"Show time."

I nod in understanding and he reaches up and tucks my hair behind my ear. I feel something clench deep inside of me at the intimate touch, but file it away for later as Kota takes my hand in his and pulls me up toward the front of the room.

We approach the assistant and I realize how very unremarkable looking the guy is. He has ambiguously brown hair and a neatly trimmed goatee. He's wearing a red and blue plaid flannel shirt over a grey tee, and a pair of wrangler jeans with running shoes. He's probably not much older than us, and although he's pleasant looking, there's something about him that has the hairs on my arms standing on edge.

"Hey, Devin," Kota says as we step up to the TA's desk. "This is my girlfriend, Sang. She's just transferred into this section."

Devin glances up from the pile of papers before him and narrows his eyes slightly at me. He turns his attention to Kota after an uncomfortable pause and clears his throat. "She caught up on the work?" he asks, completely ignoring the fact that I'm standing right here. "It's a bit late in the game to be joining in."

Kota wraps an arm around me and pulls me into his side. I take a slow breath and and try to relax. "Yeah, it's not going to be a problem. She's been doing the same coursework for a different group, but there was a thing," Kota waves his hand and I appreciate his glossing it over, "and she's really uncomfortable being away from me right now. Administration okayed it, but I thought I should introduce you."

Devin glances at me again and then stands and ushers us over toward the corner of the room. It's still five minutes before class starts, and the room is loud with the conversations surrounding us. "She cool?" he asks in a hushed tone, and Kota grins at me before nodding.

"Oh yeah. You don't have to worry about her. I don't really want to have her away from me after the stuff that she's gone through lately, so if it's alright with you, I'm going to bring her along tonight." For a moment, I panic about the party to which Kota is referring. I'm doing okay right now, but I'm not sure how well I'm going to handle that kind of situation. I know that he needs to be there tonight, and that I'm the only backup he has. This idea hardens my resolve, and I figure that if this is going to work, I'm going to have to sell it.

I lean into Kota and smile at Devin. "It's alright," I say softly. "I know that Kota needs the money right now, so where ever he has to go, I'm in."

We watch as a grin spreads across Devin's face. "Perfect." He looks me up and down again and something in his eyes grows darker. "I might have a job or two for you as well, doll."

Kota's arm tightens around me and I press my hands to my legs to keep them from shaking. "I'm not so sure she's up for that right now, Dev. Maybe in a few months, but right now, she's just a tag-along." His tone remains conversational, but there's an edge there that the TA doesn't miss.

He smirks and nods slowly. "Alright. For now." He looks at his watch. "Better take your seats. Class is about to start."

I let out the breath I'd been holding and force a smile. "See you tonight," I say just above a whisper, and he smiles back.

"Most definitely," he replies with a devilish glint in his eye that makes me shiver.

***

"You're doing great, Ten," Kota murmurs into my hair as we walk to the cafeteria. "You handled Devin well, and I can already tell that you're dazzling the professors."

I giggle a little at the memory of the last class. "Physics is fun," I smile as I take a tray and wait for Kota to decide between burgers or meatloaf. "I've never had the chance to dive into a discussion like that before." I take a bowl of tomato soup and grab a gooey grilled cheese sandwich to go with it. "I can't believe that you actually have a teacher named Professor Lupin!" Kota laughs as he pops an apple onto my tray beside my sandwich.

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