I Just Don't Know...
Chapter 1

Caution: This Romantic Sex Story contains strong sexual content, including Ma/Fa, Romantic, Heterosexual, Petting, Teacher/Student, Slow,

Desc: Romantic Sex Story: Chapter 1 - A sad, shy University lecturer encounters an unusual and gifted student, who changes his life

As I tell this, you'll probably wonder how I could be so naïve, so oblivious. All I can say is, I was. Again and again, you'll hear the words, 'I don't know'.

For example, 'I don't know' was what I thought to myself each day as I stood under the shower in the gym. I kept asking myself why I kept putting myself through the torture of a daily workout, when the only pleasurable part was the hot shower after.

Oh, I knew the facts, the history. I could recite the how, the when, the why of what happened, but the emotional side, the 'how could I be so stupid?' side – that was something I just couldn't get a handle on; even the 'why me?' was imponderable.

I couldn't blame my wife ... my ex-wife, it certainly was no fault to Juliet. She behaved better than I could have expected. Actually, I'd have preferred a towering temper tantrum much more than the quiet disappointment. I couldn't bring myself to argue, to beg, to plead for our twenty-year marriage; I just said, "I'm sorry". Her response, equally low-key, "So am I."

I can't really blame 'the other woman'. After all, it takes two to tango, horizontally as well as vertically. I suppose she'd be called a 'cougar'. I like that term, it suggests a predator with no real interest in the feelings of the prey. She wasn't spectacularly beautiful, or even particularly pretty, but she had a way of turning on a sort of potent sensuality that made appearance irrelevant. In the first instance, I didn't feel worried or threatened, anything like that, the first time she approached me at lunch-time. I might have wondered why a woman from the staff of the Business School would approach a man from the staff of the Faculty of Development and Society; of what interest would an English teacher, quiet, happily married, reserved, would be to an unmarried lecturer in Business Administration. But I didn't. And she was knowledgeable, widely read, enough that she was interesting to talk to.

I had no suspicions when she invited me to a party that it might be any more than the sort of social interaction that the University encouraged in order to foster good working relations within the staff group, particularly across Faculty divisions.

It was only as the rest of the group faded away, leaving me with Celeste and a half-finished bottle of wine that I began to have concerns, and they were muted by the quantity of alcohol I'd already consumed.

"It would be rude to leave it," she said, filling my glass and topping off her own.

And, yes, it would have been rude to leave then. Sensible, even right, but rude.

So you see, I know how I came to be in an empty class-room with her, judgement impaired by alcohol, even how we came to be kissing and tearing one another's clothes off, but somehow the whole process seemed to be beyond my control. Pathetic, isn't it? If I'd been straight with my wife immediately, we might have ridden out the storm, but, embarrassed and guilty, I didn't. Perhaps it was a coincidence that my wife found out just about the time Celeste decided to leave for a promotion to a Business School in Birmingham. Or perhaps not.

So, yes. I know the how, the process, of how I came to be divorced, living in a static caravan just outside Sheffield. My wife let me take my motorbikes, books and lap-top, most of our savings; she kept the house, almost paid for, and the car.

So you could say I had my freedom, except that I didn't want to be free and had no idea what to do with it. You see, having met my wife at College, she was my first everything ... until Celeste was my first adultery.

I keep saying 'I don't know' but I did realise one reason I kept on working out at the gym, and that was the young women in those skin-tight work-out outfits. I'd have been far too insecure to actually approach any of them, but at least I got to see them.

Something else I did know was that I loved teaching. I've always loved my subject and it seemed I had no difficulty in transmitting that love to my students. Well, most of them, anyway. I've got to admit I wasn't so happy with younger kids, but the undergrads and occasional Masters students at University ... I suppose they were the reason I didn't take the easy way out. So, I had my teaching, somewhere reasonably comfortable to live, and I had my bikes.

Oh, yes, the bikes. I had two; a BMW R90 fitted out for touring, with fairing, panniers and top-box, and an old ex-War Department BSA, a 350 c.c. single, which was ideal for rough or icy roads and awkward places. That got me to work each day, anyway.

Teaching, I was happy enough, but other times? Not so good.

It'd be a year, I think ... yes, a year, after the decree absolute and it was the middle of Autumn. It always makes me feel gloomy to see the leaves fall and have the days shortening. I love the colours, but somehow ... Anyway, I was in the gym, thinking how boring the cross-trainer was. Someone moved on to the machine next to me and I glanced round.

She was pretty. A bit plump, maybe, but short, dark, curly hair framed a sweet face. Our eyes met and she smiled. I blushed and turned back to the display in front of me. Once I got over my initial embarrassment, I thought I recognised her. She'd been one of a small group taking an English module as part of some other course, so not one of my regular students. Anyway, I got on with the business that brought me there and kept my eyes to myself. I finished out my hour and had my shower, dressed and headed to the cafeteria for coffee.

