Ch. 30 – Waiting

My sense of relief over Elena's move to Canada coincides with the start of our fall semester. Jack works me hard these days with a series of long papers that I need to write about the symbolism of loneliness found in Jane Eyre. Up until meeting Christian, I felt alone with my own inner world. I sort of enjoyed that feeling. Now, he and his needs more than fill up all my spare time. My work as a teaching assistant also involves several hours of grading every other week. All of that work takes up most of my energy and time. Loneliness no longer pervades my life nor his.

Even though Christian completed the course he taught on campus in August, he still flies his Echo Charlie down to see me every Wednesday night in Portland. He eats dinner with me and then stays the night at my apartment. Of course, the highlight involves making love with him and compensating for the time we spend apart. We appear to be insatiable about connecting with one another on that special night. The two of us take the entire evening showing each other how much we care about and need the other.

One example of that happened this past Wednesday. My man couldn't get enough of me. He seemed so eager to have me that he kept his shirt and my blouse on while our bottom halves were otherwise engaged.

"There's something to be said for our time apart from one another," he huffed out his thoughts after his third climax of the night.

"I'll say. Your enthusiasm about getting me in bed immediately after we finish dinner seems more than obvious. I'm still wearing half my clothes. On top."

"That's what you do to me, baby."

"I must admit, I thoroughly revel in your enthusiasm for me. You performed like a champ tonight."

He smiled like a naughty school boy yet still looked utterly pleased with himself for the joy he'd just given me.

"That's because I've missed your lovely smell, taste and response to my moves. I need to feel a part of you in so many ways, Ana. It restores my sanity."

"Me too."

"Besides, you seem to want me desperately." He voice sounded hoarse when recalled my behavior during our mating ritual.

"You're right about that. I feel such an intense need to be with you again, Christian. Plus I love being wrapped up in your arms all night."

"I adore the look in your eyes when we merge. Our sexual hookups feel so perfect."

I chuckled at his enthusiasm. "Sometimes it seems as though you're trying to crawl inside me."

"That's because I want to be one with you so desperately. When we reach nirvana with a simultaneous orgasm, it's the most profound thing in the world. I get lost in the sensations. A feeling of awe washes over me again and again. It's as though the surf beats against the shore."

"You've got that analogy right about the surf. It's nature's pulse that we feel when we're going at it. Our chemistry feels that powerful."

"My need for you stuns me." He tells me this while finally pulling back from our encounter and putting himself together.

That's when he takes off his starched white shirt and grey tie. He tosses them on a nearby chair. I decide to take off the rest of my everyday clothing too. That means my blouse, bra and sweater. I slip on a negligee since we're now moving into sleep mode and it's quite early in the morning. Like 1:30 in the morning, early.

We drift off to sleep then like two teens who've walked a dozen miles. In the morning, we snuggle for a while then talk about what we're going to do as a couple in the weeks to come.

"Hey, I'd like your advice about the remodeling of my former sex room."

"I vote for your idea of turning your former dungeon into my study. That way we can reroute the energy that still exists in that area into something productive for my career and future. I think the paint job needs to be done in blue and grey tones."

He stares at me for a while before speaking. "I'll send you the plans for the former 'Red Room of Pain' (he emphasizes my terminology for his space) in a day or two. OK?"

"Make it happen on the weekend, then. I've got too much grading that must be done before Friday."

"Yes, ma'am. You're really quite the focused workaholic these days, Ana. Jack's lucky you're so dedicated to the job."

"There's no choice in the matter. I have high standards for my work as a teaching assistant. And, I've got to manage my time carefully when we're apart. As you can see, our time together literally flies by because of all our physical intensity."

"That's not going to change, ever. I can hardly keep my hands off you when you're near. There's something so amazing about having you all to myself again…and reaching into that needy part of you, Ana."

I had to admit the truth to him. "The only time we're truly zinging happens when we merge with one another. We achieve the ultimate good karma then."

Since my weekends were spent at Escala and my new study got filled with all the latest and greatest gadgets in the weeks that followed, I became quite adept at on-line grading. Christian made sure that the internet speed and connectivity issues with Portland State got top priority. My scoring of the homework and grading of class assignments literally flew by in the new grey-blue study. He sometimes stood over my shoulder and watched me while I worked. I didn't mind since his surveillance lasted only a few minutes.

