IV - Raising the stakes

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[RECAP: Juliet has made a bet with her friend Margot that can seduce their hot new Latin teacher, Mr Carl Spencer. But as Mr Spencer is quite religious, it could be a challenge...]

Juliet decided to get bolder. She wore her skirt as short as possible to Latin, looked at Mr Spencer from lowered eyelashes, pouted and chewed her lip.

If she had tried this with Mr Bryan he would have probably had a heart attack. But she was getting nowhere with the new Latin teacher so far. If anything it felt like he was being more distant to her.

She put her hand up. "Sir, are you married?"

He wasn't wearing a ring but you never knew. The rest of the class waited avidly for his answer as it was something that nearly everyone else wanted to know as well.

"I'm not, no."

Before he could elaborate, Margot chimed in. "Why not?"

"I'm engaged."

This took the wind out a few sails. Including Juliet's, who figured the bet was now off.

Nonetheless there was a volley of questions. Everyone was curious about the new teacher.

"When are you getting married?"

"What does she do?"

"How did you meet?"

Mr Spencer gave a half-smile. "I think we're getting diverted from Vergil. Cynthia, will you scan line twenty-seven please."

Cynthia always made a big mess of this and Margot rolled her eyes in impatience waiting for her to struggle through it. Juliet also felt frustrated. The rhythm of the Latin verse came easily to her and it was horrible hearing it butchered by Cynthia.

At one point Cynthia managed to mispronounce a Latin word and made it sound obscene in English. Juliet and Margot couldn't stop giggling and Mr Spencer noticed.

"Just a moment, Cynthia." He looked at them. "Would you care to explain what is so amusing?"

Margot, expecting to disconcert him, explained the joke. But the Latin teacher was unruffled.

"Do you really think it's appropriate to use such disgusting language?" he asked. "What would your parents think if they could hear you?"

Juliet's laughter dried up at this and her face clouded over. "My parents are dead," she told him. She was surprised he didn't know this as all her background was in her student file.

Mr Spencer now looked very disconcerted. "I'm sorry." There was an awkward pause. "Let's just get back to the text."

The class continued and when the bell finally went for recess, Mr Spencer called Juliet to stay behind.

She approached his desk feeling oddly nervous, clutching her folders against her chest.

"About before," he began. "I didn't know about your parents, otherwise..."

"It's okay." She tried to reassure him. "It was a long time ago. Years ago." Very long, very horrible years. She still missed them and felt panic from time to time that she was forgetting what memories she did have.

"Regardless, I wouldn't have mentioned it if I had known. I'm sorry if it caused you pain."

The look in his eyes was truly sincere and for the first time Juliet met his gaze, both of them serious. She had caught his eye many times with the flirting and the messing around in class, but in this moment everything had shifted.

"Truly, I'm fine."

They were both silent for a moment. She looked at his strong shoulders and wondered what it would be like to have his arms around her. She wondered what he was thinking.

He broke the silence. "I'll see you tomorrow in class then."

Juliet went towards the door but before exiting she turned to ask him something. "Wasn't it in my student file, about my family history?"

"I never read those," he told her. "Not at the start anyway. I prefer to make my own conclusions."

"I see. I hope the ones you made of me aren't too bad."

Mr Spencer smiled. "You have a lot of talent for Latin. It's up to you whether you waste that or not."

* * *

"So that's that then," Juliet said afterwards to Margot.

"That's what?"

"The end of the bet. He has a fiancée."

Margot gave her a wicked smile. "Oh not it's not girl. Everything just got a whole lot more interesting. And easier, maybe. Every man wants a final fling, right? To make sure they're choosing the right woman."

Juliet wasn't sure about this. It felt kind of wrong, trying to seduce someone in a relationship. Also Mr Spencer had been so kind and apologetic after class. "It doesn't seem very nice to his fiancée."

"I bet she's not all that," Margot said. "Did you see his face when he spoke of her? It didn't exactly light up."

"What would you expect? We were in class. He's hardly going to start singing a love song."

Margot shrugged. "It's a feeling I have. Anyway, you're going to have to change strategies. The full on flirting thing is getting nowhere."

Juliet had to agree. "So what do I do?"

"We should track him down outside school. Find his church maybe, and start going there," Margot suggested.

"But it's a Baptist thing." Juliet's aunt expected her to attend Catholic mass on Sundays.

"I don't mean Sunday. Those people, they go to church like every day. We'll go one evening. Tell your aunt it's a multi-faith prayer meeting or something."

It might be interesting to see what it was like, if nothing else. "Maybe." Juliet really wasn't sure if her aunt would see it that way. She took religion seriously.

Satisfied that Juliet agreed, Margot changed the subject the weekend. "Can you stay over Friday? We can use our fake ID and go to a bar. My parents have a dinner date so they won't know."

Juliet and Fhemie only ever managed to stay out late if they were sleeping over at Margot's place. "Sure, if my aunt doesn't throw up some objection."

If truth be told, Juliet don't want to give up on Mr Spencer just yet. She didn't want to admit it but she was getting a genuine crush on the Latin teacher. Having erotic dreams about him had been really confusing.

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