Part One: The Face Of Janey Burks

Whitney Tyrrell, author


New Year. New Faces. New stares. New judgments. I walked into the classroom and watched as a few girls laughed at my lack of fashion sense, I took a seat in the back where no one had sat down yet. I watched as more people filed in and right before the professor came in I saw a curvier set girl walk in and the girls that laughed at me, laughed at her too.

“Don’t be jealous sweeties.” She flipped her hair and walked to her seat. I couldn’t help by smile, she had the confidence I needed.

“Alright class this is Psychology 101 and if you’re here for Art History 2 you’re in the wrong room. “ I watched as three girls got up awkwardly and left.

“Well class I’m Mr. Romano, do not call me Professor Romano or Clint unless you want to fail.” He wrote his name on the board and I heard him laugh.

“You guys ease up, this is psychology, this is the fun class.” He was younger fresh out of college and really good looking. I saw the same group girls that laughed at me and the other girl stare at him in awe.

“Alright fine if you guys want to be all boring and such we’ll just go straight to the syllabus.” He grabbed a stack of papers and started handing them down the rows.

The class was a snooze but I suppose it was because of the lack of drive we showed. He tried to make us laugh and sometimes I did not without people turning back to stare.

“Alright guys here’s one last attempt to make ya’ll laugh. Two behaviorists meet each other in the street. “Hi,” says one, “How am I feeling today?” That evening, they have sex. The other one says, “That was good for you. How was it for me?” Get it?” He smiles and waits for all of us to burst out laughing while I’m the only one snickering in the far back. He looks back at me and grins.

“Your name is?” Dimples pop into his cheeks and I turn red.

“It’s Janey Burks. Sorry.” I let my laugh fall.

“No thank you for understanding my wonderful sense of humor. All of you need to be more like Miss. Burks. Thank you Janey.” His beautiful dark brown eyes gleamed and he continued to speak.

“I’m Georgia.” The big girl from earlier turned around and introduced herself.

“I’m Janey, obviously.” I let my hair fall in my face.

“You a freshman?” She looked at all my things on the desk.

“No, but I act like one still. This is my second year. You?” I whispered.

“I’m a junior this year.” She gave me a friendly smile.

“Well nice to meet you, love your outfit by the way.” For being a curvier looking girl she dressed with style.

“Thank you. I would say I love yours too but I don’t. You need some work girl.” Her honesty stung a bit but I looked down at my oversized tshirt, black worn leggings, and boring combat boots and realized she was right.

“I like your honesty.” I smiled sheepishly.

“I’m a ball of sass, sorry if I hurt your feelings I don’t mean to, I would just rather tell the truth than lie.” She shrugged.

“No I get it. Maybe you can help me.” I laughed jokingly.

“With your figure honey I can make you look like a superstar.” She was dead serious.

“For real?” My eyes grew wide. My mom died when I was five and I grew up with two brothers so I never had help in that department.

“I’m a fashion major sweetie of course I am.” She smiled.

“Well for Wednesday I want you all to write a two page paper about your life, I don’t want every tiny detail but I want you to point out your greatest accomplishment so far, your hardest thing you’ve overcome and what career field you want to go into. Other than that the paper is all yours. Now you’re dismissed.” Mr. Romano smiled at the class and everyone left right away.

“Well I’ll see you Wednesday, here’s my cell number. Text me.” She smiled and handed me a slip of paper. I was the last to get out of the classroom I threw my long black hair over my bookbag and headed for the door.

“Janey.” Mr. Romano stopped me.

“Hm?” I stopped and turned around.

“Thank you for saving me today, first day teaching college students I’m two years older than you guys and I just feel very overwhelmed. So thank you.” He gathered his things.

“Oh yeah no problem, it was funny.” I shrugged and left.


