XXII - Anticipation

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[RECAP: Carl Spencer has finally admitted he's attracted to his student Juliet, but says the attraction is inappropriate]

Juliet could barely sleep the night after the gig, she was floating on air. Mr Spencer wanted her. "More than anything" he had said.

It was the admission itself more than the actual words that was significant. For her teacher to actually admit his desire to her was huge.

"Told you he was still into you," Margot said.

"How did you know?" Juliet asked.

"The way he tried not to look at you in class all the time. It was so obvious."

All the misery Juliet had felt at his avoidance of her and formality around her was replaced with a bursting, stomach dissolving joy. She wasn't sure how he would react towards her in Latin the following Monday. But somehow it would happen. It had to happen.

Saturday dragged after she got home from Fhemie's house. Juliet had one thing on her mind. She even thought about walking past his house but chickened out.

Instead she buried herself in homework, and made another batch of muffins to take to school. Fhemie had gone wild for them, and had encouraged Juliet to start a surreptitious trade in home-baked goodies. "I would pay for these."

"You don't have to, they're a gift."

"So sell them to other people," Fhemie suggested.

Juliet had worried about it not being allowed under school rules.

"Jesus, it's not like they're drugs. Give them to me, I'll sort it out."

So Fhemie started selling Juliet's muffins for her, refusing to take anything but free muffins for her commission.

It had solved Juliet's dilemma over spending money for the Paris trip. She wanted to get some really nice souvenirs while she was over there but Aunt Mary didn't like her working during the school semester.

Later she made a couple more batches, thinking of Mr Spencer while she did so, and wondering what he was up to.

* * *

Cold shower. Prayer. Bible.

Rinse, repeat.

It was no good. This was bigger than Carl could deal with. He couldn't get it out of his system no matter what he tried.

He almost regretted breaking up with Rebecca because at least it was an extra barrier between him and Juliet, something else for him to focus on. If he had still been engaged he would never had confessed what he had to her.

Confessed. Confession. Maybe that was where he needed to go. It had given him clarity before, even if he didn't feel his soul was shrivened. How could he possibly seek guidance from Pastor Brown about something this damning? He needed anonymity, privacy.

Carl had been surprised by the amount of support from members of his church after his broken engagement became known. He had assumed that people would have rallied around Rebecca and perhaps even kept their distance with him. Instead there was sympathy for both of them.

"I was sorry to hear of your situation, my dear. But you're both young and the Lord has a plan for you, whatever it may be." This was from Agnes. Carl liked her, she was such a kind old woman with her snowy hair and bright eyes.

Carl came to realise that others had recognised the incompatibility for a long time, which was galling. He hoped Rebecca would find happiness elsewhere, but he doubted his own ability to.

He couldn't even look at another woman. The only female in the entire world that he wanted was Juliet Martin.

But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.

His bible brought little comfort. He should be able to deal with this. He was a grown man and a teacher with several years experience. Falling for a student in this way was absurd.

* * *

The bench was hard beneath her and the church was draughty and cold. Juliet sat in Sunday mass next to her aunt, unable to feel any interest in the service. Even the hymns seemed flat.

Her mind wandered to Mr Spencer. Was he at his own church right this moment? What was he doing?

She looked over at the confessional boxes, where she hadn't been in ages. She wasn't even sure if she believed in that stuff any more. Baptists didn't do it, and nor did most other Christian denominations.

If she went, what would she confess first? Impure thoughts, words or deeds?

The thought of Mr Spencer peeling off her clothes and running his strong, firm hands over her body.

Telling Mr Spencer how much she wanted him and what she wanted him to do to her.

Going up to Mr Spencer and putting her lips on his, winding herself around his body, feeling him grow hard against her own body...

She shivered and received a sharp glance from her aunt.

Tomorrow, she would pluck up her courage and approach Mr Spencer. She wasn't yet sure what she would say. But she couldn't go on like this.

* * *

Carl couldn't concentrate on Pastor Brown's sermon. He felt exhausted. He was lying to his friends, his God, even himself. He wasn't okay. He was in turmoil.

He would have to speak with Juliet tomorrow. Try and clear the air. Explain that he still valued and respected her as a student, and hoped that she could forget his words the other night and move past them.

Right now he would have given almost anything just to be with her. He wished he could take a single day out of time and spend it with her.

Jenny came up to him after the service. She was glowing, her stomach visibly larger. "Why don't you come over for dinner later?" she asked Carl.

"Thanks, but I have a stack of marking." In actual fact he wanted to sit at home and brood.

"That's a shame." Jenny grinned. "We were looking forward to finding out more about your sinful desires."

"What?" Carl felt cold. Had Dan guessed about his attraction to Juliet and told his wife?

"I was just joking. I'm afraid Rebecca has been making some insinuations about the reasons for your split. Not that we believe them, knowing Rebecca. I did remind her of Proverbs 11:13* which shut her up."

Carl felt weary. No wonder he'd had a few funny looks from some of the members of the Women's Prayer Group that Rebecca attended. 

*"A talebearer revealeth secrets: but he that is of a faithful spirit concealeth the matter"

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