What was her destiny?
Because at that second, all signs pointed to him.
Tearing her gaze away, she resumed walking and changed the subject. “Enjoy the dinner party?”
“As much as watching bread turn into toast,” he said drily as he fell into step beside her.
“Not your scene, huh?”
“No. Definitely not my scene. But the dean insisted I attend.” His hand brushed hers, and this time, she wasn’t sure if it was an accident. “And it wasn’t all dull.”
There was no mistaking the inference of his words.
He hadn’t been as immune to her as she’d believed.
“So how are you liking Edison so far?” he asked, changing the subject before she could decide how to feel about it.
“I’m used to having more privacy.” At least, her own room. There was always family around her house, but they gave her the quiet time she’d needed since the incident. “I don’t think I’m going to fit in.”
“It’s only the beginning of the semester. You haven’t had time to make that assumption.”
“I’m not here to socialize.” She stopped him with a hand before he could interrupt. “I know, it’s college and I’m supposed to have that whole college experience, but that’s not on my agenda. I’m here to work hard, not see how many shots I can do before passing out.”
“I don’t think you can generalize the college experience,” he said slowly, as if gauging his words. “There are plenty of other students who are like you and here to get a good education. You just need to find those people.”
She chuckled sarcastically. “Well, I don’t think any of them live in my dorm. I’ve never seen so much alcohol in my life.”
“It’s against the rules to drink in the dorms, even if you’re over twenty-one. Which I happen to know you aren’t.”
“I don’t drink, but I seem to be in the minority.” She ribbed him. “I bet you drank at college.”
“I did, but that doesn’t make it the right thing to do. Don’t let anyone dictate how you live your life.”
“Big words from a Dominant.” Her cheeks heated. It was too easy to forget he wasn’t Tristan, but instead, Professor Kelley. She shook her head. “Sorry, I shouldn’t have brought that up.”
He frowned. “No, but since you did, I’m going to clear up your misconception. I can’t speak for all Dom/sub relationships, but a Dominant doesn’t control his submissive’s life. He simply provides guidance.”
“Is that what you’re doing now? Guiding me?”
She watched as he swallowed hard. “As your teacher.”
He stopped walking and turned to her. “I’m not that…” At her smile, he folded his arms across his chest. “You’re teasing me.”
“I am,” she said, laughing. “But only because you made such a big deal about my age.”
He cocked his head. “When have I done that?”
“Let’s see.” Pretending to mull it over, she tapped her cheek with her finger. “Earlier today after class when you asked how old I was.”
“You said you were sixteen,” he pointed out. “I think you get a thrill out of teasing me.”
She liked it even better when he teased her. The memory of him pushing her against the brick wall of his friend’s house last week flashed in her mind, and her body immediately reacted, as if reliving it. Heat permeated low in her belly, and a subtle tingling began between her thighs.
“You turned as white as the statue of David,” she said, trying to ignore her arousal. “Even after you learned I was nineteen, your coloring didn’t return to normal.”
The lamppost’s light flickered, casting three long shadows along the path. Her throat constricted, making it difficult to swallow.
What or who was making that third shadow?
Her eyes searched for the source, but she didn’t see anything obvious. When her gaze returned to the shadows, the third one had disappeared. Probably just a squirrel.
“I thought you were older…that night,” Tristan said on a sigh. He scowled, his nostrils flaring and his jaw clenching with tension. A sharp pain lanced her chest. She was such an idiot. While she was struggling with her attraction to him, he appeared to regret their time together.
“Sorry to disappoint you,” she said curtly, turning to walk away.
He gently grabbed her arm. “I’m not disappointed. Just surprised. You seemed older. More mature.”
Flooded with relief that she’d misread his body language, she let out a breath. But she was confused. If he didn’t regret their night together, why had he scowled? “Maturity has nothing to do with age.” She felt as though she’d aged a thousand years after the incident. “Sometimes a bad experience can make you feel far older.”
His gaze fell to the scars on her wrists. “Do you want to talk—?”
“No,” she said much louder than she’d meant to. Probably because she did want to talk to him about it. But revealing her secrets implied an intimacy they were trying to avoid. “It’s in the past and that’s where it’s going to stay.” Far, far away, where it would never touch her again.
He didn’t admonish her for raising her voice.
He didn’t need to.
His eyes spoke volumes. His pupils dilated and fixed on her.
She recognized him.
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