Tuli is a college student who is horrified to discover that her new Professor is Jayce Mitchell, the handsome but infuriating man she had a one-night stand with. As classes begin the flame between them reignites but what Tuli doesn’t know is that Jayce is hiding a dirty, little secret which threatens everything they have.
Age Rating: 18+ (Sexual Assault, Violence)
When I told my best friend I wanted to learn how to be a bit more social with others, a party was the last thing I had in mind. My anxiety began to well up within me as we approached a house I didn’t recognize.
“Meg,” I uttered as I crossed my arms over my chest, “can we just go home, please? I really don’t want to do this.”
Megan, who had practically been skipping her way towards the entrance, stopped and turned to look at me, a quizzical expression on her face as she began to twirl a lock of her long black hair around her well-manicured fingers.
“Why?” she asked. “Don’t tell me you’re feeling self-conscious about your outfit now. You told me you wanted to wear it.”
The mention of my dress had me pulling my skirt downwards, ensuring it was still covering my butt. Despite my protests about going to some random house party, she still managed to drag me to the mall to pick out some clothes.
For some reason, I figured a translucent black blouse paired with a high-waisted skirt that fell just a few inches above my knees would increase my confidence.
Clearly, I was wrong.
I tried to hide the irritation in my voice as I spoke: “No, it’s not about the outfit, Megan. You know I’m not confident in large crowds.”
She pursed her glossy lips as her hazel eyes scrutinized.
“Look, Tules,” she spoke softly. “I know you have a hard time socializing, but you said you wanted to stop being a wallflower. The best way for you to face your fear is head-on.”
She grasped my hand and gave me a sweet smile. “It’s not as bad as you think it is. Trust me. Now take a deep breath,” she instructed.
I closed my eyes and took a sharp inhale through my nose. I held it there for a moment before breathing out. “Good,” Megan encouraged. “Now give me a smile.”
I flashed her a grin, and she nodded her head approvingly. “You can do this, Tuli.”
Megan led me to the front door, which already happened to be open.
My friend came to a stop, allowing me to go in first. Of course, being the klutz that I am, I caught my foot on the step I believed to be non-existent, and I squealed as I tumbled forward.
Much to my surprise, I felt a pair of big arms wrap around me just before I hit the floor. The cool, smooth feeling of leather brushed against my face, and I glanced up to see who my hero was. And my, was he breathtaking.
The first thing I noticed when I looked up was a pair of full, pouty lips surrounded by short stubble.
I was entranced by his almond-shaped chocolate eyes, framed by his shaggy hair, which seemed to match. I could feel the tension of his muscles beneath my fingertips as I ran my hands down his chest.
I watched his nostrils flare as we stared into each other’s eyes. His warm and soothing touch nearly caused me to forget this was happening in real life and not in a dream.
My cheeks reddened as I mumbled an apology and squirmed out of the gorgeous stranger’s arms, who blinked rapidly as if he had also lost touch with reality.
His response was curt as he helped me to my feet. “Watch where you’re going.” With that, he sauntered away.
I stood there, stunned as my friend came up behind me. “Asshole,” she stated as she glared at his retreating back. She shot me a reassuring smile. “Don’t let him get to you. Let’s go get some booze.”
As we entered deeper inside the house, the rancid smell of booze and cigarettes filled my nose, and I had to fight the urge to cough as we passed a couple of smokers. The hallway led into the living room, which was dimly lit by the flashing of multi-colored lights.
The floor vibrated beneath us as our ears were flooded by the piercing music coming from a nearby speaker.
Nearly dozens of people were crammed inside, some bodies grinding against each other to the beat. Others leaned against the walls, casually chatting. I watched as a large, well-built man with short, dark hair approached a petite blonde.
He leaned in to whisper in her ear, only for her to whip her head back, disgust present on her face. I could almost sense her discomfort as she turned on her heel and hastened away from him, ignoring the scowl he shot at her.
Megan led me to the kitchen, where its inhabitants were either playing beer pong or standing around and gossiping. I waited as Megan filled a Solo cup with beer from the nearby keg and passed it to me. I took it hesitantly, staring into the amber liquid as she led me back into the living room. As we headed out, a familiar blonde approached my friend. My brother waved to me and winked at Megan.
Meeting his eyes, she giggled and danced away, forgetting about me entirely. I glared at the two of them as they retreated and took a swig of my beer.
So much for not being a wallflower, I thought glumly.
I stood there, leaning against a wall and contemplating if I should just leave now or try to stay and enjoy being at my first party, my eyes wandering the room.
As I took in my surroundings, I caught a familiar gaze. I stopped to see Mr. Hero standing on the other side of the room, surrounded by a flock of girls.
Yet, his brown eyes were trained on me. Maybe I should have felt uncomfortable under his scrutiny, but something about the way our eyes locked felt natural to me. As if he was someone I had known for a long time.
