Black eyes that reflect the lights surrounding us. Purple, pink, and amber lights appear from out of nowhere with the light of flowers and feather-like softness. Hair that turns fiery in one angle and a deep fluid crimson in another. Arms as firm as a tree trunk, as strong as steel, yet are so gentle and careful, moving with precision, moving closer. Always closer. Lips that look so soft, I can almost feel them as she leans down impossibly close and―
I wake up in a cold sweat. My eyes dart around, desperately searching for her and hoping that maybe this time she'll be in my room, but it's just a dream. It's always a dream. I fall back against my pillow and groan. If only I could remember her name...
― ― ― ― ―
Classes are boring as ever.
I cover my notebook in sketches as I wait for the rest of the class to show up. A few stray people wander in, taking their seats silently and going about their own business. I stay focused on my drawing. Wispy hair going down to the shoulders, a sharp jaw with teeth that almost look like fangs, and eyes ― oh her eyes ― pitch black, so much so that I could see my own reflection in them. I dig into my brain as much as I can just to recreate her image. She's hauntingly perfect; a creature designed by the gods who has no place among us mortals but damn am I glad she's chosen to visit me in my dreams.
A ruckus comes from the doorway. I tear my eyes away from the drawing to focus on the sound. I bite my tongue as I see Diane and her band of rebels charge into the room. Personally, I've never understood their type, always making a mess and trying to stake their claim over everything. In their leather jackets, tight ripped jeans, silver piercings covering body parts that should be left alone, and black eyeshadow dripping down their face, they look more like rats found in the sewers than actual people. They crowd around a desk, putting their boots on it while others take a seat, babbling on about nothing.
Diane is worse than all of these rats, however. Her friend throws a sarcastic comment at her, and I'm surprised her tongue isn't forked like a snake when she sticks it out in retaliation. Her red claws, dipped in painted blood, run through her jet-black hair. She forces it to the side so it hides half of her face from view. I've seen her spray paint the doors of people's dorms whom she didn't like. She's gotten drunk quite a few times and gone on walks with her gang through the campus, shouting every profanity she can remember and saying each one of her sexual desires that comes to mind. Out of the corner of my eye, I swear I see her take a look at me. Her blue irises have a chilling effect, making me look away first. I hide a scowl. She chuckles.
The professor enters. "Alright class, everyone sit down."
The rat gang snicker.
"That includes you," the professor hisses. "If you want to pass this class, I suggest you sit."
Diane rolls her eyes. She and her friends all slump back into their seats. They don't decide to pick a fight, not today at least. I had heard a rumor of a few of them submitting some rather inappropriate, controversial papers to professors they disagreed with. Someone across the hall from my room claimed that Diane threatened a guy by holding a knife to his neck. It's a wonder how they are still on campus and permitted to continue taking classes.
I spend the class continuing in my drawings and occasionally taking notes. When the professor finally releases us, I swiftly pack my backpack and exit. I head to the cafeteria. They seem to be serving something that doesn't deserve to be called 'pork chops' and some sort of green mucus along with cookies that are so salty I wonder if adding pepper might actually help the taste. I take a seat at a table separated from everyone else and pull out my laptop and notebook. Multitasking has always been a skill I have, one that didn't get killed after the hell that was middle school. I take notes for Psychology 101 as I force the green sludge down my throat.
"Well, well, well," a familiar voice hisses, far too close for comfort. "Look who is sitting alone again."
I tighten my jaw, knowing who is speaking without needing to see them. I lift my eyes anyway to stare down the intruder. Diane leans over the table, her ruby lips pulled back in a twisted smile. Two of her friends stand behind her for backup ― as if Diane ever needs protecting. The woman is a viper on her own. I still can't tell if her venom or her bite is more menacing.
"We can sit with you if you're lonely," she purrs.
I hold my gaze with her. "I'm just fine on my own, thanks."
One of her friends ignores my words, moving to sit right beside me so quickly that I nearly jump out of my seat. I grip my notes and computer nervously. The other friend laughs. He circles around to stand behind me like a hawk. My heart quickens as I curl up, folding my computer over to hide my screen.
The one sitting beside me grabs at my notebook. "Hey, what's that drawing of?"
My cheeks blush as I hurriedly try to hide the musings of the red-haired woman in my dreams. I yank the notebook out of the invasive person's grasp and close it. The guy behind seems to have caught a glimpse of the drawing too because he starts laughing.
"Is that your crush?" he jeers. The two split off into bursts of snickers.
