It Can Take a Semester

"Hello everyone. First of all, please don't call me Professor. I'm reminded of my grandfather. Just call me Ryan. I'm the same age as some of you anyway. This class is going to be fun. Don't worry about it if you don't think you're a 'good' writer. Once you find your own voice, you're set. Now, let's call role and get the syllabus out of the way and than I'll pass around some short stories…."

Miranda Terry leans forward on her elbows to rest her chin in her hands, staring intently at her new Creative Writing professor. He looks to be in his early thirties, at the most, and very attractive. All of the other classes, the required classes, are just a means to an end. She thrives in classes like these. Classes where all she has to do is write. No numbers or having to memorize historical dates. Just creating something out of nothing. Watching stories bleed onto paper. If she could, she'd make a living off of it. She's just never thought that she was good enough for that. Maybe it's not that she's doesn't think she isn't good enough. She's never able to stick to one story line for long enough. Short stories is as long as she gets. By the time she gets it down on paper, her mind is already thinking up another branch. She's satisfied with the thought of maybe combining it all somehow into one crazy novel in the future.

Writing runs in her family. All different types. Her mother thrives off of poetry. Beautifully symbolic poetry. When Miranda writes poetry, symbolism is always an accident and noticed later on. Her grandmother wrote brilliant children's stories. She was never published, apparently it never interested her much.

"Does anyone know where this comes from?" Ryan asks the class just as a thin packet hits her desk. The class is filled with the rustle of papers as students flip through the pages, hoping that there's a title in a corner somewhere.

Miranda glances down and reads a few lines in the middle of the first page:

"He peeked into the trauma room and saw the situation:

the clerk-that is, me-standing next to the orderly, Georgie, both of us on drugs,

looking down at a patient with a knife sticking up out of his face.

"What seems to be the trouble?" he said."

Knowing what it is immediately, Miranda raises her hand slowly. Before Ryan can motion for her to answer, a voice mutters from her right, "Jesus' Son, Denis Johnson, 'Emergency'."

Miranda turns her head to the voice, vaguely hearing Ryan begin to explain why he chose that particular story from the book. The voice belongs to a guy, looking to be about her age, maybe a few years older. She immediately grins at his hair. In her opinion, a guy's hair can't get much cooler than Morrissey's hair. Morrissey has been one of her intellectual heroes for years. This stranger happens to have the Morrissey hair down perfect.

The front poufs up, as if air is trapped inside, just waiting to be released. His hair looks uncombed, making the pouf disarrayed, and judging by the way his eyes are half shut, she assumes that he hasn't gotten much sleep lately. Either that, or he smoked some grass right before class. Either option is likely. She assesses his appearance and almost laughs outright at his shirt, clearly written by hand, reading 'I'm The Monster That November Spawned'. The reffered to song immediately gets stuck in her head. Not only does he have the Morrissey hair, he's a Morrissey fan. This is a guy that she just has to have a movie marathon with.

"Did you need something?" He sounds bored and maybe even a tad bit annoyed. Miranda tears her eyes away from the letters on his chest and looks up into his eyes, noticing that they're incredibly blue.

Miranda suddenly feels a wash of embarrassment wash over her and she quickly thinks of something to say, "Do you read?"

"Eh, not a lot," he answers, not seeming to be thrown off by her random question.

Miranda nods her head a few times, not really knowing what to say because he's looking at her as if he's studying her for a science experiment.

"Were you really born in November?" Miranda asks lightly, wearing a slight smile.


"Well you can't really wear the shirt than."

"Why's that?" He leans forward in his chair and turns his body towards Miranda with a mocking smile gracing his thin lips.

"How could you be the monster that November spawned if you weren't born in November?"

"I can be whatever the hell I want to be. Call me a premature delivery."

Miranda doesn't answer. She gets the impression that if she did, an argument would result and she doesn't even know this guy's name. He doesn't seem to be finished.

"I bet you're the type of girl who won't wear Vans just cause she doesn't skate. Even if you really like a certain pair, there's this little nagging voice in the back of your mind picking at you, telling you that wearing them would be dishonest. You would be a fake. A mockery of what you want to be. So you don't buy them. You don't buy them even though you really like the way they look, they way they feel. Not realizing that the fact you don't buy them, the fact that you resist and deny yourself of such a small pleasure because of not wanting other people to notice, you're worse than what you didn't want to be. You think you're different, that you do and say what you want, but you aren't and you don't. All because of a stupid pair of Vans that you should have bought simply because you felt like it."

