"Wait for your punishment, Raven. You lost the bet and I lost my chance with Mason Holden," said a displeased Katherine Reed who was Raven Porterfield's best friend. They both were twenty year old, pursuing a B. Tech degree in Apparel Production Management at London's premier Coventry College Of Fashion.
"What punishment? C'mon Kate, it wasn't a serious bet, " said Raven, with a looking dismay on her face.
"Don't listen to her. It's a shame that Mason got himself a girlfriend before you could confess to him your feelings, " said Mary Ann Harris, another classmate of theirs.
"So what punishment should we give Raven? Hmm, think guys," said Jeffrey Lee, Mary Ann's boyfriend who was also in their class. Two weeks back they had a bet whether Mason Holden was straight or not. He was too hot for his own good yet he had never showed any interest in any girl. Kate had a crush on him and was depressed at the possibility of him being disinterested in girls. However, today Mason introduced his girlfriend Mia Bradshaw to his closest friends and Kate's heart broke.
It was lunch break and they came over to Little Cafe, a busy Cafe adjacent to their campus. It was always bustling with students from different departments any time of the day. Outsiders hardly arrived at the mad house and there was always a shortage of seats. Kate sulked and blamed Raven since it was her theory that Mason wasn't into women.
"I know," started Sabrina Riley who was famous for her weird ideas. Raven groaned and stood up.
"When you come up with something, tell me. I'm going back to class," she said, dreading in her mind what Sabrina might ask her to do.
"You aren't going anywhere, Raven. Sit and hear out your punishment, " said Kate, her eyes mirroring her disappointment.
"Look Kate. So what if he has a girl. He's not married to her. You can still show him that you care. If you're destined for one another, you'll end up together, " said Raven as a last attempt to save herself from Sabrina's ideas.
Raven was a very down to earth, practical minded girl who preferred to stay away from all craziness. Her parents were computer engineers and had a software development firm of their own. They were disappointed at her lack of interest in the field of computers and always tried to prove to her how Apparel Production and Management was a waste of money. Being their only child, they had high hopes upon her which were all dashed the day she chose her own field of study.
"Whatever, you lost the bet so be a sport and accept your punishment, " said Kate. Raven sighed, knowing that there was no escaping the punishment that Sabrina would now have for her.
"Okay, shoot, " she shrugged at Sabrina. She grinned at her devilishly.
"You have to kiss the first guy who enters the Cafe wearing a suit," said Sabrina and everyone cheered in agreement.
"No way guys, I already have a boyfriend. Tell me something else, please," said Raven, thinking about Frank Bradley whom she had been dating for the last two years. He was a good guy, his parents were close to hers, and she had known him for the last ten years.
"You call him a boyfriend? You guys haven't even kissed, " said Richard Fox who was in the same class as them.
"Of course we did," said Raven, glaring at Richard. She remembered the pecks on her cheek that Frank gave her every time they met. He was in his fourth year, studying medicine and hardly had time to meet her.
"Oh c'mon, we know your equation with Frank. Now back to the punishment. Do what Sabrina said else for the next six months, you would be paying our food bills at college," said a sulking Kate. Raven shot her a look. Why was she behaving like a drama queen? As if Mason would have married her if she had confessed!
"Look Raven, you are quite safe with this punishment. You know no one wears a suit here. The professors hardly come here," said Mary Ann. Raven smiled at her. She was right. No one ever wore a suit here so she might just get away without doing anything at all.
"Okay, chill, everyone. I'll do it," she accepted at last, shooting a look all around her. As she had expected, the place was teeming with casually dressed students.
Her friends cheered. "Yay! That's the spirit Raven. Your time starts now," said Jeffrey. They sipped coffee as they waited for some suit-clad guy to enter. After fifteen minutes, Raven looked at her friends.
"Done?" She asked with a smile of relief on her face.
"No, ten more minutes," said Sabrina, looking at the time on her mobile. Raven again sat watching. 10 more minutes and she'd be free from her punishment. She was lost in her thoughts when suddenly Sabrina nudged her. She turned to look at her. Sabrina quietly gestured towards the entrance to the Cafe. All her friends sat frozen like they had seen some ghost. Raven turned rr head to see for herself.
Her eyes popped out at the sight of a gorgeous stranger, in a checked navy blue suit which accentuated his tall muscular frame. Where did this creature come from? Then she remembered the punishment she had to do now.
"I don't believe this!" She said with shock.
Sabrina pushed her and she was forced to get up. "Go," muttered Kate, with a giggle, seeing her expression of dread. Raven muttered curses at her bad luck. The man looked like he walked in straight from some fashion magazine. She slowly walked towards him, praying that her ordeal would be soon over and she could just dissappear, never to see him again. The man's eyes suddenly fell upon her as she walked towards him. He stood and kept watching her. Raven coloured at the intense gaze of his green mesmerizing eyes. God! This was torture. Why did he have to watch her? She could have just kissed him and escaped before he realized it.
She went up to him and he stared down at her with hooded eyes. She colored all the more. She avoided his green eyes simply standing upon her tiptoes and placing a kiss on his cheek. However, as bad luck would have it, the man turned his head and the kiss was planted on his soft warm lips. Before she could escape the scene, his fingers tangled into her hair and he claimed her lips hungrily like a predator. A gasp escaped Raven's mouth and he took advantage and plunged his tongue into her delicious mouth, tasting her thoroughly. There was silence in the entire Cafe as everyone watched the strange drama.
He released her suddenly and Raven just ran out of the Cafe with embarrassment. Her friends called after her but she didn't listen to anyone. "Raven, wait, " said Mary Ann, feeling bad for her.
"Raven, we're sorry, wait," said Richard but she didn't wait to hear their apology. What made her agree to such a thing?
Why did the man have to steal her first kiss? She had saved it for Frank. She touched her throbbing lips, still swollen from that passionate kiss. Who was she bluffing? That kiss was the best she had received in her entire twenty years of life. She had no idea that a kiss could be that passionate. She could still feel the minty taste of his mouth, leaving her tingling all over. She reached her class room and sat down. Thankfully, no one was around. Breathing in and out deeply to compose her steady nerves, she closed her eyes but all she could see was images of that sinfully gorgeous man.
This was real torture! Thankfully, she would never meet him again. She opened her book and tried to divert her attention but with no success whatsoever.
"There you are," said Kate. "I'm sorry, Raven," she said apologetically.
"Please leave me alone," she said, disappointed at her friends. They could have given her a different type of punishment but no, they had to think of the worst possible punishment for her. She felt like she betrayed Frank's trust in her.
"I never imagined that you would really have to do it, Raven. I'm sorry, " said Sabrina, sitting beside her.
"Can you guys please leave me alone? I've done what you asked me to do," she said, getting up and going to the washroom. She checked her flushed face in the mirror. She was looking really thoroughly kissed.
"The campus interviews would srt in five minutes, Janet hurry," said a voice from outside the washroom.
"Coming," said the girl who was washing her hands near her.
"What campus interviews?" She asked her.
"You don't know?" Asked the girl. Raven nodded. She had no idea what was going on apart from her studies.
"The Production Head of the leading Fashion House, JC group Inc. would be conducting campus interviews at our college. In five minutes, the interview and screening would start for internship at our auditorium. It's open to all. I'm retouching my makeup for it," she said with a nervous laugh, walking away, swaying her hips more.
Raven rolled her eyes at her. An internship sounded good. Her parents wouldn't have to spend their precious money on her useless education if she got the job. So she walked out of the washroom towards the auditorium with determination.