Olaffsen figured out how to kill two birds with one stone. He called Christa Jackson, the choir director who'd gotten the axe in the wake of the school's program cuts. She was delighted to hear from him, even more so when he told her the reason he was calling.
"Listen, Christa ... I've got a student who needs voice coaching. Yes. Yes, you'll never believe it, she knocked on my door and said she wanted to sing. You'll just love her, she's very enthusiastic."
He rolled his eyes a little at his own inside joke. Hillary's most recent attempt to corner him had been that very morning. "I think I need voice lessons," she purred. "Maybe you could spend some time with me?"
Yeah, right! He yanked himself back to what his colleague was asking. "Hillary Fairchild," he answered. " ... Really! So she was telling the truth. Well, you two should have a lot of catching up to do. Uh-huh. ... I realize that's a delicate issue, Christa. I'll pay you out of my own pocket ... please don't argue with me, just let me do this. If students are falling out of the sky wanting to make music, don't you think the Board will come around?"
They kicked around the politics of it for a few minutes and Jake hung up. He was pretty pleased with himself. Now he would have a better singer, and he wouldn't have to stand behind her and point at the sheet music.
He put his face in his hands for a moment, remembering the most recent rehearsal. He had tried, really tried, to resist the temptation to get up from his drum kit and go to her side. And he had failed.
David sat to one side of the piano bench while Jake tapped out single notes. "You need to be heeeeeeeeeeere..." he sang a monotone to Hillary a half-step lower than her current effort.
She mimicked his tone so exactly that he suspected she could do it all along. Then the little bitch stepped closer and pointed to a different place on the page.
"Could you help me with this one, please?" Her cashmere sweater lingered over his shirtsleeve.
Across the room, Allison and Craig rolled their eyes at each other. Who was touching now! They saw their teacher step out of range as Hillary swung her trailer, aiming her hip at his. Clearly Olaffsen had his hands full, trying to get this girl to back down. His struggle, his weakness, was painfully obvious.
Now Jacob rubbed the heels of his hands against the bones just under his eyes. He looked at the calendar. The spring concert was not far away, and graduation was not long after that. Soon, his troubles would be over.
His glance fell on the sign that glowered down from his wall: "Here and Now." Typically he believed these were words to live by. These days, he wasn't so sure.
* * *
At last it was the night of the concert. Jake had to turn away from Hillary. Her long blonde curls draped over the black velvet halter of her body-tight dress. The neckline plunged and the hemline was well above the knee. Very little was left to the imagination.
Allison wore her customary white, to make the black of her instrument stand out. The boys opted for tuxes instead of the skinny black ties of autumn. Altogether, Swing Time looked hot. The crowd told them so, hand over noisy hand, as they took the stage.
Hillary belted it out:
"My funny valentine...
Sweet, comic valentine
You make me smile ... with my heart.
Your looks are laughable—
Yet you're my favourite ... work of art..."
Couples were slinking across the floor before the first verse was over. Hillary loved the spotlight and made the most of it. She cradled the cordless mike in her hands and crooned.
"Is your figure — less than Greek?
Is your mouth ... a little weak?
When you open it to speak
Are you smart?
But don't change a hair for me
Not if you care for me
Stay, little valentine, stay-y-y-y-y-y-y-yy!"
Her voice tolled through the auditorium like an Austrian church bell. She could have been onstage at the Blue Note. Christa Jackson, sitting in the front row, wept. Hillary trailed to a sulky whisper.
Impulsively, David played, "Jingle bells, ...jingle bells, ...jingle all the ... way-ee-ay..." Stan followed with the ease of a thirty-year musician. Jake coaxed the cymbals a little higher and Allison didn't know what to do, so she held the last wail like a woman in the throes of passion, which she was. Craig just stood there with a smile plastered on his face. Air guitar!
There was no longer any question that music had won the hearts of parents and students alike. Olaffsen smiled openly at the school superintendent in the audience, who met his eyes and applauded. Maybe those funding cuts would be reversed, after all.
By the time Hillary asked her teacher for a ride home, he was feeling so good he didn't care. Stan, however, looked seriously concerned. Lines furrowed his brow. He pulled his friend aside.
"Listen, Jake, do you really think that's a good idea?"
"I'm a big boy, Stan. No worries."
Hillary was waiting down the hall, out of earshot. She was a picture in her tight black velvet dress, sheer black stockings and three-inch fuck-me heels. Her tits and ass looked made for a lover to play with. She gave a little wave to the two men and flashed her white teeth. Her smile looked like the grin of a hunting wolf. She'd soon find out a bit more about herself.
Jake gave his friend a reassuring smile and walked his date to the parking lot.
"Oooh, what kind of car is this?" Hillary knew it was a Porsche, but that was the extent of her knowledge. She had fantasized several times about this moment: Jake Olaffsen in a tux, herself dressed to kill, as the two of them tore down the road in his black sports car. Now that it was happening (although not literally at 90 mph), she didn't quite know how to handle it.
"This," he shifted, "is a Porsche nine-eleven Targa 4."
Hillary giggled and babbled something lame. All the witty lines she had dreamed up ahead of time left her. She couldn't think of a damn thing to say, which vexed her; this was her big chance to seduce Jacob Olaffsen, and she didn't want to blow it.
"Looks like you already know the way to my house."
"I know it will shock you, but I have been known to use Google."
The ride to the Fairchild home took less than ten minutes. Jake pulled up in front of the upper middle class house. He turned to Hillary to speak, but did not get out a single word.
He was not especially surprised when she attacked him. She pressed her lips to his and stuck her tongue in his mouth. What she lacked in technique she made up for in passion.
"Miss Fairchild." His hands on her biceps were strong, though his protest was mild.
"Call me Hillary," she whispered fiercely, but Jake shook his head.
"Why not? I know you want me." With that she put his hands on her breasts.
Instinctively Jake squeezed the soft velvet hills, eliciting a little squeal from the young lady. She pushed her chest further into his grip. His irregular breathing encouraged her to put her hand in his lap.
With surprising speed he whipped his hands in twin circles and captured both of her wrists. He folded her arms in an X across her chest and admonished, "Not until I tell you to."
"But you want me, I know you do." Her lower lip stuck out. "The day I auditioned, I saw you."
He still held her hands in place. The velvet snuggled under his thumbs. He moved them over her nipples, just enough to emphasize his presence. Her chest rose and fell in response.
"What did you see, exactly?" His tone was faintly amused.
"You had a hard-on," she whispered. "You tried to cover it up, but I saw."
Jacob nodded gravely in response. "And what, Miss Fairchild, do you think you want from me?"
"I—I want you to take my virginity."
He laughed out loud and let go of her. "You expect me to believe you're a virgin."
"I am!" The indignant look on her face made him laugh some more.