Authors: Justine Elyot
2013 Justine Elyot
This is a work of fiction
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. This book contains material protected under International Copyright Laws and Treaties. Any unauthorized reprint or use of this material is prohibited. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system without express written permission from the author / publisher.
in 2007/2008, some four years before
Fifty Shades of Grey
made its international splash, the backwash of which we continue to experience now.
There are some similarities in theme – Beth is, while not a virgin, far from experienced. Sinclair is in a position of power. At first, the relationship is one of glaring inequality and I make no apology for this, but simply ask you to stick with it.
I know you're more than intelligent enough to understand this, but
is a work of erotic fantasy fiction. It should go without saying that it does not mean I endorse student/teacher relationships, dubious consent, or any BDSM act that falls outside the 'safe,sane and consensual' parameters. ( As a word of reassurance, I'll emphasise that Beth and Sinclair don't do anything particularly extreme – caning is about as far as it goes.) Last time I checked, though, it was perfectly legal to fantasise about all of these things, and long may that continue.
As long as you don't try to use this story as a primer for your own kink life
(there are many wonderful ones out there; look 'em up), I think you'll survive reading it.
I hope you do more than survive it, in fact – I hope you enjoy it. Probably not as much as I enjoyed writing it, though, because that would be impossible.
Thanks for reading.
I am in my usual perch. Back row, extreme left, primed for a quick getaway at the end of the lecture. Of course, the other advantage to this position is that nobody can risk a sideways glance at my notes, or lean over and squint curiously at my doodling from behind. There is a mountain of course texts between me and my only neighbour, and an unobstructed view of the object of my pathetic lusts.
Professor Eliot Sinclair lectures on the Cultural Legacy of the French Revolution today, but he could be delivering his stylish verbiage and polished aphorisms in fluent K
lingon for all I am taking in. I am oblivious to all but his measured, long-legged pacing in front of the screen. Every movement is stagey, large, yet tightly controlled. He uses his hands to stunning effect, pointing and tapping with those long pale fingers, or flourishing them in elegant gestures. He always wears light coloured suits, linen in the summer, with open necked white shirts, giving him an expensive, colonial lordly kind of air and his high-maintenance hairstyle, all sandy waves and crests with a sharp little beard betrays vanity. He appears on television a lot as a rent-an-intellectual when
is a commentator short; heading for media-darling status (or media whoredom, as is sometimes disloyally whispered in the common room).
So far, so sexy.
Tall, slender, aquiline-featured, authoritative, intelligent. But what really sets him apart from your average academic heart-throb is The Voice. It is why this lecture theatre is packed to the rafters every time he gives the address instead of half-heartedly half-full as per usual; and why most of the avid listeners are girls (notwithstanding that Humanities, Arts and Languages are female-dominated faculties anyway). We all come to listen to that dark, low, minimum 70% cocoa solids, velvet woman-trap of a voice, loving every trick in its repertoire from the sarcastic sneer to the honeyed hush. It is seduction itself.
Five minutes until the end of the lecture and my notes are sheer mumbo-jumbo.
‘SINCLAIR IS THE SEX’ is written in a banner headline at the top, amidst doodles and loopy squiggles. Below I have scribbled a nonsensical blurt of rabid passion, stream-of-consciousness stylee.
How would it feel to be pressed against your Professorial chest? Would you be brutal or gentle, or both? In a collision of lips, how long would it be before teeth and tongue intervened, taking my mouth with seigneurial arrogance and mixing my breath with yours? Your voice intones my name in my dreams; it lives inside my head and tortures my nights with hot sweet suggestions, while by day it gives me reading lists and dispassionately criticises my Voltaire essay….”
Well, you get the picture. There is much more in this fervid vein, pouring out like inky madness from my brain. I need to get a grip, but not today.
He is wrapping up the lecture; books and pens are being stowed i
n bags all across the theatre. It is time for my swift getaway. I gather my belongings to my chest and head for the double doors across the steps. But I am not swift enough.
The Voice is saying my name, creating a knee-trembling effect in me.
