I sigh, out of frustration, at my reflection in the mirror. My box braids just would rather not cooperate with me this morning. My hair is never an issue because I always wear it the same way—a high ponytail tied tightly with a single, thick, black ribbon. My mother always told me that if a woman carries herself neatly, she'd never need to worry about being provoked by a man. Which basically translates to, if you stay basic, you'll never be interesting enough for a man to actually want to harass.
My roommate, Daisy, snaps me out of thought when she walks in with her phone by her ear. She giggles and whispers some smutty comments under her breath but I can hear it very vividly. She must be talking to her boyfriend Chase, or Asher. Maybe even both. I never quite got the dynamic of being in a polyamorous relationship. I'm just... not that kind of girl.
I pay close attention to her as she steps in front of the other mirror and simply lets her hair free from its bun prison. I admire how free spirited and liberal Daisy is. I've know her for only a year but, she's the most adventurous person I've ever known. Sometimes I imagine what it would feel like to be her —to be noticed— even just for a single day.
My focus switches back to my own reflection and my nose wrinkles. I have no control over it. It's something that happens when it feels like. When it wishes.
"Hey, you're coming out with me tonight", Daisy says to me from across the room as I finish packing up my textbooks for class.
"I'll pass. Thank you very much", I decline politely. I'm not exactly the going out type. I love being indoors. Indoors is safe and comfortable.
"I didn't ask Nai. C'mon, it'll be fun and if you want, you could think of it as a sort of, psychological experiment"
I smile at her innocent ignorance, "and what would be my hypothesis?"
"Oh, stop it. You know I have no idea what that means", she whines, "just, please come with me? Please?"
I let the thought play in my mind for a minute, mentally weighing out the pros and cons of me going out with Daisy;
pros: -I would relieve quite a lot of stress
-I'd finally get to put on the red dress Daisy got me for my birthday last year
-Maybe I'll meet my soulmate? If at all they even exist, that is.
cons: -I would be peer pressured into underage drinking since I'm still not exactly 21
- I'd more than likely have to carry Daisy home when she gets too drunk
-I'll be hangover and miss one of my classes tomorrow morning, which will result in a dent in my perfect attendance and if that happens I won't get a good recommendation for an internship that will land me a good job and if I don't have a good job, the chances of me living my dream career are lessened by at least 65%
"Nailea?", Daisy calls, snapping me out of thought. "It's at the frat house off campus, kappa delta Fai. Be there at nine, okay?"
"Nine? Isn't that a bit late for a party?"
She laughs mockingly and shakes her head at me, "Just be there Nai. And wear something sexy"
Gathering my bag, I smile at her then head out the door to go to class. Studying Psychology has always been part of my life's plan. Well, the plan was more created by my mother but, fabricated for me so, it might as well be referred to as mine. It wasn't always just me and my mom. My father left when I was 12 years old. On my birthday. He had told me he was going to pick up the cake and well, I guess you could say, nearly 9 years later, I'm still waiting on my Pink vanilla cake shaped like a unicorn.
When I enter my lecture room, as usual I'm the first person inside. Not even the professor was here. I suppose since he or she is new it's probably something to be exempted for. My previous professor, Miss. Tillman, resigned abruptly last Christmas, rumor has it, she fell in love with one of the freshmen who, might I add, is less than half her age and moved to Mexico with him so they can start their new life away from all the judgement that came with them deciding to be a couple.
Honestly? I wish them the best.
I sit down in the front row of the lecture room and start to unpack my books when I'm greeted by a familiar face.
"Hey Nailea", he says to me with a smile.
"Good morning Kayden"
Kayden Myers, fellow Sophomore, beautiful tan skin, pearly white teeth and also one of my only friends on campus. Well, if I wasn't roommates with Daisy, Kayden would actually be my only friend on campus.
"How was your Christmas?", he asks me. He's always so interested in what I have to do. I find it very sweet
"Long and...bossy", I groan, making us both chuckle
"You gotta love the holidays", he smiles, " So uh, did you miss me at all?"
"I'd rather not lie to you, no", I say, "I did think about you for a few minutes while you messaged me"
"You can say text", he smiles
"I know. I just would rather say message"
"I respect that", he smiles, "who do you think our new professor will be?"
"I have my money on a middle aged cat woman"
"Oh yeah, I can see that", he jokes, making us both laugh, "maybe even a hunchback?"
I nod, "and a mole"
"Why stop at one? Why not three? One on her chin—"
"One on her nose", I chuckle
"And one on her—"
"Lip!", we say at the same time and burst out in laughter
Only a few minutes later, class had finally started and all of us students sat down waiting anxiously to see Miss Tillman's replacement. Moments later, the new professor walked in confidently, leaving a chill behind him as he walked passed us all.
"Well, definitely no hunchback", Kayden whispers to me
"Good Morning Class", he says sternly, "My name is Grayson. Xavier Grayson. And I will be your professor for this academic year"
My jaw immediately drops involuntarily and I find myself mentally drooling the entire lesson. His voice is soft and yet rugged all at once. He makes jokes in between sentences and engages with each student as though he genuinely wants everyone to learn something. It's safe to say, I've never had a teacher like Mr Grayson.
After the lesson, I gather my things and start to make a mental checklist of all the things I need to do for next class
"Excuse me", I hear Mr. Grayson say to me and I timidly turn to face him
There was no denying that this man was gorgeous, tall and pale but not to an extent where you'd be uncomfortable by it, just, pale enough I think. Well, for me at least. He's dressed in a jet black suit with a white dress shirt underneath that hugs his muscular arms tightly and yet, still oh so perfectly. He smiles at me and his beautiful dark eyes widen. His eyes are beautiful, dare I say, Heaven sent.
I stare blankly at him, trying desperately to find my voice and say something.
"Miss Tembo?", he smiles at me, knowing very well that he's making me nervous at this moment.
"How did you know that?", I ask and follow as his hand reaches out to me and he holds onto my collar, directing me to my last name that was sowed neatly onto my collar as all of my belongings have. Unexpected shivers run down my spine when I turn my head and my lips accidentally brush against his knuckles. Strangely, he stays still and stares at me looking mildly....amused
"Do all your collars double as name tags?", he teases and I can't help but laugh nervously because I'm now lost for words.
"You seem nervous. Don't worry, I won't bite", he smirks, "unless you want me to"
I nervously let out a giggle.
"I'll be honest with you, this is my first year of lecturing and I'm going to really need you to...show me the ropes"
"Why me? Of all people?"
"Uh...I was going through Miss Tillman's old books and papers. You were her student assistant, correct?", he asks me and I nod slightly.
"You are free to promote somebody else of course", I tell him
"Why would I do that?". He asks seriously
"Well, I don't...I don't know. I just, was trying to be polite"
A ghost of a smile appears on his perfectly chiseled face. "I think for now, I'd like to keep you in the position. You seem like a good fit"
I feel my cheeks warm up and I smile. "Okay. I would be pleased to work with you Professor"
"Oh please, Call me Mr. Grayson"