Years since anyone looked at me with such subtle signaling of passion promised, as if pleading with me to pry open the locked chambers of a secret self. Years. At first I was surprised. Look at me. I'm an older man. Admittedly, woman have always been drawn to what my wife describes as the animal bulk of my physical body. I am a big man, and there are women for whom size does indeed matter.

Still, I was surprised. At first I told myself that she was simply an attentive student. Her eyes sought out my eyes. She leaned forward, as if about to ask a question. The silky, solid-color blouses she prefers buttoned high, and yet the spaces between those buttons . . . When she leaned into the verge of a question, bright flashes of creamy skin detonated deep in the primal recesses of mind, unsettling the heavy earth of convention and decorum. I wanted to cross the room, fall on my knees and lay my head on her thigh.

I was careful, though, to keep my desires hidden. My every expression and gesture was a model of professionalism. I knew what she was thinking. I could see the dance of desire deep in the dark of her eyes. But I couldn't act. I couldn't speak as long I entertained even the smallest measure of doubt. The risk was too high.

I had to be sure.