It's not that I didn't want to die, it's that I couldn't.
I never imagined that I would be stuck on this earth, never growing older than thirty and no matter my efforts, I wouldn't die.
I tried everything.
I ran my car into a tree, I tried drowning myself, taking pills, I even shot myself in the head, and nothing.
But every time I would come to the conclusion I couldn't die, Marie walked into my life, or the reincarnations of her.
It didn't matter that she had a different first and last name, she was always the same. Chestnut brown hair with those melted caramel eyes. Dimples that brought me to my knee's nearly every time she smiled. A laugh that was so melodic it sounded as if the Angels were singing to me. She was bubbly, outgoing, and the love of my life.
She would waltz into my life and take over, but I always knew how it would end. She would die, and I would live.
I tried avoiding her, if I saw her walking down the street, I walked the opposite way. I couldn't bare watching her die for the thousandth time, but somehow, some way, the world brought us together. It was like God was purposely torturing me and it would never end.
It's not that I wanted to live my life without her, I wanted her in my life more than I wanted to die, but losing her over and over again was something I just couldn't live with anymore. Ironic, huh?
Every twenty-six years, she showed up like clock work. She would walk into my job or I would walk into hers. She'd be sitting at the coffee shop reading a book or walking on the same nature trail as me.
She would turn to me, and I could feel the spark light in her eye, maybe a sign of recognition. I always got my hopes up that she would remember our past lives together. But she never does, and I am always disappointed.
So this time around, I'm not going to let her fall for me; no matter what it takes.
"Alright class, please take your seats." I bellowed as the rest of my English literature students walked through the door.
The large classroom was filled with well over a hundred students whom took their seats immediately.
"My name is Matthias Worthington." I wrote it on the board with a dry erase marker and then turned to face my new students. "But you can call me Professor, or Mr. Worthington if you want. Your syllabus has been placed on your desk, please read through it as I take attendance and then we will discuss it."
I began calling names out in alphabetical order, the student would raise their hand and yell out 'here'. I would then look up so I was able to place a name with a face. Learning names should be hard for me considering I'd come across so many people during my hundred years, but it wasn't. It actually became easier the more that I did it.
Everything seemed to be moving along smoothly until I came to her, Emma Greene. When she raised her hand and I looked up, I knew it was her. It was Marie, or another version of her. For a fleeting moment, she looked at me like she recognized me, and then it was gone. No matter how many times I told myself that she wouldn't remember, I always had little hope that she would.
But nonetheless, she was as beautiful as I remembered. Her hair was long and straight and laid across her collar bone. Her petite body looked even smaller in the large desk, and her long finger nails were painted a bright yellow. Somehow it suited her, because just like the color yellow, she was as bright and as pure as the sun.
I gave her a stern look and cleared my throat. Emma slowly lowered her hand and bit her quivering lip. I shook my head and ran through the rest of the names as fast as humanly possible.
It never ceased to amaze me that no matter how many times Marie passed, she always came back the exact same. It was like the world made clones of people and just kept repeating them over and over again. We were told that every person is unique in their own way, but that's the furthest from the truth. We are all the same, living a repeated life, just with a different name and at a different time period.
After I finished calling out the names, I set my attendance book down and peered throughout the crowd, trying to ignore those caramel eyes staring back at me.
"This is English lit 101, most of you are graduate students, looking to earn your masters degree. I must inform you that this class is rigorous and will require a lot of out of class work. I expect nothing but greatness from all of you, and I don't think I'll be disappointed." I ran my rough hands across my beard and then crossed my arms over my chest. "We will start with introductions, and then we will have a pop quiz."
The groans echoed throughout the room and I chuckled to myself. "Don't worry, this won't be graded. I just want to get a feel for where you all are."
I could visibly see my students shoulders relax, and my eyes wandered back to Emma. She was whispering with the girl next to her, a bright blonde who's freckles were unmistakeable.
"Alright, lets get this started. Who would like to go first?"
Instantly, the blonde haired girl who was sitting next to Emma shot her hand up in the air.
