Ninja at First Sight Bonus Scene
“She’s a six.”
Frowning at the class syllabus for English Composition 101, I endeavored to ignore the males of my species directly behind me.
“What? No. Look at that rack. It adds three points. She’s at least a seven. Maybe even a seven point five.”
This statement was deserving of an eye-roll. Thus, I rolled my eyes.
Barely functioning, hormone-addled cretins were my punishment for putting off first year English until my third year at university. I ought to have CLEP-ed out of the class—which was where one takes a proficiency test in lieu of three credit hours spent weekly in a classroom. This approach hadn’t come to fruition for two reasons.
First, I got drunk the night before the exam last summer and failed it. I fell asleep halfway through the essay portion.
I’m not a drunk, not yet at any rate, but I do enjoy a night of oblivion from time to time. I’m haunted, mostly by ghosts of blokes I used to know. Watching other people die requires turning off a switch within oneself. When everything was illuminated and yet still dark—shadowy with regret and the knowledge of true pain, true suffering—my ability to live and function in the present was compromised.
How I longed to scream at people, how I longed to wake them to the world around them, and not their petty concerns of TV dinners and the cancellation of their favorite TV shows . . .
But alas, no one likes a harbinger of truth. So I opted for infrequent periods of drunk debauchery in an effort to curb my killjoy proclivities.
The other reason I’d enrolled in English 101 was because I needed a boost to my grade point average. My humanities teacher had given me a C last semester. Note the distinction: It hadn’t been deserved. It had been given. Like a present. Or a sexually transmitted disease.
I’d had the audacity to call him an insufferable twat. He was an insufferable twat. But then what did I expect from a ponytail-wearing pacifist who spent five dollars on a cup of coffee, yet complained daily about his paltry adjunct stipend?
Also, he was a philosophy Ph.D. candidate. The most pretentious and worthless of all college degrees, where nothing was made or produced or accomplished, except endless discussion of feelings and thoughts. So, again, nothing accomplished.
In retrospect, I ought not to have called him an insufferable twat in front of the entire class. That was on me. My bad.
English Composition 101 was my penance.
Apparently the hormone-addled cretins behind me were part of that penance.
“She’s a six point five and no higher. Butterface. Put a paper bag over her head or fuck her from behind and she goes up a half point.”
I gritted my teeth.
Lord, give me strength.
“What about her?”
“Which one? The fat one?”
“No. The short one; she just walked in. I’d totally fuck her face to face.”
My attention flickered to the side, to the young lady at my left. She wasn’t the subject of their objectification, but she had obviously overheard their comments. Her youthful face was flushed and stricken, clearly horrified. From the looks of her, she was in her first year, likely fresh from some corn farm in Iowa.
And now she was going to think all men were insufferable twats. I felt sorry for her. But mostly, I felt sorry for the nice boy who would one day want to court her attention, only to find her prejudiced against all men, and living with a flannel-wearing lesbian.
Then again, I considered the matter and concluded, flannel-wearing lesbians are pretty awesome. I decided the wankers behind me might be doing her a favor.
“Whoa . . . I see her. Christ. I’d let her suck my dick.”
I gripped the edge of the desk. Where the hell was the professor?
I hadn’t checked to see who they were speaking of. It didn’t matter. No one deserved to be subjected to such filth and degradation. If the next statement out of their mouths wasn’t in reference to their cherished mother, I would have no choice but to ruin their day.
“I would come all over her face.”
“She has small tits.”
“But that ass.”
“Anal, with a mirror.”
Straightening in my seat, I glanced over my shoulder at the boys behind me, eyed them up and down, then laughed lightly. They were as I imagined they would be, barely out of diapers.
Wait for it.
One of them, a pale-complexioned fellow with nostrils betraying his pig-nature and pockmarks betraying his juvenile mind, smirked. “You see her too? She’s got a sweet ass.”
“No. I smelled your desperation. It stinks.”
His smirk fell.
“Your desperation,” I repeated. “You stink.”
His vanilla cheeks flushed red. “What did you say?”
“I said you smell of callow youth and masturbatory semen, also known as desperation. And I’m not the only one affected by the stench.” I lifted my chin to the young girl at my left, some seats away. Her eyes were fastened to the front of the room, though I knew she was listening to the exchange. “Perhaps save your infantile babble for someplace more appropriate, like a play yard, or your crib.”
“You want a fight, asshole?”
“Not particularly. But if you children come across any other adults, I must caution you. Not every man is as forgiving as I.” Holding the chatty one’s feeble glare for a long moment, I added, “Boys, if you insist upon your current course of innate thought pollution, I’m liable to lose my temper. Cease or I shall have to punish you.”
His eyes wavered to the side, to the girl. His fragile ego threatened, he lifted his hand as though to strike me and blurted, “Hey, fuck you, man.”
I caught his hand, twisting his wrist easily, and constricted my fingers around his fist, eliciting a sharp cry of pain. “I don’t want to beat you senseless—not today at any rate, perhaps tomorrow—but allow me to speak clearly since your comprehension of the English language is apparently deficient.”
I paused, squeezing his hand, feeling the bones crunch together. He cried out again. Thankfully we were at the back of the giant, bustling lecture hall, and he had enough pride to muffle the involuntary sounds of pain.
