Nicole woke up in her college dorm bed feeling sore and sticky. The last thing she remembered was being up late studying with her roommate, Lisa, when she could not keep her eyes open anymore. They were both in the same college writing class on essays and persuasive writing. The test today was a mid term and one-fifth of the grade. As a result, she had been extra zealous about studying the night before.
The stickiness of her lacy red underwear she could not explain, neither the feeling like somebody had violated her most private areas. Something about her dream the night before tickled her memory but she could not remember what her dreams were about. Shivering, she shrugged off the feeling, getting out of bottom bunk bed. It was a standard dorm room bed thankfully it allowed them to use the space as much as they could. The corner wall had two desks, one opposite the other, and twin dressers that reached the ceiling bordered the entry way. Windows let in light, even with the flimsy white curtains, through the opposite end of the room as the door.
"Wake up, sleepyhead," she said, reaching out and grabbing Lisa's leg. Lisa moaned in her sleep and rolled over. Checking her clock on the desk, Nicole noticed the time: it was eight thirty, so they had a little less than an hour before they would need to head to class to be on time. "Get up, or you'll be late for our test," Nicole said, loudly. She slapped Lisa's calf as she headed towards her closet to grab some clothes and her shower kit. After undressing and wrapping herself in a towel, she headed out of the room and down the hall to clean herself up and remove some of the fog from her brain.
The last thing she could remember of the night before had been drinking the coffee Lisa had thoughtfully fetched from the local seven eleven. After that, I must have fallen asleep, Nicole thought. She figured that she had probably gotten undressed while sleeping, or at least half asleep. Otherwise, how did she wake up in her underwear? The showers were still pretty empty as Nicole entered the first stall and closed the curtain behind her. She set her shower caddy down and turned on the water, standing to the side so the cold spray wouldn't hit her as it heated up.
Nicole felt tender in her front and her back. She couldn't explain what happened the previous night and the more she thought about it, the more worried she grew. The blackouts had only happened a few times but in the past week, it had happened almost every night and in the morning, she would waken, sore and feeling abused.
I'll have to ask Lisa about it, she thought, starting to shampoo and lather her long, black hair. Nicole was of east Asian descent, her dark eyes more slanted than most white women's eyes, taller than average, too, she was almost five feet ten. Almost too thin, with small, perky breasts and only the barest hint of curve in her hips, many people mistook her for a model. The truth was she had considered it but couldn't stand the idea of being valued just for her looks.
Nicole took her time in the shower, enjoying the warm spray of water caressing her firm chest and small, rosebud nipples. She used body wash, the conditioner, then stood rooted for a few moments before finally turning off the water. The university dorms had very few perks but endless hot water and incredible water pressure were one of the few she enjoyed the most.
As she toweled dry, changing into some jeans and a t-shirt, she thought about the best way to bring up the blackouts with her roommate, Lisa. A few inches shorter than Nicole, Lisa was a case study in contrast. Her hair was so blonde it was almost white and her breasts were large enough to make most men stare. A few women, too. Her hips were wider than Nicole's, something she had often envied in the few weeks since they had become roommates in their first year of college. When Lisa wore jeans, everybody would watch her walk, craning their heads. Still, Lisa was nice enough, and attractive with cute dimples and a gorgeous, sunny smile that when they hung out, men would bother her as much as Nicole.
They were becoming great friends in the short time they spent together, even though they were from two very different worlds. Nicole had dated a few guys in high school but broke up with her boyfriend before coming to college, as she didn't want to be tied down to the same guy for the rest of her life. Lisa, oddly enough, never seemed too interested in men, or women, and had never mentioned anybody serious aside from one guy she said she dated early on in high school.
She walked back to the room after drying and found Lisa already out of bed. Probably hit the showers right after me, Nicole thought. Gathering up her books and book bag, she packed for class and made sure her papers were all in order. It was still early enough to grab breakfast, so she decided to wait a few minutes to see if Lisa wanted to join her at the cafeteria. Less than ten minutes later, Lisa returned, dressed in her pink towel, which had roses laced into it.
