Robin des Bois

“I do what I do because it’s the only way I have of making a difference. And trust me, Jeffrey’s parents really didn’t need that ten grand that much anyway.”

Isis Greene is not your average nineteen year old starving art student. At first glance, she’s just like any other girl, but her nightly activities suggest otherwise.

After nightfall, she becomes an outlaw, a thief –stealing from the rich and giving to the poor (or as she says, “finally getting that silver spoon stuck up their ass out of it”).

Everything usually goes according to plan. Key word: usually.

In the space of one week, too many things go way too wrong, and her world tilts out of its axis.

Alexei Romanov and Gabriel Ferreira were never part of her plans. But now she has no choice but to include both boys in them.

(cover art by me)


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1. Meet Alexei Romanov

Alexei Romanov wasn’t the kind of guy you’d single out as the Robin Hood type.

In fact, he was the exact opposite. He was always clad in designer clothes from head to toe, his blond hair tousled to perfection and his feline eyes (as I heard some pretentious French girl describe them) were as freezing as Siberian weather. Considering my predisposition toward guys like him, my initial reaction upon catching a glance of the walking, breathing phenomenon that was Alexei, was a very quiet derisive snort –after all, I was crashing a Harvard class and I did not particularly want to attract anyone’s attention.

My opinion on the matter of Alexei Romanov did not improve when I learned that he was taking the 20th century literature class “just for fun”, while he was majoring in politics.  It was pretty much the only thing we had in common –we were both somewhere we didn’t really belong. Only I wasn’t wearing Alexander Wang and I attended a community college, not Harvard.

The first time I crashed Harvard’s literature class, I’d snuck in five minutes before it started. I picked a spot in the very back of the amphitheatre-like room and sank deep into my seat, before I opened my sketchbook and absent-mindedly began tracing the outline of the view before me –the modern arches of the ceiling, the rows and rows of seats, the professor’s desk… I was in the middle of erasing my rendering of the blackboard when two girls clad in Abercrombie & Fitch and Ugg boots slipped into the seats right in front of me. Instantly, the smell of Starbucks coffee and nauseatingly sweet vanilla body spray engulfed me and I almost gagged. I tuned their lively chatter out, instead looking over their flat-ironed hair to get a glimpse of the professor, who was setting up his laptop, but my gaze drifted to a guy who had just walked into the room. An almost perceptible hush fell over the classroom as he leisurely strolled in. I’ve always been skeptical about people who commanded the attention of a room just by walking in –I’ve never met anyone who’d been able to simultaneously distract every single person in their vicinity at once –but all my doubts about their existence vanished when I saw Alexei Romanov for the first time.

And thus, I hated him instantly.

The aforementioned snort escaped me as some guy bellowed “Romanov” from a seat in the second row. Even from where I was holed up I could see the brilliance of the smile that the newcomer flashed his loud friend.

“And that’s Alexei Romanov,” one of the girls sitting in front of me announced, tying her long auburn hair into a messy bun at the top of her head.

“Jesus,” was her friend’s only reply. They seemed to be completely absorbed in their contemplation of the blonde demi-god who was currently in the process of taking off his hoodie, which made the shirt he had underneath ride up and reveal a patch of his pale skin. The girls in front of me kind of gasped, and one of them fanned herself with a book. I snorted again, and went back to my sketching.

It might seem strange to immediately dislike someone without even giving them a proper chance to redeem themselves –but I have been preprogrammed to hate anyone and everyone who smelled like money –and as soon as Alexei Romanov walked into the room, one thing had been evident –he was stinking rich.

“What do we know about him?” the blonde girl in front of me asked, and against my will, I kind of leaned a bit closer to hear what her friend would reply.

“One, he’s gorgeous.”

“Well, duuh.”

“Two, his parents are loaded. But like, next level loaded.”

“Ugh, how come some people get to have like, everything going for them?”

“Three, he’s apparently a sex god. Like seriously amazing in bed.”

“Well, I’ll just have to try that one for myself,” the blonde said with a sardonic smile and a perfectly practiced hair flip.

I was kind of warming up to the Starbucks girls, even though I didn’t even know their names –their banter reminded me of Tina and myself. They did kind of overuse the word “like” for two girls who were sitting in a Harvard literature class, but that was a transgression I was ready to forgive.

“And four, he’s free. Single. He was with some model, I think, but they lasted for something like four weeks before breaking up.”

Blonde Starbucks girl rubbed her hands and Auburn Starbucks girl laughed. “He’s just smokin’.”

“I know,” the blonde girl said as she pulled out her compact to check her make-up in the small round mirror. Our gazes met in the reflection and she surprised me by smiling. Ducking my head in, I smiled back, feeling my cheeks warm up as she turned in her seat. “Hey. I’m Rose, but you should call me Ro,” she said, smile still firmly in place.

“Erm… I’m Isis,” I managed to utter as I tucked one of my springy curls behind my ear. It immediately went back to its original position.

Her auburn-haired friend turned around in her seat, looking confused. Her gaze rested on me for a moment, and then her confusion melted away, replaced by a smile that matched her friend’s. My blush probably grew exponentially –at least that’s how it felt. I never was very good with people.

“I’m Jenna,” she said.

“Isis,” I reintroduced myself with a meek smile.

“Is this your first class?” Ro asked and I think that my blush spread to my neck.