"Okay, you may begin." I gestured towards her. "Please tell us your name and why you're taking my class."
It wasn't that I didn't find other people attractive, of course I did. When I would wait the twenty-six years for Marie to return, I had my fair share of flings with unsuspecting women. Many of them wanted more than I could offer, so all of them always ended on bad terms.
But the blonde was giving me the look, her green eyes pierced through me and it was as if she was undressing me in front of the whole class. It's not that I disliked that kind of attention, but it was extremely awkward considering Emma was sitting right next to her.
"My name is Caroline Winters, I have been going to the University of Minnesota since my freshman year. I'm twenty-five, and I plan on going into journalism." Her high-pitched voice carried throughout the lecture hall. She gave me a sultry smile and sat back in her seat.
"It's very nice to meet you Ms. Winters. I'm glad to have you in my class." I replied. I then turned my attention to Emma. The way she sat in her seat made her nervousness all that more apparent. I gestured towards her and she sat straight in her seat.
"My name is Emma Greene. I have been at the University since my Junior year. I'm twenty-six and I am majoring in creative writing and journalism."
"Thank you for sharing Ms. Greene." I said with a curt nod.
I tried to show as much disinterest as possible in hopes that Emma wouldn't try to pursue anything with me. But it hurt when I watched her cower in her seat due to my disregard for her.
I hated myself for not being able to age, but I hated myself even more every time I watched her die.
I don't think it would be as bad if Emma would be able to grow old with me. Of course she would age, and I wouldn't. But, it's the fact that I only get four years with her.
She would die from some unforeseen circumstance. The bubonic plague, being hit by a car, being murdered by the hands of her father, and the most recent, suicide. It didn't matter what killed her, she always died at the age of thirty. Never getting older than that.
So while I was cursed with never dying, she was cursed with never truly living.
I refused to let myself or let her go through that, and I was hoping that if we just didn't get involved, she'd be able to live a happy life and I would watch from afar.
But here we are, the same place as always. The world bringing us together in a place I'd least expect it.
However, it doesn't surprise me in the slightest that Emma is here going for a creative writing degree. Marie and every woman after her was always great at story telling or the written language. She had a knack for writing in ways I couldn't even begin to explain.
I think that's the biggest reason I wanted to become an English professor. It reminded me of her and made me feel more at home.
The rest of class went through their introductions and I handed out the pop quiz row by row. Each student took a quiz and then handed it down. After all of them were distributed, I walked down to my place in the front of the classroom. "Okay, you may begin."
After twenty minutes, the entire class was finished and they began handing the tests to the end of the row and I collected them. I shuffled through them to make sure I had all of them and then I came across Emma's. Her handwriting was neat and perfect. Even that was the same as every other one before her.
I shook my head and then walked back in front of the white board. "Alright, now lets discuss the syllabus."
As I went through the expectations and the course schedule with my class, I would periodically look up at Emma and see her writing something down or highlighting parts of the syllabus. Her eyes were focused on the syllabus and her brown hair had fallen in front of her face. She had always been ambitious and she always met the goals she set for herself. I knew she would excel at my class, if I give her the chance to.
I glanced at the clock in the far right corner of the lecture hall and then closed my syllabus.
"It looks like that's the end for today. I look forward to spending this semester with you all, and I'll see you on Thursday."
The entire class stood up and grabbed their things. I couldn't help but watch as Emma grabbed her black North-face bag and sling it over her shoulder. The bag looked tattered and worn down, probably something she had since she was a freshman. Emma would use it until it gave out on her, that's just the type of person she was.
I turned my back towards her as she walked closer to my desk and began wiping off what I had written on the board throughout class.
"Professor." Emma said, her voice dainty and soft, just like she was.
I released a tired sigh and turned my gaze towards the one woman I couldn't forget. I could physically feel my heart pull towards her. "Yes?" I said monotonously.
"I just have a question about the course schedule." She replied as she toyed with a stray strand of her hair.
"Ask one of your classmates. I have somewhere I need to be." I said abruptly as I gathered my things and walked out of the lecture hall.
