Edge of Chaos(Love on the Edge #1)(8)

By: Molly E. Lee

I looked down at my notebook and laughed under my breath while writing down the date. My thighs hadn’t heated up like that since the last DiCaprio movie.

My quiet amusement died when I thought back to the last time Justin had awoken that excited flutter within me. He’d surprised me one night with flowers and a trip to my favorite restaurant. That night we made love and it didn’t hurt―most of the time he was rough, but he’d gone a little slower and I’d actually gotten close to having an orgasm. The last one was so long ago I could barely remember the feeling. It hadn’t been mind-blowing. Not in the way I’d read about or even seen in the movies. Something I would never admit to Justin.

We’d lost our virginities to each other, and after the first couple of times, it wasn’t so bad. He’d been more tender with me back then.

Over the years, things changed. I’d told myself it was due to all the stress he’d undergone—losing jobs, overdue bills, car wrecks, never reconnecting with his family—and I’d stayed quiet, wanting to give him the time to return to the more gentle man I’d fallen in love with.

After things evened out for him and the sex didn’t change, I expressed my willingness to explore and find a better rhythm, but Justin wouldn’t hear of it. It was either his way or no way, and he’d been set on turbo-doggie-style mode for years, probably from some god-awful porn he’d watched one too many times.

I racked my brain. When and why had Justin pulled out that surprise? It clicked after a second. He’d gotten drunk the weekend before and called me a C U Next Tuesday for not going out at 3:00 a.m. to buy him a pack of cigarettes. That was over a year ago.

I wrote the name of the class on the paper a little harder than I needed to.

“I know, I know, I’m running late!” A man with a bushy gray beard and balding head bustled into the room, toting a leather satchel and a cup of coffee. “I got caught up examining the atmospheric pressure in Starbucks. A terribly unstable situation there. The air has a scent to it that leads me to believe a supercell could erupt at any given moment. You can’t be too careful when studying these things, you know?”

I laughed out loud this time, as did the band of boys behind me. Dash had taken a seat with them, not that I’d checked. I was left alone in the very front.

The professor set down his things. “Now let’s get serious and take a look at who the victims are this semester.” He trailed his brown eyes over each of us. “I’m Professor Ackren, and I see we have an upright bramble of students dying to take my course.” He widened his eyes in exaggeration while scanning the many empty seats in the room. “No matter, only the strong of heart will come out of here victorious and set forth unto the unknown and chaotic profession of attempting to explain, define, and understand weather.”

I liked him instantly.

He clapped his hands together. “Now. Who among you is an aspiring meteorologist?”

Only my hand shot in the air. I let it drop slowly, and sank a little deeper into my chair.

Professor Ackren approached my table. “Why, my dear, do you want to be a meteorologist?”

“I want to be the first one to know about the storms and relay the info to the public.” The answer rolled off my tongue. It was one reason on a long list.

“You want to predict and track storms?”

I nodded.

“Well, then, your first lesson is that weather is never predictable and anyone—”he eyed the gang behind me—“who thinks it is, plays a very dangerous game. Storms are like poker, just when you think you have the game beat, someone deals you a bad hand and bam! Game over. Money isn’t at risk in this profession; it’s people’s lives. Could be your own, could be those of an entire town. And that is why we must appreciate the nature of weather and its unforgivable unpredictability. You storm chasers should know a thing or two about that by now, right?” He eyed the group of guys behind me. I spared a look, and their faces were more serious now than minutes before.

Professor Ackren segued beautifully into his lecture then, and I had three full pages of notes by the end of class.

Walking across campus toward my apartment, I stopped short. Justin stood in the main quad, smoking a cigarette. He wore his oil-stained blue jeans and a black cut-off shirt, clearly marking him as a non-student, unless he was headed to a shop class.

“You’re extremely late,” I said, though I’d nearly forgotten about our missed lunch date earlier. I reached up and hugged him.

He returned the gesture with his free arm, smelling of sweat and smoke. “I got caught up in a Call of Duty match. Sorry. I’m here now. Wanted to see how you’re doing.”