I watch as Professor Ingram writes today’s lecture topic on the dry-erase board. I eye his arms and catching his muscles flexing through the shirt he is wearing. It fits him perfectly. When Mya comes in I’m already working on next week’s assignment. I already know she is going to want to scan over it to get a better understanding of what Professor Ingram wants to see.
“So how was your first day as a T.A.?” She pulls her books out but doesn’t open them. It is rather surprising that she has managed to maintain a 3.4 GPA. She is smart though, just lazy.
“Fine. A lot of work though. I’m starting to second guess being his assistant” I sigh.
When the last few people trickle into class, Professor Ingram begins his lecture. Taking notes distracts me from thinking about earlier in the file closet. I take so many notes I’m pretty sure I’ve written down every word that has rolled off his tongue.
When a piece of my hair falls into my face, I take the moment to look up as I brush it back. My breath hitches as Professor Ingram’s eyes are glued to mine as he speaks. I feel my blood pumping through my veins as I hold eye contact. I jump when Mya nudges me to ask what he said last.
Not replying, I just slide my notebook over. When I look back up he isn’t looking at me anymore. He has a frown on his face as he writes the page numbers he wants us to read and summarize by next Friday.
I am surprised when everyone gets up, not realizing that class is over. I gather my books and make my way out. I have never felt sexual tension before, but I’m sure that was what I was feeling back in the classroom.
“Thank God it’s Friday!” Mya says as we exit the building, “Tomorrow night is going to be so much fun, I can’t wait!” She spins around in the cold air. I thought she was going to start singing ‘The Sound of Music’
Deep down I am pretty excited about going to the ball whether I have a date or not. Mya says she is setting me up with some guy name Todd, but I have never heard of anyone by that name so I’m kind of scared of what he will be like.
I’ve always been a little weird around guys. I didn’t grow into my looks until mid-sophomore year in high school. Even my own mother referred to me as an ugly duckling from time to time around her friends. Which is why I’m not exactly the most social person in the world. I head to my next class, but when I arrive there is a note on the door that says the class is canceled.
“Just great” I roll my eyes and turn around. I walk right into the hard chest of Professor Ingram.
I fall on my butt, yelping and my books scatter across the floor. “Oh God, I’m so sorry Professor!” I feel my face get hot. I know I’m red with embarrassment. Clumsy, I get to my knees and start picking up my things.
“We have to stop meeting like this Ms. Smith” He sighs and kneels down to help me. He hands me a few loose leaf papers. When we both reach for my phone our hands touch. I pull back, but he doesn’t flinch. He put my phone in my hand and helps me up.
“Are you okay? You seem a little overwhelmed” He asks, clearly wanting to laugh
I frown “Yea, I’m fine, thanks.” Brushing invisible dirt off of me, I can feel his eyes dancing over me. We stand there for a moment and I feel like he is analyzing me constantly.
I clear my throat “Well I should get going. My class was canceled.”
He nods “See you next week. Try not to hurt yourself or anyone else” He walks off, smirking and I take a deep breath not realizing I was holding it. I meet up with Mya so we can go shopping for accessories for the ball. Most college students are tight with money, but my parents always put money in my account every 2 weeks even when I ask them not to.
My parents are hardworking people. My dad is a high school teacher and my mom is an elementary school teacher. Although they worked a lot they always had time for me since I was the only child. They gave me anything I needed or wanted except good social skills.
My freshmen year they called almost every day sometimes twice a day. By the end of the year, I talked them into only calling once a week.
Mya’s parents were also quite wealthy but had very different ideas about money. They only give her what she needs and nothing more which is why she works at the cafe. Once Mya and I got close, I introduced her to my parents and they instantly started treating her like a second child so a portion of what they put in my account goes to Mya.
“Which do you like?” Mya holds up a pair of long royal blue earrings.
I nod “Cute” I look around for the perfect earrings and when I spot them my eyes light up.
Mya walks up next to me “Oh, you have to buy those, like seriously”
I ask the cashier to pull them out. “So what is this Todd guy like?” I ask Mya as she keeps looking around.
“He is hot and single. That’s all that should matter” She sits and tries on a pair of heels.
“Seriously, is he funny or charming or what?”
“He is very funny, and he opens doors for old ladies. Is that charming enough for you?” She smiles and I shake my head. Maybe I should stop overthinking it and just dive in. I should at least be happy that I have a date. No one should attend a ball solo. After an hour of trying on different shoes and things, we pay for our things and leave the shop.
We meet Mya’s boyfriend and our friend Robert for dinner off campus at a Pizzeria. We eat and talk about what everyone will be wearing tomorrow night and who their dates are. I used to date Robert my sophomore year, but we realized we were better as friends. Friends who have sex once or twice after breaking up. In public, he would rub my arm or hold my hand like he used to when we were together as if there were still a chance. The affection was still there, but he knew that I did not want the relationship again. After a few months of Robert not really getting the clear message that we weren’t getting back together, I broke off our escapades.
He was angry for a while, but then he just became quiet about it.
We finish eating and head back to campus. Mya and Christopher retreat to her dorm and Robert walks me to mine.
“Tonight was fun” He mumbles with his hands in his pocket.
“Yeah, it was.” I pull my eyes from my coat pocket and open my door. I turn around and smile.
“Well good night, See you at the ball, tomorrow?”
He nods “Yep, I’ll be the one in the mask” I quickly take in his looks. He’s had the same boy like hair cut since we met, with his black hair parted on one side and his glasses drawing attention to his brown eyes. If it were based on looks, then we’d be the perfect timid couple.
I smile and give him a short hug. “Good night” I repeat.
I closed the door and drop everything by the bed. Plopping down on my mattress, I open my laptop. I check all my Facebook, but nothing much is going on there. I open my email and scroll, seeing one from my mom, one from the bank, and a few from stores that offer online coupons. I’m just about to log out when I see one I don’t recognize. The subject like says J.I.
I scrunch my forehead and click the email. I quickly realize who it’s from, Julius Ingram, Professor Ingram.
Thank you for helping me sort through all of that mess today. The help was much needed. Taking over a class in the middle of the semester is rather stressful. I know I mentioned this once already, but you really looked nice today. -J.I
I stare at the email for a few minutes, rereading it twice. I try not to overthink the words or read too much in between the lines, but it seems as if he is flirting. I shake my head of the thought. Maybe he is just being polite. It’s a 3 sentence email for Christ sake not an invitation for a booty call. I close the laptop without replying and get ready for bed. I put my iPhone on the dock and start playing Ellie Goulding. I sing along as I undress and jump into the shower. The weekend always gives me an extra boost of energy. I work so hard during the week, I need the break.
Being an overachiever was exhausting, but it was nice to always have my work done days or weeks in advance. I had time to kick back more than Mya, who usually did all her homework 48 hours before it was due.
Lying in bed, I lower the volume on the dock so now it’s just a light hum of music, enough for me to still hear. I turn the TV and lamp off and lie in the dark. I think about the email, but chuck it up to the notion that he was just being nice. I roll onto my side, feeling a little anxious about having a date tomorrow night. After an hour or so of thinking about the things to do and not to do to ensure that I don’t completely embarrass myself, I fall asleep.
Tomorrow should be interesting.