Valentine's Day Chapter 1

She felt guilty for watching the clock in the back of the room, but Professor Valentine craved her freedom on Friday afternoons as much as any of her students. And this particular Friday was a slow one. The twenty-five Biology majors slouching in front of the Doctor's lecture podium weren't exactly giving her their full attention and she didn't blame them. The basic processes of DNA transcription and translation were only interesting when applied in one's Junior or Senior year.

"Class dismissed," Dr. Valentine said quickly, allowing her body to sag into the chair behind her just as the clock chimed four p.m.

The kids murmured gratefully and began to pack their things. She remembered being their age. Hell, Valentine was only a few years older than most—not that the good doctor would admit it, of course. But her circumstances were quite different from theirs and always had been. Still, she was living a good life and had a good job, even if her social life had waned in the process of securing it. Before the dark blonde woman realized it, all her students were gone. Dr. Valentine hummed to herself as she flipped open her briefcase, nestling the day's completed lesson plan in with a host of others. The sound of the door at the top of the atrium caught her attention and Valentine's eyes briefly flickered up to the figure shrouded in shadows.

"I'm afraid my office hours are finished for the week," she said courteously, trying hard to be civil to whoever had entered her classroom, "Someone else in the Biology department may be able to help"—

"I don't think so, Amelia."

She flinched when the deep, silky voice invaded her ears, her brain panicking and sending pings of fright throughout her body. Her slim fingers tightened on the clasp of her briefcase and Dr. Valentine stared down at them for a long moment. The ghosts of her past had never been content to let her be, and a pair of green eyes turned up slowly as dread filled the twenty-eight-year-old's core. He stood with his arms crossed, wearing normal clothes—khaki pants and a suit jacket like any teacher might have worn to class. What made him stand out was the empty black cloth covering what should have been his right eye and the head of white hair that was so obviously premature in a man barely in his early forties. When he had died three years ago Amelia had dreamed of him so much that it took medication and liquor to give her a full night's rest. For days after she had heard his voice in her head, driving her mad, and she still conjured the sound of it out of thin air sometimes. But this was the most magnificent delusion of all, standing here in front of her.

"Have a seat," he continued, his tone leaving no room for questions.

"I'm through taking orders from a dead man, Slade," Amelia said, shifting into a defensive stance and narrowing her eyes.

"Suit yourself."

He walked forward, his steps slow and unhurried by the thought of time or any security guards that happened to be wandering around the place. Through her fright Amelia's gaze took him in, marveling that her brain could create a perfect replica of the person her heart had wanted so desperately all those years ago. Amelia let the hallucination of Slade come close, let him tilt her head back and press his lips to hers as she closed her eyes.

"Come with me," he said finally.

She leaned forward and kissed him again. Her body had missed his for a long time, even though she'd suffered more abuse at his hands that she ever had by anyone else's. Amelia felt her wavering resolve crumble and finally give way, aided by the very specific way Slade had of kissing the sensitive skin of her neck.

"I have class," Amelia murmured against his shoulder, her breathing ragged, "Tuesday. There's…a three day weekend but…I have to be back."

"Very well."

He pulled away from her and she felt his sudden absence like a frigid void. Amelia bit her lip and ran back to her desk for her briefcase, turning away to hide the disappointment on her face. Slade had never been a particularly warm person, and she suspected that their impromptu make-out session had only occurred because he wanted her to leave with him. Amelia jogged to keep up with his long strides as they exited the lecture hall and then the nearly-empty building. Luckily they never ran into any of her colleagues. If they had, she definitely would have had to think on the spot. On the one hand, she was still pretty convinced that he was a hallucination brought on by her own sick brain. On the other, if he was real gossip would spread through the school like wildfire. When the pair of them got to her car Slade held out his hand and she wordlessly gave him the keys, walking to the passenger side and taking one last look at Harvard University.

"We're going to the Four Seasons," Slade said, glancing over at the apprehension on her features, "I'll brief you on the situation when we arrive."

Author's Note: I changed this chapter for a variety of reasons, the first being that it's extremely similar to another story I'm writing. Another reason is that I didn't like the idea of Slade drugging Amelia…unlike all the other girls in my stories, I'd like to think he has at least a little more respect for Amelia than he does for them.