“Wild partying, obviously,” he said, although I could tell his tone was sarcastic. I could tell he didn’t want me to pry, and so I didn’t. I moved up beside him, biting into the familiar taste.
“Yeah, me too,” I replied and he laughed. “Are you alright, though?”
“Fine now that I’m sitting beside you.” He gave me a lazy smile, leaning his head against mine. “There used to be a time when a night of…that was all that would satisfy me. But now, I look forward to breakfast with you a lot more.”
“What do you mean?” I asked, and he shrugged, taking my hand and squeezing it.
“You’re all that need right now,” he replied, and I felt like nothing else mattered in the world but me at that moment.
“Do you believe in love?” I blurted out, and Liam turned to me, sharply. “Hypothetically, of course. In general. I’m not going all serious on you.”
“I think there are many cases of love in the world,” I said. “But…I don’t think true love is true until it’s returned. So you can be in love…but not until the other person returns it does it become real.”
“And you’ve seen this?” He asked, fixated on my eyes. I didn’t want to move, locked in his gaze.
“Not seen, not really. But heard about it. My parents … everyone talked about them. And my dad still talks about my mom like she’s around. Not in a creepy way. She was the love of his life. She still is. And…” I traced a pattern on my bedspread, looking away. “Romeo loved Juliette, but it wasn’t true love until she started paying attention. So you can be in love … but not true love?” I shrugged, embarrassed by my girly outpour of feelings. But Liam just took my chin, making me look at him again.
“That was beautiful, Amy. And probably right.” He kissed the top of my head, and then wrapped his arms around me, pulling me tight. I shifted so I was on top of him, and he grinned like I had just given him award. Compared to his body, I was small and thin, and I found a way to fit perfectly on top of him. When I was with him, I tried to forget all the things we couldn’t do, and instead focused on all the things we could do. The sandwiches quickly forgotten, our kisses led to wandering hands, up and down each other’s bodies.
Other times, it wasn’t so serious. I remember walking into the theater early one morning, for Beauty and the Beast rehearsal, when I heard someone whisper my name. I spun around, but there was no one there.
Amy came the voice again, and I looked up, my heart thudding with fear. But again, there was nothing.
AMMMY. The voice got a little louder, and seemed to be coming from all around me. I took a deep breath, climbing onto the stage. Up there, I felt like I could see everything, and I was safe.
“Who’s there? Who is this? Whoever it is, this isn’t funny.”
“Amy, you are destined for the stage.”
The voice was echoing and bouncing off the walls. It was a man that was all I could indentify. Alone in the theater, I don’t think I had ever been so scared. I put my hands at my sides, as if any amount of foreign space would open me for danger.
“How do you know?” I asked, looking up into the skylights.
“Because I’m watching.” Came the echo and I buried my head in my hands. Stories of Phantom of the Opera that we read in class last week, along with real theater ghost stories, came flooding back to my mind.
“And also…” the voice echoed, coming from all around me. “You are destined to not do your homework tonight.”
I froze, pulling my hands away. A light came on in the projector booth, and Liam popped his head out.
“I HATE YOU!” I screamed at him, half laughing. Liam leaned against the balcony railing with a seductive smile on his face.
“So what do you think of our new sound system? It’s all for the show.”
“Argh, you.” I tried to compose myself, but it was impossible with Liam looking down on me like that. “Come down here so I can punish you.”
“I like the sound of that,” he grinned, moving down the stairs. I stalked towards him, but he caught me in his arms, causing a giggle to escape from my lips. “So tell me how you are going to punish me.”
“I’m not. Going. To. Kiss. You. All. Day.” It was hard to get out in-between his onslaught of kisses, but I finally managed. “I swear it.”
“Then I shall turn to dead at nightfall, my love,” he said, giving me an old fashioned bow. I rolled my eyes, heading back to the stage.
There was one night however, that would stick in my mind forever.
We had a half day at school one Friday and Liam and I had long since agreed to spend the rest of the day together. However, it wasn’t until nearly three o’clock that he knocked on my door.
I opened the door quickly, and he practically threw himself in. We had to be careful not to let anyone see him entering my dorm room too frequently. Already, questions were arising and the girls knew I was the “Teacher’s Pet”.
