Mal had to admit that she was impressed at Aurora's restraint. They had shared no suggestive glances, or comments, for an entire week. Work had been fine, although Mal had spent the previous Sunday purchasing some different work clothes that bore no resemblance to the ones that were a distraction. They were black of course; Mal would not give up wearing black for anyone.
Now she was working, with a glass of wine, on the swing chair in the back garden. Her students were very bright, and she enjoyed reading their work. Of course there were mistakes, but she could hardly judge them at the level of education which she had reached. They were not there yet. But some of them could definitely continue if they wanted. Like Aurora. Mal sighed as she traced her finger across the page of the short essay. She had given her students the chance to submit a practice essay for her, half the usual length, to see if there were areas in which they could improve before their actual essay for this term. The topic was one not in the set questions of course; she didn't want to give anyone an advantage over the others.
But Aurora... her essay was incredible. Mal could tell that she had spent a long time on the essay, and then the editing. Probably about the same amount of time that she would be spending on the real essay. How could she fit it in? Mal frowned and glanced at the trees that shielded Aurora's house from view. With everything that poor girl had to go through, and all the work at University, how had she managed such a competent essay?
Mal read the last few sentences again.
To conclude, the Freudian ideology which creates a foundation for the psychological and social exploration in the story of Jekyll and Hyde has great merit in reflecting both society's reaction to the new theories and, on a scientific level, expressing a greater understanding of the progress of humanity when comparing theories of evolution.
The essay that had come before had been excellent, although Mal wondered whether the fact that she read the story with Aurora's voice in her head had something to do with it. She hoped not. She couldn't let herself be distracted. Aurora needed her to be teaching at her best, so that she would perform her best in exams and other essays. Mal rubbed her eyes, tired, and decided to read it again with the harshest, nit picking ideas that she could.
Half way through, she had only found one point to make, and it was so small that she barely understood why she had pointed it out. So you don't get accused of special treatment.
"What are you frowning at?" Aurora appeared, Phillip in hand. Mal glanced up, blushed, and quickly hid the paper.
"Nothing. Work. How are you?"
"Well, we're going for a walk and Phillip wanted to know if you would like to join us?"
"Did he indeed?" Mal smirked.
"YES." Phillip cried, and released himself from Aurora to fling himself at Mal. She only just managed to keep her wine from spilling.
"Ooof." She let out as he collided with her stomach.
"Sorry." Phillip looked at her sheepishly.
"Why do you want the Evil Queen to come with you Phillip?" Mal asked, wondering if it had been Aurora's idea.
"Cos I do." He frowned, not understanding. "You not evil reaaaaally. Jus' pretend."
"I'm glad we've got that settled." Mal chuckled.
"Would you like to join us?" Aurora asked, gently. Her hair was down, and she was wearing jeans and a jumper. The evening had gotten a little cooler, and Mal had been glad of her own jumper. She bit her lip, thinking, and then stood up, Phillip squealing and holding on to her tighter.
"I would love to. Let me put my things away." She lowered Phillip gently. Gathering the wine and the essays, she walked bare footed over the grass to her house. Phillip rushed inside, laughing.
"Phillip! You can't just go in to other people's houses without permission!" Aurora called after him.
"It's alright. Come in Rory." Mal said softly, with a smile. Aurora stared at her in surprise for a moment, and then smiled and followed her. Phillip had climbed on to Mal's arm chair and was busy staring at her bookshelf.
"Got lottsa books!" He grinned. "More than Rora."
"Well, I've been collecting them for longer." She placed the essays on the table. "I'll just get my shoes. Where are we going?"
"Just down to the play area. I like to make sure he goes at least once a week."
"That sounds pleasant." Mal smiled, slipping in to her black boots. "Alright, lets go." She took her keys, and followed them out of the door, smiling as Phillip clung to her. "You know Phillip, it's a lot easier to walk if you hold my hand instead of my leg."
"Oooops." He said, and giggled.
"That's his favourite new expression."
"I suppose it must get boring after a while."
"No... it makes him happy." Aurora watched Phillip carefully, and took his hand at the end of Mal's drive. "Remember Prince Phillip, we hold hands until the path."
Once they were walking down the path, which went through a field and was therefore safe for Phillip to run a little wild, she let him go. Both women watched Phillip carefully and walked in happy silence for a little way.
"Was that my essay?" Aurora asked suddenly.
"I couldn't possibly say." Mal smiled. "But if it was, I was finding next to nothing wrong with it."
"But you were frowning."
"Because I should be able to find something."
"So I have to be doing something wrong?" Aurora's brows were furrowed, and Mal felt bad.
"No. I find... I find myself checking your essays more than others for mistakes because I worry that... well that I'm letting you down."
"How?" Aurora asked.
