"Leonzio, class has just started," I look up at him with a furrowed brow when he walks in the door, steaming bowl in his hand. "The soup could have waited."

"You are cold, very cold, caro mio. I do not want you to fall ill." He flushes lightly, setting the plastic bowl on his desk, along with some napkins. "Come, come, eat, won't you? I chose a simple vegetable soup, to help you regain some strength." He places a spoon in my hand, frowning when he feels my skin as I shift over into his big, comfortable desk chair. "See, you need something to warm you. This class is not wild. They can wait a minute or two, si?"

I wrap my hands around the bowl and shiver at the warmth. "Thank you, Leonzio. Really. This is too k--"

"What are you doing here?"

Stiffening, I turn, worried at the anger in the normally happy professor's voice. "Leonzio?"

Then I see him.

Dante, the tall, white-blonde, ashen skinned male from the South part of the states. Quite a few rumors about him cycle through the college, even from staff members. I usually don't listen to such silly gossip but...everything that's said about him is so serious that, coupled with the way he carries himself, and the way he treats others, I can't help but wonder if some of it is true... Some people have said that his father abandoning him led to severe mental issues, others have said he's simply an antisocial recluse, others that he's the one who caused the disappearance of a National Honor's Society member last year, and still others have said that he full out murdered someone, only getting away with a few months in therapy and community service. While I believe in giving people a chance to prove themselves...those cold slate eyes look similar to those of a killer. Someone detached. Someone...cruel. But such rumors can only be that, no matter how much of a steely person he might seem. After all, you must know someone before you can judge them. And I've just only seen him in full view now.

He stands there, in the doorway, gazing over Professor Vesci's shoulder, right at me. At me...?

"You're the nerd from the courtyard."

I drop my eyes to the bowl of soup in front of me. So someone was watching.

"You know what happened?" Leonzio sounds surprised. After a moment of awkward silence, he pulls Dante in by his sleeve. "Stay here, prego, I will return once I have started the class. We will talk."

"Awfully eager to chat now, aren't you." He snorts, sliding fluidly into the chair beside me. Once Leonzio is gone, he looks at me, tilting his head slightly. "You look like shit," He remarks, his voice soft. Somehow, I don't think he means it as an insult. I am, however, well aware of the fact that my eyes are red and puffy from crying, my nose is dripping, and that my hair is messed up and tangled. And that the bruise on my cheek is turning purple.

"Thanks," I mumble, dryly.

Dante drops his bag to the floor, reaching over to grab a napkin. He folds it into a little square, then pops open the mini fridge by the window, slipping an ice cube into one of the folds on the napkin. "Here," He presses the napkin to my bruise, "it'll help with the swelling."

This is the guy everyone fears?

"Oh..." I keep the napkin in place with one hand, twirling my spoon in the soup with the other. "Ah...thank you, Dante."

"You know my name?" His brows rise slightly with surprise.

Letting out a little smile, I nod. "You'd be surprised at how many people I know."

He seems to accept this, and leans back into the chair, watching me fiddle with my soup.

"Did...they hurt you badly?" He asks, quietly, his eyes darting between my own and the contusion on my face.

I bite the inside of my cheek. "Just some bruises. I've had worse. Kevin broke my arm one time. I guess I got lucky today."

"This happens a lot?"

Shrugging, I blow on my soup. "Depends on how much free time him and his friends have." I glance over at him, quickly, because those silvery eyes are so piercing I'm afraid of staring too long, and take a sip of the veggie concoction. It's warm, herbal with a slight spice. I normally don't like spicy food, but...this is actually pretty good.

I'm so engrossed in not looking at Dante and wondering what ingredients are in the soup that I jump when a piece of paper is pushed towards me, just at the edge of my vision.

"If it happens again, call me." A tiny frown braces his features, and he looks pointedly at the slip. "And, if you don't mind, I'd like to know your name, little one."

Little one? Opening and closing my mouth, I look at him, my face burning enough to restore my temperature. What do people say in conversations again? "D-Dante...?"

"No, that's my name."

Is that amusement in his eyes? He's so unreadable I can't tell if he's making fun of me or genuinely laughing.

"O-oh, um, my name...mynameisCaleb," I manage to stammer out.

He nods, tilting his head again. "Caleb...well, I'll get going then. I've got a Literature class to catch up on sleep in. I'll see you."

I look down at my soup, trying to think of what to say, when I realize that Professor Vesci had asked him to stay. "Wait, Dante, Leonzio said--" But he's gone, out the door with his backpack, sauntering into the hallway.

The End

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