My twenty-first birthday had started like any other day. I awoke alone. The house was deserted. No doubt, my Aunt who I lived with had passed out at the bar or gone home with some random stranger. I ran a brush through my long, dark hair until it lay smooth and perfectly straight down my back. I washed my face and picked out something to wear for the day. I decided on a white fitted t-shirt and blue jean shorts. It would be warm again, as was usual in Florida, so I slipped on a pair of brown sandals.
The high school bus pulled up out front and I sat in the garage waiting for it to leave and make its way down the road. I hated being stuck behind it with all of the other kids pointing and laughing at me out of the back window. Once I was sure the coast was clear I backed out of the garage in my beat up white Rabbit.
I turned on the radio and plugged my iphone into the tape deck adapter, and listened to Mozart the entire drive. Classical music had a way of calming me down. I hated going to college. I never felt like I fit in. People treated me like an alien because I had transferred from Michigan just before high school graduation. The truth was I would have given anything to be back there.
I pulled into the gym parking lot just before the eight. I was cutting it close but I did not honestly care. My grades were perfect and I could have a 4.0 without ever attending. Unfortunately, if I did not show up my scholarships could be taken away. I always began my day with a workout. I slinked into the locker room and changed into the oversized t-shirt and baggy black shorts.
Forty-five minutes later, we had finished playing a game of basketball with some girls from a sorority, to which I still do not know the rules. My team lost but I did not care either way. I changed back into my normal clothes and headed across the campus to my first class.
Everything before lunch became a giant blur. The teachers were working on things I had long learned. I sat alone at the end of a big long table in the cafeteria and nibbled at my pizza. I hated this place with a passion. I was ready to graduate and move on with my life. I knew that without my degree I would be forced to stay in this town and work a low budget job for the rest of my existence.
I grabbed my books and headed for my car to grab my history book that I had forgotten. By the time I made it to class, everyone was in their seats and waiting for the teacher to speak. I slinked in and kept my head low as I headed to the back of the classroom. I slipped into my desk and looked to the front of the class.
“Now that we’re all here I’d like to introduce myself. Ms. Gibbs will be out for a few months for medical issues. My name is Mr. Honor.” His hair was dark and just long enough to pull off the ‘just out of bed’ look. His eyes were a piercing blue that matched his button up shirt that hugged his muscular chest perfectly. The top button was undone and you could see a white wife-beater below and dark wash jeans. He was a lot younger than most of our teachers. He looked to be in his late twenties but he had the confidence of someone much older. All of the girls in the room hung on his every word. When he licked his lips, a collective gasp was heard throughout the room.
When the bell rang many of the girls lingered until Mr. Honor made it a point to move everyone along to their next period.
“You, come here for a moment.” He said pointing at me. My breath hitched in my throat as I gathered my books and walked up between the desks to him. He was leaning back casually on the top of his desk and twirling a ruler in his hand.
“Yes?” I asked, the words coming out more high pitched than I intended.
“What is your name?” he asked and for a moment, I could not remember. My cheeks burned a deep crimson as I struggled to have a coherent thought.
“Emma. Emma Townsend.” I blurted out when it finally came to me. He smiled and my heart had completely given up. I did not know how much longer I could stand in front of him before my legs gave out from nerves.
“Emma,” my name rolled off his tongue and it was the most beautiful sound I had ever heard. “Please try to make it to class on time. Lateness will not be tolerated. Next time there will be consequences.” He said as he continued to spin the ruler in his hand. I was mesmerized.
“Yes, Sir” I replied with a hint of sarcasm in my voice. His lip twitched and he looked to be holding back a smirk.
“Get to class Ms. Townsend.” His eyes locked onto mine. I was not sure what to say so I turned on my heel and made my way to my next class. The rest of the day flew by in a daze. All I could think about was Mr. Honor. I wondered what his first name was and if he was seeing anyone. Not that it mattered. I was a social pariah in this school. Part of that was my fault. I never made an effort to get to know anyone. By the time I had finished my classes, I did not even know what any of our teachers had said.
