy packing my messenger bag. I felt Mr. Hottie looking at me again, and realized he was standing in the hallway, watching me. I had to get out of this class today.
“Yes, Miss, um?
“Danika. Danika Rodriquez”
“Yes, I am sorry. It takes me awhile to remember everyone’s name. Then, once I do, the course is over.” He chuckled as he packed his own bag.
“I think this class isn’t right for me.”
At that, Professor Corbin stopped and looked at me. “Why ever not?”
“I looked at the curriculum, and it is…well…basic.”
“Yes. This is Algebra One my dear.”
“I know. It’s just that I already learned Algebra. I chose the courses the website said were required. I’m just afraid of wasting your time,” and mine, I thought to myself.
“So you are advanced in your education then?”
“I believe so. I was homeschooled and my mother taught me Algebra a few years ago.”
“A few years? Dear, how old are you?”
“Seventeen. I learned Algebra at 11 and Calculus at 13, Physics at 15. I honestly think I signed up for the wrong courses.” The realization that my entire schedule may be made up of classes that I had already taken dawned on me and depressed me at the same time.
“Let’s get you over to the main office and see if an advisor can help you with your classes my dear. I do teach advanced math as well, so perhaps you will be in another of my classes.”
I nodded and waited for Professor Corbin to finish packing his bag. My eyes drifted to the doorway again. Mr. Hottie wasn’t there anymore. Perhaps he overheard our conversation. Perhaps he felt I was “too smart” for his liking. I knew I wasn’t his type, but the realization that I was a freak on a whole new level depressed me further.
“So, how did it go?” Sam peered at me over her can of cola as she sipped it.
“Horrible.” I poured myself yet another cup of coffee.
“Ick, how do you drink that sludge?”
“Same way you drink that crap,” I laughed at my cousin. We were both sugar and caffeine junkies, we just had different sources and neither liked the other’s.
“So tell me what was so horrible?”
“I picked all the wrong classes. It was a mess. Luckily, my first class was Algebra and once I realized what I had done, the Professor helped me straighten it out with an Advisor at the Admissions office.”
“So that wasn’t so bad.”
“No, but I also bumped in to a guy going in to class.”
Sam set her can aside and leaned over the table at me. Her eyes scanned my face.
“And, nothing. He seemed to be waiting for me after class. But after I talked to Professor Corbin, he was gone. Guess I am too nerdy.”
“Hmmmm…” Sam had a weird expression on her face. “What did the guy look like?”
I described Mr. Hottie to Sam, but downplayed it a tad. I didn’t want her to know I was all hot and bothered over some guy whose name I didn’t even know. Honestly, it was the first time I had come in to close contact with a guy and I probably just let my imagination get to me.
“He doesn’t sound familiar to me. Not that I know everyone on campus, but at least he doesn’t have a reputation that makes him known, if you know what I mean.” Sam winked and I laughed.
“Anyways, it doesn’t matter. My classes are all switched around now, so the chances of running in to him again are pretty slim.” I tried to hide the disappointment in my voice, but I don’t think Sam was convinced.
“Did he have anything special going on?” Sam gave me a knowing look.
“No. Honestly, my gift has been dormant since Mom died. No one has any lights, colors, shapes around them. It’s almost like the gift died when she did.” I wiped away the tear that had fallen as I spoke.
“Well, that could be. Or, perhaps being in mourning and otherwise withdrawn emotionally, has caused it to go in to remission in a way.”
I knew that my cousin was smart and perceptive. And, I knew that remission was more likely the answer, since I was emotionally dead since Mom passed away. I doubted that my connection to her had anything to do with it.
“Anyway, I have homework to do and forms to fill out. Is dinner almost ready?”
“Are you kidding? It’s Tuesday. Your night to cook.” Sam laughed when my mouth dropped open.
I had completely forgotten what day it was. My nerves were bundled tight since last night. I checked my wallet and then made an executive decision.
Sam laughed as she grabbed the menu off the fridge and threw it to me. I called in our usual order. Two pies, one extra, extra cheese and one Hawaiin barbeque chicken pie. It was going to be about 30 minutes, so I slid over to the couch and went through some of the paperwork that had been handed to me by my Advisor. I was under 18, so there were forms I had to fill out that other students didn’t. Before mom died, she helped me become an “emancipated minor” and Sam was my “guardian” so to speak. I got a monthly allowance from my trust fund, which covered our apartment, utilities and school expenses. We both would have to get part-time jobs for food and “play” money. For now, we were just trying to get settled in with school and after that we could each focus on getting jobs.
Sam lived in this apartment for two years and her parents paid her monthly expenses. When mom died and I moved in, we agreed to give her parents a break for awhile and use my allowance to cover the costs. My aunt and uncle were good people and my mom was very close to them both, even though my parents divorced when I was 3. My dad moved to Australia for some job and he kept in touch, but I knew his job is what broke them up. Being married to a cop was hard on most people. But for my mom, it was the constant worry and stress that kept her up nights. When they divorced, dad decided being a cop wasn’t worth the heartache and he became head security for a major computer company. It was great for awhile because he was around a lot more. For awhile, I even dreamt of them getting back together. But, when that company moved him to Australia, he just disappeared from our lives. His sister, Aunt Patty, and her husband, Dominic, kept me and mom close to them. That’s how Sam and I became such good friends.
I stared at the papers in front of me, not really seeing them. I remembered my mom’s smiling face and how she and my dad would look at one another. Even after the divorce, they still looked at each other that way, but there was something else in their eyes I could never understand. I saw the pain and hurt, and I saw the love, but that other emotion, I didn’t grasp. It was the same look in Mr. Hottie’s eyes that I didn’t recognize. I wished I could read people the way my mom did. She had her own gifts, you know. Perhaps not magical or mystical, but she had a way with people that was amazing. She could understand their emotions, the look in their eyes, their body language. And, she had an amazing ability to calm others when she spoke. I always wished my gift was like that; something beautiful and amazing. And helpful.
“Get the door.”
Shoot! I hadn’t even heard the doorbell. I swung it open quickly, an apology on my lips. But, the words caught in my throat. There, standing in the hallway with our pizzas was Mr. Hottie.
Shit. Shit. Shit.
My brain stopped working. He was frowning, until he looked in my eyes. Then, his face lit up as he smiled at me like he had done earlier that day. Those deep green eyes causing my pulse to quicken and my body to tingle.
“Hey there. That’ll be 18 bucks.”
“Um, yeah. Sorry about the wait. Hold on.” I stammered as I patted down my pockets. Where the hell was that money?
“Got it Dani?” Sam called out as she walked towards me. She hadn’t seen Mr. Hottie yet. For some reason, I didn’t want her to. She was a guy magnet with her long strawberry blonde hair, toned athletic body and bright blue eyes. We rarely went out in public together, but when we did, guys always saw her and not me. Which, was okay, usually. But for some reason, I wanted Mr. Hottie to like me. Even if it was only for me to savor in my dreams.
Hope you enjoyed this snippet. Please leave a comment below and let me know what you think so far!