Simon stood out because, for the first time, the attraction had been mutual. Polly had wanted him so badly that she ached for him. Yet she had been the one to end it. And why? She’d told herself it was because he liked science fiction too much and she couldn’t find any interest in the subject. She’d also tried telling herself it was because he had an intense passion for rap music that she simply could not relate to. The violence of the lyrics scared her and made her long for some soft jazz number to soothe her nerves. But, if she was truly honest with herself, she’d broken it off because he had wanted sex and she’d run out of excuses.
The sudden epiphany that she was scared of sex caused Polly to stop dead in her tracks. The plump woman that had been walking with gusto behind her collided with her and Polly hit the ground before she knew what had happened.
“Chica tonta!” Silly girl! cried the woman, struggling to keep her own balance.
“Lo siento!” I’m sorry! she shouted after her, but the woman had already disappeared.
Polly realised that she had to move to the side before she was trampled by the overly enthusiastic throng. She saw an open hand appear at the side of her head and grabbed it without bothering to see who it belonged to. The anonymous hand guided her into the doorway of a small café.
“Muchas gracias,” Polly murmured. She looked down to see if there had been any damage to her dress but it was intact, just a bit dusty. Her left knee was bleeding lightly.
Suddenly the stranger knelt in front of her, gently dusting the grit away before pressing on the graze. Polly blushed, realising that if he were to look up, he would be able to see up her short dress. She could only see the top of his head, which was covered in thick brown curls that were slightly greying at the sides, and his satisfyingly broad shoulders. She loved hair like his. It reminded her of…
“¿Está bien?” Are you well? She recognised the deep, commanding voice immediately from the lectures she always sat at the back of. It was Professor Alejandro Flores in all his glory.
“Si, soy fino.” Yes, I’m fine. Polly pulled the material of her dress together at the sides. Her cheeks were so hot they were probably the same shade as her hair. It had been less than an hour since she had been dreaming of his naked body writhing next to her own.
The professor stood up slowly without taking his eyes away from Polly’s body. She twitched self-consciously and he smiled with recognition as their eyes met. “Ahh, Polly Carter. A student of the liberal arts if I remember rightly?”
His query was more of a statement, but Polly nodded anyway. It seemed surreal that he even knew who she was out of all the students that attended his lectures. The lecture wasn’t compulsory for many courses, and yet was still full.
Polly imagined that many of the other female students were there simply to admire Professor Flores’ masculine prowess, and she couldn’t blame them. She would have still attended had it not been necessary.
“Let me accompany you to the mercado medieval.” Without waiting for a reply, Professor Flores took Polly’s arm and wrapped it around his. He waited for a gap and then together they rejoined the masses. All the scents that had been so overpowering faded, to be replaced with the spiciness of his aftershave, and the light smell of his body having been in the heat. She focused on putting one foot in front of the other; it was all she could do to not faint at his feet.