“Blood, Sex, and Death” were the three things Mr. Atkins taught were part of every Gothic horror novel. He was the high school English teacher who I hopelessly crushed on, and I couldn’t help but notice that his eyes lingered on yours truly when he mentioned the key ingredient, “Sex”.
I was already 18 and about to graduate. Glued to my seat even in the late spring when my classmates were perpetually zoned out, focused on the summer ahead of them. But I still had unfinished business here, and today he was wearing a black tie over a light blue button-up shirt and jeans that were just snug enough to drive me wild.
When he perched on the edge of his desk reading from The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, I let my eyes wander up and down his body, imaging a new use for each part of it.
He was the new cute teacher that year, the one all the girls whispered about between classes, “Mr. Atkins is looking hot today.” I tried to pretend that I wasn’t one of them at first; it’s not interesting to have the same crush as everyone else. But his charm was undeniable; who else could make the classics sound so damn sexy? Every day when he taught, his inflection would bounce up and down with pure passion as he taught us about Bram Stoker and Shirley Jackson.
When he taught Dracula, he became rather brooding and obsessive, delving into each character. Even in the clinical, fluorescent-lit classroom you could feel the sexual tension. I spent the 50 minute class period imagining his lips — his teeth — on my neck, secretly finding me, lusting after my “life force” as Stoker said.
The week we spent on The Haunting of Hill House was one of the most oddly erotic weeks of my life. The text was thrilling. I was in a constant state of suspense and I held myself to the promise of not reading ahead. I was completely enthralled in class when he talked about the role that adrenaline plays in our body’s physiological state as we read. I didn’t dare ask, but I was sure that my accelerated libido was one of those byproducts he was talking about.
With graduation only a few weeks away, I felt bolder. Surely I should make a move, if the consequences of being rebuffed were so low? (More like, out of the question, really.) Besides, what could they do? I was almost gone. And so I became consumed with the idea of hooking up with Mr. Atkins.
At first, I thought I could be ahem…subtle. Mr. Atkins certainly noticed when I wore something low-cut or form-fitting. Once I entered his classroom in a pair of short-shorts and a tight crop-top that displayed my midriff and fleshy thighs; I could have sworn I heard him groan as I sauntered to my desk. But understandably, he never did anything more than cast a lingering sex-laden glance my way.
He’d get in too much trouble, I reasoned. I’m going to have to be the one to make a move. So I set my mind to creating the perfect plan: I’d just have to present him with an opportunity he simply couldn’t say no to.
The senior end-of-year dance was coming up, and I enthusiastically inserted myself into the planning committee. I asked Mr. Atkins if he would be a chaperone (apparently we were in desperate need of one, though of course I didn’t ask anyone else). A light flickered in his eyes as I carefully enunciated the word “desperate”, and I assumed that it was a look of comprehending my agenda. He accepted the task.
I went to the mall and bought some lingerie, black and red and lacy. On dance day, I wore it under a loose-fitting white sundress, pure and virginal like a Gothic heroine, but dark and carnal beneath the surface.
At the dance, I added a note to Mr. Atkins’s clipboard. I slipped it underneath the list of rules and map of emergency exits. The note was simple; it was a line from Dracula along with his classroom number. “No man knows till he experiences it, what it is like to feel his own life-blood drawn away into the woman he loves.” C17.
I never went to the dance. Instead, I made my way through the dark, empty corridors of the school and let myself into his classroom. I brought a candle with me to help create an aura of mystique and an air of eerie seduction.
Lighting it and setting it on a desk in the front row, I climbed into Mr. Atkins’s seat behind his desk, pulled the straps of my dress down so the top of my lacy bra was showing, and crossed my legs with my heels resting on the edge of his desk, and I began waiting…
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