"Laila, is everything…" But Sterling couldn't finish his sentence. Laila had jumped into his arms and was kissing him with an incredible sense of urgency. Her legs wrapped around his waist as he held her and Sterling smiled under her lips. He could feel her pulling his shirt above his head and he was all too willing to oblige. Carefully, he set Laila on her bed and pealed his shirt off before returning to her. But Laila wasn't paying attention to him, she wasn't ready to kiss him again as he had hoped. No, Laila was busy undressing herself, clearly ready to get things started.
"Did you miss me that much?" Sterling asked, an amused smile on his face as he watched his girlfriend strip on her bed.
But Laila wasn't in the mood for small talk. "Sterling, I need you to have sex with me. Right now."
Sterling nearly laughed. She looked so serious when she told him this, as if she was expecting him to question her. But there was something in her urgency that didn't feel right. Sterling kept the smile on his face but took a step away from the bed, crossing his arms in front of his chest.
"No. Tell me what's going on first."
Laila's mouth dropped. He had never turned her down before. Even last night, when he had stopped just after they had started, he had still wanted her. But Laila shook her head and reached for his belt, still determined to infuriate Luanne. "I'll tell you when we're done."
Sterling stood his ground as Laila tugged on his belt, trying her hardest to get him closer to her. It was an amusing sight, to say the least, and he knew once he gave in, she would be well worth the fight. Watching her struggle with his belt buckle was too much for him. Her beautiful face was pulled into a concerned look of concentration and Sterling became instantly aroused when she started biting her lower lip. He reached down to help her and was instantly rewarded with a smile.
"Thank you!" Laila whispered as she positioned herself on the bed, waiting for him to join her. Sterling smiled at her as his pants and boxers fell to the floor. He stepped out of them and climbed onto the bed with her, kissing her stomach and ribs. But he could feel Laila's hands on the back of his head, tugging at his hair so he would stop.
"We don't have time for that," she told him, spreading her legs and pulling his hips to hers.
"Laila, what's the rush?" Sterling asked, still amused yet completely confused by their current situation.
Laila ignored his question. "Just try to be as loud as possible, okay?"
"What?" Sterling had to laugh. Laila rarely let herself vocalize any pleasure she was feeling and was always nervous of being overheard by neighbors or roommates.
"Sterling, please?" He could feel her wiggling under him, tempting him to give in to her. He suddenly remembered the look on her face when he had walked in the door. She had been glaring at her roommate with a certain animosity that Sterling had never seen before. The smile spread on his face as he began to realize his girlfriend's motives.
"Why do I get the feeling you are using me?"
"What? No, no, no," Laila said quickly, though Sterling knew he had caught her. "I was just thinking about you all day in class and really, really wanted to see you and…"
Sterling kissed her before she could say anything else. She had been talking a mile a minute and he knew it wasn't the truth. He felt Laila kissing him back, at first thinking that she had won, but soon realizing he wasn't going to give in. His lips massaged hers as his tongue forced entrance into her mouth. He knew how to distract her, even if she was being stubborn. Before long, he could feel her kissing him back with the same love and affection he was using. Her hands ran through his hair and one leg wrapped around his waist as their kiss continued.
She sighed as he pulled away from the kiss. "Now, tell me what really happened," he urged her.
Laila took a deep breath. "It was Luanne."
Sterling nodded and held her gaze. "She started yelling at me for no reason and I just lost it."
"So you pulled me in here and tried to take advantage of me?" Sterling teased her.
Laila laughed. "She just made me so angry. I wanted to upset her and once I saw you, spilling orange juice on the carpet didn't seem like as much fun."
Sterling laughed and kissed her again. "Don't let her get to you."
Laila smiled and rolled onto her side and Sterling relaxed on the bed next to her. "I don't care if she yells at me, I guess. I mean, I can live with it. But she started yelling at Will for absolutely no reason…"
"Wait," Sterling interrupted her. That name sent up a huge red flag. "Why was Will here?"
"He walked me home and asked to use the bathroom. Luanne saw him and completely flipped out."
Laila watched as Sterling's body went tense. "What did she say?"
"She asked what he was doing here and then asked if you knew I brought other men back to the dorm room." Laila tried to laugh off the last part but Sterling clearly wasn't amused.
"Why does she have a problem with him?"
"That's just it, I don't know. She saw him and just started yelling. No explanation. It was really embarrassing."
Sterling could barely look at Laila. He was furious at her naiveté. What if Luanne hadn't been home? What if Will had tried something and Sterling hadn't arrived in time to stop it.
"Laila, I don't think you should have let him inside."
"What?" He could hear the shock and annoyance in her voice. It only made what he had to say that much harder.
"How much do you really know about this guy?" Sterling asked, letting a hand rest on her bare hip so she knew he was being sincere.
"I don't know, enough to let him use my bathroom if he asks. Why are you taking her side?"
"I don't like the way he looks at you," Sterling admitted quickly.
"The way he looks at me? Sterling, where is this coming from? Will and I are friends. We talk about literature. He doesn't look at me in any way other than an older brother, mentor type way…" Laila slowed her speech as she began to think back over all the times Will had walked her home, the subtle ways he would try and touch her, the quiet compliments he would give her. She looked at Sterling who was staring at her with one eyebrow raised.
"No," she decided. "No. We're friends."
"Are you sure he feels the same way?"
"Yes, of course. He knows I have a boyfriend."
Sterling laughed at this. Of course Will knew she had a boyfriend, a boyfriend he wasn't willing to meet, a boyfriend who he stayed far, far away from.
"What is so funny?" Laila demanded, clearly upset with the way the conversation was going.
