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2 Loves LaterSample Chapters

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TEAM WENTWORTH

Ramsey West hated New York. He actually hated it, and the icy cold wind whipping through his longer than normal straight, blonde hair was doing nothing to change his mind. He needed a haircut. He also needed a hat, but unfortunately that meant he needed to go shopping because he didn’t have a hat. He would have rather sawed off his right arm then go shopping in New York City at this time of year. Probably both his arms really.

It had literally taken him thirty-five minutes to get a taxi from outside his brownstone on the Upper West Side today. It was something he wasn’t anticipating so he hadn’t really budgeted time into his schedule, especially after he’d had to unexpectedly duck home after arriving at his office without his laptop. It was a rookie error considering his laptop was literally the only thing he needed for the tutorial he had to lead this morning. Thankfully, he had his tablet with him that sufficed. Unfortunately, it was only on one percent battery when he finally located it in the bottom of his top desk drawer, and then it insisted on not loading any of his emails. It had been the beginning of the end of his less than perfect day. The highlight, however, had been having to take the Subway from Columbia back to his place after his morning meeting, where he was flashed by an old guy who looked like Tom Hanks from Castaway and had smelt as strongly of pot as he imagined Snoop Dogg would. It was one hundred and fifty percent more saggy balls than Ramsey ever wanted to see in his entire life, let alone on a Tuesday morning.

1:50 pm. Ramsey groaned as he looked down at his watch and realized that he was going to reach his office just in time for his afternoon meeting. That gave him exactly zero time to catch up on all the emails he knew were banking up in his inbox since this morning. He hadn’t been looking forward to this meeting and the fact it was chewing into his time to catch up on already outstanding tasks was making him even more annoyed about it.

Of course the dean had assigned him to mentor the freshman who was about two seconds away from failing out of Columbia. Mentoring that kind of student was every professor’s worst nightmare, which was why it was obviously given to him instead of one of the actual Columbia professors from the English faculty.

Truth be told, Ramsey didn’t know who this freshman was, but the fact they were this close to failing out after just one semester gave him enough information to make his own assumptions about what kind of student they were. They were probably some rich kid who had bought, or rather whose parents had bought, their way into Columbia with some kind of generous donation to the school. The same kind that saw attending classes as the absolute maximum amount of work they were willing to do. The kind of student Ramsey absolutely hated.

Apart from some vague details about the reason for the student’s near failing, including three missed assignment deadlines and abysmal attendance in one of their core classes, Dean Richardson had given Ramsey virtually no other information, including the opportunity to oppose the assignment altogether. Ramsey didn’t know the student’s name or what their major even was. All he was told was the student was ‘important for the visibility of Columbia’ and that Ramsey needed to find ‘alternate ways to maintain their enrollment’, whatever the hell that actually meant. The dean wouldn’t have done this for just any student so Ramsey knew they had to be someone special. Someone who Columbia was desperate to hold onto. The kind of student Ramsey knew he was going to absolutely hate.

Ramsey rolled his eyes. One more year. That was all he had to do. He only had to endure one year of Columbia and New York City as part of his transfer. One more year of his doctorate. One more year of old incompetent tenured professors counting down the days until retirement, and rich entitled freshmen toeing the line of college failure. One more year. Then he could spend his days working on his research and pursuing his other passion projects.

It was the last day of classes for the fall semester, so whilst the morning had been busy this side of campus, the corridors of Philosophy Hall were virtually empty this afternoon when Ramsey finally walked through the main doors. He didn’t have to worry about oblivious rich teens nearly knocking him over every corner he turned as he made his way up the main staircase in the direction of his office.

Ramsey had a clear line of vision to his office as soon as he turned the corner, and that’s when he saw the corridor was not as empty as he expected it to be. Sitting on one of the benches in front of his door, nervously knocking her heels together, was a girl.

She looked no older than twenty-five so she could have easily been an undergrad, or perhaps even a post doc. She could have also been in her late teens and just looked older than she actually was. Either way she looked old enough to be a student studying at Columbia. It was the way she was dressed, though, that made him assume she was in the wrong place.

He saw a variety of students daily walking these halls, but ever since winter hit New York the majority of the undergrads had traded their preppy polo shirts and tartan skirts that screamed ‘my parents are rich country club members’, for jeans and Columbia merchandise. Columbia logo T-shirts were the usual, but considering how cold it was today Ramsey had already sighted at least ten or fifteen Columbia sweatshirts. This girl wasn’t wearing either, though, nor was she wearing the officewear most of the female post docs usually did. No pantyhose and sensible closed toe footwear to be seen. All Ramsey could see was a purple turtleneck sweater, what looked like leather or faux leather leggings, and ridiculously high open toe wedge sandals.

