Warpath

warpath jan 20 2019

Warpath

Chapter 6

By avenger-nerd-mom & devikafernando

AU Fan Fiction

In the sequel to Educating Thalia, the lovely Thalia Bareo is trying to grow up, making her own way in the world after losing both men she loved, Professors Chris Evans and Tom Hiddleston. The sassy full-figured Puerto Rican girl from Chicago holds down a job as she tries to deal with the real world. She continues her studies and freelances as a consultant for museums around the world. Being Thalia updates are posted on Wednesdays and Sundays.

Warning: As a whole, this work contains adult content. If you proceed you have agreed that you are willing to see such content. Each chapter will not be coded with individual warnings. The overall story contains no hidden triggers.

If you are new to the series and characters, click here to the beginning of Educating Thalia.

If you are looking for other stories in the sequel, click here for the beginning of Being Thalia

Summary: Someone is a little bitter about Thalia’s collection of professors.

Previous Chapter, Sensitivity Training

Word Count 1676

2019, Summer Semester

Thalia watches the ball bounce back and forth, catching it each time. She briefly wonders what would happen if she shifted her aim a foot to the right. Would the windows shatter? Would she be responsible to replace them?

She bounces it again, and catches it, on repeat.

Her rhythm is only broken when her phone rings. She snatches the ball from the air and lays it on her desk. Dropping her feet to the floor, she swivels in her chair. Leaning forward against the fake wood surface, she reaches in her back pocket and pulls out the device.

“Hey, babe? What’s up?” Thalia asks. Her melancholy hangs with her, and her voice is dry and devoid of emotion. She sighs.

“Sounds like a long day,” the familiar voice offers. Rich and deep, it washes over her like a salve to her soul. “Wanna go for a run? Avery’s at dance, and her mother is picking her up after, for the night.”

“Evans? How long have you known me?” She chuckles, reaching for the pale yellow envelope propped against her lamp. “How many times are you gonna ask me for a run before you realize I’m never gonna say yes? How many times do I gotta tell you, my thighs could chafe and start a small fire?”

His laughter echoes through the line and she smiles, picturing him in her mind’s eye. “Well, babe, you were a sophomore when you were in my class?” He teases. “Before you could legally drink? I don’t know, it feels like we’ve known each other forever, and I’ve told you a million times, that’s not how fires work.”

She chuckles and feigns indignance. “Are you saying I’m getting old and I’m not hot enough?”

“Definitely hot enough. And you keep me young. I’m the one getting older.” He scoffs. “I can skip the run tonight. Why don’t you come home and let me show you how hot I think you are?”

Running her finger over the embossed gold lettering on the envelope, she smiles, daydreaming about the sexy flecks of gray in his scruffy beard. “I’ll be home in twenty minutes. Have a shower ready.”

Tucking the phone in her back pocket, she puts the yellow envelope high on the shelf behind her. It could change everything, but it’s not pressing now. Out of sight, out of mind. She shuffles around some papers, organizing stacks to grade and notes to research. Picking up the large manuscript, post-its sticking out everywhere, she thumps her finger over her name on the cover page. Tilting her head to the right, she gasps when it pops, but realizes the tension in her neck fades. She shoves the draft into her bag and reaches for her jacket.

“You leaving?” calls the voice from across the hall.

“Yeah,” she replies stepping to the hall and locking the door behind her.

Professor Hemsworth stands from behind his desk. “Let me walk you out, it’s kinda late and there’s been talk around campus, girls getting attacked at night.”

“There’s always talk,” she leans in the door frame. “Young kids, no parents, frat parties and bars nearby… I went to the seminar earlier this week with some of my students for the training on how to defend yourself.”

The muscular blond grabs his bag from the couch and joins her in the hallway, locking his door. “That’s good. You took care of yourself, knew what to do. That’s good you talk about it, let your students learn from you.”

“It was tough as hell, Hems, not really shit I wanna talk about.” She shrugs. “But now I’ve been invited to speak at two dorm house meetings next week, and possibly the keynote speaker at the rally sorority row is planning for next month, when everyone’s back on campus.”

