I know most of you…okay, ALL of you don’t like Neil. That’s as it should be…BUT I thought it would be fun for you to see what Cat’s first encounter with Neil was like! So here is an exclusive flashback of that fated day in college. This obviously didn’t make it into the book, but I had this in my deleted scenes file. Please NOTE this is UNEDITED.
Copyright © 2014 Corinne Michaels
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed or transmitted in any form or by any means including electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior written consent of the author.
It’s my first day of college. I packed my bag with my laptop, notebooks, pens, paper and anything else that I could possibly need. The emotions are overwhelming today. I’m nervous, excited, and everything in between. I have my first Monday class today, then one on Wednesday, and two on Thursday. Luckily, I was able to secure Fridays off, which is perfect since I work on the weekends. I only live twenty minutes from Hackensack, which it made sense to save money on dorming and just commute, especially because I’m paying for college on my own. With my mother traveling for work lately, I feel like I live alone anyway.
This is the class I’m the least excited about, math is definitely not my strong suit. However, Economics is one of my core classes. I grab my bag again pretending to be looking for something to try to settle the butterflies in my stomach. Thankfully, the class is in a normal room not a lecture hall.
“Hi, is this seat taken?” I look up and see a pretty blonde smile warmly. She appears just as nervous as I am.
“Nope it’s all yours.” I return her smile warmly.
She extends her hand,“I’m Piper, nice to meet you. Is this your first class?”
“Catherine, but you can call me, Cat,” I smile and shake her hand. “No, I had a class earlier this morning. I’m already worried that I took too many classes.”
“Yeah, I took five this semester. I think I was a little ambitious.” Piper nervously giggles.
“I took four. What’s your major?” I ask, grateful to have met someone nice on the first day.
“Graphic design, at least that’s what I’m telling myself for this semester. I really wanted to major in theater, but my parents refuse to pay my tuition if I do. What about you?”
“Marketing and business. I’ve always wanted to do advertising and marketing, though.” It must be awful to want to do something but be forced into a career you have no interest in.
“You’re lucky, my parents are really strict and claim there’s no future in theater. Apparently they thought it was just a stupid hobby of mine.” Piper’s face falls and you can see the apparent disappointment in her eyes. “But fuck them. I took every elective I could in the drama department.”
“I’m sorry,” my voice is full of empathy. “But at least graphic design has a creative side to it.” I shrug trying to say something to make her feel marginally better. I’ve always known this is what I want to do. I was always good at selling my parents and friends on anything. They thought I should become a lawyer due to the fact that I love to argue, but I really have no desire for another four years of college, besides I already have all the student loans I can handle.
“Enough about my crappy parents,” Piper pauses and looks at the door where a group of guys are entering. “Holy shit!” She nudges my arm. “Do you see him?”
“Who? There’s five of them.” I ask looking at the group of them.
“Well hell, Cat, all of them are hot, take your pick.” Her mouth hangs open as she stares at the group of guys sauntering in the room.
All of them are really good looking. There’s two that have dark hair and you can see the muscle definition in their arms. The other two are average but still good looking, the fifth guy is blocked by the other four surrounding him. I fidget in my seat trying to not look obvious. When one of the guys move my eyes lock on the profile of a man with short blonde hair. He’s tan, built, tall, and when he smiles my heart skips.
“Do you see the one with the red shirt?” Piper asks, but I can’t tear my eyes away from him long enough to look.
“I—,” as I open my mouth to speak one he looks up and is staring straight at me, he elbows his friend and starts walking towards us.
Piper leans in and whispers in my ear, “It looks like we’re about to have company.”
My eyes haven’t left his as he walks toward me with a sly smile. I’ve never seen someone look as determined and confident as he does. My heart rate accelerates and I’m sure everyone can hear it because it echoes in my ears. He stands before me with a huge grin.
“I think I already love college. I’m Neil. What’s your name beautiful?” He asks extending a hand to me, I return his smile and place my hand in his.
I blush at his question and manage to answer without sounding unstable. “I’m Catherine and this is Piper.”
His eyes stay locked, “Nice to meet you both. It looks like we’ll be seeing a lot of each other.”
“Looks like it.”
Just as he’s about to say more the professor walks in and orders the class to settle down. The class is just under two hours and Neil sits behind me. In the last hour he’s found numerous ways to make me aware he’s there. He’s brushed my hair to the side, asked me for a pencil and then asked for paper. Class finally ends and I start to gather my stuff to head home.
“That wasn’t too bad.” Piper says putting her stuff away.
“No, wasn’t great either.” I laugh.
“Are you going to the party tonight?” Piper asks.
“I was going to just stay home tonight. I have to work early tomorrow.”
“That sucks. Well, you’ll have to come next week.”
I turn to leave and Neil’s standing against the wall with his arms over his chest, “Thanks for letting me borrow all your stuff,Cat. I’ll have to remember to bring paper next time.” Neil says as I approach and I notice he’s holding a notebook.
“You’re welcome. Even though it seems you had paper.” I raise my brow and grin looking at his hands.
“Your paper was better.”
I shake my head at his ridiculous reasoning, “I didn’t realize there’s a difference in paper.”
“Well how else was I going to find a reason to ask you if you have plans for tonight?” Neil asks as Piper stands next to me giggling.
My heart races as I think of what to say. Plans? No, and he’s really gorgeous. “Ummm well—”
Piper interjects quickly, “She was just saying how she didn’t have any plans.” She turns and winks trying to subtly nod her head.
“Great. I’ll meet you outside Dickenson Hall at six,” Neil says confidently as he walks away.
Well shit! I guess I really don’t have a choice now.