TITLE: Gazes


AUTHOR: ambiguous-lies



FIC SUMMARY:  Extremely observant Karla has travelled across an entire ocean to study a semester abroad. Her class has a guest speaker come in to read them some “saucy” Shakespeare.


AUTHOR NOTES/WARNINGS: Just a thought I had while sitting in class today, inspired by listening to too much of The Love Book. Rated M for mild implications of sex. (The sonnet used is kind of hard to understand, I’m not really sure I fully understood it, so please feel free to sparknotes the crap out of it) Also note: May consider turning it into a series if there is interest J


“Lord have mercy on my soul,” I whimpered,”It’s much too early to wake up.” No one was in the room to hear me mumble under my breath about my tired frustrations. No one ever was.

I turned over on my side, cursing the early hour, and checked my phone. I was barely accustomed to the time change and then my classes started. Taking a semester abroad sounded like the greatest opportunity one could hope for, however, I was sorely mistaken; seemingly forever cursed by my early classes at the university. Rolling back in bed with my phone in hand I saw my new best friend Lisa had texted me several time, making sure I was awake.

Get to class on time today!

You are going to class today, right?

Karla! Wake up!!! Dr. Holloway is going to kill you if you miss the presentation today.


I hit the reply and told her to stop worrying about me and to make sure to get me lunch before the presentation later in the day. My adjustment to being in a class in another country was everything but fast. Having met Lisa the first day I came over was a God sent. We clicked instantly, as if we had been best friends for our entire lives. If it wasn’t for her, I was certain I’d be on a plane home by now. I checked the time one more time before opting for a quick shower before class.

“This guest speaker better be freaking amazing,” I thought as I walked to the communal shower. The last guest speaker we had last week talked with such a slow drag that I remember thinking I was in a movie being played in slow motion. Her actions were that of a turtles and her choice of language made me question the origin of the language. “And attractive.”

After dressing for the day in dark jeans and a chunky turtleneck sweater, I gathered my things; breakfast included and headed for my first class of the day. Lisa texted me while in class, knowing I wouldn’t be paying attention, telling me all sorts of rumors about our guest speaker. Dr. Holloway refused to tell any of us, fearing it would leak to the rest of the school and cause massive amounts of people to show up. But of course it leaked anyway. After struggling to pay attention in my first three classes, I began my trek across campus to the designated room where our guest speaker would read to us from a collection of poetry we had been trying to tackle in class.

“Karla! I’m over here.” I turned quickly to find Lisa standing on her chair in the second row. Sighing loudly at the fact that she had chose to sit behind our professor, I moved my tired bones over to her seat.

“Here is your lunch,” she said handing me a sandwich, “and if you haven’t seen by the massive hysteria that is the back rows, it is Tom Hiddleston.”

Our professor turned around in his chair clearly shocked by the fact we had figured it out

“Nice work Dr. Holloway,” I commended, “hopefully he doesn’t put us to sleep like your last speaker.”

“Oh Miss. Karla,” he laughed, “Your wit always makes me smile. No time for lunch I assume?”

I shook my head, my mouth full of food, “Your guest is cutting into my break time. I’ve had class since seven this morning. I’m running on empty.

Dr. Holloway smiled. Lisa and I sat there waiting for our guest speaker to take the stage talking about the impossible assignment we were assigned in another class earlier. Lisa shuffled off to the bathroom before the start leaving me to wallow in my own thoughts.  I stared down the crowd in the back, smiling to myself knowing if I wasn’t in Dr. Holloway’s class I too would probably be sitting back there, however unwelcome my present was. The crumbling ceiling above made me wish I were elsewhere, perhaps my bed. I missed them terribly.

Lisa returned just as Dr. Holloway took to the stage, and bumped my shoulder, motioning to her phone to tell me to silence mine. I quickly fumble for my phone, remembering the last awkward moment I had to spend with the guest speaker mid-speak about how she could praise my taste in music I had chosen for my ringtone, yet was clearly annoyed by the disturbance during her speech. Dr. Holloway said a few words, alluding to the fact that the crowd was bigger than anticipated, before introducing him.

Tom graced the stage with his all-knowing presence, making sure to acknowledge the loud frenzy coming from the uninvited public fan sector standing in the back. Observing as I often did, I watched the hands from his jean pockets slide out curtly waving at the standbys. Showing no signs of irritation from the crowd in the back, he posed in front of microphone, announcing his name and reason for being there. By then, however, my eyes, not my ears, were focusing on the proud man before us. His hair styled perfectly, as I had known it to often do. (Taking a course on Shakespeare in his native country was a daunting task for anyone, let alone a transfer student from the states. I wasn’t impervious to the phenomena that swept over a vast majority of the women and when Lisa had originally told me the rumor about him coming, I’ll admit, I prayed it would be him.)

He started out with the most common ones, reading them with such ease that the made the smooth caramel candy in my mouth feel rough rock in comparison. He had been invited here to read us poetry, but judging by the lack of squealing from the back, he was doing more than that to them.

He was a great specimen to study. His facial expressions heightened when the words needed to be emphasize and it delighted me to be able to watch, in person, all the tiny motions. As his lips danced over the words delicately, I found my bored tired expression lighten quickly. When Tom finished the required readings he snapped the book shut causing everyone to jump out of their hypnotic state. Dr. Holloway quickly walked up to the stage, thanking Tom for coming before opening it up to the floor for request.

