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Chapter 2

Michelle

It's gotten late, and I'm still at the library. 

Unhappiness is all around. I've barely gotten any work done because of my jittering nerves. 

And it's all thanks to this big guy, Maddox. 

He is feasting on the last pizza slice while sitting next to me in a chair to see my display. I'm so uncomfortable.

Why does he have to be in my space all the time?!

Timidly, I glance at the clock on the wall and repress a groan. It's late, and I should head home. It's relieving to finally be able to leave Maddox, but... 

Instead of feeling achieved after a long hard working day, I'm anxious. 

The work isn't halfway done! Why did the professor have to team me up with Maddox? He is lazy and does nothing for the team, while I like to stay ahead of my game!

Wait. 

Game?

Jesus Christ, now I'm even starting to sound like Maddox!

"Are you holding silent conversations with yourself again?" Maddox asks while peeling a banana. 

He is such a bastard, beautiful, albeit a bastard.

I don't dare to meet his eyes. He has already figured out that he frightens me; that's why he is close. Maddox is the type of person who likes to bask in other people's discomfort.

"I... I don't hold silent conversations with myself."

"Sure."

Sure?

"I mean it."

Maddox calmly takes another bite of fruit. Smacking his tongue against his palate. I find it annoying, which is probably why he does it.

"I have another question."

I repress a sigh. "What is it?"

"Do all men frighten you, or is it just me?"

I stare at his muscles and unyielding expression, gulping. "W-what makes you think I'm afraid of men?"

He shrugs a massive shoulder. "You had no trouble talking to the librarian earlier. She is a woman... But you shuddered in your chair when that gang of teenage boys walked past. You also wore this priceless expression, as if you would shit in your pants."

Sadness wraps me up like a breakfast burrito while Maddox, the brutish bastard, laughs at his own words.

Rude.

Why does he have to be such an ass about everything he says?

"Its... It's not nice to make fun of someone for what they fear. You don't know what they have been through..."

Maddox smiles evilly from his chair, amused. "Ah, what have you gone through then? Let me guess: bullying?"

How can he say that so easily?!

I bite down on my lower lip to keep the tears at bay. I dislike being put on the spot like this. Maddox doesn't need to hear my backstory. Especially since he probably doesn't even really care.

Yet I whisper, "No, not bullying..."

Rape.

Abuse from my parents.

Loneliness. 

Not that I would ever say that out loud...

Maddox leans his cheek against the palm of his hand, eyeing me. "Okay. I ask you again: what have you gone through then?"

I avert my eyes from him. "It's nothing..."

"Tell me."

Seriously?

What makes Maddox think he can just ask me anything? He isn't my friend or goddamn therapist! We hardly know each other!

"Its... It's none of your business."

"Sorry? What was that?" Maddox grins wolfishly. "Speak louder; I didn't hear you."

"I—"

"You're whispering again."

"I said it's none of your business!" I exclaim, teary-eyed and shaking out of both fear and irritation. 

"Holy fuck!" Maddox lets out a sharp laugh. "You look like you're about to piss yourself again!"

My only response is to stare at him, a little breathless and with my heart hammering against my chest. Even my lips are quivering.

"You're such a weirdo..." Maddox shakes his head at me. "You don't possess a single assertive bone in that spine, do you?"

His words cut like knives.

I try not to show him my emotions and sit still, hoping he will get bored and stop harassing me.

But no chance in hell will this jackass leave me alone. Maddox isn't afraid of confrontation; that much is clear.

In fact, he seems to be in his element, as if he enjoys making me squirm in discomfort.

"Hey, I asked a question!"

I swallow tears. "Why are you always so rude?"

"Rude?" Maddox wrinkles his nose, lifting an eyebrow. "Excuse me?"

Despite the unsettling feeling in my chest, I glare at him. "Yes. You could be nicer... you're mean."

"Nicer? Pfft..." Maddox snorts. "And I'm not mean. I say things how they are. There is a difference! I'm honest."

I swallow thickly. 

Maddox is a bully. 

For some reason, his nostrils flare. "Whatever," Maddox rises to stretch and stands to his full height. "Grab your shit, and let's get out of here. I'm driving you home." 

I blink. "You're driving me home?"

"Are you deaf? That's what I just said. I saw you walking to school today, so I'm giving you a ride. Where do you live?"

He saw me walking to school?

Did he know who I was already?

I have so many questions...

"Umm..."

"For fuck's sake..." Maddox sighs loudly. "Can you at least write it down in a text message for me?"

Can I actually do that without him laughing?

Hastily, I pick up my phone. I eagerly type down my address and give it to an impatient Maddox. 

"Hmm, that's quite far from here..." Maddox comments and walks away from me without handing back my phone.

Uh.

Did Maddox just steal my phone?

I gape after his broad shoulders and solid muscle. He is like a mountain that grew legs and decided to start walking.

No way could I ever fight him for my phone. I just have to accept that I don't own one anymore.

Maddox suddenly stops. "You coming, or what?" 

Oh.

OH.

I quickly grab my things and slip them into my bag while Maddox is whistling inside the library. Heads are turned his way, yet no one dares to interrupt the loud behemoth.

I hurry to catch up with him but slip over the newly polished floor. There is a squeak from my shoes, and I gasp. I expect to make a fool out of myself. But instead, I'm caught.

Finally feeling like I have myself under control again, I slowly lift my eyes to see Maddox staring at me, concern written all over his face.

His thick arms are holding me.

He saved me.

My insides flutter.

"Are you hurt?"

I shake my head with my heart pounding. "No."

"Good," Maddox helps me stand. "They should put down a sign that says the floor is slippery. Fucking idiots."

I smile. "There usually is a sign..."

"But not today, it seems. The janitor isn't doing a good job... Anyway, hand me your bag."

"W-why?"

"Because it's fucking heavy for you."

Oh.

Does Maddox wish to help me?

That's surprising...

I take off my bag silently, and Maddox hangs it over his brawny shoulder. He then grabs my hand. His touch gives birth to instant lightning, and I blush as he leads me toward the doors.

Calm down, Michelle. 

Breathe.

"Do you live alone?" Maddox asks.

"Uh, no... I have two roommates." Two girls whose eyes will bulge out when they see a guy is taking me home. A handsome one at that.

"Good, because you're defenseless."

I remain silent, unsure what to say.

Maddox continues. "I will be driving you home from the library every day this week. It's safer."

That's actually pretty thoughtful...

"Thank you."

He doesn't smile but sounds friendlier when he says, "No problem."

I follow him to his car—a black BMW and try not to laugh. My roommates are going to freak out about this.

Comments (7)
goodnovel comment avatar
Abugu Tim
getting interesting and intriguing
goodnovel comment avatar
Mary Hill
think this be start of a relationship
goodnovel comment avatar
Rochele Bryant
wow.. that's awesome
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