For the past three years that they had been classmates together, James and Elizabeth have played an unspoken game of cat and rat between the two of them. Winks here, lingering touches there, making each other jealous with other people, teasing themselves generally. The tides were always changing for them. Lizzy could be the one dressing sexy and provocative all week, looking like she was down for all kinds of sweaty and back-breaking activities with him or anyone else even. Laughing with her thin voice just within his earshot so he would look her way and she would ignore him. He would just smile at her, knowing the game she was playing, and she would wink at him from the corner of her eyes, her eyebrows heavy with black eyeliner that made the edges of her eyes looking as sharp as a blade. Ready to slice through him.
The next day or the next week, he would respond by sitting in a public place with a girl sitting on his lap and playing with his thick black hair and laughing. The public place was just to make sure she saw him playing with another girl. There usually wasn’t anything going on between him and the girl he picked to play with for the day. All he wanted to see was Lizzy’s reaction to another girl on him as she walked past with her friends. That pause. The shock that ran through her for the fraction of a second that you couldn’t have seen if you weren’t looking out for it. But he saw it. And she knew he saw it. And that was how they played their game.
Sometimes, he didn’t even have to use anyone else. Sometimes, he used her to get back at her. He would just randomly smile at her, or wave to her. Talk to her more inside and outside of class. Talk about her woes, and whatever boyfriend was currently giving her problems. They would walk together, attend classes together, take loads of pictures together for the whole of two weeks, or maybe three, and when he decided that she was hooked enough, he would leave her dry like he never met her before. Just like that. She didn’t have to do anything wrong. In fact, she rarely ever did anything wrong. He just left. This always drove her mad. She would be up all night thinking about him and he would be in his room peacefully sleeping and drooling from a corner of his mouth. Then the next day at school.
He wasn’t leaving her for anyone either. They were in the second semester of their third year on campus and he had had only one girlfriend throughout. A short four month relationship that he had gotten into with a transfer student from another department in their faculty. Lizzy had been moody for weeks after learning about it. And when she heard they finally broke up, she dressed up in as much make-up as her face would take and in as little clothes as she could and went to a party he was sure to be at. She walked in and everyone was gawking at her, but she didn’t care. She had a target in mind. She saw him sitting in a corner with two of his friends and he raised his drink to her when their eyes met, and mouthed “hot” to her, and then he disappeared.
She went to the ladies room to touch up her make-up before she went in for the kill, but when she came out, there was no sign of him or his friends. They had literally disappeared. This was the game they played. And it drove her crazy as much as it drove him crazy. It didn’t matter who was winning or losing. This was the game they played.
And they played it well, even if neither of them could actually remember when, how or why the game started. They played the game and they played it well.
And up till last night, neither of them had considered it ever going physical where they had hands on each other, but it happened.
They were in Econ 316 class when it happened.
Coming from God knows where, James got to the class late and tried to get into any available seat as silently as possible without drawing the Professor’s attention. Bent low and walking into the thrust stage class. He got one and just squeezed himself into it as silently as possible. He spent the first few seconds wiping the sweat from his forehead and trying to catch what the professor was saying. Apparently, he wasn’t that late. They were still going over the contents of the last class before they went into The day’s topic.
He breathed out in relief and brought his phone out to start recording the class for later when it hit him that the person beside him was wearing a familiar perfume smell. He looked beside him, and there she was. Fully concentrated on the class with her book open on the table and her pen between her fingers. He saw her and a smile broke out on his lips.
His reply was a sharp pain on his thighs where she had hit him with her pen. She wanted to be serious in class and she wasn’t going to let him be a distraction. He got the message loud and clear and he didn’t have a problem with it. He sat straight and fixed his eyes on the professor trying to get as much of the class as he could.
But the thing about classes on complex topics is that they are sometimes very boring, or very tiring, or both. Irrespective of how intelligent you are or how much interest you have in it. And it was worse when it was academic work and not something you stumbled on on your own.
So thirty minutes into the class, it wasn’t too surprising that Lizzy was bored. She dropped her pen and rested her back squarely and watched disinterestedly as the professor droned on about whatever theory he was trying to explain as he drew on the board. She thought he looked like an ad for a nursing home, and his drawing looked like a squid even though it was supposed to be a graph of some sort.
She wasn’t getting what he was teaching, and her brain had decided it would just shut off for the rest of the class. She now had ample time on her hands to do water she wanted, as long as she stayed in the class and she stayed quiet about it. But there was nothing to do.
There was no network on her phone, so she was disconnected from the internet. So texting and playing games were cancelled. She took a few pictures, but even that got boring quickly as she could only take the pictures with her phone under the table. She didn’t like the angles she was getting either. She moved to her pen and made a few drawings and doodles, but eventually she got bored too.
