1st november - afternoon - day 1
I don't feel the cold - I never have. But when the door of the amphitheatre opens midway through our Meteorology lecture, I shiver.
It jolts me out of my daydreams.
A sub-zero wind circles the cavernous room - whistling and spitting ice.
And, for the first time in forever, I'm cold.
Kim – our professor – who ironically is talking about how we're set to have the warmest November on record, stops mid-sentence. Her mouth drops open. A number of girls in the class suddenly stiffen in their seats. And my gaze, along with everyone else's, shifts to the source.
There's a male student glowering in the doorway.
My eyes are drawn to him.
He's the personification of winter.
His windblown hair is fair, and his eyes a violent silver. The artificial light from the lecture hall refracts off his pale skin and I notice his lips are tinted the faintest of blues. My eyes brush over his body – I can just about make out his muscles through the damp cotton T-shirt he is wearing; chiselled, like an ice sculpture.
He is ethereal – beautiful.
But he looks mad as hell.
His jaw-line is tensed. He glares angrily at the room as though he's annoyed at everything and everyone in it. His eyes briefly meet mine and I shiver again.
There's a storm behind them.
Kim looks at him – expecting him to apologise for the interruption – but he ignores her, slamming the door behind him and powering up the first few steps of our amphitheatre style seating area. He throws himself onto the bench in front of me and produces a notebook.
As he sits down I notice the shoulders of his black leather jacket are lightly sprinkled with snowflakes.
We haven't had snow for years.
Hope swells in my chest.
Is it snowing?!
The girl to his right notices too and asks the question burning on my lips.
"Is it snowing outside?!"
The new guy slowly turns his head, surveys her coolly, and then brings his gaze back to the front of the room. He doesn't reply.
The girl blushes and goes back to her notes.
Throughout the rest of the lecture I try to pay attention, but my focus is refracted.
I'm agitated to get outside; I want to find the source of the snowflakes. But more than that – I want to know who this guy is. There's something about him that draws me to him. My eyes keep wandering to the back of his head.
The bringer of the snow I name him dramatically.
He gives off a strange aura as he sits there; his posture rigid, his eyes unmoving from the Powerpoint presentation at the front of the room.
Who is he? Why haven't I seen him on campus before?
And what is his problem?
As the lecture comes to a close Kim asks if there are any questions. I'm hoping there aren't – I want to get out of here. But to my surprise the new guy's arm jolts into the air. I hadn't taken him for someone who was into his studies.
Kim looks at him curiously and nods – inviting him to speak.
"Where does Winter come from?"
His voice is low, gruff - cold.
A murmur fills the room and I share a look with my friend Sarah.
This is a college level meteorology class.
His is a question a child would ask.
Kim raises her eyebrows.
"Anyone care to answer?"
I lift my hand and she nods at me.
The bringer of snow turns.
"It's to do with the Earth's tilt," I say.
There's an expression of distaste on his face as I speak. His eyes flash silver – a silent challenge. It makes me angry. I hold his gaze.
"Winter happens when the Earth is tilted further away from the sun." I say. "I thought everyone knew that."
It's a mean comment – I tell myself it's payback for his rudeness to that girl – but a part of me wants to provoke him; to unleash his fury.
His jawline tenses and a look of hatred flashes across his sharp features.
Suddenly I feel a strong physiological reaction; my stomach clenches, my heartbeat quickens. Fight or flight seems to be struggling inside me.
When he looks at me I sense danger; I sense a storm.
I feel like our gazes are locked for an eternity – a cold energy passing between us – when he slams a clenched fist against the desk and jolts to his feet.
"That's not it," he snarls. "That's not the answer I'm looking for. You can't help me."
I look at him a moment longer and for a brief second a glimmer of familiarity passes over me. At the same time something changes in his expression – he looks confused.
Then it is gone.
He grabs his bag and storms down the steps, leaving the rest of us in a stunned silence. Sarah, beside me, lets out a low whistle.
"What the hell is that guy's deal?"
I shake my head.
"Who cares?!" I say. "I have a couple of hours before my shift at Theia, and from the look of his jacket we might finally have some snow. Let's go check it out."
I grin but feel my gaze pulled outwards towards the lecture hall door. The new guy looks briefly over his shoulder, his eyes passing over me – brimming with hatred. Then he disappears into the corridor.
And, though I don't usually feel the cold, I shiver again.
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