A Rose by Any Other Word

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Authors note: Hello and thank-you for reading. This story is a stand alone piece so there won’t be any continuation of the story. It was just an idea I had that I had to get down on paper and the characters sort of ran away with me a bit. Please note that this story may be distressing for victims of abuse.

Alex Summers

I’d always been attracted to Miss Mitchell, even though I didn’t realise it at first. She’d been my teacher since I came to secondary school and at eleven years old I didn’t really understand how it felt to be attracted to someone. All I knew than was that I got this fluttery feeling every time I saw her in class. As I got older I understood that what I was feeling was attraction. Now at eighteen years old my attraction had blossomed into a full on crush.

In my eye she was simply beautiful. Her long chocolate brown hair that fell in lazy curls around her shoulders, her bright blue eyes that could seem so caring and understanding but also strict and firm, her pale peachy skin that was unblemished aside from a dusting of freckles over her nose and the tops of her shoulders. Her body was simply to die for, an hourglass figure, all curves with long legs that seemed to go on forever. She was a young woman, perhaps in her mid to late twenties.

Since I had entered sixth form and was no longer required to wear a school uniform I had started trying to dress nicely, in a way that could get her attention, not that I thought she’d even look at me in that way. I wasn’t exactly ugly but I didn’t think I was anything special either. I had long blonde hair, green eyes and a figure that was a little plumper that I would like but I couldn’t shift the fat no matter what I’d tried. I doubted that a woman like Miss Mitchell would even glance twice at me no matter what I wore but I had to try. So I’d started wearing make-up and dressing more femininely. Even if she hadn’t noticed others had. I’d been getting a lot more attention from the boys in my class but I only had eyes for her.

My best friend since we’d been six years old, Jessica had noticed the change in me as well. One night when I was at hers after school she started to interrogate me about it.

“Who is he then?” She asked with a cheeky smirk as soon as I’d sat down on her bed.

“Who is who?”

“The guy you’re so obviously trying to impress. Don’t think I haven’t noticed.” She gave me a pointed look.

“There is no guy.” I snapped, not wanting her to press further. I’d never confided in her about my attraction to Miss Mitchell, or the fact that I thought I was a lesbian. What if she didn’t want to be my friend any more? What if she was disgusted with me?

“Oh shit. You’ve got it bad if you’re being this bitchy. Come on, tell me. Who is it?” She sat down next to me and gave me a playful push but I didn’t look at her.

“Please don’t Jessie. I don’t want to talk about it.” I pleaded, tears started to form in my eyes. I was so terrified at the idea of telling her.

“What it is Al?” She asked her voice softening, “Did he turn you down?” Her voice was full of sympathy.

I couldn’t bring myself to answer and simply shook my head.

“What is it then? You can tell me.”

I took a deep breath. I didn’t have much of another choice, I’d have to tell her.

“He didn’t turn me down because he is… Well. He’s a she.” I said the last part quickly, turning away from her so I wouldn’t have to see the look of disgust on her face.

She didn’t speak for the longest time until I looked at her. She was looking at me with an expression I couldn’t quite place.

“Is the she… Me?” She asked me slowly, like she didn’t want to hear the answer.

I couldn’t control my reaction. I burst into tears of laughter. It wasn’t that Jessica was unattractive, it’s that I’d never even considered her that way. She was more like a sister to me.

“No Jessie, no. It’s not you.” I managed to speak between my fits of giggles.

Soon she joined in my laughter until we both couldn’t breathe. We collapsed together on the bed, staring at the ceiling.

“Well I’m glad it’s not me.” She managed to explain once our laughter subsided. “No offence or anything Al, I think you’re pretty but you’re really not my type. I like dudes too much.”

“You don’t think any less of me because I have a crush on a woman?” I still dreaded the answer but considering that she hadn’t thrown me out yet I felt comfortable in asking.

She reached over and took my hand, “I don’t think any less of you Al. You’re my best friend. We’ve been best friends since we were kids. You can’t choose who you’re attracted to.”

I muttered, “I wish I was attracted to someone that I could at least try and flirt with.”

Jessica heard me and sat up, looking down at me with an expression of complete confusion on her face.

“What do you mean?” She asked me gently.