One of the ways I avoid stress and things I don't want to think about is I read. Not too surprising, perhaps, in an English teacher, though I suppose Asimov and Heinlein, Tom Clancy and some other authors ... what the hell, I might as well confess ... Freya North as an example ... are probably not what would be expected. So I got my coffee and a bacon sandwich, opened my book and began to read.

"Mr Burgin?" A quiet, feminine voice penetrated my concentration on Jessica Adams' 'I'm a Believer' (No, nothing to do with the Monkees, it's a romance). It takes some doing to penetrate my escapist fantasy world, but I wasn't absolutely immersed. Not quite.

I looked up; it was the dark-haired girl I'd seen in the gym. "Yes?"

"I, er, I'm sorry to disturb you..."

My habit of politeness is far too deeply ingrained to break, even if I'd rather read.

"Not a problem."

"I was wondering if I might have a word with you?"

"I thought you were?" I smiled, hopefully removing any sting from the words.

She coloured slightly.

"Sit," I said, "or perhaps you'd like to get a drink? I'm not going anywhere for ... twenty minutes or so."

"Okay," she said, "back in a minute."

Now, I don't know how to ... flirt. I'd be terrified if I had to initiate a social conversation with a young woman, but I'm a teacher. I don't have a problem talking to a student who comes to me with a question. I thought that was what she was doing...

I watched her disappear into the servery, then reappear at the till with coffee; she paid and walked back toward me. She sat and sipped her coffee thoughtfully, then looked at me.

"I really enjoyed the module you taught last year," she said, "it almost made me wish I'd chosen English instead of Psychology."

"Thanks," I said, "I recognised you, but, I'm sorry, don't remember your name."

"Why would you?" she paused, then, "Sandra Saunders. Sassy."

"Really?" I raised my eyebrows quizzically.

She grimaced, "My parents inflicted 'Sandra Alice Saunders' on me. I've been 'Sassy' for years."

"And do you like it?"

"I'm used to it," she replied.

"I seem to remember the name," I commented, "you handed in an assignment on the origins of words that I liked a lot."

"You graded it 'A'", she said.

"The only one in your group," I added.

She blushed, "As I said, I really enjoyed your module," she took another sip of coffee, looking down at the table, then, looking up, "I was going to ask a favour."

I shrugged. "Ask away."

"I've had a novel synopsis accepted by a publisher."

My eyebrows raised without any conscious input from me, "Congratulations."

"They took one look at the first chapter and told me to come back when I'd found an editor I could work with."

"Unusual, I would have thought," I frowned.

She looked down at the table again and her next words were directed at it rather than me.

"I ... er ... didn't see eye to eye with the editor they infli ... assigned me."

"So, how can I help?"

She looked up, and held my eyes intensely. "I want you to consider editing my book."

I looked back at her, but my thoughts drifted to my mental image of her in her exercise gear; I hadn't looked long, but the image was burned into my memory. She was very pretty.

"Mr. Burgin?"

"I'm sorry, Miss Saunders," I jerked myself back from a sort of reverie and looked at her. "My mind ... drifted for a moment."

She misconstrued my words and looked disappointed. In fact, the words 'puppy-dog eyes' came to mind.

"Might you ... at least ... read some?"

I really should not have been thinking about how pretty she was and how I wanted to see that smile again, but I was. I sighed.

"Very well, then. I will look. Whether I can be an effective editor, though..."

Whatever doubts I may have had evaporated in the warmth of that smile. She handed over a file and a memory stick; the file, I later found, had a card with her address and phone number. I looked at my watch and sighed; I needed to be on my way. If I started reading, I'd get involved and be late.

I stood. "I need to be off, Miss Saunders. I'll look at this and see if I think I can be any help to you."

"You could call me Sassy, you know."

"I thought you weren't keen on the tag?"

She shrugged. "I'd just like to be less formal."

"Forgive me, but I think it would be best to stay formal, for now, at least."

Was that disappointment, again, in her expression? She shrugged. "If you say so, sir."

The rest of the day passed in necessary tasks; one lecture, two seminars – more enjoyable than the lecture, with the interaction with the students – and a lot of paperwork.

It was several days before I sat down with the young lady's script, which turned out to be three chapters of a quite conventional romance. As it happens, I quite like romantic fiction, which is an escape from the less satisfying realities of life. This one had a number of things going for it; three-dimensional characters, for one thing, in a very attractive setting for another. The English wasn't bad, though there were a few common errors – confusing homonyms the main one, with a few punctuation faults. One problem, however, was less easy to deal with. In writing, it is sometimes appropriate to use a colloquial form which is, strictly speaking, grammatically incorrect. I needed to talk to Miss Saunders to thrash out what she was aiming at, stylistically.

