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A Taste of Temptation

By:Reneé Alexis


Parson’s Lecture Hall was filled to capacity; Brandi knew why. She had heard about this professor, how good he was, how he played no games when it came to his class. She wanted that kind of discipline in order to keep her scholarship. Her other professors were virtual academic stereotypes: middle-aged, graying, pot-bellied. Tall, dark and handsome would be a nice change. Her ex-boyfriend, Eric was exactly that. However, Eric had zero ambition, and fully expected his good looks to get him over, no matter what. Eric was, in a word, shallow. For Brandi, those negatives were compounded by his having slept with one of her best friends, graduating from just being shallow to being a dog. She had dumped him immediately.

Her mind drifted back to an evening a month ago at Manhattan’s newest nightclub, The Entrapment. She and some friends celebrated her emancipation from Eric Fontaine and her winning the Seymour Scholarship. There was a man in the club who was tall, handsome and magnetic. She hadn’t been attracted to a white man since having a crush on her gym teacher in 6th grade. Their eyes had met the minute Jacob walked into the club. Everything about him—his light brown hair and tall slender frame were orgasmic. She had felt like a traitor for having seen beauty in one outside her race. But this Jacob made her forget all that. Those deep-set hazel eyes of his mesmerized her right into his bed that night.

She pushed aside memories of her Jacob encounter since he flat-out told her he wasn’t into relationships. So she turned to the class syllabus. She could tell the class was going to be a killer. A fifteen-page syllabus! Isn’t it just like an older man to give everyone the life histories of all the classic authors and poets? This professor must be expecting some heavy-duty studying from his students. Like it or not, there was nothing she could do about it because the class was a prerequisite to retaining her scholarship money. She quickly put the paper away and her mind returned to ditching Eric.

Her best friend, Tiffany, breezed into the room, her upbeat personality on full display. “What’s up, girl? Anxious about seeing Polaris?”

“No, I’m not anxious about Polaris. You know how most professors are, sixty years old and balding!”

“Polaris? Girl, please! He is fine, let me tell you. Why do you think I busted the pavement the first day of registration to get this class? He has all the women following behind his tight little butt.”

“Then he’s not sixty or balding?”

“If Timothy Edward Polaris is sixty let me just say this; he carries it well, damn well. The guy can’t be any older than thirty-two, but from his credentials anyone would think he’s older.”

“Yes, yes, I know. He’s the king of the world, right?”

Tiffany looked around the crowded, noisy lecture hall and smiled. “Your sarcasm is actually on the mark. It’s packed in here because the man knows his stuff. He didn’t graduate from Princeton with two degrees and tons of writing awards by not knowing his stuff. The guy’s a heavyweight.”

“How do you know all this about the guy?”

“Look, if you study something, you tend to know it well. I have studied him like he’s a course being offered here. I know everything about him.”

Brandi shook her head. “I don’t even believe you. Some people study everything about bridges, sciences, math, etc. But you, you study Polaris?”

“You will, too, take my word for it. He has the sexiest hazel eyes you ever wanted to drool over.”

Hazel eyes! Jacob has hazel eyes, not that I’ll ever see them again, but I can dream. But thoughts of him will get me nowhere. She forced her mind off him. “Finally, a handsome young instructor. Well, that’s a perk of sorts, since we have to sit in here for three hours.”

“It’s all cool, girl. Polaris will rock this class, and you will be damn glad for it.” Her eyes widened. “Oh, yeah, are you still gaga over that man you met in the club?”

So much for shutting out thoughts of Jacob. “Please, don’t bring him up.”

“Why? I thought you liked him. You told me that when you called to tell me everything.”

“Almost everything. I did like him.”

“Did?” Tiffany leaned in closer. “What’s your deal, girl? You said he’s fine and that he was sweet to you, so what’s the problem?”

“Tiff, you know what the problem is. I have thought about my actions that night and I feel ashamed. Plus, I would just make matters worse for myself by dating a white guy.”

“That doesn’t even sound like you. Color never mattered to you before.”

