Hayleigh had never felt so reckless before.
It was one thing to be having a relationship with her own teacher. It was another to be having wild, crazy sex with him so much.
Everything was supposed to be in secret, and yet they would meet up every few days in the most dangerous of places. In the span of a few weeks she’d had sex in various places in campus; from his office, a classroom, to even the library. Granted they would get together late at night when nobody else was around, but it was almost foolish to be pushing the envelope so much.
And yet she couldn’t stop it.
Something was changing in her. All her life she’d exercised caution and let the voice of reason rule over everything she did. With Rowen, all that seemed to go out the window. He was impulsive, secretive… a moving mass of raw energy to be steered clear from, and yet like a black hole she’d come too close. Now there was no escaping even if she wanted to.
At the rate things were going, it was surprising they hadn’t even been caught. Each time they met up, she would make a resolution to slow things down. Having sex was the only thing they did every time they were together, and yet he was impossible to resist. He did things to her body that always left her wanting more. He was a dangerous drug, and her addiction to him was beginning to defy her own common sense.
“Is it me, or are you beginning to see this Ryan dude a little too much?” Tara asked on the nth time she caught her arriving late to their dorm. “I get that you just got your cherry popped, but I hope you’re being careful.”
Hayleigh plopped to her bed. “Of course. I’ve started taking the pill, actually.”
She expected her friend to be impressed, but Tara narrowed her eyes instead. “You two are together, right?”
Hayleigh’s eyebrows met. “We’re dating, if that’s what you’re talking about.”
“No, I mean you call him your boyfriend, he calls you his girlfriend…?”
Hayleigh opened her mouth, but found herself speechless. Come to think of it, she hadn’t really considered that before.
“Well, it’s only been two months…”
Tara slowly leaned back and crossed her arms. “Do you even actually like this guy?”
“Of course I do.” Why was Tara asking so many questions? She was almost beginning to sense a judgmental vibe from her.
Tara sighed and shook her head. “I’m just worried. I don’t want you to get hurt, okay?”
“Yeah,” Hayleigh muttered, standing up. “I’m just gonna go out for a walk.”
Her ears must’ve caught Tara saying something, but she had already closed the door behind her and didn’t bother looking back.
One final stage.
At this point in the competition, Rowen was now tied with K at first place. K had been the frontrunner blazing through the levels within the first few weeks, but being a poor judge of character had always been his weakness. This term, K ended up picking another needy, emotional girl. Last Rowen heard, K had gotten into another fight with his pet and had been stuck with one final level to clear for weeks.
All this paved the way for Rowen’s imminent victory, with Hayleigh becoming the dark horse he never saw coming. The bumbling, doe-eyed virgin was now a wild, brazen hellcat in his bed who easily coaxed his desires like no one else had ever done before. Every few days he was able to clear a new stage with her, and her inhibitions lessened with each encounter.
He’d always preferred things rough, sometimes at the expense of his partners getting hurt. Surprisingly, Hayleigh was not one to complain no matter how rough he was with her. Everything about her was compliant and eager-to-please, from the time he ordered her not to conceal the bruises he would give to making her go on the pill so he could come inside her anytime he wanted. He usually wasn’t so reckless with his partners, but the last few weeks of hooking up with her had become almost habitual that urges would arise even when he wasn’t playing the game. It was unnerving, but at least with one final level to go, he would be rid of her soon.
The rain pelting outside his window was a steady, relaxing rhythm as he indulged in his glass of scotch. It was nine in the evening and he had an early day tomorrow, but he was feeling restless. He took out his phone from his pocket and played with it for a considerable while before sending a text.
Within minutes, Hayleigh’s response came.
Okay, I'll head on over. See you in a bit.
Rowen downed the rest of his scotch in one gulp.
By the time Hayleigh returned to the dorm, it was already four in the morning.
She had class in three hours, and while it had been against her better judgment to head over to Rowen’s in the middle of the night, it was the perfect excuse to stay away from her dorm for as long as possible.
