I am Chloe. I am 18 years old and I had an affair with my teacher, Mr Stevens or Phil as I came to call him.
I am not some silly girl, although they have repeatedly tried to tell me that I am. Believe me, I have felt the weight of my opponents as they tried to convince me, no doubt orchestrated by Phil, that I dreamt the whole thing up. Still, it is to be expected isn’t it, that they, the teachers, will close ranks and look out for one another. That is what they do isn’t it? I have lost friends because of this, but I realise they are just jealous and they fancied Phil just like me, only I got to have him. I don’t blame them for fancying him, he is good looking and funny and he has that easy air about him that makes him so likeable, but what they don’t realise that it is all an act. Phil the Flirt, Phil the Mate but when it suits him he remains Phil the Teacher, set apart and to stay apart.
He started it of course. I won’t deny that I liked him from the beginning. Everybody does. He is a popular teacher and being good-looking as well is never going to cause him a problem in the popularity stakes, but you see, he knows all of this, he plays on all of this and boy does he use it. He uses it to reel you in and then, and here is the clever part, he uses it as his defence. “I cannot help it if they take advantage of my popularity,” he protests as he maintains his innocence. He is not innocent. And he took my innocence.
He started it. I recognised the way he looked at me. He always looked for me in class before anybody else, as if ensuring that I was there in my usual seat and then giving me ‘that smile’. Oh, he smiles at everyone I was told. He does not smile for them the way he does, or rather did, for me. I am not stupid. I may be young but I saw how he would stare at me, how I could feel his gaze on me, how I could tell from the corner of my eye that he was stood besides me and was looking down my blouse. Who wouldn’t? I am attractive, I have my fair share of boys chasing after me and Mr Stevens is a man, he is flesh and blood, so he is bound to look isn’t he? He wasn’t meant to touch though but he did. Oh he touched me, in so many ways and he knew what he was doing.
I had heard that others had become besotted with him before. Rumours of some girl a few years ago who had to be persuaded to move to another school because she fell in love with him and would not leave him alone. I tried to find her actually but got nowhere. Some say he got her pregnant and she had to have an abortion, her parents hushing it all up as they did not want the scandal. Some say it is all made up. They have said the same to me.
I know what I saw. The cheeky winks just for me, the slightly longer smile than usual aimed at me. The way he usually asked me first when I put my hand up to answer a question. He was besotted with me first. I tried to tell them this but they dismissed what I said. Told me I was reading too much into him just being friendly, that I was trying to see things which were not there because I was desperate for his approval.
He was always encouraging, praising me for my work. I always enjoyed history but it became even better when he was allocated as my teacher. I worked hard because I wanted good results and I wanted him to be pleased with my work. I got high marks from the beginning and I now realise this was his way of reeling me in, making me feel special, marking me out for special treatment. He advocated on my behalf that I should be a candidate for Oxbridge (prestige British universities) and that meant extra tuition ; with him of course. Now, I am good enough to get in to Oxford or Cambridge (I chose Oxford) but he clearly saw this as his opportunity to isolate me from the other students and cleverly, from witnesses. After all, plenty of people across the various subjects have these Oxbridge tutorials after college hours, but he used his to teach me about more than the Tudor dynasty and the English Civil War.
Once he had me in those special tuition one-on-ones, then it was inevitable where it would end up. I was not complaining. I wanted his attention, absolutely, although of course he should have known better. He was the one in a position of trust, a man in a position of authority and I was just the pupil. Yes, I wanted him, but I didn’t realise that he was the one who had engineered for me to feel that way. That is what these predators do. They make it seem like your doing, but he hypnotised me and made me fall under his spell.
He was always so assured, doing just enough to maintain an element of doubt should he have misjudged the situation, just enough to be able to protest it was an innocent gesture. The hand on the shoulder, the hug of congratulations, the slightly-too-long touching of fingers when passing a book or an essay to one another. Oh, he was good, he knew what he was doing, steadily reeling me in and making me the centre of the universe. He chose me from the very beginning and little by little he reeled me in. He used his influence to bring me to heel and have me on my knees (how he relished seeing me on my knees) and I lapped up his attention and more besides.
Soon the secret trysts began. Arrangements made in his office with that Stuart family tree covering the door window so nobody could see what went on in his office. So much for transparent government, he still subscribed to the idea of an absolute monarchy. He never used his ‘phone, clever old Phil. He made it seem romantic, the whispered instructions of where to meet and when, always outdoors, never in places where we would be seen. No traces left, no observers, no evidence. He was a master at this game and I was clearly naive, but I am not a silly little girl.
And then he dropped me. No explanation. He became cold. Civil yet cold. I tried to get my friends to see how he treated me differently but they told me that I was imagining it. My grades remained excellent but the Phil that held me and read to me from historical texts and delighted me with his knowledge was gone. The Oxbridge tutelage came to a conclusion as the entrance examinations loomed ; he had no reason to be alone with me and even though I sought an audience with him, this absolute monarch would not grant me admittance.
So I spoke out. Why shouldn’t I? He told me he loved me and I loved him too. Yet once he had my innocence (or rather once he had it two score) he considered me conquered and of no great interest to him anymore. Nobody treats me like this. I will bring him down. He is not going to get away with it. Oh, I know they think I have made this all up, some kind of revenge for not getting my way, but they have underestimated me. I am not going to be denied and I will make the all see, even my parents who for some inexplicable reason have sided with him. I shouldn’t be surprised though, the have always hated me for some reasons, they are frauds to think they can call themselves mother and father. No, I know this is how his kind behave. They turn everyone against you, cut you off and paint you as the trouble maker. That is not me. I am the victim.