I wanted to turn my head around so I could see her reaction, but I already knew that I had hurt her. After all, I knew her better than I knew anyone, including myself.
It was my first day of my last year as a graduate student, and I was ecstatic to take my English lit class.
I had heard so many great things about the professor so when I signed up, I knew that it was going to be a great first semester.
I walked in with my best friend, Caroline, in tow. After spending the entire summer apart, we had a lot to catch up on. While Caroline was more promiscuous than I ever was, we both had our fair share of hot hook-ups. But, we were both excited for our final semester together, hoping to make as many more memories together before I head out to Europe for my study abroad program next fall.
I loved hearing about my best friends life, it was always far more interesting than mine ever was. I lived vicariously through her, so I always listened attentively to her stories.
Caroline had always been more vibrant than me. She captivated a room the instant she walked in. Her bubbly personality and extreme beauty lured men to her feet, she never had to worry whether she'd have a date for Friday night or not.
"I'm hoping he'll call me back." Caroline gushed as we made our way into our English class. "He was the hottest guy I had ever seen."
"Alright class, please take your seats." A man said from the front of the room.
"I take that back." Caroline whispered as we both looked at the gorgeous man at the front of the room.
"Is that Professor Worthington?" I asked in awe.
He was beyond gorgeous, you could compare him to the God's of greek mythology, but even then he put them to shame.
His tall stature was met with a lean and muscular body. His pressed white dress shirt was rolled up to his elbows and showed his bronze skin tone, his arms dusted with dark hair. His chest filled out the shirt perfectly and looked like the buttons were going to give away at any moment and reveal the toned chest underneath. His cleanly shaven beard covered his face and his black rimmed glasses sat just on the bridge of his nose. He had pacific blue eyes and hair as dark as midnight. His hair was cut short and styled up in a messy way, sort of like he just rolled out of bed. It was sexy as sin.
Caroline and I took our seats right in the middle of the lecture hall so we had a better view of the man before us.
The professor started class and began going through the attendance when he arrived at my name. Hearing it roll off his tongue was a treat in and of it's own. It was like music to my ears. I wouldn't have minded hearing it just a couple more times.
I shot my hand up in the air and yelled "here!"
When his eyes landed on me, he scowled. It was like I was the most hideous thing he ever had the misfortune of seeing. I cowered in my seat and Caroline glanced over at me. She shot me a confused look and I just shrugged my shoulders.
He finished going through attendance and then set the sheet on his desk, his eyes avoided me the entire time.
"This is English lit 101, most of you are graduate students, looking to earn your masters degree. I must inform you that this class is rigorous and will require a lot of out of class work. I expect nothing but greatness from all of you, and I don't think I'll be disappointed." Professor Worthington ran large hands through his beard and then crossed them over his chest. "We will start with introductions, and then we will have a pop quiz."
Caroline turned towards me and whispered. "Do you know him?"
I shrugged my shoulders. "I don't think so. At least I don't remember."
"Who would like to go first?"
Instantly, Caroline's hand shot up. I rolled my eyes. She was definitely going to be a teachers pet, and I was going to hate her for it. Professor Worthington's eyes grazed over Caroline and he had a pleased look on his face. It irritated me.
I always knew that Caroline was pretty. Sometimes she was so pretty it was intimidating, but I knew I wasn't ugly, or at least I thought I wasn't.
When she finished, Professor Worthington thanked her for sharing and then told her he was excited to have her in his class. I was hoping he would say the same to me and put my worries to rest, but when I finished and he just thanked me, my anxiety rose even higher.
I sat back in my seat and tried to avoid all eye contact with the Professor, but I didn't even have to try that hard. He was avoiding me. He never glanced into the middle section of the lecture hall, he kept his eyes trained on either the left or the right side.
After the introductions were finished, the professor began handing out the pop quiz. I felt very confident that I would do well considering I spent a huge chunk of my summer catching up on the required readings.
Once I was handed the test, I began reading through the questions. I was excited when I realized I knew every single one. I wrote in all my answers and then I was done.
