Teach Me(10)By: Lola Darling
Fuck, she’s gorgeous.
She’s also staring at me, wide-eyed. “Sorry,” she gasps, her eyes somehow widening even more, and that’s when I recognize her. Mary Kate’s nervous friend from class.
Stop ogling the students, you cretin. “Not at all,” I say aloud. “My fault. I trust you’re enjoying my class, Miss . . . ?” I wait for her to fill in the blank, but she only gapes at me longer.
Finally, her mouth snaps shut and her shoulders square. She’s even more attractive this way than when she’s being timid. I bet she could take charge in the bedroom. Christ, Jack, what the hell. I banish that thought to the darker recesses of my clearly overworked mind.
“I’d like to talk to you,” she says, all in a rush, like this was a difficult admission.
She’s American, I notice with surprise. Something about the loose gray sweater she’s wearing, paired with jeans and high boots, had suggested local girl to me. I readjust the settings in my head, think about her as a confused exchange student instead. It certainly helps explain her bewilderment in class.
I really don’t have time for this, but I sigh and point up the corridor toward my own office. “I can give you five minutes.”
Do the right thing, Harper.
I stand outside the office of the registrar, my heart torn in two. I really, really wanted to take this class. But there’s no way I can sit through his lectures knowing what happened between us. Especially when he obviously doesn’t realize. That much was clear from the way he gave me a blank look in class.
I don’t know why that bothers me. It’s better like this. I’ll drop the course, find another class to replace it. It’ll set me back a semester at home, because I was supposed to fulfill my poetry requirement here, but better that than getting myself embroiled in yet another mess.
This one would be the worst yet. Worse than my TA, worse than the time I accidentally slept with my mother’s new boss (who, in my defense, is a lot younger than she is).
Hey, you survived those, I tell myself. That gives me the courage to push open the door to the registrar.
That’s when voices catch my attention. Raised voices, coming from another office a few doors down. One voice that I recognize. “Screw the bloody curriculum.”
I can’t help it. I creep closer to the open door, one eye on the empty hallway around me. Ignore it. Turn around, go into the registrar. Drop the class. My brain fires all kinds of helpful, sensible, non-stalkerish suggestions at me.
Naturally, I ignore them all.
If someone comes by, I’ll leave. But the hallway remains empty, and anyway, Professor Kingston’s next words freeze me to the spot. “Never before seen work. From Eliot himself.”
No. Freaking. Way.
The words themselves practically make me nerdgasm on the spot. Another student passes by, shooting me a weird look as she walks around me into the registrar’s office. I completely ignore her, and tiptoe closer to the open office. Dean something-or-other is written on the door. I listen to their whole conversation, my heart beating faster with every word Jack says—and not with lust this time.
Well, with some lust. But mostly of the holy shit, I need to get that research position variety. This could totally make my undergraduate career. I can already see my faculty advisor back home salivating over the thesis I could write on this.
So when Jack—Professor Kingston, I mentally correct myself—backs into the hallway, I don’t do the smart thing. I don’t run. I stand there, take a deep breath, and let him nearly run straight into me. He’s taller than me, I now notice. A lot taller. Almost a foot—I know I’m short at 5’5”, but wow.
Emotions flicker across his even-hotter-close-up face—anger, surprise, recognition—and then he seems to settle into mild annoyance, even after I manage to ask to speak to him.
Five minutes. I can totally explain this and plead my case within five minutes, right?
He leads me down the hallway into his office, a cramped but surprisingly homey room, the walls lined with huge, dusty old leather-backed tomes, and a massive mahogany desk commanding my attention the moment I step inside. My traitor imagination immediately notes how the desk is perfectly positioned at waist-height, just begging for someone to be bend over it . . .
My face flushes, and I swallow hard. Stop it. This is exactly the kind of thinking I need to cut the hell out.
It doesn’t help that he’s standing right next to me, close enough that I can feel the heat from his body. I know that if I meet his intense gaze again, I’ll lose all my nerve. So I focus on the desk instead, and try to ignore it when he squeezes past me, and his arm brushes my shoulder. Fire ignites along my whole side, and my breath catches as I remember the way his arms circled me last night, pulling me against him, so firm, completely in control.