Chapter 1: Late Night Reading
Word Count 2545
Warnings: Fluff, language, adult situations, mention of death, thoughts of sexual situations
Summary: Professor Tom Hiddleston runs into his favorite student working late in the library one Fall evening
Tom hums softly to himself as he strides through the empty library. It’s way past the time when everyone leaves, but he loves having the deserted, half-dark place to himself. It’s in these quiet hours that he finds and grounds himself in this hectic world through his love for books.
Slowly, he walks towards the back of the place where chairs, bean bags and desks are included among the shelves with non-fiction books hardly anyone ever gives any attention.
A hollow thunk and the shuffling of papers halts him in his tracks. His eyebrow quirked, he listens for more sounds. Who would be here at this time of night when every normal college student is huddled on a sofa to watch TV or out partying?
A sudden image flashes in his mind of a curvy, tanned woman with long dark hair and the most vivacious smile he’s ever seen. Could it be her? He knows she is one of those who never rests either. On many nights, she works at a bar on the other side of town, and on other nights, she buries herself in books.
Tom rounds the corner, the sound of his long strides muffled by the carpet.
Yes, it’s her. Thalia.
What a lovely name for a woman like her. He smiles to himself, wondering whether she knows that Thalia was one of the nine Muses. The one responsible for comedy and pastoral poetry, no less. Is she aware that her name derives from the ancient Greek “to blossom?” But she’s no timid blossom. She’s an exotic hot-house orchid already in fragrant bloom and tempting only those men who know how to handle someone like her. Despite her age, she isn’t a girl, but much more mature. All woman. A woman he damn well shouldn’t feel so attracted to…
Pausing in the doorway, Tom allows himself a moment to look his fill. He leans against the doorframe, crossing his arms and slowly rubbing a finger over his lips.
Thalia is sitting on one of the beanbags, and his throat goes dry at the sight of her legs with their luscious thighs. She’s wearing a short denim skirt and a rose colored t-shirt, the temperature in the library toasty enough to chuck her jacket which lies on the floor next to her. Her little white tennis shoes still cling to the Indian summer weather and remind him of their days working together in England. Her curly hair falls over one shoulder. She tilts her head a little to read something, and he wants nothing more than to march over and lavish her exposed neck with kisses, licks and bites.
God, how many times has he fantasized about doing things to her that he fucking well shouldn’t? How many times has he jerked himself off to sultry images of her, to the imagined sound of her naturally husky voice with the teeniest bit of Latina accent?
Inhaling deeply, Tom tries to calm himself somewhat.
It is wrong to find her so attractive, but she’s irresistible with her mix of confidence, caring and an underlying vulnerability that she hides well most of the time.
She’s a grad student, for fuck’s sake. Out of limits, Hiddleston, he scolds himself and runs a hand back through his blondish-brown hair.
But he’s never been good at denying himself what he desires, and he wants her more than he’s ever wanted anything else.
There is something about Thalia that has wiggled its way into places inside him which others haven’t touched in a long time. Something about her strength and passion gets to him every single time…and the damn sinful way in which she says “Professor Hiddleston”, a sure-fire way to make him yearn to plunge so deeply into her she’d feel him for days.
It doesn’t help that she’s got such a smart brain inside her pretty head. He’s always found intelligence to be a huge turn-on, and Thalia has proven how intelligent – and diligent – she is by contributing immensely to his research.
It is their collaboration on the recent Shakespeare project that has brought them closer together. Although he’d been intrigued by her ever since she’d walked into his class eighteen months ago and smiled before hanging onto his every word as if her life depended on it.
Working alongside her for days on end, sometimes for nights too, has made him drunk on her. He can still smell her, conjure her image when he closes his eyes.
Damn it all to hell, she’s like a drug that has entered his bloodstream, hooking him for good. And he hasn’t even had a taste of her yet.
But he’s held her in his arms, and boy, does he remember that…
Tom allows his mind to wander back a few months. He received a call from a distraught Thalia that she wouldn’t be able to help him out for a few days because she suddenly had to travel to Chicago due to a family emergency.
