“Hello?” she called out, walking through the back door of the lecture hall.
There was no reply. The place was empty except for the man she could see sitting on the corner of a desk down by the blackboard at the front of the room. He was reading something by the light of his desk lamp.
She cautiously walked down the steps toward him. The lighting in the aisle was dim and she didn’t want to trip on her way down.
That was certainly an impression she wanted to avoid making.
Being a librarian at a university people constantly assumed that she would fit some stereotype.
Melinda was definitely not a bookworm, bun wearing, square heeled, two left feet having, no fun girl.
Except for the bookworm part.
The teacher had yet to notice her. But she was noticing all sorts of things about him. Since he was sitting she couldn’t gauge his height but it appeared he had very wide shoulders and long legs. His hair was a soft brown color and neatly styled. He wore jeans, sneakers and a button down denim shirt.
She was only a few feet away. Before she was able to announce herself again the man let out a huge bark of laughter and scared her causing the book she was carrying to almost slip from her grasp.
“Hi!” he said when he saw her. “Didn’t mean to startle you. Sometimes the students write the funniest material I’ve ever read.”
“Funny? Aren’t you a criminology teacher?” she asked, her heartbeat just beginning to settle.
“Crime can be hilarious,” he said with a smile.
Melinda smiled in return enjoying the view of his moss green eyes behind his trendy eyeglass frames.
“I’m returning this. I found it in the book drop,” she said.
He stood and closed the distance between them to take the book and then looked at the cover.
“Intro to Criminology. Excellent book.”
“So, what was so funny?” she asked.
Melinda had to admit she found this man attractive and didn’t want to go back to the stuffy library just yet.
“The students submitted papers on committing the perfect murder for a writing contest. Some of their techniques are genius. A few of their methods of body disposal are really comical.”
“That sounds interesting.”
“Perhaps I should be nervous working in a place where there is a class full of potential murderers,” she joked.
“Anyone can be a murderer but you have to pick the right victim. For instance, Melinda, you walked right into this classroom without a thought to your own safety. You live alone, you aren’t close with your family and you wouldn’t be missed for several days.”
“What? I mean - how did - how do you know all that?” she asked, confusion clear in her voice.
“It’s my job to know.”
“You aren’t Professor Doyle,” Melinda said in comprehension.
“No, I’m not.”
Melinda’s frozen feet finally started to move her backwards. She wondered, for the first time in her young life, how fast she could run.
“Who are you?” she asked.
“I’m the contest winner.”