Breaking His Defenses

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Romance  |  House: Booksie Classic
Erin has wondered about the shy, nerdy, yet absolutely compelling guy in her class for the entire semester. When she discovers they will both be spending the summer break on campus, she decides it's high time for her to discover what he's all about!

Submitted: May 16, 2010

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Submitted: May 16, 2010

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“Breaking Into His Defenses”
By Jess Sumner/May 2010
There was a crack in the sidewalk. Topher noticed the crack, and was paralyzed. Go around it! Topher told himself sternly. But he couldn’t help the flood of images that followed the crack. Fault lines. Shifting plates. Earthquakes. California drifting off into the sea…Just like Lex Luther in the first Superman movie wanted to do. Suddenly the crack was a scene in a movie, not a physical threat. Topher ran with it. Nevada would then become beachfront properties. Genius! Topher laughed quietly as he stepped around the crack and made his way up the concrete steps to the front entry of Gallager Hall. Inside, and three doors down to the left, was his Geology final. Mr. Mancus would not accept tardiness on any exam, much less the final, and Topher was happy that the crack had turned humorous, or he would have had to take the class for the third time.
Topher saw what he thought was the future, and it always left him trembling.There was war, and that meant that at any minute someone could attack him right where he stood in UCLA. It wasn’t impossible. LA was the next best thing to Pearl Harbor or New York. There were germs, so many germs, and that meant sickness even fatality. There were reckless drivers that could run him over; there were prison escapees (or even parolees) who could attack a random person for money. His random self. College students were fabled to have mommy and daddy’s money on them at all times, and were naïve and easy targets. That was why Topher outsmarted them with pepper spray in his back pocket. Sure he got shit for it, but who’d be laughing when a mugger was rubbing his eyes in excruciating pain and he was running? Certainly not the mugger. And worst of all, there were people. They were constantly in…his way. Nothing he did could make them less threatening, or less there.
Topher sat down third row from the door, near the back because there were no more seats in the front. Stupid crack. A pair of black Chucks rested on the top of one of the ancient wooden desks directly by him. He cringed. The germs from the soles were nightmarish. Topher opened the front pocket of his backpack and fished frantically for his Ativan. As needed his ass, he was constantly hunting for the damn tiny white pills, and they never were able to truly make the fear go away. Not for very long.Before he could find them, he was interrupted by an angelic voice sounding from behind a past the mid-chest, shaggy, mop of brown hair that flourished a facial veil with their over-grown bangs.
“What’s so important in that bag?” she took her pinky finger and passed a few strands from her grassy green eyes. “Oooh, is it drugs? Because I could probably get a better grade on this final if I was frying on acid.” Topher opened his mouth to respond, but it proved a bit pointless, as she continued, “I mean seriously, if I were that focused, maybe I’d be able to see if the damn sand grains in Sedimentary rocks are classic or not.” She turned away and muttered, “Like it matters.”
“It’s drugs, but they’re my drugs, so” Topher faltered for a minute, “so I’m just going to keep looking until I find them and then I’m going to take this test and leave.” Topher didn’t even know where this left the conversation, and even this bothered him as he located the orange pill bottle and he dry swallowed a pill. Why was she talking to him, anyway? No one ever seemed to notice Topher. He went to great lengths to ensure they didn’t. But this girl, with her checkered laces and blazer-like jean jacket with fringed edges seemed to notice him no matter how much he hunched over and stared holes into the exam in front of him.
One he was finished, she was waiting outside for him. Right by the crack. Correction, not by it, she was standing strait on top of the crack and Topher couldn’t stop the vision of her being swallowed into craggy concrete depths as the crack opened from a sudden tremor, and all Topher could do was hold an arm toward her and scream “Geology class girl…!” Since he didn’t know her name.
