Perfectly Protected (Addicted To You, Book Three)
Author:Covington, Lucy

***

 

By the time I found Dr. Klaxton’s office, it was almost eleven. And according to my syllabus, he had office hours from eleven to twelve-thirty. (This information was printed right under the part about how he didn’t let anyone into class late. It said, right there, LATECOMERS WILL NOT BE ALLOWED INTO CLASS.) When I got to the office, the secretary told me that Dr. Klaxton wasn’t in yet. She was kind of snotty about it, but I decided not to take it personally. Even so, I decided to wait on the bench in the hallway, away from her hawk-like stare.

 

I didn’t have long to wait. A few seconds later, Dr. Klaxton came walking toward me.

 

“Dr. Klaxton,” I said, and stood up. I didn’t know if it was the best idea to sort of ambush him out here in the hall, but I was too anxious to wait for him to get into his office. “I’m Lindsay Cramer, I’m the one who – ”

 

“I know who you are, Ms. Cramer,” he said. He was holding a Styrofoam cup, and he slurped from it noisily. His lips were dark, like he’d been eating too many red jellybeans. “I just saw you less than an hour ago.”

 

“I wanted to apologize again for showing up to class late. I had a, uh, personal situation come up this morning.”

 

He didn’t say anything, just took another sip of his coffee. His expression was completely blank, and I couldn’t tell if I was getting through to him.

 

“Anyway, I wanted you to know that I wrote the paper, the one that you were going to use to choose your research assistants?” I pulled it out and showed it to him. “I know you might not want to accept it, but I worked very hard on it, and I’m proud of the work I did. If you would just give me another chance, I’m sure I can make it up to you.”

 

He didn’t say anything.

 

“And I’ll never be late again,” I tried.

 

His lips pursed together and he twisted them to the side. “Let me guess,” he said.

 

“Valedictorian? East Podunk, New Jersey?”

 

“Excuse me?”

 

He took in a big deep breath, like he couldn’t believe he was spending his time with someone so stupid. “You were valedictorian,” he said, enunciating every syllable.

 

“Probably from a school in a small town?”

 

“I don’t under –”

 

“Then let me explain it to you. You think you deserve special treatment because you’re smart. In high school you were a big fish in a small pond. But everyone here is smart, Ms. Cramer. In fact, many of them are smarter than you. They’ve gone to the best boarding schools in the world. I don’t give them special treatment. And I’m definitely not going to give you special treatment.”

 

And with that, he turned around and walked into his office, shutting the door behind him.

 

***

 

“What an asshole,” Rachel said, shaking her head. “I hate people like that, who think they have to be jerks just to be jerks.”

 

“He was completely jerky.” I sighed. We were sitting outside on a blanket later that day, our books spread out around us, about to settle in for a nice long study session.

 

It was nice to be sitting amidst the grass and the trees and the beautiful, old buildings of Cambridge University that had so much history. The sunlight was still perfect for reading and it filtered softly through the leaves above our heads.

 

“You weren’t even that late,” Rachel reassured me. “He just wanted to make an example of you so people would be scared of him. He probably has a small…you know what.”

 

“A small you know what?” I frowned.

 

“Yeah, a small, you know, member.”

 

“Oh my God,” I said. “That is disgusting. You did not just talk about Dr.

 

Klaxton’s member. And besides, who calls it that?”

 

“I’m trying to experiment with my vocabulary. Today in English I used the word avarice.”

 

“I thought you were experimenting with different names.”

 

“I was,” she said. “But then I realized that maybe I was meant to be a Rachel after all.” She titled her chin up, considering. “Or maybe a Zoe.”

 

“Hey, stranger,” a voice said.

 

I looked up, shading my eyes from the late afternoon sun. It was Adam. He was tossing a football back and forth between his hands, and he was wearing a pair of khaki shorts and a navy blue Cambridge University t-shirt. He couldn’t have looked more collegiate if he’d tried.

 

“Hi, Adam.” I smiled and hoped he wouldn’t bring up what had happened the other night, when I’d run out of Frog like a crazy person. “What’s up?”

 

“Not much. Just tossin’ the ball around.” He tossed it a little higher, this time putting a spin on it.

 

“Have you met Rachel?” I asked.

 

“No, he hasn’t,” Rachel said. “I would have remembered.” She gave him a smile and stretched out her hand. “I’m Rachel.”

 

“I’m Adam.” He took her hand. “Nice to meet you.” He gave her a friendly smile back, but then immediately turned his attention to me. “What are you up to tonight? You wanna grab frozen yogurt? My treat.”

 

I tried to think of a reason why I couldn’t. But I wasn’t able to come up with one.

 

“Sure,” I said. “That sounds great.”

 

“Cool. Pick you up at your room tonight?”