And then she glanced at her right, and she saw him sitting there. Him. with his rough hair and his fine face staring at the professor and magically understanding what was going on and writing so many things down.
She immediately wanted his attention. She wanted him to focus on her and not the professor.
She tore a piece of paper from her book and wrote on it. “I’m lost, would you mind explaining all this to me later??” and she passed it to him.
He took one glance at it and scribbled something on it before he passed it back to her.
She opened the note and there was her one word reply scrawled in black ink. “SURE!”
She looked back at him, but his attention was back on the professor like it never left there and she felt annoyed again. What was the Professor saying that was so important?? She was torn between breaking his concentration disturbing him and focusing on the class herself. She did the latter grudgingly because she realised that this was what she was what she was in school for, not the boy with rough hair and the cute moustache beside her, and she couldn’t blame him for focusing on his class either. So she faced her class too.
Five minutes later, she was bored again. Concentrating had been no use, so now she was fully devoted to doing whatever she could to get the attention of the boy beside her. And the first thing she did was to place her right hand on his left thigh. She didn’t look at him, and she didn’t move her hand either. It just remained there. Then she pulled her nails to the center of her palm slowly, enjoying the vibrations of her nails as it dragged over his jeans. She pulled them into a fist, then she released her hand again and returned them to their position on his thigh and paused.
Her orange nails stood out against his black jeans and it was hard for him not to notice how brightly coloursed they were. It was like his skin that was burning underneath where her hand was was not enough to let him know that her hand was on him. His eyes had to notice it too and the neurons in his brain started overfiring. He really didn’t have much of a choice.
And then she started moving her hand again. This time, she was moving it back and forth, slowly, smoothly, increasing his temperature a hundredfold with every square centimeter she covered.
He broke his attention to look at her, but she wasn’t even looking at him. She was staring pointedly at the lecturer and nodding along, her hand still not slowing down or picking up speed. She kept her movement steady. She was toying with him.
He thought he could take it, and he tried his best to, but the swell in his pants was threatening to become visible and he couldn’t have that. He couldn’t have her knowing she had any kind of effect on him. So he put his hand on hers to stop her from going any further. He put his hand on hers and stopped her in place.
She almost couldn’t stop herself from breaking into a smile. She didn’t think he would show any signs of being affected, and was so impressed by herself that she was able to break his attention. She wanted more, she wanted to see how far she could push him, but she would wait till he made his move. But she didn’t have to wait long. His warm hand on hers suddenly squeezed and let go, then he picked up her hand and placed it on her thighs.
Then he removed his hand from hers and placed it directly on her thighs, and then he waited too.
It took five seconds before his hand started moving on her jeans skirt. His hand moved to the edge of the skirt that sat just above her knees, but when it was coming back up, he pushed her skirt up too, so his hand moved back up on her bare smooth skin. The table had now turned against her. She was now the one fighting hard not to squirm under his touch. The way he slid his hand up on her skin and then squeezed her thigh like he wanted to do more than just squeeze it was something she felt in her core and her breath hitched in her throat.
He squeezed a second time and she almost slapped his hand away as she bowed her head to keep her face away from the wrinkly old professor in front of the class. She looked down and met the sight of his big hand adorned with three silver rings and every last bit of her resistance (that she didn’t even have before) fell apart.
When his hand moved higher up her thighs she couldn’t bring herself to do anything other than to gasp for air and wait in anticipation for his touch.
His hand went far up enough for him to gain access into her, but he didn’t. He slid his hand back down a little. Then he lifted her whole thigh and placed it on his before he pushed his hand up her skirt again, this time not stopping for anything. His hand went up till he felt the heat between her legs on the back of his fingers, and he didn’t even stop at that. He felt her heat, and he rubbed on her vagina through her cotton panties. Slowly, like the way she did when she started rubbing on him. After a while, when he felt she had had enough and wanted more, he put out his index finger to try and get her panties out of the way. He was almost successful when her hand clamped down on his wrist strongly. But that only made him pause momentarily. He still went ahead, pushing her underwear out of the way with his finger.
He looked at her to make sure he had her approval, but it even looked to him like she was praying for it to happen. Her eyes were closed and her head was a little bit thrown back and she was biting down on one corner of her bottom lip. He kept his eyes on her wanting to see her reaction to the contact of his finger against the skin of her now slightly swollen lower lips. But he couldn’t see the look on her face because the touch never happened.
They were interrupted by the rumbling of their coursemates standing up and leaving the class. They were done with Econ 316n for the day.
She pulled down her skirt as fast as she could before anybody suspected what they had been doing, and she packed her books to leave.
He stood up to leave too, but he made sure she saw him lick his two fingers before he left to mingle with his guys to talk about whatever they talked about and she hurried to the toilet to splash water on her face and cool herself off.
She didn’t see him in any of their other classes or even hear from him until later that night when he texted her.
“Do you want to come over??”
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