Chapter 1: Tall, Dark, Handsome

The sudden screech of an alarm clock filled the small room. Melissa’s arm flopped out from under the covers. She swung her hand in a well-practiced arc, slapping the snooze button into silence. Satisfied, she snuggled deeper into bed.

Sleep, unfortunately, proved elusive. A nagging feeling itched at the edge of her awareness. When all her determined attempts to ignore the feeling failed, she finally pushed herself back into a semi-sitting position, propping herself against a heap of pillows that occupied the head of her bed. She tried lifting her eyelids slightly open, but the brightness of the sunlight flooding into her room proved too unpleasant. With a sigh, she let her head roll back and wondered what was bothering her.

“Oh, him.” Memories of last night poured into her consciousness.

“Tall, dark, handsome… and a bad boy” she told the empty room. A small grin pulled at the corners of her mouth. “I fall for bad boys every time. Though, he was kind of cute. And way too sexy.”

Her smile faded into a frustrated grimace. “But, like all the rest, a true asshole. Goddamn it!” She angrily slapped a hand against the mattress.

“One of these days, you’d think I’d get it through my damn head. Bad boys are never worth it. It’s a stupid addiction.”

She’d gone out to a local club last night, by herself. After a long semester, she wanted loud music and someone to dance with – someone who wasn’t a grungy grad student, trying to be a hipster. Then, he had somehow materialized at her side, leading her out into a mob of people dancing.

During shouted attempts at conversation, she discovered he was a bond trader. He had a tall, lithe body. As they danced, she found that she couldn’t pull her eyes away from him. His hips sometimes made little half circles that seemed to connect directly to her pelvis. As the night wore on, she rode a wave of arousal, occasionally rubbing up against him, stoking the warmth that was burning within her. An obvious bulge in his pants made his feelings clear as well.

After playfully egging each other on for most of the evening, he finally pulled her in close and kissed her, hard on the mouth. She was surprised at his abruptness. Horny as she was, however, she gladly followed his lead. When his tongue pushed down against her lips, she opened her mouth and let him in.

It was exciting to be making out in the middle of the dance floor with one of the best-looking guys in the club. His kissing was more forceful than she liked, but that didn’t bother her too much. She wanted to scream out, “See, look who I got! He’s hot, and he’s mine.”

When they broke apart, he smiled down at her, radiating a self-confident, bad boy grin. The little bit of material that made up the micro thong she had boldly chosen for tonight was already wet from the playful arousal they had been building all night long. Now, it was soaked.

She should have known from his bad-boy cockiness that she was about to travel down a well-worn path to an unhappy place. The roar of her hormones, however, completely drowned out any sense of rationality.

His gaze traveled over her, arrogantly certain that she wanted him. She didn’t even have to look down to know that her nipples were making noticeable bumps in the smooth flow of her silk tank top.

In a brief moment of doubt, she wondered if she should have worn a smooth-cup bra instead of the flimsy underwire one she had picked out. Then that moment was past, flung by her gleeful arousal into the dustbin of foolish regrets. She reveled in being wanton, feeling the rush of knowing that she was making him equally horny.

Moving closer, she reached for his hand, deliberately letting her hand brush against the straining lump in his pants. She leaned in to yell, “Want to dance again?”

His grin grew more wicked. “Naw, let’s get some air.”

She yelled back, “Okay.”

A moment after the word was out of her mouth, she realized that she had agreed without even thinking. “Crap,” she thought, “that’s the problem with getting so damn hot. I get stupid!” Smiling anyway, she walked toward the entrance holding his hand.

As they walked past the bar, she saw at least two women enviously tracking her progress. A couple guys were ogling her as well. Normally, those sorts of stares would make her self-conscious and angry. Now, it was just another turn-on. She was startled to find herself subtly pulling her shoulders back and showing off her breasts even more prominently.

She was usually too self-conscious to draw attention to her chest. Since 14, she had been a C cup. In the summer, when she wore light clothing, the stares from boys and men made her feel as though she was only a pair of boobs.

Even as a 25-year-old grad student, she still found herself getting angry at those stares. “So what if I’m at an Ivy League university? Almost perfect SAT’s and GRE’s? Who the fuck cares? And God forbid if I ever go out without a bra.”

Her girlfriends in college had complained that it was unfair she could still get away without needing a bra. Gravity hadn’t yet taken its inevitable toll. Sometimes, when she got tired of having bra straps digging into her shoulders, she did go without support, but not tonight. She had learned early on that light clothing and no bra was a huge mistake.

