Authors: Linnea May
The clouds literally explode above us as we turn around to head for a coffee place off campus that I suggested. It all happens within seconds. Sunshine is replaced by an eerie darkness and the wind increases, turning from a light breeze to violent gusts across the campus.
Mr. Portland is walking next to me, his eyes going back and forth between the busy heaven and the area ahead of us.
"Is it far?" He asks.
"No," I reply. I'm clutching the satchel against my side, trying to keep up with his long stride and fast pace as he quickens his steps. "It's just a five minute walk."
"Even that might be too much," he presumes.
The weather gods prove him right. The moment he finishes his sentence, the clouds unleash a heavy rainfall upon us. There's no harbinger, no light drizzle that announces heavier rain to come, it just starts pouring down in torrents from one moment to the next.
"Fuck!" I hear him yelling through the heavy rain. Loud thunder accompanies his curse, startling me as I feel Mr. Portland's hand on my back. He starts running and pushes me along with him. His hand leaves my back a few moments later, and I watch in surprise when I see him take off his jacket while running. It's a futile attempt, but he throws it over my head, trying to protect me from the rain. I'm soaked already, but my heart skips due to this intimate gesture.
He steers me to the other direction, his firm upper body pushing against my side as he forces me to turn right.
"That's not the way to the-"
"We're not going to the Café!" He interrupts me. "Run!"
I realize that we're heading back to the building we just came from, evading students and teachers left and right as they flee from the sudden storm. Everybody is so occupied with the weather, that they don't pay any attention to us. Thank God. With how popular Mr. Portland is among my female classmates, I bet I'm risking a lot of hateful stares with the way I'm tucked beneath his jacket, his insanely muscular chest still bumping into me with every step while we're running next to each other.
My cheeks are burning with heat, despite the cool breeze the thunder storm brought along. I find myself a little disappointed when we reach the entrance of the Economics building and he instantly puts some distance between us, removing his protective arms from me, but not his jacket.
The entrance area is filled with students, most of them just as soaked as we are. Mr. Portland is standing next to me in a light blue shirt that is sticking to his undoubtedly toned chest and arms. He lifts his hand to ruffle his wet hair and move the dripping strands from his face, a gesture that looks forbiddingly sexy on a man like him.
He catches me staring at him, and I instinctively duck beneath his jacket as his eyes lock on me. His scent, masculine and woodsy, is radiating from his jacket and it is intoxicating. I want to close my eyes and inhale it more thoroughly, but of course, I do nothing of the sort.
"You're soaked," he states, ignoring the fact that he's completely drenched himself. "Let's get you into something dry."
He says that as if it's the most natural thing to say. As if he has to take care of me like a father. Or a boyfriend.
I want to clarify what he's talking about, but he doesn't wait for any kind of reply from my side. He just turns around and walks down the hall, clearly expecting that I will follow him without further questions.
So I do.
I try to ignore the looks I'm getting left and right, walking through a crowd that contains many of my fellow students who are very familiar with the jacket that is wrapped around my shoulders.
Yes, this is weird to me, too.
Mr. Portland strides down the hall in hasty steps, not checking once if I'm following him or not. I hasten my pace in an attempt to catch up with him.
"I'm okay, I don't have any-"
"You're soaked," he repeats without looking at me. "And the way your blouse has taken the rain is not appropriate for running around campus."
"What do you you-" I stop as I look down on myself. My white and thin summer blouse is drenched and has turned into a see through nothing due to the heavy rain.
Oh God, he can totally see my bra!
I quickly close his jacket around myself, turning crimson red in the process and falling behind a few steps so that I'm not walking directly next to him. Now, instead, I'm confronted with the view of his ripped back hugged by an equally wet and see through shirt.
"Where are we going?" I ask, even though the direction he's taking should be pretty obvious.
"My office," he says.
My heart literally skips a beat at the thought of being alone with him. What the hell is wrong with my head right now? How did I end up here? All I wanted to do was to face him, because of that unnecessary blame game during class. I was furious, humiliated.
But I was also angry at myself for acting the way I did after his first lecture. I found myself flicking through his book again and again during the past week, reading passages I had read before I met the man behind them and was now seeing them in a different light. Every time Celia caught me with his book in my hands, she made sure to make fun of me, adding silly wooing sounds to her amusement.
The fact that she was not altogether wrong about her assumptions made it all the worse for me. I can't deny that Mr. Portland fascinates me in a way that's caught me off guard. It would have been so much easier to elevate myself above the swooning fangirls if he were the arrogant beguiler I assumed he would be.
But instead, he has me unraveled like no one ever has before. I feel weak beneath his eyes, but feel a strangely encouraging strength at the same time. He intimidates me, makes nervous, angry, and still curious.
My mind and body are actors in a bewildering play, and he is the puppet master.
I keep my distance when he unlocks his office door and steps inside, waiting for me to follow. Our eyes meet for a split second, as if we're assuring each other that we're well aware of what's happening right now.
There's absolutely no reason for me to be here. There's no reason that I should follow him to his office to change into something dry. It's not like I'll catch a deadly cold within the few minutes it would take me to wait for the rain to stop and walk back to my dorm. We both know that this is just an excuse to be alone.
Or am I imagining things?
Maybe he really is worried about my health. But what could I even change into? I have no other clothes with me and he certainly doesn't have a stack of women's clothing stored in his office.
Or so I hope.
