The Impact of You Page 5

She just shrugs, trying to downplay the assignment. But I can’t. There’s something happening between us. And I want to explore what it is.

“Do you have class after this?” I ask.

“No. Why?” she whispers back.

“Come get coffee with me.” It’s not a question and Avery just nods before turning to face the front of the room again.

The rest of the class drags by, as interesting as the topic is. The soft, feminine scent of Avery distracts me. Once we get outside, I wait for her to come up with an excuse, but she doesn’t. She walks by my side, her eyes looking everywhere but at me. And really, that’s all the encouragement I need.

Chapter 6


I watch Jase walk to the counter at the ultra-busy student commons to pick up our coffee order. He leans against the counter, T-shirt stretched across his broad shoulders. I think he’s probably flirting with the cashier, or she’s flirting with him. Doesn’t matter. I’m still mad at myself for how I acted in class. Just because he has many fine features did not mean I had to catalog each and every one in my damn journal. Once I realized he wrote like one line and gave up on the assignment, I felt like a complete idiot.

While I wait for him to return with our coffee, I slide my notebooks from my bag and arrange them on the table, making sure to keep the journal safely in my bag. I don’t want Jase snatching it and reading about how I think his eyes are the most mesmerizing shade of blue, like a cloudless summer sky, and being near him makes me feel more alive than I have in a while, makes me want things I thought I never would again.

I can’t give my heart away again. Especially considering it hardly still beat inside my chest. Of course, all this is post-Brent. That’s often how I think of my life – the me before all the drama of my senior year, and the me after. After I trusted him. After I let myself be used by him. I know I brought it all on myself, but that doesn’t erase the past. Looking back, I don’t understand how I could have been so stupid. But when you’re in love and desperate for affection, and dealing with the fact you were adopted – it turns out you’ll do just about anything for attention. Things I now wish I could take back. But I never can. Even if there weren’t witnesses, the act is burned into my memory.

Besides, it’s not like Jase is asking for anything from me. Friends, maybe. That I could handle. I think.

I would probably consider dropping the class if Jase weren’t in there to witness my defeat. I don’t want him to know the subject terrifies me. I want to be brave, open, like the rest of the students seem. I thought taking this class would be good for me, but now I’m not so sure. But one thing is certain – I won’t back out now with my tail between my legs. At least part of me wants to see where this will go – especially since it means I’ll be seeing Jase every Tuesday and Thursday, all surrounded by the titillating topic of sex. It’ll be a wonder if I can survive this semester without spontaneously combusting.

Jase slides into the booth across from me, setting a paper cup of coffee in front of me. “Cream and a boatload of sugar, just like you requested.”

“Thanks.” I try a sip. Jase is still watching me, a lopsided grin across his lips. “What?”

He chuckles softly, the deep timbre of his voice raking over me, and folds his hands on the table in front of him. “Fine, I’ll do it.”

“Do what?”

He smirks. “I see no other choice than to become your tutor.”

This time I’m the one laughing. “You want to be my human sexuality tutor? That’s original. And not douchey at all.”

Jase’s determined gaze meets mine. “As tempting as that offer is – and there’s so much I could teach you – no. I meant I could tutor you at…life.”

“Gee thanks. Why don’t you just admit you think I’m a loser with no life and get on with it.”

“I didn’t say loser. Lost…probably. Not having as much fun as you should be…definitely.”

“Rip the Band-Aid off, why don’t you.”

Jase settles back against his seat, sliding his cup of coffee toward him in the process. “Just calling it like I see it, babe.”

He’s too relaxed, too smug. I want to lash out and say something to wipe that cocky smile from his face. Instead, I pull a deep breath and reflect on his observation of me. I’m sitting stick-straight in my seat, my stack of textbooks neatly lined up in front of me. And each time Jase has seen me – first at the party, then behind the dumpster – I’ve been hiding. I wish I could tell him those were isolated incidents, that I’m not really like that, but sadly I am. I realize with a flash of clarity, Jase is right. And suddenly I want more.