Walking past the bar, however, she thought it would have been fun have only been wearing her gray silk tank top, without even her flimsy underwire bra. Somehow, holding hands with the cutest, tight assed bad-boy in the whole place made a big difference. She found her hips moving a wider circle in her tight jean miniskirt, as she catwalked in her three and a half inch tan summer sandals. She found herself imagining being one of those Victoria Secret models that all the guys went stupid over.

“Sure, I'm 5' 7,” not six foot. Nobody needs to know that my tank top is untucked, so it hides the pudge around my waistband. None of that shit matters. Tonight, I’m sexy and they know it.”

She could feel that her own body knew it too. The slick wetness of her freshly shaved labia sliding against her silk thong was proof enough. “Let’s face it,” she told herself, “you went out tonight to get laid.” She looked over at her bad boy. He grinned back confidently in response to her glance. She continued to herself, “And wow are you gonna get laid tonight!”

Then they were out of the night club. The door swung shut behind them, suddenly muffling the roar of the music to a dull booming. Even though it was May and the day had been warm, Melissa was surprised by the crisp coolness of the night air, especially in contrast to the humid heat of the club. She shuddered and felt little goosebumps on her arms. She grinned to herself and thought, “Yeah, I bet my nipples are really popping out. What the hell? He’ll appreciate the show.”

Out on the street, however, she felt a little less certain about the wisdom of leaving with someone she had only met tonight. Warning notes about past flings with bad boys tried to push their way into her consciousness.

She found it easy to ignore this moment of wavering – his hand felt warm in hers and her body hummed with an excitement that clearly had its origin somewhere between her legs. She snuggled in closer, telling her fears, “To hell with it. He’s cute. I’m horny. We’re going for it.” Decision made, she drew in a deep breath, arching back to fill her lungs with fresh clean air.

As though on queue, he turned toward her, pressing her back against a brick wall, kissing her deeply. She melted into him, kissing him back eagerly, their tongues sliding past each other. Even if he wasn’t the world’s greatest kisser, she had always been a sucker for being pinned between a wall and a bad boy. Ever since Bobby McPherson had pushed her up against the back of her parents’ garage when she was 15, she had a deep abiding, guilty pleasure for how much this position turned her on.

As a teenager, however, the enthusiasm of her response had genuinely embarrassed her. In confessional that Sunday, she had foolishly stammered out what had happened, which resulted in a very humiliating lecture from Father Murphy. Over the next week, her shame had slowly morphed into anger. The next Sunday, she had refused to go to church.

Her mother had yelled at her and prayed for her soul, but her father had just shrugged his shoulders. “Marge, let the kid find her own way.” There were times when she was grateful for being the third of four children. Her older sister and brother would never have gotten away with refusing to go to Mass.

The roughness of the brick wall behind her brought her back to the present. Sensing her shift in focus, the bad boy arched back, grinding his hips against her as he stared down at her. Without volition, a mewing groan of desire escaped from her throat. “God,” she thought, “I’m such a whore. I can’t believe I like it so much.’

He pulled her away from the wall, slipping his hands up her back, sliding underneath her tank top. Pulling her in tight, he kissed her hard again, while unhooking her bra. Then he pulled away from the kiss, smiling, as his fingers traced along her shoulders, lifting her bra straps and pulling them forward. She shrugged, letting her straps fall partway down her arms. He pulled one strap forward as she drew her arm back to let the strap slide free, and then the other. Then he dropped a hand to her waistband and reached up under her tank top, hooking a finger under the center of her bra. With a small shudder of anticipation, she let her bra cups slip free as he drew her bra out from under her tank top. He whispered, “Ah, now there’s a good little girl. I'm afraid this pretty little thing belongs in your purse for the rest of the evening.”

Obligingly, she took the bra from him, folded it over, and stuffed it in her clutch. The underwire made part of fabric stick out, so she couldn’t close her clutch all the way, but she figured he wouldn’t mind.

He stepped back from her, letting his gaze sweep over her from head to toe. He had a sly smile, which grew broader as she shifted her hips forward and arched her breasts upward for him to inspect. He softly growled, “Much, much better.”