“Well, um, I –“

Thankfully, I didn’t have to finish that sentence, because the professor spoke into his microphone right then and started presenting the syllabus. Ro gave me an apologetic smile and turned around in her seat to face the front of the classroom as I sighed with relief.

To be honest, I didn’t really know what I was doing there. How did I announce that I wasn’t actually a student but simply a less-than-half-time employee at the Harvard Library without looking like a complete nut job? Yeah. No chance of that happening.

So I sank a bit lower in my seat and continued my sketch of the classroom, as the professor’s voice slowly became background noise and the sound of people typing on their laptops became a pleasant rain-like sound…

I jumped a bit when chatter erupted all around me. My hand slipped and when I looked down at my sketch, it was marred by a thick black line. With a sigh, I tore the page out and balled it up –it wasn’t all that good anyway. Jenna and Ro turned in their seats in sync to face me and I felt compelled to leap out of my seat and make a run for it, but I forced myself to remain seated.

“Well, that was boring,” Ro remarked, looking slightly disappointed.

“It kind of was.”

“I didn’t hear a word of what he said,” I admitted.

“Definitely not what I was expecting from college.”

“So. What do you think about hottie there?”  Jenna asked while discreetly jutting her thumb at Alexei, who was currently sitting on a table, his feet resting on one of the pivoting plastic chairs while he talked to his friends.

“Uh, he’s kind of good looking, I guess.”

A moment of silence followed my statement as the girls exchanged a disbelieving look.

“Kind of good looking?”

“You guess?”

“Not to be rude, but do you, like, play for the other team?”

Jenna punched Ro in the arm. “That was so rude.”

A bit overwhelmed, I stuttered, “N-no, I mean, I like b-boys. Some of them.”

Ro, who was trying to inconspicuously ogle Alexei over her shoulder, gasped. “Okay, don’t freak, but I think he’s looking here.”

Of course, Jenna freaked out. “No fucking way,” she whispered, as if Alexei could overhear our conversation from the other end of the room. I was the only one facing him and my eyes narrowed as my gaze landed on him. Our eyes locked for a brief moment, but I looked away first and my upper lip curled a bit in distaste.

“Is he still looking?” Jenna demanded in a stage-whisper.

Ro was trying to casually look over her shoulder, “yeah, he totally is.”

Jenna pulled her shirt down so that the neckline barely hid her bra and then let her hair back down, mussing it slightly. “How do I look?” she asked.

“Amazing, babe.”

Ro was repeating the steps Jenna had just gone through and reapplied a fresh layer of lip gloss.

“You wanna go say hi with us?” Jenna offered graciously.

I made a face and put both my hands up. “I’ll pass.”

They exchanged another disbelieving look.

“Oookay,” Ro said, raising one eyebrow. “We’ll say you said hi too.”

“Please don’t do that,” I began, but they were already up and making their way down the aisle toward the lower rows of seats.

I sank back down into my chair, which tipped back dangerously, and opened my sketchbook again. Break was over a few minutes later, and Ro and Jenna walked up to their seats with excited smiles and gave me the thumbs up. I figured that whatever they’d expected to achieve by talking to Alexei had worked out. Good for them.

I spent the rest of the class sketching a random guy who sat further down to my right –he had an interesting profile, with a crooked nose (as if it’d been broken more than once) and deep-set eyes. I felt as though I’ve seen him before, but I couldn’t quite place him and after a moment of racking my brain to try and remember where I’d seen him before, I gave up.  

As soon as the last slide disappeared from the huge white projector screen at the front of the classroom, I was off –mainly to avoid any and all questions that Ro and Jenna could’ve tried to send my way.

I was just about to burst outside, into the mildly warm noon sun, when someone tugged at my backpack.

I looked over my shoulder and was shocked to see Alexei tugging at the zipper, closing the gaping opening I’d forgot to zip up. I froze with my hands pressed against the door.

Ew. He was spreading his rich boy germs all over me.

“This fell from your backpack when you were leaving,” he said as he handed me my sketchbook. It was hard not to just dazedly stare at him –his hair looked like gold and it was just the right kind of wavy, but his eyes were by far the thing that caught my attention the most. They really were like a cat's -green and deep and just completely distracting.

As soon as I gathered my wits, I was suspicious. He’d been sitting at the very other end of the room –how in hell had he seen my sketchbook falling from my backpack?

I grabbed the sketchbook and pressed it to my chest. “T-thank you,” I stuttered and lowered my eyes. I hoped that my distaste wasn’t evident in my face and that my voice didn’t sound too harsh –I didn’t want him to know how I felt about him. I needed him oblivious and persuaded that I was just as starstruck by him as all the girls he’d ever met. My shyness around most people was a plus in my line of work –no one ever suspected the quiet, blushing and awkward girl of robbery.

“I’m Alexei,” he said with just the trace of a smile.

“Isis.” My introduction was half-hearted at best, but that didn’t seem to dampen his mood in the slightest. His half-smile still in place, he pushed open the door and held it for me.

“Ladies first.”

I passed him quickly, still clutching the sketchbook to my chest. He caught up with me in all of three long strides.

“So… how do you like Harvard so far?”

“It’s okay.”

His half-smile edged a bit closer to a full one and a dimple appeared in his right cheek.  “Not impressed, huh?”

I didn’t answer.

“So, where are you headed now?”

“Library.”

I started walking faster. He must’ve caught the underlying meaning of my actions because he didn’t follow me this time.

And when I looked over my shoulder, he just stood in the middle of the path, hands in the pockets of his black pants, looking after me pensively.

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