Getting late to lecture is the last thing I want in my life.
But I am literally drowning in schoolwork and it's getting a little hard to keep my head above the waters.
Just go in Lorraine. What's the worse thing that can happen?
I blow a raspberry and wipe my sweaty palms against the surface of my washed up mum jeans as I stand in front of my elementary stat class. A normal person would have walked right into class knowing that they're late. But I'm Lorraine Elizabeth Perabo, I'm not normal at all. Instead, I let my anxiousness get the best of me and now I'm stuck at the door trying to talk myself into walking inside class. This is exactly the reason why I made it my sole purpose to never be late to class.
Come on Lor, you're wasting more time. Just go in.
God, I hate myself sometimes.
Screw it! I think to myself as my hands glide over the door handle and push it open. I should have known it was the worst idea because three hundred and something pair of eyes turn to look at the late human being who has interrupted the class and my mouth runs dry. I hold on to my brown tote bag for support as my eyes scan the room for an empty seat, hopefully close to the door so I don't have to walk past people. Just as my eyes find one, the Professor clears his throat firmly and calls out my last name.
I don't know what's more shocking, the fact that any professor knows my name or that I actually have to speak to him—with everybody in the lecture room as an audience.
My eyes turn to look at the old, but yet somehow younger looking Professor Byrne slowly, hoping he can see through the anxiousness in my eyes and not embarrass me in front of my peers. But he doesn't seem to care much as he throws me the question anyways, his hand rearranging the papers on the small desk next to the board.
"What time do you call this?" His voice is unusually loud as he glances at the watch on his wrist meaning the whole lecture room can hear the conversation "you're 19 minutes late."
I thought I was only 16 minutes late but what difference does it make if I point that out?
What was I thinking anyway? Arriving late to elementary statistics? A class I should have passed last year and left behind. But I didn't so here I am, making a fool of myself in front of everybody and a Professor who probably thinks I'm a failure.
Other professors would have let it slide because most of them genuinely do not get a shit—it's your education and either way, they get a pay check, but Byrne is different. He doesn't appreciate tardiness—not even from the athletes who always think they can get away with everything.
I swallow nervously as my light blue eyes stare at his own dark blue ones. The churning in my belly is making me feel so sick that I find it hard to open my mouth and shoot him a response.
Come on, say it! Apologise for being late.
But I can't. It's like my brain is frozen and all I can think about is that everyone is staring at me and it makes me want to crawl in a hole and hide away forever.
"I'm sorry, am I talking to myself here?"
"No, Prof." A voice answers next to me, putting me out of my own misery. "Apologies for being late but we were literally trapped in elevator purgatory. Not only did the elevator take its sweet time coming to this floor but one of the idiot freshmen pressed every goddamn button I swear. It wasn't us."
The lecture room erupts in laughter as my neck turns to look at the face of the person who literally just lied for me and saved me from a lifetime of embarrassment. But all I can see is his firm jaw and dark brown hair peeking out of his black baseball hat which casts a shadow over his face.
"Is this true?" Professor Byrne throws the question at me and I'm forced to tear my gaze away from the stranger next to me.
"Yeah." I mumble quietly, feeling my cheeks heat up by the lie. I look away from the professor's intimidating gaze afraid that he'll catch on to the lie.
"Take a seat and this better not repeat itself."
Glad that the whole ordeal is over, I sink into the closest seat I can find and relief floods my body. Although everything happened in the span of minutes, it felt like I was standing there under the scrutiny of everyone for hours and I hated every second of it. I can only be thankful that guy walked in.
I take note in silence for the rest of the class, hating the fact that I'm sitting in the front row. I always get that feeling that everyone can see what I'm doing and it makes me so anxious that my palms sweat and I can't concentrate. It's one of the reasons why I arrive early so I can get a good seat in the back row. But most especially, I'm finding it difficult to sit still because my whole existence is itching to turn around and find the guy with the baseball hat and maybe throw him a thankful smile. But just like always, my fear and overthinking gets the best of me and I don't.
I'll just wait till after class to say thank you.
But by the time class is over and I'm done packing up my stuff, I look around the almost empty lecture hall in hopes of finding the baseball hat guy but he's gone.
And I can't help the sinking feeling I got in my belly as I wonder to myself who it could have been.
"Can I please get a large caramel latte?" I smile politely at the cute barista behind the till at Starbucks. He punches in my order while asking if I want anything else but I decline before swiping my credit card. He flashes me a cute grin and I know I should try to make small talks with him like any girl would but pair having a crush with anxiety issues and you get a recipe for speech poverty.