I suppose it was a week or two later that we met in my office to discuss the manuscript, or, rather, typescript. I share an office, being too junior to rate a room to myself. My colleague was an older, motherly, very happily married lady, Marjorie Hopkins, who knew about my divorce, though not all the details. She discreetly excused herself when Miss Saunders – who I had begun in my mind to think of as 'Sandie' – arrived. We had a vigorous, constructive and, to me, pleasant discussion and she left, bearing her script with my editorial comments and corrections.

Ever been depressed? I don't mean 'feeling low', or 'fed up' – I mean, being in that mental and physical state a doctor would describe as 'depressed'. Disrupted sleep, poor appetite, poor motivation, general disinterest. It's a 'catch 22' condition that feeds itself. You're not sleeping properly, so you feel tired all the time, though you still can't sleep. If you're like me, you glug large quantities of coffee, but rapidly arrive at diminishing returns. Quality of work suffers. In my case, my teaching wasn't too bad; that was the one time I felt something like normal, but the admin rapidly went down hill and colleagues could tell I wasn't right.

The Prof summoned me to his office and, not unkindly, told me to go home, make an appointment with my doctor and not come back until he – the doctor – cleared me. To this day, I don't know why it happened – I didn't think I'd been particularly stressed. I'd been a bit low because of the onset of winter, but I suspect it had more to do with ... Sandie. I'd been confronted with the reality of my lack of companionship.

The doctor signed me off work immediately, told me to lay off the caffeine and prescribed some pills. Antidepressants take weeks to work and often have unpleasant side effects. Some of them are really dangerous in overdose – I found all this out much later – and there are two sorts – some wake you up, others make you sleepy. My doctor prescribed the second sort, which at least had the advantage that I slept better. Not well, but better. No coffee, so headaches. Tinnitus and internal upsets because of the pills. Little motivation so I didn't eat much.

It's just as well the 'van had electricity. I'd soon have run out of gas for heating otherwise. As it was, I was warm, at least.

A few days before winter break, Marjorie turned up on my doorstep. I was in some ratty sweats which I'd been living in for a day or two; they were warm and comfortable and I didn't have to worry about what I was wearing when I actually got sleepy, or when I woke at four a.m. I heard the knock on the door and considered ignoring it, but habit was too strong. Even so, I was moving so slowly the knock was repeated before I got there.

"Any chance of a cup of coffee, Will?"

I stared at her for a few moments.

"You'll be letting all the heat out, Will," she continued.

I backed up to let her enter. "Yes," I said. "but it's decaffeinated. Caffeine is banned by order of the Quack-in-Chief."

She grimaced. "Is the tea decaffeinated, too?"

"No tea," I said, "Rooibos, Chamomile, Echinacea..."

She looked at me with horror in her eyes, "You've really taken this seriously, haven't you?"

"Can't be bothered to fight it, Marjorie."

Her expression softened. "Decaf will do, then, Will, please."

She stood in the kitchenette with me as I made coffee and heated milk, then followed me to my lounge, with its panoramic view of not very much, though the surrounding hills were visible above the trees.

"This really isn't bad," she commented, sipping the coffee, "and I suppose I can live for an hour or so without caffeine."

I nodded, and we sat in silence for some time.

"You're missed," she said. "The students haven't been told what's wrong, though I expect they may guess. Anyway," she delved in her bag and removed a sheaf of envelopes, "these are for you."

They were a mixture of 'Get Well' and Christmas cards, though the latter also had 'get well' messages in. By the third one that I opened, tears were trickling down my face and after half a dozen I stopped and laid the rest aside. I mopped my face, blew my nose and took a deep, if shaky, breath. "Sorry," I said, "I seem to be doing rather a lot of that lately. I'll save the rest 'til later. Perhaps you'd tell everyone 'thanks' if you see them?"

"Of course. And something else. I had a visit from a young lady. Sassy Saunders?"

"Sandra," I said, "Miss Sandra Saunders."

"Whatever. She wanted your address. I ... put her off, but she gave me this..." she handed over Sandie's script.

I flipped through. It looked as though she'd re-written the first three chapters and added three more.

"I suppose it'll be something to do," I mused rather dully.

Marjorie made a noise something like 'Hmph.'

I looked at her and shrugged, "Can't do any harm giving her this address," I said. "You don't need the hassle of being a courier, do you? Not that I mind you coming. It's good to see you."

We chatted some more for the better part of an hour; Marjorie told a few of those little amusing stories teachers collect sometimes and brought me up-to-date with University life. I certainly felt brighter by the time she left.

I read through the first three chapters, which read much more smoothly than before; she'd corrected the clear errors and the colloquialisms were at least consistent. I jotted down some comments here and there, but, honestly, it was fine as it was. The rest I set aside for the next day and set about opening cards – I managed another eight before I had to go for another handkerchief and headed for bed where, thanks to Marjorie's visit and the Doc's pills, I dropped off almost immediately.

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Story tagged with:
Ma/Fa / Romantic / Heterosexual / Petting / Teacher/Student / Slow /