Word Count: 3,170
The next few days passed by pretty quickly. Try as she might, it never failed they were a few seconds late to Western Civ. class. Evidently, it was a male thing being able to make her uncomfortable just by a look because Dr. Monroe was just as good at it as West and her dad.
His lectures were interesting. She couldn't remember the last time a history teacher, any of the ones she'd had, was so animated about their subject. History was boring. It was in the past. Yes, there were lessons to be learned, but who really cared about things that happened two or three hundred years ago.
Dr. Monroe obviously did. And she had to admit it seemed to be rubbing off on her. She found herself looking stuff up online that had nothing to do with what they'd be tested on. Just things he'd spoken about in class that day that piqued her curiosity. He mentioned things in passing sometimes that were more interesting than his lectures.
"Claire," he called out to her on Friday after dismissing class.
"I'll save you a spot," Brent said as he continued out of the room without her.
If he was going to yell at her about being late all of the time, shouldn't he have included Brent with her? They were both late together.
"I noticed on the previous exam you had a difficult time."
"Yeah," she said with a shrug.
"Going by your grades in the grade book prior to that test it would seem that is unusual for you. You're an A/B student."
"Just had some stuff going on and didn't study as hard as I should have."
"Did any of your other classes suffer as a result?" he asked. And, oddly, he sounded as if he actually cared. He was watching her intently, as if memorizing her or something. And she had no business liking that thought at all. He was her teacher.
"No, I didn't have any other tests that week."
"It was personal."
"I'd never done the whole get stalked by my ex-boyfriend thing before and it got to me. It won't happen again."
His lips quivered into a hint of a smile. He found that amusing? Of course, he would. He'd probably broken up with more than one person by the time he was her age. She was behind the times she realized.
"So a boy was the reason for your poor performance?"
"I guess." Kind of. There was more to it than that, but nothing she could tell him about.
"Not the same boy," he said, gesturing to where she and Brent sat every day.
"And how do I know when you two break up your test results won't suffer in the same way?"
"I, well, you don't, I guess, but I think I'm better prepared for it. Hopefully he won’t stalk me. You know, like change his college on the chance I’ll change my mind. I’m just not used to drama," she said.
He looked as though he didn't believe her at all, which made her panic a little. Did he know something? How could he? She'd done absolutely nothing to reveal her secret and she didn't see West divulging it to him.
"Well, I tell you what. I'm feeling generous."
"Okay," she said cautiously.
"If you want to come in during my office hours on Monday afternoon, I'll allow you to take a makeup exam."
"I'm sorry. You what?"
He smiled again, and this one reached his eyes, which she noticed once again were very nice. Except, she realized that she was amusing him. Great.
"A makeup exam. You know what those are?"
"Well, yeah, but they're usually given to someone who couldn't make it to the first test because they were sick or something."
"Again, I'm feeling generous, and as I said looking over your grades before that test it made me think that perhaps one bad mark wasn't fair to you."
"I, well, don't know what to say."
"Yes, thank you."
"You're welcome. Monday afternoon then?"
"The last one was an essay test."
"Yes, assume it will be similar. I'm not going to create a multiple choice test for one person."
"I get that," she said, deciding now was a good time to leave. "Thanks again, I appreciate it."
"Oh, and I'd appreciate it if you don't mention this to anyone. That I'm letting you retake a test."
"I wouldn't," she said with a slight frown.
"Not even your boyfriend," he added.
"I don't need everyone who's done poorly on a test deciding they want to see if I'll let them try again."
"I'm not the only one who's had a bad test."
"No, but you're the one I chose to give the opportunity to. Make of it what you will."
"Yeah, sure," she said. "I'll just say it was about some extra credit or something."
"Have a good weekend."
"You, too," she said before leaving the room.
She found Brent in the Union once she'd gotten herself something to eat.
"So, what did you do?"
"Nothing," she said with a shrug.
"Nothing? It can't be because you're late, because I'm late, too, so he'd have talked to both of us."
"That's what I thought, too, but that wasn't it at all. I forgot that I'd asked him about some extra credit. I bombed the last test and want to try and make up for it."
She shrugged. "I'm still looking at colleges out east after this year, you know. And every grade will help. I have to show that I'm not going to blow off classes and stuff like I did last year." Only a handful knew what the stuff was. Brent never asked her to elaborate and she was glad for that because she wasn't sure what lie she'd come up with if he did.
"I suppose you're right. So, what's he going to give you to do?"
"I don't know yet. He asked me to see if I had any ideas of my own over the weekend."
"Hmm. I could think of a couple."
"I doubt they have anything to do with history."
"Well, no, but a memory or two could be made."