“A wonderful role model for these young women.” He reaches his arm around her shoulder and pulls her close. “You’re tough. I respect that.” Walking down the hallway, he tenderly kisses the top of her head. “Like a Valkyrie.” His deep, thick accent is full of pride in his friend. “Full of such complex emotion, warm and caring, faithful and loyal to men. Unless they need an ass kicked.”

Reaching the stairwell, Professor Joanna Kent falls into footsteps with them, and uninvited, joins their conversation. “Depends on the works you read, Professor Hemsworth. Not all Valkyries were so innocent. You should know that.”

Hemsworth halts their steps, nonchalantly standing between the two women. Thalia feels a vulnerability, standing a few steps below her former professor, a woman she slighted, not once but twice. Kent has had it out for her since her return to the university as a colleague. “What do you mean, Mrs. Kent?” Chris Hemsworth asks, resting his hand on the stair railing. Thalia shifts her weight, hiding behind the expanse of his broad back, holding in her glee at his dismissal of her preferred title.

“In my studies of Norse mythology, Valkyrie are often depicted as cold, cunning women, true evil beings who take advantage of the men with whom they have affairs. They seem to have considerable control of those around them, often domineering and bold.”

Blood starts to curse through Thalia’s veins, understanding Kent’s play on words. Waiting out the cat fight, she takes another approach. Stepping from behind her protector, Thalia smiles, “Oh, Joanna, I had no idea you saw me as ‘domineering and bold!’ That’s really a kick ass compliment, thank you.” Kent splutters, at a loss for words. Thalia wrinkles her forehead, changing her expression to one of confusion. “I mean, that’s what you meant, right? ‘Cuz, it kinda sounded like a slam, that you think I’m an evil bitch, but it was also mixed with praise. I am all for bold dommes.” Running her hands down her side, and straightening her crisp white dress shirt, she grins. “You like that type, right?”

“Girl,” Kent growls, leaning forward, creating enough presence Hemsworth actually shrinks back. “Watch it.” She wags her finger in Thalia’s face. “I should have nailed your ass to the wall when I had the chance-”

Thalia begins to walk away, “You never had that chance. You’re not my type.”

Kent snarls. “Listen, Missy, I know what you were up to then, and I see it now. You’re just zebra island trash. What makes you think you can go around collecting all the pretty boys on campus? Everyone knows why you got a job here, sleeping your way up.”

Thalia lunges forward, Kent stepping back and Hemsworth, eyes wide with shock, restraining her. “You fuckin’ bitch, you don’t know shit and how dare you slur against me? I’ll have your damn job for that, because I’m sure derogatory racial comments rank higher as “socially unacceptable” than me fucking a professor.” Climbing up another step, she stands eye level with Kent. “You’re still pissed he couldn’t get it up for you, you old goat, and mad I rejected your advances too. Come at me; see what happens.”

She pushes past Kent, going back up the stairs, Hemsworth following.

“What the actual fuck was that?” He smiles nervously.

hemsworth smiles

She holds up her hand, already opening her phone to make a call. On the third ring, she spits out. “It’s on. Kent’s on a warpath, and I have to file a University grievance now before she can clap back at me. I’m gonna be late. Go ahead and take your run…. Babe, I don’t have time to explain it now… No, I wasn’t alone. Hemsworth was walking me to out to the car. He’s a witness… Yeah, he’s a good friend.” She turns her head away from Hemsworth when he flinches at the dismissal. “Bake brownies too. I’ll bring ice cream.” She chuckles. “Yes, it’s that bad.” Thalia rolls her eyes, ending the call.

Hemsworth bites his lip. “Is he still jealous we’re friends?” He adjusts his glasses, trying to hide his hurt feelings.

“I’m sure he is, a little bit, but he knows the ‘surfer Norse God’ look you’ve got going on is not my thing.” She chuckles. “We’ve known each other a long time. Now, we’re always honest with each other. I’ve earned his trust.”

“I still think I could beat him at arm wrestling,” he chuckles, flexing his muscles.

