Authors: Teresa Mummert
Tags: #Romance, #Coming of Age, #Young Adult
“Hold it! Please hold the elevator!” I yelled as I ran across the lobby as the elevator doors began to close. I was running late for my first class of the day. The man inside reached out and stuck his hand between the closing doors causing them to spring back open. “Thanks” I muttered, out of breathe, smiling at him politely. His lips turned up slightly in a grin but he did not respond. I looked him out of the corner of my eye as we road down several floors in silence. His hair was dark and disheveled, and tattoos ran out from under his t-shirt sleeves. His eyes were impossibly green and I could not look away. As the bell dung and the doors popped open two campus security guards stood on the other side. The handsome person bolted through them, knocking one to the ground. I pressed my hands against the back wall of the elevator car trying to figure out what had just happened. The one guard pulled the other to his feet and they gave chase, screaming after him to stop.
I made my way to class unable to stop thinking about those blazing green eyes. My phone rang as I reached the doors to History.
“Did you hear what happened in the dorm this morning?” Taylor asked, sounding incredibly enthusiastic.
“What do you mean?” I asked backing away from the entrance as people milled through the doors.
“Some guy got in a fight and beat the shit out of like three people. Everyone around campus is talking about it.” She was entirely too excited. My mind went back to the stranger in the elevator and my heart began to beat faster.
“I haven’t talked to anyone. I stayed up studying until 3 a.m. for that bio quiz.” I could almost hear her rolling her eyes.
“Before college is over we need to get you a life. You’re missing out on the best parts!”
“We’ve talked about this.” I said, pulling open the doors to the classroom and making my way to my seat. “I have to go.”
“Wait! There is a dollar beer night tonight at Filly’s.”
“Not a chance” I rolled my eyes and flipped through my notes from last night.
“Just think about it.”
“I’ll consider it.” I rolled my eyes again and hung the phone up before she could go on. I had absolutely no intention of going out with her tonight. I needed every waking moment I could spare to catch up on work I had missed while visiting back home. My mother had had a cancer scare and I spent several weeks with her helping her sort out the ordeal. We were all each other had in this world and when she needed me, I dropped everything to be by her side. It was the scariest time of my life.
By the time I had finished my last class I was barely hanging on to consciousness. I made my way back to my room. I lay across my bed and pulled out my notes from today. My phone lit up and I slid it under my pillow.
“Not now” I said under my breath as I flipped through the pages.
“Sinthia I can hear your phone from out here!” Taylor yelled from the other side of my dorm room door. I had met Taylor during freshman orientation. She and I were polar opposites. Her hair was dirty blonde and wildly curly, she cursed like a sailor and every boy in the school fawned over her like helpless puppies. For some reason she was determined to drag me along to every adventure college had to offer.
“Shit” I muttered under my breath and got up to answer it. She stood with her hands on her hips, tapping her foot.
“You’ve been avoiding my calls.” Her eyes narrowed as she crossed her arms over her chest. I rolled my eyes and walked back to my bed.
“I have to study.”
“You have to take a break before you wither up and die in this god forsaken place.”
“That’s dramatic,” I said dryly.
“One drink, I’m not asking you to burn bibles in the middle of campus. Just have some fun for once.” She waited for me to answer. I knew she was right. She just wanted me to have the full college experience before going out into the world and settling down. My life had been perfectly planned out in my head since I was sixteen. I would meet a man who was work driven and kind, have two children and raise our family in a quiet suburb somewhere on the east coast. My mother would come and live with us, serving as a babysitter and of course, my best friend.
“One drink?” I asked over the rim of my dark glasses.
“Yes!” She squealed hugging me enthusiastically. She held me back at arm’s length and looked me over. “We have to do something about your hair first.” She said with mock-disgust. I smacked her playfully on the arm, tugging the hair-tie from my hair, letting long brown tendrils cascade down my back. I did my best to stick my chest out, mocking her playfully.
“Better?” I asked, waiting for her approval.
“Getting there” she nodded with a playful grin. I grabbed a small mirror and put on some mascara and lip-gloss. By the time we left the sun was just beginning to set.
Filly’s Bar overflowed with college students out for a good time and a cheap price. I tugged at my tank top, wishing I had changed before coming out, not that anyone would notice me next to Taylor. The girls around me wore short skirts and tops that barely contained them. I made a face at Taylor, pleading with her silently to take me home.
“You look fine.” Taylor said, grabbing my glasses from my face and shoving them into her purse. I tried to protest but she held up her hand to stop me. “I’ll give them back I promise. Let everyone see your green eyes. They’re so pretty!” My mind flashed to the boy in the elevator. My green eyes did not hold a candle to his.
We made our way through the cramped dance floor to the bar. Taylor had to shout over the music to order us drinks. She turned around, handing me a beer as we studied the people around us. “It’s not so bad.” she shouted. I took a long swig from my beer bottle and nodded.