When I got home, my Aunt Judy was inside cooking something on the stove.
“That smells great.” I said, realizing I had not eaten very much today.
“Food is in the fridge. Make yourself something.” She replied coldly. I rolled my eyes and went back the hall to my bedroom. I started working on my homework but I could not concentrate on anything. My thoughts always went back to him. When the house fell silent, I went to the kitchen to fix myself something to eat. My Aunt had left food and dirty dishes strewn about the countertops, so I set to cleaning before making myself dinner. Once the dishwasher was loaded and the counters wiped off, I made myself spaghetti and sat on the couch to read a romance novel. I spent most of my free time reading. It was a great escape from reality. Unfortunately, all I could picture was Mr. Honor when it came to the hero’s big love scene so I put my book away and opted for reality television instead.
I woke just after six with my phone’s alarm buzzing in my ear. I had passed out in front of the television in the living room. Luckily my Aunt never came home last night or she would have undoubtedly woke me to lecture me on how uncomfortable it made her male companions to have someone sprawled out on the floor.
I ran through the shower and slid on an old pair of torn up jeans and a tank top. My hair was damp when I left for school but it was so hot out that I did not mind. The air conditioner in my car was no better than having the windows down.
My hair was practically dry by the time I made it to school. I headed towards the gym, taking the long route so I could walk past Mr. Honor’s class. His door was closed, but through the little window I could see him sliding on his long sleeve dark grey button up shirt. I deep black tribal tattoo wrapped around his muscular shoulder and stopped just at the nape of his neck. He turned around as he shrugged the shirt closed and I ran from the window hoping he did not see me staring at him.
Working out was an absolute disaster. Today the girls decided to torture us with dodge ball, but since my mind was elsewhere, I seemed to be hit more than others were. With a fresh headache and a bruised ego, I made my way to my next class. Math was boring as usual and I spent most of the period doodling in my notebook as opposed to taking notes. It was a relief when the bell rang and I could finally get out of the classrooms. I made my way to the cafeteria. There did not seem to be anywhere for me to sit alone so I squeezed my tray on to the end of a table and did my best to avoid contact with anyone. It is not that the people here were horribly mean; I just did not like to invest myself in a relationship that would soon end. Maybe that was because we would all be going off to start our own lives, or maybe because I have a tendency to move around a lot, or maybe I was still learning to cope with the death of my parents. The reason did not matter. I preferred to be by myself. I would probably stay at home locked in my house like a dungeon if it were not for school. Technically, I could drop out at any time, but I only had a few more months left and I knew I would regret not getting my diploma.
The lunch bell rang jarring me from my thoughts. It was time for Mr. Honor’s class and I considered ditching. I was sure he had seen me gawking through the window on his classroom door and I did not want him looking at me as if I was a weirdo. I remembered his threat about being late and reluctantly I headed to class. I slipped in while other students were milling around. He never took notice to my presence and I was grateful. The girls fawned over him as if he was a rock star. He looked embarrassed but something in his expression made me think he enjoyed the attention.
“Take your seats. It’s time for a pop quiz.” He announced and the room collectively groaned. I was excited not to have to talk to anyone, so the quiz was a welcome distraction. Halfway through the period I struggled to come up with answers for half the questions on the quiz. This was unlike me, being that I had already read through most of the book in my spare time. I bit my lip and tucked my hair behind my ear. Someone dropped a textbook near the front of the class with a heavy thud. I jumped in my seat and looked up nervously. My eyes caught Mr. Honor’s as he stared back at me. My heart leaped into my throat and I bit down harder on my bottom lip. He licked his lips in that incredibly sexy way he does before breaking eye contact with me and shuffling through papers on his desk. I looked back down at my paper, but it may have well been in Greek. I wrote down some half assed answers and walked to the front of the class to turn it in just as the bell rang. I sat my paper on his desk and left the room as quickly as possible.
