Chapter 2- Bullies

Once Shelby, now known as Susan Bannon, entered college, Kyle was able to help her financially due to his success. A fact Shelby was extremely grateful for, especially considering the extreme cost of an education. Susan was attending college to become a Nurse Practitioner and had told Kyle, “I’ve chosen the name Susan after a famous Native American healer.” Nursing being one of the hardest degrees to obtain, Susan tried not to work more than part-time while attending college.  Thus far, she was starting her third year of college and held a 3.75 GPA; this was a fact Susan was extremely proud of. 

“Earth to Susan...come in Susan.” Bradley, one of the other students in her nursing classes joked.

Susan looked up from the table as she shook off her daydreaming. “Huh?” She replied, looking in Brad’s direction.

“What did you get for an answer for the next one?” Just want to make sure I’m doing this correctly.” Susan turned her paper toward him so he could see what she had written. Only answers were put in the computer, so they still worked their problems out on paper. “Awesome. Thanks Sue. Not sure what I’d do without your help. Conversions  or med calculations, have always been a struggle for me.”

“No problem. It’s nice to have someone to study with. We help each other.” Susan responded with a smile.

Erica laughed,”right, like that’s the only reason you study together.”

Susan frowned and met Erica’s gaze. “It’s not like that and you know it. Brad is like my brother.”

“Right… you stick with that story girlfriend.” Erica said jokingly. 

Susan was not overly fond of Erica, but she was a member of their study group that met twice a week between classes. Brad had confided in Susan that he was gay, so Erica could tease Susan all she wanted. Brad would never be more than a friend. Luckily Erica let the topic go and returned her attention to her coursework.

Within minutes of going back to studying, Susan decided some caffeine might help her be less tired and focus better, so she grabbed money from her purse,  and headed for the vending machine. Studying the choices like she was willing them to change, Susan heard a commotion across the room where their study table was. Turning around to look, she saw that a huge, muscular blond had Brad shoved up against the wall by his tee shirt. Brad was dangling about a foot off the ground and the hulk of a man had his right arm cocked like he was going to punch him. “What have I told you faggot about sitting in my cafeteria when I want to come here and eat lunch?”

Susan sighed, took a partial cup of water from the water faucet, and speedily headed back to deal with the big bully. This particular college has many fraternities, athletes on scholarship, as well as an excellent nursing program that one can remain in all the way to PhD if they choose to. Unfortunately that meant groups of students that were always in competition, many that think their shit doesn’t stink, and as long as they are winning, the backing of the college. Chett here is a big dumb jock whose parents are rich, making him feel entitled.  As a result of this and his daddy issues, Chett seems to enjoy picking on people smaller than he is. Susan is not the kind of person to condone such behavior, and especially not when her friends are involved. As she reaches them, she sees a terrified look on Brad’s face as he waits for Chett to pummel him with his fist. Faster than humanly possible, Susan threw the water from the cup in Chett’s face and when he startled, pushed his chest so hard that he flew backward and fell over the vacant, overstuffed chair behind him. Brad collapsed to the floor, but at least he wasn’t injured. “How many times Chett do we have to have the discussion that I don’t like bullies?” Susan was referring to the incident at a frat party her freshman year where Chett had come on to her, after he knocked out one of his frat brothers for accidentally spilling beer on his shoe. Susan had told him then that she would never be friends, let alone anything else with a bully like him. Chett had ignored her ever since. 

Chett righted himself into a sitting position now from where he had fallen on the floor and looked right at Susan. Fists balled up, face red, and teeth clenched, Chett growled, “what. the. FUCK? You bitch! Don’t you know who I am?”

