Knocked Up and Tied Down

By: Melinda Minx

1





Nikki





The skirt is nice and tight, but it’s not short enough. I hike it up and tighten the belt even more. I can barely get air into my lungs, but at least my legs can breathe.

This interview means everything to me. It’s my career, my love life, and everything in between that I’ve ever wanted wrapped all up into one fated encounter.

It must be fate. I never thought I’d see Elijah Leeds again. But now—in less than an hour—he’ll see me for the first time in six years. I don’t just need to look good, I need to look stunning. I need to be like one of those harpies from the Odyssey, the ones that lured ships full of men to their deaths with their sweet songs. I can’t sing to save my life, so instead of a sweet song, I need a tight skirt that makes my ass and legs look amazing.

I undo another button. Cleavage will help, too.

I press my lips together. Is my lipstick too red? No, it’s got just enough pink in it to not look over the top, but it makes my lips plump and alluring. Elijah won’t be able to look at me as just an interview candidate. Looking like this, he’ll have to think of what else he could do with me. He’ll have to remember, with painful longing, exactly what he didn’t do to me six long years ago.

Six Years Ago



I step onto the freshly cut grass of the Oxford campus, and I gaze up at the surrounding buildings. Gothic-style towers and palisades surround a huge dome with a roof painted in a pale sky-blue.

“It’s like going to college in a castle,” I whisper to Lily.

Lily nods, a big grin filling her face.

We’re the only two students from Penn State completing a semester abroad at Oxford, and we’ve decided to stick together since we have the same first class.

A single semester abroad at Oxford can cost upwards of $15,000, and I know Lily’s parents paid for her to come. I had a scholarship that paid for most of it, but I had to pay the difference with money I earned working part-time jobs all through high school.

It was worth it, I realize, watching the students flood across the lawn. The students here all look more sophisticated than the slobs I’m used to back in Pennsylvania. There’s not a single pair of ratty sneakers in sight.

A hot guy with perfect hair and a blazer smiles at me as he walks past, and Lily elbows me.

“I’m here for the studies,” I say, the excitement in my voice betraying me.

“Foreign studies,” Lily says. “Imagine hearing that guy’s hot accent as he works his way down—”

I slap her playfully on the shoulder. “Stop! We have to get to class.”

Lily rolls her eyes. “German literature.”

“What’s wrong with German literature?” I ask.

She scoffs. “Heard of World War II? The Nazis burned books!”

She grabs my hand and starts pulling me toward the castle-like buildings.

We search around like idiots, not sure how to find the right classroom. As we search, the hallways and lawn clears out, until we are soon some of the only students still wandering around.

“I’m going to fuck the first guy with a hot accent who smiles at me,” Lily says, just as we arrive at another dead-end.

“Good for you,” I say, feeling a little annoyed. Since her parents pay for everything, she’s free to use this as an extended vacation. I don’t have that luxury.

We finally find the right door, and Lily shoves me into it. Since we’re late, she wants me to go in first. It’s a lecture hall, and it’s full. All the good seats—meaning the seats in back—are taken. Only the front row has open seats. Lily hides behind me as I push forward.

I can hear the professor talking, but I keep my head down, hoping to God he won’t call me out. I know that having an American accent is nothing to be ashamed of, but when I’m late to class on the very first day, the last thing I want is to look like an ugly American in front of an entire lecture hall.

As I near the front of the room, I see the professor. I really see him. I can’t take my eyes off the man, because he’s the single most attractive thing I’ve ever laid eyes on in my life.

He’s incredibly tall, but his broad shoulders and wide chest fill him in enough that he doesn’t look at all awkward or lanky. He’s taken his jacket off and is wearing a crisp, freshly pressed white dress shirt. The sleeves are rolled up to his elbows, exposing his delicious and muscular forearms. Through the thin white sleeves, I can see his big biceps threatening to burst free.

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