"Well, if I didn't notice because I got distracted by how impressed I am with you, then you wouldn't know if you needed to improve. And I also don't want to miss mistakes that you might have made because..." Mal frowned and slipped her hands in to her pockets, unsure of how to word the rest of the sentence.
"Because I'm me." Aurora finished.
"I'd rather you were sure. And I'd rather you were tough on me. I want my work to be the best, and it won't be if you let things slide."
"I don't know how you do it." Mal admitted.
"What? Write essays? You shouldn't be teaching if you don't know that." She teased.
"No, insolent girl." Mal chuckled. "How you balance everything. You look after Phillip, a house, yourself and your step father, and you work. Then you pull out perfect essays and clever analysis. Do you even sleep?"
"You know I do."
"How?" Mal frowned.
"Because I told you that my dreams would never be the same again." Aurora smirked. When Mal realised that she was referring to the previous weekend, she felt her cheeks blush. Aurora laughed, beautifully, and carried on walking, leaving Mal to hurry and catch up with her.
"I've missed you blushing." Aurora admitted. "I've been so well behaved around you, it's almost painful. I actually bit my tongue the other day, so that I didn't make a smart remark back at you."
"You were talking about Dracula and his passion." Aurora remembered. "Wednesday I think. And you said that he bites and it can be read as a sexual act. And I just had to stop myself from reminding you why I can't wear my hair up any more."
Mal's cheeks were hot and she coughed.
"Sorry. I didn't even... I didn't even think I-"
"Hey, it's part of the lesson. You didn't do it on purpose." Aurora smiled, and then smirked and laughed. "Besides, I'd been a little sleepy and that woke me right up."
They had reached the playground, and Phillip was already climbing through the tunnels of the small fort that had been constructed there. The playground was empty; no children played, and no young adults hung out, with nothing better to do. In the late afternoon, with the sun low in the sky, it was pleasant, if a little chilly. Mal stuffed her hands in her jeans and was once again glad of her loose black jumper.
"So what do we do now?" Mal asked.
"We could sit on the swings?" Aurora said, raising her eyebrow. "I usually do. You can see the whole park from there and I can watch Phillip."
"Okay." Mal felt a little nervous, not that she would ever admit it. She was enjoying the domesticity of this and how comfortable it was, and that was strange. She had never imagined herself as this person.
"Bet I can get higher than you." Aurora teased.
"I am not playing that game." Mal snorted, sitting down and wrapping her arms around the chains.
"Because you're afraid you'll lose." Aurora goaded.
"Because, Miss Rose, I know I could beat you and... what?" Aurora was staring at her.
"You broke the rules!"
"You called me Miss Rose."
"Oh!" Mal bit her lip and frowned. "I'm sorry. I forgot."
"Don't worry about it Professor." Aurora smirked.
"Tit for tat, eye for an eye etc etc." Aurora grinned.
"I don't think I've ever seen you speechless before." Aurora's smile was gentle and almost all of the teasing had disappeared from it. "And on the subject of the rules, I may have to ban that outfit too."
Mal glanced down at her jumper and rolled up jeans.
"What? This isn't even sexy."
"Well, putting aside the way your bum looks in those jeans, the rest just makes me want to..." Aurora stopped, bit her lip, and looked embarrassed.
"What?" Mal asked. "I'm not giving these up. You can't possibly find them sexy. And what about my bum?" She narrowed her eyes.
"It makes me want to curl up against you and cuddle. Not your bum, that just... well that just looks good." Aurora wasn't looking at Mal, probably out of embarrassment. She had her gaze firmly fixed on Phillip.
Mal sat in silence for a moment, watching Phillip as well. Aurora summoned up the courage to speak.
"Aurora?" Mal said, and the blonde looked at her. "I bet I can get higher than you."
She laughed and swung quickly backwards, watching the astonished look on Aurora's face dissolve in to laughter. The two swung, getting competitive, but the tension was broken. When they slowed, out of breath and still giggling, Mal pretended to pass out of her chair, still giggling, on to the grass hill beneath them. Aurora laughed and Mal spread herself out, grinning up at the other woman.
"I won." She gasped.
"Nope." Aurora smirked.
"I definitely did!"
"So did not!" Aurora stood up and offered her hand to help Mal up. "And you have grass in your hair."
Mal took her hand and then, in the spur of the moment, used it to pull the blonde down too. She rolled them over until they were lying side by side, breathless with laughed.
"Did too." She stuck out her tongue at the shocked blonde, and then rolled herself down the hill. It had been so long since she'd been this carefree and she let herself get swept up in it, enjoying herself. As she reached the bottom and stopped rolling, she looked back and saw Aurora about to roll in to her. She squeaked and caught the girl, who giggled, half on top of Mal.
