Chapter 1

"So, do you want me?" A velvety voice asked.

"Uhhh.what makes you say that?" Desiree asked anxiously. This was her second tutoring session with her teacher and she was trying to pay attention. It was a hard task considering who her teacher was. True, many people wouldn't agree, but Desiree couldn't care less. In her mind, he was sexy. He was 6'2, broad shouldered, with salt and pepper colored hair. Sure, he was older at 42, but it only added to his appeal. He was one of those men whose age only enhanced their looks. Desiree thought he had the most kissable lips and she wondered if his mustache and beard would tickle her face as she kissed him. She didn't have time to ponder this as her teacher pulled her from her thoughts as he gave his answer.

"I heard it around." the voice replied giving a slight smile.

Desiree gave an audible gulp. She hadn't counted on that. Maybe she shouldn't have told so many people about her crush. She wasn't sure what to do. If she admitted to it, he might cancel these tutoring sessions. Besides being close to him she needed the extra help if she wanted to pass geology class. How did she get into these things? She should really learn to curb her tongue.

"You shouldn't really believe everything you hear." Desiree quipped, while hastily sitting back in her chair, away from her teacher. When had he gotten so close? Was it her imagination or was he checking her out? It had to be in her mind. There was no way he could find her attractive. Her friends said she was cute, but Desiree was often hard pressed to believe them. She was 5"7', had short reddish-black hair, wore glasses, and was on the hefty side. Not quite fat, but she knew she was never going to get into a "small." She was well aware that her chocolate colored skin turned many of the men she found attractive off, considering many of them were white. "I mean I heard rumors that President Beasley was a drug dealer." Desiree laughed lightly, looking into his eyes. A deep chuckle came from her teacher.

" I take that as a no then?" Her teacher inquired, giving her an unreadable look.

Desiree looked down at her notebook. This was getting weird. She didn't know what was going on. He almost seemed to be flirting with her! Desiree emotions were in disarray. Should she tell him and risk being rejected or should she deny it again and hoped he dropped it? These questions went round and round her head for what felt like hours. She finally came to her decision and raised her head to reply, only to be cut short by another voice coming from the doorway behind her.

"Hey Bill, do you have those release forms for the field trips?" The masculine voice questioned

Bill, her teacher, nodded his head, swiveled in his chair, and moved to a set of filing cabinets behind his desk. Desiree, taking advantage of the break, gathered her things and made ready to leave. The man in the doorway, Dr. Allen, moved to let her pass.

"I'm sorry, I didn't meant to interrupt. I can come back later." Dr. Allen apologized.

"No, that's okay. I have to go anyway. Same time next week Dr. Edwards?" Desiree turned and asked from the doorway.

Dr. Edwards swiveled back to his desk with the forms in his hand. Nodding his agreement with her statement, he handed the forms to Dr. Allen. Desiree turned and walked down the hallway to the steps, leaving the two men in Dr. Edwards's office.

"I'm sorry Bill" Dr. Allen apologized again, "If I had known you had a student in here, I would've caught you later"

"It's okay Tom. Nothing big" Bill said, waving his hand in a dismissive manner. Tom, breathing a small sigh of relief, thanked Bill for the papers and returned to his office; leaving Bill to his thoughts.

Bill leaned back in his chair and stared at the ceiling of his small, cramped office. There were a lot of thoughts going through his head, most of them centering on the tutoring session that had just been interrupted.

Desiree was deep in thought when she let herself into her dorm room later that night. After her short tutoring session, she had gone driving to clear her head. Not having come to any conclusions, Desiree decided to go to her room to do her homework. Normally, she would have preferred a little peace and quiet when she did, but she was glad to see that her roommate and a few other friends were there. They would help get her mind off what had happened earlier.

"Hey, where've you been?" her roommate Jessica asked, worry evident in her voice. Jessica was a short voluptuous girl with shoulder length red hair and wore stylish horn rimmed glasses. She tended to overanalyze and worry over every little detail.

"I went driving for a while." Desiree said apologetically.

