The Mentor Ch. 02

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Bathtub

For her work on this installment as well as on Ch. 01, I am deeply indebted to my editor, sleeplessgurl. For taking the time from her own illustrious writing to vastly improve my own, and for making the whole process more enjoyable than it has any reasonable right to be, I am eternally grateful.

*

Walking the tree-lined streets from the campus to downtown, Eve thought about the new chapter that was about to start in her life. Professor Michaels was obviously interested in her. He went out of his way to compliment her writing and even to smile at her in class. Now, he’d invited her to his home, on a weekend, for their tutorial. His intent was clear. He wanted a place where they could meet in private. Where they wouldn’t be interrupted. No, they were definitely about to embark on a relationship. The only question was what kind and how it would unfold.

As she passed the boutiques and mom-and-pop stores on her way to Professor Michaels’ house, among the window-shopping retirees and bustling students, Eve was feeling pretty good. He had picked her after all. Of all the women he could have, she was the one he wanted. She glanced at herself in the reflection of a store window, striding in her tight jeans and jacket, her blonde hair flowing. Her full breasts pressing against the thin fabric of her blouse. She was feeling really confident.

She had worn her sexy underwear – the thong and push-up bra — just in case. She didn’t know how fast things would progress after all. Professor Michaels was married but everyone who read the blogs knew he and his wife were separated. Eve was ready for any eventuality.

There was still some time before her 2pm meeting with Professor Michaels so she decided to grab a cup of coffee. She stopped in the Daily Grind, a café popular with students. It was packed, as usual. After she ordered, she heard a voice.

“Hey Eve!”

She looked around and saw David, a student from her creative writing class, waving to her. He was seated by himself in front of an open laptop. She went over to say hi.

“Whatcha doin’?” David asked. He was quite handsome–a first-year grad student with a surfer boy mien. A former theater major and actor, he was making the transition to writing.

“Just walking. You know…to clear the head.” She decided not to tell him she was on her way to a rendezvous with their professor.

“I know. I’m working on my story and it’s driving me nuts. Michaels has me rewriting it top to bottom.”

“Me too,” she smiled. “No fun.”

“Hey, after you get your coffee, do you want join me? We could trade sob stories.”

“Uh, sure. I only have a few minutes though. I…have an appointment.”

She got her latte and sat down at the small, round table. David leaned in, conspiratorially.

“So, what do you think of Michaels?”

If you only knew, David. If you only knew.

“He’s okay. Seems to know his stuff.”

“No kidding. It’s kinda intimidating when you consider all the awards he’s won. What was the last one? The National Book Award, or something?”

“Yeah, he’s not exactly lacking for street cred.”

She took a sip of her latte. She tried hard not to reveal anything about her feelings for Professor Michaels.

“So, Eve, what did you do before this? Tell me about yourself.”

“Not much to tell. English major. Decided I wanted to be a writer. Heard about the writing program here and made the move.”

“And you’re a junior right?”

“Yep.”

“Very impressive. Making it in a graduate seminar.”

“I think I they wanted to skew the average age or something.”

David laughed. He had a nice laugh. Very warm and real.

“You know, Eve, I wanted to tell you I really liked what you said in class. You know, about writing as a way of reaching people. It really resonated with me. I always thought that if I can both entertain people and make them think, or somehow see the world differently–then I’d achieve my goal as a writer. You know what I mean?”

“I know exactly what you mean. That’s how I feel. I think this headlong pursuit of money, or awards for that matter, is so misguided. Don’t get me wrong. I want to support myself as a writer. I want to do well. But it can’t only be about that. That’ll leave you…I don’t know…spiritually bankrupt.”

David raised his coffee cup in a toast.

“Here’s to being starving writers,” he said with a smile.

She smiled back, then glanced at her watch.

“Oh, I gotta go.”

“Listen,” said David. “Um, I was wondering…would you like to get together later? I’d like to bounce some ideas around about my story. Are you free tonight by any chance?”

Eve gave him a look.

“You’re not asking me out are you?”

“No, no,” he smiled. “Just collegial. You know, one starving writer to another.”

She nodded. “Uh-huh.” She thought a moment.

Eve, a hot guy with brains wants to hang out with you. Why are you hesitating?

“Sure. Why not? I live at Bowman residence. You want to meet there around seven?”

