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Stupid. She probably thought he was a loser for saying that. Who studies “forever” for sociology exams?

She laughed. Cute and casual with a hint of flirtation.

“Yeah, me too. It’s not easy.” She looked down at her notebook—covered with numerous doodles of daisies and other flowers with bright happy faces, and asked, “Do you remember what Sutherland’s differential association is?”

Jon thought for a second and replied, “Uhh…yeah, that criminal behaviors are learned just like other behaviors. People turn to crime due to outside influences imposed on them by others—not because they have some innate deviance gene. Criminals aren’t born to be criminals.”

Annie smiled and, nudging him in the side, said, “Sutherland must not have been a Catholic. Or maybe he was!” She giggled at her joke, and he nervously smiled back.

Jon had no idea what was going on with this girl. For the past few weeks, she had purposefully sought him out, sat next to him, and talked to him. She even brought him coffee one day, even though he detested the beverage. He preferred Mt. Dew to get his caffeine kick, but of course she didn’t know that, and so he drank the coffee—black—and smiled the entire time.

He didn’t know if she was just being friendly, or if she was waiting for him to ask her out on a date, or if she was even just taking pity on him. Being a transfer student, he didn’t know anyone on campus yet, and living in a studio apartment, he didn’t even have roommates. He did not consider himself to be a loner, and he wanted to meet new people, but he just hadn’t had the time yet since moving to State College, Pennsylvania. Then again, he’d been here for a month already. Really, he didn’t have the time? Excuses. Perhaps he was just a shy loner.

But he doubted that she was taking pity on him. Perhaps she was attracted to him because they had something in common. Her odd outfits and overly outgoing personality were certainly not normal. And, he hadn’t ever really seen her talk to anyone else in the class. She seemed genuinely drawn to him.

Annie looked back toward the doors of the large, pie-shaped, sloping room and remarked, “Oh, here comes TA Baracus.”

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