The hostel students returned to the dining hall for lunch every day. And today, so did Steve. He came into the dining hall with a smile, saying loudly, as he saw the food laid out on the tables, “Man oh man, this looks fantastic!”

Kamvi stood behind him in the lunch queue, clutching her white plate. Steve turned to her and chatted, “You never did say whether you had started Carson’s book yet.”

“Not yet,” replied Kamvi softly. “I am just finishing another book that I began in the holiday.”

“Oh yeah?” said Steve, as he stepped forward to have his plate filled, indicating, “Vegetarian please”, as he did so.

“You are a vegetarian?” asked Kamvi, as she took only a little salad. She had stopped eating most of the hostel food a long time ago.

“Yeah,” said Steve, pausing so that he could walk with her to a table.

Kamvi looked around the dining hall. Most of the students had their heads down, eating hungrily. But from a table in the corner she noticed Nikita’s eyes on her. Nikita winked. Kamvi ignored her.

Normally all the teachers sat together, but Steve was following her. Kamvi sat down and tried to ignore the fact that Steve had pulled out a chair to sit next to her.

“Yeah,” continued Steve, “I’ve been vegetarian for years actually. From school days. I guess you could say I’m kinda Buddhist – you know, how many of them are vegetarian – don’t believe in killing anything.”

“Really?” murmured Kamvi, keeping her head down and picking the olives out of her salad. They ate in silence for a while, and then Kamvi spoke softly, “I was just reading about Buddhism actually. I ate vegetarian as well. For a while.”

Steve’s eyes brightened, and he leaned in, moving his face close to Kamvi’s. He looked intently into her eyes.

“Really?” he said, very seriously, not taking his eyes off her face. “You are a very fascinating, extraordinary and beautiful girl Kamvi.”

Kamvi dropped her fork as Steve said that, and it clattered to the ground. Quickly she pushed back her chair and dived under the table, saying, “I’ll get it!”

Kamvi could feel herself blushing. She found the fork. Standing up quickly she grabbed her plate, and made for the kitchen, muttering something about needing to prepare for Maths. Her heart was pounding in her chest.

Kamvi left the dining hall and half ran to her room, unlocked her door with trembling hands, and collapsed on her bed. She closed her eyes for a moment.

“My, my Kamvi! You and Captain America really do make quite a pair!”

It was Nikita.

“Go away Nikita! Haven’t you ever heard of knocking?” Kamvi rolled over and turned to face to the wall.

Nikita moved into the room, shutting the door behind her. She sat down on the bed. Kamvi sighed.

“I don’t really care about Captain America Kamvi. I’m just teasing you, although you do know that teacher-pupil stuff is totally off-limits, don’t you?”

“He isn’t really a teacher,” said Kamvi quietly. “He’s just out of varsity. He’s maybe five years older than me. Why do you make it all sound so dirty?”

Kamvi turned to lie on her back. She crossed her hands over her breasts and lay looking up at the ceiling.

“You look like a corpse,” said Nikita with a laugh. “It’s not as bad as all that! And anyway, I don’t make the rules.”

Kamvi smiled a little.

***

Tell us: Do you agree that teacher-pupil romance is ‘totally off-limits’? Why or why not?