Chapter 1: Prodigy
“Who can explain Newton’s Laws of Motion?” A small and stout woman of middle age scans the lecture hall for any willing participants. When she sees that not even one of her fifty students has raised their hands, she furrows her brows with a frown. “Anyone?” She sighs. “Alright then, if it’s the case that no one knows, then I suppose it is my duty as professor to put it on the exam so you can learn it.” There’s a collective groan throughout the hall and her frown becomes a slightly vindictive smirk. Suddenly, a hand hesitantly makes its way up.
She grins in satisfaction at the seemingly successful execution of her scare tactic, only to realize who’s hand it is, immediately robbing her of her content. With a heavy sigh she says, “Miss Daniels, please enlighten us once again.”
Naomi can see the disappointment all over Dr. Willow’s face, as she’d obviously been hoping for someone, anyone else. She’d honestly rather not answer, but she knows that as such a sinister professor as Dr. Bernice Willow can be, she really will put the material on the next exam, and it will be much harder than the simple explanation she’s expecting now. “Will just the basic statements do ma’am?”
“Yes, that’s fine. I’ll ask about the formulas next week. Please, if you could begin. Our time is limited.” Naomi has long become conditioned to the woman’s direct manner and no longer lets it affect her. She takes a breath and then begins.
“Newton’s first Law states that an object at rest will remain at rest unless acted upon by a force. Should an object begin to move because of such a force, it will remain in motion until acted on by an opposing force. His second law states that an object’s momentum is proportional to that of the applied force and shall move accordingly towards said force. The third law states that the force between two objects is equal in magnitude and present in the opposite direction.” Naomi takes a breath once more and waits for feedback.
“Clearly you’re the only one present here today Miss Daniels,” she says sarcastically. “You explained the three laws perfectly. Therefore, you shall be excused from this assignment.” She turns her attention to the rest of the room. “To the rest of you, I want a three-page paper on Newton’s Three Laws. I want you to explain each law thoroughly, including all relevant formulas, examples, and exceptions. It will be due first thing Monday at the start of class, and failure to submit it will result in a drop in your grade by one letter.” She looks at her watch. “On that note, class is over, and you are dismissed.” She closes her book and begins to gather her items.
The previously silent hall becomes highly active with the various groans, protests, and frustrations of the students. Naomi understands their pain, because as she learned last semester, Dr. Willow loves to assign papers when participation is lacking on a subject. She’d never participate, despite knowing every answer, as she didn’t want to stand out. However, upon realizing that the weekly papers were taking all weekend and limiting her time for...other things, she began to participate more and became known as somewhat of a prodigy for Dr. Willow’s Aerospace courses. She used to be impressed, but now Dr. Willow is discontented that it’s always her answering. As for her peers....
Naomi does her best to keep her eyes focused on her table, but she can still hear the whispers of the other students who pass her by or gaze at her from afar. While they never make a move to improve their situations by participating, somehow it’s her fault when she takes the initiative to protect herself and her time.
As though he could feel her anxiety building, Naomi receives a text. <Class is over now, right? Meet me by the concourse.> She smiles to herself, already thinking about running into the strong embrace of his arms. She quickly gathers her things and leaves the lecture hall and the scornful gazes of her peers behind, her weekend officially beginning.
The moment that Naomi sees Adam in the distance, her heart grows heavy with longing. She missed him, even if it’s only been a week since they last saw each other. As she closes the distance, she can see he’s still wearing his baseball uniform, displaying his Colorado Rockies pride. They recruited him right out of Uni one year ago and he performed exceptionally well in his first season and shows no signs of slowing down. While it’s off-season, he still has a strict training regimen he must complete at the camp, which means she only gets to see him on weekends; hence why they’re so precious. She breaks into a run as she approaches him.
Adam had casually been leaning against his jeep, a cigarette hanging loosely from his mouth. However, when he sees Naomi running gleefully towards him, he can’t help but smile. He takes a deep drag before tossing his cigarette and then opens his arms wide just in time for her to fall into his embrace. She wraps her arms around his neck and pulls herself up to reach his lips; on which she plants a sweet kiss that he graciously accepts.
