Chapter no 58

The Teacher


I CHOOSE a navy-blue sheet to wrap the woman I killed in.

They mostly have white and cream-colored sheets, and I have to search to find a darker color. There’s blood all over her hair, and it will go right through the white sheets. Navy blue is a better bet.

As I walk down the steps with the navy-blue sheet draped over my arm, I get a flash of vertigo. I can’t believe all this is happening. I can’t believe Mrs. Bennett is dead in the kitchen and that it’s all my fault. Every time I think of it, my entire body starts to shake.

Thank God Nathaniel is levelheaded enough to know what to do.

Obviously he’s right that calling the police won’t go well for me.

I step into the kitchen, expecting to find everything just as I left it. Except instead of Mrs. Bennett lying on the floor with Nathaniel standing over her, now he is crouched next to her. And his shoulders are shaking.

“Nathaniel?” I say. “Are you okay?”

For a second, it’s like he doesn’t even hear me. Then he turns around, and I notice his eyes are slightly damp. Was he crying? He looks more rattled than he did when I left the room, but I guess that makes sense. It probably just hit him that his wife is dead. And even after everything she did, he must have cared for her on some level.

After what feels like an endless silence, he gets back to his feet. “I’m okay. Let’s do this.”


The next step is wrapping Mrs. Bennett in the sheet. It means I have to get close to her dead body, which makes me almost want to throw up. But I have to do this. If I don’t, I’ll go to jail for the rest of my life. And it’s not like if I come clean, it would bring her back to life.

So I take a giant breath and join Nathaniel next to his wife’s body. But the weird thing is she seems to be lying in a slightly different place than she was before. I thought she was closer to the kitchen island.

“Did you move her?” I ask.

He nods. “I thought it would be easier to wrap her over here.” He’s thought of everything.

I crouch next to Mrs. Bennett, my heart pounding. Her features are slack, and her lips are tinged with blue. There’s blood caked in her brown hair, smeared on the kitchen floor. And I notice one other thing:

Dark red marks on her neck.

I stare at the marks for a moment. I got up close and personal with Mrs. Bennett when I was checking to see if she was alive, and I’m almost certain those marks weren’t there before. I would have for sure noticed them.

“What’s that on her neck?” I blurt out.

Nathaniel’s eyes drop as he studies the red marks. He frowns. “Christ, who knows?”

“They weren’t there before, were they?”

He snatches the sheets out of my hands and starts unfolding them. “Yes, they were.”

Were they? I chew on my lower lip, unable to tear my eyes away from those angry red marks. They almost look like they’re in the shape of… fingers.

That’s weird.

“Hey,” Nathaniel snaps at me. He’s got the sheet unfolded and lined up next to Mrs. Bennett’s body. “Are you going to help me with this or not?”

All of a sudden, my head is spinning. Are we really going to do this? Are we really going to dispose of Mrs. Bennett’s body and cover the whole thing up? It doesn’t sound like the right thing to do.

“I think,” I say softly as I get back to my feet, “that we should call the police.”

Nathaniel stands up too, following me as I scurry across the kitchen, trying to get as far from the dead body as I possibly can. I almost make it back to the living room before he reaches out and grabs my arm.

“Addie,” he says sharply.

I can’t even look at him. Why does he even want to be with me after what I’ve done? I need to turn myself in. I’ve killed two people now. I’m a hazard.

“Addie.” His voice is softer this time. “Addie, please look at me.”

Reluctantly, I turn around. Nathaniel is staring down at me, a deep groove between his eyebrows. “I’m doing this for you,” he says.

“You don’t have to.”

“Addie, you need to know…” His grip on my arm loosens. “Eve was not a well person. She was not a good person. She would have destroyed

both of us before she let us be together. And she would have laughed about it.”

My lower lip trembles. “You don’t know that.”

“I do,” he insists. “I’m sure she provoked you into whatever you did… and now you’ll spend the rest of your life in prison for it! I can’t let that happen to you.”

There’s a lump in my throat that’s making it difficult to speak.

He reaches out and taps his finger against my chin, drawing my face up to look at him. “I would never let her hurt you. I would never let anyone hurt you, Addie. You know that, right?”

“I know,” I finally manage.

He leans in and presses his lips against mine. For the first time, I don’t feel any tingling or excitement when he kisses me. I just feel a dark, terrible sensation in the pit of my stomach.

“I won’t let them throw you in prison,” he says firmly. “We can make this go away, and then we can be together. But we have to handle this exactly right. Do you think you can do it, Addie?”

“Yes,” I croak.

“Good girl.” He traces the curve of my jaw with his fingertip. “My sweet Adeline. We are going to be so happy together. I’m so lucky to have found you.”

I nod wordlessly.

“Remember,” he says, “if and when the police come, deny everything.”

I will do everything he asks me to. And when it’s over, we can finally be together.

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