He looked away, grinning at the short brunette in front of him, and I couldn’t help but feel a little disappointed. Even if I didn’t know him and even if he was an asshole, it was impossible to deny the strong pull I felt towards him.
I couldn’t help but laugh to myself. What kind of girl in her right mind would be attracted to an asshole?
Sheesh, ~I mused to myself, ~I need to rethink my standards.
I looked back at Megan and Daniel, embracing each other as they swayed to the music, and I couldn’t help but smile.
It took a long time before my older brother found his counterpart, who, surprisingly, turned out to be Megan.
It wasn’t long after I graduated high school that the two had developed a relationship, and when I found out, the news filled my heart with joy.
They had always seemed like exact opposites, and yet Megan seemed to be the only woman that comforted him.
Aside from me, anyway.
I knew I was still young at the age of twenty, so I had all the time in the world to find what they had, but I had to admit, I was envious of their relationship.
I’m sure some would think I’m crazy if they’d heard how badly I wanted to find love for myself, but that was what I desired since I was young.
As for why, I wasn’t really sure.
Maybe it had something to do with my mother’s hatred for my father and her children.
Perhaps it was because my father had found a caring woman after she left.
Or maybe it was just the societal pressure to get married and have children.
Whatever the case, it never really mattered in the end. Aside from Megan, my brother, and a childhood friend I hadn’t seen in forever, I was always an outcast.
Growing up, my peers thought I was weird. I preferred reading and drawing over playing tag and climbing the jungle gyms. I had also never been a very active girl, leading to me being overweight.
Thus, adding to the stigma that I was just a freak. Which, unfortunately, only led to a lack of self-esteem while worsening my social anxiety. I chuckled darkly, gulping down more of my beer.
Who am I kidding? Whether I liked it or not, I would always be a wallflower. Maybe my life is better that way.
My eyes strayed from the dance floor, and once again, they somehow managed to meet with the one and only Mr. Hero.
Once again, I felt a sense of déjà vu, but it seemed to bring me some comfort. I could sense some of the tension leaving my body as I trained my gaze on him.
His eyes flickered to mine, and I was sure he would look away again. Or maybe he would glare at me with annoyance.
Our interaction earlier established he had zero interest in me, so it made sense for him to regard me with the same attitude.
However, the wrinkle between his brows seemed to suggest otherwise. His harsh expression had softened, and once again, I was drawn to him.
Maybe he wasn’t the asshole he tried to present himself as. Then an idea popped into my head.
Perhaps I should try talking to him.
My hands shook as I took one more large gulp from my beer before setting the cup down.
Heart pounding in my chest, I turned to face Mr. Hero and made my first step. Then my second step. I was really doing this.
Slowly I began to approach him, wondering how I should introduce myself.
“Hey, it’s nice to meet you! I’m Tuli.” Eesh. I sounded too enthusiastic.
“Yo, how’s it going?” Er, that didn’t sound like me at all.!
I froze when a large body suddenly stepped in front of me, my mind blank.
I looked up to see none other than the guy from earlier, reeking of booze and smoke. His eyes roamed my body, and he smirked. I felt my skin begin to crawl as I took a step back.
“Hey there, sexy lady,” He slurred. “I haven’t seen you around before.”
Great, just my luck.
Panicking, I said, “Fine, thanks,” before spotting an opening to escape. I turned that way but the drunk dude side-stepped, once again blocking my path. “Where’re you going?”
I forced a smile on my face and stared at his chest. “I’m sorry; I need to use the restroom. Would you please move?”
“Why are you in such a hurry? You don’t like me?”
“I’m sorry. I just really have to go, please.”
“I think you should stay,” he growled, snatching my wrist in a vice-like grip.
Images flashed before my eyes: my mother, with a menacing look in her eyes, raising her hand to me as I stood there, helpless and unable to escape her grasp.
Adrenaline shot through my body, and before I realized what I was doing, I swung my hand out, striking him across the face.
It took a moment, but the reality of what I did began to register inside my head, and I yanked my hand back, feeling as stunned as the drunk dude looked.
“Fucking bitch,” he spat, tightening his grip around my wrist. “No one smacks me. You’re gonna pay for that.”
With his free hand formed into a fist, he raised it, aiming right for my face.
Cowering, I shut my eyes and braced for his punch. That was until I heard a cry of pain uttered, and the grip on my wrist loosened. I opened my eyes to see Mr. Hero grabbing the drunk dude by his wrist.
My eyes widened as the creep reached for Mr. Hero’s hand. He let go and reached for drunk dude’s shirt, and slammed him against the wall.
“I think she told you to fuck off,” he threatened. “If you wanna mess with her again, you're gonna be dealing with me. Got it?”
Mr. Hero let him go, shoving him away. The drunk dude stumbled out of the room, cursing and muttering to himself.
My savior turned to me, opening his mouth to speak, but the last thing on my mind was hearing what he had to say.