Even if the professor was going to be a huge dick to me this semester, I wasn't going to let that affect my grades. English had always come fairly easy to me, the written language was something I adored; and I needed this class to graduate. I wasn't going to let him ruin any chance I had, and I wasn't going to switch professors either. He came highly recommended, regardless of whether he was a nice person or not.
When everyone finished, he collected all of the quizzes and walked back down to the front of the classroom. When he began discussing the syllabus, I just kept my head down and highlighted and wrote foot notes in the margins. I needed to do something to try and avoid looking at him.
I couldn't understand why he disliked me so much. I mentally ran through the entire summer, trying to pin-point if I had met him before, but I couldn't recall anything substantial. It made my insides turn and my heart race at the thought of spending the rest of the semester with this man.
And I thought it was going to be easy.
As he went through the course schedule, I came upon a date that I needed to talk to him about, yet that was the last thing I wanted to do.
He scheduled our final paper to be due on December twenty-first, and that was the fourth anniversary of my dad's passing. I wanted to discuss with him about whether I could hand it in early or possibly late. My heart raced at the thought of approaching him.
When class ended, I gathered my things and stuffed them into my old trusty North-face backpack. I knew that it was tattered and worn down, but I loved it. It was the last thing my dad bought for me and I refused to give it up until it broke completely.
"When are you ever going to get rid of that thing." Caroline scowled as we walked down the steps in the lecture hall.
"You know why I won't get rid of it." I mumbled as I followed behind her. "I have to go talk to the professor, I'll meet you out in the hall."
Caroline looked over her shoulder and gave me a sympathetic look. "Good luck."
"Thanks." I replied sarcastically.
As soon as I began approaching Professor Worthington, he abruptly turned his back to me and began wiping stuff off the board.
"Professor." I said quietly as I began to nervously play with my hair.
"Yes?" He replied, obviously annoyed with my presence.
"I just have a question about the course schedule."
He turned around to face me and I tried to avoid contact with his eyes, but it was no use. He was even more breathtaking up close. He stood at least a few inches taller than me and the smell of his cologne and body wash wrapped around me and carressed my senses in a way I had never experienced before.
"Ask one of your classmates." He said. "I have somewhere I need to be." He quickly gathered his things and stalked out of the lecture hall, leaving me alone and terrified.
What did I do wrong?
I walked out of the classroom and Caroline was leaning up against the wall, her eyes glued to her phone. I walked up to her and let out a huge sigh.
"That bad?" She replied as she locked her phone.
"It's going to be a long semester."
"Come on, don't be a fucking party pooper Emma." Caroline pleaded as she threw a tiny black dress at me.
It was a ritual for Caroline and a couple other girl friends to go out the first day after classes. A way to celebrate the start of a new school year, a tradition of sorts.
I on the other hand, hated them. Every one always got way too drunk and I always ended up taking care of them. So this time, I wasn't going to go.
"I'm not being a party pooper." I said as I lounged on mine and Caroline's white leather sofa. "I just feel like staying in this time." I shrugged as I reached for the remote control that sat on our glass coffee table.
I was not rich by any means, but Caroline's parents were. They paid for the most expensive apartment in Minneapolis. A view so spectacular it took your breath away every time. You could see downtown Minneapolis from our apartment, the floor to ceiling windows capturing the beauty of big city living. It wasn't hard to accept an invitation to live with my best friend, especially when I'd be living like this. Not many college students can say they have a nice apartment right in the heart of Minneapolis, so I was always grateful to Caroline and her parents.
"But this is our last year together, you have to come." Caroline pouted as she plopped down on the couch next to me. "Please don't do this to me." She grabbed hold of my legs and began to shake me slowly at first then violently.
I rolled my eyes and began to laugh. I knew how much this meant to her, and after everything she's done for me, I figured it was only one night. "Fine." Caroline began jumping up and down and I held my hand up to stop her. "But, if I think you're getting too drunk I'm cutting you off. This isn't going to be a repeat of last year. I'm not cleaning up your puke, and if you get it in my hair again, I'm going to shave off all of your hair while you're sleeping."
Caroline gasped and grabbed ahold of her blonde locks. "You wouldn't dare."
