“Cause you stop my heart. I can’t focus on anything.”—Melanie Fiona.
Opening Theme Song: “You Stop My Heart” by Melanie Fiona.
“I am almost there, Blaze.”
A breathless whisper drags me from my idle gazing at the ceiling as Melissa Jones rotates her hips against my groin, her thick black hair swept onto one side of her neck.
The golden sun rays pouring through the cream curtains glisten on her wet skin as she bites her plump lips in satisfaction.
Shooting me a seductive smile that is immediately replaced with a face of pleasure, she lowers her lips to my neckline, and I almost grimace. “I am so close.”
I roll my eyes. Just cum already, good lord. I am starving and the campus cafeteria normally runs out of burgers at approximately one in the afternoon. This is taking up all my damn time.
She’s shivering, moaning, riding her way to bliss, and I glance at my watch impatiently while she ventures wet, cringy kisses along my neck.
Since her eyes are now closed, she has no idea that my groans are as fake as her rear.
I hiss audibly and she lifts her head. Her movements are faster now and if she keeps this up, there is no doubt she will fracture my ribcage.
“Did you just suck your teeth, baby?”
I force a smile. “Nope, that was a moan.”
She beams. “Mm, really?” She throws her head back, circling her waist like the apparent professional she is.
At this point, I am getting quite bored, and my stomach is rumbling. My eyes dip to my watch again.
“I got to run,” I say flatly, gripping her naked thighs and throwing her off me. She falls backward off the bed with a yelp, and I open my eyes wide, stifling a laugh.
Her face scrunches up in confusion and she rubs the back of her head while climbing back onto the bed. She watches me get up with a crinkled nose. “Where are you going, Blaze?”
“The cafeteria,” I reply blankly as I push a leg into my jeans, balancing on one leg like a professional acrobat. “I am hungry.”
“Want something?” I ask, though not really caring about a reply, as I pull my arms through the sleeves of my white T-shirt, dragging it over my head.
I frown when I see her thick lipstick stain on my sleeve and I tug at the hem, scrutinizing the red mark. “Damnit...”
She narrows her eyes at me while gnawing on her lip disapprovingly. “I can’t believe that we were just having sex and you had food on your mind the entire time. Gosh, the rumors are true. You’re an asshole.”
I roll up the sleeve to hide the mark while giving her a pink, lopsided smirk. “Well then, I’ll see you around, yeah?”
I begin to move toward the door as she frowns. “That’s all you have to say?”
I turn to look at her, walking backward as I wave my hands around, gesticulating.
“All of this? Too much estrogen, I can’t handle the emotional breakdowns of women. Prefer not to stay in here a moment longer for it to happen.”
“You’re a dick.”
“Better to be a dick than a pussy.”
I chuckle as I turn toward the door, hearing the sheet rustle as she gets down, desperately mincing behind me.
She sticks her head out the door, her naked body hiding behind the white paint-chipped walls. “Can we do this again?”
“Mm. Maybe.” I barely glance over my shoulder and she scowls, her eyes opening wide when she spots her boyfriend coming up the hall.
I laugh, looking back at her, but the door is already slamming closed as she quickly returns inside. Damn, I should have stayed in there a minute longer.
Her boyfriend—Leo (no, definitely not Leonardo DiCaprio)—is a nerdy-looking guy with receding hairline and a weird stubble on his chin that more looks premature than manly.
I cannot understand why he keeps wearing these fake-ass loafers with white-and-gray diamond socks.
He looks like a background extra in a 90′s film; the type of irrelevant cast member whose only duty is to casually cross the street so that the scene appears busy.
The reason I just slept with his girlfriend isn’t merely because she’s been secretly eyeing me since the first year.
It’s mainly because her boyfriend hates me for reasons that apparently only he knows, and perhaps one of them is the fact that I have all the girls here in the palm of my hands.
He, on the other hand, has to spend his entire allowance on roses and bouquets, holding Prada bags and Gucci shoes just to get laid.
I won’t apologize for having a deceptively sweet tongue, and it’s certainly not my fault that he’s unaware that this is the twenty-first century.
“Hello, Leo.” I throw him a triumphant smirk and he narrows his eyes at the ominous greeting as I stroll on past him.
I hum a tune under my breath as I continue my journey down the hall, pleased with the fact that I am now aware of the type of undergarments his girlfriend wears. What better revenge is there?
Admittedly, I can be quite vindictive and massively manipulative most of the time.