He was worried about her the whole time, wondering what she was doing, listlessly plotting away at his work like a love-sick boyfriend. Pathetic how much he longed for her.
He’d seen her return late at night, hunched over and hugging herself tightly although it hadn’t been a particularly cold spring evening.
Lord knows he should have stayed out of her life, but he had been unable to when he had seen her shake like a leaf. He’d waited for a while to see whether anyone would look after her, but he was aware she didn’t have many friends because she preferred to stay on her own.
So, he grabbed a cup of take-away coffee exactly the way she liked it and went to her place.
Seeing her red-eyed from crying had been a punch in the gut.
She should have kicked him to the curb for invading her privacy at what was obviously a moment of grief, but she let him in with a wobbly half-smile. They sat in silence, her nursing the warm cup in both hands and worrying her plump lower lip with her teeth, him so on edge he couldn’t stop fidgeting.
“Thalia, are you alright?” he asked. “Is there anything I can do for you?”
And then a dam had broken and she’d told him everything in a garbled rush of words interrupted by half-suppressed sobs.
She’d received a call in the middle of the night that her friend Amy and her fiancé had been in a car crash. The man had died on the spot, and by the time Thalia had arrived at the hospital on the earliest flight, her friend had passed away too.
Tom had not forgotten her anguished face when she whimpered again and again that she hadn’t been there for Amy when she needed her most.
Thalia told him that her friend had fallen out of her parents’ graces because she had become involved with a bit of a bad boy. The two had eloped, secretly getting engaged with only Thalia present. She’d been supporting them morally ever since.
When Thalia broke down, Tom acted purely on instinct. In a flash, he was by her side on the sofa and pulled her into his arms. He hugged her close, rocking her from side to side softly, stroking her quivering back.
“Shush, darling, don’t. It’s okay. I’ve got you. It’s okay. Let it all out.”
He murmured comforting nothings to her until she calmed down a little, trying to ignore how amazing she felt in his arms, how right, as if it were her place.
“You’ll pull through. You’re much stronger than you give yourself credit for,” he whispered, leaning back a little to tilt her face up by her chin. He swiped a thumb over her cheek to wipe away the tears, his gut clenching at the forlorn look in her huge eyes.
She was usually so confident and self-contained, so full of energy. He’d heard talk that she wasn’t afraid of clocking a drunkard in the face if he tried to grab her at the bar. But at this moment, she was vulnerable and he wanted to protect her from all harm.
“You were there for her all the time. She must have known that you loved her. Please don’t tear yourself up over this.”
“Th…thank you, Tom.” She sniffed and hiccupped, one of her hands unknowingly still fisted in his white shirt which was now tear-soaked and clung to his chest.
Her gaze followed his and she sucked in a breath, letting go of his shirt and shifting away from him.
But he didn’t let her escape, didn’t want to break this special bond between them. She’d called him by his name, and he could barely think around the desire to hear it again and again, falling from those beautiful lips in pleas and moans and screams.
Something had changed between them that day. She’d let him bring her a glass of water, and he made her a sandwich and forced her to eat it so she wouldn’t faint from exhaustion and stress.
When she swayed after getting up, Tom steered Thalia into her bedroom, removed her shoes and settled her on the bed. He drew the covers over her and pressed a chaste kiss to her forehead as if she were a small girl and he her daddy, offering comfort as naturally as if they’d spent their whole lives together.
He could see she wasn’t used to being taken care of, and something about the initial flare of defiance followed by such willing surrender really got to him. It heated his blood to think of being in charge, of showing her how nice it could be to hand over the reins and succumb to all the care he could provide, sexual and non-sexual.
Back in the present, Thalia shifts on the beanbag, folding one leg beneath her and making the skirt ride up to mid-thigh. Tom suppresses a groan, returning to the here and now with desire clawing away inside him.
He takes another deep breath. Since that day, she often calls him Tom and smiles at him in a way he can’t quite read, and it drives him wild.
As happens almost as automatically as breathing to him, Tom seeks solace in Shakespeare. Softly, he quotes aloud, “The course of true love never did run smooth.”