I walked into class behind a curvier girl who was definitely confident in her skin and that made me smile. Once I looked around the class of students I felt more nervous than I ever have in my entire life. I introduced myself and the students never laughed at any of my jokes, nervous was just a soft word for what I was feeling now. After reading the entire syllabus I decided to try one more time and tell one of my all-time favorite jokes. No one laughed like I had hoped but one girl in the back chuckled a few times and I could see she really wanted to laugh. Her hair was long and dark black she had fair skin and soft red lips, her eyes were shockingly bright blue and I couldn’t help but stare. She was absolutely stunning. Her thin figure shook as she held in a laugh and I watched as all the students stared at her.

“Your name is?” My smile got wide and I watched as her fair skin turned red.

“It’s Janey Burks. Sorry.” She let out a small squeak and I felt terrible for embarrassing her.

“No thank you for understanding my wonderful sense of humor. All of you need to be more like Miss. Burks. Thank you Janey.” I made sure she knew just how sincere I truly was and let my smile gleam.

I went back to speaking to the class before things got inappropriate, I knew no one else felt it but I sure as hell did. She was magnificent and I knew she didn’t even see it. I noticed her talking to the curvy girl in front of her but I let it slide, not like I was talking about anything anyway. I assigned a two page paper to the class mostly just to know Janey’s past. I know it was creepy of me but what else was I supposed to do?

“Janey.” I stopped her as I saw her head for the door.

“Hm?” She stopped and I watched her turn around on her heel. She was so thin, but not in a sickening way.

“Thank you for saving me today, first day teaching college students I’m two years older than you guys and I just feel very overwhelmed. So thank you.” I stopped myself from blabbering and gathered my things.

“Oh yeah no problem, it was funny.” She just shrugged and left. Well at least I knew the attraction only went one way.


                  I walked out to the hallway, he was only two years older than me? Seriously how could one man be so hot, I felt like a total bitch for the way I just walked out but teacher and student relationships are a no-no. I stopped and leaned against the brick wall outside the building to check my texts and have a cigarette before my next class. I don’t smoke a lot maybe like one a day but it’s a habit I can’t stomp. He walked out the doors and headed the other direction without even noticing me thank god. I watched him mess with his brown scruffy hair and adjust his bag with his muscular arms and damn that ass. What was I thinking?

“Hey Janey!” I heard my long-time best friend, Evangiline, call my name.

“Eva, what’s up, why didn’t you text me earlier?” I put out my cigarette.

“Woke up late, go figure.” She pulled out a cigarette of her own and I lit it for her.

“What else is new.” I laughed and we started walking towards the dining hall.

“So how did your date with Micah go?” Her style was much like Georgia’s very fashion forward, she’d always try to dress me up but I never would.

“It was alright I guess.” I kicked a stray rock in the grass.

“Come on, details.” She stomped out her cig with her scrawny figure. Eva was built exactly like me but had blonde hair, a great tan, and perfect green eyes.

“Nothing happened honestly. He took me to that coffee shop on 11th street and then he took me back to our apartment.” I opened the door for her.

“Lame, is he gay?” She laughed.

“I don’t know, maybe it’s the fact that my boobs are almost non- existent or my huge ass.” I felt self -conscious.

“Janey Painey you’re gorgeous you know it, I know it, everyone knows it. Your ass is normal sized and your tits look fabulous. If you would dress for your figure maybe you’d be able to see that as well.” We got in line for subs and wraps.

“Shut up, you know how I am.” I covered up my mid-section.

“You conquered and beat anorexia you look healthy honestly you really do.” She gave out her order real quick and I did the same.

“But I feel like people can tell that I was you know.” I mumbled.

“Anorexic? Girl don’t be ashamed of something you beat. You won, anorexia lost we’ve talked about this. You’re 120 pounds and 5’6 you’re fine.” We paid for our meals and headed for a seat.

“I know, I know. Can we just stop talking about it for now?” I bit into my sandwich.

“Yes, I’m starving.” She took a huge bite and I couldn’t help but smile.

“Okay so tonight you’re coming over right?” I looked over at Tiff.