The remaining moments are when I want something from someone and it requires me to be on my best behavior to acquire that which is sought-after.
I’ve grown up having my way the majority of the time, so if I don’t get it, I’ll go to extensive measures to change that fact. Extensive can range from mild, to cunning, to sinister, to dangerous.
I am obsessed with control and the need to possess anything I lay my eyes on. If I don’t attain it—and this happens once out of a hundred times—then Lucifer breaks free from the feeble cages within me.
I am fucking twisted. I am aware of that.
Leo stops and turns his head to watch me curiously, and feeling his beady brown orbs on me, a smirk creeps its way onto my lips.
He’s sure looking for trouble, isn’t he? I’ll give it to him.
I wave a hand in the air. “By the way, tell your girlfriend thanks for the sex!”
Biting back a smirk, I can only imagine how electrocuted he looks right now. He begins to yell a stretch of profanities in a rage, but I am laughing too hard to care.
I’ll sleep with his girl every day if this is the amusing reaction I would receive.
“You asshole, you little fucker, you won’t get away with this! You will pay for touching my girl, you psychotic son of a bitch!”
I laugh hard as I swing around, pointing to my throat. “You’ll damage your windpipe. Calm down.”
He’s fuming, and I can almost see a little red smoke coming out of his ears. The sight is humorous and entertaining. I shake my head and turn around, disappearing around the hall.
“And here we are, that’s it. Homewood University. Gosh, I am so proud of you, Harmony.” My mom reaches over to press a kiss to my head, and I smile softly.
High school is over and here I am, about to embark on a brand-new period of my life. I have been academically preparing for this day for at least half of my existence, yet I am still not mentally prepared.
I hate changes, and although I understand that they are inevitable, I still cannot shake off the huge wad of anxiety coursing through me.
Homewood University is enormous. It is oddly parklike with drowsy red-brick walls that appear quite intimidating.
The lawn is beautifully green but that large fountain in the center, with that statue resembling Mary Magdalene, looks a bit more creepy than sacred.
The campus has a Georgian feel to it, yet still appears modern. It has a captivating exterior for the most part; perhaps this is one of the reasons my mother insisted I go here.
“You are so brilliant, so bright.” She pinches my cheeks painfully and I grimace, causing her to chuckle while her eyes glisten with sadness.
She sighs, fiddling with her wedding band. “Who’s gonna watch Girlfriends with me now?”
My mom’s exaggerating; I only recall watching that comedy with her once. One time!
“Eli could.” I smile.
My attempt at humor falls flat as she breathes out harshly.
“Eli is only six years old, Harmony.” She trails her slender fingers down the side of my head. “Visit on the weekends.”
“And no drinking, no sex, no boys—”
“Mom, I know,” I cut her off, inwardly cringing at the word ‘sex.’
I have never had a boyfriend before, and truth be told the topic does not excite me. I’ve seen too many teenage girls wailing over lost love and decided I didn’t want to be a part of the batch.
She sighs, tilting her head to the side as she purses her lips.
I smile a little in hopes of brightening the sullen mood. “It’s just college, Mom, not the army. Don’t worry.”
She nods. “I know.” She kisses my cheek and I subtly pull away. Her over-affectionate behavior is starting to make me feel like a two-year-old being left at kindergarten for the first time.
I open the car door and step out onto the hot pavement, a gush of wind swirling my black curls around the small frame of my face.
Squinting my eyes in the hot afternoon sun, I open the trunk as my mom walks around to join me.
“I packed every possible thing that you might need. Toothbrush, hairbrush...”
My small fingers curl around the handle of my suitcase as I haul it from the space, grimacing when I almost fall over onto my face.
Jesus, what on earth did my mother pack in this thing? Rocks? Knowing my mom, she probably packed the whole house.
I grab my duffel bag, perching it onto my shoulder as she closes the trunk door. “I tried to get everything in but if anything got left behind—”
“I can get other stuff if needed. There’s a mall down the street.”
“No, you should call me if you need anything.” She shakes her head. “I hate you wandering around. You know no one here.”
I think my mother constantly forgets that I’m eighteen.
“Yeah, Mom, but it’s just the mall. Plus, I can ask someone to accompany me.”
She tilts her head to the side, pressing a palm to her waist as she droops her eyes. I cannot help but chuckle.
We both know that I would never ask someone to accompany me. I am enormously anti-social, and the fact that my mother is excessively overprotective does not aid my case one bit.