I lean toward him on my elbows, weighing his offer. “So how would this life-coaching work exactly…I’m not saying I’m interested, but if I was…”

“We’d need to begin spending more time together for starters.”

I nod, listening intently. I’m thankful he doesn’t know my heart just kicked into overdrive at his words. “What else?”

Jase abandons his casual posture, leaning in towards me across the table, his brilliant blue eyes piercing mine with intensity. “I’ll issue you challenges as I see fit. You’d have to trust me.”

I fold my arms across my chest. “I’m not running through campus naked or dropping acid or anything weird like that.”

“I wouldn’t ask you to do anything you’re not ready for.” His voice is calm and sure.

I can’t believe I’m considering this, but I am. “Why would you want to do all this…I’m not a project.”

“I didn’t say you were. Let’s just say I could use the distraction right now.”

I know my expression gives me away. I’m beyond confused about what’s happening between us and powerless to stop it.

He brushes his index finger over the crease in my forehead. “Hey, relax.” His voice is just a whisper. “You’re thinking too hard. I’m not going to pry about your past unless you want me to.”

I shake my head, my heart thumping wildly.

Jase’s thumb caresses my cheek before he lets his hand fall away. “You’ll let me know if there’s someone’s ass I should kick, though, right?”

I would giggle at this, if not for the intensity radiating from Jase. “No. I made my own choices.”

He’s silent while he studies me – his blue eyes looking for answers. Answers I can’t possibly give him.

“You were young, too trusting, fell for the wrong guy…”

I clear my throat. “Something like that.”

He reaches for my hand and gives it a squeeze. “Hey, it’s okay.”

I manage a nod, arranging my mouth in a smile. If he knew the truth, he wouldn’t be sitting here, being so kind to me. My heart is thudding against my ribcage. “This tutoring thing…When do we start?”

He glances at his naked wrist. “Now would be nice.”

I roll my eyes to avoid chuckling at him. “Fine. What’s my first assignment?”

Chapter 7


Avery is unlike any girl I’ve hung around before. She keeps me in a constant state of curiosity and mild arousal. It’s an interesting combination – both my brain and my dick are engaged, which is something new for me. I can easily see this becoming addicting. I want to challenge her to kiss me, but I know she won’t. I can’t push her that fast. We’ll have to work up to that. But I know if she let me touch her, I could own her. Christ, that’s a tempting thought. I never felt a possessive spark with Stacia, but something about Avery makes me want to possess her in a way I never have before.

“I’ll go easy on you your first time.” I pause, keeping my eyes on hers, to let my deeper meaning set in. She blushes, right on cue. “Come to my party this weekend.”

“That’s it?”

I nod, still holding her eyes.

She bites her lip, thinking about it. “You know I’m not really into the party scene.”

“I know. But it’s kind of an annual party and the guys will freak if I’m not there. Having you there will actually help me. And we’ll hang out, talk, like last time. Getting outside your comfort zone might be good for you.”

She considers it, still chewing on her bottom lip. “How would me being there help you?”

I fight off a smile. Clearly she has no clue about the theme of Delta Sig’s next party. “Oh, it will, don’t worry.”

“I suppose I could. I’m sure Madison and Noah wouldn’t mind coming too.”

“Of course. Bring your friends.” With my next meeting with her already secured, I feel at ease. Avery has me smiling more than I have since my mom’s suicide attempt. Thank fuck for that. I was like a walking zombie for a while there. “Should we discuss our journaling assignment from class?”

“Sure.” She shrugs and pulls out her syllabus.

My ploy to get her to open up her journal – the one where she wrote a freaking novel about me – is foiled. It remains safely tucked inside her bag.

She slides the sheet of paper toward me and points. “We have to write entries on our own body image, what attracts us in the opposite sex, and an entry on sexual preferences and orgasms.” Her eyes dart up to mine and she drags her teeth across her bottom lip.

