That was the night I met Jeremy. He was barely visible in the dark, leaning against a birch to the side of the path.

“Don’t look so sad, pretty boy. There are plenty of other fish in the sea.”

His voice was sultry, deep, and it startled the hell out of me because I had no idea anyone was there.

I pretended I hadn’t almost peed myself and started to walk away without answering, but his voice stopped me.

“Wait up. Are you Brett?”

He approached now, and I was surprised he knew my name. In the dingy yellow light of the streetlamp, I could see he was slender, with wide shoulders and black hair that brushed his collarbone. He had a sexy, dangerous vibe about him, and I took a step back as he reached me.

“Let me guess. Ted didn’t mention I was coming?”

I squinted at him, mystified by why this beautiful vision thought I should know him. “Ted?” Yeah, remember your roommate, dummy?

He smiled and flashed perfect white teeth. “I’m Jeremy,” he said confidently. “You look exactly how Ted described you.”

I put a hand to my blond hair, wondering what Ted had said about me.

“Ted said you’re looking for a math tutor.” He didn’t seem to mind at all that I was tongue-tied.

I think I’d mentioned once to Ted that I should get a tutor, but I’d never really pursued it. And yet here before me was the most delicious tutor anyone could ask for. My pulse sped up as I took his smooth hand in mine and something came alive inside of me.

“Oh, yeah. I do need help. I’m horrible at math.” He still held my hand, and I had the sensation of energy passing between us. I remember being hugely relieved I didn’t gasp like a little girl at the electric shock.

“But I needed to meet you first.”

Jeremy pulled me closer, and his gaze never left my mouth. I should have known then that he was acting odd for a math tutor, but hindsight is twenty-twenty, and I was blinded by a cloud of youthful lust.

“I don’t take on just anybody. I want you to know that.”

I remember I instantly felt special and impressed he was even considering me. I look back on it now, and it immediately strikes me that most math tutors weren’t in such high demand that they would pick and choose their tutees so stringently. But for whatever reason, I didn’t think twice about how strange he was. I was simply flattered I had been deemed worthy.

Later I was able to see I’d been chosen for reasons that had nothing to do with my being valuable. No, no. Far more attractive to Jeremy was that I reeked of need and a desire to matter to someone. I’m sure that’s why he wanted to meet me first before he agreed to help me. His type can smell self-doubt a mile away. My palpable insecurities were like blood in the water to a great white.

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