Through the entire speech, Miranda's lips are set in a hard line. How dare he think that he knows anything about her. She was trying to be nice, maybe a bit playful…while he attacks her character. She completely ignores the fact that he may be right. The fact that he may be right, infuriates her.

"You don't even know my name and you think you know the inner workings of my personality flaws?"

"Merely a speculation Miranda," he responds airily, waving a hand in a forgetful gesture.

At her incredulous expression, he explains, "I pay attention during role call."

She wishes she had, she doesn't even recall answering to her name being called. If she had paid attention, she would know this annoying man's name.

"Finn," he says, as if reading her mind, and thrusts his hand out to her in a friendly gesture.

Finding him extremely cocky, Miranda just stares at his outstretched hand. Not seeming phased by her rebuff, he smiles crookedly and shrugs. They both turn back to their professor and listen to the rest of the speech.

4 Classes Later

Two days a week, for an hour and a half, Miranda has to deal with Finn. At some point, he seemed to decide that it was his mission in life to torture her. She's never met someone that she just couldn't stand before. This is all new territory for her and she doesn't know how to deal with him.

It's the third week of class and it's the day that you join up in a group with the people surrounding you. It's time for you to read your writing and complete strangers critique your inner thoughts. Miranda has been dreading this. Not that she's shy about her writing, she just doesn't want Finn to hear it. She finds herself feeling an incredible sense of dread. What if he hates it? Thinks she is terrible? Even though she can't stand him, she knows that he has good taste. Through sitting next to him in class, she's gotten a look at the books he reads and has to admit to herself that he doesn't just have good taste. He has incredible taste. Plus, he has a new book with him every class. Usually he pulls a weathered paper back from his back pocket, but sometimes it'll be to large to fit (even after doubling it over) and he pulls it out of his bag. Apparently when he said that he didn't read a lot, he had a different definition of 'a lot'.

Miranda turns her desk to the right a bit, as Finn shifts his to the left and the two people in front of them start turning their chairs around. Miranda acts busy with finding her story until the other two people are comfortably situated and alert. She looks up to find Finn casually leaning back with his arms crossed at his chest, looking at her with a knowing smile. She hates him. Smiling cheerfully, she turns to the newcomers and says, "Okay, who wants to go first?"

After a ridiculous conversation about who should go first, Finn gets annoyed and announces, "Fuck it, I'll go."

During his reading, Miranda finds it terribly difficult to keep a straight face. A face with no reaction. He's good. And she hates it. She wanted him to suck. She wanted his words to cause her ears pain. Instead, she starts imagining how easy it would be to be lulled fast asleep by his reading his words. Immediately she frowns at the thought.

He finishes and the other two people jump in with comments. Two girls, one knows what she's talking about, the other one not a chance.

Miranda decides that she can't lie to him, he'd know and call her on it. She might as well be honest. He's good. Doesn't mean she has to like him just cause she likes his writing. He's still a cocky son of a bitch.

"You would have got on well with Hunter S.," is all Miranda says and leaves it at that. She doesn't want to act like an idiot and be too honest, but if he understands her comment, the compliment is enormous.

Finn smiles, but just says, "Your turn."

Miranda sighs a bit before she starts reading her very short story. She reads quickly, just wanting to get it over with, but manages not to stumble on any of the words. Even though she wrote it, and went over it countless times, reading it is like reading someone else's work. She finishes and smiles through the two girls' comments, they both seem to like everything. Their voices trail off and Finn stays silent. Miranda looks him straight in the eye, waiting for his response, not thinking for one moment that he's stunned into silence by her brilliance.

Finally Finn voices his opinion. "It's good…something that they would write," he says jabbing a finger towards the two girls. Glancing at them, he adds, "No offense."

Frowning, Miranda demands to know what's wrong with her story.

"The characters are flat, you didn't add enough emotion to two very real characters. Your main problem is that you were too careful. You didn't portray them realistically. I can't believe that they're real people," Finn says slowly and methodically, like he's checking off a list in his mind. He trails off when he apparently ran out of points and starts to put his stuff away.

"What do you mean flat? They aren't flat. How are they flat?" Miranda demands to know.

"You can figure it out." Before Miranda can press him, Finn stands, "Sorry you two, I'll have to hear your stories some other time." Miranda watches him, mouth slightly open in astonishment, as he briskly walks out of the classroom. Ryan doesn't give a response to his leaving.

Author's Note: If anyone thinks I should post more, review and let me know. Thanks.