Home > On a Tuesday (One Week #1)(15)

On a Tuesday (One Week #1)(15)
Author: Whitney G.

“I’m not.” I stepped in front of her. “I would’ve never met you if I didn’t take these classes.”

“I’m going to email my advisor right now and tell him that I don’t want to tutor you anymore.”

“Prove it.”

She pulled out her phone, but I could tell she wasn’t going to do anything by the blush that crossed her cheeks.

I picked up one of the other books I needed and noticed she had a tattoo on the back of her left leg. It was far too small for me to make out from where I was standing, so I made a mental note to get a closer look at it later.

“Good first game, man.” A guy walked down the aisle and tilted his hat at me. “Wishing you guys another good season this year.”

“Thank you.”

“Oh, yeah.” Charlotte looked over her shoulder. “I heard you guys won over the weekend. Congratulations.”

What? “What did you just say?”

“Congratulations?”

“No, before that.” I was certain I didn’t hear that right.

“Um. I heard you guys won over the weekend?”

“You heard?”

“Yeah.” She looked confused. “Was I misinformed?”

“You didn’t go to the game?”

“No, I gave my dad my ticket. I’ll watch the replay later this week since I’m not that big on college games.”

Strike three.

She picked up a book from an endcap, and I followed her to the register.

“Will this be together?” The cashier asked.

"Yes," I answered before Charlotte could and took out my wallet. "You can pay me back with your phone number."

“In that case, it’ll be separate.” She started to take out her credit card, but the cashier swiped mine.

I handed Charlotte her books and we left the store.

“So,” she said, looking up at me, “You promise to take the next Tuesday seriously?”

“Only if you promise to treat me like someone who is just trying to be your friend.”

“I will. Just my friend.”

“Good.” I pulled out my phone. “I’ll need your phone number now, or a damn good reason why I still can’t have it.”

“It’s because I don’t think we have anything to talk about.”

“Why don’t you give it to me and find out?”

“I’ll pass.” Her cheeks were bright red again as she took a step back. “I’ll see you on Tuesday, Grayson.”

“See you on Tuesday, Charlotte.”

For the next couple Tuesdays, I tried to be on my best behavior. I was on time or early and I stayed on topic. I only got distracted by the sight of her sexy, pouty red lips twenty times instead of fifty, and I only lost my train of thought whenever she took off her sweater and exposed what had to be C cup breasts. I also managed to discover that she had two tattoos: One of a pair of swallows on the back of her shoulder, and one of an infinity symbol and a rose on the back of her ankle.

And for some reason, I found myself not caring that we always spent an extra two hours talking at the end of each session.

WEEKS LATER, I STEPPED inside the Engineering Building and headed straight for the Physics Department. I needed to put an end to this chase sooner rather than later.

“Um, hi.” Nadira looked up at me as I stepped into her student lab. “May I help you with something?”

“You and I took a few classes together our junior year.”

“Okay, and?” She closed her book and smiled. “I sold my notes to someone else already.”

“I’m not here for your notes,” I said. “I’m here because I need your help with something.”

“Something?”

“Someone. Someone we have in common.”

She gave me a blank stare.

“You’re best friends with Charlotte Taylor,” I said. “I saw it on your Facebook page.”

“Why were you trolling my Facebook page?”

"That's not the point." I stepped closer to her desk. "I have questions, and they need to be answered."

“Do I look like Charlotte to you?” She laughed. “Why don’t you just ask her?”

“She only wants to talk to me about studying.”

“Well, she is your tutor, so that makes perfect sense.”

“I need to know what my chances are of seeing her on a personal level.”

“Well, in that case, I would probably guess zero.” She laughed again. “Wasn’t it you who told her, you make it ‘perfectly clear’ what someone is getting when they're with you? Oh, and you also specifically said you don’t do close relationships or girlfriends.”

“So, she does talk about me with you?”

“No, never.” The sudden blush on her cheeks gave that lie away. “Between you and me, she's way too good for you and out of your league. Don't get me wrong, you have that whole smoldering, super sexy James Dean going on, but I think you should save yourself some wasted time and stick to the girls you're used to."

I ignored that last comment. “Can you at least tell me a few things she likes?”

“She likes when guys who don’t have her best interest at heart leave her the hell alone.” She slid her reading glasses over her eyes. “That’s her favorite thing.”

“Anything else?”

“She also likes when people show up to their tutoring sessions on time and don’t stare at her lips for several minutes at a time.” She shrugged. “I think that’s pretty much it.”

“Thank you.” I headed toward the door. “You were more helpful than I thought you were going to be.”

“Wait,” she said before I stepped out into the hallway. She let out a breath and walked over to me. “Her favorite color is blue, even though she tells everyone it’s orange. She looks for every excuse possible to get out of going to football games, but she knows the sport pretty well, thanks to her dad. She claims she’s allergic to seafood, but I’m willing to bet that she’s never tried it. And just in case you’re not exactly who we both think you are ... She goes to Highland Coffee every morning for an eight-dollar caramel latte that she really can’t afford, but it makes her happy because it reminds her of the lattes she used to buy in her hometown.”

I smiled. “Thank you, Nadira.”

“You’re not welcome.” She smiled back. “This conversation never happened.”

CHARLOTTE: THEN

Seven years ago

Pittsburgh

“HAIL TO PITT!” NADIRA tossed back two shots of vodka and cleared her throat. “Hmmm. This is pretty smooth for a vintage vodka.”

I looked at the bottle she was holding, the one that looked a little too similar to the bottle we’d confiscated on our floor last night. “You’re supposed to pour the alcohol down the sink whenever you find them drinking it, Dira. Not keep it for yourself.”

“Really?” She walked over to her dresser and pulled the bottom drawer open, revealing at least twenty bottles of confiscated liquor. “I had no idea that was the rule. Are you going to report me?”

“Absolutely.” I tossed a pillow at her.

"Do you want me to bring you back anything from the game today? Some school spirit, perhaps?"

“I’ll take a caramel apple.”

She laughed and grabbed her sweater, offering me one final chance to go to the game with her and the other RAs, but I turned her down.

Half an hour later, I walked down to the lower campus and watched the start of a typical game day unfold. Tons of yellow buses lined the street, ready to head to Heinz Field. Cars honked at each other for a space in the congested city traffic and the smell of tailgating BBQ filled the air.

I slipped inside one of my favorite bars and took a seat in the back. As the waiter set down a menu in front of me, I felt my phone buzzing in my pocket. An email from Grayson.

SUBJECT: TODAY’S GAME.

Are you coming?

—Grayson

SUBJECT: RE: TODAY’S game.

No, but good luck.

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