Home > Stay with Me(6)

Stay with Me(6)
Author: Nicole Fiorina

   It was breathtaking, even in the damn mirror.

   “Yeah, that’s right.”

   He turned his body to face me and leaned into this sink as he extended a hand, his eyes even more beautiful when they were looking into mine without barriers. “I’m Ollie.”

   His lovely eyes and formal etiquette caught me off guard. After darting my eyes between his face and his hand, I accepted his gesture. I hadn’t shaken a hand in a long time. Was I even doing it right?

   Ollie grinned.

   He placed his toothbrush and a razor over the sink, and his face fell as he attempted to fix his thick and rebellious hair by running his fingers through. His hair wasn’t long enough to cover his ears, but long enough to fall over his eyes if he didn’t style it back. “Great first impression, yeah?” He followed up with a lazy laugh, but my attention was on the razor, and I eyed it as if it were a million dollars.

   “How can I get one of those?”

   Ollie looked down at the counter and back at me, a small wrinkle forming between his brows. “You haven’t got a razor?” I shook my head, and he slid the razor in my direction as if we were dealing drugs. “You can have this one. It’s fresh. I haven’t used it.”

   “Thanks.”

   We shared a smile, and he dropped his head in acknowledgment before turning and disappearing behind the curtain.

   The water didn’t take long to heat up as I undressed behind my curtain before stepping under the showerhead. It wasn’t hot, but warm enough to bear. I squeezed shampoo in the palm of my hand and massaged it into my scalp, taking my time and hoping Ollie would finish before my water turned cold. I wasn’t good at small talk. It was awkward and pointless, and I avoided it at all costs.

   His water cut off, and the sound of his curtain against the rod followed shortly after. “I would suggest hurrying if you want to avoid rush hour,” he called out over the sound of my running water. His voice came deep and from the chest. He talked slowly, like each word he chose was carefully considered. I peeked my head through the small slit in the curtain just as his shirt fell over his tattooed stomach in the reflection of the mirror. “Only giving you a heads up.”

   Without a response from me, he left. Not even five minutes later, people trickled in as showers and faucets turned on around me, and a few comments were thrown around in the air.

   Today was my first full day of classes and my first counseling session. I was not looking forward to either. My schedule consisted of four rotating courses. Mondays and Wednesdays were the same, with a one-on-one session to follow, and Tuesdays and Thursdays were the same with a group session to follow. Fridays were free days for extracurricular activities, in which I didn’t plan on taking part.

   I arrived here on a Wednesday, making today my first and last day of the week for classes before a three-day weekend. Even though today was supposed to be a group session, Dean Lynch left a sticky note over my schedule to remind me I would continue one-on-one sessions with Dr. Conway up until my second week here.

   Since I wasn’t allowed to have a blow dryer, I left my hair down and air-dried, and wore my combat boots over my black skinny jeans. I didn’t despise the dress code. It could have been worse. The collared Dolor shirt wasn’t too baggy, but not too fitted either as it laid nicely over my average-sized chest. I left the buttons undone.

   The moment I walked into the mess hall, the smell of syrup and bacon made my stomach growl. I decided to sit at the same table as the day before, officially claiming it as mine. The atmosphere during breakfast was far different from last night’s dinner. The morning sun peeked through gray clouds as its rays created spotlights through the window and into the large room. My new fellow peers stayed quiet, dragging their feet from the breakfast line toward their tables. Students slowly seeped in, the dread of the new day written all over their faces. Alicia, Jake, and their group of friends made their way to the same table they’d sat at the day before.

   Jake waved me over from across the room, but I declined with a shake of my head. I didn’t need friends, especially the tenacious kind. Humans annoyed me, and Jake would only drag out my days here. My only mission was to keep my head down and get through the next two years without complication. Having Jake believe we were friends would be a complication. Eventually, someone’s petty feelings would get hurt because of my venomous tongue and reckless actions.

   Ollie strolled in a few minutes later with his brown hair flipped into a lopsided wave and wearing a plain white tee around his tall and skinny build. Tattoos peeked from under his shirt, and his infectious smile lit the room as he entered. His dismissal of wearing the Dolor shirt had me intrigued. He seemed like the kind of guy to get away with shit like that.

   Ollie walked in beside another guy a few inches shorter with midnight-black hair, longer at the top and buzzed around the sides. He had darker features and trimmed facial hair. Since I didn’t plan on getting close enough to the group to learn their names, I’d decided to call him Midnight.

   They both glanced over in my direction as Ollie talked in his ear.

   The pixie-haired girl greeted Ollie with a kiss on the cheek, and he quickly glanced to me then back at her, and his posture changed. It could have been his girlfriend, but the way he reacted said otherwise.

   My attention went back to my food. I took a bite of the bland pancakes as I stared at the screaming kid, Zeke, eating alone.

   The people here, for the most part, stayed to their group or themselves. Loners scattered themselves throughout the mess hall, but you still had your group of sexually confused, your punks, thugs, jocks, mean girls, and handicapped—all most likely avoiding prison or a mental institution like me.

   But then you had the crew Jake and Alicia were in. They were quite the mixture.

   Ollie and Midnight took a seat at their table before Ollie found me across the room. He was interested. Humans are wired to stare at ones they are interested in.

   I once read a study regarding the different levels of eye contact. There are nine levels, by the way. Ollie was on level three right now, which is the “glance and a half.” Though, if he looked away then back at me a second time, he would be upgraded to a level four—”The double glance.”

   He looked away, and I held on a few more seconds.

   He looked again, and—boom—level four, ladies and gents.

   His gaze fixated on me, somehow holding all my attention now. Level five. Those fierce green eyes held a degree of gravity, weighing me down and lifting me off my feet at the same time. He grinned—level six—and I shook my head at his arrogance. Am I smiling? Oh, Jesus, I’m smiling.

   Ollie raised a brow as his smile matched mine. His dimple deepened, and I managed to pull away from his hold to allow my smile to subside.

   I needed to get laid—like yesterday.

 

   The first block went by quickly. I had already taken college algebra during my senior year of high school, so now I was placed in trigonometry. Math was black and white, right or wrong. The answer was clear.

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