TESTING THE LIMITS (Teach Me Trilogy – Book 1)
Three years I’ve been waiting for this night and now it’s finally here. Well, almost here. I sat in my old Ford Focus watching the fireflies dance across the windshield. A warm breeze teasing of summer wafted through the windows carrying the clamor of crickets and frogs with it. My heart pounded loud drowning them out as I checked my text messages for the hundredth time. Still nothing. If I could go home, I could at least get some of my mounting homework done while I waited, but that’s not an option. That’ll raise too many questions when I want to leave again, especially at this hour. It’s sad, at twenty-one I’m still living with my parents, well one parent at least, but what’s a poor college student with millions in student loans to do? Not to mention my part-time job that pays substandard wages, like I could afford my own place anyway. At this rate, I’ll be forty and still living at home.
I shook my head hard to get that scary thought out. If I could just get a better paying job, like… a stripper. There are a few girls in my classes that do it. They’re always wearing designer clothes and one of them drives a brand new Land Rover. I used to be a dancer, of course that was when I was seven, but it can’t be that hard to take your clothes off. My face turned hot at the thought. Who am I kidding, I could never. Imagine the shame I would bring to my family if anyone ever found out. Although, if anyone finds out about us tonight I’ll bring more than shame to my family. Also, another reason why I can’t go home.
I glanced at the clock watching the minutes disappear as midnight drew closer. I’m supposed to be out with a friend at the movies, but it can only get so late before I arouse suspicion. Good thing the closest movie theater is forty-five minutes away, that’ll buy me some extra time. Hopefully, it’s enough.
I checked my phone once again trying to will something to happen. Nothing. My telekinetic powers must be low tonight. I slouched back into the seat as the clouds overhead parted letting the full moon shine through. Oh great, last thing I need is someone to see my car sitting at this vacant house that’s literally right around the corner from my own. At least I’ll have a short drive after wasting how many hours tonight? I rolled my eyes at the thought and grabbed my phone. Enough waiting, three years is too long. My fingers tapped the screen, 15 minutes to get here now or never, and hit send. By then it’ll be eleven-thirty.
I tossed my phone onto the seat and rubbed my eyes. After all the hours we’ve spent talking and emailing, I couldn’t image he would stand me up. And if he did there must be a good explanation like his phone died or he was in an accident or God forbid someone found out about us. No, we’ve both been so careful; we haven’t even seen each other in three years. I closed my eyes trying to remember that last day. A newly minted graduate of tiny town USA with my pristine white cap and gown. Pure. Untouched. Eighteen year old virgin when I made my promise. Well, unless you count that playground kiss when I was seven years old. I smiled remembering our friends, mostly my best friend Paige, who dared us to kiss. We both squeezed our eyes shut and pecked our lips together like two baby birds. Since then I’ve always wondered what a real kiss will feel like, if it’ll ever happen.
I opened my eyes and watched the clouds filter back over the moon. Good, darkness, just what I like. Covers up sins because in this town they’ll hang you for even thinking of holding hands with another person who isn’t your spouse. Condemn you to hell during Sunday service for all to see. And believe me, all five hundred townspeople will see.
The radio station paused from their Backtrax USA for a commercial and to announce the time. Eleven twenty-eight. Two minutes left. I clenched my fists together and cursed under my breath. Three years, three freaking years with all those emails, phone calls, text messages and for what? For nothing? For me to turn my life upside down just so he could make a fool out of me? Well, forget it. I’ve waited long enough.
I sat back up and reached for the keys just as a pair of headlights flew around the bend freezing me in place. Shit, I never asked what kind of car he has. This one’s moving too fast to be him though. Probably some teenager trying to get home before curfew. What if they see me? Or worse… no, I couldn’t think of worse. Worse meant we hadn’t been careful enough. I held my breath as the black Jeep flew past me then slammed on the brakes. My heart leapt into my throat cutting off my air supply. They saw. It’s over before it began. But the truck sat there as if it had stalled after a high-speed chase. Maybe they didn’t see or maybe it’s a deer or some other wildlife roaming across the road. Can’t tell you how many times I almost hit one myself. I’m sure that’s what it is. I started to breathe a sigh of relief when the reverse lights came on and my stomach bottomed out.
The gravel crunched under the Jeep’s tires as it slowly backed in next to me. I sat too low to see the driver, it must be him. It has to be him. Dear God let it be him. My hands shook as I pulled my keys from the ignition. What am I doing? This isn’t who I am? If my Father ever found out, I shuddered at the thought. No, this isn’t who you are and that’s exactly the point.
I took a deep breath and steadied myself as I slipped into his truck. The cool black leather calmed my sweaty flesh. His spicy cologne drifted its tendrils around me and sent the butterflies into overdrive. The dash illuminated his chiseled tan face making his emerald-green eyes glow. Flecks of gray dotted his dark hair, something I didn’t remember, giving him a sophistication worthy of a Nobel prize. I looked away as he shifted into drive and prayed I could make it.
His eyes remained glued to the shadowy road, neither of us saying a word. I relaxed my arm letting it drift next to his. Heat radiated off him charring my skin, but I forced myself not to move. Never did I think this would happen, but here I am. We talked about it all the time, wrote steamy messages to each other, and I can’t tell you how many times I’ve dreamt about it; I just hope it’s as good as I imagined.
We turned down another back-road, in the opposite direction of my parents’, and picked up speed. I had no idea where we were heading, but I didn’t care. Time didn’t matter anymore, even if my Father crucified me when I returned. I might be an adult, but I still live under his roof. Can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard that.