Fuck. That was it. It was those damn wedge sandals. Ramsey had been trying to figure out exactly why he couldn’t keep his eyes off her long legs, and it was definitely because they were so elongated by the height of the sandals. How form fitting those leather pants were also wasn’t helping.

“Can I help you?” Ramsey finally spoke, clearing his throat as he did so.

Maybe if he started using his mouth to speak, his jaw would resume its usual place on his face rather than in the agape fashion he was sure it was currently sitting in. Not the best look for a professor at an Ivy, especially when it was still currently unestablished as to what rank this girl held at this university.

If she was a student, him continuing to stare at her legs in an unabashed fashion was definitely inappropriate. If she was a colleague it was still inappropriate, but it was like the leather was calling his name over and over again. As soon as he finished speaking he held his jaw tight, willing himself back into the realm of appropriate professor.

“Oh, hi,” the girl replied.

A flirtatious smile spread wide across her face as she turned to face him, locking her smart phone in her hand as she did so.

That smile made her eyes light up. Ramsey found himself, even just for a moment, absolutely mesmerized by the dark brown color of her irises. She got to her feet, which he really wished she hadn’t.

“Hi,” he nodded, as he told himself to strictly maintain her gaze and not let his eyes roam to her legs that somehow looked even longer now.

As she stood up, it revealed the length of her purple sweater, which sat much higher than Ramsey was expecting. He also hadn’t been anticipating how much he wanted to see what those leggings looked like from the back as soon as he realized he could see the waistband. He was really struggling. He cleared his throat again, looking straight into those dark brown eyes as he did so.

“Are you looking for someone?” he asked.

“Oh,” the girl replied as she looked down at the phone in her hands and unlocked it again. “I’m looking for some old guy. I have a meeting with him at 2:00 pm.”

Ramsey’s eyes narrowed at her.

“Some old guy?” he asked, as he looked down at his watch and noted it now read 1:55 pm. “Are you sure you’re in the right place?”

“I think so,” she replied, as her eyes scanned the door in front of her. “This is his office.”

Ramsey suddenly realized what was happening and who exactly was standing in front of him.

Of course, this was Libby Evans. The Victoria’s Secret supermodel and Hollywood socialite who had been the student on everyone’s lips at Columbia this year. She was all the other professors in the faculty lounge could talk about since the semester began.

Ramsey was always too busy to really concentrate on what was going on in the faculty lounge, but he had often heard the chatter as the English faculty indulged in their morning coffees before classes. They usually traded mundane stories of their family lives and how they spent their weekends, but it always seemed to revert back to discussing which students they had in common between their classes. Which students they thought highly of, and more commonly, the students they thought very little of. Regardless, looking at Libby Evans in front of him right now, he felt pretty stupid he hadn’t immediately realized those legs belonged to one of the highest paid supermodels in the world. He couldn’t believe he hadn’t put it all together until now.

The two of them stood in silence before Ramsey realized it was his turn to speak. He didn’t really know what to say, especially because Libby’s facial expression suggested she hadn’t quite caught onto what was happening. He cleared his throat as he pulled his keys from his pocket and headed straight for the door to his office.

“Elizabeth Evans, I assume?” Ramsey spoke as he unlocked the door and turned back to Libby.

He immediately saw the terror in her eyes as she finally realized who he was. The blood completely drained from her face, leaving those supermodel cheeks looking uncharacteristically pale. She looked like a deer in the headlights as she simply nodded her head. Not a single word left her lips.

“Come in, Miss Evans,” Ramsey nodded as he held open the door, gesturing for Libby to step inside.

Libby ducked her head to avoid his eyes as she slipped past him into his office. It wasn’t until she passed him that he realized her wedge sandals made her almost his height, not something he was used to with women. No, she wasn’t a woman, she was a girl. She was probably nearly ten years his junior. Not that it mattered. She was, after all, a student and he was a professor.

The room fell silent as Ramsey closed the door behind him and walked over to his side of the desk. She was panicking and he could see it in her eyes. He could see it in how hard she was swallowing and the way she was nervously picking at her fingers. He could also see it in the way she was chewing on her bottom lip, something he found incredibly adorable even though it had become very clear she was off limits. Even though one tenth of those feelings and the attraction he instantly felt toward her was all kinds of unethical and wrong. Wrong. Wrong. Wrong.

“So,” Ramsey said, trying to break his own chain of thoughts as he took a seat. “Dean Richardson has informed me you haven’t been having the best run since starting at Columbia?”

