Exclusive: Backstage with ‘But She Is My Student’ Actress Chloe Astleford

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An exclusive Freya-focused excerpt from the novel ‘But She Is My Student’:

A chance game of tennis proves too tempting for Freya.

Kat had started to sweat. Freya had been serious about her ability and on match point she realised her game was up. The pair pounded the yellow furry ball, both playing to impress the other. Kat noticed Freya’s agility, speed, and focused determination; the way she placed every shot with power and meaning, each ball with a perfectly thought out final destination – just inside the white line.

Freya noticed Kat’s body. The way she moved. The way she looked; and the way their arms had brushed together each time they passed at the slightly sagging green net.

Kat played with real emotion and feeling. ‘Ah, damn it! Good shot, Freya, well played. I believe that’s game set and match to you.’ She puffed, defeated, and jogged into the net.

‘Well played. Good game I enjoyed that, you’re really good.’ Freya exaggerated.

‘Oh thanks, but not quite up to your standards.’ They shook hands.

Freya held Kat’s grip. ‘Yes you are.’ Her leading voice and intense stare gave away her meaning.

The pair walked to the edge of the court and slumped against the green wire enclosure. Kat felt in her bag for the high sugar energy drink but found instead her recently finished historical novel. ‘You might like this,’ she said, lifting it out and handing it over.

‘Is it any good?’ asked Freya, now patting her chest with her small black sports towel.

Kat hadn’t been able to ignore Freya’s magnetising figure. The way Freya’s incredible body had moved powerfully across the court, or the way her tennis whites fitted her beautiful body perfectly, or now, the way a minute bead of sweat had dripped slowly down her glistening chest. ‘Yes, hang on.’ Kat rummaged for a pen, opened the inside cover and started to write. Dear Freya, Happy 18th Kat Spicer x. ‘Happy birthday.’ She smiled apologetically. ‘I’m so sorry, I didn’t realise it was today.’

‘How were you supposed to know? But thank you. That’s really nice of you.’ She smiled and once again held Kat’s stare. The atmosphere was electric.

Kat had given Harley a pair of luminous green leg warmers on his 18th, one of many lying around the apartment from a promotion Lucy was involved with. She’d thrown them his way at the start of a history lesson and this was no different, she reasoned. ‘Oh, it’s fine. It’s nothing really, I hope you enjoy it.’

‘I will,’ said Freya, still controlling the connection.

They stood up slowly and gathered their belongings, heading into the old fashioned changing rooms. It was quiet at the club this weekend as a trip to the NEC’s European Tennis Championships had taken away most of the regular members. Freya would have gone had it not been her birthday weekend and strict instructions from parents to keep it free.

They entered the stuffy changing rooms. ‘I’ve really enjoyed myself, thank you.’ Kat spoke with a meaning that made Freya’s heart hurt.

‘Me too,’ added Freya, aching inside. There was so much she wanted to say and so much she wanted to do but didn’t know how. Surely Kat can feel it too, she thought? Surely she can sense it; the chemistry, the atmosphere, each look with its crushing, aching effect. Each touch with its electric resonance.

They sat down in the tiled changing room, neither knowing what to do. There were no individual cubicles, just a row of pegs above the long wooden bench that was fixed to three of the walls. On the fourth wall there was a row of open showers. Both had their wash bags and change of clothes. Kat had assumed she’d be having a drink in the clubhouse with Emma, and Freya knew she needed to look good for the surprise at home, which now had absolutely no chance of beating the fabulous events of the morning. Freya had to get washed and changed, she had no choice, but she felt uncomfortable – why was Kat just sitting there in silence, fumbling around with her white laces?

Kat felt uncomfortable, she couldn’t just leave without a shower, that would be unhygienic – but why was Freya just standing there messing with her towel?

Freya spoke. ‘I’m going to have to go in. I think my parents have invited the whole extended family to shout Happy Birthday and pounce out at me.’

They both laughed nervously.

‘Yes, no worries,’ said Kat trying to sound relaxed, still messing with her laces that were already untied.

Freya turned to face the chipped yellow-tile wall and lifted off her white t-shirt, revealing a Nike sports bra and flawlessly smooth stomach. She breathed in and her heart fluttered. Had she read this wrong? She would soon find out. Freya turned around.

Kat looked up and felt a rush of desire.

‘Are you coming in?’ Freya’s green eyes were radiant and the atmosphere was intense, charged with an emotion that neither had felt before.

Kat was screaming, her mind and senses in overload. She needed to look away, but she couldn’t. Freya was magnificent, so perfect, so beautiful, so sexy. She had to stop it. ‘I have to go, Freya.’ She paused. ‘You know why.’ Kat dropped her eyes and tried to sound normal. ‘I’ll see you next term and you make sure you have a fantastic birthday.’

Freya watched and waited for Kat to finish messing with her shoes and stand up. She found the connection once again. ‘I will, thank you.’ She spoke with confidence, holding Kat’s intense blue eyes until Kat finally turned to leave.

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