I sat up and brought my face inches from hers. "Try me."
Not only did I cave in to going to the club with Caroline, I let her put me in that black skimp dress. When it was laying on my bed, it looked like it barely covered anything, but when I put it on, it looked like it only covered my lady bits.
The back was a plunging v-line that stopped just before my butt, the front showcased my petite breasts and made it look like I had more cleavage than I really did. It was skin tight and hugged my small waist in a way that I would practically have to peel it off of me later that night.
Caroline insisted I wear the five inch black stiletto's, so now not only was I highly afraid that my vagina was going to pop out at any moment, but I didn't know if I'd be able to stay on my feet the entire time.
We arrived at the gay 90's, a club in the heart of downtown. We dawned our ID's and then walked into the club. The sounds of techno blasted through my ears as Caroline weaved through the crowd. When we came upon our other friends, they all looked astonished to see me.
"Emma, I wasn't expecting to see you." Violet said as she eyed me up and down. "And in that. God damn girl, are you trying to kill all the straight men in here tonight?" She asked as her fire red hair swayed behind her.
"It was Caroline's idea." I said as I pointed towards my best friend.
Caroline gave me a devilish grin and turned back to our other friend. "I wanted her to stand out. She always wears clothes that doesn't show off her assets. This looks perfect on her."
"Yeah it does." Harlow chimed in as she approached from the other side of the bar. Her icy blue eyes assessed my appearance and she nodded in admiration. "You should always dress like that."
I rolled my eyes and laughed. "Yeah, because I'm going to walk around in what looks like lingerie all the time." I walked over to the bar and took a sip of Violet's margarita and then peered at the three girls around me. "Lets dance."
Clubbing usually isn't my thing, but a group of professors in the English department insisted I tag along for a few drinks at a popular club in downtown Minneapolis. I tried to come up with every reasonable excuse as to why I couldn't go, but none of them sounded remotely believable, so I reluctantly told them yes.
I was told to meet them at nine, and I arrived right on time. I handed my ID to the bouncer that waited just inside the door and then made my way to the nearest bar, which luckily for me, wasn't too far away from the entrance.
I ordered a bud light and then rested up against the bar and watched as the club became more and more crowded.
Dancing bodies were every where, their movements matched the rhythm of the music. Out of the corner of my eye, I could see a tall woman with chocolate brown hair saunter my way. I smirked to myself and took a swig of my beer as I awaited her.
"First time I've seen you here." She said just above the music. Her voice was as soft as her porcelain skin looked.
"I've never been here, meeting a couple co-workers." I glanced at her. She was beautiful, but she wasn't as beautiful as my Marie, or my Emma. Her icy blue eyes assessed my entire appearance. Normally, I'm not one to let my ego get the best of me, but it felt pretty damn good to know that I could still turn women on just by my good looks.
I was keenly aware of how attractive I was to women, and sometimes it worked to my advantage. Other times, it was just as annoying as it was rewarding. I couldn't get a woman to hold a genuine conversation with me if she was constantly checking me out. I wasn't respected as someone with real intelligence because people always assumed I was all looks and no brains. That was part of the reason I took the job at the University. I not only wanted to prove to myself that I was smart, I wanted to prove it to everyone else too.
"They wanted to meet at the gay 90's?" She giggled at me, like I had just told some sort of joke.
"I know." I rolled my eyes. "Of all the clubs they could pick, right?"
I couldn't explain what drew my attention to the front door, but when I did, my eyes skirted over the woman I've been so desperately trying to avoid.
Emma walked in with Caroline. She was laughing at something her friend had said and those dimples were in full force. I could see the pull she had, the way men turned their heads as she walked by. I instinctively got jealous, but I tried to keep my cool. She wasn't mine to claim, she never would be again.
"Well, I better get going. My name is Harlow by the way." I ripped my gaze back from Emma and locked eyes with Harlow.
"It was nice meeting you." I said as I watched her walk to the other side of the bar and say something to Emma.