“Could be worse but I guess that depends on your definition of bad.” I agreed, and she smiled triumphantly. I drank another large sip, holding up my bottle and peering inside. “Almost time to go.” I warned, and drank the last few sips of my beer. She frowned and turned back to the bar.
“Two more beers and two shots of vodka!” She yelled to the bartender. I glared at her, slamming my bottle down on the bar. “Live a little” she said, holding up a shot glass for me to take. I drank it down, the harsh liquid burning my throat. I quickly slammed back my beer, trying to soothe it. “Let’s mingle” She grabbed my arm and pulled me away from the bar. I pulled back against her, but she tugged harder.
“I don’t know anybody here.” I protested.
“Exactly my point!” She called back at me as she made her way into a circle of people. She let go of my arm and I rubbed my wrist. They greeted each other, giving hugs as I slinked into the background. I sipped at my beer slowly, taking in the scene. A group of girls hollered from the doorway as three guys walked in. They laughed and made their way straight to the bar. The first was smaller, with sandy blonde hair, followed by a much larger man with the same color hair. They could have been brothers. The third had dark, messy hair with tattoos scattered over his arms. I recognized him immediately from the elevator.
“Taylor” I called, trying to get her attention, but she had her arms wrapped around some burley guy’s neck and he was whispering into her ear. The green-eyed hottie glanced my way, a hint of a smile on his lips and I looked down at my feet, blushing.
“Can you grab us some drinks?” Taylor yelled over the music. I nodded and made my way to the opposite side of the bar, trying not to look over at the group of guys that were now surrounded by woman.
I held up my fingers to the bartender, signaling for two more drinks. He opened them and sat them on the bar in from of me. I pulled out some cash and set it on the bar, making my way back though the crowd.
“Thanks Sinthia!” Taylor hugged my neck tightly, already half-tipsy.
“I think that guy over there is the one that got in that fight at me dorm.” I yelled in her ear. She looked around at the bar.
“That guy?” she asked. “That’s Collin. He’s got one hell of a reputation.” She laughed as the man she had been hanging on all night came up behind her, wrapping his arms around her waist.
“That’s saying a lot coming from you.” I joked and she scowled at me. Her attention quickly turned back to the stranger that was now nibbling on her earlobe and whispering to her. She giggled over enthusiastically and I rolled my eyes. I wished I had stayed home to study.
The night dragged on and after a few more drinks, I had loosened up enough to join in on some of the conversation, which mostly consisted of clothing and random hookups. Eventually, I had found my way to the dance floor.
“This is so much fun!” Taylor screamed and I could not hold back my laughter.
“It’s not so bad. I mean, it is slightly more tolerable than say…water boarding.” I shrugged, trying to move my hips to the rhythm. I am sure I looked like I was having some sort of seizure next to Taylor, but thanks to the alcohol coursing through my veins I did not care. I spun around, putting my back against her as we moved our hips together. I glanced over at the bar and my eyes locked on to Collin. I bit my lip tucking my hair behind my ear. He grinned back at me, oblivious to the girl that was whispering in his ear and rubbing her hand across his chest.
Suddenly, the wind escaped my lungs as I was shoved forcefully across the floor. Two guys had begun arguing and the one pushed the other, sending him flying directly into me. My drink spilled all over the front of my shirt, completely soaking me. “What the fuck!”
“Holy shit, Sinthia! Are you okay?” Taylor asked. Out of nowhere, Collin was on the other side of me. He grabbed the man who had pushed the other guy his collar. Holding him back at arm’s length, he swung full force. His fist collided with the guy’s jaw, sending him falling to the dance floor. Collin did not let up; he stood over him, hitting him repeatedly. The guy begged him to stop, holding up his arms to protect himself. Others around him joined in and the room was suddenly chaos.
“Let’s go!” Taylor yelled, grabbing my arm and pulling me out of the way. The crowd was pushing all around us. Some were trying to escape while others wanting a better view of the fight or trying to get in on the action. Taylor’s hand lost its gripped and soon a few people stood between us.
“Taylor!” I yelled over the music and the screaming of the crowd. Collin looked back at me and I stared at him, unable to move.
The front doors pushed open and someone yelled that the cops where here. The room erupted in panic as people hurried to leave.
“Taylor!” I screamed again as the crowd moved her further and further from me. The guy she had been hanging out with all night pulled her towards the exit, as I stood frozen.
“Let’s go” Collin said, as he wrapped his arm around my waist and pulled me towards the back of the bar, away from the main exit. I searched the crowd but Taylor was no longer around. We pushed through a door labeled ‘employees only’. After we snaked through a small corridor, we were outside in the cool night air.
Collin nodded to the two guys he had come in with who sat in a small black SUV. The back door flew open and I panicked, not sure if I was being saved or kidnapped. I pulled back from him. He looked down at me, his face twisted in confusion then changed to what seemed to be amusement.