“Great. illegal bahis I’ll see you at seven.”

“OK. See you then.”

She gave him a smile and headed for the door.

Jeez. Months of nothing, then two guys. When it rains it pours.

Walking on Professor Michaels’ street, she was struck by beauty of the stately, two-story homes. Each one with its distinctive architecture and carefully-maintained yard. This was a great neighborhood to have a home and a family. Eve thought about what a life with Professor Michaels might be like.

A lot of professors end up with one of their students. What starts as infatuation, pure physical attraction, evolves into something deeper. It’s been known to happen. Or maybe we’ll be secret lovers. Teacher and student by day, passionate lovers by night. Indulging our sexual appetites. Taking sexual pleasure to new heights. I wonder if he’ll come on to me as soon as I arrive? Or feel me out first. To make sure I feel the same way. I wonder what he’s like in bed. I bet he’s great. Thank God I wore my sexy underwear.

She finally reached his address and ascended the steps to ring the doorbell. The door opened and Professor Michaels was standing in front of her–six feet tall with brown, wavy hair and dark, intelligent eyes. She flashed her green eyes back at him.

“Hello.”

“Eve,” Professor Michaels said, smiling. “Come in. Please.”

He was wearing jeans and a work shirt. He looked younger than he did on campus. More relaxed and casual.

“You have a beautiful house,” Eve said looking at the largely empty living room.

“Well, I’m still moving in, as you can see. But it has good bone structure. Let me take your jacket. Can I offer you a drink of something?”

Whoa. Moving fast. Better keep your head.

“Water’s fine.”

“Water it is. Make yourself at home.”

He smiled and receded to the kitchen.

Standing in the middle of the living room, she took it all in: Arts and Crafts home, recently renovated, dark wood interior, molded ceilings and hardwood floors. Partially-opened boxes lined the wall next to the large fireplace. The only furniture was an antique easy chair with a reading lamp.

So this is what the home of a prize-winning author is like. Not bad.

“Thanks for agreeing to meet me here,” he called from the kitchen. “I have to meet with my publisher on Monday and it’s done a number on my schedule. Plus, the movers are coming today and I have to be here all day. Anyway, I appreciate it.”

He returned from the kitchen and handed a glass to Eve, keeping one for himself. He raised it to her.

“Salut.”

She sipped her water and wondered where they exactly would meet.

Maybe he’ll suggest we talk in the bedroom. Sitting together on the bed?

“I was thinking we could meet in the garden. That is, if it’s not too chilly.”

“No, that sounds fine. It’s nice out.”

“Good. Well, then, follow me.”

He led her down a hallway. They passed an empty dining room and a large kitchen. He stepped briefly into his office to pick up some papers. It was the only room that seemed furnished, with bookshelves and a large walnut desk with piles of papers stacked on it.

They went out the back door and down a flight of wooden stairs to a large patio and garden. Tall trees lined the property. Two lawn chairs had been set up facing each other among the rose bushes.

“My officina al fresco,” he said wryly. “Have a seat.”

She sat down and pulled out a notepad and pen. The sun shone on them through a pair of pine trees.

“So, Eve, tell me. How do you feel your rewrite went?”

He always starts with what I think. I have to remember that.

“Well, um, I worked hard to try and deepen Cyn’s characterization. I worked on exploring some of her conflicts and desires. Some things that might not be as flattering to her character. I think it went pretty well.”

“I see,” he answered. He was listening intently.

“And last time we talked about finding ways to bring out her inner life, to dramatize her sub-conscious. Do you feel you were able to do that?”

Oh God, he doesn’t think I did that. How do I answer?

“Well, I tried to show that Cyn was attracted to Kyle but that she wasn’t able to act on it. And that frustrated her. Immensely.”

He nodded. Then he looked at the copy of her story he was holding.

“I think,” he said slowly, “you’ve done a pretty good job of starting to deepen Cyn’s character. We do get a sense that’s there’s more going on beneath the surface. That there’s a living, breathing character there. However, I feel you can take it further. For example, the night after Cyn rehearses the bedroom scene with Kyle, when she first sees him without his shirt on, you write: ‘Images of him flooded her thoughts, like rogue waves hammering the shore of her psyche. She sought refuge in her solitude and her solitary pleasures.'”

He lowered the paper and looked at her.