“Yes I’m not going to miss out on this.” She grinned.

“Good, Mike should be over with the weed around 9 and then from there we can just let loose.” I smiled at the thought of getting high. Okay so I wasn’t perfect but what college student is?

“Weed oh how I’ve missed thee.” She almost sang it.

“Don’t forget the money either.” I whispered as I saw the professor walk in.

“50 bucks right?” She whispered and I nodded my head yes.

That night Tiffany, me and Eva were all at the apartment sitting around bull shitting and getting high just like last year. I felt like I was on cloud nine.

“Oh my gosh have you seen that new professor?” I heard Tiff giggle.

“The psychology one?  I have him.” I took a drag.

“He is so hot.” She seemed out of breath and then coughed a little.

“I know.” I slapped her leg.

“Ow, watch the merchandise.” She giggled.

“Let’s go get something to eat.” Eva stumbled for her car keys.

“I drive.” I was always the one who drove.

“Race ya.” Tiffany and I took off to the car.

“Where to go?” I wondered out loud.

“McDonald’s!” Eva shouted.

“We went there last time. How about Pizza Hut.” I turned into their parking lot.

“Oh pizza sounds so good right now.” Tiff jumped out of the car.

“How many?” The waitress looked annoyed.

“Three.” I snickered.

“We want three Mountain Dews and a large stuff crust hamburger.” Eva sat down in the booth.

“Alright I’ll get that started for you.” The waitress rolled her eyes and left.

“No tip for you.” Tiff said a little too loudly.

“Tiff shut up you’re gunna get us kicked out.” I laughed.

“Oh my gosh, look.” Tiff shrank in the booth.

“What?” I looked behind me.

“In the corner it’s him the professor. He’s with a girl. Damn he’s taken.” She snapped her fingers.

“He doesn’t wear a wedding ring.” I stared a little too long.

“Quit staring he’ll notice. Damn he is hot.” Eva squeaked.

“Shh, he’s getting up, look discreet.” We sat up a little too straight and acted a little too chill.

“Janey Burks, hi, Mr. Romano.” He gave me a double take.

“Oh yeah hi.” I was embarrassing myself.

“I didn’t expect to see you out this late.” He looked shock to see that I had friends which offended me a bit.

“You’re not her father.” Tiff mouthed off.

“Oh I’m sorry that was rude, I didn’t mean it like that.” He blushed.

“No Tiff is just a little harsh and overbearing ignore her.” I slapped her arm.

“Okay well since Clint won’t introduce himself I’m Michelle his sister.” The girl held out her hand and I shook it politely.

“Nice to meet you I’m Janey.” I giggled.

“Well I’ll you leave girls alone now see you on Wednesday Janey.” He smiled kindly.

“Bye Clint.” I said it before thinking and immediately was embarrassed. He just looked at me and laughed a little.

By the time Wednesday rolled around I had hoped he forgot the whole thing. I was so high that night I’m surprised I didn’t make a bigger fool of myself, he probably didn’t even notice how high I was though.


                  I sat in Pizza Hut talking to my sister about my first day when I heard lots of chatter and laughing. I looked over to three girls by the door and one of them just so happened to be Janey. I watched as they stumbled to a booth and caught eye contact with one of them, they were high. I quietly laughed to myself.

“What’s so funny?” Liz looked at up from her pizza.

“Oh nothing.” I watched as she noticed me and tried to gain composure.

We finished eating and when I got up to pay I walked over to her table and they were trying so hard to look normal.

“Janey Burks, hi, Mr. Romano.” I looked down at her and noticed her cleavage.

“Oh yeah hi.” I watched her blush.

“I didn’t expect to see you out this late.” I sounded like a parent. Turn off.

“You’re not her father.” Her friend practically barked at me.

“Oh I’m sorry that was rude, I didn’t mean it like that.” I felt my skin heat up.

“No Tiff is just a little harsh and overbearing ignore her.” She slapped her friend.