She blushed, taking a sip of her milk as she glanced around the union. Claire wasn't the only one who noticed Brent on her squad. Why he'd chosen her exactly she wasn't sure, especially if he had plans on getting laid anytime soon. That wasn't her thing. She was here to put a little polish on her high school transcript, nothing more. There would be no attachments or things potentially holding her to California when she was done. Moving in the middle of high school and the drama before and after the move put holes in her high school transcript that she wanted to improve before applying to the schools she wanted to get into most.
She spent most of the weekend studying for the test. She was not going to blow this opportunity even if she had no idea why it was being given to her. She didn't even mention it to her mother. And that wasn't because Dr. Monroe had asked her not to. She was almost afraid of what her mother would say, read it into it, especially if she found out that he'd told her not to tell anyone else. He was doing a favor for her and her only.
She had no idea what she was going to tell Brent if he asked about her extra credit topic. She'd have to think of something, thinking she might stick to the topic of the test she was retaking. He hadn't mentioned it at the party they went to together on Saturday night after the game. She'd stayed in Friday night. As much as she hated to, she felt she had to.
Sunday she was in bed long before she'd meant to be. She woke in the middle of the night with an "Oh God," echoing what she'd said in her dream. She looked around her room, getting her wits about her before settling back into bed. She hoped she wouldn't pick up where she'd left off in her dream. Not that she was having a bad time in her dream. Quite the contrary. It was just who she was dreaming about. And what they were doing in her dream. She’d never had a sex dream before. She wasn’t sure why she was having one about her professor now, or how she knew things about the way he’d treat her to have them play out that way in her dream.
She woke up Monday morning rushed and deeply embarrassed by the dream she'd had the night before. She didn't always remember her dreams and wished this was one she hadn't. She wasn't sure how she'd go to school, sit through class with him and in his office afterward knowing she'd dreamt about him like that.
True, he was nice looking and was being kind in letting her better a grade. Potentially anyway. There was no telling his test wouldn't be more difficult than the one she'd done so poorly on.
Fact remained, he was a teacher.
"So uncool," she murmured at her reflection in her mirror as she brushed her hair. The dream was still right there for her to pick out bits and pieces. How did she know how his hands would feel touching her? Or how completely thorough he would be in everything he did? And why, despite the fact she'd never done any of the things she dreamt about before in her life, did she have absolutely no problem picturing exactly what he'd be thorough in doing?
She placed her brush on her vanity, willing her mind to think on something else. Anything else. She didn't want to face her mom, Lyle, or Brent knowing what thoughts were going through her mind. She glanced at her computer, wondering if she could find a reference site on dreams. She didn't have a lot of time, though, and really didn't think she needed someone to interpret her dream because it was pretty clear.
She had a crush on someone who was off limits.
So, that would make it easy. It wasn't as if she could do anything about it. She'd just have to let it run its course and sooner or later she'd get over it.
She'd never really had a crush on someone before. Not the dream about them at night type of crush anyway. She really had no idea what normal was in this case. And there wasn't anyone to ask. She wouldn't dare tell any of her friends she dreamt of Dr. Monroe that way. So, she was kind of on her own.
It wasn't as if she was going to tell him.
So, she was fine. She'd go about business as she normally would. She'd eventually get over it. He was new, intelligent, and obviously knowledgeable about the subject he chose to teach. Apparently, that was something Claire liked in a guy.
He was cute.
She couldn't forget the cute part.
Because she supposed if she had to dream about someone doing things to and with her there were worse people than the new Western Civ. professor.
"Good morning," Brent said as she got into his car.
"Hi," she said, leaning over to give him a kiss.
"You look nice. Something special going on that I forgot about?"
"No," she said, glancing at the skirt she was wearing. She'd dressed without really thinking about it too hard. "Just felt like dressing up a little. Got a problem with that?"
"As long as there's not someone else you're trying to impress, no."
She gave a soft laugh. "You're safe."
"Good to know. So, did you figure out your extra credit?"
"Yeah, I'm going to talk to him about it later today to be sure it's doable. No sense putting a lot of effort into something he won't let me do."
He walked her to where her first class was as he did every morning. They didn't have first class together, so he gave her a kiss.
"See you soon."
"Yes," she said with a slight smile.
"Be good until then."
"If that's the best you can do I guess that's all I can ask for."
And with that he walked toward his class. She watched for a minute, having time to kill before class.
"You shouldn't have to look like that, Baxter."
"I'm sorry," she said, turning around.
"I said you shouldn't have to look like that," Wade Phillips said. He was one of Brent's teammates on the football team. They were friends, pretty close ones until Brent started dating Claire. Claire didn't like him too much so Brent hung out with him less and less these days. No complaints from Claire there.
