Diana: Oh, I don’t think so. He can get mean and cruel, and he has a way with words that can rip you into pieces, but I don’t think he’s heartless. TBH…I think he’s rather hot.
Matthijs: And I think you’re a masochist.
Diana: *blush* If anyone else had said that, I’d totally find it creepy. But when it’s you…
The professor scowled. Don’t say it. Don’t fucking say it. Don’t. But he was already reaching for his iPhone, and as he hit Send on his message—
Matthijs: It turns you on?
Her reply had arrived at the same fucking time.
Diana: It turns me on.
And upon seeing it, the professor was back to cursing in seven languages. He drove his fingers through his hair in a fit of frustration and clenched and unclenched his fist. But neither helped, and his body, which far from cooling down had instead turned into a tightly coiled mass of sexual need.
Diana: Oh. Wow.
Matthijs: This doesn’t change things.
Diana: But it does. Because whether you like it or not…You’re already close to choosing me.
The professor, being no idiot, knew when to pick his battles.
Matthijs: I’ll see you tomorrow.
Diana: But I want to talk some more. :(
Matthijs somehow found the strength to turn his iPhone off for the night. If he didn’t, those cute emojis of her would end up getting him to do fucking anything.
Leaning back against his seat, he closed his eyes wearily and thought to himself, What the fuck am I doing? Hadn’t he told her – and himself – that nothing could happen between them? So why the hell were they still playing this game and acting like they had a fucking future?
He briefly considered finishing the rest of his work, but burning the midnight oil – once a favorite hobby of his – had lost its appeal, and he eventually ended up lying in bed, staring sightlessly at the skylight above him as sleep continued to evade his clutches.
His mood remained black and destructive the next morning, and he had to take several deep breaths before entering his class, not wanting to risk fucking up and taking his anger out on her again.
But as soon as he entered the room, his gaze found hers, and he realized right away he had been worrying for nothing. A single glimpse of the shy but eager look in her sweet doe eyes, and the professor was done for. He was an animal in heat and mindless slave all rolled into one fucked-up mess, and even knowing this – he didn’t give a damn.
God, how he wanted her.
And then he noticed the way his students were staring at him oddly, and the professor let out a cough.
He had been standing in front of his class like an idiot who had been asked to illustrate a correlation between the theories of nihilism and general relativity.
And all because she was there.
His gaze drifted towards her one last time, and he saw her bite back a smile.
He found that cute, too.
As well as being a massive turn-on—
Get yourself together, idiot.
The professor snatched the clipboard on his desk and began rattling out names of students who had failed to propose something feasible in the last class. He noticed the way the whole class turned to Diana when he said her name, and regret bit into him as memories of their last encounter returned with a vengeance.
You’re an even bigger idiot than I gave you credit for.
This was enough to make him wince, but when he caught sight of her in his peripheral vision, her face was a lovely blank canvas, and damned if he knew what to make of it.
Unlike before, students on their second round of submissions were given a tougher assignment by the professor. Aside from having to come up front and present their idea to the class, they were also required to submit the first three chapters of their proposal.
The professor had always thought this a fair price to pay for having another shot at his class.
Or at least he used to until now, and he had to bear the sight of Diana coming to stand next to his desk, knowing that he’d only have himself to blame if she ended up suffering any kind of embarrassment.
He saw her take a deep breath and felt like doing the same.
Goddammit, maybe he should make up some excuse—
“I was waiting at the bus stop yesterday when I overheard two women talking their everyday lives, and from what I could glean from their stories, they were overworked and underpaid as well as being constantly subjected to various types of workplace abuse and harassment.
“One of them had a bedridden mother to support while another was a widow with two children. To say that they had a hard life would be an understatement. To say that they had every right and reason to feel depressed could even be considered a fact. But the thing is, they were not depressed and hadn’t even seriously thought of committing suicide to end their torment.”