I sat up and faced her, “Exactly what I said. I can’t flirt with her. She wouldn’t even look at me in that illegal bahis way anyway even if it wasn’t morally wrong, and I think, illegal.” I let my frustrations out at long last, all the feelings that had been building inside of me. I was so glad to finally have someone to talk to that I could no longer hold back.

“Illegal? What..?” She gasped, realisation hitting, “Oh no. No… Do not tell me you have a crush on a teacher Alex!?”

I blushed and collapsed on the bed, pressing my face into a pillow to hide my shame.

“Is it a teacher Al?” She pressed, her voice full of sympathy now.

I couldn’t bring myself to say the words so I simply nodded my head.

She sighed before asking, “Which teacher?”

I shook my head. I felt like I’d already said too much. That if I said any more it would just make it worse.

Jessica reached out and patted my arm reassuringly, “You can tell me Al. I won’t tell anyone else, I swear.”

I took a deep breath and sat up and faced her. I knew her too well. She wouldn’t drop this until I told her.

“Miss Mitchell.” I whispered, unable to meet her gaze I stared at the pink floral pattern of Jessica’s bedsheets.

“Well I can see why you like her. She is very pretty.” I looked up at her. This wasn’t the response I was expecting.

“Don’t encourage me with this Jes. It’s bad enough as it is.”

“I am not encouraging you. All I’m saying is that you have good taste at least. I was worried for a moment that you had a crush on Miss Smith.”

I cringed at the thought. Miss Smith was a nice enough teacher but she was around sixty years old and I wasn’t into an age gap like that. Miss Mitchell was much closer to my own age. She couldn’t be more than ten year my senior.

“What am I going to do Jess? It’s been driving me insane, I just can’t get her out of my head. I really wish she’d notice me.” I sighed, tears starting to form once again due to my frustration.

Jessica pulled me into a warm hug, “Al, sweetheart… She’s your teacher. Even if she did notice you she can’t do anything about it. She’d lose her job at least.”

“But I’m eighteen. I’m legally an adult.” I protested, unwilling to accept the truth that nothing could ever happen between Miss Mitchell and myself. She pulled back from the hug to meet my gaze with her own.

“Listen to me Al. She. Is. Your. Teacher. Nothing can ever happen.”

I started crying properly now and Jessica pulled me into a hug once again. She sat there with me as I cried myself out. I let out all my frustration, heartache and pain.

Once my sobs had turned into small sniffles Jessica let go of me.

“You need to get over her Al.”

“How? How do you get over someone?” I wiped my eyes on my sleeve.

“I’m not sure sweetie.” She sat there for a moment, thinking hard. “How about you write a letter to her, telling her how you feel and then..”

“Are you crazy!?” I demanded, “First you convince me that nothing can ever happen and now you’re telling me to tell her how I feel?”

“I was going to say, before you interrupted me, after you’ve written the letter burn it. Or tear it up and throw it away, although I think burning it would be more satisfying.”

“I’m not sure if that will help.”

“It’s worth a try isn’t it? It can’t exactly make things worse.”

I shrugged. She did have a point.

That night at home I did my English coursework and then wrote a letter to Miss Mitchell explaining how I felt. It felt good to pour it all out onto a piece of paper. I explained how much I wanted her, how much I’d been trying to get her attention and how hurt I was that nothing could ever happen between us. By the time I finished it was late and I collapsed into bed exhausted after an emotional day.

The next day I was running late and arrived at school ten minutes after the bell. Luckily I had Mr Black first period, who was a king and understanding older man who taught maths. Most of the morning passed in a blur where I barely felt awake.

At lunch I sat with Jessica at our normal table.

“Ugh. Mrs Mathews is trying to kill us I swear. We have to write a whole essay on the Henry VIII and all of his goddamn wives by tomorrow.” She ranted as soon as she’d sat down beside me.

“I’d rather have that than the algebra homework I got from Mr Black this morning.” I grumbled in return.

This was a daily ritual we had between us. At lunch we would both spend most of the hour moaning about our various teachers and the homework they had assigned us.

“Has Mr Goddard looked down your top again recently?” She questioned me about the pervy teacher who had once spent an entire conversation staring at my breasts.

“No, thank god. Just the thought makes me want to throw up.”

