This is a short story a teacher made us work on. We had to use the words 'Idol, Teacher and Push.' Hope you all like it.

Agape

"Snap out of it, man! She's like, your idol or something!"

I ignored Jase, my gaze transfixed on the beauty standing before me.

Hi. I'm Ren.

I'm your average sixteen year old. I love sports- I play a decent soccer and basketball game. I don't really like to write or study, but I'm relatively good at both. I play video games often, watch a lot of TV…

Also, I'm hopelessly in love with my teacher.

She has long auburn hair that cascades down her shoulders. Make up attenuates her fine eylashes. A sensual hourglass figure compliments her small jacket and long skirt. A cute smile tugs at her lips.

Just as she suddenly appears before me.

"Hey, snap out of it!" she laughs, and the shock of her appearing in front of me so fast jolts me out of my reverie of her image in my min. For a moment the blood rushes to my face-the repeated words fuel my worst fear-but then I realize class has started already, and I heave a sigh of relief that it's not what I think it is that she knows.

She must never know.

------

It all started when I became the class chairman. I wasn't exactly up for heavy menial duty and so much contact with my classmates, but for some reason she seemed confident that I could do the job.

I was annoyed.

To make things worse, she kept doing little things that really set me off. Like giggling while I struggled with carrying her books and laughing when I tripped and fell, then making me forget about it when she helped me pick them up and looking at me with that look of hers, like a mother would her careless son.

I hate being coddled.

It was only after; when I was helping her stack her many things on the shelf…that I first really got a good look at her. The smile on her face was intoxicating-I could barely keep my eyes off her.

"Is there something on my face?" she asked innocently.

I opened my mouth and tried to say something audible without it being stupid, or blubber, or stammering, all the while hoping she wouldn't notice my face heat up.

"Y-y-you're r-really…uh…um…young-looking!"

…all three. Real smooth, Ren.

But she just laughed it off and smiled at me. It's nice-saying something stupid and getting a smile back in return. A really beautiful smile too.

I was still grinning like an idiot the next day. And throughout the next week, and the next month, and the month after that…

Some things I learnt about Jenny Lee…she was 24, sweet, beautiful, a really good teacher and the single most dense person I had ever met in my entire life. She could hardly understand anything I said unless it was very specific-but other things I was actually grateful for, like totally unaware of sexual innuendo or little slip ups about my totally unrequited affection for her.

Occasionally it bothered me-that I had fallen in love with a teacher. There's this song that says something about that…Miss Mckenzie or something? There were so many issues on my mind…like how I couldn't focus on anyone else in class but her. How I only studied harder in her class because she would smile proudly at me when she handed me back my 'A.' How would my friends react if they knew? Would they laugh? How would she react if she knew? Did I really have a chance with her? So many doubts clouded my mind.

"You like her," confronted Jase one afternoon, glaring at me accusingly. He sounded angry-like I had done something horribly wrong.

"So?" It was not a harsh reply. Just a fact.

"She's 24, man! That's like 8 years older than you, man!"

"7, I haven't hit my birthday yet."

"Neither has she. She's attached!"

"I know."

"She's your teacher!"

"I know."

"She's pretty damn hot!"

"I know…wait, what does that have to do with anything?"

Jase sighed. "What do you really think of her?"

I looked at Jase's straight-laced face and hesitated. Jase, the class comedian. The living laughtrack. The Joker of the Century. And he was trying to have a normal, serious conversation with it. I couldn't help it.

I laughed.

"What's so funny?"

"Never mind." Jase is my best friend, so I felt that regardless of any joke he might crack, I owed him the truth.

"I think she's the one," I told him honestly, trying not to feel embarrassed about how serious I was. "I'm in love with her."

Jase sighed. His usual humorous grin was missing, replaced by a dry look that reminded me of some kind of loving disappointment, like a mother whose kid was always picked last for both teams. I glared back defiantly.

"What?"

"What do you know about her?"

"Huh?"

"What do you know about her?"

"Well…"

"Nothing. You had to take time to think about it. You don't know anything about her life, anything about who she is, not even her favorite colour. So don't claim to love someone you don't know. Trust me, it's not healthy."