My heart was going a mile a minute so I ducked into the restroom and splashed cold water on my face. I heard a group of girls open the door so I slipped inside a stall to be alone until I could calm myself down. The second bell buzzed and everyone was supposed to be in his or her next class but the group of girls still lingered. I reluctantly opened the door so I could leave.
“Hey! You’re that smart girl in Mr. Nevins class aren’t you?” A girl with long curly blonde hair asked.
“I suppose that’s me.” I answered shyly. “My name is Emma.”
“I’m Claire, and this is Becka.” She replied motioning to the girl with short unnaturally red hair beside her. I smiled and nodded not knowing what to say next, so I turned for the door. “Want to get high?” Claire called after me and I stopped for a moment not sure how to answer.
“Sure.” I replied. I was already late for the next class and coming in halfway through would be worse than not showing up at all. A smile beamed across Claire’s face and she pulled a small mint tin from her bag. She opened it up and pulled out a joint. I had gotten high once before so I knew what to expect. Claire lit the joint and passed it to Becka just as she coughed and sputtered. “You okay?” I asked as her face turned beat red. She nodded and Becka shoved the joint in my face. I took a small hit and struggled to hold it in. My lungs burned from the harsh intrusion and I began to hack and cough worse than Claire had. “Here.” I said holding it out for Claire to take again. She spontaneously broke into a giggle fit. I don’t know what was so funny but her laughter was contagious and soon we were all gasping for air and laughing louder and louder as we passed the joint a few more times.
“Girls” I loud booming voice called from outside the door.
“Shh...” Claire whispered entirely too loudly.
“Come out here right now.” The voice called again and I could tell they were losing their patience.
“You go!” Claire said, shoving me towards the door.
“No!” I protested.
“I’m on probation!” Becka whispered and whoever was on the other side of the door knocked, causing us all to jump and stop talking.
“Fine, fuck it.” I muttered under my breath and the girls scurried off into a stall. I took a deep breath and pushed open the bathroom door. On the other side stood the most beautiful man I had ever laid eyes on, Mr. Honor. His jaw clenched and his eyes narrowed. He was pissed, but I could not help but laugh.
“Emma? You think this is funny?” he scolded me. I tried to stifle my giggles and shake my head no, but when I held back a laugh, I also stopped breathing causing me to feel woozy. He grabbed my upper arm and squeezed entirely too tightly, pulling me down the hall towards his room. Luckily, the halls were empty and no one saw how ridiculous I was behaving.
“You’re lucky I don’t have a class this period.” He said as he glanced around the hall before shutting his door, pulling down the little shade that covered the window. It suddenly hit me that I could be suspended, and all the suffering I had been putting up with would be for nothing. He ran his hands through his chestnut brown hair and it fell perfectly back into place. I realized I was staring and quickly looked away as he fidgeted with his ruler. I should have been pleading with him to not report me but my head swirled and I just could not summon the energy to care. I bit my lip nervously and waited for him to yell at me some more.
“Stop biting your lip.” He said angrily and slapped the ruler on the desk, apparently losing his train of thought. I jumped and bit my lip harder by accident, drawing blood.
“I’m sorry.” I said under my breath, not knowing what else to say. I touched my lip and pulled my fingers back, looking at the smattering of blood. He stood up from his desk and walked towards me. My stomach fluttered. He brushed his thumb across my lower lip, his blue eyes locked dead onto mine. I sucked in a ragged breath and held it, afraid that if I moved it would break me from this dream.
“Breathe.” He whispered as he leaned in close enough for me to feel his warm breath across my face, sending a chill down my body. A loud ringing broke the spell and he closed his eyes for a moment before turning to dig his cell phone out from his pocket. I stood there awkwardly as he talked. His answers were clipped and I could not tell if the person he was talking to was male or female. His eyes danced up and down my body as he spoke and I could feel my cheeks burning. I bit the edge of my lip but quickly released it as he narrowed his eyes at me. I decided to start wandering around the room and reading the posters on the wall. I felt rude standing there listening to his conversation.
