Anakin squinted his eyes as he made his way out of his dorm building and into the sunlight. Truly, it was a picturesque day, lying right on the edge between summer and autumn, and if the mild weather wasn’t an indication of this, the student body was. Young adults ranging from doe-eyed 18 year olds to those in their mid-to-late twenties milled about, some in sweaters and beanies, already anxious for fall to be there, some wearing simple t-shirts like Anakin was, willing to brave the morning chill with the knowledge that, by noon, they wouldn’t even be able to remember a time that day when they were shivering.
It was, for many, the first day of classes, and, for Anakin, his first day of college in general. Clutching his syllabus in one hand and his mug of coffee that he’d made in his roommate’s contraband coffee pot in the other, he started walking towards the English building.
(“Sure, we’re not technically allowed to have appliances in our dorm rooms,” Rex had shrugged. “But, the way I see it, coffee isn’t a choice; it’s a life line. You’ll know what I mean by the time your first set of finals come around.” But Anakin, who’d had to work since the age of fifteen, already well knew how vital coffee was to keeping his body running like a semi-well-oiled machine. He’s just simply nodded and offered to chip in when it came time to bribe the hall director into letting them keep it.)
Already, there was a sense of dread welling up within him at the thought of his first class. He’d come to Coruscant University ready to jump into the world of engineering, something he already had a fair amount of knowledge on. He hadn’t expected or wanted to kick things off with his worst subject. He knew that he was required to take at least two English courses as long as he was in the program, but it didn’t mean he had to like it. He could already picture himself, sitting in a desk at the back of the classroom, drooling and fighting off sleep as a stuffy old man with three hairs on his head and a snotty, nasally voice lectured him on the importance of sentence structure.
No, thank you.
Feeling his left pocket buzz, he reached down and retrieved his phone, unlocking it to read a message from his best friend and, other than Rex, the only person he knew at his new college.
‘You can do this, Ani! I believe in you! And, hey, I’ll get you something special tonight to celebrate surviving your first day ;)’
He grinned. Padme was a life-saver, truly. They’d met when he was a freshman in high school, when she was a sophomore but already the most beautiful and well-loved student in the student body. Ever since his first awkward day in theater when she’d taken him under her wing, they’d been inseparable. Except, of course, for the past year when she’d moved on to attend school out of state. As luck would have it, though, Anakin managed to get a full ride to her same school, and so once again they were joined at the hip.
Tapping on his phone’s screen with one hand and opening the doors to the old building that now housed the classrooms dedicated to English professors, he sent her back a message.
‘i hope that something special means chocolate and a lot of it.’
‘Of course! I may even bring Starbucks.’
Again, she was a life-saver.
Taking his eyes off his phone, Anakin started scanning door numbers, starting to feel anxious when he seemed to be finding every classroom except the one he needed to be in. Glancing at a clock hanging on the wall to his left, he let out a curse upon realizing he was already a minute late. Starting to jog down corridors now, he frantically searched both the first and second floor until finally locating 214-B.
Stepping in, he looked up to see at least forty faces staring back at him, and a blush immediately stained his cheeks. Freezing in the doorway, his eyes scanned the raised platforms on which rested the seemingly endless amount of desks crammed into the room, not finding any on the back rows, where he’d normally prefer to sit.
“Excuse me, can I help you?”
Turning to his right, Anakin’s jaw immediately dropped when he saw the man standing before him. Easily, he was the most attractive person he’d ever laid eyes on. Meticulously-groomed strawberry blonde hair, a well-trimmed beard of the same color, blueish-gray eyes that lay behind a set of thick-rimmed glasses… Anakin was gaping like a fish as he took him in, knowing that he should probably move but not having the willpower to look away from someone so beautiful.
The beautiful man, however, was also starting to look very annoyed, one of his eyebrows quirking up at Anakin, obviously unimpressed with the young man. He cleared his throat and placed his hands on his hips, tsking.
“I’m going to assume you speak English, going by the class you’ve stumbled into,” he clipped in a posh accent that immediately made Anakin’s knees weak. He snapped out of his trance at the sarcasm in his tone, though, and turned at least 75 shades redder than he already was.