You see, over the last couple of weeks, I have c
ome to the Professor’s notice. I have been having a little too much fun in my exciting First Year at university, resulting in a scandalous paucity of work being handed in. My tutor lagged on me to Sinclair, who is Head of Department, and I found myself carpeted before him and told in no uncertain terms that I would be handing in the essay deficit within the next fortnight or finding myself an alternative career path. He was thrillingly masterful, but on the downside, I have had to spend every goddamn night since cramping my hand in the library. I have one piece left to hand in. It is due today. I haven’t finished it, and was counting on a rushed hour in the study room and last-minute dash to hand it in before five. I curse my idiocy. I should have skipped this lecture. But I am addicted.
I make a reluctant descent of the steps, regarding his haughtily raised eyebrow from beneath my sulky lashes. My cheeks are flushed with mortification at the few interested student types still hanging around to check out this embarrassing scene.
“Shouldn’t you have something for me?” he asks. My stomach churns at the trace of danger in his tone.
“It’s in my pigeonhole,” I lie. “In the Common Room. I can drop it into your office.”
He regards me, clearly not believing a word of it. “You are fully aware of the tenuousness of your situation, Miss Newland, I trust?”
“No later than five,” he says, and turns to dismantle his audio-visual equipment.
I hare up the stairs and out to freedom. Whew, that was nearly very nasty.
At one minute to five, I race upstairs to the Professor’s office and leave my completed essay in an envelope in the in-tray of his secretary’s desk. There is no way I am knocking on his office door and giving it to him personally – I know I would get my second lecture of the day from him, and this one would be of the serpent-tongued, ear-burning variety. His secretary has already gone home, so I make sure the envelope is in a prominent position, marking it clearly ‘BETH NEWLAND’S ESSAY ON BEAUMARCHAIS’. Then I scamper off for a pint with my mates in the
Union. I bloody well deserve one, after all.
Dearbhla and Emily are waiting for me in our usual booth. They applaud my entrance and push a plastic cup of warm lager over to me.
“Yay, Beth lives to fight another day. Was he OK or do you have internal injuries we can’t see?” enquires Dearbhla cheerily.
“I left it on his desk,” I confide. “Didn’t want him catching me on the way out and giving me the full spiel about self-discipline and responsibility again.” I wince at the memory. He has the art of reprimand down pat.
“Oh, I wouldn’t mind half an hour alone in his office,” contributes Emily dreamily. We are all besotted with him. I despair of the future of feminism, frankly.
“Hmmm,” we all drift away into pleasant pastures of Sinclair-ravishment.
“Oh, Beth!” Dearbhla comes to and remembers something. “Did you get those tickets for Gogol Bordello?”
“I sure did,” I exclaim
, brightening at the prospect. I dive into my embroidered tote bag and seek the precious items of which she speaks. “Ugh! Hang on! What’s this?” I pull out a sheaf of papers. My Beaumarchais essay. “What the fuck?!”
I stare at it in wil
d surmise for a minute or two. So….what…have I given…Sinclair?
MY LECTURE NOTES.
My wail of “Noooooooooooooooooooooooooo,” attracts attention from the four corners of the bar.
What am I going to do?
It is a little after six and dusk is falling on the leafy avenue that is home to the D
epartment of European Studies. There are no lights in the windows and my forlorn hope that any of the staff might be burning the Friday night oil for long enough to admit me is doomed. Of course they have all left on the dot of five for their various romantic assignations, weekend minibreaks and mammoth booze sessions, just like any normal human being would.
I turn to Emily.
“This is no good. He must have gone home.” I clutch at a hank of my hair in anguish. My life is over.
l…where does he live?” she wonders, clutching at straws. “Can’t you find out and make up some excuse to get in?”
I stare at her.
In our wildest ale-fuelled dreams we have sometimes imagined calling on Sinclair at home and inveigling our way into his longed-for affections, but it was always understood that this was pure fantasy.
“He’d think I was
some kind of obsessed stalker. He’d call the police. Then I’d be looking at a criminal record as well as being out of here on my arse.”
“Oh, I don’t think he’
d think that,” offers Dearbhla. “I think he’d be pretty reasonable. If you just told him you’d made an honest mistake.”
Have you ever been hauled in by him?”
“He can’t be that bad.”
“He’s terrifying,” I say with finality. “Hot. But terrifying.”
“I think he’s got a s
oft spot for you,” says Emily. That girl needs to see Student Counselling Services. “Look, let’s go into the library and look him up in the phone book. You could call him at home…tell him you’ve given him the wrong thing.”