“You should get to your next class. The bells about to ring.” He said quietly into my ear. His hot breath on my neck made my body melt. I had not even heard him end his call.
“So, I’m not in trouble?” I asked, too nervous to turn around and face him.
“I didn’t say that.” From the tone of his voice, I could tell that he was smiling. I sucked in another ragged breath and nodded my head.
“Yes, Sir” I grabbed my books just as the bell rang and snuck back out into the hall as everyone else filtered out of their classrooms. I could not tell if I was still buzzing from the weed or from my encounter with Mr. Honor. Halfway down the hall Claire and Becka rushed to my side.
“Oh my God Emma I am so sorry!” Becka apologized.
“Who was it?” Claire asked, she had looped her arm with mine and I was not sure if it was a friendly gesture or if she was still too stoned to walk straight.
“Come on! Tell us! Did you get in trouble?” Becka asked, stepping in front of me so I would have to answer.
“I think it will be okay.” I replied, not sure what had just happened. Part of me thought I had made it all up.
“Did you tell them our names?” Claire asked and I could tell all she was worried about was herself. I paused for a moment as they hung onto my every breath.
“No. I did not say your names. You guys owe me big!” I finally said, letting them off the hook. They threw their arms around me and thanked me. “I got to go. I can’t miss another class.” I said as I pried their arms off me. Claire frowned.
“Want to hang out later?” she asked. I did not know how to respond.
“Get to class, Ladies!” A voice boomed from behind us and goose bumps suddenly covered my body. It was Mr. Honor. Claire and Becka reluctantly let go of me and I snuck a glance over my shoulder. His blue eyes burned into mine. I turned back around quickly and made my way into class.
Everything was a blur. I could not keep my mind off him. At the end of class, Becka and Claire were waiting by the door.
“Here’s my number if you want to go out after classes.” Claire said as they followed me down the hall. It was the end of the day and Mr. Honor was standing outside of his classroom as we filed by. I could not help but stare at him.
“We were thinking of checking out that new scary movie everyone is raving about. It starts at eight.” She continued, oblivious to the fact that I was not paying attention.
“Sure.” I said, not really knowing what I was agreeing to. Mr. Honor smirked and I could not help but grin back at him.
“So you’ll come?” Becka asked and I stopped dead in my tracks as Mr. Honor slid back inside his classroom. “Yea, I’ll come. What time did you say?” I asked.
“Eight o’clock. Don’t be late, the place will be packed!” She warned me and I smiled.
“I’ll be there.” I promised and they headed off to the parking lot.
I sat in my car replaying everything that had happened today. I cannot believe I was stupid enough to get high in school. I was praying Mr. Honor would not tell anyone, but I was certain my secret was safe with him. Still, I could not stop thinking about what he said about being in trouble. What did he mean exactly? As the parking lot cleared out, I started my car to leave. I cranked the radio and sang along Crimson and Clover as I made my way to my Aunt’s house.
I pulled into the driveway cursing myself for agreeing to a girl’s night out with the very girls who used me as a scapegoat. I could not entirely blame them. I was just as guilty for what we did. Besides, had I not done it I would have never gotten to spend extra time with Mr. Honor.
The house was empty and I was glad no one was around to ask me twenty questions about where I was going. I slipped into the shower to get ready for the movie. I stayed under the water, daydreaming until it ran cold. I wrapped a towel loosely around my chest and went to my bedroom to find something to wear. Most of my belongings were in boxes so I had to do a great deal of digging before finding something suitable. I decided on a little black dress and black heels. After getting dressed, I carefully curled the ends of my hair. By the time I was done applying mascara I looked at least a few years older. I sat around listening to music and cleaning the house to kill time. When it seven o’ clock I figured it was a safe to leave. By the time I got to the theater and we got our snacks it would only be a short wait for the movie. I jumped in my car and began backing out the driveway as headlights filled my rearview mirror and a horn beeped. I threw my car into park and sighed loudly. My Aunt pulled her car alongside mine.
