This is definitely a wintertime story, as it takes place during a blizzard on the week of Valentine's Day. ;-)
by Celine Chatillon
Trish Steelman always gives generously of her time and energy to her students... But it takes a blizzard and a friendly ghost to help her to receive the gift of love from Patrick Rodgers, a fellow teacher she has been mentoring.
Pete the Poltergeist brings these two sensitive and caring souls together in the empty halls of Harding High. Before long, Trish and Patrick realize that sharing “body warmth” with a friend in the midst of a power outage can ignite a fiery passion that has been too long contained…
An excerpt from Gifts Well-Timed:
“I can’t believe this.” I shook my head as we circled back toward the teachers’ lounge. “It’s five-thirty. We can’t be the only people still here—can we?”
Patrick’s furrowed brow made his expression seem positively grim. “Let’s turn on the TV and see what the weather report says.”
We doffed our winter gear, plopped down on the old plaid couch in the lounge and switched on the television set. Sure enough, the storm that had been forecasted for later tonight had barreled into town early. A foot or more snow—on top of the five or six feet already on the ground—was likely to fall within the next few hours. City buses were permanently parked. The airport was closed. People were advised to stay indoors until the worst of the storm had passed.
“Why didn’t Ronny come on the P.A. and tell us to leave before the weather got worse?” An eerie feeling that we had been purposefully cut off from the rest civilization descended over me. I felt like we’d become victims in a slasher movie. No matter what we did, we were doomed.
“I know I didn’t hear Ronny say anything,” Patrick agreed. “I stayed after to grade papers and install a new program on the lab computers. I’m sure I would have heard an announcement telling everyone to leave the building.”
I nervously giggled. “Pete the Poltergeist really knows how to make a point, huh? Maybe he switched off the P.A. speakers in our rooms?” “You mean, you think Pete deliberately kept us from hearing Ronny’s announcement? That our resident poltergeist is trying to bring us together against both our better judgment?”
Wearing a big grin, Patrick scooted closer on the sofa and stretched an arm across the back, lightly stroking my shoulders. “Perhaps Pete’s trying to tell us something?”
A tingle zinged down my spine. I wanted to rip off all my clothes—and his—at that very moment. But I knew I couldn’t.
“Oh, no!” I jumped up from the couch a bit too abruptly, causing him to fall to his side. “Sorry.” I took a deep breath. I had to calm my jangled nerves before turning to face him. “What I meant to say is that maybe this is a ‘wake-up call’ of sorts… Pete wants both of us to realize that we’re giving too much of ourselves to this school.” “Too much of ourselves?”
“Well…” I shrugged. “You gotta admit it—it’s like we both practically live here at times.”
Patrick sighed. “What can I say? It’s better than living at my place lately.”
Aw shit! What a dumb thing to say. I could punch myself for my stupidity. I’d brought up that hot topic again. I’d made Patrick think about his non-existent sex life. I had to get his mind off of the subject right away. I had to do so without making him think I was coming on to him, too.
I felt like pacing—but that was too obvious an avoidance mechanism. So I made myself sit down beside him and started to ramble. “We’re practically twins when you come to think about it, Patrick. We both sponsor way too many after school activities. We both spend an exorbitant amount of time working on our class rooms and writing lesson plans. Even Ronny thinks we should be more selfish with our time.”
“Selfish isn’t part of your vocabulary, though, is it?” He fingered a lock of my hair. “You’re the most wonderfully generous person I know, Trish.”
I blushed. “Thanks.”
Something deeply primal glowed in his hazel eyes as he wound my shoulder-length, sandy-blond tresses about his long fingers. My gaze riveted on his face. I felt totally mesmerized. Here we sat all alone in the teacher’s lounge on a Tuesday evening, essentially snowed in from the rest of the world, and already I was seriously considering Nance’s proposition...
Fuck his brains out.
by Celine Chatillon
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