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He’s persistent, I’ll give him that. I peer over my open laptop at the professor, droning on. She’s yet to say one thing worthy of notating. I’ve majored in Communications. Why? Because I have not one clue what I want to do with my life. Other than Economics—I know I don’t want anything to do with that. I like people. I like communicating with them. And I can use a communications degree a lot of different ways. Maybe something in public relations. I do enjoy strategizing. Or event planning. Or social media management. I’d be great at that.
Is it a shoe box? I type back.
Definitely not a shoe box! Chloe’s reply is quick.
Evasive much, Chloe?
All I receive in reply to that is a smiley face emoticon. I tap my fingers on the desk. She’s not going to tell me what it is. I eye Professor Richland and contemplate ditching the rest of this class. But no. I’m not that interested in what Sawyer has sent. I’m not.
I close the message box and focus on the lecture. I eye the door, but this professor specializes in calling students out for arriving late or leaving early. I settle in and wait it out, sketching pictures in my notebook to pass the time.
By the time I get back to Stroh Hall Chloe has left for her next class. It gives me some satisfaction that she’s not there to watch me open whatever this is, since she wouldn’t give me any clues via message. I shut the door behind me and look at my bed, expecting to see a package. Nada. I glance around the room. Then I see it on my desk. A tiny fish tank. Steve’s bowl is gone and in its place is a fish tank, already set up and running.
I sink down onto my desk chair and take it in. He’s sent a fish tank for Steve. And… a friend, I note, seeing a second fish in the tank. This one’s got some white on its fins, which will be helpful in telling them apart. I tap on the side of the glass and Steve waves his little fish fin at me while blowing bubble kisses. No, not really. He’s a fish, and they do absolutely nothing. I unscrew the lid to the goldfish and drop a few flakes in. That gets their attention.
In any case, Steve must be pleased with his new home and I have to admit it’s nice. It’s not a large tank, not taking up much more room than the bowl, but it looks pretty fancy for being so small. There’s a light and a little rock formation they can swim through. The pamphlet lying on my desk next to it proclaims it to be a self-cleaning system. Nice. There’s a card, of course, propped up next to the tank.
Her name is Stella, it reads.
I laugh then. This guy, he’s… I don’t know. He’s not what I expected. I wonder if he puts this much effort into all his conquests. And then I wonder what that might be like, being with Sawyer. His attention to detail, putting this much effort into seducing me, makes me suspect he’d be just as attentive in the bedroom. Or hallway. Car. Whatever. But he’s clearly done this before. Maybe not a fish, or boots specifically. But he’s got twelve years on me. It makes me wonder. And not in a ‘how many women has he slept with’ kind of way. But in a ‘how many women have mattered’ kind of way. Is this status quo seducing for Sawyer Camden? I want to punch myself in the face for being so cliché, but am I special? Or am I a challenge? Maybe he’s just doing Finn a favor by taking me off his hands. Not that Finn ever had his hands on me.
But yet I know that’s not true. There is something between us, something more than desire. Sawyer challenges me, in a sort of terrifying way. In the car, he laughed at all of those crazy stories, and he always seems to be two steps ahead of me. It’s exhilarating. Usually people are trying to rein me in, not encourage me, but I don’t think Sawyer would. I think instead of wanting me to tone it down, he’d look forward to what I’d throw at him next.