“Where ya’ headed?” She asked, as her male passenger looked off, seemingly uninterested and completely wasted.
“Heading to the movies, don’t wait up.” I called over the engines and smiled.
“Oh, we won’t!” She replied and her cheesy grin made me nauseous. I rolled my eyes and backed the rest of the way out of the driveway.
Finding the movie theater in the dark was a lot harder than I had anticipated. I had to text Claire and Becka several times before I finally saw the great big theater sign along the side of the highway. I made three passes around the parking lot before I found an available space. Everyone had come out to see the new horror flick Slash. I suddenly felt self-conscious about my dress and wondered if I should leave quickly before anyone saw me. I could claim my car broke down or ran out of gas. It was too late. I spotted Becka and Claire making their way across the parking lot waving at me to get my attention. I reluctantly got out of the car and straightened my dress.
“Stop tugging at that! You look great!” Becka reassured me. She was wearing a similar outfit in deep purple.
“Thanks.” I said shyly, tucking my hair behind my ear.
“What am I, chopped liver?” Claire asked from behind us, half-joking.
“You look great, Claire!” I said, shooting her a smile. She smiled back and I knew she was just being insecure. She was very much like me in that way. We waited in line outside of the building to get our tickets.
“Do you have that new teacher, Mr. Honor?” Becka asked me but did not wait for me to answer. “God, he is fucking hot!” she said fanning herself. I smiled and nodded my head.
“His eyes” Claire added and I bit my lip and waited for the line to move. After a few moments of gushing over our teacher, they finally changed the topic to clothing, another subject I did not like to talk about. Luckily, the line was moving quickly and we were able to get our tickets and move inside to the next line for our snacks. When all was said and done we had spent over twenty dollars apiece, but Becka and Claire assured me that it would be worth every penny.
Most of the moviegoers were hanging out in the lobby so we were able to score some good seats near the front. I always preferred to sit in the back but Claire insisted that the closer to the blood and guts you where, the better. The lights dimmed and a hush fell over the crowd as the previews started to play. It took an entire fifteen minutes before the movie started, but Becka and Claire had made a list of all the new movies coming out that we would have to go see.
When the movie finally began, the room fell completely silent. Within a few moments they would all be screaming, myself included. My heart felt like it was going to burst out of my chest. This was worth every penny and I was glad I had decided to come.
An hour into the film I excused myself to use the restroom. The line curved out of the door. I played on my cell phone and stepped forward as the line moved oblivious to my surroundings. That was until a woman’s giggles broke my train of thought. I glanced up to see a man and a woman locked in each other’s arms. He was kissing her neck and she playfully smacked him on the chest. Just as I realized I was staring the man and woman were kissing each other passionately. His eyes opened and my heart caught in my throat. Mr. Honor was staring back at me and I could not look away. My face burnt red but his gaze held mine. I bit my lip as jealousy bubbled through me.
“Your turn” A teenaged boy called from behind me. I glanced back at the bathroom and saw that the line had completely vanished in front of me.
“Sorry.” I replied and stepped into the small room. I splashed some water on my face hoping it would magically make the blush fade from my cheeks. Of all people to catch making out at the movies, I would have never guessed I would see Mr. Honor. I went to the bathroom and waited around a few more seconds before heading back out the door. I took a deep breath and pulled it open, glancing to the side of the hall quickly. He was gone. I breathed a sigh of relief and headed back into my theater.
“What took you so long?” Claire asked as she handed me back my popcorn and candy.