I also helped Dr. Hyde with online contacts and reviews for both sections of his semiotics class. There were twenty students in each one. I developed a friendly but appropriate relationship with one of the undergraduates. She also happened to be one of the better students. She began by sending me regular messages and questions about the homework assignments. The girl appeared to be a very sweet but demure young twenty year old. Her name was Kaitlyn Dixon.

During the week and after every class, she sought my advice about various assignments. I noticed that she completed her work quickly and well. After the first couple of weeks, she showed up regularly to my office hours. We seemed to be getting along well. I enjoyed her insightful questions. One day, she confided in me about her own needs.

"Ms. Steele, I noticed that you wear an engagement ring. Are you going to marry anyone at the university?"

"I'm engaged to be married but not to anyone at our school. Beyond that, I don't really want to say much. I like to keep my two worlds, work and private life, separate."

I decided that questions about my relationship with Christian were strictly off limits. That meant I had no intention of sharing personal details with anyone but my closest of friends and, of course, my family. Only my parents as well as Jose and Kate knew the details of my engagement.

Kaitlyn nodded and didn't push the issue but it seemed obvious that she had another burning issue on her own agenda.

"That's probably a good idea. You seem so happy with your life."

"I feel really good about my situation right now even though the work's stressful. Of course, all this effort spent on my master's degree takes time away from planning for my future."

"You seem to handle the pressure well." I realized that she was buttering me up. Also it seemed she had some other type of need. I waited for her to spill the beans.

"Thanks. What's on your mind, by the way?"

"Have you ever felt drawn to one of your professors?"

"Do you mean romantically?" I thought back to all my years in college and realized that the idea had never crossed my mind.

"No, not really. I'm more interested in people my own age. You seem eager to talk about something though. Care to share?"

"Oh, Ms. Steele. I can hardly think about anything but…him."

I tried to recall any clues that Kaitlyn dropped during office hours or even in class about who the "him" referred to but came up empty. I shrugged and stared at her for a clue.

"You mean you can't tell?"

I reflected for a minute on Ms. Dixon's interactions in class. I realized that she asked a lot of questions about material that Dr. Hyde covered during lectures. She seemed more than intense about the topics we addressed. Then it clicked. She felt drawn to our teacher.

I nearly laughed out loud when I imagined the two of them together. Offhand, they seemed quite mismatched. I knew they would never work as a couple but understood why she might have been attracted to him. Jack was in a league of his own.

I stared at her for a few seconds more. "Do you want to talk about your feelings for Dr. Hyde?"

"Yeah. Sure do." She twisted her shoulders and looked at me for help. "I know it's ridiculous but I have a major crush on the guy. I find him so remarkable. He's quiet, thoughtful yet so lonely. I spend hours every week just thinking about how he talks and behaves in class. I can't tell you how much I enjoy staring into his eyes when he's lecturing."

I swallowed and thought about just the right kind of response I might give to Kaitlyn. Jack seemed at least twice her age. Considering what I knew about his recent fling with Elena, he wasn't at all appropriate for a young innocent co-ed like her. I tried to dissuade her as best I could.

"I can understand why you might find him attractive because he's an expert on the topic we're studying and he's single. But I think you could do much better than someone like Dr. Hyde. Why not think about some of the other young men in class? What about the guy sitting next to you? David, right?"

"Him? Ugh. They all seem so young and immature. The guys in class don't have insights like the professor does. Jack's sophisticated, worldly and so well spoken. I wonder what he does during his free time."

I chuckled when I thought about how pathetic Jack seemed when I compared him to my fiancé. Talk about someone who really embodied those three qualities to a tee. Hyde seemed a rank amateur in comparison to my Christian.

"Be truthful. Don't you find Dr. Hyde a little hard to resist, Ana?" She asked me this question with such an earnest look on her face that I took pity.

"Trust me. I'm not attracted to our teacher that way. After all, I'm planning to get married next year to the man of my dreams."

"He must be really something if you can't see how amazing Dr. Hyde is."

Christian seemed so much more of everything than Hyde could ever be. Of course, he had his own problems with a split personality and all but I wasn't about to share the details with Kaitlyn. After all, she might develop a crush on my man if I gave too much away.

