Morning After

ET ch 17 Morning After

Educating Thalia

Chapter 17

Collaboration by @avenger-nerd-mom & @devikafernando

AU FICTION

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: 3185

Warnings:  Language, Adult Situations, fluff, heavy life discussions

Summary:  Chris learns more about Thalia over a homemade breakfast together.  He finds there’s more to the dark-haired beauty than meets the eye…

Click here for intro to Educating Thalia

He turns her in his arms and clasps his hands over her rounded ass, holding her tight in the locked cage of his beefy arms.  Through the gap in the sheet twisted around her body, his cock fits against her hot pussy, seeking her out again.

“Oh, no.  We’re not going for Four now.  Food.  I’m starving,” she chuckles, pushing hard against his chest.

Her touch has a power over him, but no strength to actually move him.  He smiles and teases.  “Oh, that’s cute you think you could move me!”

He halts when she points to her gym membership card on the dresser and shoves him a bit harder.  Not expecting it, he totters just a bit and throws his head back in laughter as she pulls free of his hold.  Shit, she could probably kick his ass…

Moving to the closet, she gathers clothes and steps towards the doorway, then stops and throws the clothes on the bed.  She rolls her eyes.  “What’s the point? You’ve already seen me naked and didn’t run off…”

If anything it made him want to run closer to her.  He looks around for his clothes but pauses to watch her thoughtfully as she dresses.  He doesn’t want to go home to his empty condo. “Enough of that… you’re a sensual goddess, and I don’t wanna hear any more about that.” He looks to her smartly when she audibly scoffs.

“Don’t roll your eyes at me,” he points.  “I’ll do everything I can to make you believe me.”  He catches a pair of sweatpants she tosses to him and with a shrug, puts them on.  “Hungry, huh?  Last night you said pancakes.  What if I make pancakes while you study?”

Looking up from tying her loose sweats, her jaw momentarily drops.  “You wanna cook for me?”

“It’s mix and water.  It’s not that hard,” he replies, still feeling like a manly man for offering, but pancakes, he can do.

Pulling a superhero t shirt over her head she returns his laughter.  “Mix?  I don’t know what women you’ve been with, but real women make their pancakes from scratch.”  She runs her hand down his chest, straightening out the twisted elastic at his waist and then pulling it back and releasing it with a snap before leaving the room.

“Fuck,” Chris whispers following her out of the bedroom.  “From scratch?”

He watches her gather measuring spoons and a large skillet.  She opens a cabinet door and points to a recipe taped inside.  “It’s easy.  The one my stepmother always uses,” she explains.  “It says ‘vanilla optional.’ It’s not.  Add the vanilla,” Thalia requests.  “Are you sure?  I can make them quick, or even call the diner and pre-order something?”

Washing his hands, Chris grins at her.  “Sit down and study.  I can handle a Sunday morning breakfast.”

He notices her pause as she gathers some books to sit at the kitchen table.  Measuring out the flour and sugar he can feel her eyes on him and knows she’s studying anatomy and not… whatever it is she’s supposed to be studying right now.

“Chris,” her curious voice interrupts him as he dollops the first serving of batter into the warm pan.  “The comment about ‘women you’ve been with?’ I shouldn’t have said that…  I’m really sorry.  I… I just remembered stuff I’ve heard in the faculty workroom…  So?  It was a pretty bad divorce?”

Running his hand over his mouth and down his beard, his eyes sadden, nodding his head.  Scratching his eyebrow, he tells her, “I appreciate your concern, but I really don’t wanna talk about it.  That’s what I have therapy for.”

“Ok.  Fair enough…” She watches as he expertly flips the pancakes, biting her lip.  “You also made the perfect braid… “ she smiles, playing with her now loose tresses..  “A daughter?  How old is she?”

Opening a cabinet and finding the plates, Chris pulls two down and places them on the counter.  Turning, he rests his hip against the counter and smiles brightly.  “Avery is five; she’s my light…  Her mother wouldn’t let me see her last night.  That’s how I ended up drunk in a bar…  The last two times I was supposed to see her, there’s been some lame excuse.”

