I check my phone, growling when I have to ignore another three texts from Brady. “We’re not that early. Only half an hour. We should head to our classes so we can get good seats.”
Dee reluctantly agrees, and I can tell that she’s a little nervous even though she’d never admit it. I smile when we part ways, knowing she’ll be fine. She always is.
With my backpack hanging off one shoulder and a map in my hand, I find my way to Jackson Hall and navigate through a dense cluster of sorority girls to get to room 107. It’s an auditorium way larger than I expected, and I have no idea how the professor is planning to successfully teach a language to a class this large. I automatically find a seat in the back corner farthest from the door, realizing too late that Dee isn’t with me so I don’t need to sit this far back. Since I think it would be awkward at this point to get up and switch seats, I stay put, pulling the fold-over desk over my lap and getting out my textbook and notepad. There weren’t more than a few students scattered throughout the room when I entered, but now the seats are filling up.
Even though I’m a freshman, this isn’t my first college class. I excelled so much in my high school AP classes that I was allowed to take a few courses at our local community college. One of them was French 101, which is why I’m already at the next level. I’m still not completely sure what I want to do with my future, but I’ve been thinking about pursuing a career as a translator, a job that would’ve been flexible enough to allow me to follow Brady wherever he needed to go for work. Now, I guess none of that really matters.
“Hey,” one of my classmates says as he plunks down in the seat next to me.
I gaze over at him, taking in his faded Mr. Bubble T-shirt, his acid-washed jeans, and his hot-pink Chuck Taylors. “Hey.” He’s tall, nearly as tall as Adam but with a little more meat on his bones.
He reaches out a hand. “Leti.”
“I’m digging the polka-dot scarf, Rowan.”
I blush, thinking of Adam as I fiddle with the petite scarf wrapped around my neck. When I looked in the mirror this morning, there was still the faintest little trace of a love mark. I barely managed to sneak it under Dee’s radar yesterday, and today it was barely visible, but I knew she’d still lock on it like a heat-seeking missile. The scarf was a must-have, and I’ve paired it with black leggings, a loose white top, and bright red flats. My blonde hair is pulled up in a tight ponytail. If I looked any Frencher, I’d have to stop shaving my armpits. “Thanks.”
“I hear this guy is tough,” Leti says, referring to our professor, who hasn’t made an appearance yet. “Did you have him last year?”
“No, this is actually my first class.”
“You’re a transfer?”
“A freshman.” I give him a half smile.
“A freshman . . . ? Are you sure you’re in the right place?”
I laugh when he looks at me like he feels sorry that I’m lost on my first day. “Yeah, I’m sure. I took French 101 while I was still in high school.”
“Wow,” he replies, his golden-brown eyes looking genuinely impressed. Oversized shades are sitting on top of his wavy ombré hair—deep bronze with sunrise-blond highlighting, it’s buzzed short on the sides but left long on the top. “I’m glad I sat next to you then! I need all the help I can get.”
I smile at him, realizing I’ve made my first new friend in record time. I pull my water bottle from my backpack and am taking a big sip when Leti suddenly grabs my forearm and points his chin toward the door. “Look who it is.”
My eyes wash over the seats in front of me to land on—
Adam. Freaking. Everest.
I choke. Literally choke. Water forces itself into my sinuses as I try to not spit it all over the students sitting in front of me, and Leti claps me on the back, laughing. “Hey, are you okay?”
“Yeah,” I cough. “I’m . . .” I’m too busy watching Adam to think straight. I can’t even be bothered to finish my sentence. He’s in another pair of torn-up jeans that are barely clinging to his hips, along with a gray T-shirt advertising some band I’ve never heard of. His braceleted wrist is reaching up to brush the hair away from his face. That face . . . I’d almost convinced myself that I remembered him being hotter than he really was.
Nope, didn’t imagine it.
Most of the seats in the auditorium are taken, but a group of girls up front are calling his name, and Adam goes to sit with them. The girl who came in with him sits down on his lap and wraps her arms around his neck, giggling like she’s oblivious to the stares of everyone else in the room. What the hell is he doing here?
With my eyes still on the back of Adam’s head, I ask Leti, “Adam Everest goes to school here?”
“Hence the welcome party in the hall,” Leti answers, and then his chin comes to rest on the heel of his palm. He stares dreamily at the boy who just had his hands all over me less than forty-eight hours ago and sighs. “I had French 101 with him last year.”
“Why?” I ask. When he shoots me a confused glance, I clarify, “I mean, why is he taking classes?”
Leti shrugs. “I have no idea, but I’m definitely not complaining.”
When our professor walks in, the chick on Adam’s lap is forced to find a seat in the row behind him because the girls he sat with didn’t save her a seat. Is she his girlfriend? Does he have a girlfriend?