“I’m Erin. How do you think you did? Why are you taking that class anyway? Are you a Freshman? I’m a Sophmore. Did you take any other classes this semester? Are you going home to your parents for summer break?” she walked beside him, firing questions faster than he could hear them. Yet he didn’t run from her or make up an excuse why he needed to be somewhere, anywhere, else. So he just kept listening to her, waiting for her to stop so that he might consider answering one of them. Was this what all conversations were like? No wonder he avoided them at all costs.
Finally, at a moment of silence, Topher pushed his wire-rimmed glasses up his nose and ignored the dropping dark brown bangs that tickled his lashes as he replied, “I am a Sophmore, and I am stuck here for the break. Home is too far away and too expensive to get there.”
Erin waited for him to ask her what her plans were. When he didn’t she wasn’t fazed. This guy seemed so sweet and innocent, it could actually be possible that he wasn’t blowing her off or playing hard to get. He might actually be hard to get. Erin liked a challenge.
“I’m in Geology because it’s a stupid requirement. But I don’t understand why a Poetry major would need to know about rocks. Have you ever read a famous or even GOOD poem that focused on the Crustacean Age? I know I haven’t, and I’ve read a lot of poems,” Erin strode quickly to keep up with her new found interest. Topher just walked that way because that was how he always walked. “I’m stuck here, too,” she added with a monotone that masked her disappointment in her parents. They were completely unreachable, and she never felt so abandoned.
“I don’t really read poetry,” Topher looked at her quickly and then noticed that she didn’t seem to have any other agenda than to follow him around campus. He was headed for the cafeteria and, as it was noon, it seemed a perfectly natural place for her to be headed as well. But Topher got the distinct impression that she was going there just because he was.
They sat together and Erin rattled about so many things that Topher couldn’t keep track, and if asked later what they talked about he couldn’t repeat a thing. Only that her dimple on her right cheek flashed whenever she smiled at herself. That and her lips were the color of bright orchids. Naturally, it seemed. Which was genetically impossible, but there she was.
“Do you live on campus, or in an apartment?” Topher suddenly caught her asking.
“On campus.”
“Dorm or Fraternity?”
“Dorm, and a single at that. I don’t think I could handle a roommate!” Topher shuddered. All the embarrassing personal moments that he might be caught doing in front of someone else. Like tripping, or gagging, or singing along with his iPod without realizing it for five or more minutes. Topher almost reached for his backpack pocket when the train of thought was interrupted.
“Single, huh?” Erin smiled. “I live in a Sorority house. No privacy whatsoever. Maybe we could go hang out at your dorm. I can’t stand to listen to one more debate on foundation textures. I just need a break. You’re not doing anything, right?”
Topher just kept walking as fast as he could to a table with his tray filled with sandwiches, milk cartons, sodas, and fruit salads. Erin didn’t grab a thing. She just continued to rattle on about so many things as they sat down, that Topher was both delighted and shocked at her stamina. Suddenly he felt his legs, and then thighs, then stomach tingle with electricity. Erin brown hair seemed like a smooth curtain of silk he wanted to run his fingers through. He wanted to place his hands upon the nape of her neck and pull her closer, talking and all, to his face until their lips met. Topher shook his head and returned to reality. Erin was going on:
“So then I decided I didn’t like soccer anymore, I mean who could after breaking a pinky finger? So I tried out for volley ball. But that hurts even worse on your forearms. I don’t understand how girls get used to that. Better yet, why do they do that just so they can sport a bikini on the beach and tumble around? That fucking ball hurts!” Erin’s attention shifted when she saw that her audience had taken upon him a shy yet unmistakably insinuative smile. Erin understood this smile, but was accustomed to it appearing in a more leer-like fashion. She didn’t even realize she was responding as she laid her elbow on the cafeteria table, placed her chin perfectly framed by her slender fingers, and smiled at him with waiting eyes.
“I’m done eating now,” Topher said abruptly, then coughed and looked toward the high cafeteria windows at the cars leaving the campus. This break truly was going to be lonely, but that was nothing new for Topher. By her chatter, though, Topher suspected that loneliness wasn’t something Erin dealt with often. He could be her companion for the break. She was beautiful, and she seemed to like him, though he couldn’t understand why.