I am Mr Stevens. I am 30 years old and a teacher of history. I still am, although I am currently suspended as a consequence of the ridiculous allegations of a fantasist. It is an outrage that someone’s made-up fantasy has the potential to ruin a man’s career.
I am no fool. I have taught for nearly a decade and I know the tricks pupils get up to. I have seen them all. I have always been a teacher who adopts the ‘carrot’ approach. You always get further with honey rather than vinegar. Oh, I know there are one or two sticks in the mud in the staff room who regard my popularity with sniffed disdain, but that is just jealousy on their part. My results speak for themselves. Plenty of students choose to study history and between Miss Kelshaw and I, we make a formidable team. Thankfully Miss Kelshaw has supported me in this unpleasant matter although I always knew she would do so. Sensible lady.
You do walk a tight rope at times when you are friendly, yet firm, with the students. I am not their friend but I do not have to be their enemy either. I love history and my natural enthusiasm for the topic is something I try to install in my charges too. If you love something, you always do better don’t you? It does not feel like a bind or a chore. By ensuring those who choose to study history with me really love it and want to live and breathe it, I weed out the ones where it is not for them nice and early and they move to a different subject in the first two weeks. Plus doing that ensures that I am only going to get those who are going to get the best grades, so it is a win-win all around. I want to make my mark on this college. I will be the principal one day, although at present it appears that moral principles are ones which are trying to attract my attention to a greater degree.
Chloe Fowler is a good student. She will do well. Polite if something of an attention-seeker. Always first to stick her hand in the air an one to air an opinion on absolutely anything and everything. Nothing really wrong with that I suppose, at least she has learned the mantra of make a point and then ensure you have something to back it up when she advanced her arguments. I taught her just as I taught everybody else ; to the best of my ability.
Unfortunately for me, she mis-read my concern for her education as meaning something else. What can I do about that? I am not going to sit behind a screen and isolate myself from my students am I? That is not how I operate. I am not a ‘no smiles before Christmas’ kind of guy. Not at all. History needs to be alive, accessible and most of all enjoyable. It is like anything in this life – if you enjoy it, make it yours and you will succeed. I want all my students to succeed.
Yes, I selected Chloe Fowler for Oxbridge tutelage. That was the right selection and I still say it is, despite her ridiculous allegations. She has her keen mind, too keen as it happens. I have read what she has accused me of, or rather the police office read it to me and it is all nonsense, a made-up fairy tale. I see she has been clever though, she has ensured that she has accused me when there was nobody else available to witness our interactions. It is always the case that those chosen for Oxbridge tuition see their tutors in their offices. That has always been the case and I am pleased that my fellow teachers and the principal have confirmed that to be the case. I knew they would back me on this. It is an occupational hazard of ours, infatuated students who start to think they are the apple of your eye. Usually it is nothing more than a harmless term-long crush and they grow out of it, but not this girl. She has something seriously wrong with her. Has to have to come out with the lies she has spouted. Suggesting we had sex beneath ‘the tree that Charles the Second hid in’. I know that to be a lie ; that tree was destroyed hundreds of years ago. Everything she has spouted is just the slops of the mind of a fantasist and she is dangerous. Nobody is going to believe her. I know the police have to go through the motions but it will be soon kicked in to touch. She has done this because I rejected her. I didn’t reject her outright, after all there was nothing to reject, we had no romantic relationship, there was no flirtation, nothing. It is clear, however, she thought otherwise and in that warped mind of hers, she has felt rejected in some way and this is the result. An expensive and unnecessary investigation, plus the interference to the other students, no wonder so many have turned against her.
I know she liked me. I am a likeable person but I maintained a proper teacher-student relationship and she has seen fit to dream up something else. What can you do? Put cameras everywhere I suppose but then who wants that, surely there has to be some element of trust between us? Am I annoyed? Of course I am. I haven’t done anything wrong and along comes this girl and she spouts all manner of idiocy and she is treated seriously. I mean, anybody can see this is a tissue of lies. This had better not affect my promotion prospects or I will be taking legal action too. Thankfully the local paper have not reported anything about it so far, that conversation I had with the deputy editor seems to have worked, so far so good on that front. He is a good friend and does not want to see the reputation of a hard-working and successful teacher sullied. What annoys me most is how easy it is for someone like her to make these things up and next thing it is suspension and investigation. They tell me that it is a neutral act but I know there will be those trotting out the old ‘no smoke without fire’ rubbish.
I realise that when you are decent-looking chap like me and because you are friendly and get to share a joke with the students, some might blur the boundaries but it is one thing for them to be blurred and another for them to be crossed. Am I to be punished just for being popular, because that is what she is trying to do?
I am not going to change my style though. I am a hands-on teacher and that always gets results and one besotted fantasists is not going to make Phil Stevens change how he teaches. No way.
It is ridiculous. As if I would be interested in some 16 year old (which is how she says she was when this started) when I have a gorgeous wife at home. That in itself should tell those looking into this that this is a witch hunt by a disturbed adolescent who should be studying for her exams and getting help with whatever problem she has, rather than trying to ruin the life of an honest and decent man. I am the victim in all of this.
Who is the class room narcissist?