“It has, though never in a negative way. I never let anyone know about it. I just feel bad knowing how much I love the brothers, then backsliding and going for a white guy. Besides, you know my dad, Kelly, Marco, and the rest of my friends and family. You know how rigid they are on this subject. I’m just not ready to deal with questions about why I’m with a white boy. And you know they would call him, boy, Tiffany.”

“It’s a big deal to them, but hey, they’re not dating Jake, Jock…what’s his name?”

“It’s Jacob. Now get it right.”

Puzzled, Tiffany dropped the subject. “It’s all cool. I’ll leave you alone, but don’t ask me for any tissue when you start drooling over Professor Sex Machine.”

“Does he really look that good?”

“You may not want to go by me. I’m the one who doesn’t have problems with white boys, so how would I know?” She held up a finger. “Correction, I don’t have problems with boys at all…or men.” She turned in her seat. “So, you’re going back to Eric, aren’t you?”

Brandi looked annoyed. “Can’t let it go, can you? You, of all people, know Eric and I are a done deal. We don’t want the same things. Besides, he’s not ready for a woman who could end up making more money than he does. He doesn’t want that, or a family. No! He and I are done.”

“Jacob whoever could give you those things?”

Brandi dropped her notebook back onto the small desk. “Cool it, Tiff. He and I are also a done deal. Besides, he didn’t give me a number. Now will you cool it about that?”

“Fine, but you’ll change your mind about white guys when you see Polaris, because his butt is so…so, ooh, I can’t even describe it.”

Brandi clenched her teeth. “I don’t have a race issue, Tiffany. Besides, don’t you still have a thing for Stuart?”

“Will you hush? I can’t have screaming orgasms over Polaris when you mention Stuart!”

“You’ve finally hit rock bottom.”

The back lecture doors opened and Timothy Polaris started walking down the long aisle. From behind, Brandi could tell he definitely wasn’t sixty. As she looked at the slender professor with the light brown crew cut, she saw a resemblance to Jacob. The tall, well-built frame was the same. I’ve got it really bad. Now Jacob is everyone to me. Thinking she could be losing her mind, she quickly squashed the thought. She felt relief as she kept watching him. No, definitely not him—I hope. Besides, what would Jacob be doing in Parson’s lecture hall?

Tiffany nudged her slyly. “He’s looking better and better, isn’t he?”

“Until I see his face, he’s just another professor.”

The professor turned to face the crowded lecture hall and began speaking into the microphone. Brandi lifted her head and her jaw dropped. She couldn’t believe her eyes. She looked at the closed circuit television set near her. “Tiffany, that’s him. Look.”

Tiffany peered at the monitor. “Are you sure that’s lover-boy?”

“As sure as I’m sitting here.” She saw the skepticism on Tiffany’s face. “I know you don’t believe me, but I’m sure he’s the one.”

“Frankly, I don’t believe you, but if that’s the daydream you want to have, go for it.”

“Whatever.” Nothing mattered to Brandi. She was face to face with the one man who had taken her body to heaven and her mind—south! Reality quickly set in. My God! Mind in overdrive. His voice confirmed everything.

“I’m Timothy Polaris, and this is English Comp 812.” He smiled as he spoke. “If you’re at the wrong university…well, sorry, you’re stuck with me for a minute, I guess.” He waited for the laughter to subside. “Before I go over the roster, let me explain a little about the course. It covers 16th through 20th Century literature from the best in American lit to England and the rest of the world. It’s a long course lasting from today, August twenty-eighth to December eleventh and attendance is mandatory every week since the course moves fast. Take plenty of good notes. There is a mid-term, papers and the final exam, which is half of your grade. The first three weeks of the course will concentrate on 16th and 17th Century authors. Midway, I expect to get into the middle 18th century. Everyone with me so far?”

Brandi knew that smile was definitely the same smile that had dazzled her at The Entrapment. “No, this has to be a mistake,” she whispered to herself. “Why is he here?” She nudged Tiffany. “This can’t be him!”

Tiffany looked at her as if she had lost her mind. “It’s him, girl. It’s Timothy Polaris though, not your dude from the other night.” Back to Tim: “Told you he was tight, didn’t I?”