He closes the door as soon as I step inside, and while I remain in the middle of the room with nowhere to go, he whirls around to a dark wooden cabinet and opens it, the door blocking my view as he starts rummaging around in it.
The office is small and rather empty. All of the furniture displays the same dark wood as the cabinet. There's a heavy and comically large desk that takes up almost one third of the room, a comfortable looking black leather office chair, and a book case next to the cabinet. Unlike I've seen in many other faculty offices, this bookcase is almost empty, only stocked with a handful of books and - to my surprise - a bottle of expensive looking Whiskey with two glasses next to it.
"Here," he says, closing the cabinet door and handing me a soft looking sweater.
I stare blankly at his outstretched hand.
"Take it," he urges, coming closer. "You'll catch a cold if you don't change."
I look up at him. "I can't-"
"You will," he interrupts. He furls his eyebrows.
I reluctantly let go of the jacket that is still hanging over my shoulders and reach for the sweater he's offering me. It feels softer than anything I've ever worn before. The dark gray fabric feels so insanely luxurious in my hands that I have to suppress the urge to press it against my cheek to test its touch.
"Let me take that," Mr. Portland says, lifting his jacket from my shoulder.
Knowing how see-through my white blouse has become, I feel painfully exposed and awkwardly try to cover myself by crossing my arms in front of my chest while still holding the sweater.
Mr. Portland puts the drenched jacket over the backrest of his office chair and turns around to me.
"What are you waiting for?" He asks.
"I.... err, I'll be right back," I utter, making an effort to turn around and walk toward the door.
"You can change here," he says, chuckling. "I won't look."
Heat rushes up to my cheeks with such force that I'm sure he must see me glowing like a red beacon.
"Unless you want me to," he adds, now casting me a dark grin.
I huff with indignation. "Excuse me?"
Mr. Portland is standing about four feet away from me, his back facing the window. For some reason, the blinds are pulled down so that no one can look inside, as if he anticipated this weird little getaway with me.
I put my satchel on the ground next to me and step forward to the desk, placing the sweater on top of it so that my hands are free. Contrary to what I expected, he does not turn around when I'm about to unbutton my blouse. Instead, he locks me down with his gaze, not scanning my exposed upper body but contenting himself with my face. The green of his eyes is such a surprise in contrast with his black hair and dark complexion. It gives him a mysterious look, adding to his enigmatic demeanor.
"I didn't say I want you to look," I say. My voice is oddly soft, so girlish and humble. I never hear myself speak like this.
"I think you did," he says, enlightening a fire behind my chest that feels hot enough to dry that damn blouse right away.
What the hell is he saying? What is this? Is he flirting with me? He can't be serious.
"But I'll leave you to it anyway," he adds, turning his back to me. "Hurry."
"Thanks," I whisper helplessly.
I quickly get out of my drenched blouse and place it next to the sweater on the large and empty desk. For a moment, I consider taking off my bra as well, because it's equally soaked. but the thought of my boobs touching his sweater is too much for me to handle.
I pull the sweater over my head, suppressing a sigh of ecstasy as the soft, warm, fabric slides over my skin. It feels like a enveloping hug.
And it smells like him.
Just as I am about to announce that I'm done and decent, he turns back to me, nodding toward the cabinet.
"I think there's a hanger in there," he says. "You can put your blouse on it so it can dry."
I nod and walk over to the cabinet, opening the door that he was rummaging behind before. Just like the rest of his office, the cabinet is almost empty. All I find is more sweaters, a few pens and notebooks, bags of instant coffee and two hangers that appear misplaced in this storage cupboard.
I use one of them to hang my blouse and turn around to ask him where I should place it - only to find him standing in front of me with his shirt unbuttoned and about to take it off.
Another rush of blazing embarrassment streams through me, and I hardly manage to free my eyes from his ripped torso before I whirl around to turn my back to him.
"I'm sorry!" I yelp. "I didn't know you were-"
I hear him chuckle behind my back and take off his wet shirt. Two commanding steps announce him approaching behind me, while I turn into a pillar of salt. I don't even flinch when I can feel him breathing down my neck and his right arm reaches into the cabinet, passing my side closely, but without actually touching any part of me. I can feel the warmth of his masculine body wrapping me like the sweater he gave me.
He grabs another hanger from the cabinet and uses it for his own shirt, completely ignoring my discomfort.
"You can hang it here," he says from somewhere behind me.
He didn't take a sweater for himself, so he must still be half naked. If I turn around now, I'll be confronted with those insane abs again. I will stare, I know I will. I've never seen a man this ripped in my life before. For real, I mean. Pictures, yes. But standing face to face with a body like his has a stronger effect than I could ever imagine.
"Turn around," he orders. "Don't make such a fuss."
The impatient and pervasive tone of his voice causes me to lose my stiffness and turn around in an instant. Of course, my eyes travel down his exposed torso right away, vanquishing one tan hill after another before they leisurely slide along the low v-lines above his pelvis.
I've heard girls calling men 'delicious' and visa-versa and always thought that only a very shallow person would come up with an description as such.
Call me shallow, then.
Mr. Portland notices my gaze, standing tall and strong in front of me while I consume him with my eyes. He likes me looking at him. Of course he does. Maintaining a body like this must be a shitload of work, hours of training, most likely hitting the gym every single day. If he puts this much effort in his looks, it's understandable that he wants to be seen, especially by women.
But why by his student?