“NO! I don’t want to tell him.
I don’t want him to see what I’ve given him. I’ll have to think of another pretext…then get in there and swap the envelopes somehow. It’s the only way to avoid ending up in the Infirmary with terminal embarrassment.”
What did you give him?”
The staff list
reveals his address to be Flat 2, 87 Oaklands Road in the poshest area of town. Fortunately, this is a district adjacent to the university, so within twenty minutes we are milling anxiously by the wall, staring up the driveway to a stately grey stone building with enormous picture windows. I don’t know which one is Flat 2, but I’m hoping it’s one of the ones with a light on. I check the cars in the driveway, but I don’t know what he drives, if indeed he drives at all, so that’s no help.
The time is app
roaching seven in the evening. Even if he is in, I estimate that it’s extremely unlikely he has bothered to look at my essay yet. It’s the weekend…he will be relaxing with a glass of wine, perhaps. Reading the paper. Making something to eat. He’d better not be on the phone to some woman setting up a date…grrr. He might be in the shower…mmmm. The idea that he could answer the door wrapped in a towel with beads of moisture clinging to his skin chivvies me along the gravel driveway towards the big, imposing porch. I have instructed Dearbhla and Emily to wait for me in the nearest pub. With any luck, I’ll be there with them, sinking a pint by half seven, mission accomplished.
What a mission though.
I am dying. I have already rung his number to ascertain whether he is in, but got his answerphone. That means nothing though – almost everyone I know screens their calls, and I didn’t leave a message.
I examine the brass plate in the wall with its h
ighly polished buzzer buttons. Next to each is the number of the flat together with the name of its occupant. ‘Flat 2 – Sinclair.’ Does he live alone? Everyone says he was seeing Dr Blakey until last term; the split is rumoured to be acrimonious. She certainly looks as if a lemon has exploded in her gullet every time they encounter each other in the common room, so it could be true.
I imagine my courage to be a physical object, a big ball of coloured elastic bands or something, and
cup my hands as if holding it. Here it is; tangible and real. I have courage. I can use it. I press the buzzer. My heart jumps into my throat and starts to strangle my tonsils. Will I be able to speak or will a hoarse croak be my only way of conveying my identity?
I wait a geological age and then nearly jump out o
f my skin at a terse, “Hello?” Unmistakably The Voice, but not sounding too hospitable. This is a very, very bad idea. I should just bolt now. But my essay! If he sounds pissed off now, what is he going to sound like on Monday morning?
I’m very sorry to bother you at home…but it’s urgent. About my essay…oh, this is Beth Newland, by the way…you see, the thing is…”
“Come in,” he says, wearily.
The door buzzes and I push it open, finding myself in an extremely well-kept vestibule, its black and white floor tiles gleaming. I crane my neck around this spacious reception area, wondering where Flat 2 might be located.
“Upstairs,” floats a disembodied echo from
above. Shivers. I head for the stairs, almost wetting my knickers with the surreal excitement of it. I have been admitted! I am approaching Sinclair in his lair. The lair of Sinclair. I giggle hysterically.
On the landing, the do
or of Flat 2 is slightly ajar. I push against its solid oak and it opens into a luxurious high-ceilinged apartment. Moving from the hallway through to the main room, I am confronted by the breathtaking sight of Professor Eliot Sinclair standing by one of his picture windows with a large glass of red wine in his hand, barefoot in trousers and shirtsleeves. He is so hot I wish I hadn’t worn a jacket. His expression is a risky mix of quizzical, reproachful and irate.
ell?” he says challengingly. “What could possibly be so important that you had to disturb me at home on a Friday evening, Miss Newland? I’m expecting nothing short of national emergency.”
This is going to sound really lame. Out of the corner of my eye I glimpse his briefcase, still unopened on a coffee table.
if I could have my essay back. I just wanted to change something in the conclusion…”
ut of the question,” he snaps. “Is that really all you came here for?”
“Well,” I say, all kinds of desperate gambits crowding into my head as a cold sweat manifests on my
brow. “You said if I ever wanted to borrow your book about the Jacobins…I’d really like to read it…” I expect him to backhand me across the room for my audacity, but he actually narrows his eyes for a second then visibly preens himself. Vanity has outperformed suspicion, hooray for vanity.