Chapter no 56

The Teacher


I’M NOT ENTIRELY sure where he was, but less than twenty minutes later, I hear the lock to the front door turning. I have spent the entire time sitting in the corner of the kitchen, hugging my knees to my chest. Where I am sitting, I can’t see Mrs. Bennett’s face, but I can see her bare feet. She hasn’t moved since I hit her with that frying pan. I am scared that she’s dead, and I’m even more scared that if I leave the room, she might come back to life as a zombie.

I can’t believe I might have killed Mrs. Bennett. What happened with my father was a pure accident, but this… I slammed a frying pan into her head three times. That’s no accident. No jury would think so.

And while my father was a worthless drunk, it’s harder for me to argue that Mrs. Bennett deserved this. I don’t think she was a wonderful person, but at the same time, she had good qualities. Even though I struggled to learn the material in class, I could tell she was passionate about teaching.

And now she’s dead. Oh God, she’s dead.

“Addie?” Nathaniel’s voice calls out.

“In here!” My own voice has a strangled quality. “In the kitchen…”

The kitchen door swings open, and Nathaniel bursts into the room. He looks different than he does at school. His tie is completely off, the first three buttons of his shirt are undone, and his hair is disheveled. Despite everything, I can’t help but think how sexy he looks.

“Addie?” He stares at me, curled up in a ball on the floor, rocking slightly. “What…?”

“She’s over there.”

Nathaniel creeps across the kitchen to where Mrs. Bennett’s body is lying. I stand up and follow him, keeping a safe distance behind. I watch his face as he catches sight of her.

“Eve…” he murmurs. Then, “Jesus. What happened?”

“I… I sort of…” There’s no point in lying—not to him. “I hit her on the head with a frying pan.”

Nathaniel’s eyebrows shoot up to his hairline. “You what?”

“She was threatening to tell the principal!” I swipe at a tear about to fall from my right eye. “I just… I didn’t want to hurt her, but I had to do something.”

Nathaniel gets down on his knees beside her body and places a hand on her chest to check if she’s breathing. I expected him to look sad or panicked or something, but there is no expression whatsoever on his face. “I don’t feel her chest moving,” he says.

I’m not surprised, but my stomach sinks nonetheless. If she were just hurt, we could take her to the hospital. She might be okay. But if she’s not breathing…

“Where’s her phone?” he asks.

I’ve been clutching it the entire time. I hold it out to him, the screen still unlocked. After I got into the phone, I disabled the lock screen.

Nathaniel snatches the phone out of my hand, and right away, he starts scrolling. His eyes are looking intently down at the screen.

“What are you doing?” I ask.

“She said she had photos.” His fingers pause, and a tiny smile lights up his face. He jabs at the screen. “But not anymore.”

Apparently, Nathaniel has now gotten rid of any incriminating photos of us. But having an affair with my teacher pales in comparison to my much greater crime of killing my other teacher. I look down at Mrs. Bennett, the panic mounting in my chest.

“What are we going to do?” I murmur.

“This is going to be okay,” he says firmly. And when he says it, I start to think maybe it’s true. “But we’ve got to cover our trail.”

“Cover our trail?”

His brown eyes are still pinned on his wife’s body. “I’ll buy a train ticket to New York using her phone. Her family lives in New Jersey, and I’ll say she planned to visit them. We’ll drive her car to the commuter rail station, and we’ll leave it there.”

“But…” I can’t look at Mrs. Bennett. It’s too awful. “What about her?” “We bury her in a place no one will find her.”

There’s a coldness in his voice that surprises me. This is his wife, for God’s sake. At one point, he loved her enough to marry her. And now he’s talking about burying her body.

“I… I don’t know,” I stammer.

He looks up at me sharply. “Why not?”

“Because…it’s… It’s not right…”

“Okay, fine.” He scratches at his already messy hair. “Let’s call the police and tell them what you did and why. Then I’ll see you again in twenty-five years to life.”

He’s right. The truth is more damning than anything else.

Nathaniel doesn’t wait for me to respond. “I need you to go upstairs,” he says. “In the linen closet, you’ll find some fresh sheets. Grab one of them to wrap her up in.”

I don’t want to do it. I don’t want any part of this. But he’s doing this to help me. To keep me out of prison, so that he and I can be together like we have always wanted.

I’ll do anything he says.

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