Lisa's hair was still wet and she seemed surprised to see Nicole still waiting. "Thought we could get some breakfast together before heading to class?" Nicole quirked one perfectly shaped eyebrow. She often did this when she asked a question or was curious about something.
"Sure thing, um, can you give me a minute to change first? Sorry." For some reason, Lisa was very shy about changing in front of Nicole. It didn't bother her at all and had become just one of those things that you put up with from your roommate.
"Oh, of course, I forgot." Nicole said, heading towards her desk. She grabbed a book she kept meaning to read for fun, a romance novel, and tried to remember where she left off. Lisa watcher her for a moment, then opened her closet to hang up the towel and pick out clothes for the day. It was cooling down, even though it was barely into fall, so she settled on a pair of jeans and a long sleeve shirt. She wasn't as used to the cold as Nicole, having moved to Berkley from San Diego. Still in California, but a world of difference in weather.
Moments later, fully clothed, Lisa closed the wardrobe door and turned to Nicole. "Ready," she announced, grabbing her backpack from off her bed. Nicole envied the way she was always packed in the morning, as she could only sometimes remember to put everything away. The nights she remembered she did, but the nights, like last night, she seemed to forget.
Nicole and Lisa left the room together and locked the door. In the hallway, Sara, Theresa and Gail were also heading down to breakfast at the same time. So they all decided to head down to the cafeteria together. Sara and Gail were both on the cheerleading team, Theresa was a drama queen. Literally and figuratively, she was a stereotypical theater major, short, bubbly and passionate, she tended to change her mind and mood three times in five minutes. The cheerleaders were both brunettes and pretty, in a small town girl fashion. Each of them hailed from the Midwest and talked with what Nicole had claimed was a "country accent."
Over breakfast, Nicole decided against bringing up her blackouts around the other three girls, as she didn't want anybody else knowing. She figured that Lisa might know something, but the last thing she wanted to do was worry anybody else. Besides, Nicole thought, it's probably nothing. No need to panic anybody.
Instead, the talk turned quickly to boys and Sara started gushing about the hot guy she had met last week. "He wants me to bring my cheerleader outfit with me for after dinner," she grinned wickedly. For some reason, every guy wanted her to wear her costume when they did anything. Nicole had never wanted any of her men dressed up. The other girls all shared a giggle over Sara's escapades. Theresa pitched in with her own stories, sometimes, but today she was fairly quiet during breakfast.
Gail wasn't as naughty as Sara, her high school sweetheart was also a cheerleader and they both arrived at Berkeley together. When they were together, the rest of the girls didn't want to be anywhere near them, especially Nicole. She wouldn't mind falling in love, even though she was very focused on her studies but too many guys wanted her for what was on the outside, not the inside.
During these discussions, Lisa was the only one who never said much other than to laugh and prod along at the juicier bits. She looked flushed when Sara described the more intimate aspects of her relationships, sometimes listening intently, others, trying to change the subject. Nicole didn't mind hearing about how good the last guy was in bed, or what his shortcomings were down below, but it only served to remind her that maybe she was being too picky to give one of the many guys that asker her out a chance.
Breakfast finished and the girls parted ways, Sara and Gail to an early morning run before their first classes, which started later in the day, and Theresa off to the theater. The next production she was working on started in a month and Theresa was hard at work on the set. She didn't make the callbacks this round so ended up helping out backstage. For some reason, Nicole thought that would suit her better in the long run than acting, but of course, Theresa would never hear of it.
On the way to class, the two girls walked in silence for a few moments, enjoying the fall warmth as soon they knew that the weather would be colder and they'd need to wear layers. As a result, both of them ogled, without trying to, the hotter boys that walked by. They walked the sidewalk between older brick and concrete buildings that seemed to exude a sense of legacy, importance and expectation. More passerby would smile, grin or wave to them than the reverse, Nicole and Lisa, though neither would guess, featured in most of the guy's fantasies that saw them regularly walk to class.
