It was a year after he'd finished Senior Writing Workshop ENGL 4252, and he hadn't technically graduated but he wasn't enrolled anymore either, so he wasn't sure of Professor Cunningham's office hours. He hung around in the faculty/grad student lounge around the corner, flipping through old academic journals and literary magazines on the Ford-era sofa until he heard a key in a door. He waited a moment so it wouldn't seem like he was pouncing on her just as she got back from class -- he knew how claustrophobic the small offices could feel immediately after a thousand questions from freshmen wanting to know what would be on the next quiz.
When enough time had passed, he left the lounge and headed down the hallway, glancing in the open doorway as he passed. "Professor Cunningham," he said, smiling.
"Oh," she said, and smiled back. "Come on in! Are you headed anywhere?"
He shook his head. "Just loitering. I was using the lounge since it's so quiet this time of day."
She nodded. "Hardly anyone teaches in this building on Fridays anymore, it's because they're doing more big lectures in the new building down by the dining commons. Have you had a class there yet?"
He shook his head, and closed the door behind him. "I'm not in classes anymore."
"Oh, of course not." She brushed her hair out of her eyes and gathered it up between her hands, fastening it with a scrunchie she was several years too old for but was still practical: the humidity, especially in the warm months, made her hair frizzy in that awkward manner of a particular sort of woman. She looked far from glamorous at the moment, and he doubted she had many other moments you'd call glamorous. Her face was a little red, flushed. She was perhaps a little stocky, with thick hips and legs. Her clothes were plain and unflattering -- a brown thick skirt that made too much noise when she walked, a light blue button-up sweater inappropriate for the heat -- and rumpled from the end of the day.
But even so.
"Anyway, Professor Cunningham, I dropped something off in your box, I don't know if you got your mail yet."
She nodded, walking around the stacks of this and that to the corner table she had put near her desk as an in-box. "Call me Jeanie, you're not my student anymore." She brushed her fingers through the back of her hair and flipped the cover sheet open. "I haven't had a chance to take a look, though, did you want a critique?" It was hot in the poorly ventilated room, stuffy, and she unbuttoned the top few buttons of the sweater to a yellow shirt underneath.
He grinned. "Well, actually, it was published. I forgot to drop a note in, the post-it fell off in my backpack. Remember I sold those stories for contributors' copies when I was in your class. Well, this one I got paid." Not much, but paid nevertheless.
She brightened. "Really! Congratulations, that doesn't surprise me at all. Do you mind if I take a quick look through?"
He shook his head and leaned against the wall, which was hard concrete with thin sheets of corkboard over it. He didn't want to sit in the chair in front of her desk, it felt too student-ish. He just watched her reading, and in particular watched her pause after the first page before flipping, as though uncertain she would keep reading.
"This is--" she said at one point, but didn't finish the sentence. He moved closer, looking over her shoulder.
"What?" he asked. "Did I staple the pages in the wrong order? I didn't number them or double-space, since I wasn't turning it in for class or anything."
She shook her head and her hair -- auburn, curly, soft despite the frizz -- brushed against his cheek. "It's fine," she said in an undertone, and flipped the page. He stayed where he was, both of them leaning awkwardly over the desk, and she flipped the next page too quickly. She wasn't reading all of it.
"Is this--" she said and again didn't finish.
"What?" he asked.
Again she shook her head.
He smiled. "No really, what? I'm sorry, does it make you uncomfortable?"
"Is that meant to be me?" she asked. "I mean, the professor in this, the writing professor you --"
"Your protagonist. The one he, well --"
"Seduces? I don't think it's quite a seduction, though. He writes stories about her without telling her they're about her. It's almost more of a manipulation than a seduction."
"Okay," she said. She was still looking at the pages and not at him. "I started skimming a little, I was distracted. And then they have sex."
"Yes," he said.
"Is it --"
He laughed. "What?"
She straightened up, which put them very close together with no room for either of them to back away. He could smell her perfume and her sweat beneath it, mixed with the soap from his shower. "Are you trying to tell me something?" She said it jokingly but obviously wasn't joking.
"I thought you might appreciate it," he said. "I mean, instead of just -- calling you or something. I thought you might like this."
"I, I'm flattered --"
"We kissed at that party, remember?"
"I do," she said, and touched not her lips but her neck with her fingertips. "We were both -- we had had too much to drink."
He slipped his fingers over hers, on her throat. She pulled away, but not strongly enough to force the issue. "You especially. You told me your husband never fucked you the way you liked anymore. That you didn't get it hard enough, rough enough."
"I'd never say something like that sober," she said, and made to pull his hand away, but he stroked her throat with the length of his fingers and squeezed. She gasped, the tiniest of gasps that sent a shiver through him and made his cock rock hard at an instant. "Oh God," she said.
"Turn around," he said, and she didn't. He squeezed again, gently, caressing the tender flesh beneath her jaw with the balls of his thumb and forefinger.
"You know I can't do that," she said, and then of course she did it anyway.
.... There is more of this story ...