Authors: Melissa Johns
“How’s it going?” he asked.
“It’s great. I start school on Monday. I’m nervous but excited.”
He nodded. “Are you bringing a date to the wedding?”
Madison looked surprised at his question. “What? Why would you ask me that?”
He shook his head. “Sorry, I don’t know why I did that.”
Alicia walked back into the room and stared at him. “He wants to know if you are dating Mike.”
Madison looked at her and then back to Hunter. “How low do you think of me? We just broke up. I’m not about to jump back into the water that quickly.”
Alicia looked back at Hunter. “Told you, you idiot.”
Madison walked towards the deck again and sat next to Carter. “What the hell.”
Carter laughed. “You wanted to be an adult and live in the real world. Welcome.”
She couldn’t help but laugh. “Let’s go to dinner. I need a drink.”
“That’s my girl.”
The weekend rushed by, Madison started to read through her textbooks and felt panicked as she realized she was starting college. She sighed as she stepped from the shower and changed into a pair of beige shorts and a white button down blouse. She grabbed her sandals and packed her book bag.
As she opened the front door she found a bouquet of mixed flowers sitting on the floor. She smiled as she bent over to find the card.
Good Luck - Mike
Madison put the flowers in her kitchen window and ran down the stairs. She thought about her developing friendship with Mike. They had become close over the past few weeks. She told him everything from her feelings to her fears. He never made an inappropriate move towards her, he just allowed her to cry on his shoulder.
She didn’t run into Hunter for the rest of weekend. She stayed away from Carter’s house on Sunday. She knew the wedding would be hard for her but she wasn’t going to allow him to ruin the day for her.
She pulled into the parking lot at the school and took a deep breath. She approached the main building and watched the students run towards their classes. Everyone was younger than she was as she started to worry. She reached for her phone and called Jessie.
“Hey, shouldn’t you be in class?” she answered.
“Everyone is younger than I am, Jessie. Why am I doing this?”
She chuckled. “You are not that much older! You will be fine. Have you found your classroom yet?”
“No, I’m still wandering around.”
“Ok, get off the phone and pay attention. I love you and call me tonight.”
“Ok, love you too.” She hung up and looked around. She knew she was in wrong building but couldn’t figure out how to get to the next building. She stopped and leaned against the wall.
“You ok?” someone asked her.
She looked up and stared at an attractive man. His piercing blue eyes with his short but messy dark blonde hair too her breath away. He wore a dark suit that fit him perfectly. “Miss, you ok?”
Madison nodded. “I’m lost and feeling very overwhelmed right now.”
He smiled. “Where are you heading?”
“I’m supposed to be in building four, room one fifteen.”
He smiled. “I’m heading that way. Just follow me.”
She smiled. “Thank you. I’m just feeling out of sorts, everyone seems so much younger than I am.”
“I wouldn’t have noticed, starting college late in life?”
She nodded. “Yeah, I guess I’m just a little bit nervous today.”
He nodded as he led her through the tunnel into the next building. “All the buildings are connected. You just need to find the correct tunnels which are normally located on the top floor.”
“Thank you,” she paused. “I’m Madison, by the way.”
He smiled. “I’m Greg. It’s nice to meet you, Madison.”
“How long have you been going here?” she asked.
He laughed as he stopped at the door at her classroom. “I’ve been here for about five years.” he smirked. “Welcome to class, Madison.”
She walked into the classroom as he followed her. She sat down at the first desk she found empty and stared at Greg. He stood in the front of the classroom. “Good morning and welcome to the first day of summer classes. This class is Health Promotions so if you don’t belong here, feel free to leave. My name is Dr. Allen. I promise to take it easy on you today as long as you don’t fall asleep on me.”
Madison gaped at him. He was her professor. She turned bright red as she caught his eyes. He smirked as he turned towards the board. She buried her head into her notepad and tried not to make eye contact with him again.
He was pretty good at giving a lecture. She found herself getting motivated about her nursing program. He dismissed them at the end of class. She grabbed her notes and took a look at her schedule. She had at least thirty minutes until she had to be there. She quickly pulled out the school map and found where the cafeteria was located.
She stood up and glanced around the room. She was the only one left as she sighed. She walked from the room and noticed her professor waiting for her. “I thought you got lost in there, it took you so long to come out.”
She turned bright red as she walked past him. He laughed as he walked with her. “Do you need help finding your next class?”
“I’m going to head over to the cafeteria first. You aren’t going to be teaching my next class, are you?”
He smiled. “No, you are safe.”
“See you on Wednesday, Dr. Allen,” Madison said as she walked into the cafeteria.
The day ended a lot better than it started. She found the rest of her classes with ease. She felt a lot stronger by the afternoon. She managed to find a couple of people that she would be able to study with during the semester.
She walked out of the door and down the main sidewalk as she spotted Dr. Allen standing by his car. He smiled at her as he threw his bag into his backseat. “I see that you survived your first day. Are you coming back tomorrow?”
Madison chuckled. “Yeah, I finally got the hang of it.”
“Good to hear, Madison. See you around.”