"Nothing," Sterling promised her. "I just wish you could see this situation from my perspective."
"And what perspective is that exactly?"
"Well," Sterling started. "This older guy walks you home from class nearly every day. He is constantly trying to flirt with you and get your attention. He stays clear of me, either not wanting to admit to himself that you actually have a boyfriend, or because he's scared of what he might say."
"Sterling…" Laila tried to stop his ridiculous rant.
"But the way he looks at you, right before he glares at me, is what really gets me going," Sterling told her.
"He doesn't look at me in any way," Laila said again, clearly showing her frustration.
"You just can't see it." His all-knowing tone was driving Laila mad with anger. "He looks at you as if you are a prize to be won."
"Maybe the only reason you can see it is because you are so insecure."
"What is that supposed to mean?" Sterling asked, surprised she threw such a hurtful accusation.
"It means that you are still scared I am going to cheat on you. You are still scared I am going to leave you for someone else. You're still scared that…"
But Sterling stopped her with a kiss just before the tears started falling from her eyes. He hadn't meant to upset her. He hadn't meant for her to cry.
"No," he whispered to her, his eyes still closed and his face close to hers. "I know you won't do any of that. I just don't trust him. I don't like to think what he could do to you if he got you alone."
"How long have you felt this way?"
"Since the first day I saw him."
Laila shook her head in disbelief. "Sterling, I don't know what to say."
Sterling looked deep into her eyes. "I don't want you to think that I don't trust you. I love you more than anything and I know you love me too. Maybe it's in my nature not to trust things but it is certainly in yours to see the best in people. And I happen to believe you are wrong about Will. He's not a good guy."
"What if you met him?"
Sterling smiled. "I'm never going to like him."
Laila smiled back and nodded. "So, what do we do?"
"What can we do? He's your teacher so I can't ask you to stop seeing him. But could you promise me that you won't go anywhere alone with him?"
Laila thought about it for a while. She knew that Sterling was having a hard time with her friendship with Will but he was conceding so much by not asking her to stop seeing him. That was probably torturous for him to do and Laila couldn't see a reason not to compromise.
"I promise," she whispered, leaning in to kiss him again. She hated that they had fought, if what just happened could even be considered a fight.
Sterling kissed her back and rolled her underneath him. "Now, do you still want to make Luanne angry?"
Laila laughed and blushed, embarrassed by how she had acted. "Absolutely. You can take your time, though."
"Oh, I was planning on it." Sterling smiled at his girlfriend who looked so beautiful as she lay under him. Her blonde hair was fanned over her purple pillow and her cheeks were pink from all the excitement. She was smiling in anticipation and looking at him as if he meant the world to her. He slowly lowered his head to kiss her with the same loving affection he always showed her. He was glad their fight was over, relieved that Laila hadn't thrown him out of her room when he told her his apprehensions about Will. She had been as understanding about his concern as she always was and he made love to her that afternoon for hours, glad they could put her student teacher behind them.
Luanne had left her dorm room almost in tears. She knew exactly what Laila had been planning as she closed her bedroom door with her boyfriend safely inside. Luanne didn't know why the blonde hated her so much but it was as if the two couldn't agree on anything, as if they didn't have one thing in common. Laila seemed nice, she seemed smart and almost funny on occasion. Why wouldn't she like Luanne?
"So, Luanne, is it?" She heard a male voice behind her as she walked quickly away from her dorm. She didn't really know where she was going, but she wasn't in the mood for any distractions. Turning her head, she realized she definitely wasn't in the mood for this one.
"Leave me alone, William Alexander."
Will had to laugh. Only his mother and his sister used his full name and that was only when they were upset with him. "But I think we can help each other." He gave her an encouraging smile.
"I seriously doubt that," Luanne replied and turned around, continuing on her original path.
Will let her take a few steps before speaking again. "Do you still want to write for the paper?"
Luanne stopped but didn't turn around. She waited for Will to speak again.
"If you do," he continued, "then I think we can help each other."
"What kind of help do you need from me?" Luanne asked, quickly turning around and glaring at him with a hidden curiosity.
"Simple," Will smiled. "I need you to help me by giving me information about your roommate and her boyfriend."
"Laila? Are you serious? This is about Laila?"
Luanne put her hands on her hips. "What do you want to know about her?"
"Just basic stuff, for now. What she likes, where she goes, what her and her boyfriend do together."
"Well, I can tell you what they are doing right now…"
But Will held up his hand. "I don't want to know those details."
"Are you stalking her?"
Will had to laugh at the redhead in front of him. She was blunt and confident to a fault but she didn't know it. "No. I'm hoping to avoid that. That's where you come in."
Luanne didn't know what to say. She thought she would have done nearly anything to write for the paper but Will's conditions seemed rather shady. "I don't know. I don't really like the idea."
"It's not like I'm asking you to go through her things or hack into her email. Just keep me informed about what she's been up to, where she's going, that sort of thing."
"And if I do this for you, you'll let me write for the paper? I don't want to just be an unpaid intern or run errands for you all day. I want legitimate feedback on my work and I want guidance, a real chance to prove myself."
"I can agree to that," Will said, not really listening to what she was saying.
"Fine. I agree as well," Luanne decided.
"This does mean, you realize, that you'll have to be nice to her."
"The girl doesn't want to be my friend…"
But Will interrupted her. "This is a two way street, Luanne. The better information you give me, the more I help you. Understand?"
Luanne sighed. "Yes."
"Good. I'll see you Monday in my office. Let's say 5 o'clock?"
Luanne nodded but didn't speak. Will smiled at her and walked quickly past, leaving Luanne to contemplate how she was going to befriend Laila.