Janie made it to the lecture hall a good fifteen minutes before class was scheduled to begin. She took a spot in the front row center of the nearly empty room and unpacked her books. She reviewed her assignment, looking up every time she heard the side door open.
Dr. Gilbert didn’t arrive until barely three minutes before class began, dropping his bag on the desk with a thud and shutting his phone off before sticking it back in his pocket. He looked up and scanned the front row, his eyes locking on Janie, who had in turn not taken her eyes off him from the moment he walked in. She smiled at him, and the corner of his mouth turned up slightly in response. His eyes shifted downward and she watched a darkness cross his face the way a cloud darkens the landscape on an otherwise sunny day.
She grinned mischievously, tugging at the hem of her madras shorts.
Dr. Gilbert looked away, his smile gone, his face a stony mask. He cleared his throat and in a strong voice, began his lecture.
Janie looked down and swallowed hard, her cheeks burning, hot tears pricking the corner of her eyes. He was displeased with her, that much was certain, and she could feel the anger fill the room like a heavy, damp fog. It chilled her and she wanted to run, but there was nowhere for her to escape. He seemed a different person than the man who had so gently taken her into his office after she had embarrassed herself outside his door.
The ninety-minute class dragged on interminably. She raised her hand to answer the questions he posed, but he looked over her head and called on other students. Finally, she stopped raising her hand and sat meekly, fiddling with her pen and watching the clock.
When class ended, Janie sat in her seat until the hall emptied of students. Dr. Gilbert did not linger, but packed his notes quickly and headed for the side door. Janie called after him, and he turned.
“Aren’t you going to speak to me?” she asked, not knowing what else to say.
He faced her and looked down at her shorts. “I thought we had an agreement about you doing what is assigned to you in exchange for an improved grade.”
“I did what you said,” she said, smiling at him. Lowering her voice, she added, “I’m not wearing panties. You can check if you like.”
He looked at her sternly, his voice low but clear. “You know full well what I wanted from you.”
“I did all the work. I was prepared for class…”
“There was more to our agreement than just homework. You said you would do anything. I expect you to hold up your end and not play games with me. I don’t have time for little girls who play games. You get me?”
“I have specific…needs and so do you. There are things you need from me, and there are things I’d like from you. But not if you’re going to jerk me around. If you’ve changed your mind, let me know and you’re free to try to get your grade up over passing without my help.”
Janie felt her lower lip tremble a bit. “I’m sorry,” she said, fighting back tears. “I didn’t realize…I thought we were…”
His voice softened and he put his hand on her arm. “This is neither the time nor the place to discuss it. I’ll be in my office at four. Don’t be late.” He smiled gently at her.
She waited until he was through the door to let a single tear run down her face.
The tears hovered near her lashes all day, threatening to spill forth as she picked at her lunch in the dining hall and while she sat in her civics class, struggling to pay attention.
Stop playing games.
He’d said it twice to her. What did he mean? What games was he talking about?
She stared out the window and chewed on the end of her pen. Her brows knit together as she tried to figure him out. Games. He was the one playing games, wasn’t he? Do this. Wear that…
How did she even wind up playing by his rules in the first place?
She shifted in her seat, confused and uncomfortable in her skin, wanting to get out of there, away from people, away from the droning of the teacher and the shuffling of the students around her. She felt like they could read her thoughts, which were disturbing her enough on their own without the creeping sensation that every one of them was written all over her face.
That he wanted her was certain. Or was it? He said he did, but when given multiple chances, he didn’t claim her. He never really even tried to. He toyed with her, getting her hot and bothered and sending her away unsatisfied.
But never seeking his own satisfaction.
She had offered it, after all. Offered her body in exchange for a piddling D-minus. Why was he making it so hard?
The thoughts swirled around as she tried to make sense of her relationship with Dr. Gilbert. What was it? He had been intimate with her, and the remembrance of his mouth on her, licking and sucking at her clit until it throbbed was enough to set her to shifting in her seat again. And yet, she’d not been asked to call him by his first name. He’d had his fingers inside her, but had not so much as undone a single shirt button.
So many things had become a series of questions since she’d approached him, and she felt the answer was like the end of a string, or a piece of yarn, and once she found it and tugged that the whole of the thing would unravel and be clear. Only she couldn’t worry out that bit to grab onto, and it ate at her.
By the time class dragged painfully to its end, Janie realized she’d heard nothing of the lesson and would have to read twice as carefully to pass the next test, and the thought rolled through her head, she further realized that she was actually giving thought to and making plans for studying. It was another puzzling development, to be sure.