She waved as she got into her car and headed towards the store. Amber decided to extend hours during the week to accommodate the summer wedding season which was perfect for Madison who needed to attend classes during the day.
She arrived at the shop around four in the afternoon. Amber was standing behind the counter cashing out a customer as she walked into the break room.
“How was your first day of classes?” Amber asked as she entered behind her.
She smiled. “It was good. I was slightly losing it this morning but I managed to collect myself.”
“That’s great! I know that college is stressful but you will be so proud of yourself when you get that degree.”
She nodded. “How’s it been around here?”
“Good. Steady flow of people, not too crazy.”
“I know that Alicia is coming in towards the end of the week to pick up her dress.”
Amber nodded. “It’s being delivered Thursday afternoon. I can’t wait for her to see the final alternations. All your bridesmaids’ dresses are already here. Just let me know when you are picking them up.”
“I believe the girls are arriving next Monday. Alicia wants to make it a week of celebrations.”
Amber laughed. “Yeah, she sounded like a fun person from the moment I met her.”
They heard the front door open as they turned around. “Well?” Mike asked as he walked into the boutique.
Madison smiled. “It was good. I survived. Thank you for the flowers, they made me smile.”
Amber looked at her brother. “Flowers, I have never seen you give someone flowers before.”
Mike smirked and stared daggers at his sister. “Well, no one deserved them before.”
“Especially that last whore,” Amber grunted as she walked away.
“I actually need to go deal with that situation right now. I just wanted to stop in and make sure you were still standing.”
Madison looked concerned. “Are you meeting with your lawyer?”
He nodded. “The blog is gone but she’s going to pay for the damage that she caused me. Luckily, nothing about my past has surfaced but not guaranteeing that it won’t down the road. I need to shut her down.”
Madison nodded. “Well, I will let you go then. Dinner tonight?”
He nodded. “Sounds great, where do you want to go?”
“What if I cook?”
“Hell yeah, see you when you get home.”
She hugged him as he walked out of the store. Amber chuckled behind her. “When are you guys going to see it?”
Madison looked puzzled. “See what?”
“That you are hot for each other.”
“Oh my God Amber, I like your brother as a friend, that’s it. He’s good for me. But I can’t do a relationship.”
“I didn’t say it had to be today, Maddy. But down the road, maybe the possibility will be there.”
She didn’t say anything else as she left the room and went to greet the next customer. As the evening ended, Madison closed up the shop and drove towards her apartment. She noticed Hunter sitting on the front steps of her building as soon as she pulled into her parking space.
She got out from the car and walked over to him.
“Hey,” she said.
“Hey,” he responded back. “How was school?”
“It was good,” she paused. “Why are you here?”
“I miss you.”
She sighed as she sat down next to him. “Hunter, this was all your doing.”
“I know that, Madison. You don’t think I hate myself for running away?”
They looked up as Mike pulled into the parking lot. He got out of his car and looked at Hunter. “Everything ok?”
Madison nodded. “Yeah, seems like everyone is interested in my first day.”
Mike grinned. “I will be upstairs, just knock on my door when you are ready for dinner.”
She nodded and let him pass by as he entered the building. She glanced at Hunter and saw the heartbreak on his face.
Hunter shook his head. “You guys are dating, aren’t you?”
Madison smirked and stood up. She brushed off her shorts and looked at him. “You are this strong, masculine hockey player. You have women throwing themselves at you and it amazes me how you could be so insecure.”
Hunter stood up. “I was never this way before I met you, Maddy. The girls that were in my life, meant nothing to me. The minute I saw you, you stole my heart and it freaked me out. I tried to get over it but every time something happened I saw that unsure look in your eyes. Yes, I messed up. I shouldn’t have run. That night at the barbeque, seeing one my stupid ex’s, I couldn’t take that you were able to see the type of person that I was. That’s the kind of women I used to associate with. You are this angel. My breath of fresh air and I couldn’t pollute you.”
Madison started to cry as she gripped her bag tighter around her shoulder. She kept her eyes on the gravel as he spoke to her, feeling him that close to her was only weakening her.
He reached for her chin as her eyes met his. “Madison, I was wrong. I know I hurt you and I have to live with that but until my last breath, I will be fighting for you.”
He leaned down and captured her lips with his. It was a strong yet soft kiss. His fingers moved to the side of her face as he braced her. She moaned softly as he pulled away. “I’m a phone call away if you want to talk.”
She climbed the stairs to her apartment as Mike waited for her on her landing. “I ordered a pizza. I knew you wouldn’t want to cook tonight. I overheard the conversation.”
She nodded as she left the door open. She dropped her bag onto the couch and turned around to face Mike. He reached for her and pulled her towards him for a hug. “It’s ok, Maddy.”
“Every time I think I have this under control, he shows up and all the feelings come rushing back.”
He sighed and kissed the top of her head. She heard the knock on the door when the pizza arrived. Mike left her to go pay as she disappeared into the bedroom. She unbuttoned her blouse and tossed it onto the bed. She reached for the zipper on her shorts and slid them down her legs. She reached for her t-shirt and cotton shorts but suddenly felt exhausted as she sat on the bed.