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It was a hot Monday afternoon in late June at the university library and it was six years since Jack had been back to his old university. The basement of the old library was nice and cool and it smelled exactly as he remembered. As Jack wandered through the building, the old smells and sounds were like an old familiar friend and he opened his mind to the flood of great memories. He had taken classes off and on at the local extension university while he was teaching, but this summer he returned to his alma mater where he hoped to complete his Masters degree. Being back on campus was a real trip of nostalgia. When Jack was an undergraduate, he found an area down in the bowels of the ancient building with a couple of old tables stuck in a back corner. This was where he’d hung out, studied, and done his research and as he wandered to the back of the building, he wondered if the tables were still there.
It was so cool down in the basement and the temperature was so much different from the outside he almost wished he was wearing a sweater. As Jack rounded the end of one of the stacks, he saw the two massive old tables still sitting exactly where they’d been when he’d used them six years ago. However … there was one thing different today. Sitting at one of the tables was a young lady … a young lady who was stunningly attractive. Long, honey blond hair; a powder blue V-necked sweater showing excellent cleavage and when she looked up at him, she revealed beautiful blue eyes. Her face was flawless and her perfume teased his nostrils with its scent. In the darken recesses of the library, Jack thought she looked like a vision.
Jack realized he must have stood staring for too long because finally she asked, “Is there something wrong?”
He was positive he blushed as he murmured, “I’m sorry … I don’t wish to be rude … when I was an undergraduate, I used to hang out down here and study. I just didn’t expect to find anybody here. And to find somebody here … somebody as lovely as you … well …”
The young lady’s cheeks took on a flush of their own and she looked down. When she looked up, he was again struck with her loveliness. “Are you back here for more studies or …” her voice trailed off.
“I teach at Stewart High School over in Bedford Falls. I am here for the summer to finish my Masters. Are you a student here this summer?” After he asked her, he realized what a stupid question he’d asked; why would such a good-looking woman be sitting down here studying in an old library on a day like this if she didn’t have to?
Her smile was warm and friendly, “I have this quarter and I’m finished with my degrees.” She told him.
“What’s your major?”
“I have two …” She told him.
Jack interrupted, “Wow … that’s impressive. All I’ve got is a degree in US History and minor in psych.” He hung his head in mock shame.
The young woman smiled for a moment and then replied, “Great … I’ve always enjoyed history. Do you like teaching?”
Jack grinned at her, “Well, I am also the head football coach … ‘Go Tigers'” Jack gave an embarrassed laugh while the young lady giggled. Jack continued, “I hate to admit it, but that’s my true love. Teaching history got me in the door. I love history mind you, but getting the youth to see why it’s interesting is a real challenge.” She laughed at this comment and her laugh sounded like soft music. Jack stepped forward, stuck out his hand, “I’m Jack, Jack Frost.” His name put a huge grin on her face. Jack held up his hand in front of his chest and replied sheepishly, “I know … I know … what can I say, my parents had a sense of humor. Let me tell you, junior high really sucks when your name’s Jack Frost. But now, it isn’t so bad. Coach Frost has a nice ring to it,”
She held out her hand, when he looked down he saw well manicured nails, lovely long tapered fingers and a most interesting ring on her middle finger. “Tara, Tara Howard.” When he grinned back at her, she quickly continued, “My mother loved the movie ‘Gone With the Wind’. I teased her one time she was probably watching the movie when I was conceived and she was a bit mad I’d say such a thing.” Again, the musical laugh and Jack laughed with her. He looked down at his watch and noticed he needed to get going if he was to make his next class on time.
“Tara, I hate to end this, but if I don’t leave now I’ll be late for my next class.” Jack was surprised by the look on her face; she seemed sad and looked almost like she was going to cry. He did want to see her again so he asked, “Do you come here often?”
“Yeah … this is my hiding place too. I can study here without being bothered and …”
Jack interrupted before she finished, “Oh damn, I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to bother you …”
She quickly held up her hand, “No … not you.” She gave him a quick glimpse of her killer smile, “I’ve enjoyed our little talk. I like it down here so I’m here off and on.”
“Would you like to meet for a cup of coffee after class?” Jack asked hopefully.