She smiled wickedly in return. Throwing both caution and respectability to the wind, she leaned back against the brick wall and crossed her arms above her head, deliberately lifting her breasts as much as possible. She asked, “Is this more what you were looking for?” He took a deep breath, then exhaled audibly. Melissa thought to herself, “God, I really do love being such a slut. If I could just bottle this rush, I’d make a fortune.”

He pressed in against her and growled in her ear, “I'm so damn horny, I could take you right here!”

A jolt of fear went through Melissa with the realization that he might be serious. It was all she could do to suppress her urge to look left and right to see who else was around.

Although she had found semi-public petting and sex a turn-on before, having full intercourse in the middle of a city block was definitely not on her to-do list. The fear rushing through her was like a splash of ice water, quickly dampening the heat of her arousal.

Sensing her reaction, he laughed. “All right scaredy pants,” he said, “my car is this way.” He took her hand in his and set off down the block. Still feeling a little bit less certain, Melissa followed along beside him, now very conscious of how walking in her three and a half inch heels made her breasts sway back and forth. She sneaked a look over at him, catching his profile in the light from a doorway. He was gorgeous and supremely confident. This combination somehow reassured her.

Moving through the chill night air, she tried to rekindle the brazen sense of arousal that had provided such an intense heat to her evening. She deliberately exaggerated her stride into a fashion model’s catwalk, exaggerating her hip motion, letting the heel strike of each step send a little bounce through her breasts. She pushed away her tension, slowly reconnecting with the intensity of being sexy and desired.

She was beginning to recapture her feeling of wanton arousal, just as he came to a sudden halt. He said, “Here we are.” She looked down to see a Porsche sports car. He gave her a little half wink, clearly proud of having such an expensive toy.

Taking the hint, Melissa smiled and said, “Wow. How nice.” He thumbed his key fob and reached down to open the passenger door for her. She sank into the leather seat, but before she could swing her legs into the car, he stepped forward, unzipping his pants. Reaching into his pants, he pulled out a fully engorged penis.

Melissa was taken aback, but covered her surprise as best she could. It was clear what he expected. Looking quickly left and right, she made sure no one was on the street. Being mostly hidden in his car, she felt less exposed than before.

The roofline of the car blocked her view of his face. His penis, however, was very insistently positioned inches from her mouth. He was moderately sized and she was grateful for the apparent lack of a foreskin. The one boy she had dated with a still intact foreskin hadn’t been great about washing thoroughly. His penis often smelled a little rancid and tasted that way too.

“Oh well,” she said to herself, opening her mouth. Leaning forward, she took him in and began to work her tongue over his penis to moisten it. He exhaled a groan and thrust forward. As his penis hit the back of her mouth, she did her best not to gag, twisting her head to try to give him both depth and stimulation, without having the head of his penis pushing into her throat. She also reached up with her right hand to circle the base of his penis, trying to give him some additional stimulation while buying herself some space.

Undeterred, he reached down and wrapped his hand behind her head. Then he began pumping his penis energetically in and out of her mouth. She kept a firm grip with her right hand around the base of his shaft, trying not to gag as the head of his penis repeatedly slammed into the back of her mouth. Just as she felt her gorge rising and was afraid of vomiting, he came in powerful jolts, his cum pulsing into her mouth. Between his penis and cum, her mouth suddenly felt too full.

Fighting desperately against the need to gag, the only thing that saved her was that the taste of his cum wasn’t as disgusting as some earlier boyfriends.

He pulled back away from her and pushed his penis back into his pants. He started to close her door. She reached out quickly with her hand to slow the door while she pulled her feet inside the car. As soon as she let go, he finished closing the door. Sitting inside, with her mouth still full of cum, she regretted not having time to discretely spit it out into the gutter. He crossed in front of the car, zipping up his pants.

“Oh crap,” she thought, swallowing. She managed not to choke as his cum slid past the abused opening to her throat.

He got in the car and grinned at her, “Well that was fun!”

She made herself smile back. Internally, however, a sarcastic voice said, “Sure, lots of fun for you, asshole.”

He started the car and leaned back in his seat, sighing contentedly, “That took the edge off.” Then he pulled away from the curb without even looking around for oncoming traffic.

Melissa began to seriously consider the possibility that her handsome hunk of a man was a bit of a jerk. She wondered if swallowing his full load of cum meant he was finished for the night.

Pulling on her seatbelt, she decided to put the best face on the situation. After all, she was zipping across the city in a fancy sports car with an awesome looking guy. Life was not all bad.

