He was so handsome, and my body was going crazy over that fact. Even when I tried to get rid of my crush on him, it seemed to grow even stronger without us communicating. It turned out we communicated best in silence. A few glances here, a few tiny smiles there. Maybe our connection didn’t need words or sounds. Maybe it just was.

He was so intelligent, too.

He was so smart that it made me want to crawl into his head and live there. I wasn’t falling for Daniel during the school hours. I was falling for Mr. Daniels.

Half the students in class probably never had any idea how intellectual he was. He was just another boring teacher to them. But I was smitten by how his mind found ways to teach us. How he could push us, push me to try new concepts.

We were in our poetry section covering sonnets, haikus, and my personal favorite…

He hopped off his desk and pushed his way to the board, which read: Flash Fiction.

“Come on, ladies and gents! One of you must have some idea of what flash fiction is. Just start tossing things out.”

“Fiction about the superhero Flash!” Ryan smirked.

“Close…” Daniel laughed. “But not exactly.” My hand flew up for the first time since the school year started. Daniel saw this and gave me a sweet smile. “Yes, Ashlyn?”

“Fiction that happens in a flash…as in short, short stories. They normally tell a complete story within a few sentences, a few words.”

Avery, one of the only football players who didn’t tease me, snickered. “That’s impossible.” He was the same guy who’d been kicked out of Bible study. I wondered what he had done to get kicked out. You probably had to be pretty ruthless to have God’s people turn on you.

“Not really,” I argued quietly.

Daniel arched an eyebrow and stepped back to the front of his desk. He sat again with his legs extended and crossed at his ankles. “Care to explain, Ms. Jennings?” He used my last name, and for some reason, it made my thighs pulse in excitement.

I wanted to impress him. I wanted him to know how much I knew. The palms of my hands were growing clammy, and I ran them against my legs. My teal sundress lay against my body, yet I felt extremely exposed.

Was it bad that I liked how exposed I felt in front of him?

Daniel turned me on with his music, his voice, his sounds, and his touch. His gentleness and sense of humor. But Mr. Daniels made my thighs quiver in a completely different manner. A forbidden way. A seductive fashion. I daydreamed about class releasing and his holding me back—saying that he had to go over something with me. He would close his classroom door and push me against it as his hand slowly pulled up the hem of my dress. My mouth gaped open at his touch, his caresses.

I imagined his fingers finding my panties and rolling against the fabric, back and forth in a slow motion, making me pant for more. His fingers pushed against the fabric before he found his way inside. “Mr. Daniels…” I would whisper against his ear, sucking on his earlobe between moans.

He would kiss me down my neck, licking me slowly. Touching me seductively as he turned me on by breathing against my cle**age. He would scold me, telling me how I’d been a very bad girl. I would moan lightly as he lifted me up against the wall, sliding down my spaghetti straps and cupping my br**sts in the palm of his hands. He would claim my chest, my body as his and his only.

Then, in my deep imagination, someone would enter the classroom and I would hide behind his door. My breaths uneven and rushed, adrenaline coursing through every inch of my body. I wouldn’t pull my dress completely down so that when he glanced behind the door he could see my damp, teal panties teasing him, making him that much hungrier.

Oh yes, Mr. Daniels turned me on in an extreme amount. And that was only in my mind. I wondered what he could do if he actually touched me in the classroom.

“Um…Ashlyn?” Ryan poked me in my arm.

I shook myself from my fantasy. The whole class was staring at me and my wide-open mouth. My lips shut. My cheeks reddened.

“Uh—yeah. Yes.” Clearing my throat and my thoughts, I continued. “There’s a story that’s been going around forever. People contribute the story to Ernest Hemingway, yet it’s hard to say if it’s a fact that it truly happened. Anyway, the rumor is that Hemingway was bet to tell a story using six words.”

“Like I said,” Avery laughed. “Impossible.”

Daniel’s eyes were narrowed in on me. He arched an eyebrow and the corner of his mouth turned up in a grin. Did he know that I’d been daydreaming about him? Did he dream about me, too?

“Impossible?” Daniel muttered. “Is it?” he asked, moving again to the board. He wrote, “For sale: baby shoes, never worn.” Hemingway’s story.

The room went silent. The words on the board even made me shiver, even though I’d already known the story.

Ryan was the first to speak when he said, “Burned by a teacher, Avery!”

The room started cracking up, and I couldn’t stop smiling. I wanted to be shocked that Daniel knew the exact story I’d spoke of, but of course he did. He was intelligent beyond measure.

Daniel held his hands up, bringing the roaring class to silence. “All right. Yes. So what I want from you is to take these papers you wrote for me at the beginning of the year about your goals in life—which I’ve given you all a few notes about”—he lifted a stack of paper and started handing them back to us—“and I want you to sum it up in three different ways. Next week as a sonnet. The week after as a haiku. And three weeks from now as a flash fiction story. At the end of each week, you’ll present your poetry in class. I won’t go Hemingway on you, giving you only six words for the flash fiction. You get ten.” He placed my paper on my desk and smiled at me. It was that same kind smile I’d taken in way back when at the train station. “Make each word count.”