After a few minutes of silence, Nicole finally could still her curiosity no further. "Lisa, I need to ask you about something that's been happening to me lately. Like last night, I don't remember going to bed, or changing or anything. Was I acting funny at all?"
Lisa kept her eyes forward, their bright, clear blue reflecting the skies above. Her cheeks colored slightly as she said, "No, you seemed fine to me. After we had coffee, you said you were exhausted and decided to call it a night. Before you made it to your bed, you fell asleep on the desk." She turned to Nicole and grinned, eyes looking up at her slightly higher face, her lashes fluttering, "I think the midnight plus study sessions are probably too much for you."
Nicole nodded, it makes sense, she thought. "I hate to ask, but did you change me last night?"
Lisa shook her head vehemently, cheeks coloring slightly more. If I didn't know better, Nicole thought, I'd swear she was blushing. How weird.
Nicole nodded and decided to drop the subject. A beat later, Lisa added, "I went to sleep only a bit after you. The coffee didn't help me much, either. You probably woke up in the middle of the night, too tired to remember, and then changed out of your clothes. I've done that before." The color was gone from Lisa's cheeks and Nicole believed her, thinking the blushing earlier was probably just an increase in the breezy, fall air.
The building for their writing class was only a ten minute walk and they arrived earlier than most students, just after the last class finished. It was in the bottom floor of a classic California style building with tile roof and red brick walls. The concrete hallways had long since been tiled over and while old, the building had none of the musty, decaying odor that Nicole always expected on entering. Both of them sat in the front row, as usual. It served to help both of them to listen and, when they wore certain clothes, thoroughly distract the teacher, Mr. Morgan.
Mr. Morgan was tall, over six feet, ruggedly handsome with dirty blonde hair and piercing green eyes. His strong jawline looked like his face was modeled after Brat Pitt and the sculptor had outdone themselves. He was a graduate student, studying for his Master's of Fine Arts, emphasis in creative writing. As part of his program, the university got him to teach for a bargain price and he got free tuition. More than once, Nicole thought he might be interested in her, even though the university had strict policies on such things. A few times, she thought he had been about to do more than flirt when she stopped by at office hours but he always stopped himself from saying anything too directly invitational. Pity, Nicole thought, he's so dreamy.
Lisa, for all her talk of she wasn't that impressed with him, showed up as early as Nicole and had visited him once or twice in office hours, as well. "To get help with my paper, only," she would insist to Nicole, "I want to make sure I get good grades. I'm going to try for a scholarship for next year. If I get it, my parents promised me a new car." It all sounded reasonable to Nicole, except for the early attendance and her searching, staring looks at Mr. Morgan when they were in class.
Mr. Morgan arrived just after the last of the students entered. The class held about twenty-five students and most days, one or two was absent. Today, with the test, everybody was there and Mr. Morgan did a quick count without bothering to call individual names. After the first month, he knew pretty much everybody and shortly confirmed that the class was indeed full. Today he wore a white, button up shirt, opened enough to expose some of his lightly tanned, smooth chest and a pair close fitting khakis. His butt looks so firm and tight, Nicole thought.
"Thanks for joining us today, everybody. Are you all ready for the test?" Nicole grinned, as did most of the students in class. Lisa, seeing Nicole's grin, frowned slightly as she setup her pencils on her desk. Maybe she didn't get enough sleep last night, Nicole thought. I feel refreshed and the soreness of the morning seems like a distant memory. I couldn't have imagined feeling violated, could I?
"Please pass these down your row, Nicole." He had a smooth baritone voice, the pitch just low enough to make her quiver. She nodded, grabbing the stack of blue books and leaning over her shoulder to pass them back after taking one. He walked to each row, next Lisa, then another student, handing out stacks of the blue books that were used to write essays in for test taking. Nicole started writing her name, date and other essentials on the outer cover as Mr. Morgan returned to the white board in front and started writing down instructions.
He finished and turned to face the class. "I'll be grading papers from a previous session while you work. Remember, no talking, no electronic devices and no cheating of any kind or you fail. Begin," he paused, looking at his cell phone, "Now."