“I-I… Yeah, I speak English,” he stuttered. “And Spanish, but you...you didn’t ask that…” He trailed off, biting his lip and wondering why, oh why, his brain had decided to short-circuit right at this moment. A few of his classmates chuckled, whether with or at him he couldn’t tell, but they were silenced as the Hot Guy, as Anakin was now calling him in his mind, turned a sharp glare in their direction.
“Well, por favor, then,” he continued exasperatedly, “tell me why it is you’ve disrupted my class?”
“I...I’m in this class,” Anakin muttered sheepishly. “I got a little lost in the hallways.”
“Ah,” Hot Guy said. “An easy mistake to make. But, seeing whereas you know where it is now, I expect this problem never to rise again, Mr…?”
“...Anakin,” came his response, a few seconds delayed as he realized he was being asked for his name. “Skywalker.”
“Alright, Mr. Skywalker,” Hot Guy drawled, gesturing to the front row to one of the only empty desks left. “Have a seat and do try not to distract anyone further.”
Nodding, feeling thoroughly and completely like an idiot, Anakin hurried to the seat and plopped down in it, looking down at his desk, wishing he’d just disappear already.
“Now, as I was saying,” the man continued, “this is American Literature 165, which means we’ll be reading five classics written by American authors, as you can see on your syllabi. Each night you’ll have a reading assignment…”
Anakin tuned out at this point, looking around at the people he shared this class with. Each one held a piece of paper in their hands, presumably a syllabus, whereas Anakin was empty handed. Looking back to the front of the classroom, he read two notes on the board. One said “Please take a syllabus.” with an arrow pointing down to a stack of papers on the table beneath the white board. The other note said simply, in messy handwriting, “Mr. Kenobi”.
So that was Hot Guy’s real name.
‘Kenobi’. Anakin mouthed the name as he watched his teacher speak, gesturing with his hands every now and then as he went over what they would be learning about over the semester and what books they’d have to purchase from the campus book shop, the one that Anakin just so happened to work at three days a week. At least he knew where that part of the campus was.
After the first ten minutes or so, Anakin started to zone out, eyes never leaving Mr. Kenobi but mind wandering elsewhere until, with a start, he realized his classmates were all starting to stand up after having been, apparently, dismissed.
Standing and slinging his backpack over one shoulder, Anakin started to follow them out, but he paused in the doorway when he realized he still didn’t have a syllabus. Turning back around, he slowly made his way to Mr. Kenobi’s desk, dreading the thought of making a fool out of himself again.
“Mr. Kenobi?” he asked quietly. Turning back around from where he’d been writing at the whiteboard, the teacher in question eyed Anakin up and down before setting down his marker.
“Yes, Mr. Skyalker?”
“I, um… I never got a syllabus,” he stated in a tone a little louder than a mutter.
“Ah.” Turning around, Kenobi retrieved the small stack, which he’d placed back onto his desk sometime during the lesson, and handed Anakin one. “There you are.”
Nodding, Anakin folded the paper half twice before slipping it into the pocket of his dark skinny jeans, brushing some hair out of his eyes as he hesitated in front of his overly attractive professor.
“Hey, I’m sorry about...earlier,” he said, trying to sound nonchalant. “I didn’t mean to “distract” anyone.”
Kenobi’s gaze softened into a small smile, and he waved a hand as if to clear the air.
“Think nothing of it. I’ll admit I was hard on you, but… Well. The spanish comment sort of threw me,” he stated. “Just don’t let it happen again and we’ll be just fine.”
Nodding, the younger man took a step towards the door.
“Well… Have a good day,” he said awkwardly, already turning and heading for the exit as his teacher responded.
“And you as well.”
Walking out of the English building as fast as his long legs would carry him, Anakin berated himself, face palming internally and literally as he played over his words in his head, not to mention how unprepared he felt for a whole semester of taking that class every Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday of every week until December.
Oh, he had a bad feeling about this.