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Beneath The Skin(4)

By´╝ÜDaryl Banner



She regards me with nothing but half a glance and a smirk.

“Bad first impression,” I admit. “Really, you caught me in a—”

“For a second there,” she interrupts, staring ahead as we walk, “I thought you were the nude model for our life art lesson. That is, until I reminded myself that the class isn’t until Wednesday.”

“You think I’m a model? Is that what you think I am?”

“I know exactly what you are,” she says, still not looking at me, then cuts abruptly down a path to the left, her long, straight hair tossed like a whip at her back as she goes. The effect is so strong, I stop pursuing at once, frozen in place and watching her as she goes.

“What am I, then?” I call out to her, feeling smart.

The silent swish of her dark hair and the sway of her tight ass is my answer as she fades into the distance. I feel a tightening in my stomach, as if her very existence was a gauntlet thrown at my feet. It’s going to take quite an impressive act to get her attention; that much, I can tell.

Something about the way she puts me off really gets me hard.

An hour later, I find myself under a big oak tree just outside the University Center, and I’m sharing two halves of a foot-long bacon sub with one of my roommates, Dmitri.

“W-Wait, wait,” he stammers, poking the bridge of his black, thick-rimmed glasses with a long pale finger. “You were … naked?”

“Ass-out, balls-out naked.” I’m talking through a mouthful, which Dmitri hates. Maybe that’s why I do it. “And this hot chick in the class came back to grab something, and—”

“Saw you.”

“Saw me,” I confirm. “And she was … she was smokin’. Did I ever mention how many hot girls are at the School of Art? Best decision of my life, switching to photography.”

“What’s that? Your ninth major so far? Tenth?”

“No idea. Doesn’t matter. The art school is girls galore.”

“But what about the dancer? I thought you and her—”

“Dude, she’s nuts. Well, she’s nice, but nuts. Must be all the five-six-seven-eights. Crazy people count to themselves, right? I mean, it’s really more of a friends-with-benefits thing anyway.”

“Does she know that?” he asks. I don’t answer, staring down at my sub and determining where to take my next bite. “I had a dancer friend my freshman year. Male, gay, his name was Ian,” he goes on. “He went all weird on me after I wrote a piece about a ballerina who turned into an albino tarantula and ate her dance instructor. I was inspired. I thought it was a good idea at the time.”

“You and your poems,” I tease through my next mouthful.

“It was a short story piece. I’m not a poetry major. How many times do I gotta tell you? I’m a creative writing major.”

“But you write poems, too. Hell, you take poetry classes.”

“And you gotta take Art History as part of your curriculum. Are you a History major?”

“No.”

“Case and point.” Dmitri whips off his glasses and runs the back of his wrist across his sweaty forehead. “This damn heat. So tell me,” he mutters, popping his glasses back on, “you just wear that thing around your neck to look smart? Or are you planning on actually taking pics sometime this semester?”

“Shit, this old thing?” I tease, lifting the staggeringly expensive camera hanging around my neck. “It’s really just an excuse to hit up the girls. All I gotta tell them is I’m shooting for the campus newspaper, or doing a piece on college life. Girls eat that shit up, bunching up and looking all cute, their tits pushed together …”

Dmitri shakes his head, biting off another healthy chunk of his sub. His judgments of me are written all over his smirking face.

“You change paths with the wind,” he gripes. “Don’t you have, like, a goal? If you keep swapping majors every semester, you’ll be lucky to graduate before you’re 30. What were you last year? Engineering? Or was it Psychology? I don’t even remember.”

“Maybe I should switch to Theatre. I could annoy the shit out of Clayton and Dessie.”

“And risk running into Chloe again? No way.”

“Good point,” I snort. Chloe is this weird goth girl I messed around with for a week or two last year before she got all clingy and I lost interest. She didn’t take the rejection well.

“So … you and the dancer are totally done?”

“We weren’t really ‘started’, so to speak …”

“I get it.” Dmitri leans against the thick trunk of the tree, his sandwich lowered to his lap. “You’ve had your fill. Tossing her aside and looking for the next lucky lady.”

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