Even though she felt guilty about it, she did feel a rush from being “used” by a bad boy. If only he hadn’t nearly made her throw up by repeatedly slamming into her gag reflex, she would have probably liked it a lot better.

Leaning back into her seat, she smiled, determine to enjoy the evening.

“If only,” she complained to herself, “he was a better driver.” He consistently ignored the lane markings, and the car’s tight suspension was making her a little queasy. The aftertaste of his cum didn’t help matters.

Fortunately, it was only a short time later that he parked his car and they were walking into his condo building. A genially plump doorman welcomed them with a cheery, “Good evening Mr. Giancarlo.”

“Tony,” she thought, “Now I remember! His name is Tony Giancarlo.” She realized that forgetting his name had been bugging her all night. He’d yelled it over the music early in the evening, but she’d been too distracted by his dancing to remember what he said. It was clear now that some of the sleaziness she had felt in making out with him was that she couldn’t even remember his name. Not that she hadn’t been way over the sleazy line all night, she reminded herself. But still, it had been her sophomore year in college since she had wound up having sex with a boy whose name she didn’t remember.

“Hey Mike,” Tony boomed out to the doorman, “Great evening, huh?”

The doorman smiled back politely. “Apparently so Mr. Giancarlo.”

With Melissa in tow, Tony swept past Mike and turned into an open elevator. Punching a button for his floor, Tony pressed Melissa up against the elevator wall, kissing her hard. The elevator door closed as his thigh slipped in between her legs, pressing firmly against her freshly shaved mound, only barely covered by her thong.

Melissa’s constrained position reignited her arousal with a sudden burst of intensity. She was so overwhelmed by her rush of passion that she didn’t even realize he had lifted up her jean skirt until his thumbs hooked into the waistband of her thong and started pulling it down.

Reacting in surprise, she jerked forward, with the unintentional consequence of her sex pressing even more firmly against his thigh. The result simply increased the intensity of the sexual stimulus flooding into to her.

Struggling internally to resurrect control over her runaway reactions, Melissa tried to figure out whether to slow things down or to go with the moment. Before she could straighten out her priorities, her thong lay down around her ankles, and her bare labia were pressed up against the fabric of his pants. Making the best of the situation, she leaned back against the wall, trying to enjoy his weight pressing against her.

The elevator pinged in completion of its journey. As the doors slid open, Tony stepped backward into the opening, holding her hand. She stepped out of her thong, bent down to scoop it up, and let him lead her into the hallway.

While he dug out his keys and opened his door, she took the opportunity to shove her very damp thong into her clutch alongside her bra.

Stepping into his flat, he flicked on the lights. They both winced at the brightness. He quickly turned the lights off again. Leaving her standing in the doorway, he walked into the living room and turned on a dim reading light over a leather chair in the corner. The light was sufficient to show her the matching leather couch, dark wood furniture, and paintings on the wall. Everything was masculine, tasteful, and expensive. Even more impressive to her, however, was the panoramic view of the city through the full height living room windows.

He walked into the kitchen/dining area where he adjusted a dimmer to cast a warm glow over a butcher block island. Turning back, he realized she hadn’t moved from the open door. He waved her forward, “Come in. Do you want something to drink?”

“Ah… sure.” She stepped in, hesitantly closing the door behind her. “Do you have a glass of wine or something?” She stayed near the door, looking around at his place.

He smiled, “No problem.” He opened a wood-paneled refrigerator and pulled out a bottle of white wine with a cork sticking halfway out of the top. “I’ve got some great Vouvray left over.” He looked over at her again, puzzled that she still hadn’t moved from the entryway. “Come on in,” he insisted. Then he turned to a cabinet to get out a couple of wine glasses.

Not seeing other options, Melissa walked into the kitchen. She leaned back against the island while he poured the wine. He brought the glasses over to her and handed her one. Clinking his glass against hers, he toasted, “To one very hot woman.”

They both took a sip. Tony set his glass down on the island and then took Melissa’s glass from her. He sat her glass next to his and stepped closer. She lifted up her head, expecting another forceful kiss, but he surprised her by gently nuzzling her neck. His little kisses and licks accelerated her heartbeat back to the elevated level where it had been in the elevator.

