Soren texted. He left messages on her mobile phone and her office phone asking to see her. Apologising. He emailed. He even wrote a note and handed it to the receptionist for her office box and an additional one under her office door. He was persistent but Jane did not answer him.
He left chocolates on her welcome mat and on Friday made a cd of Jamie Woon for her and left it in her mailbox.
Still she did not answer him.
Jane and Sally rounded the corner on their way to D block just as Sam, Mick and Soren were about to round the corner, very nearly colliding. The girls giggled and apologised, as did the guys. Apologise, not giggle.
They said hello and continued on the way. But the damage was done. It was a shot through the heart, Soren locked eyes with Jane longingly, only for a moment. Soren detected regret there.
A week went by.
Another text: ‘Jane. I miss you. Please, I want to see you. We’ll talk.’
This made Jane think very hard, even reconsider seeing him again. ‘You can have both,’ Soren had told her. His words echoed in her mind, questioning her resolve.
Jane put the phone down. The call duration said 13:41. Her student had needed assistance with a number of delicate personal issues finishing with a recommendation to switch from full-time study to half-time. That would give her more time for the essays and alleviate the pressure from the required reading.
The day could only get better. She was going to dinner at a friend’s in North London that night. She thought of Soren. He lived in North London. She had checked to see if Soren was in his class on
the only day he was due to come in and he hadn’t been. She would go and see him that night. To tell him she was sorry for how she had ended it and that she wanted him to keep studying and finish
his Diploma but that she couldn’t teach AND go out with him. It was not permitted. If it was under different circumstances… she would find the right words on the way there, she told herself. She
had been celibate so long. So used to ignoring turn ons and thinking about guys. She had quit fantasising she would be happily married with kids one day several years ago. A part of her still hoped
for that, of course. Turning away from all things tempting and remaining utterly conservative. She led a very controlled life. She focused on ministry, teaching and caring for her students. Jane
had not dated in over 3 years. She hadn’t been approached by an eligible man for 18months. This latest experience was completely new to her and she found herself conflicted and without much
experience to draw on.
Jane thanked her host for the meal and feigned fatigue in order to leave the party early.
Jane pulled up outside of 83 Virginia Avenue. It was beautiful house, perfect deep green lawn, leafy-green trees, some striking dark pink blooms on the shrubs lining the path to the door. Jane wondered again how Soren afforded this house in this suburb after working only 3 years part-time as a financial analyst. What did he analyse? What did he buy and sell? Did he advise others? Jane didn’t know but he was obviously intelligent enough to avoid the economic collapse and the companies who went bankrupt.
Three small sensor lights activated along the path. Jane rang the bell, rehearsing what she was going to say to Soren once they had sat down. From here onwards, it was completely going to be a professional teacher / student relationship. Jane berated herself for kissing him in the first place. Don’t think about the kiss, she ordered herself. Tell him he needs to put his studies first and he can’t pursue me anymore. Jane took a deep breath and looked up as the sound of the inner wooden door opened inwards, spilling light out onto her.
‘Jane.’ Soren greeted her.
‘That’s not your car in the driveway?’ Jane spoke without thinking as Soren also opened the screen door outwards.
‘It’s Jeff’s, my housemate. His girlfriend picked him up, he’s out.’ He stepped back so that she could come through the threshold.
Soren had been doing push ups on his lounge room floor and answered the door without a shirt.
‘You’re not wearing a shirt.’ Jane stated bluntly, suddenly transfixed by his chest which was very athletic and well-defined. You could grate cheese on that 6 pack. Several butterflies did backflips. After the long absence, being so close to him threw her suddenly and she hesitated.
She looked up at Soren. Daring him.
Quick. He had to. Before he thought twice.
She tasted of chocolate. Biscuity chocolate. But he didn’t really notice that. He notices the way her lips and her body were responding to him.
He stopped the kiss to look at her. Her brown eyes sparkling under the light, her dark blue suede coat encapsulating her. She wore it like a shield. He wanted to put his hands on her hips again and to gain access to that coat.
She placed her handbag on the floor and wobbled slightly and then was drawn to his upper body again. He pulls her scarf undone slowly, holding her gaze.
‘Take your hair out,’ he ordered her. Confidence epitomised.
She smiled up at him in question and then complied.