"Anything wrong?"

"Nope, just had to get away." Desiree replied, moving to her side of the room. At the beginning of the semester, Desiree and Jessica had decided to divide the room in half, thereby cutting down on the clutter factor. A month into the semester and it seemed to be working.

"So Desi, how did tutoring go? Did you even go?" Asked one of the other occupants in the room.

Desiree turned to her friend Kim, a short and voluptuous girl with olive skin, black hair and inquisitive green eyes, her mind churning. Should she tell them what happened? What did happen? Deciding to save her thoughts for another time, Desiree answered her friend. "Ah.yeah Kim, I went." Desiree stammered out, as she made to put her books away. Normally, Desiree told her friends all the happenings in her life, but she couldn't quite tell them this. What could she say? That she thought her teacher was flirting with her? Her friends would think that she was crazy. Wait, they already thought that. Placing her hand on her brow, a sigh escaped her lips. Her friends, sensing her need to be alone, left her to her thoughts. She looked around the room, disgusted with the amount of clutter. She resigned herself to organizing her textbooks, alphabetically arranging her CD collection, and dusting her desk too. Satisfied with the status of her desk, she proceeded to her closet to put away her clothes and find a killer outfit for tomorrow's classes. Her friends looked at each other and noticed her odd behavior.

"You ok Desi?" Jessica inquired, concerned at her roommate's spontaneous cleaning fit.

"Yeah," she responded nonchalantly, "I'm fine."

Satisfied with her answer, her friends continued chattering excitedly about various subjects, laughing loudly at several points in the conversation, and ending the evening singing a rounding rendition of "Friends in Low Places" by Garth brooks. Desiree participated in the conversation actively, imparting crucial information and laughing at all the right moments, but privately, her secret and the ramifications that it held were bogging her down.

Desiree was bored. She couldn't help it. She was trying to pay attention, she really was. She just couldn't concentrate on the lecture. Dr. Edwards was a very distracting man. Today, he was wearing one of his famous Hawaiian shirts and his even more famous suspenders. He looked so cute. Dr. Edwards seems oblivious. He appeared to be involved in his lecture, trying to get the rest of the class interested.

".and the fossils of the Cambrians period have unique qualities of their own." He peered out into the room, looking at the disinterested students with disappointment. He remembered when he actually attempted to inspire his students. As he looked out over his students, his eyes settled on one in particular. Desiree Freeman. She'd been in almost all of the classes that he taught. Ever since last semester's class, she'd been on his mind. She was a bright, inquisitive, vivacious student. It was true that her grades weren't stellar, but Edwards knew from experience that they didn't always tell the story. Even thought he knew all this, it didn't stop his frustration from coming forth. If she didn't shape up and start doing better, she was never going to graduate. He couldn't explain it, but he knew that she was better than that. She deserved better. He made a mental note to talk to her in his office about the situation. He imagined her sitting across from his desk with her legs crossed.realizing where his thoughts were going he swiftly switched gears. He thought about Desiree and what attracted him to her. Boy was he attracted. He couldn't even pinpoint when it was the he realized he liked her. Then it came to him. It wasn't so much a when as it was a what. It was that sparkle he caught in her eyes when she laughed. It was the way she smiled. It was the way she seemed to be genuinely interested in what he taught. It was just a multitude of things about her that drew him in. Today though, her interest in class seemed to have been abated. Her eyes were glazed as if she wasn't really there. He frowned as a thought occurred to him. Maybe he had frightened her by yesterdays' conversation. He hoped not. He just wanted to know if he had a shot. Ever since he'd admitted to himself that he wanted her, he'd tried to hide it. He didn't want to scare her off or get in trouble. When he's overheard a few students talking about her crush on him, he'd nearly jumped for joy. He hadn't even stopped to consider it might not be true. He was pulled from his thoughts by one of his students.

"Sir, is this going to be on the test?" a student asked from the back.

"Yes Peter, this will all be on the test." Dr. Edwards answered slightly irritated with the interruption of his thoughts. " I think that's all for today. Look over your notes and I'll see you next week."

