Made of steel (made of s.., p.14
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       Made of Steel (Made of Steel Series Book 1), p.14

           Ivy Smoak
 

  ***

  I was one of the first people to my Psych 101 class. I was relieved to see that it wasn't a huge lecture hall. There were only about 30 desks. I made my way to the front of the room and took the seat right in front of the chalkboard.

  Most of the rooms I had walked past had whiteboards and projectors. This professor definitely liked it old school, which I preferred anyway. I pulled out my notebook and placed it on my desk. A chill ran down my spine and I glanced toward the door. It was just a group of students walking in. None of them were even glancing in my direction. But it felt like someone was watching me. I couldn't really explain it. I stared for another moment at the empty doorway and then looked down at my blank notebook. It was just in my head. I'm safe.

  In a few minutes the room was abuzz.

  The seats around me quickly filled up as the professor walked in. He was younger than the sociology professor and had a warm smile.

  "Welcome to Intro to Psychology. I'm Professor Bryant." He pulled out a stack of papers and handed them to the girl at the end of my row.

  "Take one syllabus and pass them on."

  Great, another class about syllabi.

  "One of the things we're going to be focusing on this semester is a group project. No, you don't get to choose your partners, I do. And no, you cannot change your partners. Before you all groan, an important part of psychology is learning how to work well with others."

  I didn't mind a group project at all. The professor picking my partner was fine too. I didn't know anyone in the class so it would have been awkward finding my own partner anyway.

  "The project is going to be about understanding why people do the things they do. Their underlying motivations. It's about looking underneath the surface. Which is why it's so great to have the perspective of someone you don't know."

  I had a feeling I was going to love this class.

  "You'll just have to choose a well known figure and analyze something that he or she has done recently. Like everything in psychology, it's simple yet complex." He lifted up a sheet off his desk. "To make things easy, we're just going to go in alphabetical order. When I call your name, raise your hand so that you can find your partner.

  I tuned out the beginning of roll call as I looked down at the syllabus. The group project was worth half of our grade. Hopefully I'd get a good partner.

  "Sadie Davis," the professor said.

  I continued to read my syllabus.

  "Sadie Davis?" he said a little louder.

  Oh, shit. I raised my hand as fast as I could. How many times had he called my name? It felt like my heart was beating loud enough for everyone to hear.

  But the professor didn't seem to notice. He just looked back down at his paper. "You will be partnered with Eli Hayes." His eyes darted to a spot in the back of the room.

  I turned my head in the direction he was looking. It was the same Eli I had met the other night. The one with the boy-next-door smile. The one I had almost cried in front of.

  I turned to face the front of the room. This school was huge. What were the odds that we'd have a class together? I was kind of hoping I'd never see him again. Maybe he didn't remember me. We had only talked for a few minutes. I glanced over my shoulder.

  He smiled his boy-next-door smile at me.

  He definitely remembers.

  "Don't bother asking, there is absolutely no switching partners. Exchange contact information with each other so you can start getting some ideas. Topics will be due on Friday. Class dismissed."

  I shoved my notebook into my backpack.

  "Hey, Sadie."

  I almost jumped. Class had been dismissed just a few seconds ago. Had he run over to me? "Hey."

  "Sorry, I didn't mean to startle you. I just wanted to catch you before you ran off again."

  I laughed. "Oh, yeah, sorry about the other night."

  "You owe me one, by the way. I had to third wheel with Patrick and Kins all night. It was incredibly awkward."

  "I'm sure it wasn't that awkward."

  "They started making out right next to me."

  "Okay, fine. That's a little awkward." I stood up and pulled my backpack over my shoulder.

  "Do you have another class right now?"

  "Um...no."

  He smiled. "Let's get lunch. We can talk about the project." He started walking toward the door, not bothering to wait for my response.

  I quickly caught up to him. "Actually, could we just exchange numbers? I was hoping to get a little work done during lunch. So I don't really have time to hang out right now."

  "I doubt you have any work." He pushed through the door leading outside and held it open for me to walk through.

  "Thanks," I said as I walked through the door. "But I do actually have work. There's this reading assignment for my sociology class. And it looks like it's going to be pretty interesting. I'm excited to get started."

  "Come on, you're the only person I've met that isn't from New York. Us non-locals have to stick together."

  I laughed.

  "It's just lunch. To discuss our project. It'll be fun." He smiled. "Plus, it's kind of work too."

  Fair point. "Okay, yeah. Sure."

  "Awesome. Let's go." He started walking in the opposite direction of the dining hall.

  "Isn't the dining hall that way?" I asked and pointed down the walkway.

  "Yeah." He turned around but continued to walk backwards. "But what's the point of coming all the way to New York if we're not going to explore it?"

  He was right. What was the point of moving here and changing my identity if I wasn't going to try to embrace my new life? The same chill I felt earlier ran down my spine. I glanced over my shoulder. There were just a bunch of students walking to and from class. No one was watching me. I tried to shake off the eerie feeling. Maybe if I knew more people, I wouldn't feel like everyone here was out to get me. That could start with Eli. I ran to catch up to him and his smile seemed to grow.

  "What are you in the mood for?" he asked.

  "I would kill for a burger and fries."

  He laughed. "Well you don't have to kill for it. I forced you to come with me, so I'll buy you lunch."

  "Oh, no, that's not what I meant. I just meant that I'm hungry. You don't have to buy me lunch. I can pay for my own food."

  He shrugged his shoulders. "That's okay. I want to buy you lunch."

 
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