“I’m sure you could.” She pats his arm. “Maybe at the barbeque next weekend. Bring that physicist you met. What’s her name? Jane?” Thalia pushes her hip against her door, opening the office. “Listen, go on home. I’m gonna be here awhile,” she says, flipping on the overhead light.

He shakes his head ‘no.’ “I can’t leave you- what if she came back? I was a witness, I can file a complaint also. If I understood it? What exactly did she mean?”

Thalia sits back in her office chair, turning on her computer. “My dad was Afro-Puerto Rican and my bio-mom was white. Mixed.” She tugs on her mane of unruly curls. “A zebra.” She shrugs. “I only heard it as a kid, growin’ up in the neighborhood. If that’s the worst thing she could think of to call me, I’m good with it. But I’m still gonna slam her for it. Petty bitch.”

He nods. “And I gather there’s more to the story from when you went to Uni here that you haven’t told me?”

Thalia exhales slowly, nodding and running her hand across her forehead. “Remember when we met last year, when I said I didn’t sleep with my science professor?”

“I kinda figured that part out.” Hemsworth smirks, resting on the arm of the couch.

“Surfer boy smarter than he appears, huh?” She chuckles, opening her email. “Yeah, Chris and I’ve dated off and on for the last three years. We met at the bar, where I worked.” She stares at the computer screen for a moment, sighing. “I wasn’t his student, although I was in his class years before, as an undergrad. And I eventually did some work for him as a grad assistant, helped with research and editing for his book. But that’s not the whole story. Kent didn’t know about him. That’s not who she was talking about…”

Click here for Chapter 7, Family Matters

Copyright © 2019 avenger-nerd-mom and devikafernando. All rights reserved. Intellectual property of avenger-nerd-mom

Sensitivity Training

ch 5 sensitivity train jan 16 2019

Sensitivity Training

Chapter 5

By avenger-nerd-mom & devikafernando

AU Fan Fiction

In the sequel to Educating Thalia, the lovely Thalia Bareo is trying to grow up, making her own way in the world after losing both men she loved, Professors Chris Evans and Tom Hiddleston. The sassy full-figured Puerto Rican girl from Chicago holds down a job as she tries to deal with the real world. She continues her studies and freelances as a consultant for museums around the world. Being Thalia updates are posted on Wednesdays and Sundays.

Warning: As a whole, this work contains adult content. If you proceed you have agreed that you are willing to see such content. Each chapter will not be coded with individual warnings. The overall story contains no hidden triggers.

If you are new to the series and characters, click here to the beginning of Educating Thalia.

If you are looking for other stories in the sequel, click here for the beginning of Being Thalia

Summary: The faculty is required to attend training on harassment and how to have proper relations with students and co-workers.

Previous Chapter, Strong Shoulders

Word Count 1999

2019, Spring Semester

Involuntarily, his lips tilt up into a smile as she enters the room. Her new best pal, Professor Chris Hemsworth, right on her heels. They’re laughing at something he’s showing her on his phone. She doesn’t even turn towards him, but he watches her cheeks turn a light shade of pink, highlighting her freckles. She knows he’s watching. Looking around the faculty office, everyone is catching up with others, talking about their Spring vacations. Professor Evans scowls at the new TA attempting to make googly eyes towards Thalia. The younger man nervously drops his folder, papers scattering everywhere. Chris covers his mouth, hiding his chuckle. Pulling his glasses from his pocket, he leans forward, resting his elbows on his knees, pretending to read the packet on appropriate interactions with students. Instead, his focus is his new roommate.

Hemsworth detaches himself, and moves to the table with coffee and snacks. Thalia sits, stretching her thick legs out and leans back in her chair, beginning to talk quietly to another faculty member. Her hair hangs down her back, nearly long enough to sit on when she straightens it, as she has been of late. Chris’s fingers itch, wishing to reach out and run them through her silky tresses. His stomach tightens, remembering how his fingers always tangled in her curls, wondering what it would feel like to truly brush his hands through her hair now. He exhales audibly and shifts in his seat, attracting the attention of the woman next to him. Offering her a crooked smile, he resumes his reading. After a moment, he returns his gaze to Thalia. Her clothes hug her round figure, the leather jacket pulled tight and buttoned over her plump belly. She’s laughing animatedly, reaching for the coffee Hemsworth offers her, but turns away the donut. The blond oaf shoves a big bite in his mouth and takes an empty chair in the row in front of her.

