Steve spoke to very few people in the school except the headmistress; a few teachers; Margaret, and occasionally those few older girls who were always close by, protecting him from the more mischievous girls, or were protecting the other girls from him. But in reality, everyone knew that those girls were in no danger from him. The former was the more rational explanation; protecting him, from them.
He paid none of the girls any obvious attention, and this represented a challenge to them. However, others noticed that he did have a slightly more than passing pleasantness for Margaret, with a smile or a ‘good morning’, but she was the only one who had got behind his armor in some way.
He seemed aloof, but he had to be as he ignored the hordes of curious, provocative girls, and some of their predictably revealing antics to try and attract his attention as their raging hormones kicked into play, and as they learned of the allure of their own bodies and the power they would one day hold over men, with a little absent-minded carelessness here and there. All of which was deliberate and well-planned.
How a woman could excite a man in even a gentle way, was something that Margaret had learned for herself just a year earlier when they had fallen into the pool together, and with the gradually building relationship—though still a cautious one—between them from that moment. But he had excited her too. At that time she had learned that Steve was neither shy, nor aloof, but behaved as though he were, to keep others out. But not her.
Margaret always had a smile for him and was one of those trusted older students delegated by Mrs. Waring, to follow him around when he was inside the school, and to see that the other girls did not try to interfere with what he needed to do, or to distract him by talking to him, or tempting him.
Everything any man wanted to touch or to fondle on a woman, was easily within his reach to take advantage of it, and his attention would be welcome. Maybe. Girls had a tendency to be unpredictable and to change their minds at just the wrong moment when they began to get scared about what they were inviting. It was a wise man who moved slowly, or did not respond.
However, those older and more rebelliously determined and adventurous girls were often able to bypass any effort to shield him from them as they stood suggestively above him on the stairs, or sat there revealingly as he moved past them from one floor to the next, and always ready to adjust their skirts to expose certain deficiencies if Steve appeared, or to hide them, if a teacher appeared instead.
Steve was aware of all that they were doing. Everyone was. It was a game to them.
They always stood too close to him if he were working at floor level, or wherever he was. They were always deliberately too close, where he could not avoid looking up their skirts to see their panties, or even to see them in more detail after they had divested themselves of them, then sitting, or standing provocatively, and watching him with interest to see how he would respond to what they were showing him, offering him, enticing him. Would he dare look at them, acknowledge them, touch them, as they openly invited him to do?
At those times, they were ready to dash into a nearby bathroom to put their underwear back on again if they were seen to be hovering over him suspiciously, or flashing him. Lots of accidents took place close to him, all of them tempting, but he was unmoved by them, though he must have noticed. How could he not notice? They did not understand how he could not notice them.
They knew, after some brief exploratory indiscretions in his presence, that he tried to ignore them rather than say anything, and that even though he must have seen them as they intended he would, that he would say nothing to anyone about it. That was their signal to be even more brazen and daring; some of them. It quite amused them that he was able to ignore them and did not respond to anything that they did, but they kept trying, thinking up new and more extreme scenarios in which to surprise him.
At other vulnerable times for him, which he could not easily avoid, as when he was at the top of his ladder, they were not above taking their panties down and mooning him through a dorm window, or sticking their bare bums out of a window as he climbed his ladder, daringly and openly inviting him to kiss them there, as they had just learned had happened in one of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, or they just stood there, naked, behind a window in their dorm, and barely three feet away from him (doing so with impunity). They would argue that they had just climbed out of the shower or bath, or were changing. It was a common occurrence for one of them to be doing a strip tease where he could see them when he was up a ladder replacing a cracked pane (there were a lot of those to replace), and, with the word going out, when he was climbing his ladder to do that, if he could not do it from inside, or had more sense than to do so.
They would even approach him while he was doing some tricky electrical repairs that required complete concentration, to try and throw him off stride by their comments, or engaging in daring and suggestive conversation involving him and what they would like to be doing to him, or to have him doing to them. It was all deliberate. He no longer kept count. He was always careful to ignore them. He valued his job here. There was only one girl he was interested in, but he could not speak with her about what he felt until after she had graduated and was leaving the school, and then he would. There was this tacit understanding between them.
All girls after a certain age were aware that men admired their bodies, their looks, slowly recognizing what it meant. That they were becoming desirable.
If they observed the opposite sex enough, they soon became aware that men’ glances were first directed to study the crotches of mature girls, as though haunted by what they could not see, but could imagine lurking there, and then their developed and developing breasts, telegraphing what they were thinking, and what they would like to be doing to them. Then their glances rose to the girls’ faces and their other features. They would be checked over several times as they approached those men. Few girls ever took offence, but there were always a few prudes.
There were always a few of those other, more forward girls ready to challenge him, signaling their readiness to meet him more than half way, and see what his response to them would be. They got up to all kinds of mischief that could have directly involved him in an intimate way, if he were not careful. Some of those girls were too pushily obvious and forward and might have ‘flash mobbed’ him if they could get away with it, hence his constant escorts around the school.
He was never to be left alone, or without supervision. For his protection.
His escorts, two older girls, both sensible young women, mostly headed-off that kind of thing. Their very presence usually stifled it.
He didn’t mind their close company. No man should be trusted in that environment.
It had all changed between him and Margaret again, and in a much more explosive way, that one day when she had been asked to help keep the girls away from him while he worked on those pipes between the girls’ toilets and those of the teachers. She had done this for him many times, but this time it went in a different direction.
It was a particularly difficult job for him to undertake and he would need someone to pass him his tools in that difficult and confined space.
Margaret had made sure that she was the one who would be doing that for him. At some time, she would open up conversation of a different kind with him this time; a conversation about her future, and his feelings and intentions involving her (if she dared), and to see where it would lead.