“Are you looking forward to English later?” She asked, waggling her eyebrows at me in a knowing way. This was a new line of questioning. Now that Jessica knew about my crush on Miss Mitchell I thought this illegal bahis siteleri could become a part of our routine.

“What’s there to look forward to? Nothing can happen, remember?”

“I know but it doesn’t mean you can’t sit there and appreciate the view.” She elbowed me playfully before giggling.

“That’s sure to help me with my exams.” The sarcasm in my voice was unmistakable.

“Did you write the letter like I suggested?” She asked, turning serious.

“Yeah I did and it actually did help. It felt good being able to get it all out.”I explained smiling at my friend.

“Have you burnt it yet?”

“No, not yet. I’m not sure if there’s anything else I want to write.” I finished my drink and said goodbye to Jessica before making my way to my next class.

Jessica was right. I was looking forward to my English class at the end of the day. I could barely focus on my class work. That effect was only made worse when I walked into the English classroom.

She was stood at the whiteboard with her back facing the door when I walked in. I paused for a moment, ‘enjoying the view’ as Jessica had put it. Today she was wearing a black pleated skirt that came up to her mid-thigh, a white button up blouse that showed her curves perfectly and black high heeled pumps. She had her hair pulled up in a messy knot at the top of her head.

She turned around and smiled at me, “Good afternoon Alex.”

“Good afternoon Miss Mitchell.” I greeted her, mentally shaking myself out of the daze I had gotten trapped in before taking my seat.

As soon as the whole class was present the lesson started. We were starting on the second act of the Shakespeare play ‘Romeo and Juliet.

“So here we have the famous soliloquy delivered by Juliet. ‘What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other word would smell as sweet. So Romeo would, were he not Romeo called, retain that dear perfection which he owes without that title.'” She recited perfectly from memory before asking, “Who can tell me what Juliet means by this?”

She looked around the class for a moment, looking for anyone who might know the answer. I knew this one easily but didn’t want to speak up. With my current crush on Miss Mitchell I was loath to speak up in regards to Romeo and Juliet.

A guy at the back of the class raised his hand.

“Yes Ryan?” Miss Mitchell asked.

“That she loves Romeo?” He suggested. A small giggle escaped my lips until I put a hand over my own mouth to quiet them.

“You are correct Ryan, that Juliet does love Romeo but this passage has a more important meaning than that.” She wondered over and stood in front of me. “Alex, since you seemed to find Ryan’s answer so amusing why don’t you explain the passage?” She requested and I mentally kicked myself for my outburst.

I could lie of course, tell her that I didn’t know the answer but my need to please her, to impress her was too strong.

“Juliet is saying that she loves Romeo and how even if he wasn’t a Montague she would still love him. She’s explaining how it’s not just the forbidden aspect of him that she is attracted to, it’s him as a person. That’s why she said ‘A rose by any other word would smell as sweet.’ Because even if we called a rose something different it would still smell the same.” I explained, trying to avoid looking her in the eye.

I thought about the meaning behind that passage carefully. Would I still feel the same about Miss Mitchell even if she wasn’t my teacher? I thought I would. I didn’t think that it was just the forbidden aspect that drew me to her. It was her.

“Very good Alex but next time please refrain from laughing at your classmates. Not everyone had such a good grasp on the Elizabethan dialect.” I blushed slightly. Even though she had told me off, she had also complimented me.

The rest of the lesson was spent analysing the scene. I still tried to avoid Miss Mitchell’s gaze and avoided answering any further questions.

At the end of the lesson she asked for the coursework that I had completed last night, an essay explaining the whole of the first act with emphasis on the first meeting between Romeo and Juliet.

After school Jessica and I met up at my place.

“You ready to burn that letter then?” She asked, getting straight to the point.

“Well I can’t think of anything else to put down, so I guess so.” I went over the my desk to retrieve the letter from where I’d left it last night.

After five minutes of my rummaging through ever drawer, every stack of papers and notebooks I was started to panic.

“It was here. I swear it was here.” I gasped, throwing a stack of papers to the floor.

“You don’t think maybe your parents found it, do you?” Jessica asked, looking worried.

“I doubt it. They never come in here.” I shook my head, tossing more papers to the floor in my frantic search.