He really hates that guy. How is Norse Mythology even a real study? It’s exactly that. Myths. No proof.

Chris focuses his gaze on Thalia again. As usual, the present blends with the past whenever she’s around. He remembers every inch of her olive toned skin, her flesh pliable under his fingers. The way she would arch into him, goosebumps rising, her breath echoing between them… The way she would hold him tight as they rode out their orgasms together and then she would-

“Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen,” Professor Joanna Kent announces. “Thank you all for taking the time to attend this training on appropriate workplace behaviors-”

“We’re timing you, Joanna. Think of it as a TED Talk. You’ve got eighteen minutes,” a voice calls out from the back and the staff laugh.

“Fine. That’s easy.” The woman leans over to switch on the large screen. Somehow in her movements, her overly sweet cologne wafts across, tickling his nose and he sneezes twice. Having trouble, she mumbles under her breath about hating technology. “Ok, fine. While this powers up,” she hands a clipboard to the faculty member closest to her, “everyone has to sign in to document for the university you’ve attended this sensitivity training.”

She continues to fiddle with the computer cords and a low buzz rises in the room as everyone begins chatting again. Chris’s phone vibrates, and he reaches in his coat pocket to pull it out. He laughs, reading the text.

Kent’s perfume has been known to cause allergy attacks. Don’t get too close. You’ll be sneezing all week.

Looking up, his eyes lock on Thalia’s. She smirks. Bowing his head, he quickly types out his reply.

Thanks for the warning. Not that I planned to get too close to her.

Moments later, her reply appears.

I’m told she’s a witty conversationalist at dinner, but horror of horrors! She orders fruit salad as dessert.

Feeling her watching him, he shoots back a pithy comment.

Proof she’s not human. Everyone knows to get cheesecake, or ice cream. She’s obviously an alien.

He smiles when he hears her bark of laughter across the noisy room, but looks up as the den falls silent moments later.

On the projector screen behind Professor Kent’s head, in bold hot pink type are the words ‘Don’t Have Sex with Students.’

“TED Talk over,” says the deep voice.

Papers rustle and sounds of the faculty shifting nervously in their chairs quickly turns to a quiet rumble.

“Yeah, we seriously have to have an inservice on this?”

“We’re not creepy pervs.”

“Ridiculous, they’re just kids.”

“We have to be told this?”

He bites his tongue from laughing at the text when his phone vibrates again.

Hi, creepy perv

STOP!” Kent’s voice echoes, nodding. “There are rumors and complaints being investigated, in several departments across campus. Everyone is receiving this training, to be aware of signs to look for and be aware of, and these comments could fall under harassment, so behave yourselves, and let’s follow the guide passed out by the Head Dean, shall we?”

She clears her voice and launches into her prepared presentation. He shakes his head, not being able to look at Thalia. Honestly, he can’t help but wonder if old allegations could arise? Months after she graduated and moved to Paris, it had been rumored there were inappropriate relations in the history department. He was surprised a finger was never pointed at her, and had walked on eggshells for weeks, relieved she was another continent away and safe from the gossip mill.

He vaguely listens as Kent outlines reasons, such as abuse of authority, ‘corrosive of the educational experience,’ and sexualizing the workplace, but then his damn twisted sense of humor gets the best of him.

It was educational, right?

He looks around the room, waiting for her response. Everyone is reading their packet, staring out the window, making no eye contact with anyone out of fear, or embarrassment. Except one person. Her eyes are sparkling, and he knows it’s on.

Very educational. Learned a lot. Lots of practice helped, private tutoring, hands on…

Chris closes his mind, shutting out the memory he hadn’t been the only one educating Thalia. His fingers fly across the screen, sending his next message.

One sign should have been underwear behind the couch in my office. The cleaning crew needs this training too.