“Yes,” Libby sighed. “It’s not that I don’t want to be here—”

“Except that’s exactly what it looks like,” Ramsey butted in, looking Libby straight in the eye. “You’ve missed three assignment deadlines and your attendance has much to be desired.”

“I know,” Libby quickly said. “I know that, and I do want to be here. I don’t want to make any excuses for my behavior.”

“If I’m going to be mentoring you then I’d prefer that as well,” Ramsey added.

He didn’t want excuses, which is why he had snapped as soon as it sounded like Miss Victoria’s Secret was going to sit there and make a list of them for him. It was hard for him to believe that a Hollywood socialite had gotten into Columbia on her own merit, and the dean’s desperation to keep her here regardless of her academic attitude suggested the same.

“You’re going to be mentoring me?” she asked.

Ramsey paused a minute before he nodded. Either she was playing dumb, which was very likely, or she was as in the dark as him about what this arrangement was. Considering how little information the dean had given Ramsey himself prior to this meeting, that was another likely scenario.

“That’s right,” Ramsey nodded. “I’ll be mentoring you throughout next semester in a modified enrollment, so you’ll be able to finish the year with your full set of credit points.”

“I appreciate that,” Libby said, sending a small smile in his direction. “I really do want to be here.”

“You’ve mentioned that,” Ramsey replied, not really knowing why he was being such an asshole to this girl who was clearly not as arrogant as he had first thought.

Maybe it was because he had better things to do with his time than babysit a supermodel. Nevertheless, that wasn’t really her fault, it was the dean’s. This situation, however, never would have arisen if she had just done the work and gone to her classes like every other freshman here.

“I don’t need you to tell me you want to be here,” Ramsey said, trying to keep a handle on the ‘asshole’ in his tone. “I need you to show me you want to be here. If I’m going to be mentoring you then I’m going to make you work and I don’t want to mentor someone who doesn’t want to put in the work.”

“I’ll put in the work,” Libby quickly replied.

Clearly she was desperate to make a good impression, which was both endearing and annoying considering Ramsey’s shitty day.

“I want to put the work in,” she continued. “I really do.”

“Good,” Ramsey said, opening the satchel on top of his desk so he could retrieve his laptop.

Libby sat in silence as she watched him. He could feel her eyes studying his every move as he opened the laptop and then the Outlook app to look for the email that the dean had sent him about her.

“The dean mentioned some of the classes you’re doing,” Ramsey commented, not taking his eyes off his emails as he quickly scanned his inbox. “Are you enrolled in an arts degree?”

“Yes,” Libby nodded. “I’m enrolled in the Bachelor of Arts in Communication.”

“Why?” Ramsey asked, wanting to see if it would catch her off guard.

It wasn’t a question one usually asked a college student, especially not a freshman who was probably still trying to figure out what their future looked like. Most of them weren’t thinking more than one semester ahead. Ramsey definitely hadn’t been when he was a freshman a million years ago.

“Well,” Libby replied. “Public relations has always interested me, particularly in entertainment. I have a lot of first-hand experience within the industry and would like to gain more knowledge about the behind the scenes. Digital media, in particular.”

Ramsey raised his gaze from the computer screen and his blue eyes locked on Libby. He didn’t want to be, but he was actually impressed she had such a well thought out answer. Particularly because the answer had come to her so quickly.

“What’s your major?” Ramsey asked, returning his eyes to the screen to stop himself from looking at the piece of hair sitting askew on her forehead.

The more he looked at it the more he wanted to reach out and place it back, but that was a dangerous thought. A dangerous thought because all he could think about was how much he wanted to know whether her skin felt as soft as it looked. It looked flawless. She looked flawless and it was messing with his mind.

“I haven’t really decided yet,” Libby replied. “The dean has me enrolled in a bit of a modified/part-time curriculum so I can explore more courses while still working.”

“You’re working as well as studying?” Ramsey asked, her response piquing his interest as he closed his laptop.

There were no emails he actually wanted to read. Nothing important that needed actioning now either. If he kept the screen open, he was probably just going to be scrolling up and down through his inbox. He usually didn’t care if he was rude in front of students, but there was something about this girl that made him painfully aware that talking to her over a laptop screen would definitely be considered rude.

“Yes,” Libby smiled. “Part-time at the moment.”

“Is that wise considering how much you’re struggling to meet the minimum requirements in your classes?” Ramsey asked, raising an eyebrow at her.

“Maybe,” Libby replied. “Maybe not. I’m still figuring it out.”

