About the Book
On Friday evening I have my yoga class in the Fitness Center and it seems the love Gods are finally smiling down on me.
As I sit in the yoga room trying to contort my body into extremely unfamiliar positions, Professor Beard comes in—clad in gym shorts and a loose gray tee shirt—heads immediately to the cardio room and plops that sweet ass down on a stationary bike. The yoga and cardio rooms are closed in by glass walls so I have a perfect view of him as I breathe, hold, WATCH, exhale, stretch, hold, WATCH, and start all over again and again.
As in class, he’s very focused, very intense, riding that bike hard, legs churning, shoulders leaning forward. Soon a delightful sheen of sweat forms along his face and drips down his neck. Oh to taste just one drop. I try to follow the yoga instructor but my English teacher has all of my attention. The vision of him pounding the pedals while I manipulate my own body rockets my pulse, leaving me feeling fully charged.
As an extra bonus, Professor Beard, without breaking rhythm, reaches his right hand down to the hem of his tee shirt, lifts it up to wipe the sweat off his face, treats me to the full sensual vision of an elegant washboard of abs. I let out a soft moan…quickly glance around hoping my sound wasn’t too far off from an appropriate yoga groan.
How would Rihanna handle all of this? Probably the same way she does in her videos: leave the class instantly, walk right up to the professor and ask that Rude Boy if he’s ready to boom boom boom.
But I’m no Rihanna. The haircut certainly proves that. But I am the new Celine, the one who needs to release this very horny mix of sexual desire and unrequited need before she explodes.
Class ends. I reach for my towel, stand, dry off, about to head to the cardio room, but make the unfortunate mistake of looking in the wall of mirrors across from me. I see a haircut that doesn’t fit my skinny frame and longish neck. I see reflections of other girls in super-tight shorts perfectly contouring their shapely asses, in skimpy tank tops exposing full ripe breasts. I see my baggy basketball shorts that make my butt look fat even though it’s not. I see my meager breasts lost in the sprawl of my oversized tee shirt. But the worst: sweat stains the size of half-moons under my armpits.
All of it inspiring a revisit to
The girl who choked trying out for the high school tennis team.
The person who failed her driver’s test three times.
The smart student who dropped the ball every time she took the SATs.
The college student who vowed to overcome her shyness by making tons of eye contact, saying hi to almost everyone, engaging all who would listen in conversations about where they were from and what their major might be, only to come off even more nerdy.
I know perfectly well the odds are against it, but he told me himself to be bold, to seize my passion, to ignore rejection.
I turn to walk across the gym floor toward the cardio room, but become instantly disheartened because Professor Beard is gone.
But then I catch him out of the corner of my eye, sweatshirt on, exiting the building.
I rush to the locker room, splash some water on my face, put on my jacket, and bolt out of the Fitness Center.
I glance both ways and finally see him in the distance, walking in the dark along a secluded path, heading toward a near-empty parking lot.
“Professor Beard!” I shout.
I jog over to him, mind in a whirl, breathing heavily, thinking about what I’m going to say:
–How do you like Walls so far?
–I really enjoy your class.
–Would you like to head over to the snack bar for a smoothie?
When I get to him, I stop abruptly, just inches away, so close my cheeks feel warmth from his breath. He looks at me curiously, then recognition sets in and that sensuous mouth breaks into his friendly, sweet smile.
“Why hello, Celine. How are you?”
I’m immobilized for a second, my powers of speech completely failing me. I’m afraid if I open my mouth with any of the things I thought of saying I will sound like a kindergartener again. I want him to know the Celine he inspired last night, the one bold enough to express her desires while her roommate slept just steps away.
Without further thought I reach my hand toward his face, duplicating his move in the classroom, and brush the hair off his forehead. Then I tip up on my toes, lean forward, and kiss him passionately on the lips.
He’s stiff at first, but soon gives in, responds. I extend my tongue and he meets it with his.
I love to kiss.
At least I learned something from Roland.
Professor Beard’s heat, his lips, his body touching mine, the feel of his tongue in my mouth creates a huge rush that travels down from my scalp and up from my toes, inspiring an overwhelmingly pleasant ache deep inside. All of the emotions from last night—the hunger, the lust, the affection—seem doubled as he reaches for me, pulls me even closer, my arms going around those shoulders I had fantasized so intensely about.
We are finally forced to pull back, separate, to catch our breath. His eyes search my face with a confused look. I stare at him head-on, completely unapologetic. I thought for sure that when I made my move he would immediately recoil and give me the same back-off, perv look I had given Benjamin. Instead there was a softening, a yielding to the power of our kisses. How wonderful to be a little bad.
He says, “You know I just bought a house here and I could lose my job.” I don’t blink. “But I must say, I’m in awe of your passion…”