Before he can take the words back or wonder why his mind settled on this phrase about love, Thalia’s head shoots up. Surprise morphs into that special smile she has for him, making him feel like he’s the only man on the planet.
Fool. He should not be feeling like this, thinking all those forbidden thoughts. He’s at the height of his career, partly thanks to her research and his perseverance, and she has all of her career still waiting. He’ll ruin it all if he can’t keep it in his pants.
“Tom. I didn’t hear you enter, I’m sorry.”
He gestures for her to remain seated and walks over.
“Were you quoting the Bard again, Professor?” she asks, her tone teasing and traveling straight to his groin.
Fuck, he shouldn’t find it so hot when she calls him professor.
“What if I was?”
He can hear himself adopting the same teasing tone.
“It wouldn’t exactly surprise me,” she said with a saucy lift of her brows. “I bet you dream in Shakespearean sonnets.”
Tom chuckles. He is acutely aware of them being all alone in the library.
Their breathing is the only sound in the room for a while. He adjusts his glasses to overcome the sudden awkwardness, and she licks her lips. He’s seen her do that a few times, as if the sight of him fumbling with them turns her on.
“Have you come to join me?” She pats the seat next to her, shifting again to press her long, thick legs together.
Shit, shit, shit, he should hightail it out of here before he loses his last ounce of control around her.
He clears his throat, his feet in his trusted grey suede shoes walking closer of their own volition.
“I was just thinking I’d enjoy a few quiet hours of non-academic reading. I’ve been buried in work-related stuff for so long I feel my head is going to explode. And I’m afraid my students won’t appreciate the gore much, even though they claim to be horror fans.”
Thalia laughs, a throaty sound that tugs at his cock.
“Well, sit down. I am really good at being quiet. You won’t even know I’m there. And for the record, I wouldn’t mind having you all over me. I bet even splatters of your brain are sheer brilliance we could all use a dose of.”
Holy shit. Tom swallows convulsively at the image of him all over her, which involves a lot of nakedness, entangled limbs, sweat and other bodily fluids.
As if it has just dawned on her what she has said, Thalia blushes. She lowers her head back to the book, pressing her legs closer together.
To pull himself together, Tom walks to a nearby shelf and pulls out a random book. He glances at Ulysses and takes yet another deep breath. It’s bloody unlikely that he won’t even know she’s there, for he’s always much too aware of her.
He has no idea what devil rides him, but instead of sinking onto a beanbag far enough away to keep his wits, he all but folds his tall body into half to perch on the carpet next to her feet. He leans his back against the side of her beanbag and stretches out, her bare leg so close he could rub his shoulder against it or let his hand glide over her ankle and shapely calf.
Is he imagining things or has she sucked in a breath?
God, he has no idea what game he’s playing right now. He only knows one thing: he wants her, so much that it hurts.
They sit like this in silence for a few minutes, and Tom can’t for the life of him concentrate on his book. The sentences are an inky black blur, while her subtle perfume makes him lightheaded. After a while, Thalia crosses her legs, and the new position makes her calf touch his arm. She keeps it there, the warmth searing through his navy-blue sweater into his skin and making his body tingle.
He has the weirdest urge to crawl up next to her in the big comfy chair and snuggle closer, to rest his head on her shoulder and grab the hand that is clenched into a fist on her lap. But thinking of her lap makes him tumble right back into the gutter, and he imagines sliding his hand beneath her skirt, pushing her panties to the side and driving her to the edge only with his fingers.
Christ, he needs to get a grip on himself.
Before Tom can think of something to say to break the tension-filled silence, Thalia snaps her book shut.
“I can’t find what I’m looking for in this,” she says, her voice even huskier than it usually is.
He smirks to himself. Oh yes, he affects her just like she affects him.
When she gets up, he hurries to his feet too, loving it that she is almost as tall as him. Perfect kissing height.
He follows her to the back of the room, his nerves tingling at the brief contact when she deliberately brushes against him on her way.
Click here to read Chapter 2 Library Seductions
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