“Okay, be careful. University is a scary place,” she advises, and I nod.
After the passing of my dad when I was only twelve, I have spent most of my time hanging out with my mom. Of course, me shipping off to college is not something she is excited about.
Being alone in our house has always been her biggest fear, but luckily my little brother Elijah will be there to keep her company. I am relieved.
“Good luck. Do you need me to come along?”
I shake my head, turning to face her. “Um, no. I’m okay. I’ll call you.”
She nods in response, the tears gathering in her emerald eyes once again. She’s so emotional. “Okay, Harmony.”
I smile as I turn away, dragging my overweight suitcase toward the large building. I hear her engine start up and I look back to offer a final wave as she honks her horn before driving away.
As soon as she vanishes into the distance, an anxious sigh escapes me. Being in an unfamiliar environment and knowing absolutely no one is overwhelmingly terrifying.
I have been sheltered my whole life, and my mom even contemplated homeschooling me after kindergarten.
My dad disapproved of it, saying raising up a child to be naive is a lot more dangerous than allowing them to fly free.
Now here I am, flying free, and I desperately want to return to my warm cocoon already.
This place is too big, and I feel like David standing among a bunch of Goliaths. I have a tiny figure and I am short in stature, but I just feel like these kids are larger than normal adolescents.
It’s probably my anxiety. I breathe in and out, zipping my suitcase open to retrieve my asthma pump from the small compartment of the bag.
I close my lips around the mouthpiece, pressing the canister as I inhale a chunk of air, breathing out through my nose.
I slip it back in, biting my lip and glancing up to see a group of boys gawking at me as they pass by.
Embarrassment reddens my face as I lower my gaze, tilting my head so my thick, curly hair blocks the side of my face.
I wanna go home!
Straightening my spine, I begin pulling my suitcase across the pavement. My anxiety-driven demons whisper among themselves that all eyes are currently on me.
Kids are gathered on the lush lawns; laughing, talking, and just being normal college students.
Hiding behind the cloak of my hair, I steal a small glance through the narrow spaces, and luckily, no one seems to care that I exist.
Great, it is all in my head then. That is a relief.
Fortunately, I make it to Grayson Hall—my assigned dorm—with no human contact, and honestly, I am beyond relieved.
My dislike for human acknowledgment has landed me with only one friend in high school. Callum Gale.
We became friends in ninth grade when we got grouped up for a chemistry project. Our love for the topic atoms is what gave us a young yet strong friendship, but it sure is a shame that he will not be here with me.
He got admitted to another university; Homewood doesn’t offer what he wants to study, unfortunately.
While I check my dorm number on the admittance email Homewood sent to my cell, a group of laughing boys scampers toward me like a bunch of fifth graders, laughing boisterously as their deep voices boom off the walls.
They are so...large.
Almost knocking me over, one of them sends me an apologetic smile as I sheepishly shift to the corner, pressing my side against the wall to give them all the space they need.
They continue their childish rant as they disappear down the hallway, and I release a breath I didn’t know I was holding.
Are all college guys this frisky? It is great that I am not the type to care much for boys or I would have been greatly disappointed.
Finally locating my assigned dorm room, Room 805, I smile triumphantly like a two-year-old. The things that get my lips stretching always confuses people.
And by people, I mean my mom, my brother Elijah, my late father, and Callum. They are literally the only people I know.
I push the door open, stepping into a poorly decorated room. It consists of a small desk with a stack of old books perched on top of it, a small double closet at the corner, and a door that presumably leads to a bathroom.
A small window is positioned above a bunk bed, and my mind flows to the fact that my roommate is not present.
I don’t mind. Hopefully she won’t arrive until nightfall, then I’ll already be asleep and won’t have to face any form of interaction.
I prop my bag onto the bottom section of the bunk bed and tie my hair up in a quick messy bun. Prying away strands from my eyes, I reach for a broom at the corner, wrinkling my button nose at its trashy fiber sticks.
The exterior of Homewood University is commendable, but the inside is an entirely different story.
The paint on the ceilings is chipped, and long cracks separate portions of the walls. It is screaming for a well-needed renovation.
Bearing in mind my asthma, I grab a facemask from my duffel bag, tying it over the lower half of my face. It’s a good thing my mom is an OCD perfectionist who never leaves behind a facemask or a gauze.