He kissed her slowly, with a little tongue. He kissed her once again and then went to step back but she followed him, continuing the kiss. Her hands went from his face to his shoulders. Soren chanced fondling her backside.
The thought occurred to her that they should stop kissing. Jane felt as if she could not stop.
They came up for air. Breathless. The lust satiated for now.
‘Put on a shirt.’ Jane advised him.
He smiled at her remark. ‘Can I get you a drink?’ he offers.
Jane asks for hot water so Soren puts on the kettle and heads to his room to locate a shirt and hoodie.
They talked for an hour about their respective weeks, about graduation coming up, exchanging stories. They go deeper and discuss music, film, and literature.
A dog barks outside and Jane looks at the clock which reads 10.18pm.
Soren wonders if THE TALK is coming. Where Jane will set boundaries.
She soon raises it. Jane says she came to tell him to finish his studies and to avoid her but she’s now willing to see him.
Musn’t appear smug. Musn’t appear smug. Soren almost laughs when Jane tells her she came to break up with him and tell him to finish his studies. He’s very pleased with the kisses they just enjoyed and found it hard to concentrate on little else. But he knew he had to be serious.
Soren sat forward in his chair. ‘Jane, I have a lot to offer you. I have a home, a good education,’ he smirks and they both smile at the innuendo. ‘No, jokes aside… I have a supportive family, friends who will accept you without question.’
Jane absorbed this information. ‘I've been working longer than you have.’
‘That's true but I have invested wisely. I picked a few good companies before they caught on and ballooned.’
He sat back in his chair and she followed suit.
‘I invested most of what I made. I can provide for us financially.’ He didn’t stumble over the words but he wasn’t cocky either.
‘Thank you. But this doesn’t change much. I still need to think about this.’ But he needs to slow down the physical side of things, she emphasized. ‘You can’t kiss me anywhere and anytime you like.
We need boundaries.’
‘I can slow down,’ he promises. What choice did he have?
‘I suggest we don’t see each other until graduation.’
Graduation is 13 days away. Soren shudders.
They say goodnight.
But the conference is in 5 days.
In the library, Soren was researching the personhood of Christ when his phone lit up.
Jane Prescott: ‘Are you still carpooling to Cardiff for the Conference? Do you have a spare seat?’
Soren replied: ‘I thought you were going with Ian and Lara?’
Jane: ‘They want to leave a day early and do a side-trip.’
Soren: ‘Sam & Anna are going with Mick. You and I can go together. I can drive?’
Jane: ‘Okay. Thanks. Please don’t tell anyone.’
Soren was desperate for more details –where would he meet her? Could they have dinner beforehand? What time would they leave on Friday night? Has she told anyone they were together? But he thought-twice and allowed Jane to initiate the arrangements, not wanting to be too bossy. The conference was 3 hours away. He was going with Jane! That’s alone together for 3 hours plus rest breaks! He could scarcely conceal his excitement as he skipped to the train station, listening to the radio blasting Deadmau5.
‘Jane?’ Col Benson called her to stay behind after the all-in faculty meeting.
‘Are you still seeing Soren Nyborg?’ his voiced was hushed as the remaining faculty members exited at the end of the room.
‘Yes,’ Jane began to formulate her defence but Col interrupted.
‘I take it that you re-familiarised yourself with the Seminary Handbook and the Positional ideologies? You two are NOT to be seen in public together.’
Jane swallowed hard. ‘He’s 26, it’s not as if he’s a minor.’
‘The last thing we need is a scandal right now.’ He smoothed down his sideburns and regarded her as if he was offering supreme wisdom. ‘Do not tell anyone. And I mean anyone. You should swear Soren to secrecy as well. He has probably already bragged to at least one friend.’ Jane shifted in her stance. ‘I was a young man once. I know EXACTLY what his motives are.’ He motioned that she was not to interrupt jumping to Soren’s defence.
‘I care about you, Jane, and I don’t want to see you in trouble with the council or your church. You could lose your job.’ He was right and she knew it.
‘If you can't call it off... Keep it OFF the grounds!’
If Jane didn't know better she would think that Col Benson was just a little bit jealous of her happiness. She thanked him for not reporting her.
‘I think you should talk with the Dean of Students, as a counsellor.’
Jane could only nod in response.
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