Fuuuck, that’s sexy.

Avery stuffs the paper back into her bag, muttering to herself, “A section on orgasms -- that’ll be a short chapter…”

Holy shit. “What?” I can’t help but react. Has no one touched this beautiful girl? Sign me up. Right fucking now.

Her head snaps up. “I’m just going to shut up now.”

“That’s probably wise.” Otherwise I can’t be held responsible for bringing her to orgasm myself. Under the table. Immediately.

Avery collapses, burying her face in her hands.

I can’t resist reaching over to rub her back between her shoulder blades. “Hey, it’s okay. If you need tutoring in the bedroom too, babe, just ask.”

Avery lets out a groan, and I can’t be sure, but I think a string of curse words too. Once her tirade is out of her system, she takes a deep breath and sits up straight. Her expression is still pinched, like she can’t believe she told me that.

I push her coffee toward her again, trying to downplay it, and Avery accepts the cup, taking a sip.

“Hey, it’s nothing to be ashamed of, but no wonder you’re so cranky. I would be too without regular orgasms,” I say.

Avery spits her coffee across the table, choking and sputtering. I scoot my chair closer and pat her back, nursing her back to health until she can clear her stubborn airway.

She grips the table and sucks in a ragged breath, her eyes watering with the effort.

“I’m sorry, Whistle.” I continue rubbing her back. “I shouldn’t have said that. I meant every word, but I’m sorry you got choked up.”

“I didn’t get choked up. I choked. Big difference. And don’t call me Whistle.” Avery stands, grabbing for her backpack. “We’re done here.”

My hand on her wrist stops her. Maybe I went too far. But I think she secretly likes me pushing her. I lift the bag and place the straps carefully on her shoulders. “Remember, Saturday. You already agreed.”

“I’ll be there.”

Chapter 8


I stand before the full-length mirror in my dorm, Madison and Noah grinning like idiots at my reflection. “I can’t believe I’m doing this. I’m going to get arrested wearing this in public.”

Madison rolls her eyes. “First, it’s not public; we’ll be in the Delta Sig house. And second, it’s a pimps and hoes party. You won’t get in if you’re not dressed the part.”

Of course Jase had left out that vital little piece of information when he challenged me to attend. Madison and Noah were game for going and had filled me in on the party’s infamous theme. They helped with my outfit: a black corset top that I am spilling out of – keeping me on constant nipple patrol – and a tiny pair of black boy shorts that show off generous portions of butt cheeks. Awesome. My main problem, though, is that the girls are on full display. Good Lord.

“That’s a lot of boobage,” I say, attempting to tuck them further into the corset.

Madison slaps my hands. “Don’t you dare. You’re one of the few girls who can actually pull this outfit off.”

“Tell that to my jiggly ass.” I make a point of looking behind me, like it’s somehow offended me.

“Asses are supposed to jingle. Shush.” To demonstrate, she grabs a fistful of my behind and gives it a gentle squeeze. “Damn girl, I want to skin you and wear you.”

A giggle escapes despite my nerves. “That’s a really disturbing visual.”

Madison and Noah, ever creative, are doing a role-reversal thing. Madison is wearing a leather jacket, black pants, pimp cap with a feather and several heavy gold chains. Noah, her ho, dons only a pair of bedazzled briefs and a glittery bare chest. It’s actually hilarious, despite the fact that I’m having a panic attack.

I tug the little shorts lower on my hips. I’m willing to show an inch of stomach if it means my butt is contained.

Noah laces up his red running shoes that happen to look ridiculously adorable with his sparkly briefs. “Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy we’re doing this. But why are we going to the Delta Sig party tonight?” he asks.

I hadn’t exactly told them about the whole Jase thing, but now might be time to come clean. “Jase invited me. We’ve been hanging out a little. Plus, I’m trying this new fun, carefree side like you guys have always wanted.”

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