Chapter 22: Slow And Steady

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[A/N: Song for the chapter:
- Taylor Swift // Begin Again]

The next day Tyler walked into class with a clean shaven face, bright eyes and an outfit that made every female soul in our class swoon. It was nothing special; just stonewashed jeans, a baby blue sweater and white hi-tops, but the way his sweater clung to his muscles made my eyes roll out of their sockets. Oblivious to the sudden female attention, his sea green eyes scanned the room, instantly catching mine to flash me a genuine and dimpled smile that made my mouth hang open.

He hadn't smiled at me like that in years.

Now that he was striding past the first three rows, I noticed there was something else that was different about him but I couldn't quite pinpoint it until he slid into his desk in front of me.

His eyes.

They weren't dull, dead or dimmed; they held a subtle determination that made my breath hitch when he turned around in his seat to greet me.

"Hey Ashley."

It wasn't until his eyebrows scrunched up together that I realised I was still gaping at him. Closing my mouth, I cleared my throat and leaned forward onto my arms.

"Hey," I breathed, giving him a wide smile. "Feeling better?"

Again, as a response to my question I received a dazzling smile that made his dimples deepen and it was enough to make me gape again.

"Much better thanks." He replied with a curt nod before turning around to face the front.

Ms Smith was behind her computer muttering to herself about the complications of modern technology whilst the class spoke amongst themselves. Once she finally figured out how to switch it on, she called Dylan up to help her play a documentary explaining how cakes are made in batch production.

When Dylan finally got the computer working, he picked up a small remote on Ms Smith's desk and aimed it at the projector that hung from the ceiling. She barked at the class to stop bickering so loudly and dimmed the lights.

It wasn't until my cheeks began to ache that I realised a grin was still plastered onto my face. Shaking my head gently, I hid behind my hair and waited for the smile to die down but it stayed put, wide and disarming.

Eventually, I settled for propping my head on the table and used my hands to cover my smile. It was the best alternative to being caught with a cheshire grin that the creepy perverts wore in the dodgy areas of the town. Scanning the classroom, my smile froze and I met a beady glare that made my jaw breaking grin flip upside down.

Since my seat was in the last row, my view consisted of the back of everybody's head so it was slightly alarming to catch Michelle giving me a death glare while her eyes flickered to Tyler every few seconds. Returning her harsh stare, I raised an eyebrow in response and sat up straighter, pushing my hair out of my face in the process.

With the sharp click of her tongue, she flipped her long hair hard enough to take out the eye of the person behind. The redhead behind Michelle jerked back and spluttered in astonishment at the close encounter that could have scratched her eyeball.

"Whoa, watch it!" Mona snapped when Michelle's hair almost blinded her.

Swivelling around, the dark haired beauty glared at my friend with a look that could have made a flower wilt instantly. When Michelle's back was turned, Mona turned around in my direction with an a perplexed grimace, clearly infuriated by what had just happened.

"What the hell is her problem?" She mouthed and I could feel the fury wavering off her like steam coming off a kettle.

Shrugging my shoulders in response, I turned my gaze to the front where the documentary had started and tried my hardest not to burn a hole into Michelle's head. Instead my gaze flickered to the blond in front of me who was surprisingly awake and sitting upright.

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