As Rachel lay in bed, covers pilled under her chin, Brody still sat pasted on the opposite side of the room watching her intently.
“I know you agreed to stay, but if you’re uncomfortable, you should go home to your own bed.
“I’m not uncomfortable.”
“You look awful stiff to me.”
“If I told you what’s running through my mind, I fear it’ll make you uneasy.”
“Come on, there’s nothing you could possibly say that’s off putting.”
The silence was unnerving as was Brody’s gaze. She’d never had a man look at her with such dark, pointed intensity and that made her shiver under her sheets. Rising to his feet, he quietly walked to her bedside resting a hand on the rail.
“Do you mind if I climb in?”
Rachel left him half the space to settle in beside her. Him laying next to her gave rise to butterflies flying around in her stomach. Heat flowed from all around him making her feel drowsy. Lying on his side propped up on his elbow, he continued to stare at Rachel’s side profile, making her nervous all the more. She kept her eyes glued to the ceiling while trying to keep her breathing steady.
“Look at me.” Slowly turning her head, their eyes locked for a brief moment. A ghost of a smile appeared over his lips then vanished. “I’ve never been this alone with you before and I want more of it. You’ve clearly shown interest in me and I think it’s time we take the first step together.” Rachel’s pulse was thumping a mile a minute at this revelation. She honestly hadn’t thought he knew about her feelings. He’d never let on! “Rachel, say something.”
“D-don’t you think this is too soon, with the demise of your relationship and the accusations. You should at least grieve.”
“I’ve been grieving for the past year over Annabelle’s betrayal and as for those accusations, that’s water under the bridge.”
“You’re no longer a student of mine, haven’t been for at least four years.”
“I can’t accept the start of this relationship.”
“Was I wrong? Has your feelings changed about me?”
“It’s not that.”
“What is it then?”
“I just- I just want to wait.”
“Wait for what?”
He sighed, nestling his head between her shoulder and neck. “I’m not going to give up.”
Both quietly settled in for the night drifting off to sleep. Brody rose early the next morning quietly climbing out of the bed to check the weather. Walking over to the side window, he was met with rain as he gently pulled the blinds open. Though the rain was light, he knew the cold was going to lash him through. The seasons were changing and winter was making her presence known early. There’d never been a time he enjoyed winter, the snow and ice was always a nuisance. The wind would cut through any layers of clothing, coat, gloves and scarves that it could leave one paralyzed. As a professor, one should not wish for school closings, but he did and never once did those wishes come true. But if he thought hard, those one pots meals always brought him comfort no matter how high the wind howled.
Closing the blinds, he turned his gaze back to Rachel. There’ve been things that he hadn’t had the opportunity to experience, like watching her sleep. She looked at peace and much healthier than before. She kept her head wrapped up in a black silk scarf and her white socked feet were peeking from under the blanket. She has the most beautiful lips and her smile, it got him every single time. Leaning against the bed rails, he watched until he got his fill then silently exited her room. Walking down the empty white halls, he couldn’t help but think that he had gotten it right this time. He’d known about Rachel’s feelings but was bound up by his moral code and by the law of his institution. He’d never been one to cheat or break the rules, but he’d come close to taking matters into his own hands. It’d been a national holiday which meant he hadn’t been able to see Rachel in a week. She’d gone back home to spend time with her family and yet he missed her like crazy, it was unnatural.
When classes resumed, he was so happy to see her that he’d felt as if he were going to explode. As he was lecturing, he called on her to answer a few questions, just to hear her voice and watch her light up as revelation struck through her mind. After lecture, he asked her to stay after class, lamenting that he had something important to discuss with her. In all fairness, it was true. There had been a fair on campus, each discipline was to be showcased and discussed in depth to any student who was interested in listening. Brody couldn’t think of a better person that Rachel. They sat face to face as he discussed the event and quite often he found himself enamored, lost in her eyes and swayed by the melodic sound of her voice. She happily agreed! She chirped on about how much she was looking forward to this event and that she’d wanted to do something like this for a while. While he listened, he found himself slowly closing the distance between them. If it hadn’t been for a student who walked in, he definitely would have kissed Rachel. Thankfully she hadn’t noticed the lust galloping through his mind. This shocked him enough to put him back into his place. Rachel was his kryptonite and he thought better of carving out special time just to see her, to be around her.