“Okay well since Clint won’t introduce himself I’m Michelle his sister.” My sister introduced herself and I felt rude for not doing it in the first place. I just keep screwing up.

“Nice to meet you I’m Janey.” She giggled from trying to keep her composure for so long.

“Well I’ll you leave girls alone now see you on Wednesday Janey.” I sounded like an old man.

“Bye Clint.” She said my name and I loved the way it sounded from her lips. I let it go quickly and just laughed.

“Those girls were high.” My sister and I walked out to my car and she laughed.

“I have the Janey girl in one of my classes.” We got in my truck.

“You like her.” She buckled her seatbelt.

“What?” I tried to sound shocked.

“I saw how you looked at her.” She motioned for me to pull out.

“No, she’s my student.” I shook my head.

“That doesn’t mean it’s illegal.” She gave me a look.

“Well even if I did like her she doesn’t think anything of me, she made that clear this morning.” I got onto the road.

“You’re blind.” She scoffed and I just let the comment slide, I didn’t want to think she likes me.

“Thanks for supper little brother, I’m proud of you.” She gave me a hug and walked to her house where my niece and nephew came running out and hugged her before heading for my truck.

“Uncle Clint, come inside!” Aliza rested her head on my rolled down window.

“I gotta go and you two should be in bed. I’ll be here this weekend. Love ya.” I kissed her forehead.

“Aliza Lynn, get your butt over here now. Your father is in big trouble. You two have school tomorrow.” My sister scolded a running Aliza.

“See ya later sis.” I laughed and drove off.


                  I decided to wake up early Wednesday and write that two page paper for Psych, what teacher assigns two pages on the first week? Him apparently. I sighed and started with my greatest accomplishment.

My freshman year of high school I got the lead in my dance studios ballet, the older girls hated me but the younger girls admired me, it was by far my greatest accomplishment. The hardest thing I’ve ever had to overcome was my anorexia that I had suffered from for five years and wasn’t diagnosed until I was basically on my death bed, 5’6” and 85 pounds, I was disgusting. But I recovered and my senior year was the best year of my life.

I didn’t really know what I wanted to be once I graduated, I didn’t really have a major set yet. I loved writing I knew that and I loved to read and dance but really those careers were just dreams. I loved inspiring people to be better than what they are, to strive to be whatever they wanted to be. I guess I was sort of an inspirational speaker for my friends. So the career thing was still undecided.

I also put in how my dad and stepmom were rich wealthy lawyers and how my mother died when I was five and I had two older brothers that were very protective over me and lived in my hometown. My brother Jacob was 30, married and had two kids and then my other brother was 23 and single he’s always had the biggest crush on Eva and secretly I think they’d be adorable together.

“Janey let’s go!” Eva came running in, waking up late again.

“Just let me grab my bag.” I closed my notebook and put it in my bag.

“I woke up late again, why didn’t you wake me up?” I watched her throw her unshowered hair up in a messy bun.

“Remember the last time I tried that? I got a black eye.” I remembered trying to wake her up earlier this summer.

“Oh yeah, sorry.” She laughed a little.

“Shut up people thought I got into a fight or something! So not funny when I went to work at the studio and all the girls were asking me what happened.” I grabbed my car keys.

“You know if it wasn’t for your dad where would we be?” She locked our door.

“I know but I still feel bad for letting him pay for all things in that apartment.” My father was forever trying to apologize for not realizing my sickness earlier.

“He just wants us to be safe and comfortable. At least your dad loves you mine will hardly look at me.” We walked out to the Nissan Maxima 2013 that my dad just got for me.

“Your dad is an alcoholic he’s got more problems than most.” I backed out of our lot.

“Thanks for reminding me.” Eva’s dad has been a drunk ever since her mom gathered her and her younger sister up and moved.

“Hey at least your mom loves you, I don’t have a mom.” I tried to make her feel better by throwing a pity card my way and all I had to do was wait for her blow up.