"As if you don't know what's underneath the wrapping."
"A nice view is always appreciated, Wade."
"Or maybe you're holding out on him."
She rolled her eyes.
"If that's the case but you find yourself curious. Or just wanting to trade up for a better model."
"I'm sorry, what?"
"Well, you know where to find me."
"And I'd do that why?"
He gave a loud bark of laughter then. "You have to ask that, you obviously haven't seen under his hood yet."
"Whatever," Claire said and made her way to her class.
The rest of the day passed fairly uneventfully. She even managed to make it to Western Civ. on time. She really was trying now that there was a permanent teacher there.
She didn’t rush to his office when it was time. She had second thoughts about even going to retake the test. Her dream the night before was part of the reason. She’d found it very difficult to sit through class, listening to his voice without visualizing what she’d seen the night before. He was very animated with his hands, too, she noticed today and that didn’t help her forget about the dream.
The other part was that she realized it was kind of unfair. She wasn’t the only one who’d bombed a test that semester. One drawback of musical professors like they’d experienced until Dr. Monroe took over the position was that it was difficult to know just what was going to be on each test. Every professor was different, so preparing for the next test based on the questions or content of the previous test didn’t work as well as it would normally.
She knocked on his office door, her decision made when she came to the conclusion that she hadn’t sought him out to retake the test. He was giving her an opportunity to better her grade, and that was what she wanted out of this year.
Better grades to show that she could achieve those steadily.
His door was ajar and she overheard the fact he was on the phone so she leaned against the wall outside of his office until he was through.
“And I told you that I would not press and I assure you I am not.”
“Merely a convenient circumstance, an in as it were that I could not possibly pass up.”
“No, you cannot comprehend. When you’ve experienced what I have then you can lecture me.”
“I am heeding your warnings and on that note I have to go. I have a student waiting to see me.”
“You called during my office hours.”
There was no sound of a phone being hung up on a receiver like at her house so she assumed he was on a cell phone. She was tempted to knock again when he didn’t say anything to her or open the door or anything, except he’d said she was there so he knew.
“Sorry to keep you waiting,” he said finally, opening the door wide so she could come in.
She apparently wasn’t at all discreet about checking him out because he smiled at her in a way that suggested he knew exactly what she was thinking.
“You did just get here,” she said.
“I’m sorry?” The amused smile was still there. Great.
“Your office,” she said, nodding slightly to the nearly empty bookshelves that most professors had filled to the brim with reference books, texts, and whatever else they had come across during their academic career they thought applied to what they taught or studied.
“Oh, yes, as I said my first day here, this is my first teaching position so I don’t have as much as some professors. I assure you, I know my stuff.”
“I wasn’t doubting you.”
“Because if you were in doubt, thinking you are paying for credits that are going toward a class taught by someone incompetent.”
“I didn’t say that,” she said quickly.
“You could test me.”
“I could what?”
He shrugged. “Just offering to ease your mind.”
“My mind doesn’t need any easing. You do seem to like this guy, though,” she said, pointing at the number of books by the same author.
“I wrote them.”
“I used a pen name. Various reasons as to why and I’d prefer if you not share that bit of information with anyone.”
“I like my privacy, and believe it or not, I don’t like talking about history every waking moment of my day.”
“Oh, right, of course,” she said, noting the titles seemed to cover a wide array of subject matters.
“So, no testing me?”
“I don’t think so.”
“If you’re sure.”
He was teasing her now. That smile from a few minutes ago was back as if he’d just now gotten back to thinking on the fact she’d been so obviously checking him out.
“Shall we get on with your test then?”
“That’s what I’m here for.”
“All right, good to know we both know what you’re here for.”
Was he flirting with her? Teasing her again? It was hard to tell, but she found it hard to believe he’d be flirting with her so chalked it up to more teasing.
“It shouldn’t take you too long,” he said, setting the test on his desk.
“Where are you going to be?”
“Ah, well, seeing to getting more stuff on my shelves so more students don’t question my credentials.”
She blushed deeply and felt bad that he might have even remotely thought she’d been doing that.
“I’m sorry, I really wasn’t.”
“It’s all right. Worry about your test.”
She set her backpack on the floor by the door and sat in his chair. Walking past him she realized she had another sense now to add to her dreams about him. He smelled good. Good was an understatement. So good she wasn’t sure she’d be able to concentrate instead of remembering her dream.
She closed her eyes and then picked up the pencil, determined to do well on this test.
Story ©Susan Falk/APCKRFAN/PhantomRoses.com
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