Melissa relaxed back against the island, confused about his on-again, off-again abruptness. His hands rested on her shoulders as he kissed his way up the right side of her neck to nibble on her ear. His left hand brushed her strawberry blond hair out of the way as his tongue traced the outer folds of her ear. She sighed, letting out a breath that she hadn’t realized she was holding. Deciding not to worry about his abrupt changes, she gave in to the hungry arousal that was once again wetting her labia, this time without the fabric of her thong to absorb it.

Then he gently turned her around to face the island. Her hips rested against the rounded edge of the butcher block, and he leaned her forward while her lifted her hair off the back of her neck. His mouth explored the contours of the back of her neck. He pressed his hips up against her buttocks, trapping her firmly against the butcher block. She could feel his erection through his pants. She was at least glad to discover he was hard again, so soon after his earlier orgasm.

He reached down to lift up her skirt, then ran the backs of his fingernails along her naked flanks. She shivered, arching back into him. He laughed quietly and then pressed her down, until she was laying flat across the butcher block surface. She felt him reach down to unzip his pants and pull his penis out. Positioning himself against her sex, he slid the head of his penis up and down along the inner cleft of her labia, coating himself with her juices. Aligning himself carefully, he entered her in one swift thrust.

She bucked back up against him as he slammed her hard against the island. Her reaction seemed to excite him, and he vigorously thrust in and out several times before settling down to a more sustained rhythm. With every stroke, Melissa was pleased to discover that the head of his penis slid across a wonderfully sensitive area inside her, compressing her soft tissue between the rigidness of his penis and the hard surface of the butcher block.

She moaned with her growing need to orgasm but found herself distracted by his fumbling for something on the island. She turned to see him push his thumb into a warm stick of butter that had been left out. When his thumb was liberally coated with butter, he brought it back to her buttocks.

Realizing what he intended, she put her head back down on the butcher block and tried to will her fear-clenched anus into relaxation. She hoped he’d be gentle and give her a little while to loosen up.

He did. He worked slowly around her tight opening with his thumb, teasing it, while continuing to slide his penis in and out of her vagina. It didn’t take long before she felt her anus puckering up, ready to be penetrated. He slipped the tip of his thumb just inside of her, massaging her opening till she relaxed against the pressure, wanting more.

When his whole thumb entered her, she gasped and clenched hard against the sudden increase in pressure. Shifting her hips slightly, she lifted herself against him so the angle was more comfortable. He responded by pressing deeper, with the base of is thumb forcing her anus wider. She winced and gritted her teeth for a moment, willing her body to accept the pressure as an erotic fullness.

From past experience, she knew she liked the fullness of having both her vagina and anus full, but only moderately so. She remembered when an old boyfriend had slipped a thin vibrator in her rear while she was on top. She had come explosively. The memory helped her relax and turn the fullness into pleasure.

She twisted back a little against the butcher block, seeking just the right spot where his penis pressed her most sensitive spot against the warm wood. Finding it, she wiggled into firmer contact, letting her intensity build towards her rapidly onrushing orgasm.

Then suddenly, she was empty. No penis, no thumb. From the fog of what had been the imminent onset of a huge orgasm, she tried to look back to see what he was doing. Then his penis suddenly pushed past her sphincter and it became clear.

With a moan of frustration, she lay her head back down again. Anal sex was definitely not her favorite activity. Even when it went well, she found the whole thing frustrating. She had only ever come once in anal intercourse, and that involved a lot of simultaneous clitoral stimulation.

Over the years, she had only agreed to anal sex a half dozen times, and she wasn’t really looking to add to that experience. A couple of times when the guy was large, or she wasn’t ready, it had been truly unpleasant.

She shifted into a more comfortable position, deciding she should at least be grateful that Tony wasn’t particularly large. When he started pushing all the way in, however, she realized that her rear wasn’t as empty as she would have liked. The increasing tempo of his pounding was compacting the natural contents of her anus with unpleasant pressure.

Melissa almost cried from the frustration of having a powerful orgasm snatched away from her, only to be left with gritting her teeth to bear out an increasingly unpleasant experience. She decided that if he didn’t come quickly, she was going to call the whole thing off. She squeezed her sphincter muscles, trying to let him know that his penis was no longer welcome in there.

To her surprise, the contraction around his penis caused him to buck into an explosive orgasm. After a few last desperate shoves into her, he withdrew, gasping for air. He stumbled back away.

“Well,” she thought, “at least one of us is happy.”

