Chapter no 19

The Teacher



I’m turning thirty, which feels like a milestone of sorts, although my life hasn’t changed much in the last eight years or so, since I started teaching at Caseham High. It feels like time has moved so quickly. In the blink of an eye, it was my first day as a teacher, and now I’m coming up on nearly a decade.

My twenties are over. In another blink of an eye, I’ll be forty and my thirties will be gone too. Then one day, I’ll be lying on this bed, ninety years old, and wondering where my whole life went.

I stare into the closet, trying to decide what footwear I want to wear for my birthday. I’ll be working, so I can’t wear sandals—not that I would in the middle of October. I scan the rows of shoes that line the bottom of the closet, then I hesitate. Nate is still in the bathroom, shaving—he’ll be there for at least a few more minutes.

I take the opportunity to reach for the large suitcase stuffed into the side of the closet. I heave it out, and with one more quick glance at the bathroom door, I undo the zipper. I let out a sigh when I look down at the contents.

There are dozens of shoes in that luggage.

Nate doesn’t know about this particular stash. He thinks the number of shoes I have at the bottom of the closet is bad enough. He’s already monitoring the credit card bill for shoe purchases and has hinted that he thinks I have a problem. If he knew about this luggage, he might have me committed.

Which means I don’t have much time.

I get out my favorite pair of Louis Vuitton pumps. Well, I only have one pair of Louis Vuittons, because they cost a small fortune. They’re made from black patent calf leather with sleek lines and a stiletto heel. Nate never would have approved of me buying them, so I saved up the cash until I had enough. I keep them hidden away and only wear them on special occasions. I quickly slide the pumps onto my feet, then I stuff the luggage back into the closet just as Nate emerges from the bathroom with his face clean- shaven. He’s got a white towel cinched around his waist, and even though

he is not quite as muscular as Jay, he is incredibly handsome. Despite everything, I am still intensely attracted to my husband.

The only problem is he doesn’t seem to feel the same way.

I’m wearing only a bra and pantyhose, and I take the opportunity to walk over to him in my Louis Vuitton pumps. With those shoes adding inches to my height and him in his bare feet, I am much closer to his height. I tilt my face up to his, and he pecks me on the lips.

I run a finger down his chest. “How about a little birthday present?” He stiffens. “Now?”

“Sure. Just a quickie.”

“Eve.” He rolls his eyes. “You can’t possibly be serious.”

Right. Why would I be stupid enough to think my husband would want to have sex with me on my birthday?

As always when he rejects me, I get that pang of shame in my chest. At least there’s a man out there who wants me. Maybe it’s not me—it’s him. Maybe he’s asexual. Isn’t that a thing?

Of course, he sure didn’t act asexual when we were first dating. He couldn’t get enough of me back then.

Nate notices the look on my face and quickly adds, “I just took a shower, and we have to be at school soon. Anyway, I’m taking you out to dinner tonight.”

He hasn’t mentioned any sort of present, and I’m beginning to think there isn’t one. A few years ago, Nate said something about how presents didn’t make sense when we’re sharing the same money. Sure enough, he has not bought me a present in the last three years. I suppose dinner is my present.

“We’re going to have a great time tonight.” He places his hands on my shoulders and grants me a second kiss, pressing his lips firmly against mine but not making any attempt to slip me some tongue. “Wherever you want to go.”

“Great,” I say, and I think I do a good job of not saying it sarcastically.

As Nate gets dressed, my phone lets out a buzz, signifying a text message. I snatch it off the table, noting that I have a message on Snapflash. I downloaded that app about four months ago—I heard about the kids at school using it, because it has the feature of text messages and images disappearing exactly sixty seconds after you open them. It’s a perfect way

for kids to communicate without their parents discovering what they are up to.

It’s also a great way to communicate with the attractive shoe salesman who I’ve been seeing for the last several months.

I hold my breath as I open the app. I told Jay not to message me unless it was important, but I can’t help but smile at the message from him:


Happy birthday! Wish we could spend it together.

I stare at the message for the sixty seconds until it disappears from the screen. My first smile since I woke up this morning spreads across my face. Even though it’s dangerous for him to message me, it’s always the best part of my day. I write back:


So do I.

I stare at the screen for another few seconds, and sure enough, another message appears:


I’ve got something for you.


I nearly drop my phone. Nate is dressed and looking at me curiously. I suppose that’s fair enough, considering I’m still just wearing a bra and pantyhose. “Yes?” I say.

“We have to get going.” He taps his watch. “You’re going to be late.”

I grab a dress out of my closet and throw it on as quickly as I can while Nate casts pointed looks at his watch. By the time I grab my phone again, the message from Jay has vanished. And there is nothing more on the screen.

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