Nothing and no one could change her good mood today. Not even those wannabe spice girls.
The extra money from last night made her fill her cupboards. It had been a while since she had indulged in grocery shopping. And the breakfast delivered anonymously, it was obviously from a top-notched restaurant, filled her tummy to the brim.
Having extra shillings, made her buy her favorite lip gloss. Of course, it was cheap but it did wonderful things to her lips. Making her feel pretty, too.
She had a few bucks left, the money was budgeted until payday.
In high spirits and about to reach her locker, her happy steps faltered. From the corner of her eye, she saw Sandy, from her class walking a bit too close to...Professor Stafford. Cozy. Sinclair thought bitterly. They came out of the teacher’s lounge at this early hour. When most likely no one was about. The girl was smiling at him enticingly while he glanced down.
Oh. I see. Looking away was the best option.
She didn’t need a degree to decipher their type of body language. Even a blind person could see it.
The problem was she had regarded him in such high esteem. Disappointed. Dejected. She turned away. She should have known better.
She guessed SOMEONE had the power to burst her happy bubble after all.
And she stupidly gave him that power without even knowing.
-Six more weeks, Sin. Hold on tight.-
She was so fucking glad she was almost done for the day and really looking forward to peace and quiet in the library.
-You have been swearing all day, Sin.-
Yeah. Like she fucking cared. Done with the exam, her fingers typed furiously on her laptop. Poor baby. Just had this beauty and she was overworking him.
Frustration was the least of what she was feeling the whole day. The scene she had witnessed earlier kept playing in mind.
-You are jealous.-
No. Impossible. She didn’t have the right. The fault could only be laid at her feet. She cared too much too easily.
Clenching her jaw, she stopped and read her notes. Few more minutes to go and she would be out of here.
There. Almost done.
“Ms. Yuan, please stay a few minutes after class. We have to discuss your thesis.” Fucking great! She had to endure the great professor a bit longer.
Answer him, damn it! “Yes, sir.”
Why couldn’t she just tell him to shove it...
-Sinclair! He did you no wrong.-
Professor Stafford waited until everyone left before he approached her in his customary graceful strides. He had a different expensive suit on. This time it was all in black, a contrast to his starch white dress shirt.
Not wanting to be towered over, she stood up shakily. At least it will lessen the effect of being intimidated.
“Are you ok, Sinclair?” -Don’t make me shiver. Don’t.-
Suppressing it as much as she could, she looked beyond his shoulder and nodded. Hopeless. His voice did things to her body.
“I’m okay, sir.” Her eyes were anywhere but at him.
“You seem distracted today. Is everything okay at home?” He was closer to her now. Only two feet apart. When did he move?
“Everything is okay, sir.” Good job, Sin. Keep it monotone.
But when he tipped her chin with his two fingers so he could look directly into her eyes, she trembled from his touch.
What was he doing to her? His eyes...there was something in the way he looked at her that raises goosebumps all over her skin.
“You are angry, Sin. Why?” Did he give her a nickname?
She shook her head, dislodging his fingers from her chin. She tried to step back and create distance but the chair behind her prevented her escape.
What he did next, made her inhale sharply from his warm touch.
He cupped her face with one hand and pulled her closer with his other hand on her waist. It was a blatant warning to let her know he wouldn’t let go until she answered him honestly.
“Professor,” -Breathe, Sin. Breathe.
He sighed deeply, his warm breath caresses her black hair. Since she was petite at only 5′3", he had to bent a bit towards her, which only brought their bodies closer still.
“What you saw earlier, Sin...”
“Is none of my business, professor. I won’t tell anyone.” Her heart clenched at the memory. She said that a bit harshly making her wince.
So, he made her stay to make sure she didn’t say anything to anyone. He thought she would rat him out. And he thought to seduce her to shut her up? She was deaf, not gullible.
“I want to make it your business, Sinclair.” His voice was so intense when he said that.
Surprise, she met his gaze. She couldn’t believe her ears.
“Professor, I...I think...God! You can’t.” Fear suddenly engulfed her. She can’t be close to anyone. And she was not Sandy.
“I can and I will, Sin. It’s only a matter of time. Soon, my girl.” The professor sealed his promise with a kiss on her forehead. “Remember this, I only want you. Go now, sweet. Before I lose control.”
She couldn’t run from the room fast enough. No! She won’t allow it.
What Professor Stafford said earlier, she couldn’t get it out of her head.
