Beauty and the Mustache(138)

By: Penny Reid

“When you’re alone in bed?”

I didn’t acknowledge his words because… mortification.

Instead I said, “I’m not a fast and loose girl. I’m a slow and steady girl. Who knows when or if I’ll ever cross the finish line.”

He blinked at me, at my deluge of words. I didn’t even try to read his expression because I was so focused on walking backward out of the room.

“You’re leaving?” He asked.

“Yep.” I threw my thumb over my shoulder. “I’m going to go now. And don’t worry about the experiment. I’ll come in over spring break and finish it up. And when I see you after the break, everything will be back to normal. We can forget that this ever happened. We shall never speak of it.” My voice cracked on the last word.


“Have a really great spring break.”

“Kaitlyn-” He took two strides forward as though he were going to stop me; but he halted at the sound of crunching glass underfoot. He glanced at his feet, noticing for the first time the broken beaker on the floor. “What the hell?”

I seized the opportunity afforded by his split attention and bolted out of the room.

In fact, I ran down the hall like an insane person and slipped into the elevator just before it closed. I even jogged back to my dorm, didn’t begin to relax until I crossed the threshold of the keycard access area, climbed the three flights to my room, and locked the door behind me.

I tossed my bag to the corner of the tiny space, threw myself backwards on my bed, and rubbed my eyes with the base of my palms. The scene in the lab played over and over behind my closed eyelids—him touching me, kissing me, scratching the impossible itch.

It wasn’t until several minutes later that I realized I’d forgotten to tell him about the dastardly plot I’d overheard.


Elements of Chemistry releases Spring 2015

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