Life’s Lessons

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Blonde

Annabelle thought he looked like a wolf when she first saw him.

He was standing at the front of the small classroom with a book of poetry in his hand, cover bent at an atrocious angle in his grip. He was all sharp eyes and bearded jaw, the salt-and-pepper color of his thick hair the only real aging factor in his appearance. His teeth were very white, and they flashed every time he spoke in his growling drawl.

David Masterson dressed like a professor, with a plaid button-down under his tweed, but he paced the room like a general. He would cry, shout and charge during his lectures, his books banging against whatever lectern or table got in his way. His tongue was as sharp as his wit, alternately fawning over and eviscerating the works of poetry they read.

She’d had boyfriends, she’d dated and felt the rush of genuine affection, but this was different. The more she watched him, the more his personality excited her. Annabelle had always been an active student, but she found herself frozen in silent, rapt attention each time he entered the room. She was no coward, though, so she took to visiting him during office hours instead.

Professor Masterson’s office was in the back of the big limestone building that housed the liberal arts faculty. Like the others it was both tall and tiny, with stone and plaster walls that stretched to the 10-foot ceiling and dwarfed the workspace within. The tall window was perpetually dirty, dusted with a grime that was the same color as the limestone walls.

He was a good teacher on top of everything else, always willing to explain concepts again. He repeated himself a lot, but she never minded.

“…and that, THAT, Anna, is why we know that Fulton was a secret revolutionary. Right?”

“Right.” She answered from her seat, even though she knew it was a rhetorical question.

Annabelle was in her usual chair. David had been seated at his desk when she came in, but his academic fervor had driven him to his feet. Now that his point was across he was settling, standing in front of her to lean on his desk.

“You understand?”

“Yes, thank you so much!”

She shot to her feet, hearing a dismissal, and was surprised to find he’d stepped closer to her. His sudden presence in her personal bubble almost took her breath away. He smelled of tobacco and chalk.

“Thank you, Annabelle.”

“Oh?”

His head was tilted down to meet her eyes, his smile warm.

“You’re a delight to work with. You’re very bright, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see you go far in academia. Of course, I always enjoy teaching graduate students. You’re all so… grown-up. You have a level of maturity that undergrads don’t.” He wasn’t speaking in his usual sharp tone. This one was softer, more of a purr than a growl.

Annabelle found her mouth had gone quite dry.

“Oh, well, we all had to be undergrads sometime.” She whispered, hoarse.

He laughed, the sound bright as full. His head rocked back, his weight shifting onto his heels.

“You’re right, of course. Still, you are something else, Annabelle.”

“Thank you, sir,” she answered with a bright smile.

It wasn’t until she’d exited his office that a bigger, goofier grin made its way onto her face.

***

During the first year of her Master’s degree, Annabelle was more than happy to watch David. She loved to watch him lecture because she felt this was when he was at his most magnificent, leading her to a perfect attendance record in his course. She kept going to his office hours, but these visits rarely stayed on any academic topic. She was pleased to find that whatever subject she got him on, David’s enthusiasm never wavered.

“… you know, in those days’ girls used to bleach their skin to be rid of freckles. It’s still popular in many countries where pale skin is seen as a sign of beauty. India, for example, South Africa… hard to imagine now, of course-“

“Oh, I don’t know.” Annabelle sighed, eyes climbing the many racks of weathered tomes that decorated his ataşehir escort bayan office. “I might have considered at some point.”

“Really?”

David’s mouth dropped open, his face so incredulous that she laughed at him.

“Well, sure. I hated my freckles when I was growing up, a lot of girls do. I used to cake on my makeup to hide them.”

David moved across the room quickly, crossing the small space in a single long stride. He was very close to her, his eyes examining her face with the same furious curiosity with which he read. His hands were raised, two fingers from each touching her jaw with unexpected gentleness. She held still.

After a moment he drew back with an explosive scoff.

“Ridiculous! You have lovely freckles.”

Annabelle’s face flushed at the compliment. His touch left her skin tingling, as the breath he’d caught inside her made its way out of her with a woosh.

“Thank you. I mean, tell that to high-school aged me!”

He laughed, bouncing back to the other side of his desk.

“Even if I could go back and tell her what an intelligent beauty she’ll become, I’m afraid she wouldn’t believe me.”

Annabelle flushed brighter, and her voice softened.

“I think she would.”