I grip the broom and begin to sweep the room, squinting my eyes from the dust. This is where I will be spending most of my time for the next four years—if it isn’t clean, I’ll lose my mind.
The door to the room suddenly opens and I stiffen as someone comes rushing in, hastily pulling the broom from my hand. “No, let me.”
I raise my eyes to see a brunette with a friendly smile on her face. Her skin is flawless, and her eyes are a unique shade of blue with little specks of green and gray. It’s rare.
Her beaming smile enlarges, now highlighting her neat rows of milky teeth. “Sorry, I got here before you, I really should have cleaned, but my annoying cousin insisted I eat lunch with him.”
The face mask conceals my small smile, and I pull it off, moving over to the bed as she begins to sweep in my stead. I rest the mask in my bag, and she spots the asthma pump among my clothes.
She frowns. “Are you asthmatic?”
I look at her and nod, and she sighs. “Oh. I know what it is like to have an underlying issue. I know a few people with problems like yours...well, not necessarily similar, but you get what I mean.”
I look away from her, not sure what to say as I zip my bag close. I don’t know her, so talking about my health with her is a little awkward.
Noticing my lack of response, she rests her hand on her forehead as she emits an apologetic titter. “Oh, I am so sorry, am I prying too much?”
I shake my head. I don’t want her to feel offended by my awkward attitude. It’s certainly not her fault that I am this socially weird person who can’t keep up a conversation.
She smiles again and my body convulses in relief.
“I sense that you don’t talk much.” She hitches the broom at the corner of the wall, turning her head to look at me. “But I can assure you that after a week of being here, that won’t be the case anymore.” And she laughs.
My lips tug upward as I pretend to be busy, refolding my already folded clothes and putting them back into my duffel bag. I am so weird.
“You’re a first-year, right?” Her brows furrow as she plops down onto the bottom section of the bed.
I hear the mattress squeak beneath her and wonder how many people have slept on it before my appearance. Maybe I should take the top section?
“Yeah, are you?”
She shakes her head. “Nope, second-year. My dorm mate got a new dorm. Hence why you’re here.” She grins.
“Oh.” I nod my head.
“Oh, yeah, I totally forgot!” She bounces excitedly, and I look up to see her grinning widely. “We are having an orientation night out tonight.
“A few second to fourth years will be telling you guys—the freshmen—some little deets about the school. You know, a sort of survival guide. It is kind of mandatory. We can go together.”
“Uhm. Social gatherings are not my thing,” I politely inform her.
Her grin gets wider, and I wonder if I accidentally accepted the offer instead of declined.
She feigns shock, pressing her palms to her smooth cheeks as she drops her jaw. “Woah, she finally responds with a full sentence.”
I giggle softly at her humor while shaking my head, and she chuckles, whipping her hair from her eyes. “I’m kidding. Will you come?”
“Will a lot of people be there?”
She crinkles her nose pensively, twisting half of her lips, and I automatically take that as a yes. “Uh, maybe.”
I chew on the inside of my cheek, squinting my eyes, considering. The thought of being in crowded places makes my skin crawl.
“My cousin will be there,” she adds quickly. “He’s a second-year too, so he’ll make the experience a lot less awkward. Trust me.”
I purse my lips, still not finding the will in me to agree. I hate seeing humans; I prefer being alone. If I lived in a cave, I would be completely fine.
But this is college, right? And she did say it is mandatory. The last thing I want is to miss out on important information because of my introverted tendencies.
I’ve always been determined not to allow my quiet demeanor to meddle with my education. Besides, if it gets too much to handle, I could always return to the dorm.
“All right, I’ll come,” I finally decide, and she perks up brightly.
“Awesome. By the way, I am April.” She gets up and extends a perfectly manicured hand to me.
Her nails are painted pink with little cute diamond studs all over it. I find myself admiring the art as I take her hand in mine.
Her eyes widen, and I am confused as to why my name evoked that reaction.
“Like, for real?”
I nod, and my self-consciousness is about to kick in when she speaks again.
“Your name is so cool. I like it. Harmony Skye.” She tests it on her tongue, smiling in admiration. “It has a kick.”
I offer a bright smile. “Thank you.”
No one has ever said they liked my name before, and the compliment has me flying on cloud nine. As Callum would always say, the things that get me smiling is something he’ll never understand.
Maybe this roommate will not be so bad after all.
“So, tonight it is then!” She waggles her brows, seeming quite thrilled.
I am more confused than ever. What’s the fun in an orientation?
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