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I walked through to the kitchen where I’d left a light on, the dim illumination enough to guide us past the bulky shadows of furniture. My house was similar in size to West’s but the layout was different with my front door opening into the living room, the three bedrooms gathered together at the back, with my kitchen and dining room in between.

I set my keys and bag on the island bench as West stopped beside me. I pointed to one of the stools then went around to the other side, partly to get a bottle of wine from the fridge but mostly to put some distance between us. I was hyper aware of him though, the distance meaningless. I lifted the bottle towards him in question and he shook his head so I set out one glass and poured.

“I can offer you water, juice or milk,” I said as I lifted my glass.

“Nothing thanks.” He smiled his crooked smile as he slid onto the stool and watched me sip my wine.Β  I wanted to know why he had come here but I wanted him to lead the conversation. So I sipped my wine and waited.

I didn’t have to wait long before he said, “I hear you don’t date.”

“That’s right.” I nodded and set my glass down to brace my hands on the bench. “I heard the same about you.”

He shrugged. “Not quite. I don’t date where I work and because my friends and colleagues think they know everything, that’s what they believe.”

I thought back to the conversation with Gina and Gigi and shook my head at him. “Don’t be so sure about that.”

“Really?” He arched a brown in question.

“Miss Green is quite sure that you date, just not at school.”

“Huh.” He frowned for a moment then shrugged. “It’s been a while since I’ve made any effort so I don’t know what she’s heard.”

“She didn’t go into detail,” I said and took another sip of wine.

“You were… why…” he shook his head as his frown deepened and he seemed tense.”When was this?”

“A couple of weeks ago. I was out with a friend and we saw Miss Green and Miss Sullivan.”

“And what? You asked about me?” he asked, his eyes narrowed.

“No, not really,” I answered as I flushed guiltily since that had been my intent. “Gina thought I’d joined the concert committee to get close to you and I told her I didn’t know who you were or that you were involved when I signed up. Then she mentioned your dating habits.”

“Oh.” His shoulders slumped and he pushing his hand through his hair. “Sorry. I dislike gossip intensely.”

“Me too,” I agreed then took another gulp of wine. “Look,” I sighed and closed my eyes but there was no way I could consider anything more with West if I wasn’t honest from the start. “I did plan to… see what Gigi and Gina had to say about you.” I opened my eyes expecting to see him scowling but he just looked curious. “Not gossip,” I stressed. “But more, did you do that kind of thing often. Was I just the latest in a string, stuff like that, you know?”

“You could have just asked me,” he said softly then chuckled humorlessly. “What am I thinking, of course you couldn’t. You thought I was a cheat so why not a liar too?”

“The thing is, if you were a womanising bastard, you weren’t likely to tell me were you?” I teased and I could see the battle in his eyes, between wanting to be annoyed and amused.

Finally amused won and he smiled a genuine smile. “I guess not,” he said and reached over to pluck the glass from my hand and help himself to a healthy swallow. “So, why did you want to know anyway? You had made it pretty clear that you weren’t interested in me after all.”

“I wanted to be prepared in case there was gossip about me,” I said which was true but not the whole truth. “And maybe…” my eyes dropped from his as I gathered my courage. Then I looked back up and admitted, “Maybe I was interested.”

“In?” He arched a brow as he swirled the wine in the glass casually, a smirk on his face.

“Doesn’t matter.” I shrugged and smirked right back at him. “I don’t date, you don’t date.”

“Much,” he inserted then sipped my wine and passed it back.

“Much,” I repeated. “Why is that?” I asked, genuinely curious.

“What arrangement do you have with Violet?”

I blinked, thrown by his change of subject but answered almost automatically. “I have her every other week.”

West nodded. “I have Eli and Evie weekends and holidays.”

“Oh.” I said, nonplussed.

“Turns out, not a lot of women want to date someone who’s not available on weekends.”

“Oooh.” I reached over and patted West’s hand where it rested on the bench. “It’s hard isn’t it.”

He turned his hand and captured mine, his thumb stroking the back of my hand. “Is that why you don’t date?”

