I stopped at the Union and got a quick dinner before heading to rehearsal. I often ate alone, because I lived off-campus and was 8 years older than my classmates. They never really knew what to make of me. The dancers were more forgiving. The guys often ribbed me for being Elise's pet.
“She wants you tonight!” I heard from over my shoulder. It was Mario from class, sitting down next to me. A few others then joined us.
It was odd how they teased me for not being gay – even the women. It was just proof to them that I would never be a dancer. I think the real proof was that I was studying to be a professional horn player, and I'd even already had a start to my career. I still got the occasional paying gigs while I studied. Nobody doubted that I would get a regular orchestra job as soon as I finished.
“That's how she picked up Benno,” he continued.
Great! I thought. Now I'm in for it. “Benno said she never touched him,” I insisted hopefully.
“You never saw them together!”
He was right. Benno had switched to ballet, and everyone thought that was to get away from Elise. That was obviously before I came on the scene. Benno told me that Elise steered him towards ballet; she'd discovered his true love. I always assumed it was more than that. Mario's evidence was incontrovertible. Elise and Benno were all over each other like a glove. No one witnessed anything more than a kiss on the cheek, but everyone agreed that the holding of hands, arms around each other, etc., had to be indicative of something more. Now they never saw each other.
With all that weighing heavily on me, I was pretty useless in my rehearsal, even to the point of a dressing down from the conductor afterwards. I didn't get out until 10:00, and arrived at the studio at 10:20. I knew better than to show up without my tights, and ready to dance...at least that was what I hoped for.
I tapped on the window of her office. I could see her inside, it looked like she was meditating, but I knew she was visualizing a dance. I'd seen that many times before. She let me in the building, we walked to the studio and sat on the bleachers.
“You are afraid of me,” Elise stated bluntly.
I didn't know how to answer. My hesitancy told her all she needed to know.
“Put your tights on,” she commanded. She looked determined, but gave away nothing. I didn't know where it was heading at least that meant that I was going to dance.
I stood and started towards the locker room.
“No!” she stopped me. “Right here.”
When Elise speaks, one must obey. I started removing my jacket and dropped my trousers hoping to shield my underwear with my shirt tails.
“Wait! Shirt off.” She wanted me to strip down in front of her.
I hesitated again.
“You don't trust me,” she said removing the t-shirt she had on over the red and white tights she had on earlier. “Tonight we learn trust.”
Grudgingly, I removed my shirt, and stood before her with only my underpants on.
“Wait!” she barked. That was it. I was ready to be propositioned. For weeks, I'd thought about whether if I'd just met her on the street, I would be attracted to her. I knew the answer was yes, but being propositioned by a teacher, even one that was younger than me felt more than a little awkward. “Look at me!” She then stripped down to just her panties. That was definitely the most I'd ever seen of her.
She just stood there and left me to stare at her before pointing to her gym bag. “There is a sports bra in there; find it and bring it to me.”
It was right on the bottom, so I had to go through all her things. I was relieved when I found it.
“Put it on me,” she demanded, holding up her arms.
I did my best to avoid actually touching her as I did it and it got a bit frustrating.
“Just do it! I don't care where you touch me.”
I did. She wouldn't do anything to help me, so ended up getting a handful of each of her breasts.
“That wasn't so difficult, was it? Now there are some blue satin shorts in my bag, find them and put them on me.”
Because I'd already messed up the contents, they were even harder to find.
“Just pour it out on the bench!” she ordered.
I did, found the shorts and started putting everything back in.
“Leave it. Put them on me.”
I had to do everything myself, but eventually I got them on her.
“Your turn,” she exclaimed, grabbing my rucksack. She emptied the contents onto the bench right on the pile of her clothes, making sure that she mixed everything up while locating my tights even though they just happened to be on top. She pulled my tights onto me, making a point to adjust my tackle, gently and clinically. She didn't allow me a shirt.
“Play for me,” she demanded.
I always have my horn with me, and this was no exception. There I stood, half naked playing the horn solo from the slow movement of Tchaikovsky's Fifth Symphony for her. That was the solo I'd botched in rehearsal earlier. I didn't botch it this time. Interestingly, when I partnered her in performances, I never made mistakes. I did occasionally with others, but with her I was perfect. I played from memory with my eyes closed, but I could hear her moving around. Opening them as I finished, I saw that she had been dancing.
I could see a tear in her eye. Somehow I'd broken through her iron facade.
“I fear that I will never steal you from your music, but would you do something for me?”
“What is that?” I asked, confused.
“Dance as my partner until your musical commitments make that impossible.”
“But I'm no dancer,” I pleaded.
“You are more of a natural dancer than any of the others in your class, more than any other that I have met since I started teaching here.”
“How can that be true? They have all the training.”
“We dance to your strengths – you are strong, you jump well, your positions are perfect, and you complete all your moves. Most of all, you live the music. You internalize it as few dancers do. You are always in time, even if the tape isn't playing.”
She had caught me off-guard. Elise was the perfect partner, and we were perfectly suited to each other physically. Even I could see that. I would enjoy it...suddenly I realized that I wanted to do it. “I will,” I agreed to her obvious delight as she embraced me.
“We will start now then, but we won't go too late,” she acceded. “The faculty dance recital is in two weeks and we will have to spend a lot of time together between now and then. The dance that I have in mind is all about trust. For it, we must not only act as one, but be one. You must never be afraid of me, and that means in every way. If we must see each other completely naked, or even touch each other, we must not be afraid. On another night like this, we should dance this choreography naked. Obviously, we won't do that in public but must do it together once. That is how it must be. My body must be your body.”
“We also must be equal partners,” she continued. “If you wish me to change something, please tell me. As partners we are no longer teacher and student. You will be mine as much as I am yours.”
I was still trying to take it in as we started working on the dance. I could immediately see what she meant about the need to be intimate. She tied our wrists and ankles together, and we tried some moves. It was almost like playing twister; we had to discuss where each of us would put our knees and elbows as we moved. After a half hour, we had choreographed two minutes of a routine without music. We did it several times tied together and one final time untied. It was electric, and I wanted to keep working, but it was already after 11 pm, and Elise had promised not to keep me late.
I felt amazingly alive, though very tired. We had worked quite hard, and had little in the way of clothing to soak up our sweat. In such a short time, I'd become intimate with her glowing, slippery sweating body, and even after we were untied we stayed very close together as if we were drawn to each other.
“I suppose you were expecting me to seduce you tonight,” she said abruptly as I toweled myself off.
“I can't say that the thought hadn't crossed my mind,” I admitted.
Elise reached over and pulled me close, kissing me gently with just a hint of tongue. It was sublime.
“That,” she whispered, “was the last time you will taste my lips as my dance partner, unless, of course, the choreography calls for it.”
What I felt was a mixture of disappointment and relief. We weren't going to have a love affair.
Then she added, smiling, “Afterwards, I'm fair game.”