She lay unhappily on the butcher block, unsure what to do. From the corner of her eye, she saw him walking away. After a moment, she heard a distant door close. Pushing up on her elbows, she looked around. From down a hall, there came the muted sound of a shower running. After a few minutes, Tony came out of the bathroom in his undershorts.

He waved at her, “I got to get up early in the morning.” He turned towards his bedroom and said, “Great night, huh?” Then he went into his bedroom and closed the door.

Melissa stood up incredulous. Her mouth gaped open as she searched desperately for something to scream at him. Nothing came out.

She looked around the kitchen, searching for something to throw, something to break. After a mad moment, she stopped.

A crushing certainty descended on her that this was her fault. She had no one to blame. She had gotten herself into this situation.

The path to this place was far too familiar. It always began with a sexy bad boy. The rush of her arousal inevitably blinded her to the stupidity of her choices. No matter how she tried to avoid it, the ending was always the same. It would become blindingly clear the guy was a complete asshole. Then she would come crashing down into reality, left with only self-disgust.

“After all, how can I blame them?” she told herself, “I’m the whore who’s willing to be used.” The seeming inescapable progress of her addiction to bad boys saddened and angered her. “Everywhere else, I take care of myself. I don’t let dickheads push me around in life or at school. It’s just boyfriends that I want to treat me like crap.”

She looked at the closed bedroom door. “Hell, he doesn’t even qualify as a boyfriend. I wasn’t even a one-night stand. I was just a quick fuck.”

She took a last look around at his kitchen. Her eyes lingered for a moment on a salt shaker sitting next to a sugar canister. The idea of pouring some salt into his sugar canister caused a tight grin to flash across her lips. Then she shoved the thought away, convinced it would only make her look even more juvenile and naive. She was already sick with how stupid she had been.

She left his condo quietly and went down the hall to the elevator. When she pressed the ‘down’ button, the elevator doors opened immediately. “Damn!” she swore, realizing that her visit to his place had been so brief that the elevator was still at his floor.

She jabbed the button for the lobby and crossed her arms. “Oh shit!” she exclaimed. She hadn’t remembered to put her bra back on. “God damn it! I was such a proud little fucking slut when I came in. Yeah, slut is right.” Looking at the floors sliding past on the elevator’s display panel, she realized there was no way that she was going to get her bra back on before reaching the lobby.

When the elevator arrived and the doors opened, she poked out her head. Mike was sitting on a stool inside the entrance. He stood up as she looked out. Taking in her unhappy expression, he dug into his coat pocket and pulled out a cell phone. “I'll call you a cab, miss. Just wait in here a minute.” He stepped outside to make the call, leaving her the privacy of an empty lobby.

A couple of minutes later, a cab pulled up. Mike came back in. “Your cab is here, miss… and, well…, you know… Tony, Mr. Giancarlo, he’s not really the sort of guy to waste much time on. Kind of an ass, really.”

Melissa felt those words hit her, as though she was watching herself from above while being lectured by Father Grady. The adult part of herself knew that the doorman meant well, but the child inside curled into a tight ball. “Thank you, Mike,” she heard herself say, as she walked out to the waiting cab.

Getting in, she thought about calling Malcolm. During the first year of grad school, he had unexpectedly become her best friend. In an Ivy League archeology program, they were both outcasts from the solidly upper middle-class white norm of their fellow students. Melissa was working class Irish-American, only there on a scholarship. Malcolm was gleefully homosexual, with deep chocolate skin. When Melissa’s love life fell apart, which had happened much too frequently this year, she had always found peace in talking with him.

She found it oddly reassuring that the outrageousness of his escapades greatly exceeded her own, at least by the stories he told. He was the perfect non-judgmental confessor for her sins. She pulled out her phone to call him, but thumbing it on, she saw how late it had become. After staring forlornly at the phone, she slipped it back away. She couldn’t bring herself to call him this late. Either he was asleep or else he was out enjoying himself. It would have to wait for morning.

Now that morning had come, she sat in bed and hugged a pillow, rocking back and forth, fighting back tears. Her alarm started shrieking again. “You stupid fucking asshole!” she screamed, not knowing if she meant her alarm clock, Tony, or herself.

She shut off her alarm, then flopped face down in bed to avoid the day. She considered not going into the lab at all today. “No one’s going to notice. Classes and exams are done. It’s officially summer.”

“Why the hell did I set my alarm anyway?” 

A moment later, she flung herself upright. “Oh shit!”