Focus (Page 7)


My French professor didn’t use a word of English. I’d pulled myself through Spanish in high school, and I thought French would be a nice change of pace. Five minutes into the first class and I regretted my decision. I was done for.

“You okay?” Owen asked as we filed out of the classroom.

“I have absolutely no clue what our professor said today.”

He laughed. “Really? You’ve never taken any French?”

“No. Have you? Aren’t we in a level one class?” I glanced at my workbook, dreading my first homework assignment.

“Yeah, but I know some French, just not super well.”

“Oh. Damn. I’ll have to get some help from Hailey.”

Owen held open the door for me. “Hailey? Good luck with that.”

“What?” I looked at him.

“Hailey’s great and all, but teaching isn’t her strong point. But you know who would be really good at helping you?”

“Don’t say it.”

“Levi.” Owen grinned. “He’s the best tutor you could find.”

“Forget it. I’ll figure it out on my own.” The last thing I needed was to ask for tutoring from Levi.

“Suit yourself.” He shrugged. “Are you going back to your dorm?”

“Yeah, I’m done with classes for the day since I don’t have lab this week.”

“I know.”

I ignored how smug he was about all of this. Of the three guys, Owen was the most tolerable.

“It’s only eleven so I have an hour before I meet Hailey for lunch, so yeah I think I’ll go back to my room.”

“Cool. Have a good one, Allie.”

“Thanks, you too.”

“Tell my sister hi.”

“I will.”

I looked over my shoulder before I walked into my dorm and saw Owen still standing there watching me. If they were being so careful today, why weren’t they at other times? That’s when it hit me—they probably were. I was probably always being watched. Thank goodness I lived with Hailey. At least they didn’t have to watch me sleep.

Chapter Four

Jared hadn’t been exaggerating. I had a Pteron in every class with me. The only break from the guys I got was my Freshman seminar. I’d been able to get into the same one as Hailey. With Jared in econ and Organic Chemistry, and Owen in French, I knew it would be Levi waiting for me in art history on Tuesday morning. He leaned against the outside of the building, holding two cups of coffee. “Good morning, love.”

“Hi, Levi.” I accepted the coffee, knowing he would have gotten it right, two Splendas and no cream. “Thanks.”

“No problem. You ready for class?”

“Sure, let’s go.”

I followed Levi as he picked two seats in the center of the room. He got the seats right. I hated sitting in the back or front.

“These okay?” Levi asked as he sat down.

“Perfect, thanks.” I put my bag down on the floor and took out a new, blue notebook and pen.

He smiled. “Did you just thank me for the second time this morning?”

“Yes, but don’t let it go to your head.”

“Don’t worry. I will.”

I shook my head.

Levi sat down next to me, putting an arm around the back of my chair.

“So how was your first day yesterday? Was it all you wanted it to be?”

I turned to glare at him. “Don’t you already know? Didn’t your two goons fill you in?”

“My goons?” He laughed. I hated how much I loved that deep sound. “I can’t wait to tell Jared you called him a goon.”

“Like he can do anything about it.”

“True, very true. See, I knew you liked being my fiancé.”

“Why do you keep calling me that?” I looked over my shoulder, hoping there weren’t too many people listening.

“Would you rather I call you my mate? Or is it wife you want? I thought fiancé sounded more normal for a college freshman.”

“Because so many college freshman are engaged?” I tapped my pen, taking out my frustration on an inanimate object. “Why do you need to call it anything?”

“Do you have a better explanation for the ring on your finger?”

“Please. Girls wear rings on their left ring finger. I can explain it another way.” I couldn’t resist another peek at the ring. It was beautiful. If it weren’t for the fact that it symbolized the end of my life as I knew it, I might have enjoyed wearing it.

“But it’s not just any ring. It’s my ring, and plenty of people know that. Don’t forget it.” His expression darkened, his light teasing replaced by something far more serious.

“So you really expect me to pretend we’re engaged?”

“We don’t have to pretend. Whenever you get tired of that dorm room, there’s plenty of room in my bed.”

“This is temporary, Levi. Temporary.” I looked down, unable to meet his eye.

“I know, years from now we’ll look back and laugh at the games you played.”

“That’s not what I meant, and you know it.”

“Please, Al. I was part of that kiss.”

I forced myself to meet his gaze. “And it was just a kiss.”

“It could have been more.” He leaned over, whispering in my ear, “So much more.”

“Cut that out, or I’m changing seats.”

“We can talk about this more later.”


“Yeah, there’s an event at Commander’s tonight you need to be at.”

“Commander’s? As in the restaurant?”

“What else would I mean?”

“What kind of event is it?” I wouldn’t have admitted it, but he had my interest.

“A meeting.” I noticed he didn’t have either a notebook or laptop ready to take notes.

“A meeting? You’re not going to give me more than that?”

“A meeting you need to be at.” He gave me his usual cocky grin before turning toward the front of the room just as the professor walked in.

Class was uneventful, other than the professor telling us we had to form small groups for some semester long project.

“I think we’ll make a great group.” Levi took my books before I could stop him.

“Please, we are not working together. And I need my books back.”

“I’m just carrying them for you. You’ll get them back at your dorm.”