David laughed as though it was a joke, but his eyes said something different. Annabelle spent a moment pinned under his curious gaze before turning to leave.

“I have class!”

Her departure was sudden, but she still caught the bold wink he gave her from the corner of her eye.

***

Their flirtations continued throughout the year, with Annabelle spending more and more time in David’s office. It turned into a safe place for her, one where she only saw the best in herself. David didn’t touch her again, but he put himself within touching distance regularly. She got the impression that he was waiting for her to make the first move, as opposed to simply asking her permission. She supposed that she would do the same thing, in his position.

Still, it was a step she never took. She would sometimes think about it on her way to see him, walking into his office with a spark of brash courage inside her, only to have it disappear under the smothering weight of his presence. She felt a bit helpless around him, certain that her affection for her professor had gone far beyond a crush. She no longer trusted herself to think clearly in his presence, and that self-awareness stopped her each time she thought she might say something.

David’s praise, as intoxicating as it was, made her value his respect over anything else. If she gave in and touched, gave in and let him know her more personally, she risked losing it. The end of the semester came and went quietly, the summer allowing her to regroup away from him.

***

The next semester was very different for Annabelle.

She didn’t take any of David’s classes, feigning disappointment when she emailed him to ask for a meeting. After all, mentorship was an essential task for faculty.

Annabelle was not looking for a mentor. Whatever shyness or worry for her reputation she’d carried before was gone now, washed away by the tasteless boredom she’d endured surrounded by the young men in her little home town. They talked of sports, cars and tractors. She’d thirsted for David’s company for weeks prior to her return, and that delay in gratification was what would let her speak her mind.

The spark in her belly did not go out when she entered David’s office. She shut the door behind her with a soft click, making him look up in surprise. An enormous smile broke across his face when he saw her.

“Annabelle!” He cheered, shooting to his feet and sending his battered desk chair flying.

He crossed the room in two big strides, his hand held out for hers. Annabelle smiled back, sweeping her hair away from her face in an effort to get a better look at him. His beard had grown in a little over the summer, but it still couldn’t to hide the dimples on his cheeks. He still filled the escort kadıköy room, larger than life, but Annabelle didn’t feel the weight of it so terribly as she had before. David’s personality was powerful, but she’d grown stronger in their months apart.

She showed him her teeth in a prim smile.

“Professor! I’m so glad you had the time for me.” She kept her voice cool and mature.

David scoffed, snorting in a distinctly immature way.

“Had the time? For you? Why I’d cancel on the Queen of England for you, Annabelle.”

She blushed, but only briefly.

“I’m still glad all the same. I was so disappointed to see I wasn’t in any of your lecture.”

“Oh, yes.” David grumble, reaching for his schedule on a pile of haphazardly stacked papers. “I’ve lots of the same courses as last year, no need for you to take them again. I would still love to see you from time to time, though.”

“So would I,” Annabelle answered.

It wasn’t a confession, but it felt like one. She was working to keep her breathing even, still standing in the middle of his office as he fluttered around her.

“Tea?” he asked abruptly.

“No, thank you, I-“

“I might have coffee as well, do you-“

He stopped mid-sentence when she reached out for him. His feet froze in their tracks, mid-step on a buzzing path across the room. She hardly touched him, one hand merely held several inches from his cheek, but the world seemed to pause anyway.

His gaze made her feel like a work of art, so intense was his stare. Lips parted and eyes wide, she was sure that he knew her every moment, would respond to the very beat of her heart. The silence was broken only by their short breaths.

The world started spinning again when she moved her hand, pressing the backs of her long fingers against his bearded jaw.

“Stop that,” she said softly.

Annabelle’s voice was soft, but her tone was insistent. He straightened, placing the length of his long limbs under him slowly and deliberately.

“Stop what?” he asked.

“Stop fussing over me.” She responded, taking a single step closer. Her body was parallel with his, her hand still resting against his warm cheek. “I didn’t come here for you to fuss.”

“What did you come here for?” His mouth sounded as dry as hers felt.

Annabelle had to pause at the question, knowing that it needed an answer that was as honest and as true as she could make it.

“You.” She told him.

They crashed together like rocks and waves.

***

Annabelle found that being with David was a bit like a drug. She rarely worried about it while she was with him, his fierce and earnest affection a balm against any doubts she may have. She didn’t worry when they were apart, either, aside from the ever-present anticipation of their next meeting.