That was not the answer he wanted to hear. She wasn’t serious about Columbia. This was just something else to cross off her bucket list. For all he knew, she could just be doing research for some documentary that was going to earn her millions of dollars. Or maybe this was all part of a very covert undercover photo shoot, and he was going to see the photos splashed all over a Times Square billboard any day now.

“Well, I’d appreciate if you’d figure that out before you waste too much more of my time,” Ramsey snapped, “and your own.”

He hadn’t wanted it to come out so harshly and judging by the look on Libby’s face she hadn’t been expecting it either. He was so tired and annoyed about everything today that he just wanted it all to be over, including this meeting.

“So, we’ll meet twice a week when spring semester starts back in January,” Ramsey said, pulling his phone out of his front suit pocket and bringing up his calendar. “I’m available Monday and Thursday mornings at 9:00 am. Does that clash with any of your classes?”

Libby merely shook her head.

“Great,” Ramsey replied. “Then it’s settled. Our first meeting will be the first Thursday after winter break. We’ll be working toward an extra credit essay you can hand in at the end of next semester as a substitute for the essays you submitted late or not at all.”

Ramsey typed a recurring event into his phone. He glanced over at Libby as she pulled out hers too, probably doing the same thing. Or maybe she was texting one of her supermodel friends, or one of her billionaire boyfriends about having drinks tonight at the Plaza. That last assumption made him sound incredibly stupid, and maybe even a little jealous he wasn’t the one having drinks with her tonight. No, of course not. She was a student. Professors and students didn’t have drinks together. Ever.

“What kind of an extra credit essay?” Libby asked.

“Three thousand words should be sufficient,” Ramsey replied, not bothering to look up from his phone, mostly because he didn’t want to get distracted by those stunning brown eyes again. “I haven’t decided on the subject matter just yet.”

Libby simply nodded.

“In the meantime, I’d like a copy of your admissions essay,” Ramsey said, locking his phone and placing it face down on the desk. “Did you actually write one of those?”

Libby locked her phone and placed it back in her bag. For the first time since she walked in the door, he saw a different emotion on her face. One that wasn’t resonant with a deer in the headlights. It almost looked like she was one facial expression away from rolling her eyes at his comment, but just as quickly as Ramsey saw it, the expression disappeared as her brown eyes rose to meet his.

“Yes, I wrote an admissions essay,” she simply replied. “Did you want it in hard copy?”

“Email will be fine,” Ramsey replied, carefully studying her as she continued to look straight at him.

He’d lit something inside her and now she wasn’t going to back down. Ramsey was the first to look away.

“Well, that’s it for today,” he said, opening his laptop back up to type up a new email. “I’ll see you next semester.”

“Thanks for seeing me, Professor West,” Libby said as she got to her feet.

Ramsey could hear the strained professionalism in her voice, as well as a hint of sarcasm, but all that was overshadowed by the sight of her leaving his office. Like he had thought about earlier, the back view of her in those leather leggings had been well worth the wait. Fuck. He snapped out of his extremely inappropriate thoughts as soon as the door to his office loudly closed shut.

Looking at the blank email in front of him, he typed in the dean’s email address to report back about his meeting with Libby Evans, Columbia’s apparent MVP of the freshman class. He paused a minute, considering what to write, before he started typing a message.

 

Dean Richardson,

 

I met with Elizabeth Evans today and will be mentoring her starting next semester every Monday and Thursday mornings from 9:00 am.

 

She has demonstrated she is keen and willing to continue her studies at Columbia and will be dedicating the necessary time and effort into our mentoring sessions, as well as toward her other classes.

 

Ramsey paused, his fingers hovering over the keys of his laptop as he thought about what else had happened during their meeting. He had behaved like an asshole, which was nothing new when it came to the way he interacted with the freshmen. Nothing new and nothing he really cared about.

Whether they loved him or hated him, it wasn’t really something that kept him up at night. There was, however, something about his behavior today that would keep him up tonight. He had acted like a lovestruck teenage boy that had seen his very first supermodel in the flesh. A teenage boy that had been unable to keep his testosterone fueled gaze away from every inch of her supermodel figure.

She will be submitting a piece of work at the end of next semester at the conclusion of our mentoring sessions. A three-thousand-word extra credit essay.

 

Ramsey signed off the email and hit send. He was going to have to learn to control himself if he was going to spend next semester seeing the Victoria’s Secret supermodel twice a week for at least one hour per session. He was going to have to control his testosterone. He was going to have to learn to control his wandering eyes. He was going to have to control himself, otherwise he was going to be in trouble. Big, big trouble.

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