“History is his story.” He paused to raise a hand. “And before you feminists go crazy, I do believe there should be a her-story, and feel free to continue the tradition of writing them.”
The class chuckled again.
“On the note of women and emotion…” He paused to wiggle his brows over his rimmed glasses to show he meant no offense. “Emotion needs to be in your writing. I want you to learn something about this amazing city, but don’t just spew facts at me. Make a story of the history.”
He paused again for effect and Nate raised his hand.
“Are you saying to make something up?”
“No,” Wayne clarified. “I’m saying take a journey, make a discovery, add emotion. Someone help me here.” His eyes roamed the classroom, and to my surprise, Katie volunteered.
“You need to write from your head and your heart.” She tapped her chest as she spoke passionately. She seemed too young to know of anything heartfelt—disappointment, death, drama—but then I was reminded of her comments about feeling caged, and not for the first time, I wondered what she meant. She was still a kid in my head, but as my eyes roamed over her body—supple curves, firm, handful breasts, and a dip to her waist—I saw before me someone too sensual to be a child. Then my eyes flicked to her lips. Remembering our kiss, I no longer had thoughts of her as innocent. Her mouth responding to mine the other night told me without words that she was all woman.
I tapped a pencil against my thigh, shifting side to side in the rotating chair. It was a nervous habit. I needed to stay in motion. Keep moving or you’re dead, General told us. The words echoed in my head at the most inopportune time.
“Emotions are linked to feelings,” Katie continued, nearly taking over the class. “In our hearts. It’s not a sensation, like one of the five senses, but something inside us. Invisible. Imaginative.” Her hand flattened on her chest, covering her heart and I envisioned the beat under her skin. My own raced in response to her words. “We feel emotions. We touch things. There is a difference, but we easily mix the two. Touch is a sensation. However, touch can be confused for emotion as well.”
Her face pinked as she rambled, but she’d captivated our small classroom. I noticed several guys sit forward, shifting their feet under their desks. Bastards. I sensed what the sound of her words did to their bodies. It was having the same effect on me. Her lashes lowered, embarrassed she’d said too much, revealed something of herself.
“Can you give me an example?” Wayne asked.
“I was touched by his thoughtfulness,” Katie said, her eyes shooting to mine. An awkward silence filled the classroom.
“Get in touch with your emotions,” another student interjected.
“Exactly,” Katie smiled shyly, twisting in her desk to face the attractive, bobbed-blonde, and pleased that another person understood her. Katie nodded, her forehead wrinkling. “It's like when someone says I'll be in touch. What does that mean?” Her voice growing in exasperation “Touch what?” she blurted. Her sweet voice grew husky, without realizing the sexual innuendo. Or maybe it was just me, and a growing imagination of things I wished to do to Katie. Either way, I couldn’t look at her again, sensing her eyes questioning me. I nodded my head as if I agreed with her example and then I re-considered. Did she want me to touch her again? Does she know what she said? A shaky hand came to my forehead and I rubbed at the wrinkled skin, pressing in a growing headache. It wasn’t only the head on my shoulders that ached, and I sat up straighter at her question.
“Let's keep in touch. Does that mean keep touching me?” A male student mumbled, and a few students tittered like middle schoolers. Katie smiled weakly at the boy, and something happened to me. I didn’t like it, not one bit. Without warrant or reason, my gut clenched. Katie's face pinked and my dick flinched firmer in my jeans. Whoa, settle there, big guy. My lower region read too much into the word play, and my fist wanted to connect with the jerk egging Katie on. His eyes glazed as he looked at her.
“Exactly,” Katie said. “It's confusing, so don’t be cliché.” She placed her palms flat on the student desk. For some reason, I noticed her short, pink finger nails. I sensed Wayne was about to speak when Katie continued.
“I palmed the smoothness of the hard surface.”
Fuck me. My fingers dug deeper at my forehead. The tapping pencil halted. Her palm slid over the solid, flat top of the desk before dragging to the edge, curling around the tip.
“My hand cupped the ridged curve.”
I swallowed hard and wiped a drop of sweat forming on my brow. Another student coughed, sitting forward to disguise his own growing boner. Putz. Wayne gasped beside me. Easy old man.
Pink-painted fingernails reached for the support, holding up the writing surface. My heart raced in anticipation of what she might say next.
“My fingers stroked the pole.”
I heard someone groan and noticed Nate slip lower in his seat in the back corner. Visions of her touching me, clawing me tenderly with those pink nails, made my skin prickle. I angled my elbow to rest on my thigh, struggling to contain the pressure in my jeans.
“This is touch.” She paused. “It’s sensation. It’s sensual. What we, as writers, need to do is to get in touch”—she narrowed her eyes at the student next to her—“with our emotions. How does the experience feel? In here.” Her fist beat above her left breast.
“That felt good to me,” Nate commented and another student choke-coughed. The desire to pummel each of the males suddenly dreaming of her naked struck me, but I couldn't move because two blue eyes pinned me to my seat. Innocent and embarrassed by Nate’s remarks, she closed her eyes and clenched her fist again.
“Yes, well that was an enlightening explanation of emotion separate from sensation.” Wayne coughed. “And the point is to try to get in touch”—he winced—“with the emotion of the past. Remember history defined people, their attitudes and their actions. But history can shift. One choice can change everything.”
Katie’s eyes avoided mine. I spun the chair and wheeled myself to the front of the room, needing the moment to block the class from my thoughts and settle my dick. I was not in touch with my own emotions, let alone interpreting those of others. My emotions left when Alicia left. They exited my life when Trent did. They said goodbye when my mother said those words, but the sapphire stare burning a hole in my back told me otherwise. My emotions warned me I'd feel something for Katie, and it would involve more than touching her skin.
Are you a hero yet?
Her words rang in my head.
I wanted to be.
For you, I want to be, I told her in my dream, the dream where she kissed me again.
A hero-worthy kiss.
Stay safe, she had said. Come back to me.
My lips tingled.
The brush of hers over mine
a memory held in the blackest of nights,
the hottest of desert days,
and the cold-evil hell of war against hidden enemies.
I wanted another chance to taste those lips,
melt them against mine,
and mold her body to me.
I wanted to live.
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