As Desiree moved to gather her books and leave, Dr. Edwards stopped her.

"Desiree, I need you to stay after." Desiree nodded her acceptance to his request and moved out of the way so that other students could get around her. As the last student left the room, Dr. Edwards closed the door slightly and gestured for her to sit down at one of the desks. Pulling at her skirt, Desiree sat down nervously and stared at her hands.
Dr. Edwards picked up on the nervous gesture and softened his tone, taking care to choose his words carefully so they would not upset her.

"I'm concerned about you grades. What's going on?" Dr. Edwards questioned.

Desiree continued to look at her hands. She couldn't very well tell him that it was his fault she couldn't focus. She plucked at the belt on her shirt as she tried to come up with something to say. She had been so excited that morning. She had put on her favorite shirt. "The sex skirt" as Jessica liked to call it. It was a simple denim skirt with a slit up the front. Jessica called it the sex skirt due to the fact that when she sat down, the skirt rode up. With it she wore her favorite top, a black, sheer, bell sleeve shirt. Around the waist of the shirt was a belt with a tapestry like print on it. Underneath it, she wore a simple black tank. She had picked this outfit in hopes that he would notice.

"Perhaps we should continue this conversation in my office." Dr. Edwards asked when Desiree made no comment.

Desiree nodded in agreement as they packed up and left.

Back in his office, Bill sat behind his desk and beckoned for Desiree to sit down in the chair opposite his desk. She sat down and crossed her legs. As she moved to put her book bag on the floor, she missed the look of desire that crossed over his face. By the time she sat back up to face him, his emotions were once again under control.

"So Desiree tell me why your grades are slipping in my class?'' Dr. Edwards asked, as he leaned back in his chair, folding his hands over his knee.

Desiree fidgeted with her skirt before answering. "Well, the class isn't really interesting. I mean, it has nothing to do with my major," She said shrugging her shoulders.

"Well what do you plan on doing?" He asked as he leaned forward. He was starving for any kind of information about her.

"I plan on being a lawyer and my major is political science." Was it just her imagination or was he interested in what she was saying.

"I know that's not all that's wrong. Is there something wrong in your personal life?" He knew this wasn't his place to ask, but he had to know if he had any rivals.

"Well yeah, my boyfriend and I are having problems." Desiree couldn't understand why he was asking these questions. He was making her anxious with the way he was staring at her. Did his eyes just move to her legs?

"So is that all there is? Are you sure there's nothing else wrong? " He knew he was pushing her, but for some reason he couldn't stop. " Are you sure there's nothing else that could be breaking your concentration?" he coaxed.

She paused momentarily letting the full impact of what he said sink in. She, like a woman possessed had no control of her lips, or tongue, or vocal chords as she quietly uttered, "Yeah. It's you."

The only sound that could be heard was the lawn mower outside his office window. The full impact of what Desiree said seemed to hit them at the same moment. As Dr. Edwards made to get up and come around his desk, Desiree jumped up, startled by his sudden movement. Hurriedly she grabbed her bags and virtually bolted from the room. Dr. Edwards quickly stood up and reached for her, only to come back with air. He felt as if a moment had passed and he hadn't even known he'd missed it. Looking out his office window, he sighed, and glanced at his watch. It was time to go home. He dreaded his drive home and the loneliness that awaited him at his small house. Tonight, as he lie sleeping, he would replay the scene with Desiree again and again as the sight of her face was forever branded in his brain.

Back in her dorm room Desiree smoked a cigarette and attempted to relax from her shock. She couldn't believe that she had just expressed her burdensome secret. She sat down to do homework and contemplated skipping class for the next year or so. She was glancing over he syllabus when the phone rang. It was Kim and Gina.

"So Desi, are you going to dinner?" Kim breathed while exhaling cigarette smoke. Desiree could hear Gina in the background.

"Uh. yeah I guess. I'll be down. Bye." She debated whether or not to tell them about the blunder she made in Dr. Edward's office.