And just like that, Jase walked off.

What the hell was that?

----

Still, as the weeks went by, what Jase said really bothered me-but it didn't stop me from wanting to spend more time with her, which I did. She talked to me about her life-where she studied, how she met her boyfriend, how tough it was being a teacher-why she was a teacher.

I soon began to realize why Jase had said what he said. The more I knew about her-the more beautiful she became to me, the more I was falling in love with her. It was becoming apparent that knowing her was starting to fill in the gaps that I had in my mind of her-what I had envisioned her to be as opposed to what she actually was…and yet, I liked her even more.

Had there ever been any doubt before, there wasn't now. I was in love with this woman, and I wanted to be with her.

----

"You're not really working, are you?"

She laughed, the soft chime of her voice ringing like music in my ears. I had been sitting at the bench outside the staff room for the past hour, waiting for Jase to finish his detention-and totally unable to focus on my work.

I grinned back at her. "No. How did you know?"

"You've been sitting like that for the past hour with that look on your face, like someone died." Her smile turned into a serious expression. "You alright?"

I shrugged. I didn't really want to talk about it.

"I'm fine."

"Ren, I'm your teacher. I know you might not be comfortable, but I just want you to know you can talk to me about it-"

"What's love?" I blurted. For a moment, she looked confused-and then she blushed.

"I didn't see that coming." She breathed, pushing her hair behind her ear, her chest rising and falling. "Why? You like someone?"

She was teasing me now, and as much as I wanted to keep that cute expression on her face, I wasn't ready to give away anything yet.

"Sort of."

"Well, try not to let it distract you from your studies. It's always hard to not think about anything else other than the girl you like…"

Tell me about it.

"And it's really time-consuming. It's not just studies. Dates and travelling…"

"Um…"

"Relationships are complicated. They really keep you on your toes. One day they say they love you and the next day they're all 'Fuck you, bitch.' And commitment! That's so complicated. I really don't get that sometimes…"

As much as I liked that she was the first person I found who could ever make a vulgarity sound cute, she was really starting to sidetrack a little.

"Uh. Jen. The issue?"

"Oh." She blinked. "Right. Sorry, I got carried away."

She thought for a while, and then blushed shyly. "I guess-at least for me, that love is Agape."

"Agape?"

"Sacrificial and unconditional love. It's about putting the happiness of the person you love the most before your own, no matter what happens. Maybe the person you love can be a real idiot, or never appreciate you-but you still do everything you can to make that person happy, even if it hurts. Agape."

Surprisingly, it wasn't so much the way she said it, like what usually got me…but what she said. It made so much sense, and she said it with so much pride. I looked at her, glowing with conviction.

Somehow, she had never looked more beautiful. And the small voice of reason in my head…that had been telling me the whole time, "She's your teacher." "She's not right for you."

Was gone.

I thanked her for the advice and waved back as she got into her car. This time, I was smiling as well, because a thought had occurred to me.

She had been watching me the whole time.

-----

Time only reinforced my feelings. As the weeks passed, her words really began to strike chords in me. This was what I wanted. This was what love meant. I wanted to make her as happy as possible. As long as she was by my side-as long as she was mine- I could, and I would make her happy.

The night that it happened, I was due at her house to assist her in tutoring the weaker students in my class. But the sight that greeted me at the door horrified me.

She was standing at the doorway, her eyes puffed and red. Angry tears streaked down her cheeks. She smelled of alcohol and smoke, and her skin was ghostly pale.

"Jen- I began, but was cut off abruptly by her yanking me painfully into the house. I winced.

"Didn't you get the message?" she demanded, her voice breaking up. "Class is cancelled." She smirked, something I had never seen her do before. "Oh, I know. You're so cute, Ren! You're here because you LIKE me. You WANT me. It's cute."

So she knew. How long had she known?

"Oh." And that was all I could come up with before she started breaking out in tears again. To my shock, she clung on to me and started sobbing into my shoulder uncontrollably.