“Stop. Talking.” I shifted my attention to his little friend; his eyes were wide and panicked. “Never speak again in my presence. Or in the presence of any woman. Everything out of your mouth shows that you are vile and insignificant. If you died tomorrow, the world would be a better place. You are filthy little beasts and I shall not hesitate breaking all the bones in your hands. And that would certainly be devastating because we all know the only two types of sexual satisfaction you’re ever likely to receive is of the self-serve variety, or the four legged variety.”
After another long stare and threatening squeeze, I released his fist and turned back to the front of the class, glancing at my watch. The professor was already several minutes late. I hoped this teacher didn’t expect us to stay longer in recompense for his poor planning.
Telltale sounds of the boys vacating their seats, scurrying out of the room like the vermin they were, calmed me considerably. I made another attempt to study the syllabus, but then I felt the weight of someone watching me. Lifting my eyes, I found the girl at my left giving me a shy smile of reverential gratitude.
I nodded once, noting that—if her eyes were any indication—she possessed some intelligence. But she was very young. I had no desire to be worshipped. No desire to be fawned over or—God forbid—needed.
Most importantly, however, I already had a girlfriend. And Vanessa suited me just fine.
She was the shrewd, practical sort who enjoyed frequent orgasms and liberally employed me as arm candy. Intelligent, independent, reasonably even-tempered, Vanessa required very little maintenance. Her self-sufficiency left me plenty of time for my preferred solitary pursuits—namely long-distance running and voracious reading.
Plus, Vanessa was tall. I preferred tall women. I liked not having to stoop when carrying on a conversation.
“I’m Madeline.” Introducing herself, the girl to my left gave me a little wave.
“Greg.” I pressed my lips together, issuing a tight smile, relieved she hadn’t extended her hand for me to shake.
“Do you know her?” Madeline asked, lifting her chin toward a spot a few rows below us. “The girl they were talking about? Is she a friend of yours?”
“I don’t . . .” I shook my head, my attention straying absentmindedly to where Madeline had indicated.
I lost my train of thought.
I lost my words.
In truth, I lost my ability to speak.
I’d been addled insensible by the vision before me.
Dark eyes lined by thick lashes set in an extraordinarily exquisite face—she was a painting. A marble statue, set apart and untouchable. Yet a moving, breathing object of artistry. Everything grace and elegance and beauty.
Her red lips pursed thoughtfully. The unknown woman was searching for something, eyeing the space around her desk, unaware she was being watched, the subject of intense fascination.
My mother had been an object to my father, a means to an end. A tool for a purpose. He was handsome, unfaithful, and soulless. His cold lack of regard eventually killed her. As such, I’d never allowed myself to be blinded or corrupted by a façade. I’d trained myself to search for signs of authenticity and intelligence beyond the false and oftentimes misleading stucco of appearance.
But this woman . . . she was blinding.
And she was bending over.
And now I was gaping at her remarkably perfect ass. It was the Helen of Troy of asses, the kind wars are fought over.
“You know her?” Madeline’s repeated question pulled me from my brazen gawking.
Ashamed, I forced my eyes away and cleared my throat twice before answering, “I don’t know her.”
“Oh. I thought she might be your friend. Why did you defend her if you don’t know her?”
“Mutual flirting and willing seduction are one thing, but forceful leering and being the target of unwelcome objectification are quite another,” I answered offhandedly. “I defended human decency.”
Unable to help myself, I re-centered the woman in my vision, appreciating the curve of her narrow waist, the bewitching line of her jaw and neck, as I might admire the handiwork of an exceptionally gifted artist. She’d twisted around again, sending me chasing my breath. Her loveliness again jarring and startling.
“She’s pretty,” Madeline said. It sounded like a fishing lure, a comment meant for me to contradict.
I ignored it, instead focusing on the woman’s sad eyes. But also curious. And wise. They held depth of thought, of knowing.
No. The thought was unbidden. She’s a reminder that true and brilliant beauty exists in this world.
I shrugged, dazedly watching the captivating creature as she slipped into her seat, and replied clumsily, “I have a girlfriend.” It was more a reminder to myself than a response to the girl’s remark.
Madeline said nothing else.
I heard nothing of the lecture.
And when the class ended, I battled my guilt, keeping my eyes pointedly downcast in atonement for looking.
But mostly for noticing, and allowing myself to be intoxicated by the sight.
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There are three things you need to know about Kat Tanner (aka Kathleen Tyson. . . and yes, she is *that* Kathleen Tyson): 1) She’s determined to make good decisions, 2) She must get married ASAP, and 3) She knows how to knit.
Being a billionaire heiress isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. In fact, it sucks. Determined to live a quiet life, Kat Tanner changed her identity years ago and eschewed her family’s legacy. But now, Kat’s silver spoon past has finally caught up with her, and so have her youthful mistakes. To avoid imminent disaster, she must marry immediately; it is essential that the person she chooses have no romantic feelings for her whatsoever and be completely trustworthy.
Fortunately, she knows exactly who to ask. Dan O’Malley checks all the boxes: single, romantically indifferent to her, completely trustworthy. Sure, she might have a wee little crush on Dan the Security Man, but with clear rules, expectations, and a legally binding contract, Kat is certain she can make it through this debacle with her sanity—and heart—all in one piece.
Except, what happens when Dan O’Malley isn’t as indifferent—or as trustworthy—as she thought?