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Beautiful Mistake(3)

By:Vi Keeland

None of those boded well for me. But what choice did I have? My TA position with Professor Clarence had been eliminated when he died suddenly three weeks ago from an aneurysm. I was lucky to secure anything, at this point. And without a teaching assistant position, there was no way I’d be able to afford the tuition at the Music Conservatory. I was already waitressing full time at O’Leary’s just to pay my rent and partially reduced tuition.

Beads of sweat trickled into my cleavage as I arrived at the classroom. The door was closed, so I took a minute in an attempt to make myself presentable, smoothing down my dark, wild curls as best I could, considering the humidity. It was hopeless to try to fix the stain that pretty much covered my right breast, so instead I switched hands and hid it with the leather portfolio I was carrying. Taking a deep breath, I reached for the door handle.#p#分页标题#e#



Now what? I checked the time on my phone. I was only eight minutes late, and it was the first day of the fall semester, yet I heard the professor already lecturing inside. Did I knock and interrupt the class, knowing it was his pet peeve? Or did I pull a no-show on day one of my new position?

Lateness was the lesser of two evils.

Or so I thought.

Rapping my knuckles lightly on the door a few times, I hoped a student at the back of the classroom would hear it, and I could slip in unnoticed.

The professor’s booming voice silenced just as the door opened. It was a stadium-seating lecture hall, so I was entering at the top row, while the professor was down at the bottom. Luckily for me, he was facing the other way and writing on the board when I tiptoed in. “Thanks,” I whispered as I settled into the closest seat in the back and let out a relieved breath.

But perhaps that feeling of reprieve was premature.

The professor continued to write as he spoke. “Who arrived late?”


I wanted to sink down into my seat and pretend it wasn’t me. But I was the TA, not a student. I needed them to respect me, as I’d be teaching this class on occasion.

I cleared my throat. “I was late, Professor.”

He capped the dry erase marker and turned around.

I blinked a few times. My eyes had to be screwing with me. Reaching into my purse, I pulled out my glasses and slipped them on—even though my distance vision was perfectly fine—as if by some miracle putting on my reading glasses would make the man standing in front of the room someone other than who he was.

But he wasn’t someone else.

There was no mistaking that. He had a face people didn’t forget.

A damn gorgeous one.

It was him.

Holy shit.

It was really him.


I was royally screwed.

The professor scanned the room of more than two hundred students, unable to ascertain where the voice had come from. I prayed he’d drop it and give the class a general warning on his intolerance for lateness.

No such luck. I never had any.

“Stand up. Whoever was late, please stand up.”

Oh, God.

I felt the weight of the twenty-five-thousand-dollar tuition discount I had as a TA sink in my stomach like lead. It made it hard to get up from the chair. But he was waiting. There was no avoiding it. This was going to be a problem.

Hesitantly, I stood, holding my breath that he wouldn’t recognize me.

Maybe he’d had too much to drink and wouldn’t even remember our short exchange at the bar last night.

“I will not tolerate student lateness. It interrupts my class.”

“I understand.”

The overhead lighting reflected into his face as if he were an actor on a stage, making it difficult for him to see up to the top rows of the classroom. He held a hand up, shielding his eyes. Now, I was elevated twenty rows above him—we had to have been more than fifty yards apart—yet when our eyes met, they locked like we were the only two people in an empty room.

I knew it the minute he recognized me. I watched it play out in slow motion. A lazy smile spread across his handsome face, though not a happy one. I’d say it was more reminiscent of a dog who’d just backed a kitten into a corner and was about to have his fun playing with the poor little pussy.

I swallowed. “It won’t happen again. I’m Rachel Martin, Professor. Your TA.”


The class was completely empty. I wasn’t even sure he knew I was still in my seat. If he did, he was good at ignoring me as he packed up his laptop.#p#分页标题#e#

“Contrary to the rumors you’ve probably heard, I don’t bite.”

I jumped when he spoke. Now that the lecture hall was no longer filled with students, the acoustics of the large space bounced his deep voice all over the walls.