I am completely distracted for the remainder of the day, so I am grateful when the final bell rings. I collect my belongings from my locker quickly before I run into Des, because I’m not ready or sure I should tell her about the new development, and then I practically run to my car. As I’m leaving the parking lot, I make a last-minute decision to turn left instead of right to go home. I drive to my favorite spot, Mayfair Point.
I need to think, really think about this. I still can’t quite believe that of all the people in this world, Conrad just happens to be my new English teacher. Is this something I can do? Sneak around; keep this thing between us a secret? I wanted a relationship with him, a real one, and this pretty much nips that idea in the bud. What do we do when we can’t be seen in public together? What about his fellow bandmates that met me? I’m sure he’s going to have to let them in on this. Oh man, that’s so embarrassing. Violet will love it; I’m sure of that.
Ugh! I can’t think about her right now. I have bigger problems. I’m glad my parents didn’t meet him. That would have been an interesting meeting on parent-teacher night. The problem is, I wanted them to meet him at some point, now that too, is impossible.
I reach my destination and park and then head to my spot. Through the trees, towards my bench, the same bench I took Conrad to on the first night we met. I can feel my phone buzzing non-stop in my pocket. I pull it out and check it, just in case it’s Conrad, but see that it’s Des. Four messages in total.
*Where are you? Did you leave already?
*Don’t think you’re getting away that easily. We’re SO talking about this tonight!
*Call me dang it!
*Ok, I get it. Do your thing and call me later.
One of the many things I love about her. She can be pushy, but she still ultimately understands me. I smile and send her a message, just to ease her mind.
*Don’t worry, I know I can run but can’t hide from you. I just need some time; I’ll call you later.
She responds immediately.
*Sounds good- teacher's pet! Lol!
I frown at her lousy joke and put my phone away. Teacher's pet? More questions. Would Conrad treat me fairly in class? Can he be impartial? Will he grade me as if I were any other student? I would hope so. I don’t want or need special treatment. I suppose these are things that I need to discuss with him. That is if I decide to go down that path. Oh, who am I kidding? Of course, I’m going to go down this path. I don’t think I’m strong enough to stay away from Conrad.
“I had a feeling I’d find you here.”
The sound of Conrad’s voice causes me to jump in my seat. I turn to see him approaching the bench. My stomach does that thing it does when I see him, and my heart rate picks up a beat. He smiles and sits down next to me. His hair is down now, but he’s still wearing those dark-rimmed glasses. It’s a sexy combination.
“I told you it was my favorite spot,” I finally respond.
“I know, I remember, which is why I figured you’d come here after the ball that was dropped on us today.”
“Seriously, Conrad, why didn’t you tell me you were a high school English teacher?”
Let’s just get right to it, no point in dragging this out. Conrad studies me for a minute, maybe thinking about how to answer my question, before letting out a big sigh.
“I was going to tell you. It’s not like I was keeping it a secret or anything. I was going to tell you that first night when we were sitting in this very spot. I was about to, but then your friend called- and I just didn’t bring it up again. It’s as simple as that.”
“Isn’t what you do for work generally one of the first things people talk about when getting to know each other?”
“Maybe. I guess I figured it’d come up again soon enough. We only met a week ago. There are all sorts of things we don’t know about each other that we still have to talk about- this is one of those things.”
I think carefully about what he’s saying, and he seems genuine about it.
“I guess you’re right,” I say with a nod.
I feel Conrad’s hand on my chin, and he turns my head slightly to look him in the eye.
“And how about you, Syd? You didn’t tell me you were in High School. I assumed you were college-bound or something.”
“I know, and I’m sorry I didn’t tell you. I wanted you to get to know me better before you saw me as just a little schoolgirl. I would have said so eventually, but I’m also kind of glad I didn’t. If I had, we wouldn’t be sitting here now.”
“No, we wouldn’t,” he agrees with a short nod.
“Exactly. So why are we sitting here now then?”
“Because after kissing you, I don’t think I could just let you go. Maybe I’m too far gone.”
“Too far gone? After a week?” I blurt.
A look of hurt crosses his features.
“I feel the same way, I’m just surprised that you do, ” I quickly add before he can continue.
Hurt turns to relief.
“Why are you so surprised?” He asks.
“Look at you, Conrad. Here you are, Mr. Tall, dark and handsome rockstar, and here’s me. Little Miss Bookworm, shy, mousy…”
Conrad gently covers my mouth with his hand, halting my words.
“Stop it right there, Sydney. I don’t want to hear you spouting off these silly misconceptions you have of yourself. You are beautiful, bright, and from what I’ve gathered, not all that mousy either. So, let’s stop having this conversation about why you don’t understand why I like you, and just accept that I do.”
“Okay, so where do we go from here then? How do we do this, now that we know we can’t.”
“I don’t know really, but we can figure it out.”
“You sound so sure. I know that you have more to lose than I do. You can lose your job, your reputation.”
“I can lose my job, yes, as for my reputation well, nobody really knows me around here yet, and I’ll always have my music.”
“How can you be so calm about this? I’m freaking out. How am I supposed to act naturally around you in class? I’m not a good actress Conrad, and I’m a terrible liar.”
“You handled it pretty well today when Mrs. Gallagher came in.”
“No, you handled it well, and I just played along. Maybe it would be better if I transferred from your class.”
“No, you will not transfer Sydney. Besides, you need to take it.”
“I can do it through correspondence.”
“I’d prefer that you didn’t.”
“Why not?” It would make things so much easier.”
“Easier is not always the better path.”
I realize he’s not going to back down on this one, and I know that the more significant part of me doesn’t want to drop his class either. I sigh in defeat and slump back against the bench.
“I don’t want special treatment,” I tell him.