“Well, how about we try retracing your steps. What else did you do last night after canlı bahis siteleri you got home?” She asked kindly, trying to stay calm.

“I had a shower, then I did my English coursework before writing the letter and going to bed.” I explained. Jessica’s eyes got huge, like saucers.

“You were late this morning, weren’t you?”

“Yeah, what’s that got to do with it?” This seemed like a random question, even coming from Jessica who was one of the most random people I knew.

Jessica stood up from the bed and stood in front of me, her hands on my shoulders making me face her.

“Okay Al, before I say anything else I’m going to need you to take a deep breath.” I looked at her, puzzled but did what she said, feeling the tension I’d been carrying fall off me. Then she continued to speak in a calm voice, one you would use with a child who is freaking out, “Is it at all possible that you picked it up along with your English coursework?” She asked.

I bolted across the room and began to throw the contents of my school bad onto my bed. Once I reached the bottom I began to panic once again.

“Oh my god. What if I accidentally gave it to her!?” I shouted before throwing myself down on my bed, crying out all of my fear and anxiety.

Caelynn Mitchell

I collapsed onto the sofa with a large sigh. I loved teaching, it was my one true passion. I also loved Shakespearian literature but it really frustrated me when students didn’t understand the language. The material was brilliant but so many students seemed to miss this because they didn’t want to put in the effort to understand the dialect from Shakespeare’s time.

“Well. Not all of the students.” I said aloud to myself, thinking of Alex Summers. She understood the dialect and also seemed to have a similar appreciation of the material as I did. I mentally shook myself, as I often had to do when I thought of Alex.

I sighed and took out the latest round of coursework to mark. For half an hour I marked coursework while occasionally making exasperated comments when a student had said something particularly stupid, like one student who said the word ‘like’ way too much.

I sighed and got up to get myself a glass of wine. I couldn’t continue to mark these without having a drink. I really wished the students would pay more attention in class.

As I made my way back to the sofa I noticed something that was out of place in the pile of coursework. The thing that caught my eye was my own name written on a piece of paper. The students weren’t required to write their teachers name on their work, only their own.

I sat down and pulled out the paper, my eyebrows wrinkling in confusion. It appeared to be a letter addressed to me. It read;

Dear Miss Mitchell,

I have a huge crush on you. It feels embarrassing writing this down but it’s the truth. I’ve liked you ever since I came to this school but I didn’t really understand what I was feeling until I got older. I like your hair, I like your eyes and I like the way you act in the classroom. I like how passionate you can be about literature. This past school year I have been desperately trying to get your attention. I’ve been dressing nicer and even wearing make-up, which I never used to do. I’ve just been wishing you’d notice me, in a ‘I want her to be more than my student’ way. I’ve finally accepted however that nothing will ever happen, albeit reluctantly. It hurts. It hurts really bad. I cried for ages when I came to this conclusion. I wish things were otherwise. I wish I wasn’t your student, I wish that it wasn’t considered a bad thing for a student to date a teacher. I wish things between us could be possible.

The letter was signed with the letter A with a heart next to it.

The letter could only really be from one student. The part about how she’d been dressing nicer this year and wearing make up was the give away and the signature confirmed it. The letter was from Alex.

I bit my bottom lip indecisively. If I was being brutally honest with myself, I had noticed her, especially since she turned eighteen and started dressing nicer. She was my student though, so I’d pushed those thoughts down, suppressed them until they barely bothered me. I’d convinced myself that even if the circumstances were different, even if a relationship was possible, she probably wouldn’t be interested. I was ten years older than her, that’s a hell of an age gap.

Now all of those feelings were rising to the surface, like a pack of rabid wolves all fighting to break free of a cage they’d been forced into. I found myself thinking about coming on to her, responding to her letter somehow. Engaging in a secret relationship with her, like Romeo and Juliet.

“They didn’t work out too well though, did they?” I said aloud to myself.

As long as neither of us planned to fake our own death we should be okay.

“What am I thinking!? Am I really thinking about engaging in a relationship with a student?” I yelled at myself.

The truth was I wasn’t considering it. I was way past that now. I was instead thinking of how I could pull this off.

I went to bed that night with thoughts of her in my mind and spent the entire night wrecked with dreams about Alex.

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