Moments pass as Kent’s shrill voice drones on.

Don’t forget condoms in trash cans. And underwear wouldn’t have been behind the couch if you weren’t always taking them from me, and flinging them like a slingshot

He licks his lips, and types his reply.

Underwear under short plaid skirts is all wrong. If you’d watch porn, you’d know that

He nearly chokes at the return comment.

Who said I don’t watch porn?

Fuckin’ hell, the new, older Thalia is almost too much sass. The image of her laying on her bed- the bed in the guest room, in the basement of his house, where she’s been staying since her apartment fire in January- fingering herself to whatever she gets off on is almost too much for him. He shifts in his seat. He quickly opens a locked file on his phone, eyeing right and left to make sure no one is watching him, and he sends a picture back to her.

It’s one he keeps. She’s bent over a display in the library, late at night, working on a project, in a short plaid skirt. The lacy underwear fits snug against her ass, the elastic bunched up and tucked in between her folds on one side. They’d gone back to his office, and fucked like the building was on fire, and he’d teased her for wearing underwear.

That’s what you get off to when you’re all alone?

Chris fumbles with his phone, nearly dropping it when an image fills his screen. His hand wrapped around his cock, in a black and white image he vaguely remembers sending her years before.

This works for me.

His mouth drops open and he nervously inhales. Works. Present tense. As if she still admires the photo, after all this time and all that’s passed between them.

Doesn’t matter nowas if she can read his mind- you’ve got a girlfriend

Chris swallows, feeling his Adam’s apple bob in his throat. Flexing his fingers, it’s almost like they’re thinking about what to type next.

Not anymore. She left. While you were in Puerto Rico on Spring Break.

Waiting a beat, he wonders what she’ll say next.

Sorry. Probably my fault. Break up pig out? Pizza and ice cream tonight?

He scoffs, shaking his head. Closing his eyes, he says a silent prayer.

No pig out necessary. Wasn’t meant to be. Don’t you have plans with the Ken doll?

Holding his breath, he waits for the reply. He watches her eyes gaze at the back of Hemsworth’s head before dropping to her lap, tapping away on her phone.

No plans I can’t change. I told you, we’re just friends. He’s got a date later. Some chick in the science department.

Heart pounding, he can actually feel little beads of sweat forming on his upper lip, hidden by his beard. He’s out of practice, but he’s pretty sure she’s flirting, baiting him. Deciding to pull the line, he types quickly. Got a plaid skirt?

He hears her voice chirp across the room. He looks up, but her face is hidden behind her hair. Chris really wants nothing more than to meet her back at home and fall into bed with her, picking up where they left things off, as if no time had passed.

You aren’t paying attention. Now we’re getting lectured on not dating coworkers.

Looking up to the screen behind Professor Kent, she’s showing a training video about professional behaviors in the workplace among colleagues. The room titters with laughter when the character on screen is identified as “Thalia” and she’s receiving unwanted emails from a male coworker, lewdly complimenting her clothing.

“Gawd, I hate those emails. Stop sending them,” she jokes and the room laughs, lighter from her influence. “I can’t help I’m so good looking,” she laughs, dropping her head back down to look at the packet in her lap.

“I’m from Australia. I didn’t know any better,” Hemsworth adds, turning around and patting her thigh as the mood in the room shifts.

Chris focuses on the lecture, feeling slightly dejected. He doesn’t know what he thought, now feeling foolish for thinking Thalia would run back to him.

Not really dating if I’m living in your basement and we never go out? Probably another training on that, perv. After this meeting, I have my three o’clock class. Don’t have plaid skirts anymore, but I can make mean margaritas. Grilled steaks and fajitas on the back patio?