Turning back, he takes the pancakes off the heat and serves them up on the plates.  Thalia moves her books to the side, and he feels bad she’s not getting any studying accomplished.

When he sets the plate in front of her, she touches his arm.  “I bet you’re a good dad.  Don’t give up.  Your ex will see you’re trying, no matter what your differences are, and she can’t deny the facts.”

Sitting down at the little table with her, his large legs bump against hers and he enjoys her comfort.  “Thank you; I’m trying.  Some days are just easier, you know.”

Looking to a photo on the shelf of an older man, obviously her father, she nods her head and looks back to her plate.  “Yea, I do.”  She cuts up her pancakes and reaches for the syrup, her hand brushing his as he grabs for it at the same time.  “These look amazing.  You did good.”

They enjoy a friendly breakfast.  Chris asks her about the funeral notice and she tells her about her friend and he shares a few stories about Avery.  The speed with which they’ve settled in with one another alarms Chris and he already feels a tug on his conscious, trying to tell himself again she’s a student, and this is so damn wrong.

But he doesn’t really fucking care.

The pancakes were pretty damn good, for a first try, and he’ll remember to add vanilla the next time he makes some, even if he uses a mix.  Clearing away the table, she begins to rise but he stops her.  “No.  Study.  I’m in your way.  I really need to go.”

She smiles sweetly, tilting her head.  “Oh, I don’t know.  It’s kinda nice to have a man around,” she places her empty plate in his outreached hand.  “I mean, you should probably go get dressed, so I’m not distracted, but I’m going to study, really.  Once I get into it, I’ll focus…  You are welcome to stay.”

“I do have some emails I could answer, some papers to grade.  Not all of us have grad students to do that for us,” he comments wryly, placing the dishes in the sink, catching the blush rise on her cheeks.

“Professor Evans,” Thalia announces sternly and with authority, “any faculty member needing assistance simply has to apply in the office of student affairs.  It’s work study and helps keep tuition down for the students like me.  You can request short term help with things like grading tests and papers, or long term assistance if you were working on a large research project for the University.”

“God, please don’t call me ‘Professor.’  I really fuckin’ hate that title.  It sounds so pretentious.  And I try to be anything but that.  ‘Pretty boy.’  That’s a title I could get used to,” he teases.

Her eyes widen as she remembers talking to Jim before leaving the bar last night.  She cringes.  “It was so noisy!  How did you hear that?” she asks incredulously.

“I never reveal my sources,” he taunts, heading to her room to change back into his clothes.

Returning to the kitchen a few minutes later, Chris sits back down and powers up his phone, a question bugging at the back of his mind.  “So what’s the story with Jim, anyway?  He seems very protective of you.”

Looking up from her tablet, she opens a textbook and smiles. “That’s Papa Jim.  He and my dad were in Desert Storm together and have been like brothers ever since… he and his wife were so excited when I was accepted to school here.”  She glances at her scribbled notes and flips to another section of the book, looking over to Chris.  “To save money, they actually helped me establish residency here and I lived with them for about two and a half years, until I felt secure enough to afford an apartment with friends.”

Chris can’t keep his eyes off her.  Her little movements and quirks.  She’s fascinating to watch.  She twists her hair away from her face and ties it in a loose bun, sticking a pencil through the thick knot to hold it in place.  How is that even possible?

“Worst six months of my life, that apartment.  They thought it was party central…  I was so glad to get out of that lease when I went over to study in Europe the first time.”  She shivers at an old memory.  “And a friend stayed here and took over my lease this last summer when I was working on some research in England.”  Looking around the room, it’s like she’s seeing it again for the first time, maybe through his eyes.  “I like it here.  It’s cramped, and full of junk and crap, but it’s mine, ya know?”

His eyes sadden briefly.  He does ‘know’ but hasn’t felt that way in a long time.  He shrugs his shoulders.  “Still working on making my place feel like ‘home.’  To be honest, some nights I feel more comfortable in my office, or falling asleep in one of the bean bags chairs in the library.”