“And I won’t give you any. It never crossed my mind to do so. I wouldn’t be doing you any favors by doing that. I want to see what you are capable of, Sydney. I know you are smart enough that you don’t need my help…” he pauses with a grin and then adds, “I’ve seen your records remember?”
“This is so…” I groan, unable to find the words.
“Bizarre, unfair, messed up? Yeah, I know," He finishes for me.
“We can’t even be seen together in public now. Even now, we’re taking a risk.”
“I’m aware of that.”
“And how about the people that have seen us together already? Your band, Des, Violet? I’m sure she’d jump at the chance to wreak havoc.”
“I’ll deal with my band and Violet. I know she can be unpredictable, so I’ll probably have to tell her we broke up. How about your friend Desiree? Can she keep a secret? She’s in my class, too, and she was already dropping innuendo.”
“I’m not worried about Des. She’s my best friend; she’d never do anything to hurt me. Violet, though, I think she’ll be all too happy to hear you tell her we broke up. I seriously think that she has feelings for you.”
“What make’s you say that?”
“She’s too invested in your love life. I don’t think she’d be as concerned about who Kevin or even Harrison dates. Also, she got in my face last weekend at your gig. I ran into my friend Dane and was talking to him, and she accused me of playing you. When I confronted her back about her concern for you, she got all weird and took off.”
“I’m sorry, I didn’t know she did that to you, you should have told me so I could have confronted her myself, though I doubt it’s not what you think. Violet loves Jake.”
“I don’t know, Conrad…”
“Either way, it doesn’t matter. Even if that were the case, it wouldn’t change anything. I don’t and never will feel the same way about her. To be really honest, I just barely put up with her in the first place.”
I can’t help the smile this information brings to my face.
“The only girl I’m interested in is you,” he adds while lacing his fingers through mine.
“Good,” is all I can say, causing Conrad to laugh out loud.
Suddenly, Conrad tugs on my hand and before I know it, onto his lap. I let out a small squeal of surprise but quickly compose myself. He wraps his arms around my waist, and I slowly wrap my arms around his neck.
“We’re going to break a lot of rules here,” he says quietly, resting his head on my shoulder, “I may play guitar for a rock band, but I’ve never really been much of a rebel.”
“Sexy rebel musician by night, hot English teacher by day?” I giggle.
“I’ve been an English and Arts nerd since I was a kid,” he tells me.
“Well, you certainly don’t look like any nerd that I know.”
“Nerds come in all shapes and sizes, Sydney, and I happen to be one of them.”
“Just a couple of rebellious nerds we are. The hot teacher and sexy bookworm,” he says with a chuckle.
Me? Sexy bookworm?
“You’re sexier than you realize,” he says, somehow reading my thoughts.
“What you describe sounds like the title of a bad porno or something.”
Conrad laughs out loud again, causing me to blush.
“Oh, really? Have you been studying a lot of porn titles?”
“Um no, of course not…” I stutter, turning an even brighter shade of red than I already am.
“Relax, Sydney. I’m teasing you. You’re right, though, it does sound that way. How exciting.”
Exciting? Eep! I feel an unfamiliar pull in my gut and fight the urge to wriggle in his lap. The tension between us becomes even tighter, and I can’t take it.
With a burst of bravery, I turn in his lap so that I’m straddling him, wind my fingers in his hair and pull his face towards mine. I want to kiss him. I need to kiss him. I want his hands on me like nothing I’ve ever wanted before. I am pleased when he doesn’t resist. Instead, he places his hands on my hips and kisses me back with enthusiasm. I push my body against him, and my hips start grinding against him on their own accord. I hear a quiet groan escape his lips, which only spurs me on. I kiss him even harder. His hands travel from my hips to my backside, and he holds me tighter against him. I know right away what I’m feeling, and know that he’s just as excited as I am.
“Sydney…” he groans against my lips, “we uh… we can’t do this here.”
“Where can we then?” I breathe, not recognizing my voice.
His eyes widen for a moment, and he sucks in a deep breath. I’m disappointed as I feel his hands slide away from my backside, but he keeps them on my thighs instead.
“Sydney, we don’t have to do this yet.”
“I know we don’t have to, but I want to.”
Seriously, who is this chick who has taken over my body?
“We have plenty of time before we go there. Have you ever…?”
“No,” I answer his unfinished question.
“Then don’t you think we should take our time? I don’t want you to do something you’ll regret, or are not ready for.”
“I don’t think I’d regret it at all. You’re the first person I’ve ever had these kinds of feelings for Conrad. I feel like every bone in my body is telling me to go for it.”
“See? Who’s mousy now?” he says with an amused smirk on his face.
“I’m just trying to be honest about how I feel. After the bombshell that was today, I don’t want to hide any more than we already have to.”
“And I get that, I do. I just want… I just think that when we do decide to take the er, plunge, it’s built upon something more than desire alone.”
“Desire alone? Is that all this is right now?”
“Well, no, sorry. I didn’t mean for it to sound that way, but you know what I mean, right? I’m honored that you deem me worthy, and I want to make sure I’m truly worthy of that honor.”
“You’re talking in circles, but I think I might understand what you are trying to say.”
And it makes me frustrated, and so happy at the same time because I know what he’s saying means he wants our relationship to be about more than just sex.
“So we wait then?” He confirms.
I sigh and remove myself from Conrad’s lap and stand before him.
“Okay, but it won’t be easy,” I say.
“I agree with you there. Trust me. I’m having a tough time not taking you here and now, but it wouldn’t be right.”
Oh god! Keep it together, Sydney. Don’t throw yourself at him.
“Must you be such a gentleman?” I half tease him.
“I’d like to believe it’s one of my best attributes.”