I've worked at Darla's for only a few months after I started Shakespeare University last year. I needed the extra cash for things that my mother wouldn't add in my budgeted allowance. Things like new clothes and transport for moving out of campus.
Everybody on campus comes to Darla's. It's a small coffee shop but, coffee is the very fuel of everyone that walks the campus grounds. I only work Saturdays and Sundays, but I was able to squeeze in a shift after switching my Saturday with Becca Marvin's Thursday. I'm honestly glad I could make this shift. It gives me something to think about other than....No. I'm not even gonna say his name. Not today.
After crying myself to sleep last night, I've come to the conclusion that I might need to have a conversation with him about what happened. Maybe if I clarify things and apologize for my indecent behavior, it'll be easier to live with myself.
By lunchtime, the shop is almost empty and I sit behind the counter eating a chocolate chip muffin and reading my most recent novel, Lolita
"I'll have a plain black coffee", I hear a familiar voice coming from the other side of the cash register and I lift my head. "no sugar", Mr. Grayson adds.
His gaze is intense.
I nearly choke on my muffin when I see him. "Uh...that'll be $5 and 50 cents"
"Here you are", he smiles, handing me a $10 bill, "keep the change"
Hm. Is he just trying to be nice? Or is he flaunting his money. Oh, maybe he's paying for my services from the other night.
I nod and bend over to grab the coffee cups. My hand trembles lightly as I pour the coffee into his cup, breathing heavily. Taking a breath, I turn around and hand him his cup of steaming hot coffee.
"Thank you. Come again", I whisper and he smiles at me with such a look of amusement in his dark eyes.
Why is he acting like this? Like nothing happened? Are we really just going to ignore the fact that we've seen each other naked?
"Would you like to talk for a minute?", he murmurs and my heart immediately starts to beat out of my chest. Oh no.
I steadily come out from behind the counter trying desperately not to trip on my own shoe. I follow him to a table in the corner of the shop where I sit down timidly, trying to catch my breath.
"What would you like to talk about", I squeak. Oh my goodness, calm down Nailea!
"About what happened the other night. I want to apologize but unfortunately, we can't undo the past. We can, however, move forward", he says in a 'matter-of-fact' kind of way.
"If anything, I should be the one to apologize.", I say, "That isn't the type of person that I am. That wasn't me"
"Who was it then?", he asks teasingly with his voice low and his gaze fixed on me.
My cheeks heat up and I feel my nose wrinkle. Why does he make me feel this way?
"I'm only teasing", he says quickly and smirks
"Was that your first time?"
I nod. Feeling embarrassed by it. "Does that bother you?"
"No. I like it", he says blankly, "I like that I'll forever be the one who took your innocence"
Oh, Mr. Grayson.
"I like your little nose wrinkle by the way. It's...attractive", he says quickly. How can he do that? How can he switch conversations so effortlessly all at once and yet still sound so...devilish. It baffles me.
"I hate it. I can't seem to get rid of it though"
"Why would you want to? I think it makes you...special"
"I've never been called special before", I say, feeling embarrassed.
He cocks his head to one side and arches an eyebrow, "That's simply unacceptable. To me, you're special Miss Tembo. And I need you"
I imagine myself jumping onto the table and grabbing him by the collar, having my way with him, sharing each breath and taking off his stupid white button up shirt.
"What?", I ask dryly, stunned by his statement
"I need you. You are my student assistant after all", he clarifies
"Have you worked here long?", he asks, snapping me out of my fantasy
"Almost a year", I mutter in response
"Do you like it?"
"No one ever really likes their job", I reply, "well, I've never heard of something like that anyway"
"I like my job", he challenges
"You don't really have a job. You have a career...so"
"Hm. I've never thought of it that way", he says, "I wasn't always a lecturer actually. I was a criminal psychologist in my early twenties"
Early twenties? Hell, I'm not even twenty one! How old is this gorgeous, educated man?!
"Wow. You started off pretty early huh?"
"I'll spare you the boring details"
I smile nervously.
"Well, I better get going. I hope to see you in class tomorrow? Now that everything is sorted?"
"Sure", I smile and watch him disappear outside of the shop. I quiver and slump down in my chair, trying to re-live what had just happened. I notice that he left his cup of coffee on the table and when I pick it up, I take a sip, tasting him and the taste in not as familiar as I wish it were.
Oh, this is such a foreign feeling for me. This, attraction. I know that nothing can happen but still, I can admire him, can't I? Surely no harm can come from simply having a discreet crush on my Professor. Right?
I get out of the chair and carry on with my work.
When I get home later, Daisy is concentrating aggressively on her laptop, typing away and humming to herself while she does it. I slump on the carpet next to her and she looks stunned.
"What are you working on?", I ask
"Oh, uh. I'm writing a story for the University magazine", she replies. Daisy's studying journalism
"How...uh...how was work?", she nervously asks
She nods and continues to type.
"I'm sorry about the way I acted. You are a good friend. It's just that I was looking for someone other than myself to blame for what had happened that night"
"What happened?", she frowns
"You have to promise me that you won't tell a single soul"
She nods quickly.
"I slept with my professor"
She gasps and starts to burst out in laughter. "Nai, are you a lesbian?"
"What?! No", I quickly defend, "why would you think that?"
"Well, you just told me you had sex with Professor Tillman"
"oh, no", my nose wrinkles, "I slept with my new professor, Mr. Grayson"
"Oh", she laughs, "wait, did you drink when I left the party? Cause there's no way you'd ever do something that exciting if you were sober. Hell, even I wouldn't do something like that while I'm sober"
I flush, and my heart starts to beat rapidly. "I only had soda"
"Well then he must be a gorgeous bastard for you to let him in your panties"
Daisy grabs her laptop. "What's his full name?"
"Xavier Grayson", I murmur
"Ou. Even his name is sexy"
She open her instagram app and types in Mr. Grayson's name. Unfortunately, there's no profile. I can't say I'm surprised, he doesn't strike me as a social media type of person. Daisy then goes onto the University's website and tries to find him. There, we see his profile.
Professor Xavier Grayson: Psychology Professor, PhD Holder, 38 years old. Marital status unknown.
"Woah. He's 38", She glances up at me and I walk to the kitchen area
"So, are you gonna like, date him?", she asks, following me. Damn, why did I bring this up?
"He's married", I murmur
"No. His marital status is unknown"
"He told me so himself, before...you know", I start to cut up some fruit to avoid making eye contact with her.
"Wow. First time for everything huh", she snorts, "so, when will you see him again?"
"I cant do that", I say, more in an asking way though
"Nai, this is the single most exciting thing you've ever done in your life. I mean, you already missed out in high school so, make some fucked up memories now", she says, "this is the only time in our lives that we're allowed to make stupid decisions! So make one!"
Could she be right? Should I have an affair with Mr. Grayson? I mean, even if I wanted to, it's not like it's entirely up to me. There's no way he would want to see me again right? At least, not in that way. That would be far too inappropriate.
"Do you want a fruit salad?", I ask, changing the conversation