She clears her throat and leans forward over her book, picking up a highlighter to mark a note.  “I remember when my mom left and got a new place.  Hate to tell ya, it’ll probably feel like that for awhile.”

“Thank you for the uplifting sentiment; mind if I just stick my head in the oven now, so I won’t die alone?”

Her shoulders rock with laughter and he watches as once again, she jiggles in a bra that just isn’t the right fit for her.  That would be a situation he would love to remedy for her.  A little lingerie shopping and modeling of styles can always lift the spirits.

“I’m talking too much.  I’m keeping you from your work… But I do have one more question, then I’ll be quiet; I promise.”

Opening another book, she places it on top of the huge volume already displayed on the table.  “Shoot.  I’m an open book.  Whatever you want to know…”

“Well fuck, now it’s two things, cuz I just thought of something else I’m curious about.”

She giggles and gets up from her chair.  Moving to the fridge, she retrieves two water bottles, handing one to him over his shoulder.  “You are the type that asks for one thing, and then always hopes for more, aren’t you?”  She teases in his ear, pushing her body against his before returning to the chair.

He chuckles.  “Yeah, probably.  Like, maybe I’m just hanging around now for the hopes of Four?”  He smiles at the shake of her head and continues.  “Ok, first question.  You’re obviously brilliant.  You’ve studied in Europe; worked on a few archeology digs, and Professor Hiddleston obviously thinks highly of you; he can’t stand the state of the American education system and is always belittling students in meetings. But he tolerates you- you must be wicked smaht,” he grimaces when his old neighborhood accent shines through.  “Honestly, I don’t see how you stand to work with him, but,” he tilts his head, smirking at the scowl on her face.  Her beloved Professor Hiddleston… He might like to give that man shit, but he’s not going to get under her skin by knocking the man she admires… “I get the language and history connection, but still he’s just such an assh-…”  Shaking his head, he stops himself.   “So what do you plan to do with all your knowledge? It’s pretty diverse.”

Chris doesn’t let her know he’s actually been looking over her school records on his phone for the last few minutes.  She’s a fuckin’ genius; and her areas of study as so eclectic.  Linguistics, history, literature…  He’s probably in the presence of one of the smartest women he’s ever met, yet she’s still so clueless about so many things.

“That is a damn good question,” she laughs, tossing her head back and slapping her thigh.  “Can’t really teach high school, can I?  I’d be bored in a week…  I don’t know,” she says thoughtfully.  “I’ve been approached by some of the top museums in the world to work as a curator and continue my archaeological work…  The problem is, I’m passionate about all of it.  If I do that, then I’m stuck in one field.  And I think I’d hate that ‘tied down’ feeling.”

Fuck.  His cock immediately perks up at her turn of phrase and the image that popped in his head.  He drops the water bottle ‘accidently’ and bends to retrieve it, hoping she doesn’t see the expression on his face.  Sitting back up, he can’t stop himself.  “Yeah, you being tied down would be awful.”

The eraser she throws bounces off the table and hits him in the cheek.  They both share in the laughter.

“You.  Just sit over there with your fantasies.  I’m working…”  The blush on her cheeks is endearing and he knows he should leave.  Soon.  “Oh damn.  You had a second thing.  What was it?”

His cheeks now turn pink and he leans forward, resting his arms on the table.  Inhaling deeply, the air is tight through his nose.  “Last night… You said it was ‘taken’ a long time ago.  You don’t mean-?”

“Oh, God no. No. Just some fumbling around in a back seat and not really knowing what the hell he was doing, or I was doing.  It was awful,” she chuckles, “But it’s the story of my life.  ‘I make rash decisions.’  And ‘I don’t know what I’m doing.’”

“I can teach you a few things,” Chris smiles, tapping his finger on the book.

The grin on her face is huge.  “I’m sure you can…  Now.  You promised to be quiet so I can work.  I hope you are a man of your word, Mister Evans.”