"I think you'll have better luck with someone a little younger. In fact, I have an idea of the sort of woman Dr. Hyde likes and, trust me, you don't ever want to go there." Her eyes lit up with hope at that very moment. I knew I needed to think fast and divert her attention from him in a big way.

"Can you please tell me just a little about his girlfriends?" She started begging me for details but I felt determined to keep that information totally private.

"All I can say is she was a total contrast to you…" I let her digest that tidbit of information and watched as she grew concerned. I figured that it was a good idea to get her mind off Jack as soon as possible. Then it occurred to me that I should tempt her with someone new.

"You know what, Kaitlyn? Maybe I can help find you a date with someone quite nice who's more your age. I have a friend who's a photographer that you might want to get to know. He's doing well with his gallery exhibits and he's a student here at PSU."

"Is he really my age?" She asked this question with a look of disgust on her face. Maybe she really liked older men.

I thought about her question for a minute. "I'd say he's about a year or two older than you. He's very kind, good looking and loves art. Want to meet him?"

She agreed at once to my idea, probably because she wanted to make me happy. In truth, she didn't seem at all excited about the prospect of meeting Jose. "I guess." Her mind seemed consumed with Jack Hyde. I couldn't understand why.

"Don't worry. I'll arrange for the two of you to meet during lunch one day. If you're not interested, no one will get offended and no harm will have been done. OK?"

I knew from past experience how tricky these sorts of meetings could be. That's why I intended to keep it all very light and easy. Kaitlyn would be the only one making decisions about whether it was thumbs up or thumbs down with Jose. He'd be kept in the dark.

Soon after, I sent Jose a text message asking if he could meet me at the student union for lunch. I also arranged for Kaitlyn to drop by about our next class assignment at the very same time. If I didn't see any sparks between them, or if Kaitlyn and/or Jose didn't show any interest, that would be the end of the issue. At least I'd tried to divert Dixon from her hopeless pursuit of Dr. Hyde.

Unfortunately, Christian happened to see my text to Jose that evening. He expressed some concern.

"Is there some reason you need to meet Jose for lunch on Tuesday?"

That's when I knew he needed to be given the inside story about Kaitlyn's crush on Dr. Hyde. I started explaining the situation with Kaitlyn and Jack Hyde but Christian grew wary. "Anastasia, I don't think it's wise for you to get involved in fixing up your student friends with Jose. He might get hurt again. The poor kid could still be harboring feelings for you."

"I don't see how. I won't say a thing about Kaitlyn unless he mentions her. As far as we're concerned, he knows we've recently got engaged. He's also aware that you're here with me every Wednesday night. And I've told him all about our plans for next year in Seattle."

"It's not your job to play matchmaker with either Jose or her. I don't want you involved. Do you understand?" The look on Christian's face let me know he meant nothing but business. I resented my fiancé's interference with the situation however.

I thought I detected the shadow of Edward in my man's behavior at that very moment. He grasped my wrists in his hands and pushed me up against the wall before kissing me gruffly.

"Do you agree to let this thing with Jose and her drop?"

"Yes, Christian. I promise you that I'll let the matchmaking idea go." I agreed with his request quickly and hoped that Jose would turn down my luncheon idea.

The only problem with my change in plans happened to be that Jose felt only too eager to meet with me for lunch. That meant that I couldn't mention the issue of the student union get together to Kaitlyn. Christian sulked when he heard that Jose and I planned to go ahead with the get together anyway.

"Can't you find some excuse to cancel with the guy on Tuesday?"

"Don't worry, Christian. Kaitlyn won't be around and there's nothing going on with me and Jose."

"Are you sure about that, Anastasia? I know you don't feel anything romantic for him but what about the reverse. Maybe he's holding out false hope that you'll change your mind concerning our engagement."

"Come here, Christian. Look into my eyes. Can you see that I have feelings only for you in here? I love you so much it hurts. Jose's nothing more than a casual friend to me."

He stared into my eyes with need and then kissed me like a starving artist.

"Just make sure he knows that you're all mine." That's when I noticed a flash of Edward surfacing again.

I had no idea that Christian would actually show up on campus that day during lunch.

AN: Should Ana avoid the matchmaker role altogether? If not, should Kaitlyn and Jose actually meet? What if Kaitlyn sees CG? Will she make a play for Ana's man?