Without a supportive family when he was a teenager, Charlie's Tourette syndrome and anxiety had become too overwhelming and he ended up dropping out of school. He always promised himself he'd earn his GED before he turned thirty, and now he's running out of time.
With only four months to go, he gathers his courage and enrolls in a night class for adults. He knows it isn't going to be easy, but he certainly didn't expect to fall for his teacher.
Owen Talbot is everything Charlie's looking for, but he needs to focus on passing the test, not studying the teacher, no matter how much he wants the man. When Owen offers Charlie a personal tutoring session, he isn't sure it's a good idea but he takes the teacher up on the offer, anyway. Spending one-on-one time with his sexy teacher won't be a problem, right?
"I'm not sure about class ... I don't think it's for me." Pop. Pop.
"Oh, that's too bad." Owen's face fell and Charlie felt like an ass for making him look so dejected.
The wind blew harder and he glanced up at the gray clouds. There was a chance for some major snow over the weekend and he could almost smell it in the air. When he glanced back down he saw Owen rubbing his arms.
"Where's your coat?"
This time the guy did blush. "Left it at school yesterday. Completely walked out without it."
Charlie wanted to keep talking with him, but he also didn't want to freeze the guy. "Well, have a good Friday. Go get your coat," he said, letting himself take one last look into those gorgeous blue eyes.
"You too," Owen said, his voice quiet.
Charlie headed inside, his shoulder tic driving him crazy. He was still kicking himself for upsetting Owen when he walked back outside, breakfast in hand.
He slid into the Kia and turned on the engine, surprised at how cold the car had become in just a few minutes. The temperature was dropping quickly. Heat blew out through the vent and he unwrapped his sandwich.
A rap at the window jolted him, but he smiled when he saw it was Owen. Still shivering without a coat. He rolled down the window and frowned. "You're going to freeze!"
Owen grinned. "Not going to argue with you about that. It's getting colder! And I swear I just saw a couple flakes coming down."
"Even more reason for you to get inside."
The guy blushed and cleared his throat. "Look, I just thought ... if you don't want to come back to class, maybe you'd want to get together and I could help you study?"
Charlie furrowed his brow. "Like tutoring?"
"Yes. Exactly! But for free," he added, slashing his hand through the air.
"I ... I ..." Owen's face reddened and this time Charlie knew it wasn't from the cold. Was he that worried about failing? Maybe he was one of those teachers that refused to give up? Not that he'd ever had one of those growing up. No. That wasn't true. Mrs. Nichols, his second grade teacher, had been the kindest person he'd ever known. When he hadn't had money for lunch, she'd always made sure he'd eaten. If someone made fun of his noises or movements, she'd put a stop to it.
"I'm sorry. I shouldn't be so suspicious. I'm just ... not the best student. If you're worried about your perfect record, or letting me down, you don't need to be."
Owen's eyes widened. "What? No. I ... really want to help. Maybe you don't even need the class or tutoring. What if we met and I brought one of practice tests? Then at least you'd know what, if anything, you needed to work on? But if you do need some help with studying, maybe I can convince you to come back to class."
Charlie was taken aback by the earnest look in Owen's eyes. He thought about that and nodded, although he wondered just how well he'd do on a test while Mr. Cute Teacher with the sexy little ass was nearby. But it was worth a try. Plus, he owed it to his nephew.
"Great! How about tonight? I don't have class ... oh, it's Friday ... you probably have plans." Owen blushed as shook his head.
"No," Charlie said, a little too sharply. "Um, no, I don't have plans. Tonight."
A smile spread across Owen's face and Charlie's mind filled with all kinds of ways he wanted to make the man smile again. Dirty, dirty thoughts. Oh God, he was in so much trouble. "So, yeah, tonight will work. How about you just come over to my apartment? I can order a pizza?"