“It’s evocative writing to be sure, illegal bahis siteleri but what does it mean ultimately? Does it mean she takes long walks in the woods? Or swims laps at the neighborhood pool? Or reads Jane Austin by the fire. As a reader, I’ve virtually no idea. The ambiguity in this passage, the lack of specificity, inhibits our understanding of the character.”

Eve shifted in her seat.

Damn it! He doesn’t like it. I blew it.

“You need to work on finding the telling detail that brings her character to life. The specifics that reveal the general. You know the old expression ‘Don’t tell. Show.’ That needs to be your motto. You’re telling in general terms, not showing in specific ones. That’s what I meant by dramatizing the inner life of your characters. Do you understand?”

She thought she did but she had no idea how she was going to do it.

“I think so. I need to find the details, the specifics, that show character. Instead of just describing it generally. I need to find ways to dramatize it.”

“That’s it. Exactly right.”

He smiled and gestured with the paper in his hand.

“So, ‘she sought refuge in her solitude and her solitary pleasures.’ What was the genesis of that?”

Eve thought about the inspiration for that part of the story.

Actually, I wrote it after I got myself off in the middle of the night thinking about you, Professor.

“Um, what do you mean?” she asked, vaguely.

“Is that based on your own experience from…what was it…a few years ago?”

Eve squirmed in her seat.

No, Sir, it was from the last time I masturbated, actually.

“Uh, no. It’s…based on a more recent experience.”

“Fine. What I want you to do is this: I want you to take that particular sentence and blow it out. Expand on it. Give it dimension. Think about that more recent experience, what you were feeling at that time, and allow yourself to mine that material and bring it to Cyn’s character.”

Oh, right. You want me to think about how I fantasized about you fucking me in your office.

“OK,” she said, unconvincingly.

“What can you tell me about that experience?”

“It’s just an infatuation I have…had. A sort of…forbidden relationship. I thought it was applicable.”

“And did the other person know about your feelings?”

Seeing how that other person is YOU, I don’t think so.

“No, he didn’t. So I thought it was fitting.”

“Indeed. As a writer, that can be very useful. Use that experience in your writing, if you can. Play it over in your mind. Explore it.”

You mean, think about you making love to me? Over and over. A hundred different ways?

“OK, I will.”

“Good.”

She returned his smile, bemused by the irony. Michaels furrowed his brow.

“Eve, I want to ask you something. This hasn’t anything to do with your writing per se. It’s…outside our relationship as teacher and student.”

Oh God, here it comes.

“I have a little proposition for you. I want you to know you’re free to say no. It’s a bit…irregular.”

I knew it. I knew he felt the same way.

She felt her heart start to race and a warm wetness between her legs. She noticed the cool air was causing her nipples to stand out a bit. She sat up a little taller.

“And if we chose to do this, I want to make it clear that it would be totally separate from our relationship as teacher and student. And it would in no way affect how I evaluate you or your writing.”

Say “yes”. But not too quickly. Don’t sound too eager.

She cocked her head, listening thoughtfully. But she knew exactly what was coming. She arched her back, showing off her breasts.

“Eve, I’d like to hire you to do some work for me here at the house.”

Eve stared at him blankly.

“I’m sorry?”

“I need someone to handle some logistical things here. Related to the move from New York. You know, be here to receive deliveries, help with setting up the house, that sort of thing. Would you be interested in that?”

He wants me to work for him. That’s it?

“Uh…sure, why not?”

“As you can see, I’m hopelessly behind and I can’t seem to make much progress with all the commitments I’ve made to my publisher and to the school.”

Maybe this is just a pretense. Maybe he wants me here at the house. With him.

“When would you need me to be here?”

“At your convenience. When you’re not in classes, of course. An occasional evening.”

Evenings? Maybe we could share a bottle of wine. I could help you relax.

“I mainly need someone to take care of things when I’m not here.”

Eve’s heart sank.

You want me to be your lackey? Is that it?

“What about Mrs. Michaels? Wouldn’t she be better suited…”

Eve had read about Professor Michaels’ marriage online. His wife, Guinevere McIntosh, was a well-known fashion designer. Professor Michaels frowned.

“My wife is living in London at the moment. I don’t expect her to be around much anytime soon.” There canlı bahis siteleri was a pregnant pause. Eve decided not to pursue it.