"Did not!" She replied breathily.
Mal opened her mouth to protest, but Aurora leaned down and kissed her, shutting her up completely. She felt those soft lips moving against hers, and Aurora's body pressed against her. She could feel the blonde about to pull away, and suddenly her lips moved of their own accord, kissing the other woman back. Aurora shifted slightly, and then Mal felt the other woman's tongue running against her lips, begging for entry. She opened her mouth, sure she was going to protest and pull away, but as soon as she did her tongue flicked out to meet Aurora's, and she felt her hands moving from where she had caught Rory around her waist. One tangled itself in to the blonde hair, dragging her possessively closer. The other found itself on a line of bare skin at Aurora's waist, with Mal's thumb rubbing against it softly. She felt everything in her responding to the blonde, and even when they broke apart for air, Aurora seemed to find the strength to place several light kisses on Mal's lips, her cheeks, and even her nose.
"Now that, was a kiss." She murmured.
"Oh god..." Mal moaned softly, feeling everything as heat, and knowing she definitely, one hundred percent, should NOT be doing this.
"That good hmmm?" Aurora asked, and Mal felt the vibration from the hum through her body.
"I am so screwed." Mal shook her head.
"Not yet. Not if you don't want to be." Aurora replied, a little grin on her face.
"Aurora!" Mal gasped, half scandalised, and half because of the way her body responded.
"We lasted a week, and it was torture." Aurora said. "I think that says something."
Mal shook her head.
"Then we won't." Aurora said, disappointed, and moved to sit up. Mal felt the loss as soon as she was no longer pressed against her, and against her better judgement, followed her and wrapped her arms around Aurora's waist to keep her close. Aurora frowned. "Make up your mind Mal."
Mal stared at her. She couldn't do this. She shouldn't do this.
"Kiss me again." She murmured.
Aurora smiled, and tangled her fingers in Mal's hair.
She kissed her slowly, and Mal smiled against the blonde's lips. She never wanted to stop doing this.
"Whas fuck?" A small and confused voice asked.
"Fffff-flipping heck." Aurora covered as she stopped kissing Mal and scrambled away from where she'd basically been straddling her. "Phillip, never use that word!"
"No Phillip. That's a word that grown ups use."
"Daddy uses it."
"He's an adult too." Aurora was dusting herself off. Mal grinned and started to pull bits of grass off of herself.
"Phillip, if I ever hear that you've used that word I will turn in to a dragon and... breathe fire."
"No, not cool Phillip." Aurora glared playfully at Mal's attempt to help. "Miss Mal would be a very large dragon, and she would burn down our house."
"Oh." Phillip frowned at Mal. "You no do that?"
"I won't, as long as you don't use that word."
"Kay." He agreed and shrugged. "Can we go home now Rora?"
"Yes." Aurora stood up, giving herself a finally brush down and offered her hand to Mal. Mal took her hand and pulled herself up. She grinned down at Aurora and picked a few pieces of grass out of her hair. Aurora blushed, and thanked her.
"No problem." Mal smiled. She was already in deep enough trouble. Why not just throw all pretence out of the window? She smiled as Aurora managed to find some grass in her hair too, and then they followed Phillip back along the path, in a thoughtful silence.
When they had reached the point where their two drives were, Aurora paused.
"Phillip, go inside. I'll be there in a moment."
The boy ran happily in to the house. Mal saw that Stephan's car was there. She glared at it a little. She caught Aurora looking at her.
"What?" She asked. Aurora shrugged, and stepped forward, closing the space between them.
"Please don't change your mind." She entwined their fingers and looked pleadingly at Mal. "Please don't."
Mal bit her lip and looked down at their hands. She knew she was in deep trouble, but she had made her choice really, and she didn't think she would be able to stop now, even if she had the strength to try.
"I won't. But we... we have to be careful."
"We keep school and work separate. What happens here is the real us. Like you always planned." Aurora smiled. "If you want to keep your mask on at work, I can make one too." She looked fondly up at the brunette, and Mal released one of her hands to stroke through the blonde hair that she loved.
"That would be good." She bent down and placed a soft kiss on Aurora's lips.
"I have to go." Aurora moaned.
"I could always kidnap you?" Mal smirked.
"I wish." Aurora murmured. "Maybe another time?"
"Whenever you want."
Aurora leaned up and snatched another kiss, or two, or three, and then let go with a sigh.
Mal watched the blonde walk to her house with a blush on her cheeks. Hearing Aurora call her beautiful made her heart leap. She didn't even care how much trouble she was in now. She couldn't let go, not after this evening. With a sigh, she went to her own house.
She let herself smile as she closed the door, and went to get some dinner. Miss Aurora Rose spent the rest of the evening as the main focus of her thoughts.