The door opened and Professor Davenport observed him for a moment. Alex had a feeling the guy would be surprised to see him here almost a week before this was due. He motioned for him to come into his office.

When they reached his desk without saying a word, the professor again motioned for Alex to take a seat in front of the desk.

Alex held the binder with his paper in his hand.

“Handing your paper in early doesn’t get you extra credit, Mr. Moreno.”

“I understand,” Alex responded quickly. “I was just done with it, so I figured I might as well turn it in.”

The professor nodded, holding out his hand, and Alex gave him the report. The old man flipped through the pages of it, stopping a few times until he got to the end then flipped back through the last few pages again with his brow lifting then looked up at Alex. “Your forecasting report is short.”

Alex shook his head, instantly feeling hot. He’d worked on that damn report until he was late getting home the other night, nearly causing another argument between him and Valerie.

“No,” he said. “That’s what your assignment package asked for. I did exactly what it stated.”

“Mr. Moreno, when you asked me if there was anything extra you could do to bring up your grade, I explained this was a regular assignment under normal circumstances. Your circumstances are not normal.”

He examined the paper again and flipped through the final pages, shaking his head. It dawned on Alex just then what this pretentious idiot had said that day. Those instructions weren’t written anywhere, and he’d forgotten all about them.

“This would not be enough for any extra credit,” Davenport said, handing it back to him. “There’s barely enough there for any credit since you did the absolute minimum required for this regular assignment. It’d be pointless to hand it in this way, but the good thing is you still have time to get it right. Now did you need me to go over what you need to do for the extra credit you’re in dire need of?”

Alex shook his head, already standing up. He remembered now. Full reports with charts and graphs to back them as if the ones he’d done already hadn’t been a big enough bitch. Grinding his teeth, he glanced back at the professor. “I’ll have it to you before it’s due.”

The professor nodded without saying another word. Walking out of that office felt like déjà vu. But Alex was beyond furious with himself this time. This weekend would already be busy enough with his away game and the quinceañera the restaurant was hosting on Sunday. His time with Valerie was so tight as it was. Now he’d have to find time for this damn thing. Fuck!

He pulled out his phone, already making arrangements. No way would he risk meeting Gwyneth at her dorm again. Already word had gotten back to Valerie that he’d been seen “getting cozy” with a long-legged whore at the library. Valerie’s damn friends even described Gwyneth’s short shorts. Was it his fault that Gwyneth had great legs and liked showing them off?

At least that time he’d been partially honest about where he’d had to be that night. He did have to put in some lab hours for another class. So at least he hadn’t used working late at the restaurant as his excuse for not being home. He was on campus as he’d told her.

For a moment, he contemplated just telling her the truth and being done with this already. Then he remembered her coming across some of the work he’d been doing for this damn paper and how impressed she’d been. She’d even made a comment about how complicated it seemed and that it was the kind of course she imagined Sal taking. Yeah, no shit he’d take something this complicated. His brother lived for academic challenges.

No way was he admitting now he was barely scraping by. He’d just have to bite the bullet and do whatever it took to finish the damn assignment in time and be done with it.



Funny how she always thought it was just a saying. Her heart actually hurt. Switching cars with Isabel so she could spy on Alex and find out once and for all if her suspicions were warranted was admitting that her worst nightmare might actually be happening. Since that past Saturday when she’d spent the night at his place after he got home late from his away game, things took a turn.

Sunday morning he’d warned her he was going to be out of reach most of the day because of the quinceañera at the restaurant but that he’d call or text her when he was done. She’d been busy that day herself. Her dad and stepmom were celebrating their anniversary and had thrown a little something at her dad’s house. She’d expected Alex to call or text her to meet him at his place that evening, but he never did.

Instead, she didn’t hear from him until Monday afternoon. That was just a text to say he missed her and that he’d gotten home so late the night before he didn’t want to call her that late. The dread she’d been feeling for over a week because of the weird things that had been happening crept into her belly almost immediately.

He was doing again.

All the progress they’d made in the past few weeks felt as if it were going down the toilet. When he didn’t call her again Monday or text her to meet her at his place, she did what she’d told herself she wouldn’t do. She called Sarah. Sarah wouldn’t confirm but was fairly sure Angel hadn’t worked the night Alex told her he’d been called in to get the final release from the team medic—the night Monica called to tell her she’d seen him with a girl near the dorms.