The Teacher and His Student
Chapter 2 - The Importance of Suitable Clothing
Bella very ungracefully tugged her skirt down. It was a lesson that she would learn from; one should never put on the first thing one pulled out of a closet. Just another thing she could silently hate Mr Cullen for. She had woken at five thirty, and with her eyes barely open had stumbled out of bed and pulled on a skirt that reached mid thigh on her. It had been an impulse buy. The result of a day of shopping with Jessica, which of course came coupled with peer pressure to buy the scandalously revealing item. Bella had ended up buying the skirt merely to get her to shut up. But although the skirt was flowery, a rather childish design in Bella's opinion, the cut and length meant that it was unmistakably adult, something that made her uncomfortable.
At least nobody was here to see her. Yet. Once small justice of the early morning.
Bella felt her anger grow more with every second that passed. She had absolutely no use for advanced physics or advanced maths; they would not help her with her finals. She had devoted the past two years to ensuring that she knew the outline of the exam backwards. Bella would just have to grit her teeth and get through it as best as she could. It was obvious that Mr Cullen had a flair for irritating her as much as humanly possible and viewed any amount of suffering on her part as a success, she just had to find a way to counter this tactic.
Usually it would be by sucking up as much as possible, it worked with every other teacher in Allen Poe. Her perfect scores impressed them all and most of them were happy to send her off mid class to do as she pleased, perhaps because they had no new material to teach her. She was always careful to leave the class respectfully however, these were the teachers that would be writing her recommendations; it wouldn't do to alienate them. Mr Cullen had already been written off as a lost cause on that front, they had had exactly one conversation and already he had decided that she was lazy and motivated by the wrong reasons. Bella was certain that any evaluation written by this man would certainly undo her years of hard work, and she had no intentions of asking for such a letter.
She guessed that Mr Cullen wanted her to meet him in his office, and so she made her way over hoping that the very least she could do was be punctual. She knocked on the door and made her way in.
There was obviously no justice in the world. Mr Cullen looked like he'd just stepped off of the runway. Where as Bella's eyes were red and puffy, his were the same intense grey as they had been yesterday. His perfectly sculpted hair juxtaposed Bella's ratty mess completely, and he didn't look like he'd pulled on the first thing he'd gotten his hands on. Irrationally Bella felt a surge of hatred towards this man; it was like he didn't even need sleep, hell he was practically sparkling.
He smiled when he saw her, not a sincere 'good morning' smile, more of the smile somebody would give when they knew something the other person didn't; something that was going to cost the other person a little bit of dignity. Brilliant.
"Nice skirt," he quipped.
Bella blushed and self-consciously began to tug the hem down once again.
He proceeded to remove his suit jacket and roll the sleeves of his shirt up.
"Todays lesson will take place outside," he informed her. "You're looking at a physics degree, right?"
Bella nodded in agreement, pointedly looking away from his well-defined lower arm.
"Then I thought it might be beneficial for you to partake in some hands on experience."
Her eyes flicked up to meet his. Practical work? Of course, he was a new teacher. He didn't yet know the extent of her incoordination.
"Something wrong?" The horror must have been reflected in her eyes.
"I'm not too good with practicals," she admitted.
This seemed to bring him great joy.
"Out we go," Mr Cullen beamed.
They crossed the school, and Bella was glad that she hadn't a clue where they were going. It meant that she could safely trail behind Mr Cullen, which in turn meant that there would be no accidental pantie flashes. This relief was short lived however, as Bella noticed where they'd stopped.
"Automotive?" She scowled. "You've bought me to the automotive department."
"This." He proudly indicated a hunk of metal on the floor, "Is your new assignment."
"You want me to take it to the scrap heap?" Bella retorted.
Mr Cullen looked offended. "You're going to repair it." He said as if it was the most obvious thing in the world. The way he looked at her made it clear that he thought he was the bringer of great news.
Bella felt she should clarify, it wouldn't do to let him carry on with the naïve belief that she had any interest whatsoever in motorcycle repair.