“It’s a big factor. I got involved with someone when Violet was still a baby and when it ended… she was big enough to notice he was gone but thankfully little enough that she didn’t miss him for long. It made me realise I couldn’t be so casual about things.”

West nodded. “I’ve never gotten to the stage of introducing my kids. I’ve pretty much given up trying. But at time I have needs.” He shrugged.

“So, what happened with us?” I asked hesitantly. “Is that… do you…”

“Yes,” West said without hesitation. “I have been known to pick up a beautiful woman and have sex with her.”

“Oh,” I said, my eyes dropped as heat flooded my face.

“But I’ve never taken one to my home Sascha,” he added quietly and squeezed my hand. “What, you don’t believe me?” he chided when I didn’t look up.

I sighed and tugged my hand free to pick up the wine glass and take a drink. I wanted to believe him, believe what had happened between us was special but… on the one hand there was Gigi and Gina talking about him dating away from the school. Then there was Kate and the others professing he didn’t date at all. Then West himself, saying he didn’t date much and never took a woman home. Then there was me, apparently breaking all of his rules.

I met his curious gaze with my own sceptical one. “By your own admission you don’t get involved with people close to your work, now you’re saying you don’t take women home usually. Yet, I’m a parent of a student at your school and you took me to your home. Maybe you can see where I’m confused.”

“Me too,” West said with a chuckle.

“You are?”

He nodded and grabbed the glass of wine, tipped it back and finished it off. “You confuse the fuck out of me Sascha. You throw me off balance, make me forget all my rules.”

“Me?” I said in surprise.

“You,” he agreed and his eyes went dark and intense. “I’ve never been even remotely tempted to look at a woman where I work. It’s just not worth the trouble. But I can’t keep my eyes off you. I want to touch you all the time. I want my mouth on your skin. I want to mark you so men like Don know you’re taken.”

“Oh,” I breathed because all of that sounded very nice.

A heavy silence stretched between us as my blood thickened and my body heated, readying itself for him. I bit my lip, on the verge of saying something like ‘yes please’ when West’s jaw ticked and he spoke, his voice tight.

“I need to know Sash, what happened with us, is that the norm for you too? Are you… you said it was just a one night stand. Are you in the habit of doing that?”

“Me?” I wasn’t offended by his question, just amused and a little relieved. In the aftermath of all the great sex, insecurity had plagued me. I’d thought for sure he’d been able to tell it had been a very long time for me, by how easy I had been to please. But hey, maybe all women had a hair trigger with him. “Ah no.” I shook my head. “That night was not the norm for me at all. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.” I rushed to add in case he thought I was judging him. “It just hadn’t been a priority for me. Sex I mean,” I finished knowing I was probably blushing.

“Okay.” He nodded and seemed to be considering my words. “So did you just feel like it was a priority that night and I was handy or was I just too much temptation for you?”

He grinned and gave me the most hope filled look complete with puppy dog eyes that I had to laugh.

“West,” I protested. “Talk about a no win! Either I’m a slut or I’m smitten by you! How is that fair”

He grinned and shrugged.”Either answer works for me.”

We both laughed then I took a deep breath and asked, “What are we really doing here West? Neither of us dates, we both admit our kids come first. What do you expect to happen here?”

“Expect? Nothing,” he said, his voice light but his eyes were serious. “Hope for? Everything.”

He lifted a hand and stroked his lower lip so I waited, knowing he had more to say. “Honestly Sascha, I had, have no plan. I just knew I needed to see you again and then once I did? Sitting next to you tonight and not touching you was torture. I couldn’t even trust myself to talk to you because of what I wanted to say to you. So I want… I want to see you as often as possible. I don’t even care if we fuck. Well, yeah I do, but that’s not it. If we’re just talking or watching a movie or hell, I can sit and watch you drink wine if you like. I just want to be with you. Call it what ever you want. Dating. Hanging out. Friends. Friends with benefits,” he said with a hopeful smile.

“Wow,” I said with a sigh. “That’s a lot to take in.”

West shrugged and placed his hand palm up in the middle of the bench. “Not really. What it boils down to is that I want you. In what ever way you want. Now the question is, what do you want?”

continues here Hot Teacher 14