Find previous episodes here Hot Teacher

For about the millionth time I regretted agreeing to meet West at his house to talk. In the heat of the moment, amid the flurry of text exchanges it had seemed reasonable. It still did but it didn’t make me feel any better about it. I wasn’t sure what I would say beyond what I already had and my far too active imagination had supplied a few things he might say…

“My wife doesn’t understand me.”

“No one has to know.”

“It’s different with you.”

“I don’t usually do this kind of thing.”

None of which would mean anything to me. Really, he owed any explanations to his wife, not me.

I slammed my door harder than I needed and dropped my keys into my bag then followed the path to his front door. I had already taken in the neat yard and well maintained house that I hadn’t noticed the last time I was here. The door opened as I stepped onto the porch to reveal West in what seemed to be his uniform of jeans and a tshirt. He was barefoot and relaxed, not looking at all like a man about to have a tough conversation.

“I wondered if you were going to come in,” he said, his eyes flicking to my van and I glanced over too, mostly to avoid meeting his gaze.

“I did too,” I admitted and made myself look him in the eye. He was inscrutable. I thought he’d be trying to charm me or play me for pity but he just looked me straight in the eye and didn’t flinch.

“Come in,” he invited as he stepped back then as I hesitated he sighed deeply and crossed his arms over his chest. “Unless you want to do this in front of my neighbours?”

That had me jerking my head around anxiously but the street was empty and like he could read my mind he said, “I’m sure they’re all looking out their windows wondering who the hot redhead is.”

I couldn’t contain my groan of disbelief as I brushed by him to go inside. Then the door closed behind me and I froze. We were in the foyer where I’d gone to my knees for him which was the last thing I needed to be remembering right now. To the left was a door that I knew led to the garage and to the right was the open doorway to his bedroom. As heat washed over me I had to fight the urge to leave, not just leave, run. Because despite how many times I told myself it was wrong, my body didn’t care. My body was onboard with the idea of another round, ready to take everything he had again, and again.

“Come through,” West’s low steady voice cut into my lewd thoughts and I fell into step behind him.

I looked around curiously as the short passage ended in an open area, to the right was a decent sized kitchen and to the left a lounge with a big screen television and a couple of couches. West veered right and came to a stop at the kitchen bench so I paused at the doorway.

“Coffee?” he offered politely but I just wanted to let him say what he wanted so I could leave. I hadn’t come here for a confrontation, I was here  so he could say whatever he wanted to in private and that was it.

“No just get on with it,” I snapped annoyed at him for being so calm, at myself for being affected by him, at the whole stupid situation.

West shrugged and moved towards a machine on the bench that must have been his coffee maker and pressed a button. “Take a look around,” he said with a chin lift then turned to open a cupboard and pull down two mugs.

“What? I don’t want-”

He looked at me over his shoulder and said, “Humour me Sascha. Take a look around then we’ll talk.” Then he looked back into the cupboard, dismissing me.

I wanted to growl and stamp my foot like my ten year old did when she didn’t get her way. But I was an adult so instead I just sighed loudly and did what he asked. My heels clicked on the hardwood floor as I crossed to the living area. Not really sure what he wanted me to look at I headed for the television and took in the games machine in front of it, saw the controllers on the coffee table in front of the lounge. Against the wall there was a cabinet, the bottom had three closed doors  while the top was littered with photographs.

My eyes skated over them not really focusing at first until I realised they were photos of children, a girl and a boy. A dark haired girl around Violet’s age and a slightly older looking blonde haired boy who looked an awful lot like West. There was a photo of West with the kids, then one of an older couple that I would bet were West’s parents, and another of West with two other men whom resembled him enough that they must be his brothers. The rest of the photos were of the boy and girl either together or separately chronicling their growth from babies up.

“Feel free to explore the rest of the house,” West’s low voice drew my attention and I looked over to see him sipping a cup of coffee while the second cup sat on the bench, steam wafting from it.

I didn’t want to pry through his house and opened my mouth to say as much when he repeated his earlier words, “Humour me Sascha. Please.”

An opening off the living area led to a laundry, full bath, and two bedrooms. One decorated with fairies, the other featuring a huge John Cena poster. Everything was neat and tidy but not sterile. I peered into every room then went back to the kitchen, ready to have this whole thing over.

“You have a lovely home,” I said as I stopped near the lounge.

“You missed the other bedroom,” West replied casually. “Be sure to look in the bathroom cabinet and open all the drawers.”

Was he insane? I shook my head in confusion. “I don’t need to do that,” I stated firmly.

“Yeah you do. Then come and have a coffee with me,” he replied calmly but I’d had enough.

“No. I didn’t come here for a tour or a coffee.” I tried to match his calm tone but there was a quiver in my voice. Confrontation was not my thing.

“No? So why are you here Sascha?”

“Because you insisted,” I shot back, beyond frustrated. “I figured you wanted reassurance that I wouldn’t say anything.”

“Say anything about what?” He lifted the cup and took a sip then placed the cup on the bench and looked at me curiously.

“About us,” I said with a frustrated sigh.

“Well at least you admit there is an us?” He moved away from the bench and took two steps towards me.

I stepped back and stopped as I felt the couch at my back. “I admit no such thing,” I protested as he took another step and another until his toes bumped mine. I leaned back as he planted his hands on the couch, caging me. “West,” I said, a feeble protest.

