My damp hair clung against my neck as I wrapped a towel around my body. Wiping the fog off the mirror with the back of my hand, I took a step back and stared at my reflection.
My body that was once lathered in bruises, was no longer blue and purple in various areas. Rick had been busy with dealing with new recruits and the business he ran meaning he hadn’t been around much. A week had passed since the first days at school and the adjustment period was dwindling down. Attending an actual school had always been a dream of mine, so when load of work was assigned, I took it in with a smile knowing that my time here was limited and could be terminated any moment that Rick desired.
Isla and I had spent various days together back and forth from our classes, and I had spent a small amount of time with the occasional Fletcher. Mason, my overly friendly seat mate always managed to strike up a conversation with me during each class period we shared. His friendliness put me at unease at times seeing as I would see him around campus, always surrounded by the typical jocks and party girls.
What does a guy like him want to do with a shy, timid girl like me?
Despite my quiet, distant behavior, he was relentless and continued to speak to me any chance he got.
I hadn’t seen Roman since the day he met me after my class, though something told me he was hovering around, most likely out of my line of vision. I hadn’t quite gotten an official read on him since he was very closed off and distant. Sometimes I wondered what his situation was and why he chose to associate himself with his uncle and Rick.
The chances of me ever finding out seemed to me very slim seeing as he’s only ever muttered a sentences to me.
Walking into my 8 a.m class later that morning, I immediately spotted Mason occupying the seat I usually sat in. The other seats were already occupied, which gave me no choice but to make my over. Mason seemed like a nice guy, but I had strict orders from Rick, and that was to stay away from anyone and everyone. His threats especially hovered over my head seeing as his violent tactics had a lasting affect on me, both mentally and physically.
I let out a quiet sigh as I took my seat beside Mason, who had a hat over his face as he quietly snored beside me. A small smile took took refuge on my face at his disgruntled figure as I leaned down into my bag to pull out an old notebook I had been using for this class and a pen. I could feel him shuffle beside me and I watched from the corner of my eyes as he flipped his hat around over his head and sat up. Feeling his eyes on me, I turned to look at him just as he flashed me a charming smile. His straight, white teeth glistened underneath the light just as he adjusted his messy brown from beneath his hat.
“Morning.” He greeted as he leaned back in his seat.
Either he wasn’t aware of the effect he had on girls, or was deliberately choosing to ignore it, but the ladies seated in the row in front of us, along with beside us, all turned upon hearing his voice and began to flash smile and winks his way.
Mason however kept his eyes trained solely on me as he awaited a response. He raised an eyebrow at my silence snapping me out of the trance I was in.
“Good Morning.” I finally muttered as I felt heat rush up my neck.
Come on Isabella, get a grip.
There was absolutely no way that I would allow myself to get into a situation where I was involved with a boy. With the life I lived, I would never truly be able to do as I wished freely. The thought alone was depressing, but it was the harsh reality. If Rick ever found out about Isla, Fletcher, and even Mason, he would cause an abundance of damage to both me and those involved.
I would never forgive myself if innocent people were hurt because of my foolish actions.
I was pulled out my thoughts with the sound of brash footsteps making its way across the room towards the front of the class.
The professor dove right into his lecture and I tuned in, jotting down as many notes as I could. Mason remained surprisingly quiet during the class period, only taking his pen to his paper a couple of times. His eyebrows were pulled in together, and he had a deep frown on his face as he stared ahead. He appeared to be deep in thought, unaware of my lingering eyes on him. Just as he turned to face me, I swiftly turned my head to the front of the class, praying that he hadn’t seen me ogling him seconds earlier. Glancing up at the massive clock that was perched against the wall, I saw that class would be ending in ten minutes. Just as the students began to pack up, the professor loudly cleared his throat.
“Before you pack up, I would like to introduce your first project of the year. This can be done individually, or in groups of no more than three. You are to write a paper and prepare a powerpoint, connecting two significant pieces of literature from different time frames. You are to asses the similarities and impacts it had on society and any other influences it brought, There is more information on my web page, along with the due date which is two weeks from now. I expect strong papers, and with the lengthy amount of time you have been given, I expect the assignment to be in my hands no later than the due date given. Make wise decisions and do not save this for the last minute. With that said, have a splendid rest of the day.” He finished before turning and making his way back to his desk.
I packed the remainder of my things, mentally making plans of going to the library later to start researching pieces of literature. Rick was unpredictable of when he needed me, so I needed to finish this project as soon as I could.
I was about to get up when Mason’s voice stopped me. “Would you like to be partners for this assignment?” He questioned as my heart thudded in my chest. I gripped the strap of my bag tighter as a million thoughts raced through my mind.
Despite wanting to say no, I couldn’t. He had been nothing but nice to me, and me taking on the workload all on my own would only cause me to fall behind in my other classes that would no doubt, also be assigning loads of work.
I opened my mouth to answer when a pretty brunette in the row in front of us whipped around to face Mason. Mason ignored her pouty lips as he continued to stare at me with a small smile on his face. It felt like de ja vu from earlier when he had greeted me in the beginning of class as he awaited my answer.
I nodded my head and muttered a inaudible ‘sure’ before standing up and swiftly turning on my heels. I rushed out of the room as fast as I could to avoid any further interaction and only slowed down when I had made it halfway across campus.
I stopped behind a tree and caught my breath before placing my palm to my forehead in frustration.
Oh god Isabella, what have you just gotten yourself into.