I turned and bolted for the stairs that happened to be nearby and didn’t stop until I made it to the top and down the dark, quiet hallway.
My terror faded as I gasped for air, leaning over to grab my knees. Then, I heard his voice. “You okay?”
Although it was dark, I could make out his outline and felt the tension roll off my shoulders simply from being in his presence.
“I will be,” I choked out, my heart still beating a hundred miles an hour.
“I don’t think it’s wise to be as oblivious as you’ve been,” he suggested as I heard him flick on the lights, allowing us to see each other better. “Especially if this is your first time attending a college party.”
Anger began to seep through me. I wouldn’t normally snap at some stranger, but for some reason, he was the exception.
I glowered up at him. “What the hell is your problem?”
He glared back at me.
“I had to save you, twice. That’s my problem. Do you enjoy playing damsel in distress?”
I was about to answer when I noticed he was no longer wearing his leather jacket.
Suddenly, I was distracted by the bulge of muscles barely hidden by his black V-neck. I also realized it didn’t do well with hiding chest hair, as I noticed a small patch peeking out.
I bit my lip as some strange feeling began to well up inside me.
A definite part of it was my nerves being on edge, but I couldn’t seem to articulate what the other part could be. I snapped my head up to the sound of him grunting and watched as a familiar emotion filled his eyes.
I furrowed my brows together, thinking hard. Then, a scene from How to Lose a Guy in Ten Days popped into my head.
The shower scene where Matthew McConaughey stares into Kate Hudson’s eyes right before he kisses her. Then they begin to take off each other’s clothes and…
I had to stop that thought immediately as I felt heat rush to my face. They may not have shown what happened, but the innuendo was heavily implied.
“Do you even know how to listen?” Mr. Hero tried to sound harsh; instead, he sounded breathless, and I finally understood what was going on. My attraction to him was mutual. We had chemistry! At least, I was certain we did.
I realized I didn’t want to argue with him anymore. Without thinking, I blurted out, “I’d play Damsel again if it would catch your attention.”
My hands nearly flew to my mouth as his brows rose and his jaw dropped. Shit, Tuli, fucking think twice before you speak!
I wanted to yell at myself. I had never been that forward with anyone before, but something about Mr. Hero made me feel as though I could be myself.
He shook his head, shaking the shock off and grinned at me. “Well, I wasn’t expecting a reply like that.”
I found myself smiling back sheepishly. He continued. “I will admit, you did catch my attention the second you tripped over that doorframe. You know you’re quite the eye-catcher, right?”
My gaze snapped to his. “What do you mean?” I asked.
“Well, you’re fucking sexy as hell,” he admitted, prompting my heart to flutter in my chest.
Mr. Hero took a step closer to me, and I found myself pressed against the wall. “So,” he began, his grin changing to a smirk. “Now that you have me, cutie, what do you want to do with me?”
The second he asked me that, I paused. Actually, I wanted to know what it was like to be kissed. And, much to my surprise, I wanted it from him.
Yet, my fear of rejection came flooding back.
What if this led to something more? ~I thought.~
I was incredibly attracted to him, and the thought of being intimate with him caused a tingle to develop between my legs.
Unfortunately, however, I was, well… quite lacking in experience. I wanted to please him as well, but could I?
As if he could sense my hesitation, Mr. Hero stated, “You don’t have much experience with one-night stands.”
I stared into his big brown eyes and shook my head. His brows furrowed together. “Have you even had sex?”
I repeated my actions, and his eyes widened. He scrubbed his hand down his face and sighed. “I won’t push you to do something you’re not comfortable with. Especially if you’re inexperienced.”
I looked away from him and stared at the floor, disappointed by his reaction. If I wanted this, I needed to say it. Against my better judgment, I asked him, “Would you have a problem taking my virginity?”
He was silent for a moment, stunned by my words. Slowly, he said, “As long as you’re not drunk and you’re absolutely certain.”
There wasn’t much question to that. I did know what being under the influence felt like, and I drank just half a cup of my beer. “I’m not,” I answered, “And I do.”
Mr. Hero’s brown eyes darkened. He took another step towards me, his face only inches from mine. “Well then,” he spoke huskily, “can I kiss you?”
“Yes,” I breathed out.
His lips barely pressed to mine, soft and warm, bringing me comfort. I melded my mouth against his, feeling the tingling begin to heighten. I mewled as he wrapped his arms around me and pulled me flush against his body, deepening the kiss.
Mr. Hero guided my hands to his neck, his tongue flicking at my lips. I opened them, and his tongue slid inside, gently caressing mine.
Something hard poked me in the stomach, causing me to break our kiss. Aroused shock coursed through my body when I noticed the tent in his jeans.
Mr. Hero let out a choked laugh. “Sorry. It doesn’t take long for that to happen.
“So,” he whispered in my ear, “just to confirm again: can I take your virginity, Tuli?”