“Zachary, Joshua. That’s enough.”
Two brown-haired heads reluctantly turned towards me.
“Sorry, Miss Gates,” the blue-eyed one, Zach, said. He flashed the deep dimples that had the senior girls practically mauling each other to say hello to him when he walked the halls between classes. Josh, his willing sidekick at just an inch or two shorter and only one dimple in his right cheek, gave me a quiet smile-apology. I was so used to the routine of correcting them that their fresh-faced handsomeness almost didn’t affect me anymore. Almost.
As I turned away, I unconsciously smoothed my black pencil skirt, making sure that the sky-blue blouse was tucked neatly into it. I heard my own heels click away, and knew the silence was because they were watching me now, if not listening. I became a teacher because I didn’t really know what to do with myself after graduation. I went to a decent state school, did the sorority thing, had my sisters, had my flings, and graduated without a ring only because the Delt I was dating cheated on me with my Big and I found out about it when I walked into her room drunk-crying because the asshole hadn’t texted me back, only to discover him in her bed. So it goes.
After graduation, I jumped into a graduate program for education, took the first job I could find teaching English Lit, and shouldered my way into the social hierarchy of high school teaching. It’s my sixth year now and I’m finally working with the oldest students; there’s something cathartic about being able to pick out which ones will be which types of college kids—the future PhD who does groundbreaking research and gets invited onto talk shows, the gay fraternity brother who will be the first to marry, the quiet girl who hasn’t discovered that alcohol can make you beautiful and popular if you drink enough. And so forth.
“So, as I was saying. Does anyone have any idea why someone from the time period Jane Auston wrote in might prefer Bingley to Darcy, even though Darcy has more money?” Zach put up a lazy hand.
“Because Darcy is boring and doesn’t do anything except bitch about things. He’s lame.”
“Sorry, sorry. I mean, he doesn’t do anything except complain.”
“So what you’re saying,” I press him, “is that money and influence can only take a man so far in life?”
“Well yeah, I guess. It’s not like Bingley is poor, though.” Interesting.
“That’s true. So, what about Bingley makes him the more engaging of the two?” Blank stares from everyone, including Zach.
“What I mean,” I pause, thinking. “What I mean to ask is, how is Bingley more interesting than Darcy?” The class was quiet, and I nervously fingered the light blue beads that rested on my neck, just above the swell of my pale breasts. I always get hyper-aware of my body when a class is being unresponsive, and my body never fails to respond to this attention by warming to an uncomfortably hot temperature. I pace the room slowly, feeling my dangling earrings brush, cool and plastic, against the skin on my neck. Come on, guys. It’s not that hard of a question.
Finally, one of the girls in the back raises her hand. “Well, Bingley actually likes to go out and do things. He dances and he knows how to talk to girls without being awkward.”
“Very good,” I say, gratefully. I feel the boys’ eyes on me and wonder if it’s just me or if they’re far more attentive right now than usual. I check my skirt again casually to make sure it hasn’t ridden up. Nope, all good. But still, their eyes are watching everything I do, and I can see Zach’s ex-girlfriend running a cost-benefit analysis of fighting me right here, right now. She’ll go to a big state school and be a DG or a Tri Delt. I ignore her.
“One of the points Austen makes about domestic society with both men is that there are differences even within the same types of people. Both Bingley and Darcy occupy the same social sphere, but there’s something about Bingley that draws people towards him, just as there’s something about Elizabeth that draws Darcy to her, despite the differences in their personalities.” I let my gaze rest on Zach and Josh and feel a satisfied flare in my belly when they can’t meet my eye. I’m ten years older than them and have had things done to me and done things to men who are very different from me more than they likely ever will; in my experience, women are the more adventurous ones. I give myself a mental shake as I turn away though. Rein it in, I tell myself sternly. Stop tormenting the poor kids.
The rest of the class passes slowly, but steadily, with participation floundering and lots of silences for me to fill with babble about Pride and Prejudice. When I was younger I always swore I would never be one of those teachers that repeated the same syllabus over and over, year after year, but I’ve made an exception for this book because I love it so much; the irony and satire speaks to me in a way that a shrink would probably tell me is unhealthy, but I’d argue that it’s healthier to repeat one book every year than accept advances from my male students, which has happened a lot. Every year, it gets harder and harder to resist, and as class winds down into the final minutes, I find myself once again slipping into a naughty fantasy about Zach and Josh. How easy it would be to close the door and just remind them to be quiet while I made them watch what I can do to myself, and then to each of them, with just my imagination as a guiding force.
There’s a weird feeling in the air as the bell rings and signals the end of class. I know the others feel it too because the girls hurry out with pursed lips, notebooks pressed to their chests, and all of the guys except Zach and Josh bustle out looking bemused and a little dazed. I pretend not to notice that Zach and Josh are dawdling in their corner, packing up their bags slowly as if trying to telepathically agree on something before leaving.
In the hall, the dull thundering of hundreds of students making a break for lunch acts as a white noise for my mind, but it seems nothing can calm the warmth in my belly. Suddenly, I hear the door click shut and the lock flick, and I look up, genuinely surprised and jolted out of my reverie.
Zach and Josh are advancing toward me slowly but purposefully, a strange-but-familiar hunger in their eyes. Looking into either of their faces is like looking at the foaming sea or the sky at high noon, and I realize I don’t know where to look or what to do. I take an uncertain step backward and bump into my desk, causing the little flower vase to rattle like a warning that I ignore the same way I ignored angry ex-girlfriends. They reach me together and Josh leans in to whisper in my ear.
“Not a sound, Miss Gates.” I feel my blue eyes flash even as I open my mouth to respond hotly—if they think they’re going to enact some little fantasy of theirs on me, they have another—suddenly, Zach grabs me and turns me roughly around, pushing me so that I’m bent over on my desk like some lazy porn star in a second-rate video.
“Hey!” I protest. Josh claps his hand over my mouth and leans in while Zach arranges himself behind me, slowly, leisurely. I feel his hands stroke along my sides, pressing the silky blouse into my skin and making me shiver despite the roiling waves in my mind. This is so wrong, this isn’t actually supposed to happen! The rational part of my mind is yelling, but it’s fading into white noise like the footsteps outside, which have subsided in the past couple minutes.
Zach cups both my asscheeks in his hand and gives an appreciative squeeze, I give a small gasp—my ass is huge but his hands are splayed comfortably across the spread in my black skirt. Lazily, he trails a hand down and brushes the sensitive skin just below the end of my skirt while Josh whispers in my ear.
“We’ve been watching you, and we know this is something you want.”
The words send the strangest mix of sexy thrill and genuine fear through me, something feels wrong but Zach is working my body into a furnace with his stroking and teasing, and I’ve never felt so conflicted.
“This…this is wrong,” I whisper, and my voice comes out in a rasp like I haven’t just been using it in teacher mode for the past fifty minutes.
“No…well, maybe a little. But I –we—think you’ve been a bad girl before.”
Suddenly Josh yanks me by my long brown hair, up from the desk, while Zach takes a step back so Josh can shoulder his way in front. Now I’m standing between them, looking up at Josh while I hear an almost-sinister unzipping behind me. My skirt? Zach’s jeans? I feel the fabric fall away from my hips and have my answer. Zach makes a noise of appreciation as he takes in my beautiful, round, high ass, and I know that the white lace is doing what it’s designed to do as well. Josh leans in and whispers in my ear as Zach begins to play with the fabric of my panties, snapping it playfully, and suddenly I feel something like teeth graze the edge. Oh my god….
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