Chapter no 47

The Teacher


I FEEL UTTERLY unsatisfied after the meeting with Higgins.

Addie Severson was outside my house last night, in the bushes. I have never been so sure of anything in my life. I saw her, first of all. And she has plenty of reasons to hate me.

When we were in the supermarket that day, Art Tuttle warned me about her. He had a reason to warn me. She destroyed his life, whether she was trying to or not.

And today, that girl lied right to my face.

As soon as Addie left, I looked at Debra Higgins and said, “She’s lying.”

Debra shook her head. “I agree with you, Eve. But what can we do? It’s your word against hers. And she said she was home with her mother.”

What a load of crap. When I was a teenager, I did tons of things while my mother thought I was safely tucked away in my room. As far as I’m concerned, that was not an alibi, even if her mother did confirm the story, which she didn’t.

As soon as I got out of the principal’s office, I texted Nate:


She denied the whole thing.

We were between classes, so his text back to me came quickly:


Maybe it wasn’t her?

His response was so maddening, I wanted to throw the phone.

Soon it will be time for my sixth period math class, when I will come face-to-face with Addie once again, and I am not up for the task. Debra told me that for the second semester, she is planning to switch Addie to a different teacher, but we still have two months left before the term comes to an end. Two months of having to deal with that girl.

“It was definitely her,” I rant to Shelby in the teachers’ dining area. I brought salad for lunch in a piece of Tupperware, but I’ve barely touched it. “How could she lie like that?”

Shelby shrugs. “She’s a teenager. That’s what they do. It’s like breathing for them.”

“She hates me.” I shudder slightly, thinking of the dirty look she was giving me yesterday in class. “She really hates me. And now she’s stalking me.”

“But why?” Shelby takes a bite of one of her carrot sticks. “I mean, she was following Art around because he was nice to her.”

“Yes, so?”

“So you’re not nice to her. Why would she go to your house?” She sips from her Diet Coke. “I mean, she’s not dangerous. Do you really think she would stalk you because you wouldn’t let her eat a sandwich in class? That’s a little extreme, even for a teenager.”


“Now if she were stalking Nate—that I could buy.” She winks at me. “I mean, all the female students have huge crushes on him. And then you say she joined his little poetry magazine? I can totally see her getting a little too obsessed.”

I freeze, a piece of lettuce lying limply in my mouth. I don’t know how that thought didn’t occur to me before. Maybe because when I was at the curb, I felt like she was watching me specifically. Somehow it didn’t hit me that she could have been at the house to see somebody else.

Oh my God. She’s stalking Nate.

This makes much more sense. I warned him about being too nice to her, and now she is doing the same thing to him that she did to Art Tuttle. And if he’s not careful and doesn’t handle it right, he’s going to end up exactly like Art.

I’ve got to warn him. He has to deal with this right away.

I excuse myself from the table, and Shelby is likely happy to be able to discuss anything besides Addie Severson. There are still about ten minutes left in the period, and Nate is almost certainly in his classroom. We won’t have much time to talk, but I can at least give him a heads-up before he has her in his class.

The halls are mostly empty, since we are in the middle of fifth period, and the heels of my Givenchy leather boots sound like gunshots as they echo through the empty space. I pass a girl with far too much black eye makeup, but that is far from the worst thing these teenage girls do. When I get to Nate’s classroom, the door is closed, which strikes me as a little

strange. I peer through the window on the door, and sure enough, Nate is inside. But he’s not alone.

He’s with Addie Severson.

I raise my hand to knock on the door, but before I do, something stops me. I take a step back, ducking slightly out of sight. If Nate was looking hard, he would see me. But not with a quick glance.

Nate and Addie are deep in conversation. I don’t know what they’re saying to each other, but it looks like she’s crying. What is he saying to her that is making her cry? Then again, it doesn’t take a huge amount to make a teenage girl sob. Taking away their phone usually does it, in my experience.

And then Nate reaches out and takes her hand.

Okay, this isn’t necessarily suspicious. She’s crying, and he’s comforting her. Granted, it’s not the most appropriate way to comfort your student, but it’s not the worst thing I’ve ever seen. Although he’s not patting her hand. It seems more like he’s holding it. At least sixty seconds have gone by, and his hand is still touching hers. Why is his hand still touching hers? This has reached the upper limit of appropriateness.

But then something happens to make me forget all about the hand- holding. Something happens that makes hand-holding seem like…well, hand-holding. Something that makes me want to throw up the few leaves of my salad that I managed to choke down.

He’s kissing her.

No, he’s not just kissing her. It looks like he’s trying to figure out how her lunch tasted. That kiss… That’s not a first kiss. That’s a kiss between two people who have kissed many times before and probably done a lot of other things.

And now it all makes sense.

I understand why Addie hates me so much. I understand why she was sneaking around the bushes on the side of my house. I understand why every time I try to tell Nate about something she’s done, he defends her. I understand why my husband has zero interest in sex with me except when he wants me to do something to help her.

That bastard is cheating on me. With her.

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