At four o’clock, she was admitted to his office where she put her books on his desk and asked him, quite directly, “Dr. Gilbert, what are we doing here?”
“Could you be more specific?”
“This. What are we doing? What are…we? Are we…? Is this a thing?” She struggled to find the words, and when none of them made sense, she let them flow anyway. “What I mean is, I don’t know if my offer was…accepted, or not. I don’t know how long I’m supposed to be playing this game that I don’t know the rules to. I’m not even sure what we’d call this ‘thing’ we’ve got going on…” Her voice sped up as she talked, and she knew she sounded petulant, but as she began to speak, all the thoughts she’d sifted through came tumbling out in disjointed phrases and half-remembered points. It frustrated her, and she felt the annoying tears well up again, much to her dismay.
When she’d stopped talking, Dr. Gilbert rose and took her hand. “You’re looking for some reassurances, aren’t you?” he asked. When she nodded, he smiled softly at her. “Jane, you’re a beautiful girl, and what’s more, you know it. I’ve known a lot of girls and women like you. Confident. Sexy. Smart—but lazy.” Janie frowned, and he ran his thumb over her full lower lip. “You know it’s true. You thought it would be easier to come in here and offer to sleep with me than it would be to actually study. I bet you even figured I’d be a pretty easy mark, that I’d accept your proposal on the spot.”
Janie blushed, but her voice was steady. “Didn’t you?”
He only smiled again. “I haven’t had sex with you yet, have I?”
She shook her head. “Why haven’t you? Don’t you like me?”
He slipped his arm around her waist and pulled her close. She shivered a little as he pulled her body against his. “I haven’t taken you for a few reasons. First of all, because I’m a professor and you’re an undergraduate, and fucking you is unethical and could cost me my job. And I like my job.” He ran his cheek along hers and she felt the goosebumps rise from the feeling of his warm lips on her neck. “Second, I haven’t yet given into your substantial charms because I spent my own years as an undergraduate at the mercy of girls just like you.” His voice was low, but it took on an edge, even as his fingers cupped her breast and teased her nipple into a hard point. “I’ve known plenty of girls full of sexual power who thought nothing of using a bit of pussy to get what they wanted—be it a seat in a crowded lounge or a passing grade.”
His hand found the hem of her shirt and slid underneath, pulling down the cup of her bra and freeing her breast. He tugged the hard nipple, making her gasp with pleasure. “I haven’t fucked you yet because at the moment, I’m just a means to an end for you.” He leaned down and took her nipple in his mouth and sucked, drawing a soft moan from her parted lips. He let it go, releasing it with a gentle bounce and with his lips a whisper away from hers, he looked deep into her eyes. “But that’s changing. You can feel it, and it’s got you off-balance.” She nodded slightly. “I promise you this: when I do finally spread your legs and slide my cock inside you, it’s not going to be for a grade, or as an exchange of services, or as some sort of display of your sexual power. It’s going to be because you can’t live without it.”
This time, when his lips covered hers, she returned his kiss hungrily.
He kissed her deeply and with considerable skill, at turns drawing her into him with his seeking tongue, forceful and insistent, and then pulling away so his touch was whisper soft, his kisses a question awaiting her response.
Janie felt herself melt in his arms, his words swirling through her brain and brushing against other thoughts—other words and phrases—and she felt the familiar rooting around for that loose end, for that little bit of information that would unravel all the rest and make things clear. She couldn’t think with his lips on her, and with difficulty, she pushed him away.
His cool eyes appraised her as she stepped away from him, pulling her clothing back into place. She was breathing hard and her cotton shorts were damp with desire. “I’m sorry,” she said. She shook her head from side to side as if doing so would help shake her thoughts into place. “I don’t understand. What am I to you?”
He stepped closer to her and gently brushed a tendril of hair off her forehead. “You are my student. I can and will help you get your grades up because I’m a hell of a teacher.” He smiled and wove his fingers through her thick hair, pulling her head back slightly. He pressed his lips to her neck and kissed a soft trail down to the deep cleft between her breasts. “But you’ve offered your body to me as well as your brain. I won’t lie. The idea of helping you realize your true sexual power and how to use it—well, that’s a pretty exciting proposition.” He stood, and pulled her close again so that his lips brushed against hers as soft as butterfly wings as he spoke, his voice low and sensual. “There are so many things you have yet to learn that you just can’t get from books or in a classroom.”
A breath away from her, his hands strong on her body, she felt a tug and the great giving way of her tangled thoughts. She looked deep into his eyes, letting herself fall willingly into their depths.