No literally, for almost a year, I haven't worked up the courage to say more than 'can I please get a large caramel latte'. I spend half of the time walking to Starbucks pretending I'd actually say something to him but I get here and everything just goes poof. It's quite pathetic really.
A few minutes later, he arrives with my order. "Here you go," He says giving me that suggestive cute smile once again "Caramel latte, enjoy."
Come on Lorraine. Say something. Say—
I rolls my eyes at my own patheticness and walk towards a table by the window where I usually sit so I can wallow in my failure and secretly gawk at him and imagine what cute babies we can make together—all whilst doing some school work of course because if I'm going to stare at a cute boy I'm never going to talk to then I might as well be productive so that it's not a total waste of my Tuesday afternoon.
After taking a satisfying sip of my drink which I think is made with utmost love and affection, I set up my laptop and open up my emails to see if I have anything new but I'm not surprised when there's nothing. I know it's only two weeks into sophomore year but I need to start an internship soon. And it just so happens that to get good internships it's either you know someone who knows someone who knows someone or you're downright one of the best. As I'm none of that, they don't think I'm good enough or worth their time. I can't even blame them because let's face it, I'm not the most outgoing person.
I refresh the email just in case and go on my junk because some mails automatically go there. Don't ask me why, beats me. Most of the emails are subscriptions to random stuff I've signed up to online apart from one message that stands out. I click on the weird name Angie Furburger and instantly scan through the message when I say UCLA Daily Bruins image as an header.
I submitted a rushed application a few weeks ago after getting a brutal rejection for an internship position at LA Weekly and Los Angeles Downtown news. I didn't think I'd get accepted. UCLA daily bruins is one of the most prestigious student papers in the country which makes it is extremely difficult to get into. But like my mum would say, you'll never know when you might get a chance, so always take a shot.
Guess I should listen to her more often.
Dear Miss Lorraine Peroba
I am happy to inform you that after much consideration following up your interview, your application has been accepted and we would like to offer you a position as an intern at The Daily Bruins—
"I got in." I whisper to myself as I stare at the screen in front of me. I close my eyes and pinch myself to make sure I'm not having some sort of sick dream. But when I open my eyes, the words are still on the screen and I have a noticeably red spot on my arm. But that doesn't matter because "I actually got in."
Quite frankly, when the Chief Editor Melissa Huntley promised to give me a call back after how shit I was at my interview, I didn't think she meant it. My face breaks into a large smile as I grab my phone off the table. I click on my messages, my fingers gliding against the screen with pure joy.
Guess who's got an internship at The Daily Bruins?
I just got the email.
Still pretty shocked
so proud of you baby knew you had it in you
celebratory drinks on moi tonight.
8 pm, the square.
whoop whoop 🙌
Hells to the fuck yeah
No guys, I have got a lot of work today. I'm so sorry but I can't.
how about we all have girls night instead?
that doesn't sound as fun but w the day I'm currently having, I'll take anything.
Yeah that's fine
I'm about to get to class
see ya'll tonight.
I lock my phone and place it on the table with a satisfied smile. After sending in my reply of how I appreciate and accept the offer and would love to attend the welcome meeting next week, the excitement buzzing in me acts as a motivation to start up on one of my essays. It doesn't take long before I'm deep into the world of research, referencing and taking notes. By the time I'm halfway done, it's starting to get dark and there's only a few students in here hunched over their laptops as they work diligently. Knowing that I need to get a move on if I want to catch the next shuttle that goes to my complex, I begin to pack my stuff but stop when baseball hat guy catches my attention where he's standing next to the serving counter, waiting for his order.
He's tapping furiously on his phone, making me feel sorry for whoever is at the receiving end of that message. But that baseball hat is still masking his face, adding to his whole mysteriousness. He's either one of those weird people who love the gym or an athlete, either way, he looks extremely fit in the matching black Nike tracksuit he's wearing.
He catches me staring at him as he turns to leave with his drink in his hand and his phone in the other. I know I shouldn't blatantly stare at him like that but I can't help it. He looks so familiar, not because he helped me today, but because I feel like I've seen him somewhere before. I just can't figure out where. Not to mention, he's extremely good looking—like in a sexy, panty dropper kind of way.
Damn. I don't know what I expected but I certainly didn't expect him to be this nice to look at.
I smile at him—my way of saying thank you for earlier but his forehead simply creases in confusion and I can swear he muttered a 'the fuck' to himself before walking out of the coffee shop.