Image from Google.
She knew she should have paid better attention in kindergarten. At the very least, she should have allowed her techno- freak step father to buy her a smartphone like he had been begging to. As she dangled like a fruit bat from Bennett’s arm, her smug dignity against needing technology had been replaced by a feverish desperation to win their current debate. ”It was E-I-A-I-O!”
“We shall see,” Bennett sang, whipping the phone back and forth miles above her head. ”And that last noise wasn’t a goat, it was a sheep.”
“Like you’ve ever been on a farm!” she scoffed.
“Considering you don’t even know my major nor the lyrics to “Old MacDonald had a farm”, I doubt you’re one to guess.” He stopped and dramatically dangled one finger above the screen. ”I say E-I-E-I-O.”
“A-I-O.” She dropped off his elbow, wishing he’d at least shake out his arm or act like she nearly dislocated it from the socket. His infuriating grin widened. ”If you win, I’ll read your smut book. What will you do if I win?”
“Go on a date with you.” She wanted to swallow the words as soon as she’d said them. He was probably dating some sorority girl or cheerleader. ”Just kidding,” she added, ducking down into the lapels of her coat. If there was a snowbank, she would have thrown herself in it. ”I’ll do your homework.”
“You don’t even know my major.”
“But you have to be taking an English class. Everyone has to take an English class.” In a sheer moment of panic, she blurted, “You’re not a athlete, are you? I don’t do PE. Please don’t make me do a tennis class for you for a day or something.” The only person who had seen her legs in shorts since the ripe old age of five was her doctor. The last thing she needed was a boy her age seeing them– a cute boy at that.
His eyes crinkled. ”No, I’m not an athlete. Not a college one, anyway. I do inter murals for fun.”
Of course, she thought. ”What inter murals?”
“Soccer and lacrosse.”
She gulped and extended her hand. ”What are the terms of your bet, sir?”
He extended his. ”I win, you write a short story about us. You win, I’ll read the smut book.”
“It’s not a smut book,” she argued.
“It’s not good, or else you wouldn’t have gotten lost.” His grin went from infuriating to heart-melting. ”No book approved by snotty editors would ever distract someone like that.”
Considering she had used plenty classic and revered books as props for table legs or as lining for her saggy couch cushions, she bit her tongue and grabbed his hand. ”Deal.”
If he felt the same zip of warmth sizzle down his forearm as she did, he never showed it. Pressing the screen, he hopped from foot to foot as an electronic voice crowed, “Old McDonald had a farm– E–I–E–I–O!”
“What?” she sputtered. ”You can’t assume that one web site”–
“Don’t be a sore loser, Charlie! I expect my story by the end of the week!” With the phone still singing, he danced back the way they had came. She stared after him for a moment, not knowing whether to be baffled or blushing. When the campus clocks tolled two, sense slapped into her before the cold wind did.
“Professor Heyer!” She bolted towards the English building’s doors. Flustered and frantic, all thoughts of Bennett slipped through her mind as she took the stairs three at a time and skidded into the literature dean’s door. Smoothing her hair, she stepped up to the desk.
“Professor Heyer, please.”
If she had been smart, she would have turned and ran. If she had an inkling of what would happen in the next 24 hours, she would have crawled under her bed and refused to move.
But instead, she followed the secretary inside.
Stay tuned, Invisible Friends! A new Valentine’s recipe mañana!
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