“So now that you’re done eating, what do you want to do?” Erin asked, smiling a captivating half-smile. One that showed both interest and disinterest simultaneously. Topher didn’t understand how she or any girl could be so contradictive yet so compelling to any male brain.
“I was thinking about…” Topher started the sentence out quite smoothly, but ended up with a mouth full of saliva. Saliva that after having formed, nearly dissipated as soon as it came, and left him with a desert dry mouth. He didn’t understand how he ever thought he could be normal; he couldn’t see himself acting like one of Erin’s surely smooth and confident past guys, lovers, whatever. His knees began to tremor, and he started to cough involuntarily.
“Are you ok?” Erin grabbed for his Dr. Pepper, and handed it to him. “I’d pat you on the back, but ever since someone did that to me when I was coughing once, I realized what a painful and pointless a thing to do it is, so I’ll just put this here for when you think it might help, ok?” Topher was stunned. She wasn’t leaving, she was trying to help!
“I have to go back to my dorm now,” Topher choked out, and scooted his chair behind him with a loud screech that resonated through the cafeteria, but not caring about any stares, not even Erin. He grabbed his backpack and hastily left his tray and drink. As he threw one of the straps over his shoulder he noticed from the corner of his eye that Erin was dutifully collecting his lunch remnants and placing the cup on the tray she left Topher for the first time since that morning when she had begun speaking to him. He felt a pang as she crossed the room to the tray-return stack, and as he put the other strap on he noticed that he was hesitating, just ever so slightly to leave.
Topher wanted to see if Erin would follow. If he left the room now, what if she didn’t see which way he turned once out the door? What if she searched the halls in the wrong direction, then the correct one, only moments too late after he had shut the door to his room? What if he never saw her again? It was the end of this year, after all. Besides, she had said so much in the past 3 hours, he wasn’t sure he remembered all of it. Worse, he wasn’t quite sure if she said she was leaving for another college or not after this semester! What if she did? What if he never saw her again? What if no girl ever talked to him again quite the way Erin did? Certainly no girl as beautiful as Erin had ever talked to him, much less had been so interested in sharing herself with him. Topher didn’t want it to end. He wanted to share himself right back. He turned away and silenced his panicked thoughts long enough to think Oh please let her follow me. I’ll do anything for her!
Erin skipped quickly to catch up with Topher, and grabbed his back pack lightly to make her presence known to the boy who seemed very upset, and attempting to hide it away like a hurt animal. Her heart swelled for the hundredth time since she had seem Topher meekly awaiting every lecture, leaving every class with a hunched shoulders, head down, and quick steps. Erin had been wondering about Topher, analyzing Topher, falling in love with Topher for sometime. Ever since Geology had begun four months ago to be exact. Only, Topher didn’t know it.
“Where do you think you’re going without supervision?” Erin asked, “You might be seriously sick! What if you have to go to the doctor or something?” Erin let out a shriek, “What if you die in your room and no one knows? It’d be all my fault if you did.”
Topher started coughing more, out of surprise that she was starting to sound a bit like the thoughts in his brain, and because he was nervous and clueless as to what might happen next.
“Yep, I’m coming with you, and that’s the end of it,” Erin told him sternly. She walked with him through the beautiful quad lined with rose bushes and down the long pathway winding around grassy knolls and all of the other typical university landscape that lay between the cafeteria and Topher’s dorm room. When they came upon a three-story building with bland taupe paint and chipped brown siding, Erin held Topher by the arm, their elbows linked, and she carried on about the snow in Germany she remembered from her wintertime vacation with her parents years ago. She began to start up about the pleasantly cool summer in Switzerland she’d spent with her aunt when she was fourteen, but they reached his door.
