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Chapter no 55

The Teacher

ADDIE

EVE BENNETT GOES DOWN the second I hit her with that frying pan.

It’s heavy, and I got in a good whack. She crumples and collapses to the floor, her eyes rolling up in her head. But even after I hit her, I still feel the rage coursing through my fingertips. So I hit her again.

And again.

After the third impact, she’s very still on the floor. I look down at the back of the frying pan, still caked with the remainder of a meal cooked last night. Now there’s blood caked on the back of it too. It’s trickling out of Mrs. Bennett’s head onto the kitchen floor.

Oh no.

I didn’t mean to do that. I didn’t come to this house with the intention of bashing my math teacher on the head with a frying pan. I just wanted to talk to her. But then she started saying all that awful stuff about how Nathaniel is taking advantage of me and lying to me. How could she say something like that? She had no idea what she was talking about.

But one thing was clear. She was never going to let me be with Nathaniel. Whether she wanted him or not, she did not want me to have him.

I crouch down beside Mrs. Bennett on the floor. She isn’t moving at all. I squint down at her face, trying to figure out if she’s breathing. I’m not sure she is.

Oh my God. She’s not breathing. Did I kill her?

I didn’t want to kill her. I swear I didn’t. I know Nathaniel said that thing about how if she were dead, we could be together and it would solve all our problems. And maybe for a split second, I thought… But not really. For real, I never considered trying to hurt her. But I was having an angry moment. I just needed her to stop talking.

It feels like déjà vu from what happened with my father. Except this is so much worse. Also, back then, I had Hudson with me to help. Now I’m all

alone. If they find out what I have done, I’m going to jail. Not kid jail but real adult jail, maybe for the rest of my life.

There’s only one person who can help me.

I don’t have Nathaniel’s phone number. He wouldn’t give it to me. And even if I had it, it would probably be a bad idea to call from my phone. Then there would be a record of the call, and my mom has access to my phone records. But Mrs. Bennett’s phone is right on the kitchen counter. I could use her phone to call him.

I snatch the phone off the counter, but of course, it’s locked. It seems to have fingerprint unlocking, so I gently lift Mrs. Bennett’s finger to the pad, and miraculously, it unlocks. Now I have access to her entire phone, including her list of contacts. Nathaniel’s name is listed as one of the favorites, which gives me a little pang in my chest, but there’s no time for that. I click on it without hesitation.

It rings for a long time, and I start to worry he’s not going to pick up. After all, she threw him out. He’s probably mad at her. But then just when I’m sure it’s going to go to voicemail, I hear his angry voice: “What is it, Eve?”

“Nathaniel? It’s Addie.”

There’s a long pause on the other line. “Addie? Why are you calling from Eve’s phone?”

“Something happened.” I swallow down a ball of fear at the base of my throat. What I have done is so unbelievably awful. I need Nathaniel to help me fix it. “You’ve got to come home. I…I don’t think she’s breathing.”

“Addie,” he gasps. “What are you talking about? What happened?” “It wasn’t my fault,” I choke out. “Please, you have to come…”

Again, there’s a long silence on the other line. I’m certain he’s going to tell me that he’s calling the police, and I wouldn’t blame him. Or maybe we need to call an ambulance. I can’t tell if she’s alive or not, but either way, she is badly hurt.

“Okay,” he finally says, “I’ll be right there.”

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