I wasn't sure whether to feel happy or sad.

I lightly patted her on the back, and waited for a while. It was probably at this point that I already knew what was coming. I just couldn't accept it so fast.

I don't know when she stopped crying, or when her face left my shoulder. By the time I realized, I was already lost in shimmering black pearls staring directly back into my eyes.

And then it happened.

She took me by the shoulder…and kissed me.


My eyes widened. The pleasure and happiness welled up in my chest, but my head was telling me how was wrong this was. As usual, I ignored the latter.

She kissed me again, quickly, almost furtively, in the corner of my mouth. This time, I kissed her back. My knees locked. I could barely breathe. A tendril of her hair floated loose and swept against my cheek. I tucked it back behind her ear, just when her awfully soft body pressed against mine and I came awfully close to taking her right there and then. But the impulse tangled in knots.

I was not mentally prepared for this. Even though my body was telling me that this was the girl I was in love with, not to mention she was incredibly sexy, I wasn't ready to do something like this.

I threw her off me, regretting it instantly, and made for the door, struggling the whole way.

"Don't go!" she screamed, and it cut my heart into pieces. She hugged me-tackled me, and we fell on her bed. "I'm sorry. Don't go again, okay? I'm sorry, Mark. Please don't go."

The pieces of my heart shattered.

It wasn't that I wasn't mentally prepared. Any other time, I would have in a heartbeat. If I knew she had loved me back in the same way, even half as much as I loved her…

The whole time, I had it all wrong. Loving her didn't equate to her being with me. It wasn't the same thing. Her being happy…didn't mean that she had to be with me. That was what Agape meant. Sacrificial, unconditional love-to ensure that she would be happy with someone else. If she didn't love me, it was fine. It was supposed to be fine. She would be happy with the guy she loved. I would make sure of that.

So why was my heart hurting so much that I could break down, myself?

I looked at her beautiful form, looking at me longingly-a way she had never looked at me before when she was sober-desirous. Loving. Willing. I wanted her. I needed her. I needed her so badly it could kill me. I needed…

Instead, I held her. She didn't resist. We stayed there like that, until all I could hear was the steady rhythm of her breath, and her soft heartbeat pounding slowly against mine.

Then, I was free to cry.

----

"AHHHH!!!!!" screamed a high pitched voice, and I knew she was awake. Given our compromising position, it was no wonder she had screamed.

After clearing the misunderstanding, I held an ice pack to my red cheek while she apologized profusely. I laughed.

My smile died when it turned out she could not remember the events of the previous night. Even though I didn't want her to know, it still hurt.

Why hadn't I wanted her to know.

"My fiancé dumped me yesterday," she had explained. "I'm really sorry if I put any burden on you last night. I hope there's some way I can repay you."

A lot of things came to my mind. I shrugged them off hurriedly.

"And you didn't take advantage of me," she whispered seriously. "That means a lot to me."

I had wanted to.

I put on a smile. "You're my teacher. Why would I even think that?"

For a moment she looked confused-almost expectant-and I knew that even now, she knew-or at least, she had thoughts that I liked her. She was wrong.

I loved her.

"Anyway, if you really want to repay me, you could excuse me from class today. You sleep like a log. A really heavy one."

She whacked my shoulder mock-angrily, giggling a little. "Don't push it. But I will explain to your parents that you fell asleep here. I'll leave out the…circumstances, though."

I turned around, laughing back, when my eyes met hers. For a moment, I saw a spark-a small bit of the desire that I had seen last night, and my heart stopped.

There was a tense silence-and she broke away.

"I-I should probably get changed," she mumbled.

"Yeah," I agreed, a little sorry she hadn't decided to do anything. "Me too."

"Thanks Ren," she whispered in my ear. "You always make me feel better." Her breath against me made me tense up, but it also felt good at the same time. Her arms wrapped around me for a second an she kissed my head, before giggling and heading for her room.

For a moment I just sat there, my heart pounding wildly. Then the pain seeped in.

"But you always make me feel worse," I whispered to the empty void she's left in her wake. Love…hurt.

…she must never know.


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