Yvonne Woon

“When I got to Crude Sciences at the end of the day, Dante was waiting for me at our table. This time, with no Latin book, no journal.
“Hello,” he said, pulling my chair out for me.
Surprised, I sat down next to him, trying not to stare at his perfectly formed arms. “Hi,” I said, with an attempt at nonchalance.
“How are you?” I could feel his eyes on me.
“Fine,” I said carefully, as Professor Starking handed out our lab assignments.
Dante frowned. “Not very talkative today, I see.”
I thrust a thermometer into the muddy water of the fish tank in front of us, which was supposed to represent an enclosed ecosystem. “So now you want to talk? Now that you’ve finished your Latin homework?”
After a prolonged period of silence, he spoke. “It was research.”
“Research on what?”
“It doesn’t matter anymore.”
I threw him a suspicious look. “Why’s that?”
“Because I realized I wasn’t paying attention to the right thing.”
“Which is?” I asked, looking back at the board as I smoothed out the hem of my skirt.
My lips trembled as the word left his mouth. “I’m not a specimen.”
“I just want to know you.”
I turned to him, wanting to ask him a million questions. I settled for one. “But I can’t know anything about you?”
Dante leaned back in his chair. “My favorite author is Dante, obviously,” he said, his tone mocking me. “Though I’m partial to the Russians. I’m very fond of music. All kinds, really, though I especially enjoy Mussorgsky and Stravinsky or anything involving a violin. They’re a bit dark, no? I used to like opera, but I’ve mostly grown out of it. I have a low tolerance for hot climates. I’ve never enjoyed dessert, though I once loved cherries. My favorite color is red. I often take long walks in the woods to clear my head. As a result, I have a unique knowledge of the flora and fauna of North American. And,” he said, his eyes burning through me as I pretended to focus on our lab, “I remember everything everyone has ever told me. I consider it a special talent.”
Overwhelmed by the sudden influx of information, I sat there gaping, unsure of how to respond.
Dante frowned. “Did I leave something out?”

Yvonne Woon, Dead Beautiful
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Dead Beautiful (Dead Beautiful, #1) Dead Beautiful by Yvonne Woon
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