“We have him for fifteen more minutes. Use it wisely.” Dr. Holloway smiled, thanking Tom one last time for coming before existed off the stage. Tom smiled back to us. For a second I thought (or rather hoped) that his grin and gaze landed on me, but it was all part of the scan as he searched for request from the crowd.

 “I have a hard time believing none of you have a request,” he laughed. Tom strolled across the stage, humming loudly while patiently waiting for a hand. His humming made up laugh, ultimately loosening the ice in the room.  

“Do one about sex!” Someone shouted. The rest greeted the anonymous person’s request welcomingly. I bit my bottom lip, hoping secretly that he would. I watched as his face turned a light shade of shy, not pink or red, but rather that feeling of uncomfortable. It had apparently went unnoticed by the rest of the audience, for just when Dr. Holloway went to raise his hand someone else shouted the specifics. 

“Can you do sonnet 129?” We turned, not letting the person get away with her anonymity any longer. A woman from the back seemed please with herself that her voice carried all the way up on stage and to Tom’s ears. I saw him blushed pink, ever so slightly. Out of comfort I bit the side of my nail, cautiously waiting for his answer.

“I’m not sure I’m familiar with that one,” he lied. Dr. Holloway, kindly and absentmindedly handed him his book of Shakespeare’s sonnets.

“Oh looky here,” Tom spoke, “how very kind of you professor.”

Dr. Holloway nodded with a smile, he’s clever but old man failing to pick up on the awkwardness surrounding him. I watched as Tom fixed the book on the stand, my eyes zooming in the light struggle his hands were having with holding still.

“You would think he would be use to this sort of thing,” Lisa whispered.

I smiled, unable to take my eyes away from his twitches. A bead of sweat rolled down his temple, then again the bright, yet clearly outdated spot light had been shinning on him for the past half an hour, persistently coating him in a bright beam of rays. It suited him, though, the stage, the light, his shirt, and everything else below his tucked in top where I didn’t allow my eyes to travel. I watched as his thin lips broke apart to read the first sentence. His eyes, fixated on the stand below him, could burn holes to the very center of the Earth. All other twitches disappeared as he began, leaving me to fixate on the top of his head.

“The expense of spirit in a waste of shame is lust in action,” he paused for a moment as the sonnet permitted taking the expected look up to the audience, “and till action, lust is perjured, murderous, bloody, full of blame, savage, extreme, rude, cruel, not to trust.

He looked up again, making sure his breaks were carefully enough placed that no one would assume his nerve. And that’s when it happened.

 It rarely happened, if ever, in history, when a pair of eye lock onto each other so tightly that the only explanation could be is that the universe is signaling to the two; look no further. And I felt it. Raging through my mind, an unfamiliar feeling of eluded stress. He took that from me. As his eyes scanned the crowd, they locked with mine. I must have smiled, or sneezed, or picked my nose, or said something out loud that caught his attention. But I don’t remember doing any of the aforementioned. A smile graced his face and he pulled his head back down to read. My eyes begged him, screamed for him to look up again; I begged too, wondering if it was just a smile out of courtesy or “that smile.” We all know the one.   

“Enjoy’d no sooner but despised straight,” Tom then looked up again closing the book silently making sure to keep his finger on the page in case of an emergency, “Past reason hunted and no sooner had Past reason hated, as a swallow’d bait on purpose laid to make the taker mad; Mad in pursuit and in possession so; had having and in quest to have extreme.”

At this point our stare had reached the uncomfortable part, where normal people tend to blush away. But I couldn’t. He couldn’t. And so we just stay locked for a while longer; myself trying to ignore the rushing sensation of every part of my body as he spoke to me. There was a hidden lust inside me that I had kept down for all intensive purposes while I was away from home, but he drew it out of me. As he continued my mind became numb to any previous thoughts and I wanted to just simply melt right there in my seat.

 “A bliss in proof, and proved, a very woe; Before, a joy proposed; behind a dream. All this the world well knows; yet none knows well. To shun the heaven that leads men to this hell.”

 Tom removed his finger from the book as the crowd erupted in applause. I went to turn to Lisa, but only my mouth would turn in her direction. My eyes and his were still holding one another; both surely questioning the same things. He then turned to quickly acknowledged his great appraisal.

 “What just happened?” I asked. But Lisa sat there unfocused on my words and rather on the uncharacteristic rush off stage our guest speaker was in the mist of doing. He smiled to the audience, coughing into his hands as if to say “I’m not running from embarrassment I just need a drink of water.” He raised his hand almost begging us to give him a moment, before dashing behind the curtain. Flustered and uncomfortable by affirming what had just happened, I scrambled to find something to occupy my mind. Lisa turned to me.

“I feel like he just made love to,” she said, “Karla I think I just had an orgasm in this seat.” I turned to her. Sitting directly next to me, Lisa could easily have been the desire of Tom’s gaze; leaving me to be the mistaken idiot who starred at misdirected contact for the past minute. I thought to myself, “I know it was me.”

Before allowing myself to fluster once more, our professor turned around in his seat in front of us and giggled something profoundly inappropriate. We were just that type of class, where the professor could get away with these things; we were a close group. It was no secret that Dr. Holloway was a gay man, who loudly and excitedly expressed his opinions to his students and so when he turned to Lisa and said “me too,” it neither alarmed me nor caused me to refocus.

 Tom came back on stage mere seconds later with a glass of water, the eruption from the back increasingly louder the second time around, made me turned my gaze upward towards him.

 And then it happened again. This time I was sure.