She paused so long ataşehir escort he started to wonder if she had heard him. Finally, she frowned and replied, “That sounds wonderful, but I already have plans. Sorry.”
Jack figured it was true, as her “Sorry.” sounded sincere; he said goodbye and headed off to class. Over the next few days, he returned often to the back of the library, but she was never there. Their brief encounter had left an indelible imprint on Jack; he desperately wanted to see her again.
On Monday morning on his way to school, he remembered it was just last Monday when he met Tara at the library. Not a day passed since he’d seen her that he didn’t think about her; her beauty seared into his memory. Jack wanted to get to know her better … to be able to talk to her some more. After his class, he ran down the stairs to the basement and headed back to his old haunt. As he walked between the stacks, he wondered if she would be there today and his heart leaped when he saw her sitting at the big table in exactly the same place she was last time.
“Good afternoon Tara … I was hoping you’d be here today.”
“Hello Jack.” A slight pause, and then, “Why were you hoping I’d be here today?
“Well …” Jack felt just like a schoolboy he was so embarrassed and tongue-tied. Finally, he just blurted it out, “I’ve thought about you every day since last Monday and I’ve checked down here several times to see if you were here. I just really wanted to see you again.”
Her wonderful smile spread across her face, making Jack feel as if he had said the correct thing. “Well … aren’t you sweet. Why don’t you sit down?”
Jack sat across from her and their conversation seemed to flow like a gentle stream right from the start. He was surprised to find that as beautiful as she was, there was no guile about her. She was completely down to earth with a delightful sense of humor. As they talked, Jack started to feel as if her good looks were almost a hindrance. Tara was just as attractive and lovely inside as she was to the eye. The time passed quickly and when he glanced at his watch, Jack realized he had missed his next class and his surprise must have shown on his face.
“What’s the matter?”
“I got so caught up here, I missed my class.”
“Is that bad?”
“Well, to be honest, I would rather be here.” This comment brought out the musical laugh again. Jack continued, “Ah … I have a question … and I really don’t know how to ask it any way except to just ask.”
“And your question …”
“Are you like involved, or seeing anybody or engaged or …”
Tara held up her hand to stop his babbling. “No. I am none of the above. Are you … how did you put it … involved?”
“No … I thought I found the person I wanted to marry, but at the last minute I realized she was not the woman I wanted to spend the rest of my life with. One more question … how come somebody as exquisite as you and as interesting as you hasn’t been snapped up yet?”
Again the great laugh, “Just hasn’t happened … don’t know what to tell you.”
Jack really did have to get going and he did not want this meeting to end. Again, he asked her if they could meet for a cup of coffee and she politely declined. He asked her if there were any other times she was in the library. “I’m here usually on Thursdays. I have a late afternoon class and then come here. I am here after 5 … why?
“Because next Monday is so far away …” She laughed. “I am sorry, I have to go.” He stood and leaned over and picked up her hand and brought it to his lips. “Until Thursday?”
“We’ll see …” One last killer smile and Jack left.
Over the years and all during school, Jack dated several women and had many girl friends; he always felt he was comfortable with women. Jack was a handsome man who played sports all through school and still moved with the grace and poise of a natural athlete. Being a coach allowed him to work out at the high school gym and he still possessed a lean, strong body.
Jack hadn’t found the woman he wanted to settle down with, but if asked, he would just say he was picky. He felt he held some romantic notion one day he would meet the woman of his dreams. Right now, he had to admit, Tara was coming really close. However, the question was … how could he get a chance to meet her away from the library?
Thursday seemed to take forever to arrive. All during his last class, he kept looking at the clock on the wall and the class seemed to drag on forever. Finally, the professor released the class and he quickly headed across campus to the library.
When he came to the end of the stacks, sitting at the table was Tara. Today she wore a cute top that again showed off an abundant amount of her cleavage. Her hair was up in a ponytail and Jack thought she looked cute the way she was dressed. She smiled up at him and motioned for him to sit. He pulled up a chair and their conversation started as if they hadn’t been apart for four days. Finally, it was time for Jack to kadıköy escort bayan get going and he asked Tara once more if he could meet her for a cup of coffee. Once more, she politely declined. As he parted, he asked if she would be there on Monday and she said she would.
