Nicky hated him. Hated him. Mr. Professor, so full of himself. Insufferable. How she was going to get through this semester, she had no idea. It didn't help that he was hot. Really hot. Tall, sandy blonde hair, beautiful blue eyes, wonderful timbre to his deep voice, amazing body. But that was all beside the point. The man was a narcissistic jerk. The way he soaked up all the adoration from the nubile young college girls, it was sickening. He was old enough to be their father.
Nicky could barely believe she was there. If that nosy creep at work hadn't found out her secret, she'd be in her corner office overlooking the River having important meetings with clients. But no, here she was, forced into completing her degree. She had no idea how Brad The Moron had sniffed out her lie, but he had. She was two classes shy of a Master's degree, but had lied on her resume and put down that she'd achieved it. And, after she'd been promoted above Brad, somehow Jerkface had found out and told the boss. Mr. Jameson had taken Nicky aside and given her the option. Take a sabbatical from work and finish the degree or quit. Luckily, she was the top performer of her group. Brought in ten million dollars in advertising sales in the previous year alone. Nicky knew her career was over if she didn't take the opportunity. So, here she was, surrounded by children half her age, listening to some moron lecture about History. As if she cared.
Lance noticed the woman the first day. Women his age had a tendency to stand out because there were so few of them. Especially, this woman. A tall redhead, she was exactly his type. But, aside from that, what really stood out was her attitude towards him. First of all, she sat in the back. Women who returned to college at her age never sat in the back, they were always in the front. They always paid the closest attention, did the best work, were the most dedicated. But, not this woman. After the first week, she stopped paying attention to him. Completely. She sat at her laptop and never once looked up. Even the football players that surrounded her paid attention to him. While obviously somewhat bored, the football players listened and laughed at his jokes. But, not Miss Nicole Winters. And, when she did look up at him, she glared. It looked like she hated him. Which was unsettling. He knew he was the most popular teacher on campus, and he was used to the fervent (although mostly annoying) attentions from the young college women. While he didn't want her to fawn over him, he, at least, deserved her attention.
By the third week, she was distracting him so much, he finally decided to involve her in the class, whether she liked it or not. Maybe if he started engaging with her, she'd come around.
"Miss Winters, what do you think?" he finally asked after lecturing on the Saxons taking over Northern Europe.
Nicky didn't answer because she was engrossed in picking out a new lipstick color.
"Miss Winters? In the back?" Lance asked again, more loudly.
Nicky noticed out of the corner of her eye that some of the kids were looking at her. When she looked up at them, she noticed the whole class was staring at her. And, Mr. Obnoxious himself, Dr. Lance Hamilton.
"What?" she asked. The kids all broke up.
Lance said, "I'm sorry to bother you, but I was asking your opinion on the subject."
"What subject?" she asked, irritated. Why was this jerk talking to her?
"The subject upon which I'm lecturing today. You are in my class, are you not?"
"I appear to be," Nicky retorted, meeting the man's eyes. If he wanted to tangle with her and try to embarrass her, he had another think coming.
"Well, then, I'd appreciate your attention."
"Well, you obviously have it, now. What was the question?"
Hostile, she was completely hostile towards him. Lance knew how to deal with troublemakers, although it had been a long time since he'd had to. And he'd never had a problem with an adult before. But he wasn't about to back down. This was his classroom, his domain, and his students were there to learn. Period.
"We were discussing the Saxons. Why do you think they began to take over Northern Europe?"
"What does it matter what I think about it? You're the teacher. It matters what you think, not what I think."
Now, all eyes were on her, fixed upon her. Curious eyes, hostile eyes. Someone was daring to speak back to a campus God?
"Well, Miss Winters, despite what you seem to think about professors, I care about what my students think. And I'm interested in what you think. Now, if you haven't been paying attention and don't know about the Saxons, I understand your reluctance to take part--"
"I know about the Saxons."
"Oh, you do. Well, perhaps you'd enlighten us on your opinion of why they decided to take over the Northern European lands. What were their goals, what were their objectives?"
"Oh, for God's sake. The Saxons' goals were the same as Hitler's, as Alexander's, President Bush, as every damn CEO in this country. And, yours, Mr. College Professor. All you guys, all the males in power everywhere want the same thing, total domination. Total control. There was no need for the Saxons to push into Northern Europe; they had all the resources they needed in their own lands. It was all due to the ego of the leaders. All the Crusades, the World Wars, it's all about the glorification of some megalomaniac's penis. You guys want to control everything, spread your seed as far as it can go. That which you can't impregnate, you kill. It's no mystery. All history boils down to the same thing. Some power-hungry man who wanted the entire world to worship at the altar of his dick," she bit out caustically.
As upset inwardly as Lance was by this pointed attack, he knew he couldn't let his emotions show or he'd lose control of his class.
"While I'm flattered by your comparison to me and the likes of Alexander, I must object to the simplification of all history. If you read the material I assigned, you'd see that it wasn't just some misguided man with penis issues deciding to take over Northern Europe, there were religious and economic issues at stake."