Susan laughed. “Oh yes, we’ve met, remember? Or ...maybe you don’t, because you were drunk. I told you over two years ago, I don’t like bullies.” Susan stood her ground between Chett and Brad with her arms crossed over her chest. Susan’s long dark hair was pulled back into a ponytail and her brown eyes had a suspicious yellow glow to them that she was taking slow breaths to try to keep in control. The struggle to keep her wolf at bay was very real anytime she or anyone she cared about was threatened or felt strong emotions. Of course, the fact she had used her werewolf speed and strength in dealing with Chett, made her wolf want to surface and take over. Luckily Susan was not a newbie and had been controlling her shifting since she was fourteen. Now at 21 years of age, she had good control, but strong emotion always made control more difficult. As she continued to breath, Chett got to his feet and stepped toward her. In her peripheral vision, she saw Brad step up next to her, so she was not facing the bully alone. The room had gone silent, and all student eyes were on them. Where was faculty or better yet, administration when you needed them? Chett was breathing so quickly, she was half waiting for a train whistle to go off and steam to come out his ears. The visual made her laugh out loud, a very inappropriate response at a time when she certainly didn’t need to escalate the situation any further. She scolded herself: I should be diffusing the situation, not fanning the flames. “You think because you're a girl, I won’t hit you back?” Chett huffed as he got to within a foot of Susan. 

Susan either had to look up into his face, or stare at his muscled chest that was directly in front of her face. The instinct to back up hit Susan, but she thought to herself: I’ll be damned if I’ll move and give this bully the satisfaction of intimidating me. She did however put her hands at her sides in case she needed to defend herself.

“Yo, Chett my friend, what seems to be the problem?” A deep, easy going voice said as another man sidled up next to Chett and put his arm around Chett’s shoulders. 

Chett unclenched his fists and turned his head to look at the newcomer. “This bitch threw a cup of water in my face and pushed me.” The scowl again deepened on Chett’s face, but the redness was beginning to die down. 

“Well are you hurt physically or just your pride?” The new guy asked.

“I’m fine, but no one gets by with treating a Hubbard like this, Travis.” Chett huffed. 

 “I’m sure Coach would be upset if you got suspended. Suspension or expulsion are the consequences for physically hurting another student off the field. How about you save it for the football field? Let’s forget about this pretty little lady.” Travis winked as Susan’s eyes floated over to meet his. She couldn’t help but roll her eyes, which made Travis smile widely before he continued distracting Chett.  “Come on man. I’ll buy you lunch down the street. This food isn’t worth fighting anyone for.“ 

Susan shifted her gaze over the newcomer’s body as he moved Chett back a few steps as they talked. Chett’s ‘friend’, was taller than Chett, over 6’0” for sure, muscular, but not bulky like Chett. Travis had slightly curly, light brown highlights in dark brown hair, gorgeous hazel eyes, and a strong jaw. Looking into Travis’s eyes caught Susan completely by surprise. His hazel eyes had rings of brown on the outside, melding to green, and then a tiny yellow ring in the center. Susan attempted to scent Travis, but he had continued to move Chett back far enough that she could no longer scent him. The thought crossed her mind to move closer, but since Travis just successfully diffused Chett’s temper tantrum, that would possibly negate the effort Travis had put in. Susan saw and heard Travis continue to talk to Chett as they exited the cafeteria. Just before Travis rounded the corner, he turned his head back toward Susan and smiled. She was completely unsure what to make of his behavior, but that million dollar smile full of bright white, straight teeth, made Susan feel things she had never felt in response to anyone before. 

Once they were out of site, Brad put his hand on her back and asked, “do you know him?” Susan shook her head. “Then why did he step in and handle Chett like that?”

“You heard him, ‘Coach would be upset’ if Chett were suspended. I dare bet they are teammates.” Susan said as she turned back toward the table, caffeine forgotten with the surge of adrenaline now running through her system. Both Susan and Brad sat back down in their chairs.

Erica whisper-shouted, "Don't you know who that is? He is the best wide receiver this college has ever seen. His name is Travis Lykos. He is so damn hot and he smiled at you Susan."

“As much as I appreciate not having my face rearranged, please don’t put yourself in harm’s way for my sake. I would feel awful if that jughead hurt you because you stood up for me.” Brad said. 

Susan simply nodded again and attempted to return to her studying. Unfortunately, all she could think about was those stunning hazel eyes, sexy smile, and she couldn’t help but wonder why someone she didn’t even know would step in to stop Chett. Susan said to no one in particular, “they have to be teammates. There is no other reason he would stop Chett unless it was of benefit to the team. All those jocks and frat boys stick together after all.

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