Diane lets out a low chuckle. My attention snaps to her. Her laugh isn't mocking or done out of genuine joy at my embarrassment. It's cold, mean even, like she gets no joy out of making fun of me. She just likes to watch me squirm.
Unlike the other two, Diane approaches slowly. Calmly. She takes her time, running her fingers along the table until eventually, they land on my computer. Her head tilts to the side as she lets out a hum.
"What are you working on?" she asks with a devious grin.
I tighten my hold on my notebook and computer, pulling them away from her slightly. "Notes. You know, the thing you do when you want to pass a class and eventually graduate from college."
Her entourage let out amused sounds.
"Mouthy," she chides. "Almost too mouthy for someone so quiet and kept to themselves."
"I save it all up for invaders like you."
The guy behind me steps closer, and I tense. Diane holds a hand up to stop him. She takes off her jacket, revealing a black patterned crop top she had on underneath. I frown and look up at her. What does she think she's doing? Diane moves to stand over me and I swallow. She's always been taller than me but now the top of my head only reaches her hips since I'm sitting. Her hand drifts to my computer, completely closing it. She lets her hand rest on top of it dominantly, her muscles showing clearly now without her jacket on ― and without even flexing. I look up at her, wishing for once I could appear bigger than my small frame and current position allows me to be, but she's so much larger in stature. So much stronger. So much more.
Her voice sounds like velvet but so much darker. "Is that so?"
She bends down so her hair falls down beside my face. Her nose is just inches from mine. I can feel her breath on my cheek. I have no doubt she's noticed that I've stopped breathing.
"Saving all of this for me then, are you?" she whispers with a devilish smile.
My cheeks flush despite all my attempts not to. I don't bother reeling back my snarl, "Go back to whatever sewer drain you crawled out of this morning and leave me alone."
"It's so fun talking with you though." Her head moves closer. I wish I could say I flinched, but instead, I stay deathly still as her lips brush against my ear. I can hear every breath she takes clearly. As she exhales, I shiver. She catches the movement. Her eyes glisten darkly and she waits a moment before speaking, simply enjoying watching me try to sit still. "The amusement and... pleasure it gives me is indescribable."
"It's not fun for me. It's distracting me from what actually matters―"
"I'm distracting you?" she cuts in, feigning shock.
I suppress a groan and pull myself back from her. "Find someone else to pester. I'm still just as busy as I was the last time you did this. I don't need company, especially not yours."
Diane bites her lip and looks me over slowly, taking in every inch of me, before stepping away with a disapproving glare. "Do you ever have fun?" she practically spits.
"You mean like when you masturbate?" her friend sitting beside me asks bluntly.
I don't get a chance to respond before the three all burst into laughter. I anxiously gaze at other nearby tables to make sure no one else heard what was said.
"Maybe that's why Sky here spends all her time alone," the guy jokes, "You're just always giving yourself a good time."
"You think the innocent angel here, little-Miss-Perfect, does such things?" the annoying, cackling pile of black clothing next to me jeers. "I bet she hasn't gotten off yet. Not even by herself."
Diane purrs, "I think she could tell us what she's done. Couldn't you, Sky?"
I shoot her a glare.
"Come on, inquiring minds want to know," she says sweetly.
"Go to hell."
I shove my notebook and computer back into my backpack. As I move to put a strap around my shoulder, Diane grabs it and clicks her tongue. I shut my eyes. The humiliation of being around them is sickening, the implications of their words making matters even worse, but the idea of staying makes my skin crawl in a way that feels almost like rope cutting off my circulation before moving to strangle my throat. I can feel tears threaten to burst out, so I squeeze my eyes shut tighter.
"Where do you think you're going?" Diane snarls.
I look up at her, silently praying to god that the other two can't see my face. As she stares at me, her grip on my bag loosens, but her expression never loses that sharp, calculated edge. In fact, I think I see the edge of her lip curl up into a small, sadistic smile. I can only imagine how I look, but this has been building up over the past few months. It doesn't happen more than twice a week. Still, that's more than enough to make me feel sick of it. Diane loosens her grip just enough so I'm able to yank my backpack firmly out of her grasp and secure it around my shoulders. In her eyes, I can still see the same fire that's always been there. She isn't letting me go out of pity. No, this is only temporary; a slight relief so I don't break here and now. She'll be back.
I leave the cafeteria, blocking out the various insults and taunts being hurled by her two friends. I glance back at Diane one last time as I'm about to walk out the door.
Oh yes, she'll be back, I have no doubt of that.