“Sascha,” he whispered and moved closer, his lips brushed mine and I breathed in the scent of coffee.

His eyes drifted shut as his head tilted and I knew what came next. The kisses, the touches, I’d thought about them, dreamed about them, wanted to immerse myself in them again.Yes, my body cheered but my brain screamed no and I breathed the word even as my eyes started to close. “No. This is wrong.” It was so wrong, but why? I felt like Superman surrounded by kryptonite, weak and confused.

“Wrong?” West pulled back, a frown creasing his brow.

“Wife!” I blurted as an image of a svelte blonde flashed before my eyes. West looked annoyed as he straightened up and rested his hands on his hips.

“Ah right,” he nodded then held out his hands. “You’ve looked around my house Sascha, find anything interesting?”

“Ahh…”

“No, wait.” He grabbed my hand and started walking so I had no choice but to follow. “You haven’t looked in here properly yet.” Here was his bedroom. “Look.” He dragged me over to the walk in robe and flipped on the light.

“I don’t-”

“No Sascha, look,” he urged throwing his hands out wide. “Do you see any dresses, skirts? Any woman’s shoes? Anything to let you know a woman lives here?” He didn’t wait for an answer between questions and as his words sunk in, I realised what he had been trying to show me.

Scrambling for an explanation I shrugged. “So, she doesn’t live here. What is this, your bachelor pad?”

“Yeah,” he scoffed. “Complete with two kids rooms.”

I crossed my arm and shrugged uneasily not knowing what to say.

“Fuck,” he swore under his breath and raked his hands through his hair. “She’s my ex-wife, I don’t know why you thought otherwise but I’m sorry,” he said and looked at me expectantly.

So I explained, “One of the teachers called her Mrs Austen and referred to you as her husband.”

He covered his face with his hands and turned away from me, his shoulders slumping. “And I bet Andrea  didn’t correct them did she?” It sounded like a rhetorical question so  stayed silent. “I’m sorry,” he said again.

“It’s…” I hesitated not wanting to say fine because it hadn’t been. “Not a problem,” I settled with.

“I had no idea you’d met,” he said, his back still to me and his tone neutral.

“We didn’t, I was just there when she was talking to…” For some reason I hesitated at naming the teacher. “The other teacher.”

“Right,” he muttered but it sounded anything but. He turned back to face me, a hint of that crooked smile on his face. “Well now that’s been explained-”

“I should go,” I interrupted and walked out of his closet.

“What?” His voice trailed after me but I didn’t pause until I got to the front door.

“You know you could have just said you were divorced in the text. We didn’t have to go through all this,” I said with a vague gesture towards the rest of his house.

“I could have,” he agreed as he leaned a hand on the door beside me. “But would you have believed me?”

He had a point which I shrugged away. “Would it have mattered? We had a one night stand, nothing more.”

“Of course it mattered.” West frowned down at me. “Why do you think I wanted to talk to you, to show you…” he trailed off and shook his head.

“I thought you wanted to make sure I wouldn’t tell your wife,” I said and reached for the door handle.

“No, I wanted you to see it for yourself,” he snapped.

“Well I’ve seen it,” I snapped back refusing to be cowed by him. “Why the hell are you so angry?”

“Why?” he said incredulously. “Could it be that you thought I was a cheat and a liar?”

Another point to West and my anger faded away leaving me feeling hollow and sad. “Well I’m sorry,” I apologised with a quiet sigh feeling bad that I had thought those things.

“I’m not…” he trailed off as he seemed to reconsider what he had been about to say. “Look, can we just start over?”

Relieved I smiled and nodded. “Yes, that would be great. We can pretend this never happened and I’ll see you at the next meeting.”

West grinned and I ignored the way my heart skipped. “I don’t want to forget everything, just this whole mix up. How about I make you a fresh coffee?”

“I really don’t think that’s a good idea West,” I said despite the little voice in my head cheering that he wanted to have coffee and he might really really like me! “This whole situation was a bad idea.”

“It was? How so?” he asked.

“Getting involved with anyone isn’t on my agenda right now, I’m busy with work and Violet.” I gave my standard excuse. “Plus with the whole school connection? I just think it would be awkward if we kept on seeing each other.”

His grin faded as I spoke so by the time I stopped he was frowning. He didn’t say anything so I reached for the door again but his hand lifted and gripped my wrist lightly.

“And what if I disagree? What if I want to see you again despite how awkward you think it might be?”

I tugged my wrist from his grip and opened the door and looked out into the twilight then back at West. “It’s really not your choice,” I said quietly then I walked out of his house and over to my van.

I didn’t look back to see if he was watching me as I slid behind the wheel and started the engine. I didn’t look back at all as I reversed from his driveway and headed home. I didn’t have to, the image of him was seared into my mind, something I would never forget. I reminded myself it was for the best as I made a light dinner. Reminded myself of the heartbreak I’d experienced the last time I’d opened my heart as I sipped my tea and read a little. Reminded myself I was better off alone as I tried to fall asleep.

When I finally did sleep I dreamed of West, of that night and more. But at some stage my past intruded on the present and I dreamed West broke my heart. Just like the last man I thought had loved me had done. And that was why it was my choice to be alone.

continues here Hot Teacher 9

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