***

Thalia’s eyes flutter open, blinking slowly. She pulls her hair from under her shoulder, fanning it out over the pillow. The light filtering through the windows is sunny and bright, a pleasant change. Stretching deliciously, she can’t hide the smile on her face. Biting her lip, she feels her cheeks warming. With another stretch, she arches her back off the bed, the comforter falling from her hip. Her head still buzzes from the tequila the night before, and her body aches in ways long forgotten. Rolling to her side, she throws her arm over her bed mate, tracing her fingers over his tattooed shoulder. Sense memory responds, her fingers remembering every bump and blemish of the marking on his beautiful skin. Just like he’d shown her last night that he remembers every single thing that makes her breath stutter and her body shudder. When they came together–twice, she recalls with a decadent little shiver–it was as if he broke her, then put her back together. Not the way she was before everything came crashing down around her, but almost.

And that’s good enough for now.

Moving closer, pressing her body to his, Thalia whispers huskily in his ear, “You still owe me number Three.”

Click for Chapter 6, Warpath

Copyright © 2019  avenger-nerd-mom and devikafernando. All rights reserved. Intellectual property of avenger-nerd-mom

Strong Shoulders

ch 4 strong shoulders jan 13 2019

Strong Shoulders

Chapter 4

By avenger-nerd-mom & devikafernando

AU Fan Fiction

In the sequel to Educating Thalia, the lovely Thalia Bareo is trying to grow up, making her own way in the world after losing both men she loved, Professors Chris Evans and Tom Hiddleston. The sassy full-figured Puerto Rican girl from Chicago holds down a job as she tries to deal with the real world. She continues her studies and freelances as a consultant for museums around the world. Being Thalia updates are posted on Wednesdays and Sundays.

Warning: As a whole, this work contains adult content. If you proceed you have agreed that you are willing to see such content. Each chapter will not be coded with individual warnings. The overall story contains no hidden triggers.

**THIS CHAPTER DOES HAVE MENTION OF A SICK PARENT**

If you are new to the series and characters, click here to the beginning of Educating Thalia.

If you are looking for other stories in the sequel, click here for the beginning of Being Thalia

Summary: Thalia returns to Chicago for a quiet holiday with her father and stepmother

Word Count 1263

Previous Chapter, Attraction

December 2018

Thalia had been looking forward to the month long winter holiday with her family in Chicago, but now she wonders if she can ever escape old memories. Walking down the hallway, the place seems smaller, and the peeling wallpaper and chipped trim adds to her dreary mood. Examining the tree, she wryly smiles at the old ornaments, things she’d made in grade school. She briefly wonders what happened to the Nativity she and her mother had painted before her mother walked out. Tapping her finger against the bell from her cousin’s wedding, she sends up happy thoughts for the couple and laughs at an old picture of her and her friend Amy stuffed in among the branches. A silly glass ornament of a hot dog catches her eye, and she wonders how it made it to the tree from the shelf in her room.

Tom. She falters at the thought of him, her heart momentarily stopping.

Tom had bought the ornament as a joke three years before when he had surprised her by turning up in the city. They’d shared such a wonderful time, geeking out over the museums, stuffing themselves with local food. Fucking each other’s brains out in the hotel that night, putting the tie she’d gifted him for Christmas to good use.

Fuck him, she mumbles, staring out the window at the falling snow.

The memories were too much. Stacey found her curled up on the couch in the den. The motherly blonde sat cradling the broken young woman in her arms. “I really fucked up, Stacey. I can’t fix it. I can’t change it, and they’re both gone.”

“Oh, honey,” she says, wiping away her stepdaughter’s tears. She cups her face in her hands and gently kisses her nose. “There are other handsome princes. You’ll love again, in time.”

Thalia sobs harder, her body quaking from a broken heart. This isn’t her first meltdown, but it’s the only time she’s let another soul in on her pain. Except for Jim Beam and Johnnie Walker, no one has seen her this bad, this devastated.

“I don’t want anyone else,” she yelps, choking on her tears. “I met, I met someone… Other than a sexy voice, and being a professor,” she scoffs, “he’s not my type. But I like him. He’s nice, he’s funny. He’s Australian and dammit, his name is Chris!” She hollers through her tears.

“Everything okay up there?” Carlos Bareo calls up the stairs.

“Nooo,” whines Thalia, collapsing again in her mother’s arms.