His piano fingers trailed over the radio changing it to his iPod. Soft saxophone jazz floated into the car making my heart swell. He remembered. Electricity fired between us when his arm neared mine again making my hairs stand on end; I wondered if he could feel it too. I snuck another glance at him, but his eyes remained fixated on the road, giving me no indication. Part of me wanted to break the silence, but the other half felt too afraid to speak. We haven’t spoken in person in three years. What if I say something that makes him change his mind? Is that what I want? To turn around and go back to being the good studious little girl who never disappoints. The Principal’s pet. God, how I hated being called that.
We slowed and turned onto a dirt road that divided fields of Christmas trees, one of our town’s staple crops. I’ve lived here my entire life and I still found it funny we’re known for Christmas trees. In North Carolina none the less. I’m just glad he didn’t pick a tobacco field.
About halfway down, he turned between some of the taller trees and killed the engine. My heart hammered threatening to burst from my chest. I’ve waited three long years and now I’m finally sitting beside this man, this God, yet I had no idea what would happen next.
I knotted and unknotted my clammy hands, one of my worst habits and hardest to break. How many times did Mom yell at me for that while sitting through my Father’s youth group? Too many, that’s for sure.
Other than my fidgeting, neither of us moved. He sat still as a frozen river staring out the window, so I tried to do the same. The clouds had parted once again letting the moon shine at full force like the eye in the sky watching me disgrace my family. Along with the entire town.
I tried to focus on anything else to keep my thoughts at bay. The mellow jazz drifted around us accompanying his slow steady breaths. I peeked over to see his hand cradling his chin like the great thinker, as he stared out the window. If only I could read his thoughts. Is this a good idea? Should we? He’s risking everything, his reputation, his job, his place in the community, because of this. Because of me. How could I be worth all that? I wrung my hands hard enough to make my knuckles pop.
“Mr. Renner,” I said more quiet than I meant to.
“Please Olivia,” his voice sounded like a smooth glass of scotch and I thought I would melt on the spot, “call me Andre.”
I averted my eyes to the floor feeling like I had wet my pants. Why did I call him that? I’ve written his name so many times it felt natural by now, but I’ve never spoken it aloud. Even with all our phone calls, I’ve never said his name. It sounds so weird, Andre, especially after all those days in science class and on the tennis team.
“Are you sure,” I hesitated before giving it another try, “Andre?”
His head snapped towards me with his green eyes blazing. “Are you?”
Now’s my chance to get out, turn around, go back to my life before I decided to mark myself with a scarlet letter. Could pretend none of this ever happened. No one would know. Call it a three-year flirtation with the devil before I realized my sinful ways. But would I regret it? Deep in my gut, I knew my answer.
Andre leaned towards me with his head cocked and waited. I didn’t know what to do, so I did the same and before I could think our lips touched, soft at first before my breath left me and an unfamiliar need gripped my core. One so strong it stole my breath away and begged for more. His tongue pried my lips apart and slid across my teeth sending shivers through me, while his hands inched up my shirt. My breath caught as his swift fingers grazed over my breasts and I had to pull away. I’ve never had a man touch me there and I certainly never expected it would be Andre. Someone out of my league in more ways than one.
“You okay Livi?” He asked, his green eyes searching mine.
“Yeah, I just…,” I swallowed hard unsure of what to say, “I never expected to feel this way.”
He gazed at me for a moment, running his fingers along my jaw, leaving a burning trail in their wake. His thumb parted my lips and I flicked it with my tongue.
Andre’s eyes flared. “Me either,” he said his voice husky and full of lust, “let’s move to the back.”
He slid in next to me, pulling me to him at once. Our lips connected in a ravenous hunger neither of us could control. His hands glided up the back of my shirt and unhooked my bra with expert finesse. I grazed my nails through his soft wavy hair making him moan into my mouth and drive his tongue deeper with need. We’ve waited so long for this and now it’s happening, it’s really happening. And it’s so much better than I ever thought.
His fingertips grazed over my nipples. With a steady touch, he circled each one slowing to twist them on every turn. I sucked in a sharp breath from the fireworks exploding deep inside.
“You sure you’re okay?”
“More than okay.” I breathed, hoping I didn’t sound as eager as I felt.
“Good,” he smiled, his eyes dancing with a devilish gleam, “because you’re making me so fucking hard.”
He ripped off my shirt and nipped at my breasts, flicking each with his tongue. My heart hammered so hard I wondered if he could feel it. A deep longing surged inside me as his tongue glided south. So many years I’ve waited, yet I wanted to get my hands on him instead.
I pushed back and fumbled with the buttons on his shirt, my fingers feeling like concrete. Couldn’t he have worn a t-shirt? He must think I’m such a loser; I can’t even get his shirt off. My fingers trembled as I brushed over the outline of his muscles, wishing I could see them in the flesh.
“I might just have to rip this off of you.” Even my voice shook. Get a grip Olivia.
He smiled and wrapped his hands around mine drawing me towards him. Our lips touched in a soft embrace before he broke away and buried his face in my hair, sighing heavily.
“You’re so beautiful and I’ve wanted this for so long,” he breathed into my ear, “but I don’t want you to do anything you’re not ready for. I’ll wait as long as you need Livi.”
I pulled back and leaned my forehead against his. Our eyes connected, stirring me to my core. This is it. It’s my chance to become someone else. To shed that horrible image that’s followed me around my whole life. Nerd, teacher’s pet, goody two-shoes, I hated that one the most, and in the process possibly alter everyone’s life. Everyone more than just Andre and myself. Because if this should ever get out it would have lasting repercussions far beyond us both. To do this meant no turning back. No second chances. This will either be the beginning of something great or the end of us both.