"You drag me out of bed at five thirty in the morning to make me do this?" She hissed. "I thought what you actually had to show me would be of some use, but this won't help me at all. You think that Harvard will be impressed by my restoration work of a relic from the Stone Age? I'm surprised the wheel had even been invented when this was created." She nudged it with her foot, and was unsurprised when a metal part disconnected from the main body and hit the floor with a clang.
Mr Cullen regarded her thoughtfully. "I recommend not kicking it again, it's counter productive."
"Are you even listening to me?" Bella sighed.
"I tend to tune out idiocy," he admitted happily.
She almost kicked the damn thing again out of anger. Honestly, he was so infuriating. Any other teacher would have thrown her in detention for talking to them like that, but Mr Cullen seemed to enjoy getting her angry, more than that he seemed to relish it.
He seemed to be the type of man who would scold somebody for doing well superficially, but praise somebody who did badly but managed to learn some type of deep lesson. He seemed to want to convince her that grades weren't everything, in a world in which they were; they were her currency, the key to her getting into the best possible college and ultimately the key to her future. That was just the way things were, and Bella wasn't going to be fooled by the ideals of a green newbie. Maybe it wasn't ideal, maybe it wasn't fair, but that was how it was.
"I'd stand it up first," Mr Cullen prompted, taking a seat on a tool box and pulling out his battered copy of Wuthering Heights.
Bella merely scowled at him (which of course made him smile) before considering the conundrum that faced her – how the hell was she meant to bend down and lift the considerable weight in a skirt this short?
It was next to a wall, which meant there was no chance of facing her teacher while she propped it up. Any move she made would only be possible while her ass was facinghim directly. She wished she had put on some underwear that could at least be considered sexy, granny panties, although practical, weren't what she wanted her ass of a physics teacher to see.
"Problem?" Mr Cullen asked, far too innocently for Bella to be entirely convinced that he was unaware of exactly what was making her hesitate.
"None," she replied through gritted teeth.
He hummed and continued to stare at her over his book.
"Where did you get this from anyway?" Bella frowned.
Mr Cullen's eyes sparkled. "You realise that stalling by asking me questions that attempt to capture my interest is a futile endeavour. You can still talk whilst working."
"And you realise that trying to make me uneasy with amateur psychoanalysis is a futile endeavour."
Once again she was addressing him in a way that most teachers would consider incredibly rude, and once again she didn't care.
"Oh, I doubt that," Mr Cullen mused, tapping the spine of his book against his chin. "I expect it makes you deeply uneasy. It appears that every teacher in this school is sucked in by that perfect student façade; to have it finally lifted must be most alarming."
Bella sucked in a deep breath, reminding herself that punching this man would do nothing to warm her to him. Talking to him was obviously counter productive.
He appeared to genuinely to put no stock in grades, his focus purely on method and product.
Well if that was what he wanted, then that's what he'd get.
Bella crouched down with as much dignity as she could muster (which was very little) and grabbed the hunk of metal by the seat. The chuckle that she heard from behind her led her to hypothesise that her panties were on show. This was confirmed when Mr Cullen stated without a hint of embarrassment:
"Pervert," Bella hissed, bracing the weight of the motorcycle against her leg as she slowly tipped it upright.
Mr Cullen ignored her, and Bella ignored his ignoring of her, willing her obvious blush to go away. Still, she couldn't help the blush that spread across her cheeks as she noticed the sparkle in his eyes. He was winding her up again.
Something inside of her snapped. Perhaps it was his frequent mockery of the goody two shoes image he had of her, perhaps she simply wanted to see that sparkle in his eyes again. But good girls didn't do what Bella did next.
Dragging her eyes away from his slowly, Bella turned to the motorcycle so that her ass was once again facing towards Mr Cullen. Then, with as much grace as she could muster, she slowly bent down under the pretence of tying her shoelace, keeping her legs perfectly straight. She felt the drag of fabric across the back of her thigh, and the brush of cool wind, and the silence; all of which were indicative that once again her panties were on show.
She took her time, deliberately slowing down her every movement. Undoing one shoelace and doing it back up again, before repeating with the other. At all times keeping her rear end pointed unmistakably towards him.
Then, when she ran out of shoelaces she straightened out her sock before dragging her hands up her leg, returning to an upright position as if it was the hardest thing in the world
Bella snapped her eyes to his in anticipation, surely he was outraged, or shocked, or embarrassed - and most definitely uncomfortable.
