A collaboration involving Professor Hiddleston and Professor Evans- The two are rivals at a posh New England university and have no idea they both have taken interest in the lovely Thalia Bareo. She’s a grad student with interests in language and history; a sassy full-figured Puerto Rican girl from Chicago. Story updates are posted on Wednesdays and Sundays.
Word count: 1177
Warnings: Language, Adult Situations, angst, moving forward
Summary: Eighteen months after her Paris internship ends, Thalia meets a friend for a quiet dinner for two.
Click here for intro to Educating Thalia
Eighteen Months Later…
Watching the man across from her, her eyes crinkle at the memories they created together. Late nights on campus, his office, visits to sites in Italy and Greece. Her hand reaches for his, rested on the table. “Thank you. Thank you for loving me; for teaching me to be free and open. I know…” she sighs and pulls her hand back. “I know I didn’t handle things well; I know we’ve talked about it before; but I’m sorry. I really am.”
His fingers drum against his thigh, his legs spread in his comfortable position, a look of amusement on his face. Dropping his gaze, he looks back at her through veiled lashes, his blue eyes just as sharp, taking in her movements, memorizing them till next time. “I know you are; but I want you to know I don’t regret one single moment. We both had a lot to learn, needed to grow up. I guess I have a sappy side that hopes the next time our paths cross, we’ll be in a different place, ready to settle down, bend to one another. Until then, I’m glad we can enjoy evenings out like these. My only sorrow is I can’t convince you to come upstairs to my room with me.”
She looks across the fancy dining room, to the doorway leading to the extravagant lobby. Her body yearns to say yes, to fall to his knees in worship, to allow him to take care of her body, in a way he only knows. Tilting her head in thought, her mind wins. With a slight shake of her head, she says, “No, no; I can’t tonight.” She smiles warmly. “In fact, I really need to get going.”
Looking at his watch, he sighs in disapproval. “It will be months before I see you again, before we are in the same part of the world.”
Rising to aid her from the chair, he places her coat over his arm and they walk to the concierge desk to call for her car. He admires the view as the Latina beauty speaks quietly in Spanish to the attendant and she coolly offers him a tip. Turning back to him, she winks playfully, shrugging her shoulders. “What can I say? Everything I learned, I learned from you.”
He chuckles and the warmth fills the air between them. He helps her into her coat; the puffy one is long gone, replaced by traditional wool, but she still wears the signature pink scarf. Leaving the coat unfastened, he helps wrap the hand-knit scarf around her neck, caressing his hand gently across her cheek, his thumb pressing against her scar there. “No. You got it wrong, I learned from you. You taught me so much; things I needed to know after all these years. You did the educating, Thalia….”
A little silver car pulls into view and she nods, “This is me. Improved, huh? Lot nicer than that junker I used to drive…” Her voice chokes and tears form under her lashes. Through a tight whisper, she says, “You know I can never say goodbye; not to you. You always have a piece of my heart.”
She rises on her tiptoes and places a tender kiss to his cheek, resting a finger over his lips to silence whatever words he had lurking there. His eyes are shiny with the same unshed tears as hers. Feeling like tearing a part of her heart out, Thalia turns to leave.
She’s barely made two steps before strong fingers wrap themselves around her arm. They pull her back with such force that she stumbles against the hard body, its contours so familiar yet now so rarely molded against her own. A second arm snakes under her coat, around her waist and tugs her even closer, breasts pressed against his chest, one thigh wedging between her legs and making her shudder in forbidden delight. The hand on her arms moves up to wrap long fingers around her neck and tilt her head.
Lips parted, pulse racing, needing this desperately, Thalia stares into his face. The gut-wrenching mix of pain and desire make his handsome features even more striking and she burns them into her memory.
“Oh no you don’t,” he half-growls, his voice rough around the edges, not caring that people on the sidewalk pass around them. “You don’t get to walk away like this. Be mine, if just for this moment… If I really own a piece of your heart, then prove it to me.”
She blinks at him, their faces so close that she can feel his breath ghost over her face, smell dinner and beneath that the unique scent of him that used to linger on her hands and clothes for days. The sounds of the city melt away and the only noise between them are their beating hearts and ragged breaths.
“Prove it,” he repeats, and the commanding tone snaps her into action, her body reacting on a subconscious level. She bridges the minimal distance and seals her mouth over his, pouring all her longing into the kiss.
As soon their mouths connect, control is taken from her. His lips press harder, then his teeth nip her lower lip and make her swallow down a needy whimper. The tip of his tongue sneaks out to soothe the sting, only to bite down again, this time a little harder. Thalia’s hands fist in the coat at his back, as if she wants to be even closer. Their bodies rub against each other as restlessly and greedily as their mouths. His tongue dives deep, slicks against hers and draws back before she can really taste him.
The kiss goes on and on like that, until it feels as if his tongue has explored and re-learned every tiny crevice of her mouth, drawn her essence into him to store it away as a tantalizing memory. Their breaths mingle until she doesn’t know where he ends and she begins, until she can barely remember her name.
Her pulse is hammering against his palm, as intense as the throb lower down where his thigh nudges possessively. When he finally pulls back, his tongue caressing her swollen lips in a last lick, Thalia knows she would have sunk to the floor in a puddle if his powerful arms weren’t still holding her close.
This time, he’s the one who presses a tender kiss to her cheek, so chaste and yet marking her, burning through her skin right into her core.
Before she can really surface from her trance, he steps back and lets her go, his pupils dilated as his stormy blue gaze rakes her from head to toe one last time, lingering on her thoroughly kissed mouth.
“Go. For now,” he says, so quietly she can barely hear it.
Knowing that she’s fighting a losing battle, she wheels around and walks away on shaky legs. Hastily she climbs in the car and drives away, the long talk and heated kiss actually leaving their hearts just a bit more mended than before.
Click here to read Chapter 46 Everything She Wanted
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