Nicole started writing some ideas on the inside cover and then attacked the essay with gusto. The forty-five minutes had never seemed to pass by so fast. One minute she was writing out her arguments in reasonable yet strong prose and the next, the teacher was calling them to stop.
"Pencils down," Mr. Morgan said, seemingly only five minutes later. Nicole looked over her work, amazed she had written so much and hoping it was all coherent with good grammar and spelling. Comprehensiveness, originality and of course mechanics made up equal portions of the grade for the test. As a mid term, the test she just finished made up a good chunk of her grade.
"Please pass your tests forward," Mr. Morgan said, getting up from his desk. He looked a bit flushed when he walked up to Nicole's row of desks, "I'll collect them from each person in the front. Good job today everyone. Your grades will be posted by next Wednesday." Looking down at Nicole, his green eyes sparkled, "Enjoy your weekend." To her, it seemed he meant it especially for her. She shivered, wondering if he knew what she kept thinking about him.
Lisa, watching the exchange, felt a stab of jealousy that she never would have expected. She stared cooly at Mr. Morgan as he grabbed the tests from her delicate, well manicured fingers. "You too, Lisa," he said, his baritone warm. She nodded, smiling shyly at him and batting her eyelashes. Nicole watched Lisa seem to flirt with Mr. Morgan and thought again, Is it just us, or does he have this effect on all the girls in his class?
As everybody started to file out of class, Lisa got up and followed Nicole into the hallway. "I have physics next," Nicole said, "See you later, ok?" Lisa nodded, smiling. They didn't share any classes other than writing but there was more paperwork in that class than most others. Also, the hot teacher had motivated them both to study extra hard. The handsome Mr. Morgan made Nicole constantly worry about her grades, even though she was doing excellent in the class so far.
Lisa walked quickly out of the building and headed to her next class for the day which was in Evans hall, a five minute walk for her math class. Nicole had a shorter walk next door to Wheeler hall, for an English literature class. Even though it was right next door, she was barely on time every day, because she frequently found some excuse to hang back at his class. Aside from that, the teacher for her literature class was an old, smelly bore with a gray, bushy beard who sweated profusely, even with the air conditioning on.
If the class had been anything other than a requirement, she would have dropped it long since. She arrived in class, a room full of thirty students, just before the professor announced the topic for the day.
"Good afternoon, students," he droned, his voice warbling, doubtless his beard hid a double or triple chin, "today we will be discussing Jane Eyre."
Nicole groaned inwardly, usually she was excited about this kind of discussion but her thoughts kept drifting during the discussion and when she was called on to chime in, she embarrassingly could not recall a single word of the question. "Sorry, professor Gray. I didn't sleep very well last night and had a mid term this morning. Can you repeat the question?" She smiled, batting her eyelashes, as much as she hated to do so with the fat old man, it worked.
Grunting, Professor Gray replied, "No, I will not. Since many of the other students also have mid terms, how about we skip to your paper assignment and call it a day?" He got up from his chair, the class was set in a semi circle around his desk, and grabbed a stack of papers. He dropped one off on each desk and then sat down again, sweating profusely from the effort. Nicole was glad to see that her paper, at least, was dry. Some of the students at the end of the circle were not so lucky.
"Please review the requirements for the paper. The subject is Jane Eyre, it's due next week. No exceptions." Several of the students, after reviewing the requirements for the paper, looked daunted by the task. Nicole reviewed the paper briefly before putting it in her backpack. Thirty pages, due in a week, must present an original perspective on the work and argue for or against one of the main characters rationales for acting the way they did. Simple enough, Nicole thought as she left the class, I can just pick something controversial and argue that after I finish the book.
With her classes done, Nicole set out for the cafeteria for a late lunch. Most days, her lunch schedule did not overlap with her circle of friends and as a result she ate alone before heading back to her room in the Foothill dorms. While she ate, she replayed her interaction with Mr. Morgan and kept thinking about his smile. He had strong hands, she knew from his handshake, and from the short sleeve dress shirts he sometimes wore, she knew he worked out. Everything about him seemed the perfect man, except for those pesky student teacher relations rules.