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Diepger continued glaring at her and Adi held his gaze without blinking. Her stomach felt heavy and her head faint with nerves. She really hated confrontation but no way would she look away first. As she stared at him, something moved on his shoulder. Adi’s eyes widened. She suppressed a shocked inhale. There it was again! Just like before, a small monkey, its face twisted with malevolence.
Diepger said something but Adi wasn’t listening. That animal freaked her out so badly as it looked at her, never blinking. Then, as Adi continued to watch, it deliberately lifted its skinny fingers, tipped with sharp nails, and plucked out its own eye. This time Add gasped, overcome with the memory of her dream. Her blood was thudding so hard in her ears, she couldn’t hear anything around her. As she stared, her mouth hanging open in shock, the creature vanished.
“…have you gone deaf? I am talking to you! Are you trying to challenge me, here in my classroom, in front of my class?”
Adi suddenly became aware that there was total silence around her, except for her teacher talking louder and louder until he was screaming at her. When her eyes met his, the anger in his face felt like a physical punch.
“You know what? Get the hell out of my lecture! I don’t need you sitting here, pretending to be, whatever you’re pretending to be…” God, he was so angry, he tripped over his own words. Adi blindly fumbled for her things and got up. She needed to get away.
Then she heard a deep calm voice behind her: “Professor Diepger, I’m sure Adi didn’t mean to be disrespectful…” When Adi turned around, she saw Honi look at the teacher with a pained expression on his face. He quickly glanced over to Adi and threw her a smile. That was a mistake.
Diepger took a deep breath and bellowed, “Well, if you’re such good friends, why don’t you join your crazy girlfriend! Get out of my class!” and he theatrically stuck out his hand, pointing at the exit door. Adi’s eyes were burning and she was seconds away from bursting into tears. No way was she going to give that jerk the satisfaction. She grabbed her bag, pushed past the boy sitting next to her and ran outside.
“Adi, wait!” Honi called after her. Damn it, she had gotten him expelled as well. She felt like she owed him, trying to stand up for her, whatever good it had done, and stopped with her head hanging down. Honi stepped around her and said quietly, “You’re upset. You look like you need a hug.” And before Adi could respond, the young man had pulled her gently against his chest and held her tight.
Once again Adi was calmed by his scent. She couldn’t help herself, after all the upset and feeling tired and mentally exhausted, she let go, pressed closer against his warm chest and started crying. Honi held her tight and walked her to a few chairs in front of somebody’s office. He guided her down without saying anything.
Adi couldn’t stop crying. She sobbed even though her face probably looked like an ugly mess. Every time she calmed a little, she thought of something else. Her parents’ death. Her fear that her father’s family hated her so much they tried to have her declared mentally unfit. Her nightmares. Everything just came to a head in Honi’s arms.
She pressed her cheek against his shirt and tried to ignore how the fabric turned damp under her face. His heart beat steadily compared to her own frantic pounding. It felt incredibly safe and she snuggled just a fraction closer against his chest. They sat like that for a while until Honi moved back a little. Lifting her chin, he asked softly, ”Hey, are you okay? We should probably move before class is over.”
Adi didn’t want to move away from him but equally she didn’t want the rest of the students to see her like this. She wasn’t a child, she was a grown-up and now embarrassment crept up on her. Christ, Honi must think she was a nut case. She sat up straight and turned her face away. Her eyes were probably red and swollen, tear tracks down her face, and oh no, had she snotted onto his clothes?
Honi kept his hand on her chin and then he kissed her forehead. Just a small peck but when Adi looked up, he seemed just as surprised as she was. His face slowly turned red and with a feeling of giddiness, Adi realized he was blushing. It made her smile. Apparently she wasn’t the only one affected by the situation. Resolutely, she stood up and pulled him to his feet by his hand. He followed willingly and they stood opposite each other, still smiling.
“Come on,” she finally said. Seeing that ugly monkey on Diepger’s shoulder had made up her mind. She was done ignoring the situation. Unless she was suffering a psychotic break, Honi was her best chance to find out what was going on. If he had the same experience, maybe he knew what to do about it.
Next chapter on Monday
Link to Chapter 15