She couldn't help but feel she'd failed somewhat when it turned out that Mr Cullen had simply returned to reading his book. He wasn't taking a blind bit of notice of her.
Resigned and embarrassed, she simply sighed. "Now what?"
"Use your initiative, you think Harvard wants those who have been spoon-fed? What do you think is wrong with it?"
Bella furrowed her brow. "The colour." She concluded.
"Cute," Mr Cullen deadpanned, without taking his eyes off of his book. "But your time wasting just cost you five marks."
Five marks? She was down to 95% now and time was ticking away. It was already a quarter past seven. She had forty five minutes to impress him or else her mark would drop even lower, and that was unacceptable.
Bella scowled at him. How she was meant to boost her grade when he wasn't paying the slightest bit of attention to her? With a smirk she bought her first down on the motorcycles horn.
Much like her attempt to unsettle him with her ass, she didn't get the desired effect. He didn't jump up in a comic way, or fall of the toolbox he was perched on, Mr Cullen's eyes simply flickered up to meet hers and when he saw her doing nothing of interest they flicked straight back down to Wuthering Heights again. Bella scowled, even the horn was underwhelming, giving a diluted, pathetically weak sound. It truly was a piece of junk-
Slowly the cogs in Bella's brain started to turn, the horn was giving a weak sound. She flicked a few switches on the bike in search of the lights. Her trial and error method paid off when the bulbs spluttered into life, dim and unworthy of their function. Bella smiled in triumph - the dud horn and inadequate lights could be accounted for by the battery.
With a feeling of superiority at finally identifying something that could impress her teacher, Bella folded her arms and tapped her foot impatiently at where he was sat.
"Excuse me," she said, haughtily.
Mr Cullen sighed, and dragged himself off of the toolbox as if it was the most inconvenient thing anyone had asked him to do ever, which quite frankly gave Bella a little satisfaction.
"Couldn't spring for anything from this century then," Bella muttered as she rummaged through the box to find what she was looking for.
Despite the age of the equipment nevertheless, the screwdriver she had found did its job perfectly well, and soon Bella had removed the motorcycles seat and battery cover.
Mr Cullen hovered over her, Wuthering Heights finally closed. He stretched out his arm and placed it on the wall that the bike was leaning against, mere centimetres from her right cheek.
Bella gulped. His arm was perfect, muscly, but not obscenely so. And his hands were undoubtedly strong, but more than that, they seemed capable. They were hands that could solve an equation, craft a classic piece or literature and hands that could easily reach out and-
She scowled at herself, she was being pathetic drooling over a hand. She willed herself to concentrate and began to pull out one of the battery cables when the very hand that she had been admiring snapped out to encase her own.
Bella stepped back in an effort to pull her hand away only to find that this simply pushed her back into his, firm, chest. His hand remained over hers.
"You were about to pull out the positive lead first." He muttered, somewhere close to her ear. "Wouldn't want that pretty skin of yours to be fried, would we?"
He let go of her hand and stepped back. Picking the screwdriver up off the floor where she had left it and returning it to the toolbox.
"You'd better be on your way, wouldn't want to blot that perfect attendance record." He mocked.
Bella glanced at her watch. Quarter to eight! If she wanted to make registration before morning assembly she'd have to run. And running increased the probability that herself and/or somebody else would be injured by about 120%
"Not bad for a first class," Mr Cullen added. "You just scraped a C."
"What?" Bella screamed. "But I was on 95%"
"You went immediately for the battery without even checking if the motorcycle would run first, that sort of time wasting docked you ten points." Mr Cullen shrugged. "Also, nearly killing yourself lowers your score by fifteen."
"Oh, I suppose you had to penalise to counter the increasing want of students to escape your company." Bella snapped.
"You just lost five more points," Mr Cullen said happily.
"What for?" asked Bella open mouthed.
"For suggesting my personality drives people to suicide when in fact I'm the epitome of charming."
Bella didn't trust herself to say anything.
Mr Cullen's smile simply widened. "There you go," he said, ruffling her hair. "You're learning."