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Chapter no 48

The Teacher

EVE

I DON’T KNOW if I’ve ever been this angry in my entire life.

Part of me wants to burst into the classroom and bust them on the spot in front of the students and teachers who will soon be filtering out of classrooms. It’s what he deserves after all. I imagine the shock on his face, morphing into humiliation as everyone discovers what he has done.

But I don’t do it.

I recognize that if I bust Nate here now, I will ruin three lives: his, mine, and Addie’s. He deserves to have his life ruined, but I don’t. If I make a scene and expose him this way, I will never be able to continue working in the school. It will be too humiliating. And his shame will taint me as well.

As for Addie, the truth is she doesn’t deserve it either. Whatever else I can say about her, she is only sixteen years old. She’s a child. It’s not her fault she fell in love with her handsome English teacher. It was Nate’s responsibility to keep this from happening.

That’s why I don’t expose the two of them in front of everyone. But I do one thing: I take a photo.

The age of consent in the state is sixteen. So Nate won’t go to jail for this. It’s not statutory rape. But his teaching career will be over. My husband will be disgraced, and everyone will find out about it.

My life as I know it is over.

I walk back to my own classroom in a daze. I don’t know how I am going to teach a math class in five minutes. I’ll have to assign the kids some problems to do and just make them work on it for most of the period. All my lesson plans are out the window.

I reach the door to my classroom just in time to bump right into Addie Severson. She’s got a little smile playing on her lips—recently bruised from kissing my husband—but the smile drops right off her face when she sees me. She doesn’t want to be in this class any more than I want to have her here. She bows her head and walks quietly to her seat, dropping her bag on the floor.

I have to remind myself again that this isn’t her fault. Nate took advantage of her vulnerability. I’ve been a teacher long enough to know that

some girls are more suggestible than others. Some are more likely to succumb to a crush on their favorite teacher.

It’s not her fault. It’s not.

“I’d like you all to take your textbooks out, and we’re going to work on the problems on page one thirty-seven,” I tell the class. “Quietly.”

I assign far too many problems to do, knowing that they’ll be working on them until the bell rings. There are other math teachers who do this with alarming frequency, but I’ve never resorted to this tactic before—I’m desperate. I drop down behind my desk, and the first thing I do is dig out my phone. After a brief hesitation, I send a message to Jay:

 

I need to see you tonight.

I sit behind my desk, holding my breath, waiting for his response, not sure if he’ll be able to message me in the middle of the day. Thankfully, it comes a few minutes later:

 

I’m not closing the store tonight so we can’t meet there.

 

I don’t care. We can drive somewhere.

 

Are you sure, Eve?

 

Please.

We arrange an out-of-the-way place to meet. Jay is absolutely the only person I can talk to about this. If I tell anyone else, the secret will be out. But I trust Jay to be discreet. I know too many of his own secrets.

Jay will help me figure out what to do. He may not know anything about school politics, but he has common sense, and he’s a good person. But one way or another, I am not going to allow Nate to get away with this.

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