The two work in silence, chatting occasionally, well into the afternoon. Chris reads a bit more over her transcripts and finds notes from her research projects posted on some of the school study pages.  She’s an amazing talent and would be an asset to his team in the history department as they get ready to undergo some staff changes.  He contemplates what working with her would be like, but when images of bending her over his desk fill his head, he knows he’s had enough.

Rising from his seat, he cleans up the trash from the snack they’d had and moves to sit on the couch.  He doesn’t want to go home, and she seems in no hurry to make him leave.  Hugging a couch pillow to his chest, it smells like her.  His thoughts run back over the last few hours and he realizes his ex-wife still hasn’t called him back.  Guilt smashes him in the stomach as he realizes he’d totally forgotten his responsibilities the minute a pretty face and deadly curves turned his head…   Punching the pillow, he rolls to his side, preparing to nap when “God Save the Queen” starts to play on her phone.

She quickly answers it and he hears shuffling in the kitchen behind him.  “Hey, how are you?… Just a lazy Sunday.  A friend came over…. Yes, I have friends, you know,” she asserts playfully.

He freezes when he senses her hovering above him and he pretends to be asleep, not wanting her to think he’s listening.  Her hand graces the top of his head gently before she walks away.  When he hears her voice again, it’s muffled and coming from the bedroom.

“Sure, I can.  I’d love to!  What a nice surprise!   What time?  Ok… Anything else?  Yeah… Yes.   Alright.  I’m looking forward to it…. See you then.”

Chris realizes this is his cue to leave.  Fuck.  Thalia said ‘for reasons’ she and her other paramore, for lack of a better word, wish to keep things private.  He quickly prays she’s not dating a married man.  But it’s not his place to judge or ask.  From his spot on the couch, he realizes the apartment shows no signs of a man in her life, and he begins to question her need for privacy.  A sinking feeling sets in, and he sits up to put on his shoes.

The bathroom door closes and he waits anxiously for her to return to the living room.  When the door clicks open he turns to the dark haired beauty with a smile.  “Hey, I hate to do this Thalia, but I got a text from my ex and I can go see Avery for a few hours.  I really need to get going.”

Standing up he admires her lovely full lips as the bottom one pops out in disappointment.  “You have to go?  Well, then I guess it’s a good excuse.  Getting dumped for a younger woman already.  I see how you are.”

Moving into his space, she places her hand on his bicep, stepping closer to him.  Batting her eyelashes, she smiles crookedly.  “No, that’s great.  I’m glad you can see her.”

Her pout is irresistible.  He places his hand under her chin and with a bit of force he rubs his thumb across her tender lips.  “So beautiful…”  Holding her chin in place, he thwarts her physical effort to deny it.  “And I’m going to keep telling you that until you believe it.”  He leans his forehead to hers.  “I left my phone number on one of the post-its on the table earlier when you were deep in thought.  Text me in a bit so I make sure I have your number.”

Sliding his nose against hers, he plants his lips on hers and sucks in her air.  Minty fresh.  Pulling back, he whispers quietly.  “You brushed; not fair,” he complains.

“Sorry. Syrup breath was killing me… And you know,” she sighs, “I was gearing up for Four, but I guess we’ll have to start our count over again another night.”

“Four?”  He cocks his eyebrow pleased by her enthusiasm and stamina.  “I’ll hold you to that promise, babe.”  He remembers her secretive phone call, and moves to extract himself from her arms.

She follows him to the door and tells him she’ll text soon.

Walking down the stairs and across the street, he wonders again what the hell he’s doing.  She’s a student.  Young.  Dating someone else.  His damn Italian jealousy is already getting the best of him…

Reaching for his car keys in his pocket, his phone beeps.  He can’t contain his smile when he reads the message.  “Had a great night. Look up.”

Following directions, he shields his eyes from the sunlight peaking through the gray clouds, the smell of snow in the air.  Standing at her window she waves grandly and he laughs when she flashes him the two most resplendent breasts he’s ever had the pleasure of seeing.

Click here to read Chapter 18 Changes

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