It's all a Learning Process.
What could she do? She had to trust him, and it would be undignified and demeaning to argue with him. There was no escaping now, not with all of her clothes in a washer or getting dried.
He led the way up a small set of back stairs to the attic area where he said that he mostly lived, and slept.
His apartment was small, but comfortable, tidy, and clean. Military tidiness. Except for a bathroom and toilet, it was all open space.
“I can make us tea or coffee.”
“Either.” She watched him put a kettle on the oven top, and she walked to the small table and sat in the only chair there as he prepared everything and set the table as she concentrated on bringing her robe closer around her. She noticed that he was smiling at her defensive response to everything.
It was certainly a male who lived here. He had begun to unpack some books onto a small bookshelf, and she was curious about the titles.
She had to distract herself from what was happening, and she knew that she could learn a lot more about him by looking at what he read, what music he listened to, and from the knick-knacks that he valued, once he had settled in, but the books were all that she could see.
When might he find the time to read?
She must have been dreaming.
He set a cup in front of her, found another chair from by his bed under the window, and sat with her.
Her hands clasped around a warm mug of tea.
“Milk, there. Sugar, there.” He pointed. She added both, stirred it, and then sipped at it, feeling the robe relax from her upper body, though not revealing anything.
He stood up and brought a towel over, one of those he’d brought up with them.
“If you turn to me and face me, I will dry your hair, then I’ll find you a hair brush and get you looking as you were.” He thought about it and offered a different way. “Or you can lean back and I’ll work behind you. That might be safer for us both.” She knew what he meant. Their robes; his and hers, might not stay closed if he was too vigorous with her hair and she would need to put her feet apart for balance.
She turned her chair and sat low in it so he could see to her hair. She began to feel that she could actually trust him, though the showering together and undressing as they had, had helped in that.
“Why are you in this school, Steve?” Not, Mr. Rutherford, he was pleased to notice, but, Steve.
“You don’t seem to belong here.” He briskly rubbed out her hair as he talked, letting it hang over the back of the chair, and then went back to drying her head as she tried to hold her robe closed, letting it slip farther open as she relaxed more. She knew that he would be able to catch a glimpse of her breasts as she reached out for her cup, and let it slip open even more. She knew that he would always want to see her unclothed body. All males, did, but she would not dare tempt him too far. Not yet.
“I don’t belong anywhere.”
“I meant that you seem to be as well-educated as any of our teachers. I saw the titles of some of those books and they look to be well-used, and that’s only a few of them. You speak politely, and in a well-mannered way.”
“You are observant. Yes, I’m well-educated. I’ll tell you sometime, but not yet. When we know each other a little better, I’ll tell you more.”
“And those wounds on you. I saw them after we showered. That’s what they are. My father saw some action, but that was more than just, some. It must have been intense.”
“It was. It got hand-to-hand for a while. I can’t speak about that either, not just yet. I’m hauling a lot of baggage around with me and still finding my feet. That's why I'm here and not somewhere else.”
She understood his inability to talk about his experiences. He wasn’t ready to tell her anything too personal about himself either, and she shouldn’t ask.
He opened up further. “This school is a wonderful distraction. The girls help keep me on my toes with a few challenges they throw at me, but none as interesting as the one you just caused for me.” She had known that for herself.
After he had done what he could with her hair, he brought a hair brush and got started on brushing out her hair, noticing that she slowly relaxed more. She took over and continued, feeling the robe open from her a little more each time she moved. She knew he was watching her, just as she was curious about him as his robe had moved, opening up as he had done things around her. At this rate they would soon lose most of their shyness with each other, but there was still a long way to go.
“I’ll go and get our clothes.” He left her to see to the rest of her hair, and went back down to the change room, returning a few minutes later with all of their clothes and more towels to dry her skirt even more. He had tidied up down there too, before putting the lights out. The towels and robes could go into the school laundry. He'd tried to give her time enough to get her hair done properly without worrying about her robe drifting open in front of him, as it threatened to do as she moved, and it also gave her time to read more of his book titles. She had seemed to want to.
She was less concerned, and not nearly as careful getting dressed in front of him as she had been, and then lost almost all shyness, once she had her bra and panties on.
“Steve?” He looked up and saw what she needed of him. She wanted him to fasten her bra as she held it up on herself, blushing at him.
He felt breathless at the trust she showed him. He wanted to swoop in and kiss her on the neck too as he did that for her, pulling firmly at the sides to bring the hooks and eyes together, but resisted that impulse; watching, as she then put on her blouse, and wrapped her damp skirt around herself.
Before they left to go back to the school for the evening meal, they stopped in the change room and got out the ironing board. She took off her skirt without any hesitation in front of him, and he watched her ironing it, fascinated by what she was doing, and not minding him watching her.
She was much less shy to be seen that way now. She ironed it through one of the damp towels and moist face cloths from their footwear, to sharpen the pleats again. That was all it took to get it dry before she put it back on. He watched her do that. At least he’d survived one major test, but he was not sure how much more temptation like that he could survive with her, and she must know that.
As they walked silently back to the school together after Steve had locked up, they both realized that a stronger and more solid relationship had begun to form between them. They both knew it, but were not yet ready to speak about it.
He was touching her arm and walking close to her. The other girls might see that, but she found that she didn’t care. There was a feeling of understanding and trust. Nothing had gone off track to destroy that trust, as it so easily could have done. They would even be able to use each other’s first name after this, but not if anyone else was within hearing range.
“Now that we’ve got that difficult introduction out of the way, and a baptism of sorts, you can swim with me sometime, if you like, Margaret, and before I turn the pool over to the school. We should not swim alone, and we can keep an eye on each other."
They might also shower together again too.
"Once I turn it over to the school, the only time I might be able to swim will be after the evening meal, late, or before breakfast.”
She found courage to respond. “How about in the morning, before breakfast?”
But what would happen then when they showered together after their swim? It was too late to backtrack.
“I’ll leave the door unlocked for you at 6 am. You know how to latch it behind you. I have some work to do in the school tonight, before I can eat. The kitchen staff leave me enough food for when the girls have all gone. Tomorrow morning then.”
That, was their memorable, first significant introduction to each other. Each time they showered was a repeat of the first time, but with their swim suits covering them, rather than underwear. They undressed under a robe as before, after showering. Nothing got out of hand, but the temptations gradually grew, and they both became progressively more relaxed, as well as careless. Margaret knew that he watched her all of the time, but each of them was curious about the other as more and more slowly became exposed for a little longer each time. Something, would soon give, but she was not sure how, or when. She would have to leave it up to him, though she could help the process along.
The pool was turned over to the school just a few days after that so their morning and evening swims were almost impossible. The only time he could swim then, was after all of the girls had retired, but Margaret had not yet learned how to work around the school security of an evening. He would have to show her. He enjoyed her mature company more than he could say, just as she enjoyed his.