I watched as Emma lead the other girls to the dance floor. They began moving their bodies to the music and I couldn't keep my eyes off of her. The way she moved to the beat was almost as good as watching porn. There was something so erotic about a woman moving her body in time with the music. I licked my lips as I watched her grab ahold of what looked to be Caroline. Their hips moved in sync with each other. I had to tear my eyes away before my excitement was seen by all in the club.
"Matthias, you made it!" I heard Josh say as he rounded the bar and gave me a hard slap on the back.
I'm wishing I didn't now.
I gave him a slight nod as the rest of the guys came to stand next to me.
I would be lying if I said they weren't attractive guys, even if they appear older than I do. They all had a distinguished look about them, something women found incredibly alluring.
I quickly glanced over at Emma again just to make sure she was okay and then I turned my attention to the guys before me.
"We're glad you made it." Brian said as he grabbed the beer he ordered off the bar. His dark brown eyes scanned the crowd.
The other guys, Zack and Damian, nodded in agreement.
"Yeah dude, we weren't sure if you were actually going to come." Josh said over the loud music. His full beard and short hair reminded me of a lumberjack. If only he was wearing a plaid shirt and suspenders.
"Well, I made it." I replied as I took another drink of my beer.
"And were glad you did. Now lets dance!" Zack's said as he downed the last of his beer and walked to the dance floor.
I could still see where Emma was, and I decided a little dancing wouldn't hurt. But how would she react if she saw it was me? How would any of the other girls react?
The music was flowing through my body, I could feel it pulsate all around me. I moved to the music, my best friends moved along with me. I had forgotten how much fun it really was to come out and dance with my friends. I let go of myself and the stress I was under regarding school and my new asshole of a professor.
I closed my eyes and let my body take over. When someone grabbed my hand my eyes instantly shot open and I followed the muscular arm up until my eyes landed on none other than Professor Worthington.
His bright blue eyes pierced through me as he pulled me away from my friends. None of them noticed, they were so entranced in the music that my departure was insignificant.
Professor Worthington pulled me into him, his body warm and hard against my petite frame.
"What are you doing?" I said over the music.
Was this some kind of sick joke? Did he see me here and think that he could fuck with me some more?
"I wanted to dance." He said, his voice was deeper than I remembered.
"But... why?" I asked as I searched his face.
The way he was staring at me was incredibly hot and made my insides turn to mush.
"What do you mean why?"
For someone so intelligent, he was really acting like a dumb ass. "You pretty much acted like I was invisible in class."
"Oh, that, right." He nodded his head. "Don't worry about that. Lets just dance."
I wasn't going to forget that easily, but I was going to dance. I couldn't pass up an opportunity to dance with possibly the hottest professor on the planet.
Professor Worthington grabbed my hips and I began swaying to the music. I rested my hands on his forearms and felt the heat of him beneath my fingertips. He was extremely muscular, I could feel his veins. A telltale sign of a man who works out.
He pulled me close to his body and I moved my hips against him. His large hands roamed all over my body and I could feel his breath against my ear. He moved my hair away from my shoulder and planted a soft kiss right in the crook of my neck and shoulder. My body shivered at the contact and I looked up to meet his intense gaze.
"Fuck." He mumbled as we locked eyes.
I wrapped my arms around his neck and pulled him down to me until our lips met. The stubble on his upper lip was rough against my lips, but I didn't mind. The softness of his lips made up for it.
We moved our mouths against each other, drinking one another in. I knew he was feeling whatever I was feeling too. I could feel the way his heart was racing. There was nothing weird or awkward about the kiss, it was like we had been doing it for years, if not centuries.
My body molded to his as he pressed me closer to him. I ran my hands through his hair, the soft strands moving through my fingers. When our lips finally parted, I could see the lust he had in his eyes for me, but I saw something else too. Regret, maybe? I could feel my heart twist at the thought that he instantly regretted what happened.
Professor Worthington pulled away from me, his lips swollen from our kiss, his eyes frantic. "I've got to go." He said as he abruptly turned around and left.
I stood still on the dance floor, bodies moved around me. I felt stupid and embarrassed. I fucked up and now I had no idea how to fix it