In the past, Jack always felt weekends went by entirely too quickly … but this weekend seemed to drag on forever. Monday’s classes seemed to be just as bad and by the time he could head for the library, Jack was surprised by how badly he wanted to see Tara. As he headed across campus, he wondered if sharing some of his feelings he felt would help her understand why he wanted to see her away from the library.
As he rounded the stacks, Tara was sitting at one of the tables. A warm smile lit up her face and Jack felt she was truly pleased to see him. Her hair was down today and she was wearing a sweater that was almost the same color as her hair. Around her neck was a band of blue velvet the same color as her eyes. Jack felt if he wasn’t already smitten by her, he shurely would have fallen for her today.
The time they shared together passed quickly and finally Jack realized how late it was. Decided he was going to take a chance and share his feelings about Tara, he tired to put them into words. “Tara …” he started, long pause, “Um … I find I’m developing really strong feelings for you.” Again, he paused, searching for the right words to convey his feelings. “I’d like for us to meet some place else besides here …” Jack motioned with his hand, indicating the basement of a library, “Um … a date if you will … Tara, I feel you like me, and I know I like you and …”
Tara hung her head and when she lifted it, Jack thought he saw a tear in her eyes. “Jack, I just can’t. I can’t tell you any more than that … and I ask you … I beg you … if you really care for me … you will not ask for any more information. Please …” her voice was soft and pleading.
“Tara, I don’t understand. In one breath, you tell me you care for me … and in the next … you tell me you won’t see me away from this library. Is it you don’t trust me?”
“Jack … please don’t ask questions … please …” and now there were tears brimming in her eyes. Jack stood up, looked down at her for a moment and told her he needed to get going.
As he turned to leave, she asked, “Will you be back on Thursday?” Her voice was so soft Jack barely heard her.
“Why?” His voice was much softer than the feelings he had inside.
“I understand if you won’t … maybe some day I can explain … but I do enjoy our conversations and if you still want … Thursday …?” the last word was more of a question than a statement.
Jack knew he wanted to see her again. Somehow, he was going to find out why she wouldn’t leave the basement of the library. He nodded, “Till Thursday … good night Tara.” Jack turned and left.
On Thursday, Jack had a mid-term test. The instructor told the class once they were through with the test they were free to leave. This was Jack’s favorite class and he was well prepared for the test so he breezed right through it. As he left the classroom, he noticed he was going to be almost an hour earlier than usual to meet Tara. Since it was much earlier than normal, he wondered if she would be there when he arrived. He hoped so; it would give them more time together.
When Jack turned the corner to pass down the row between the last stack, he thought his heart had skipped a beat. He was pleased to see Tara standing in front of him at the far end of the stack, but facing the other way. Walking towards her, Jack noticed she was wearing a different sweater today along with a skirt of matching color. As she started to take a step, her body dipped slightly. Her actions caused Jack to stop and look down at her legs. He noticed her right leg was bent and disfigured; also that her right shoe was built up to help compensate for the difference with her left leg. Tara took another step, again with a noticeable limp. Jack came up behind her and when she became aware she was not alone, she whirled around. Jack wasn’t prepared for what happened next.
Tara’s face crumbled as she moaned, “It’s you … oh no!” Tara’s hands went to her face as she bent her head and she started to cry. Jack instantly stepped forward to slip his arms around her and try to comfort her. She put one of her hands on his chest, pushing him back.
“No … please go.” She cried. “You don’t have to stay; you don’t have to be nice to the cripple.” Tara continued to sob.
Jack swept her hands from his chest and gathered her into his arms. Looking down at the top of her head he realized he was completely stunned by her actions. He kissed the top of her head and whispered, “Hey … please stop crying. What’s this all about?” Suddenly a thought came to mind and he asked, “Is this why you wouldn’t meet me away from here? You didn’t want me to see you had a limp … see your leg?”
Jack felt her nodding her head against his chest as she continued escort maltepe to cry. Her words were difficult to make out as she spoke against his chest. “I wanted to see you some more … I wanted to have a few more meetings before you found out. Because you didn’t know it was easy to pretend you cared about me and … and …” her tears came once more and she sobbed to the point where she could no longer speak.
