Bending the Rules

By: Ali Parker

The Rules Book 2



Chapter 1

Dana





Watching Kendal drive away with anger all over his handsome face left me broken in two. The schedule clutched in my hand was the reason behind his pissy attitude or was it more than that? Most people in the middle of grief will turn to anything and everything else in hopes of hiding the soul-wrenching reality they're forced to face.

Amanda was dead. Kendal's little sister hadn't made it through the night. Her MS finally won the battle and now he was forced to face death with no one by his side. Both of his parents were gone from what I'd read in Amanda's file at the hospital.

Tears burned my eyes as he tore out of the parking lot at UT and never looked back. Maybe it was for the best... Sadly enough, it didn't feel that way.

I glanced down at the schedule and folded it up slowly as students moved all around me. I'm sure the spectacle of Kendal screaming in my face would be the talk of the campus for a few days, but it was irrelevant. I didn't know many of them, and they didn't know me.

The one person I wanted to know wasn't going to allow any closeness between us from what I could tell.

"Hey. You okay?" A thin guy in a wheelchair moved up beside me and glanced up. His blond hair was cut in a way that left his bangs dripping into his line of sight.

"Hm?" I glanced toward the parking lot and nodded. "Oh yeah. Just having a fight with a friend."

"I'm Jake, Dr. Tarrington's TA." He extended his hand, and I turned to shake it while wiping tears from my eyes with my free hand.

"Nice to meet you. I really should get up to the hospital. I'm one of the nurses that was taking care of his sister."

"Oh." The guy’s face fell. "That sucks. He just told me about her passing. Tell him we're all thinking about him if you get a chance."

I nodded and walked toward my car, not willing to point out to the guy that I was the last person that Kendal seemed to want to see. After buckling up, I pulled out and glanced back toward the school one more time. Maybe I was making a mistake by getting involved with one of the professors on campus. Maybe that's why he was pissy with me.

"Or maybe his sister just died, idiot." I let out a long sigh and drove back toward my apartment. Kendal needed a few minutes to himself with Amanda and Dr. Lewis, and it wasn't like anyone would let me into the room until Kendal was done with his final visit. I'd left poor Jackie in an emotional breakdown on my couch and Cameron at my door after bitching him out.

Everything was a fucking mess.

I grabbed my phone and held on to it tightly as I made my way back toward my place. Some part of me wanted Kendal to call so we could work through whatever he needed to work through. Was he pissed about me not saying anything about Amanda's death date? Surely not. How would he know that I'd read her folder? And why would it be my job to say anything to him in the first place? It wasn't. It was Dr. Lewis'.

A mixture of anger and sadness swirled in the pit of my stomach as I parked just outside my apartment and hoofed it up the stairs. I wanted a relationship filled with heat and passion, and something told me that's exactly what I would have gotten with Kendal.

How the fuck was it over before it began?

Because of Amanda or something else?

I was grateful to find the door to my apartment shut and locked. The hope was that Jackie was more put together and Cameron had figured out what was best for him and left before I got back. I opened the door tentatively and walked in.

"Jackie?" The smell of sugar and chocolate wafted my way.

"I'm in the kitchen." She stuck her head around the corner. "What the fuck happened? One minute you and I were walking in, and the next, you were gone."

"Kendal's sister, Mandy, died." I dropped my purse and ran my fingers through my hair. "I wanted to get to him just in case he needed me."

"Oh shit. I'm so sorry to hear that." She walked toward me as she wiped her hands on a blue apron she had around her waist.

"Are you cooking something?" I accepted the quick hug before dropping down into a chair at the kitchen table.

"Yeah. I figured we could use something sweet. You had everything to make chocolate chip cookies from scratch, so I thought, 'why the hell not'." She squeezed my shoulder and walked back toward the kitchen.

"Did Cameron bother you?" I pulled my legs into the chair and ignored the screaming voice inside of me that said to run to the hospital as fast as I could. It wasn't my place, and being the brunt of Kendal's pain didn't sound like much fun. I'd eventually go because I needed to know that he was okay, but now wasn't the time.

"No. He came in, walked around and left. Weird."

"Sounds like him." I wrapped my arms around my legs and pressed my face to my knees. "Is there a policy at the college that a professor can't date a student?"

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