What did he really mean? Why say those words to her? She was not attractive and she knew she was far from it.
His words kept repeating in her mind. Seducing. Making her think of possibilities. Studying had become useless. She couldn’t find peace even at this hour.
It’s 1 am. There were a few patrons about. Tomorrow, she will be at the laundry shop. They pay decently, so she couldn’t afford to let her third job go.
Oh. Those expensive five cars were parked outside again. This time in different models. Who could they be?
Don’t have any idea. Rich folks don’t usually frequent Rose Hill.
A man with black hair and green eyes entered the diner this time.
“Hey, babe. How’s it going?” Uh-huh? Not falling for that.
“Good, sir. What can I get you?” He smirked. They must be a bunch of handsome guys.
“Five black coffee. All with a bit of sugar and I’ll have donuts. Have to sweeten our night.” The Irish brogue in his voice was adorable.
She nodded. Smiling faintly.
“Glad I made you smile, babe.” With her back to him, she rolled her eyes. Flirt.
Handing him his orders neatly. He passed her a 500 note. Huh? Surely...
“Sir,” she narrowed her eyes. He chuckled.
“Keep it, babe. Buy something nice, yeah?” He tipped his head then left.
Rich people. They hand out money left and right.
She guessed it was another lucky night for her.
This was getting weirder. But money is money.
Just like the other night, she could feel someone staring at her from one of the cars.
A knock on her door interrupted her much-needed sleep. She got home at 4 am. It’s only what? 7 am. Damn!
Today was Tuesday and she had World History and Literature, she would have plenty of time to sleep before school.
This asshole at her door...
It’s a life-size pink teddy bear-- the first one was brown-- dressed in white silk. Was that a wedding dress?
Another expensive bouquet of perfect pink roses and a small box.
This couldn’t be.
“You don’t know who sent these?” She eyed the delivery guy hopefully. She may need to return this but how?
“Nope. Just the delivery guy.” He saluted her before he left.
Inside the box was a very expensive cellphone. One rich folk pre-ordered before it was even out of the market. Nope. She was not accepting this.
Could it be...
No. He doesn’t know where she lived. Or does he?
Can she talk to him and ask him today?
She needed to. If he did this then she would return all of these to him. Well, not the chocolates. She ate those already. Same with the breakfast-to-go left at her doorstep when she reached home earlier.
Jesus! She was not a charity case.
Sinclair approached him this time. It was just the two of them left in the room.
He looked up. His beautiful dark brown eyes were steady and...amused?
“Umm, Professor... Can I ask you something?” She tried so hard not to fidget where she stood.
“Anything, sweet. And it’s Nicholas.” She gasped when he gently clasped her hand, entwining their fingers.
“I...ah...sir. It’s not that I am implying that you are doing it...and...” She licked her lips nervously.
He was smiling at her, encouraging.
“Just say it, my sweet.” How could she concentrate? He kept toying with her hand.
“Did you send those...” God! What if he didn’t? “Gifts.”
“Hmmm, what gifts?” He murmured, his concentration on her trembling hand, rough thumb rubbing her wrist, feeling her pulse.
She cleared her throat. “The gifts.” Her voice came out in a husky whisper.
When he looked up to meet her gaze, his dark eyes were filled with hunger.
“What will you do with them, sweet?”
" I...I will return them.” His eyes hardened. Without releasing her gaze, he kissed her knuckles, soft lips ran on her ruddy skin. Tingles coursed through her body.
She tried to suppress her moan, he heard it nonetheless.
“If you ever return them or give them away, I will spank your cute behind until you couldn’t sit on a chair for several days without wincing, my sweet. I promise you. Understand?” She should fear him. She shivered in anticipation instead. She nodded. Dumbfounded.
“Words, my sweet.” He kissed the inner face of her wrist then licked it. Oh, God! His tongue was hot. She squirmed. This was the first time she experienced something intimate.
“Yes...yes, sir.” That made him smile.
“Good girl. Come let me escort you out. This will happen here next time. I promise, sweet.” What will happen here?
He ignored her protest, taking her books and laptop in one hand, the other wrapped on her tiny waist, he escorted her until she reached her locker.
People milling about were looking at them in shock.
To give them something to gawk at, he leaned in to kiss her forehead and her flush cheeks. Fuck! She wanted to crawl under a rock. He had no care for such proprieties and he was ignoring the professor and student taboo. Why?
“Later, sweet.” He bowed before leaving her speechless.
That did not just happen.