Page 13 of Mayhem (Mayhem 1)

“I’m Dr. Pullman,” says our professor, a tall, bald man who I can’t imagine smiling even if his life depended on it. “This class isn’t going to be easy. You’re going to have homework. A lot of it.” A girl next to Adam giggles at something Adam said, and the professor shoots her a nasty look. She immediately bites her tongue, and he continues. “I have a strict attendance policy. I expect you to turn your cell phones off at the door. If you treat me with respect, I’ll treat you with respect. Now, how many of you bothered to go online and print out our syllabus?”

Only a handful of people raise their hands. Adam isn’t one of them, and neither am I. Even though I did go online and print it out, I don’t want to draw attention to myself.

Dr. Pullman sighs. “Well, it’s there if you want to take a look. Make sure to review it before you come to me whining with complaints about my class. If you don’t want to be here, you have until next week to drop and still get a refund. As you can see,” he waves his hand across the room, “I’ll have a very full workload with or without you.” He goes to the side of the room and opens up a laptop, starting the projector. “Let’s get started, shall we?”

But there is no way in hell I’m going to be able to pay attention with the girl sitting next to Adam periodically lifting her fingers to comb them through the soft brown hair at the nape of his neck. I know how soft that hair is. My fingertips remember, and I’m having serious trouble not breaking my pencil in half and throwing the lethal pieces at her.

When class ends, Adam is the first one out of his seat and through the door. Leti nudges me with his elbow.

“Jealous much?”

“Huh?” I try and fail to act nonchalant as we pack our bags.

“If looks could kill, I swear there’d be three dead groupie tramps laying up there,” he says with a teasing smile.

“I’m not jealous.”

I’m so jealous. I’m jealous of the very thing I turned down less than two days ago, even though I know I made the right choice. I had just gotten out of a relationship, for God’s sake. Like less than five minutes before I met Adam. And he’s obviously a playboy—which may have been what I needed at that moment, but it’s not what I need long term. Whatever this is that I’m feeling, I need to get over it.

Leti smirks at me. “If you say so, Ro-Yo.”

As we make our way out of Jackson Hall, he’s complaining about what a hard-ass Dr. Pullman is and what hell the class is going to be. I’m half paying attention to him and half flinging nervous glances down every hallway we pass to make sure I don’t cross paths with Adam.

“Are you always this twitchy?”

I look up at him, frowning. “Am I seriously twitchy?”

“You’re like a cute little chipmunk . . . on crack.”

I laugh and adjust my scarf, making sure it’s still covering the mark Adam left on me. “I guess I’m just still nervous about starting classes. Plus I had way too much caffeine this morning.”

“No such thing!” Leti opens the door for me, his wide smile brightening my mood as he flicks his shades down over his eyes. At a fork in the sidewalk, we slow to a stop. “Hey, I’ll see you on Wednesday?” he asks.

“Yep! See ya, Leti.”

“Ciao, Ro-bot!”

The minute Leti is out of sight, my shoulders slump and I feel like a ton of bricks has just collapsed on top of me. I don’t know where Adam disappeared to, but I hurry across the campus lawn like there’s a sniper creeping on the rooftops trying to trap me in his sights. My eyes are everywhere, and my frantic heartbeat doesn’t slow until I’ve dipped into Hoffman Hall, climbed the stairs, and am turning into Room 204.

“Ro!” Dee calls my name from the back, but I’m still in such a daze, I barely make eye contact before I slump into a chair beside her. This room is more traditional, with rows of small desks in front of a whiteboard. “How was your first class?!” Her excitement splashes me in the face, pulling me out of my own head.

“It was . . . interesting. I think I made a new friend. What about you?”

She starts rambling about the hot guy who sat next to her in biology. I nod and smile, smile and nod, add in an “oh” or a “wow” or a “that’s awesome” every now and then. When our speech professor walks in and starts the lecture, I am beyond relieved. My brain is too full. Too full of Adam and . . . Adam. Oh, God.

Dr. V is much nicer than Dr. Pullman. She starts the class by asking us to tell the class our names, our majors, and something interesting about ourselves. When it’s my turn, I’ve been too busy thinking about that girl’s fingers in Adam’s hair to come up with anything.

I stand up. “My name is Rowan Michaels. I haven’t decided on a major yet, but I’m thinking of language studies. And, um . . . something interesting . . .” I’m completely tongue-tied as the pause stretches awkwardly on. “Um . . .”

Oh my God, I’m totally blank! Something interesting, about me? There’s nothing! I made out with Adam Everest on his tour bus last weekend would be totally inappropriate, but I can’t think of anything else!

“And she can fit eleven marshmallows in her mouth at once!” Dee shouts to fill the horrific silence. She’s referring to the time we were sitting around a campfire with a group of friends, all trying to see who could stuff the most marshmallows in their mouth. I won by a landslide. When my loud laughter was muffled by all the marshmallows in my cheeks, everyone completely lost it. We all laughed hysterically until we were drowning in tears. Dee laughed like a hyena until she fell off her lawn chair, which made me laugh so hard I almost choked on a marshmallow.

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