Mia was at her usual spot in the computer lab. She had already gone through all the websites she normally browsed through and decided it would be a good idea to print the slides for her next class. She was standing at one of the printing machines when she felt someone approach right next to her. Deciding not to pay the person any attention, she pretended to concentrate on the printing job in front of her.
“Do you know how these printers work?”
Mia turned around to face the person that had asked her the question and met a pair of stunning dark blue eyes.
It was Leo, she remembered him clearly from orientation. They had never spoken before as he was in another section from hers. She remembered he had said he was half British half Spanish and everyone had burst out laughing. She didn’t really understand why others found that funny, she was half American and half Mexican herself, but had always introduced herself as Mexican having lived there during most of her upbringing.
“I don’t think we’ve met before. I’m Leo. You’re Mia, right?”
He smiled slightly at her and she took in his image. Tall at clearly over six feet, tanned skin, and dark thick hair. Although his features were rather boyish, he screamed of sex appeal. He was wearing regular jeans and a white henley shirt, but she couldn’t remember the last time someone looked that good in simple clothing. He was the real definition of tall, dark, and handsome. Not to mention those piercing ocean blue eyes. All of which would clearly be off limits.
“Um … yeah,” she managed to say.
“So she speaks,” he responded, looking at her quizzically.
Mia was taken aback. What the hell was that supposed to mean?
“You’re meaning to tell me we’ve been in school for three months and you don’t know how to work the printers,” she stated coldly.
Where was the attitude coming from? Must be from all the solitary confinement.
Leo shrugged his shoulders. “Well, I usually just print all this nonsense at home, but didn’t have a chance to this morning.”
Dammit, she had judged him too quickly. Feeling incredibly embarrassed, she hurriedly showed him how to log his account into the printer. He had barely just thanked her, when she quickly grabbed her slides and fled the scene without saying another word.
Good job, idiot. Way to cause a first impression, she thought.
After class, Mia headed towards her usual study room, where she met with her assigned work group every day for an hour between classes. She usually arrived 15 minutes early since she had a break between her last class and the beginning of study group hour. Most people took that break to get a coffee or have a quick smoke, but she was content using that time to herself.
As she entered the study room, she silently cursed under her breath. None other than Leo was in the room, utilizing the computer. After their awkward meeting earlier, he was the last person she wanted to see.
As he was facing the wall, she almost turned around and walked back out the door hoping he wouldn’t notice her, but then reasoned she would look ridiculous if he did. After all, it was her study room he was invading, although not technically for another 15 minutes.
Instead, she slowly made her way to the study room table and set down her belongings, as far away from him as she possibly could.
“Hey,” she mumbled, in some form of semi greeting.
He did a half turn, looking behind his shoulder for a moment, and then turned around again without saying anything. Great.
Deciding it would be best to ignore him, she took out one of her course packets and began reading one of the assignments she hadn’t gotten to yet for her next class.
Unfortunately, the topic was financial accounting and she was having a really hard time concentrating. She had already taken accounting in college, so she at least remembered the basics. Still, it was a hard subject for her and she found herself sighing frequently.
She kept trying to convince herself she couldn’t concentrate because of the subject matter at hand and not the fact that she was somehow sharing a study room with Leo, alone.
Nope, it had nothing to do with her unexpected, yet very welcome visitor. It had nothing to do with her being pleasantly surprised by it. It had nothing to do with her wondering if he knew she usually occupied this study room. It had nothing to do with her trying to think of something witty she could say to him.
Why was she even pondering these things in the first place? She had absolutely no business thinking about any of it. Lost in her thoughts, she heard someone say her name from the hallway.
She turned around to see Luis, one of the guys in her study group, leaning against the doorway. He was from Portugal.
“What was that?” she asked surprised.
“I said, I’m gonna go grab a quick bite but will be back in time for our study group.”
“Oh okay. Yeah, that’s fine. I’m just catching up on some reading for financial accounting I didn’t finish last night,” she said.
“Oh, that’s good. I didn’t get to it either so maybe you can fill me in later?” he asked with a hopeful expression.
“Well, I can try. I’m not really up to speed on this stuff, so it might be like the one-eyed man leading the blind,” she admitted.
Luis laughed at that, and she thought she heard Leo laugh too, behind her. She was too shy to turn around to verify it.
“That’s okay. At least it’s something. Do you want me to bring you anything from the outside world?” Luis asked.
Mia paused a second, thinking the way he phrased that last question was odd. “No, I’m good thanks,” she answered.
“Okay. See you in a bit, Mia … Later Leo,” he said, acknowledging him before exiting the room.
“Later,” Leo called back.
Mia couldn’t help but look in his direction. The elephant in the back of the room was now front and center. Apparently, Leo had been checking Facebook but was logging off at the moment. Oddly enough, that made her feel better. She was glad to know she wasn’t the only dork checking that stupid site between breaks.
She was still staring at him, when he turned around and stood up, looking straight at her.
Mia blushed that she had been caught staring right at him, and immediately looked down at whatever it was she was reading. LIFO, or was it FIFO? She couldn’t tell because at the moment the letters in front of her were a gigantic blur.
“Sorry Mia, I didn’t realize this was your study room.”
She looked up and he was standing across the table, looking down at her curiously. “No, don’t worry about it. I’m early anyway,” she said automatically.
“Well, I’ll get out of your hair so you can study,” he said.
“It’s not a problem at all. You can stay if you want,” Mia said surprising herself at the offer.
“No, it’s okay. I was just killing time and checking Facebook, that kind of stuff,” he shrugged.
“Anything interesting?” she asked. Realizing she was prying, she quickly added, “I mean … you don’t have to answer that. It’s none of my business,” she said blushing again.
Leo looked at her puzzled for a moment, but then he laughed. It had been his laughter she had heard before. She found it very … soothing.
He took a seat directly in front of her and looked at her with an amused expression on his face.
“Well, let’s see. I had two friend requests, four birthdays, a few party invites in London, and I got tagged in some ridiculous barbeque pictures. Oh, and Joey Hunt is now single again after breaking up with his girlfriend for the third time,” he added, like it was the most important news in the world.
“That bastard,” Mia joked.
“I know, right? Unbelievable,” he said smiling widely.
Mia was about to say something, but got caught up in his smile. It was so warm and inviting, all she could do was grin back at him like a moron.
They continued smiling at each other for a few moments, when their stares suddenly turned serious. Mia knew she should look away, but Leo steadily held her gaze and she couldn’t drop it. Time stopped. It was as if he was seeing through her, peering into her soul. Those incredible blue eyes seemed to get deeper and deeper by the minute.
Oh, what was he thinking? Starting to feel nervous, Mia bit her bottom lip.
Leo’s vision dropped to her mouth and lingered on her lips for a few seconds before returning back to her eyes. It happened so quickly, she thought she had imagined it.
But then his tongue brushed against his own bottom lip and he slowly dragged his teeth across it. His eyes smoldered, then burned into hers.
Mia gasped at the sight. His look was so intense, she felt it in the very pit of her stomach. It instantly spread, tingling throughout her body. That feeling had been securely locked away for so long, it confused her at first.
Dios mío. Impossible, she thought.
Suddenly overwhelmed, she frowned, not knowing what to make of it. It shocked the hell out of her. It terrified her.
Leo looked like he was about to say something and then cleared his throat. “I … should probably go now,” he said quickly standing up. “Nice … talking to you, Mia.”
“You too, Leo,” she said quietly as he walked out the door.
He was almost out of sight when she saw him slightly shaking his head as he walked down the stairs.
Mia slumped down in her chair. She shook her own head in response, and then buried it somewhere between her arms, her course packet, and the table.