“Carlos, honey, we’ll be awhile,” Stacey yells back. “Why don’t you just order in some dinner tonight? We’ll be down soon.”

“Oh, God, I don’t want him to see me like this. Not when he warned me-”

“Life’s too short to say ‘I told you so.’ He won’t want you hiding away in here the whole time you’re home. He’s looking forward to the special tour you arranged for the National Museum of Puerto Rican Arts and Culture.” Stacey passes a tissue to Thalia, doing her best to change the subject, while the younger woman noisily blows her nose. “So tell me about this other guy? What’s he like?”

She blows her nose again, wadding up the tissue and dropping it in the trash can next to the couch. She inhales deeply, looking up to the ceiling. “Nothing to tell. I blew it. After a quick and much needed make out session on his couch the other night, when we got to his bedroom, he had the same bedspread Tom and I had in Paris, and my Chris’s book on his nightstand, the one I helped edit.” She chuckles, wiping the end of her dripping nose with another tissue, the tears finally slowing and beading up on her lashes. “I kinda freaked out a little, couldn’t breathe. I mean he’s trying to take my sweater off, and I’ve got a movie montage in my head of that damn bedspread.” She visibly swallows, making a clicking sound in the back of her throat. “We’re really only work friends, it was like the second time I’d hung out at his house. We don’t know each other well enough to read the clues, so I finally had to put the brakes on-”

“Oh, honey, that’s really-”

She hiccups and giggles. “Awful, I know, right? I just told him, well, I was tracing his abs, so it took a moment to sink in, but I couldn’t stop staring at him. I swear, Stacey, it was like a twelve pack, I’ve never seen anything like it before.” She sighs deeply. “Probably never will again,” she says wistfully, “I’m gonna be a nun. Anyway, I asked if he remembered me saying I’d recently ended a relationship, and I told him the bedspread was the same, and I couldn’t handle it.”

Stacey hides her smile behind her hand. “Then what happened, honey?”

Thalia snorts. “Guys like him don’t exist in real life. He took me back downstairs to the kitchen, and we devoured a roll of cookie dough, instead of each other. He told me about his ex, and how he ended up in the States. At some point, I think I went into a sugar coma, because I woke up on his couch yesterday morning while he was making a mad dash to gather things up to pack to go back home for the term break.” She smiles weakly. “I made him breakfast and helped him with a few things before I left to get home and finish packing my own bags.”

Stacey’s jaw drops. “So he was totally okay with it, not having sex, and just being a good guy? A real friend?”

Thalia lifts her eyebrows. “I know, crazy right?”

“A Christmas miracle,” Stacey laughs.

A quiet night in with her parents was just what she needed to help escape from memories, but then real life caught up fast. Her father was in ailing health, and they spent long hours together during her break. His repeated refrain was the old adage, ‘If you love something, let it go. If it was meant to be, it will come back.’

She never knew if he was talking about her love life, and if so, which man was he referring to, or if he was rambling about his happiness she had returned home after so long an absence.

Thalia never got a chance to ask her father about it. He died shortly after she returned to the school for the winter term.

While she was gone for his funeral, her small apartment complex was destroyed by a fire.

Once again a nomad, the young woman had shown up at Professor Chris Evans’ door with just her suitcase from her trip and really no place to go. He accepted her with open arms. Avery was pleased as punch to have her favorite playmate back in the house again. His girlfriend? Not so much…

Shortly after moving in, Thalia heard them in the kitchen late one night.

“How long is she gonna be staying here?”

The sound of a glass beer bottle hitting the table echoed through the downstairs. “Karen, she’ll stay as long as she needs to. She lost everything, what part of that do you not get?” His voice is tired, agitated just below the surface.

“She was your student, and you dated her, and now she’s living in our basement. That’s just fucked up and-”

Putting in her earbuds, she tuned out the rest of the conversation. She jogged down the steps to her room, flopping across the bed. Scrolling through the phone, she continued her search for apartment listings, looking for a new place to live.

Next chapter, Sensitivity Training

Copyright © 2019  avenger-nerd-mom and devikafernando. All rights reserved. Intellectual property of avenger-nerd-mom