“Hey,” I said, reaching to take his coat. Today, he wore dark jeans and a blue shirt, slightly open at the neck. He was absolutely perfect and I felt a bit bad that all I had on were my jeans and a tee-shirt. “Meetings run late?”
“There’s a problem with Beauty and the Beast,” he said, rolling his eyes as he went to sit on my bed. “Half of the committee feels that the publicity of me playing the lead wouldn’t be worth depriving a student of the role.”
“What?” I turned, stunned. “But you have to be Beast. I’m Beauty.”
“I know,” he wiggled his eyebrows at me, which made me laugh. “But perhaps they’re right. I could at least cast someone for the role, and have them play it most of the time. The one performance I do it will be a special one for the press. And to teach this school how to act.” He threw himself backwards, lying on my bed. I came to sit beside him, folding my legs under me. This was often a complaint of Liam, that most of the school was only it in for the fame and glory.
“Can I act?” I asked, even though I already knew his answer. He turned his head towards me; a smile playing off his lips.
“Amy, when you act I forget that anything else exists but the world you are creating. Somehow, untrained, you understand more than the students who’ve had twelve years here. You’re a diamond in the rough … an oasis in the desert. You’re a…” We were interrupted by his stomach growling. I laughed.
“I’m a good girlfriend who feeds you good food, and that’s the only reason you’re here,” I said, and he leant on his elbows.
I had prepared Oatmeal cookies last night when I went home to visit my father, and I brought out a plate of them now, placing them between us on the bed.
“How long can you stay?” I asked, and he stifled a yawn.
“A few hours of quality time, at least. I was wondering if you had given any thought to the dance class that was added to the semester.”
“Only if it starts at a kindergarten level. I’m not a dancer. Who’s teaching it?”
“A dance teacher from Russia,” he said. “And a few guest instructors, like Porsche, when I can get them.”
“Forget that then,” I said, rolling my eyes. “I’ll look like an elephant in a tutu.”
“But a very cute one,” He said, poking at the cookies.
“How did you meet Porsche?” I asked, and he cocked his head.
“Just curious,” I said, with a casual shrug. He took my hand, squeezing it.
“Amy, I told you, there’s absolutely nothing to be jealous of.”
“I know,” I replied, looking out the window as a kite flew by. “I just…want to know. Since she’s your closest friend, right?”
“Right,” he thought for a moment, and then shrugged. “We met at a party years ago. She was the life of the party, and I fell into her. Literally tripped. She’s a fun girl, and there are things about us that click, like the fact that we’re both performers. But really, Amy, it’s not like that.” He pulled me closer, laying a light kiss on my lips. “Truly, you’re the only person I have eyes for.”
I nodded, savoring the kiss. There was something about Liam’s eyes that told me there was more to the story, but I didn’t question it. I felt, at least regards to me that he was telling the truth, and that was all that mattered.
When I had told Sarah the whole story, she had of course questioned everything; his friendship with Porsche, the legality of the fact that he was my teacher, the age gap, everything. Sometimes I think she wanted me to film every aspect of my life and play it back for her.
Of course, I had not told my father. I couldn’t imagine how severe his reaction would be. Dad also wanted me to account for my actions every moment of the day, and I knew he was starting to notice the huge gaps of time that went un-talked about - the times I snuck away to spend with Liam.
I wasn’t sure if any of the other students or faculty members had noticed either. I mean, before this, the girls knew I was Liam’s favorite, and I suffered for it. But nothing had changed in that respect, so perhaps they hadn’t noticed. As for the faculty, I was quite sure they’d bring it to his attention and not mine but he hadn’t said anything to me about needing to be more careful. The only one who I thought might be in on the secret was his secretary, who kept her face deliberately blank as I came and left his office day after day.
She must have heard the goings on, who couldn’t. Liam and I could entertain each other perfectly for days just cracking jokes, or rehearsing. But more often than not, when we had private time, that’s not what we were doing. I was sitting in his lap, my legs wrapped around him, as we made out, or running my hands up and down his chest as we sank to the floor. He was going to drive me crazy before the year was up, I could tell.