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The Teacher and the Virgin

By:Jessa James

om the wrong side of the tracks. Hell, she made her own fucking tracks.

I was so damn proud of her. What were the chances I'd be in town on tour the same time she was here? When I'd seen her face on a huge-ass billboard, I knew I had to go. I had to see her, to see an expression on her face other than the heartbreak I'd caused her. Those sad eyes, the tears, had haunted me for a decade. I couldn’t let her give up Stanford for me, but that didn’t mean watching her walk away hadn’t ripped my fucking heart out.

The store was huge. Three floors. It was packed with fans wanting a book signed by Crystal. To hear her give a talk about her characters, how she came up with the incredible plot. These people might have read her work, loved it, but I was her biggest fan. Hers. Not her story. Hell, they hadn't walked away from her to save her.

The ground floor was too crowded to get anywhere near her. Hell, I barely made it through the revolving door. The line was long and it snaked and curved. Spotting a stairwell that went to the second floor, I aimed for the balcony where I could look down and get a glimpse of her. I knew from the press photos she still wore her glasses. Still had the blond hair, the gorgeous blue eyes. She'd gotten older, grown from a girl to a woman. Wore make up. Heels, fancy clothes. No prep school uniform or cherry lip gloss.

Settling in, I leaned against the railing to look down. There she was. Fuck, my heart skipped a beat just seeing her again. The first time in ten years. The pictures didn't do her justice. While they showed only the confident woman that wrote that killer book, it hid her personality. The introvert who smiled because she had to. The quiet personality that liked a night in with a movie much better than one surrounded by hundreds of rabid fans.

I saw the tenseness in her shoulders even as she smiled and chatted with fans, signing her autograph over and over again. The sleek hair, the pretty blue dress, the fancy heels. It was all frosting. God, I wanted to strip her bare, to reveal the real Crystal. To find her again, to make her mine once more.

And when she turned to talk with a woman who stood behind the table next to her, perky and bubbly with her red hair and equally red dress, she somehow glanced up. Saw me. As if she knew I was here.

Her eyes widened. Her smile slipped. The pen slipped from her fingers. Those blue fucking eyes held mine and I knew. Like a fucking sucker punch to the gut, she was going to be mine again. I'd walked away once. Ten years ago, I’d had nothing to offer her. I’d let her go.

I couldn’t do it again.