The Deal (Off Campus #1)(4)

By: Elle Kennedy


“Oh, you don’t have to do that. I’m fine,” she insists.

But my hand has already connected with her midterm, and my jaw drops when I see her grade.

“Fucking hell. You aced it?” I demand.

She gives a self-deprecating smile. “I know, right? I thought I failed for sure.”

“Holy shit.” I feel like I’ve just bumped into Stephen fuckin’ Hawking and he’s dangling the secrets to the universe under my nose. “Can I read your answers?”

Her brows quirk up again. “That’s rather forward of you, don’t you think? We don’t even know each other.”

I roll my eyes. “I’m not asking you to take your clothes off, baby. I just want to peek at your midterm.”

“Baby? Goodbye forward, hello presumptuous.”

“Would you prefer miss? Ma’am maybe? I’d use your name but I don’t know it.”

“Of course you don’t.” She sighs. “It’s Hannah.” Then she pauses meaningfully. “Garrett.”

Okay, I was waaaay off on the M thing.

And I don’t miss the way she emphasizes my name as if to say, Ha! I know yours, asshole!

She collects the rest of her books and stands up, but I don’t hand over her midterm. Instead, I hop to my feet and start flipping through it. As I skim her answers, my spirits plummet even lower, because if this is the kind of analysis Tolbert is looking for, I’m screwed. There’s a reason I’m a history major, for chrissake—I deal in facts. Black and white. This happened at this time to this person and here’s the result.

Hannah’s answers focus on theoretical shit and how the philosophers would respond to the various moral dilemmas.

“Thanks.” I give her the booklet, then hook my thumbs in the belt loops of my jeans. “Hey, listen. Do you…would you consider…” I shrug. “You know…”

Her lips twitch as if she’s trying not to laugh. “Actually, I don’t know.”

I let out a breath. “Will you tutor me?”

Her green eyes—the darkest shade of green I’ve ever seen and surrounded by thick black eyelashes—go from surprised to skeptical in a matter of seconds.

“I’ll pay you,” I add hastily.

“Oh. Um. Well, yeah, of course I’d expect you to pay me. But…” She shakes her head. “I’m sorry. I can’t.”

I bite back my disappointment. “C’mon, do me a solid. If I fail this makeup, my GPA will implode. Please?” I flash a smile, the one that makes my dimples pop out and never fails to make girls melt.

“Does that usually work?” she asks curiously.

“What?”

“The aw-shucks little boy grin… Does it help you get your way?”

“Always,” I answer without hesitation.

“Almost always,” she corrects. “Look, I’m sorry, but I really don’t have time. I’m already juggling school and work, and with the winter showcase coming up, I’ll have even less time.”

“Winter showcase?” I say blankly.

“Right, I forgot. If it’s not about hockey, then it’s not on your radar.”

“Now who’s being presumptuous? You don’t even know me.”

There’s a beat, and then she sighs. “I’m a music major, okay? And the arts faculty puts on two major performances every year, the winter showcase and the spring one. The winner gets a five thousand dollar scholarship. It’s kind of a huge deal, actually. Important industry people fly in from all over the country to see it. Agents, record producers, talent scouts…. So, as much as I’d love to help you—”

“You would not,” I grumble. “You look like you don’t even want to talk to me right now.”

Her little you-got-me shrug is grating as hell. “I have to get to rehearsal. I’m sorry you’re failing this course, but if it makes you feel better, so is everyone else.”

I narrow my eyes. “Not you.”

“I can’t help it. Tolbert seems to respond to my brand of bullshit. It’s a gift.”

“Well, I want your gift. Please, master, teach me how to bullshit.”

I’m two seconds from dropping to my knees and begging her, but she edges to the door. “You know there’s a study group, right? I can give you the number for—”

“I’m already in it,” I mutter.

“Oh. Well, then there’s not much else I can do for you. Good luck on the makeup test. Baby.”

She darts out the door, leaving me staring after her in frustration. Unbelievable. Every girl at this college would cut her frickin’ arm off to help me out. But this one? Runs away like I just asked her to murder a cat so we could sacrifice it to Satan.

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