“Okay didn’t know we were throwing a pity party, let me buy some streamers next time.” She laughed.

“There’s my Eva.” We got out of the car and I headed towards my building and she headed for hers.

I walked inside and ran into Georgia right when I turned down the hall.

“Hey!” She smiled.

“Hey sorry for not texting you last night, I was working.” We walked side by side into the classroom.

“No that’s cool, I was on a date anyway.” She winked.

“Nice, last date I went on was a dud.” I adjusted my oversized T.

“You’re wearing jeans today and your hair is curled.” She noticed my try to look fashionable.

“My hair is naturally this way.” I pulled my bangs behind my ear.

“Hey it’s pretty. You actually look cute today.” We sat in the same seats and waited for Mr. Romano to walk in.

“Alright class grab your things and stand against the marker board.” He walked in and set his things on the desk. We sat there quietly.

“C’mon get up. Go on.” He motioned us to get up and I was the first to stand up with everyone following behind.

“What’s going on?” I asked.

“New seating arrangement.” He turned and looked at me. He gave us new places to sit and of course I was placed dead front and center, he hated me, perfect. I at least got to sit by Georgia still.

“Alright class this is where you will sit for the rest of the semester, I need you all to hand in your two page papers and pass them to the front, I’ll pass around a couple of staplers.” He set a stapler on the first desk for every row.

“He’s got his shit together today.” Georgia leaned over.

“I know I’m a little scared.” I giggled quietly.

“He’s so hot.” Some girl on the other side of me leaned to a girl behind me.

“I know you think he’d let me do some extra credit?” She gave the one girl a devilish grin.

“I can only hope.” She smirked.

“Sweeties, he’s not interested in girls who will give up everything for him.” Georgia made it clear to shut up.

“Bitch.” One of them hissed.

“Thank you.” She smiled and turned back to me.

“Wow, can I be you?” Her confidence was admirable.

“You have confidence in there we just need to find it.” She whispered before Mr. Romano started teaching.


I purposely put Janey in the front but to not make anything too obvious I made sure Georgia was right beside her.

That night when I was reading the papers much full of obstacles like break ups a few with family issues and one that watched his best friend get stabbed and die. I came across Janey’s and began reading hers, digging deeper into the paper I found out that she had suffered anorexia and beat it, that would explain the baggy clothes. I didn’t judge her I didn’t judge any of them their stories were real and raw.

I knew I had to get closer to her, I just didn’t know how. Her smile and smart remarks in class drew me even closer to her. She was hypnotizing me without even knowing it. She was magnificent and she didn’t even know she was.

Three weeks into class I couldn’t handle my feelings anymore. I had to do something about them.

“Mr. Romano?” I heard a quiet voice knock on my office door.

“Yes?” I didn’t look up for some papers I was grading.

“It’s Janey Burks.” She walked in and took a seat without being asked.

“I’m sorry. These papers just keep stacking up.” I smiled and looked at her sparkling eyes, she looked different today.

“Oh no it’s fine.” She smiled sheepishly.

“What can I help you with?” I set my arms on the desk.

“I need your help actually.” She started blushing.

“Yes?” I was honestly curious.

“Okay I know that this sort of thing is frowned upon or whatever and my friends put me up to it but I sort of need you to go to this stupid dance thing with me.” She was definitely embarrassed and I was definitely shocked.

“What’s it for?” Now she really had my attention.

“It’s like this Great Gatsby theme dance thing and it’s really stupid if you don’t want to go I get it, you probably think I’m a total weirdo.” She fidgeted awkwardly and I was mesmerized.

“I’ll go.” I didn’t know what I was getting myself into but I didn’t care.

“You’re kidding?” Her eyes widened.

“Sure I’ll go, won’t hurt anything.” I acted like it was no big deal but to me it was.

“Uh cool, um here’s the info and you can just meet us there. It’s tomorrow.” I looked at the flyer.

“I’ll see you tomorrow, have a good Friday Janey.” I smiled and she left.

I was in.