At least by this time, Tara was already asleep. Ever since she had walked out on her friend a few days ago, the mood between them had grown dismal. On one hand, at least Tara was no longer badgering her with questions. The downside was the nagging feeling that Tara was silently judging her for her life decisions right now, which admittedly had not been the wisest as of late.
Try as she might to ignore it, Tara’s words the other day had now planted the seed of doubt in her mind. Meeting Rowen tonight had been no more than another booty call, and she was growing wary of where things were headed between them. She didn’t want Tara to be right, but if Rowen had no plans of taking her seriously, then…
Hayleigh sighed and went up the stairs to her floor. Her body felt used and exhausted in more meanings than one. If only she could sleep in and afford missing first period…
Just as she arrived at her door, her phone vibrated in her pocket. For a second her heart leapt at the thought of Rowen texting her, until an unrecognized number appeared on her screen.
I know about you and Professor Henderson.
Hayleigh nearly dropped her phone. Impulsively she looked around, but there was only her in the middle of the empty corridor at four in the morning.
Hayleigh stared hard at the screen with shaking hands. She did not recognize the number. She hadn’t told a single soul. Who in God’s name could possibly know?
Mark's Cafe, 3 PM. Come alone.
Hayleigh entered her room and immediately locked the door.
Eleven hours later after a long day in class with no sleep, Hayleigh arrived at the diner.
It would be a lie to attribute the lack of sleep to the way her hands wouldn’t stop shaking. Her eyes constantly darted from the diner entrance to her watch, and every time the door chimes jangled every hair on her body stood on end. She had no name and no face to pinpoint the text to; just an unrecognized number that didn’t pick up no matter how many times she called.
Could Rowen have possibly told someone? Worse, perhaps someone had finally seen them. Still, the normal thing would’ve been to report to the authorities directly instead of letting her know about it. To go through all the trouble of going anonymous and requesting for a meetup… whoever he or she was, they had to want something.
A girl with long, straight black hair appeared before her. She wore the school’s varsity jacket and a no-nonsense expression on her pretty face.
Hayleigh’s forehead creased. “Yes?”
The girl slid to the booth sofa before her. “I see you got my text.”
Hayleigh’s clammy hands gripped her coffee mug. The scalding pain reminded her to take a deep breath. “Who are you?”
The girl’s bright green eyes twinkled with sinister amusement. “Does it matter?”
Hayleigh studied her. She was clearly a student from the same school. The smug look that remained on her beautiful face suggested someone senior or popular—perhaps both—and yet she’d never seen her around campus before.
“What exactly do you know about me and Professor Henderson?” Hayleigh asked, struggling to keep her voice even.
“I know you two are together.”
Hayleigh swallowed. “How?”
The girl shrugged. “None of your concern.”
“Then why did you ask me to meet with you here?” Hayleigh asked in frustration.
A sickly-sweet smile formed on the girl’s lips. “I just wanted to let you know you’re not the first.”
Hayleigh’s eyebrows met. “I’m not the first what?”
“Not the first student he’s fucked.”
Hayleigh’s chest closed in on her rapidly beating heart, tightening and pounding incessantly until it hurt. It had to have shown on her face, and the girl seemed to be relishing it like a cat with a bowl of cream.
“Oh don’t worry, it’ll be all over soon,” she crooned. “He’ll get over you and move on to the next one.”
Hayleigh’s voice was almost a ragged whisper. “How do you know about this?”
The girl brought a hand to her mouth. “Oops, I may have said too much. If you want to know more, I can point you in the right direction. All you have to do is ask.”
The girl stood up, winking. “I’ll be in touch with you, Hayleigh. It was nice meeting you.”
Hayleigh remained holding on to her mug until it grew lukewarm in her hand. The vibrating in her pocket snapped her back to her senses. A message from Rowen.
Where are you? Come over tonight.
Hayleigh left the diner and did not reply.