“I’m so happy to see you honey, I missed you so much!” She kisses him again, a bit deeper than before. “I’ve been so lonely, you know?” She pouts, but her tone has a sensuality to it.
It drives him wild every time, but he holds himself together. “I missed you too baby. I swear you get more beautiful every time I see you. If I wasn’t dead after practice each day, I’d come see you without a second thought. Denver’s only half an hour away after all.”
“I know you would. I’d be so happy if you could somehow, but I want you to keep playing your best and so you need to rest. We’re going to spend all weekend together though, right honey?” She asks with an innocent smile, but Adam can see the ulterior intentions behind her eyes. She’s got quite the appetite for a lady.
“Of course baby, there’s no other place I’d rather be than with you.” They kiss once more and finally separate, but not too far. “So, was Dr. Willow a beast again today?” He asks with a grin.
“Yea, that’s an understatement. She assigned a three-page paper on Newton’s Laws of Motion, due on Monday. Of course, I was able to dodge it by participating in class. I wasn’t taking any chances.” She smiles with pride, clearly fishing for praise.
“Good girl,” he obliges. “I guess you aren’t called a prodigy for nothing. Though, you do well in all your classes, so clearly you’re just a genius. You must be to pursue an honors Aerospace Engineering degree. Beauty and brains, as they say. I love it all.”
“No way, I’m no genius; I just don’t have a social life. When you’re not with me, all I have to do is study. I mean, my moms are always busy with work and I have no friends I care to be bothered with, so I might as well study, you know?” She keeps her smile, but he can tell she’s feeling a bit pathetic. “I’m nobody special.”
“Hey.” His voice becomes suddenly serious and she turns away in shame, knowing a scolding is coming. “What did I tell you about saying those kind of things?” He places his hands on her shoulders and pulls her towards him in a stern manner. “You are amazing, beautiful, smart and worthy of the world. If someone doesn’t see that, they’re blind. I love you more than anyone Nai, but you need to learn to love yourself baby.” He pulls her against his chest and kisses the top of her head. “Can you do that for me?”
She nuzzles into his chest, tears threatening to fall, but she holds it in. He’s always saying such sweet and supportive things and encourages her to see how great she really is. Maybe one day she’ll believe him. “I’ll try,” she says finally and hugs him lovingly.
Adam finally begins to notice that the passing students have taken notice of them and while he’s used to the attention from being a pro, he doesn’t like subjecting Naomi to it unnecessarily. He gently pushes her back and with a smile says, “You hungry?”
She nods, still slightly bashful from his words earlier. However, she recovers and finally replies, “I want you to cook food for me.”
“Oh really? And what would my baby doll like to eat? I’ll make you anything you want; you only need to ask for it.”
“I don’t care, surprise me. Let’s just go already.” She has an impatient tone. “Oh, but I need to stop home first. I didn’t bring my bag with me and I want to ditch these books too.”
“Sure, it’s been a while since I’ve seen your folks. I guess I should show my face once and a while. Hop in and we’ll be on our way.”
He doesn’t need to tell her a second time, as she wastes no time hoisting herself up into his truck before he could even raise a finger to help. He shakes his head with a soft chuckle, loving her youthful energy. She may be two years younger than him and more mature mentally, but she’s a kid at heart. He climbs up into the driver’s seat and within seconds, he’s got the music blasting rock hits and is putting the pedal to the metal as he zooms out of the campus.
Once they’re gone, someone emerges from around a nearby building. He stares in the direction they drive away in with a look of scorn. “Nai....” He says Naomi’s name with such affection and familiarity and for a moment, his face softens. Just as quick however, his face is filled with bitter determination.
He walks away towards campus and upon entering the registrar’s office and as the faces of two woman look up at him, he says only one thing. “I’d like to apply for enrollment into the Accelerated Aerospace Engineering Master’s Program.”