Almost as though out of a pop-culture movie from any decade about college kids, Topher had to right the number “6” on his room “614” to correct it from looking like a sloppy “914.” Topher grabbed for his key chain in his backpack side pocket, and the keys jingled loudly and embarrassingly as he shook violently from the nerves running up and down his entire body. He fumbled for a few moments to get the right key…
“If I knew which the right one was, I’d give you some help,” Erin said softly, sympathetically. Topher found the correct key and placed it in the top of five locks. One by one he undid bolts of different sizes and weights by the sounds of them. Topher felt more and more nervous that Erin would simply turn around and leave after watching him act like a fool. But she stood quietly (which was very odd) by him as he finally opened his olive green door and let her in.
Topher walked in after her, and was relieved not to have to ask her to make herself at home; she already was. Erin sat on the threadbare brown couch in the corner of the living room before wandering slowly around its perimeter, picking up picture frames and random books. Just as Topher was done putting his backpack contents in their proper places, he felt two slender arms wrap around his waist. They held him there for a few moments before Erin shifted her hands to his hips and gently turned him so that he’d face her. Her face was soft, but her eyes were something Topher had not seen in the day (which felt like a year) he had known her. Her eyes seemed heavy, seductive, and calmed. She smiled at him like she was hiding a marvelous secret, and Topher smiled back a goofy smile, like he couldn’t wait for her to share the secret with him.
“Topher, how long have you known me?” Erin asked, “I mean, how long have you know I’ve existed?”
“Since this morning,” Topher slowly answered, feeling like that wasn’t quite the answer she’d be looking for.
“Well, that makes sense, you’re head is always glued to some object like the ground or a book,” Erin smiled like she felt without question that these quirks were endearing. Topher let out a long held breath, “I’ve known you, seen you, since the first day of class. You wore a black Nike shirt and dark jeans. It was before you got those wire-rimmed glasses, so you were wearing those ones that made you look like a total science geek. I thought you’d answer every damn question Mr. Mancus would ask, and I would hate your guts all semester long. But you didn’t.”
Topher felt himself being led away from the kitchen island and toward the hall that led to the bathroom and his bedroom. He followed with a blank mind. For the first time in Topher young yet full life, Topher wasn’t worried. He was excited, uninformed, ignorant to each of Erin’s movements. But Topher was anything but worried. “You intrigue me, Topher.” Erin whispered softly. Then her face changed only for a moment for her to say in a light-hearted tone, “Which door goes to the bathroom? Because we’re looking for the one that doesn’t.” She gave him a hugely suggestive smile and as Topher pointed in one direction and Erin pushed him playfully in the other.
Topher and Erin met lips for the first time on May 12th, 2002. They held together, parted slightly but without either one’s tongue searching for the other. Only their warm and smooth lips pressed and moved together in perfect unison so that when Topher laid Erin on his green and yellow striped comforter, she moaned with awaited pleasure. As they moved together on top of the covers, beneath the covers, clothed, unclothed, Erin found all she had been dying to know about Topher by his touches and his responses. Erin could feel his wall lifting, the wall that shut out the world but was letting her in. Topher never thought of the door or the door’s many undone locks. He didn’t worry whether or not the Resident Advisor would storm in and demand that he keep his chastity, lest the Advisor would be forced to call Topher’s mother over his impulsively sexual act, necessitating intervention. Maybe on any other occasion, maybe with a different girl, Topher would have surely thought those things. But not today, today was all Erin’s.
Afterwards they lay tangled in Topher sheets and Erin held the corner to her neck, though both breasts were exposed. Topher laid one hand gently on her belly and began, by Erin’s light prompting, to tell about the dogs he had owned as a child. Erin laughed at the dog named Snuffles who had been chased by a rat Topher owned when he was nine. Erin told Topher about her favorite cat, Mittens, who she had insisted to her parents they name the next three cats, as Mittens number one had ran away, number two got hit by a car, and number three was fourteen and lived at her parent’s house. It went on like this until 3:30 am, when Erin stroked Topher’s tangled hair while he snored gently. Erin wondered if he had pancake mix for her to make in the morning. Erin smiled in anticipation of what they would talk about tomorrow morning, hopefully while eating pancakes.


© Copyright 2017 Jessa Sumner. All rights reserved.

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