“The line was crazy.” I replied, but did not elaborate on what else was crazy about it. I sunk deeper into my seat and tried to get back into the movie but my thoughts would not leave him. His burning gaze locked on mine for what felt like an eternity. There was something very creepy about our encounters but I could not get enough of him. Unfortunately, someone else already had him. I spent the next half of the movie trying to imagine what she looked like. She had dirty blonde curls that cascaded down her back and I assumed she was probably in her early twenties. She was no doubt gorgeous if she could hold his attention. My cheeks heated again as I realized she had not held his attention. His eyes were locked on to mine. Butterflies filled my stomach as I thought about what it had meant. In reality, I knew it probably did not mean anything. Perhaps he was embarrassed by seeing a student out of class while in such a compromising position.
The crowd screamed in unison, jarring me from my thoughts. My popcorn flew from its container and Claire laughed at me.
“Scared?” she taunted. I nodded and smiled. I had no idea what was going on in the movie and at this point, I did not care. I was feeling a little sad seeing Mr. Honor with someone else, not that I had a right to feel jealous, but for some reason, I had thought on some level that he liked me. I shook the thought from my head. It was stupid for me to let myself be caught up in a fantasy. I suddenly missed home and wanted nothing more than to leave this place and never come back. I slunk down in my seat and waited for the movie to end.
Twenty long minutes later the credits where rolling and I could not be happier. We waited for the majority of the other moviegoers to file out before finally making our way towards the exit.
Becka and Claire were rambling on about going to some party and getting drunk. I made up a lame excuse about having a curfew so I could go home. I did not feel much like partying.
The drive home seemed longer than the trip to the theater even though I did not get lost this time. My thoughts flashed to Becka and Claire inviting me to the movies. I was sure Mr. Honor had overheard our conversation. In my overactive imagination, I pictured running into him there. I just had not factored in that he would not be alone.
I was relieved to see the driveway empty when I pulled into my aunt’s house. The last thing I wanted was to hear her raving about the new man of the hour. It was late so I was sure I would not see her again until tomorrow. I stalked into my bedroom and threw my shoes into the corner. I pulled off my dress, not bothering to unzip it and slipped into an oversized t-shirt from my old school.
I grabbed my old yearbook and walked into the kitchen for a drink. I slid the milk out of the way and grabbed a can of soda, along with a cheap bottle of vodka. I carried everything into the living and clicked on the television. I watched on old romance movie as I drank a small swig from the bottle. The alcohol burned my throat and I coughed and sputtered. I quickly chased it down with my soda as tears filled the rims of my eyes. I flipped open the book and ran my fingers over the indents left by the pen my friend’s had used to sign it. My body began to feel warm and I took a longer swig from the bottle, wiping a drip from my chin. I thought about packing my things and heading back to Michigan. I knew it would never be the same there. Everyone looked at me with pity after my parents had died. They treated me as if I was a toddler who could not take care of myself. At least in Florida most had no idea the situation I had come from. Only a few teachers and the school guidance counselor had the gory details. I wiped a wayward tear from my cheek and put the bottle to my lips again. The sadness magnified as the alcohol took effect, but I did not care. I knew if I drank enough I would forget about it all. I flipped through the pages as my tears fell onto the glossy paper. I ran my fingers over the wet marks and the signatures smudged across the book.
“No!” I cried as I wiped harder. I was officially breaking down. I grabbed the book and threw it across the room. It collided with a picture hanging on the far wall causing it to fall and shatter on impact. “Fuck!” I yelled as I stumbled over to the mess to clean it. My vision was blurred and as I grabbed a piece of the jagged glass, it cut me deeply across the palm of my hand and up my wrist. Blood ran freely down my fingers and dripped onto the old picture of my Aunt and Mother. I collapsed onto the floor, sobbing as I hugged the picture tightly.
“Emma! Dear god! Emma! Call the police!” My Aunt screamed as she shook me. I blinked several times but could not open my eyes fully in the light. The shaking had turned my stomach and I lurched forward, vomiting all over the living room floor.