Jack pulled her tightly against his chest again and gently rocked her back and forth. So many things made sense now, why she refused to see him away from the library, why she had always been behind the desk when he arrived. In the softest and most gentle voice possible, he whispered, “Tara … for a person of your intellect, you know, you are kinda stupid.” She stopped sobbing and looked up at him, tears still brimming in her eyes.
“Excuse me … I’ve never been called stupid!” Even though her lip was quivering, Jack was pleased to see she still stood up to his insult.
“Can’t you tell?” Jack asked as Tara dropped her head. “Look at me … don’t you see I care about you … the person inside? The package is cute … and I don’t shit, excuse me, about the limp or your leg … to me, those are not who or what you are. Listen to me … I have feelings for you. Do you understand?”
Her bottom lip was still quivering and she hiccupped. “I didn’t want to … I tried so hard … I wanted to be just a friend … I didn’t want to care for you the way I do. I just knew once you found out about … well … you know… you could never be interested in a cripple … and…”
“Tara … all right … now I know … and you know it doesn’t matter. Can WE get the hell out of this dungeon and go someplace together a bit more fun?” Jack had stressed the word, ‘we’.
“You still want to be seen with me?” Her voice showed her surprise and her pleasure at his request.
Jack tipped her face up and gazed into her eyes. Slowly he lowered his lips to hers and kissed her gently on the lips. His lips parted slightly and he felt her tongue tentatively slip between them. As their tongues gently touched, she whimpered softly. When he pulled away, Tara was breathing deeply and her face was flushed. “Does that answer your question?” He asked as he squeezed her body.
Tara gathered her belongings and showed Jack to the elevator which she took from floor to floor to help her gain access around the library. He carried her stuff and she held onto his other arm. They walked into the student union and sat down at a corner table. She asked for a soda and he went off to get them both one.
When he returned, Jack found one of his classmates talking to Tara. His classmate turned and asked him how he felt Jack did on the test. Jack explained how much he liked the subject and why he felt he aced it. The classmate turned to look at Tara and asked, “Why is this beautiful lady wasting her time with you?”
Tara smiled as Jack made the introductions and as the classmate left, he looked at Tara and told her, “If you ever get tired of this oaf … give me a call. You are stunning …”
Jack smiled at her. “See … I don’t think he even noticed your … ah …”
“Say it … my limp. If we are ever going to go anywhere together, you need to get over…”
Jack interrupted her, “Wow … ain’t this the kettle calling the pot black?”
Tara dropped her head for a moment, when she looked back at Jack; she had a warm smile on her face. “Thanks … I was so afraid once you knew … once you saw me … Jack, all of my life I have been … well … ashamed.”
“Would you please tell me what happened?”
Tara told him about the accident when she was 12 years old and how as she was riding her bike home at dusk, and about the drunk who struck her with his car. She continued to tell him about the massive settlement the court had awarded her due to his considerable wealth and his many prior convictions for drunk driving. “I really don’t have to go to school if I don’t want too. There is such a vulgar amount of money just sitting making more money.” She smiled at him a little and then went on to tell him at one time the doctors thought she might loose her leg and then how they were finally able to save it.
Tara continue to explain how the doctors were very sorry nothing could be done, but the leg would be shorter, even though part of it could be compensated for with a built up shoe, there would still be a limp. “I have always been so self conscious about it. I have always felt that was all people see … not see me, just my handicap. Mama always told me I was going to be a spinster … she said nobody wants to be with a cripple … handicapped people like me are supposed to live alone.”
Jack smiled at her and told her, “The only handicap I see is you are so good looking, I find it hard to concentrate when we talk.”
Tara giggled and put her hand on Jack’s arm. He placed his hand over hers and squeezed. “Thanks … thanks for coming here with me …” As they sat talking and nursing their drinks, Jack found himself continuing to fall for this lovely lady sitting across from him … more and more. Once he stopped mid-sentence and told her, “Do you have any idea what I think of you. I just can’t believe you’re sitting here with me. I can’t believe how lucky I am.”
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