"Perhaps you'd like to discuss this with me after class."
"Perhaps I'd like to discuss this with you after class."
"Apparently, Miss Winters doesn't have the passion for history that many of us do in this class. Perhaps you'd be happier in another class, Miss Winters."
"No doubt. Unfortunately, I'm stuck here."
"I can arrange for you to leave."
"Well, if this class isn't suiting your needs, perhaps another will."
"Can't. Have to take this one. Because believe me, I'd rather be anywhere else."
"Miss Winters, while I don't understand your hostility nor your motives for taking this class, I require my students to pay attention and do the assignments."
"Oh, for God's sake, get over yourself, Mr. Hamilton. Oh, excuse me, Dr. Hamilton. I am paying for a service. You are providing that service. Whether or not I decide to pay attention to you is my business, not yours. If you aren't happy with my performance in this class, I suggest you ignore me and concentrate on the nubile young fans in the front rows who are obviously feasting upon your greatness in the manner to which you have become accustomed. But just because I am not hanging on your every word does not mean I will not be able to hand in your assignments nor pass your tests."
Lance, stood there, stung, furious. So mad he couldn't hide it. At least, the young women in the front seats looked as angry as he; it did provide some comfort. But, he had to get a handle on this woman, and yesterday. No one treated him like this in his class and got away with it. He flashed on a time when he misbehaved in grade school and got paddled. It was all he could think about now. Bending that brat over his desk and making mincemeat of her tender behind.
"Please see me after class, Miss Winters."
"Are you gonna give me detention?" she spat.
"Just see me after class."
"Whatever," Nicky said, and then she returned to her laptop. She had no intention of talking to the jerk after class or anytime after that. Besides, she had a hair appointment. Much more important.
After class, Nicky dashed out the back door and headed towards the parking lot. Two girls, apparently from the class, stopped her just as she reached her car.
"You leave him alone, bitch," one said. "Dr. Hamilton--"
Nicky was more than ready for the brats. "Back off, girlie. Just because you're sleeping with him doesn't mean you can control me. You want to dance with me? Huh?" Nicky said with such hate and loathing, both girls got scared, turned tail, and hustled away.
Lance couldn't believe Nicole's disrespect. He saw her dash out the back door. When he tried to catch up with her, she had disappeared. The nerve! Well, she wouldn't get away from him for long. He got into her file and found her home number. He had his secretary leave her a message. She was to meet him at his office the following day or risk being expelled from the class.
When Nicky heard the message, she wasn't surprised. In fact, she had expected it. So she deployed her secret weapon.
Lance sat straighter in his chair. What was the Chancellor doing calling him? Was it about that promotion? Lance could only hope.
"Uh, sorry to bother you--"
"No, bother. None at all, John, what can I do for you?"
"Uh, this is kinda sticky. I normally don't like to get involved in things like this, but ... well, there's a woman in one of your classes..."
It couldn't be. Not her. Not a friend of Upton's!
"Her name's Nicole Winters. Do you know her?"
"Uh.. yes, John, I do. She's in my World History course."
"Yes. That's what she said. Well, it's my understanding that the two of you have some sort of personality conflict."
"You could say that."
"Well, I know this is asking a lot, and I hate to do it, but this woman means a lot to the University. She's arranged for millions in donation packages from major corporations. She's been invaluable in various promotions for the University. Now, I don't know why she's taking that class from you, but for some reason, something went wrong with her Master's degree--oh, got to be well over eighteen years ago now--and she needs this class to complete it. Could you do me a favor and just ... kind of ignore her? For me? Could you do that?"
"Uh, certainly, John. But, really, I don't know why she felt she had to call you, but--"
"Oh, you know women. Good looking guy like you, she probably has a crush on you and isn't used to, well, the academic setting. Who knows, all I know is she means big money to the campus. So if you could--"
"Thanks so much, Lance. I won't forget this."
Lance was going to kill her. Maybe not during the semester, but somehow, some way, he was going to get even with Miss Nicole Winters. Calling the Chancellor? When she attacked him so rudely in his class? Inconceivable!
Lance thought he couldn't get any more angry with the woman, but when she arrived in class the following week, she sealed her fate. This time she looked at him when he came into class. With the most smug little grin on her face he'd ever seen. Made his blood boil. So she thought she could push him around, did she? She didn't know who she'd just taken on. No brat had ever gotten away with mistreating him before. He'd taken his first wife over his knee a few times when she'd gotten out of hand. This woman was no different. Sometime, someday, he'd get even with her. Those lovely legs kicking while he pounded some sense into that defiant backside of hers. Lovely thought.
Lance thought he'd get a chance at getting even with her when the first assignment was due. But, unfortunately, her work was exemplary. He spent a full hour trying to find something wrong with her paper, and the only thing he found was a minor typo. So he gave her an A minus for the infraction. As much as he would love to fail her, he wasn't compromising his integrity to get even with a brat. He'd just have to wait and hope an opportunity arose.