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All characters depicted herein are 18 years or older.
Professor Adam Thatcher strode in through the door with his usual spry gate and telltale tattered black leather messenger bag swung over his shoulder. This day, she would not content herself with staring through the windowpane or finishing homework for other classes. This day, she was eager.
“Good afternoon,” he announced brightly, and clasped his hands together behind him as he stood at the head of the lecture hall. “I hope you all had some caffeine at lunch; I have an exciting class planned.”
The back row groaned and slouched down lower in their chairs; Sasha smiled. Thatcher turned to the dry-erase board and wrote in vigorous, slanting handwriting:
Sex in Paradise Lost—Holy or Unholy?
Twittering rolled like an undertow from the back of the room, spilling forward to the front and sparking new conversations before the former ones had time to recede. Sasha was impressed, and anticipation trilled through her at the prospect of the impending dialogue.
A prim girl in the front row promptly raised her hand and waved it impatiently at him.
“This is our first class discussing Paradise Lost; don’t you think it’s somewhat disrespectful to Milton to start off talking about—about…”
“Sex?” he offered, with a kind smile.
The girl flushed, but was undeterred. “Yes, sex. Don’t you think it’s disingenuous to introduce a religious text with such a lewd subject?”
Thatcher walked from the board to a table in the corner of the room and leaned against it. “Canonical English literature has many relevant subjects; sexuality is one of them. Sex is just as relevant to Milton as it is to Donne, or Shakespeare, or Byron. Exceedingly relevant to Byron.”
A ripple of laughter swept through the room.
He clapped his hands together once, effectively ending the conversation. “Any other concerns can be addressed to me after class. Now, who can tell me the religious significance of Satan copulating with his own daughter, Sin, in Book II?”
Sasha looked around the room; when no one else was willing to answer, she raised her canlı bahis hand.
Thatcher extended and hand to her. “Yes.”
“Pride is one of the Deadly Sins,” she answered meekly.
“Yes, and could you explain that further?”
“Well, Satan conceived Sin in his first dissenting thought from God, which marked the beginning of his Fall. The fact that he disagreed with the Almighty is indicative of his inherent pride—he decided he could devise a better way to rule Heaven.”
“And how does this relate to the incest?”
“Satan’s first sin was Pride, and his second was Lust in sleeping with the creature he created via that pride. In lieu of God, Satan tried to fill himself with himself; he developed a selfish nature and thought himself of the highest importance, which explains his vanity in sleeping with his own daughter. Incest is a reflection of one’s vanity: Sin is an extension of Satan, and therefore the perfect target for his pride.”
Thatcher beamed at her. “Very good, and well explained.” He turned his attention to the rest of the class. “Would anyone like to comment on what we’re talking about?”
A hand went up one seat ahead of and to the right of Sasha’s chair. Her heart thudded slightly faster in her chest; she knew that hand. Those nails, always flawlessly polished, the jingling silver bracelets around the delicate wrist, the near-platinum blond hair that covered the forearm in light wisps. Sasha swallowed hard, and she felt her cheeks sink into a nice rosy hue.
He nodded at the owner of the raised arm. “Yes, you have something to add?”
“About what was just said,” Ella Thompson turned in her chair to make fleeting eye contact with Sasha. “If Man was the first creature endowed with free will, that implies angels don’t have it.”
“So how could Satan even have a ‘dissenting thought from God’ if angels don’t have free will?”
“That’s a very good question, and I’m sorry to say that I don’t have an answer.”
“What do you mean?” she asked.
“Religion, like literature, is highly interpretative. First we have to ask what ‘free will’ means. Does it mean that angels bahis siteleri have free thoughts, but not free actions, and were created explicitly to worship God, regardless of their interior opinions? Or perhaps God specifically gave Lucifer a tiny kernel of ‘free will’ to be used to rally other angles into disobeying Him. God is described as having omniscience and thus knows every possible outcome of every possible action; why then, did he allow Lucifer this damning decision, knowing full well the chain of events that would follow? No one can ever prove that God’s reasoning is correct or incorrect because religion is abstract. The best we can do is argue about it.” Thatcher grinned before turning to the other half of the class.
Sasha’s hand shot back up before she’d even formed a complete thought in her head. Surprisingly, no one else seemed as curious about the topic.
He raised his eyebrows. “You’ve taken a liking to Milton, apparently; I don’t think you’ve talked this much all semester. Please.”
“About what you said on God’s omniscience: why would He create Eve for Adam if He knew what she would do? Isn’t He supposed to be a benevolent deity?”
“That’s another tricky question. The biggest distinction between humans and angels—besides corporeal form—is free will, as we’ve been speaking about. God wanted Man to have choice, because when Man chose to worship and obey Him, it would be sweeter and more righteous. Free will is an all-or-nothing deal; you can’t give it to someone and then periodically take it away. So, when Adam expressed his loneliness and requested a companion, God obliged, despite the eventual consequences.”
“Well why would God make Eve?” Ella hadn’t bothered to raise her hand this time.
Thatcher’s nose crinkled slightly. “I’m not sure I understand what you’re asking.”
“Why didn’t God just make another Adam, another man? All the angels are male, right? God is male, Jesus is male; why the sudden need for a female at all? That’s what I don’t get.”
He actually looked a bit flabbergasted. “I’m not sure. That’s an… interesting question.”
“Maybe God thought The Garden needed some bahis şirketleri sprucing up? Someone has to weed the rose bed,” a voice called out from the back of the room. Muffled giggling ensued.
Ella turned in her chair and glared at the culprit. “What I mean is,” she said as she faced Thatcher once more, “if all the angels are male and screwing each other, why the need for Adam to be heterosexual?” She crossed her arms under her breasts as she said the last, and nicely displayed a bit of cleavage down the top of her shirt.
There was a hush that began with the students sitting nearest Ella, and then emanated outward.
He stood open-mouthed for a second before managing to utter, “Well, I—” Professor Thatcher, who’d up until now been the epitome of reserved masculinity, had an embarrassingly noticeable voice-crack that he then attempted to cover by clearing his throat. “I… “
Sasha was no longer listening to him as he tried to form an answer. The lovely view of Ella’s cleavage had pitched Sasha deep into a rendition of her dream. Suddenly Ella’s tongue was mingling with hers, and she felt Ella’s fingers pushing hard inside her. Ella’s thumb rubbed Sasha’s own wetness around her clit, massaging harder and faster as her fingers slid in and out. Lips, warmth, hands, moisture, motion… Sasha cried out again as she had just before she woke that morning. But instead of opening her eyes to her dull bedroom ceiling, she opened them to confused and astounded faces—the most notable of which were Professor Thatcher and the flesh-and-blood Ella.
Maybe this isn’t as bad as it looks, Sasha thought as she pressed her spine into the back of her chair—but a quick glance to the right at her neighbor’s startled expression told Sasha that it was indeed as bad as her initial assessment. Worse yet was Ella’s grin that grew cautiously but steadily across her face, and Thatcher’s wide eyes and rapid tugging on his collar.
Sasha opened her mouth to speak but no words resulted; she licked her lips and tried again. “Excuse me—” Snickering began in the back of the classroom. I’ve got to get out of here before I’m laughed out. “I’m not well.” She didn’t give anyone time to respond before she ran out of the room, her footsteps thudding in her head.
She was sure her face was a bright cherry red as she slowed to a brisk walk down the hall toward the building’s exit.
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