This torment had to stop.
I wasn't sleeping.
I was barely eating.
He was ALWAYS watching.
It was time for midterms already. With a sigh, I sat down in Chemistry and laid my head on the desk with a thunk. The professor, clearly worried about me, came over and gently nudged my shoulder.
"Anja, are you feeling well? You've been getting paler and thinner every week now."
Peeling my cheek off the desktop, I pasted a smile on my face.
"I'm fine, doctor Mathews. Just tired after studying so much."
He must have seen the lie on my face-I always did suck as fibbing to adults-but with a nod, he let me lay my head down again, moving back to the front to start the lesson. We were basically reviewing everything we'd learned the last half semester, and an hour of class time was left for us to study on our own. Translated to me and a few other kids studying, while the rest played on phones of iPods.
I took a fair amount of notes on what I read, and with fifteen minutes left, I figured I'd earned a little break. I laid my head down and told myself I'd wake up five minutes later and finish the chapter. One Mississippi… Two Mississippi… Three Mississippi… Four…
Five minutes became fifteen, and in the time, I had fallen into a deeper sleep than I'd had the last three weeks. There was a bunch of shuffling and stools scraping over the floor, then it gradually became silent. Happy in my slumber, I crossed my arms under my head for a softer pillow and sank into unconsciousness once more. If doctor Mathews was still in the classroom, he didn't seem worried about waking me up yet.
"Anja, my love… Time to wake up."
My blood ran cold when his voice slithered into my dreams. I didn't want to open my eyes, but his hand was on my shoulder now, hot and heavy like an August sky in Florida. I felt him lean in, his breath brushing my ear, and he whispered in that soft, wicked voice of his, "If you don't wake up and come along, I will carry you over my shoulder all the way back to your dorm room."
Needless to say, I opened my eyes, however reluctantly, and forced myself to sit up. My shoulders were sore, my back hurt from hunching over, but my heart was pounding as it always did in his presence. With trembling knees, I stood from my stool and gathered my bags, purposefully not making eye contact. His hand slid from the back of my neck down to my elbow, holding it with deceptive tenderness, then he led me out of the room, smiling all the while.
I tried to turn left, to go to our next class, but he pulled me diagonally across the courtyard, heading for the building where my dorm was. Hoping I didn't squeak with fear, I asked, "Where are we going..?"
He smiled down at me, the sun catching in his gold-ish hair. "We're going someplace where we can be alone, with no chance of being interrupted."