********

Walking back to campus, Eve fought back tears. She felt like such a fool thinking that a man like Professor Michaels could possibly take an interest in her. At least a romantic interest. She felt rejected and insignificant.

What would it be like working for him? I could use the money, that’s for sure. Maybe if he got to know me. Up close and personal. I might grow on him. We might even become close. And if he ever felt lonely… Oh, Eve, stop it! Get a grip. You’ve been down that road and look where it got you.

She decided to return to her room and start work immediately on her latest assignment. If she couldn’t be on his radar as a lover, she could get his recognition as a writer. What about that assignment? Take one sentence and “blow it out”. How was she supposed to do that?

On the surface, the sentence–“she sought refuge in her solitude and her solitary pleasures”–was about Cyn’s unrequited relationship with Kyle. Beneath that, it had been inspired by what Eve had done after her first meeting with Professor Michaels. That night, as she lay in her bed, after she was certain her roommate was fast asleep, she had fantasized about him making love to her in his office. She had imagined him touching her, kissing her breasts, lifting her, pressing her against the wall, and fucking her. He was so attracted to her, both physically and intellectually, that he had to take her. Right then and there. Standing up. From behind, like an animal. He fucked her so passionately, and so completely, she experienced the greatest orgasm of her life. And while she imagined all this, Eve had touched herself, fingering her pussy until she came in a shuddering climax.

But she couldn’t write that. Obviously.

Maybe she could change it to something more innocuous. Maybe “solitary pleasures” did mean reading a good book. Or taking a walk in the woods. She did, after all, enjoy those things. They did give her pleasure.

Are you kidding me? That’s so lame! It sounds like a bad Jane Austen imitation.

Wait a minute, she thought. What if she wrote the truth? What if she wrote that Cyn felt so desperate about her situation with Kyle that she escaped by the only means available: sexual pleasure. She thought about Kyle — gorgeous, unattainable Kyle — and how much she wanted him, and she lay in her bed, late at night, and pleasured herself.

He wants me to write about my experience. Well, that’s exactly my experience. Let’s see how he likes THAT.

She thought about what that might be like—tapping into her own experience to describe Cyn’s effort to escape, to ameliorate her pain. It would be risky, for sure. She’d be exposing herself in a profound way. But isn’t that just what Professor Michaels had been nagging her to do? Take risks? Be brave? Besides, it might make him think of her differently. As a sensuous, sexually-liberated woman. Not just an errand girl.

“Show, don’t tell.” It’s perfect. What better way to dramatize Cyn’s frustration? And to show Professor Michaels I can do it.

She began to type. The words flowed from her, as if directly from her unconscious. After what seemed like a few minutes, but in fact was two hours, Eve read what she had typed.

I’m not sure how good it is–but it’ll sure get his attention.

A knock at the door shook her from her reverie. She glanced at her watch. She’d totally lost track of time. It was already seven and that must be David. She jumped up and quickly checked herself in the mirror. She was barefoot, still in the jeans and blouse from earlier. She ran her hands through her long, wavy blond hair and shrugged.

It is what it is.

She opened the door to her room. David was standing with a brown grocery bag in his hand. His brown hair was tousled and he had an enigmatic smile on his face.

“Hey. This still a good time?”

“Sure,” said Eve, opening the door so he could enter. “I was just writing and lost track. You know how it is.”

“Absolutely,” he answered as he surveyed her room.

“Roommate?”

“Out for the night. Dinner and movie.”

David nodded.

“Oh, I took the liberty of buying some munchies. And something to drink. In case we wanted to, you know, work on our stuff here.”

“Sure.”

He pulled a baguette out of the bag as well as a round of cheese, two apples and a bag of grapes. Lastly, he pulled out a bottle of wine and two glasses.

“I’d been saving this for a special occasion but I thought ‘what the heck?'”

She liked the way he said things like ‘what the heck’.

“I even remembered the opener.”

“Always prepared. You must have been a boy scout,” she said with a smile.

“No, just a wino,” he said with a grin.

She laughed and suddenly felt glad David was with her. He had a way of putting her at ease. Plus, he made her laugh and she needed that right now.

“So you want to eat first and then work or work first?”

They decided to eat first, work, and then eat some more. He opened the wine, poured the glasses, and she sipped hers while he cut the bread, cheese and apples. She was impressed at how dexterous he was.

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