Teach Me(6)

By: Lola Darling


Luckily, he’s a faster thinker than I am at the moment. He catches me, yanks my underwear up and my skirt down fast as possible. I grab at his shirt in protest—we haven’t even done him yet, it’s my turn. But he spins me away from him, and I land on his knee facing the confessional door just as it bursts open.

Bright light floods my probably red-hot face, blinding me. I hold up a hand against it while my eyes struggle to adjust after what feels like hours spent inside this totally dark booth.

Through a squint, I can see at least a dozen people peering in at us, wearing various expressions of surprise and amusement. The guy who opened the door has on a full bishop outfit, complete with giant scarlet hat.

“Well you guys definitely win ballsiest move of the night,” he says in an American accent, his eyes drifting to the broken wooden stall beside us. “What have you done to the confessional?” With a shock I recognize him. It’s the guy Mary Kate went up to the roof with, the one from my exchange group.

No one else behind him looks familiar, but I haven’t exactly memorized the whole campus yet.

What have I done?

“I’ve got to go,” I call over my shoulder without turning around. I can’t let him see my face, and I don’t want to see his. If I do, if I look at him . . . This will all get way too real, way too fast.

“Wait,” he says, but I’m already flinging myself out of the booth, letting my now-very-mussed hair hide my burning face as best it can. The group who found us laugh and cheer as I race past, but I don’t stop for high fives. I make a beeline through the karaoke-filled living room, straight into the hallway. My coat swings on a hook there—I yank it free, throw it around my shoulders, and text Mary Kate from the hallway.

I’m going home. Sorry I can’t stay.

I know it’s a dick move, skipping out without a goodbye. But this is MK’s party. These are her friends. She’ll be fine.

I’m the one who needs the chaperone.



#



“You don’t even know his name?” MK exclaims as we meander toward our first class, the one I really ought to be conscious for. Twentieth-Century English Poetry, the subject I specifically came here to study, with the professor I idolize. Now, I’m going to look like a total wreck on day one. Great first impression.

The tall, crenelated medieval buildings of our campus look somewhat less inspiring at the ass-crack of dawn.

Okay, so it’s 8:00 a.m., but that feels impossibly early after I stayed up all night in the dorm room replaying the party in an endless loop of embarrassment.

Embarrassment, and some—what did he call them? Impure thoughts.

“I already regret admitting anything,” I mutter between sips of my espresso. Coffee here kind of sucks, but I’ve got to admit, their espresso is the shit. Or at least, it makes me feel marginally less like shit, which after a night like the last one, is a minor miracle.

“Oh, please. Nick already told me how he found you. Like I’d let you get away without answering at least some basic questions. How hot was he, scale of one to fuck-me-stupid?”

A group of girls crossing the green in the opposite direction, their patent leather shoes clacking on the cobblestones, glance our way. Were they at the party last night? Did someone tell them about me?

My cheeks flush.

“I told you, I didn’t see his face.”

The girls pass us without a second glance. I’m getting paranoid.

“At all?” Hearing her posh accent in such a shocked tone wins a slight grin from me. “Wow, Harper, I know you always tell me you’re trouble, but that’s a new high.”

“Oh shut up. You’d have been tempted too if you heard his voice.”

“The accent? I thought you were immune to such charms by this point. You’ve only been over here visiting me half a dozen times.”

“I’ve never heard an accent like his.” I catch myself, and clear my throat. Almost drifted into dreamy for a second there. I definitely do not have a crush on the sort of guy who would go down on me at a costume party in a closet. “It was fun, that’s all,” I say out loud.

MK points at a door that looks more like a hobbit hole than a classroom entrance. It’s so short she has to duck as she enters, though for little 5’5” me it’s nothing. We step through the arched stone entrance and into a room paneled in dark wood. A dais surrounded by chalkboards stands at the head of the room. Stadium desks rise around it, each one equipped with an uncomfortable-looking chair.

We slide into seats in the second row, high enough so that we’re looking down a few feet at the professor as he sets up.

MK elbows me and leans over to whisper in my ear. “Should I warn you to behave yourself again?” she asks with a grin in teacher’s direction.

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