She still called them meetings in her head. Why was that? She supposed it was because she didn’t know what else to call them. They were, for all intents and purposes, dating. The relationship wasn’t like her others, though. David did nothing to change her, shape her or control her. He never mentioned exclusivity, or tried to lay any claim over her at all. She felt entirely free, both in his presence and outside of it.

When she finally brought it up, it felt like a dirty word.

They were laying on a soft afghan in front of his fireplace. His apartment was the same mixture of eccentric and quaint that his office was, with little treasures and stacks of paper taking up every square corner. His chest was bare, his boxer-briefs riding up on leg as he wrapped himself around her.

“What’s going to happen after I graduate?” She stared at the ceiling while she asked it.

“You’ll get a job, or you’ll get another one.”

“Another what?”

“A degree.”

“No, I mean…” she sighed, “with… this. You and me.”

“Ah.” He said with a low hum “Whatever you want to happen, I suppose.”

“What do you think that’ll be?”

“I know better than to tell you what to bostancı escort do, Anna.” He chuckled.

“I’m being serious.”

“I know.”

Their gazes met and lingered for a moment.

“Aren’t you worried I’ll want marriage and babies?”

He outright laughed at that.

“Not particularly, no. I’ve met you after all.”

She spared him a little smile at his knowing wink.

“Well that’s good to know.”

“I don’t expect you to stay with me forever, Annabelle. I’m an old man- no, don’t argue, I am- and you’re not. You’re just launching your life. This is a stage of transition for you, and I’m fine just being here along the way.”

Annabelle blinked, driving away the tears of relief that had rushed into her vision at his words. Breaking up was one thing, but handling his dislike or disrespect would have been another. In her hometown, loving and leaving wasn’t what good girls did, but David was as far away as she could get. His world was her knew home. She took a deep breath.

Her hand slid around the back of his neck, the flesh they’re incredibly warm against her palm. The light of the fireplace had left lines of heated skin all along their bodies, lines that dissipated and bled into the flesh around them when their lips crashed together.

She tried to put all the passion and gratitude she had for him into that one kiss, only to find it lacking. One of his hands reached to grab her thigh, pulling it around his waist and driving her entire body against his. She grunted at the pleasant sting of pleasure that jolted through her pelvis when she rubbed against his cock, the silk of her panties lending a sweet friction to the movement that drew the sound out into a whine.

He sighed, eyes growing glossy and dark as his other hand entwined fingers through her auburn hair to cradle her scalp. Annabelle felt her body grow soft and pliable, her muscles relaxing as they kissed deeper, his tongue sweeter than ever before. Their honesty was a release that let them flow in each other’s arms like matching tides.

Annabelle’s arousal grew more insistent, made bold by the knowledge that no matter what happened after graduation, this man had known her. He had known her fully, loved her fully, and respected her enough to put her life and future first. No matter what happened, David had helped her grow strong.

She let out small, mewling whines as her hips started to work against his, her hands reaching between her own straddled legs to free him from his boxers. As she struggled with the material his hands wandered, gentle touches on her thighs and soft kisses at her neck driving up her arousal until she felt like an empty cavern that needed to be filled.

David’s breaths were coming out in pants, none sharper than when her fingers first made contact with the soft skin of his uncircumcised cock. She heard a crinkling sound, and smiled around her shallow breaths as he handed her the condom he’d slipped into the waistband of his boxers.

“Cheeky bastard,” she whispered to him so he’d smile back.

He did, teeth gritting together with the force of his arousal. His lips parted when she slid the condom on, widening into a perfect ‘O’ when she mounted him to ride his cock.

On thrust, then two, then she lost count as the sweet ache inside her grew intense and concentrated. She groaned with each thrust, the weave of the afghan imprinting itself on her bare knees while she gripped David’s hair with both fists. He seemed to be at a loss for words for the first time since she’d known him.

“Oh…” He whined, eyes squeezed shut, his hips working in time with hers.

As their movements synchronized and their bodies clenched, they came together in a loud rush. It was a hum in their ears and a breathless crash in the rest of their bodies, rhythm slowing from that of a storm to a tide pool before she collapsed sideways onto the padded floor. Endorphins fell on her face like a light rain.

Relaxation took over, and the heat of the room grew like a down blanket. The way David looked at her after they’d made love, after she’d told him she’d be leaving, proved his intentions to her. This relationship was just the beginning.

Laying there next to David, Annabelle knew that this was what she’d really learned in grad school.

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