“Emma! Why would you try to kill yourself?” She shouted through tears as a man in the background talked in a panic on the phone.
“I didn’t…” I whispered but my throat was raw and sore from crying the night before.
“Hush now.” She replied, soothingly as she pulled me into her chest and hugged me tightly. “Grab her some water!” she yelled off to the man in the other room. He quickly appeared with a glass of water. He held the glass up to my mouth and began pouring it down my throat. I coughed and gagged as my Aunt smacked the man hard on the arm. “You’re going to drown her!” she shouted.
“I’m sorry!” he yelled back with irritation but I could tell that he was full of panic.
“I’m fine.” I assured them. “This isn’t what it looks like.” I said with a nervous laugh. My head was finally starting to clear and as I glanced around at the mess I had left, I understood why they were so upset. I bottle of vodka lay open on its side, its contents spilled on the floor. A picture of my deceased mother lay broken around me and I was covered in my own blood. “I was just sad.” I explained as my eyes landed on the crumpled picture of my mother. Tears welled up in my eyes and I swallowed hard, trying to hold them back.
“Here” my Aunt said as she pushed the water back to my mouth. A loud banging came from the front door and my Aunt’s companion hurried to answer it.
“I’m okay, really.” I said after swallowing a sip of water. I pushed to my feet to stand and nearly lost my balance. My Aunt jumped up beside me and grabbed my arm. Two police officers rounded the corner into the living room followed by a three medics.
“What happened?” the tall huskier officer asked but he was looking at my Aunt.
“I don’t know. I found her lying on the floor with her Mother’s picture.” She explained but her words became muffled under her sobbing. “She tried to kill herself!” she sputtered as the medics surrounded me and began checking my vitals and the wound on my hand.
“No! No! I didn’t try to kill myself!” I shouted over their conversation but no one paid any attention to my protests. My tears gave way as I began to panic. “Please! I just want to go home!” I sobbed. The older female medic looked at me sadly. I hated that look. The look of pity I received from everyone after my parents had died. Anger bubbled up inside of me and I began to fight against them. One medic was holding my injured hand and another was taking my blood pressure from the other arm. I felt claustrophobic, struggling desperately to free myself from their hold. The police officer who was talking with my Aunt took notice and began to shout at me to calm down. His partner, a younger female put her hand on her weapon as her eyes darted back and forth between us. The third medic had disappeared and returned quickly with a gurney. The harder I fought the tighter they held me. Within seconds, I was lying on my back strapped to the device. My Aunt’s cries faded into the background as the wheeled me down the hall and out of the front door. The sunlight was blinding and the surge of heat made my stomach turn. The medics slid me into the back of their ambulance and closed the door behind us. The sudden darkness made it impossible for me to see and carsickness took over where the warmth had left off. “Please…” I cried as the older nurse wiped my hair from my forehead.
I took long calming breathes and finally managed to stop crying as the ambulance pulled into the hospital. They pulled me out and pushed me into the emergency room where doctors and nurses where waiting for us. The nurse left my side and talked quietly to a doctor in the far corner of the room. I could not make out anything they were saying but the doctor’s eyes never left my face and I felt utterly humiliated. I let my headrest back on the gurney and stared up at the white ceiling tiles. After a few moments, the doctor was by my side, adjusting his latex gloves.
“How are you feeling today Ms. Townsend?” he asked as he pulled up my eyelids to inspect my pupils.
“Like an idiot.” I replied with irritation.
“Well, there isn’t much I can do for that, but I can fix up that nasty gash on your hand.” he said with a slight smile and I relaxed a little. “You think we can take off these restraints?” he asked and I nodded my head.
“I wasn’t trying to kill myself.” I replied. He began undoing the leather belt like devices and looking over my hand.
“Well, I am inclined to believe you.” He said and nodded to the police outside of the door. They walked away from the opening and he set back to fixing my hand. “I’ve never seen someone try to kill themselves by cutting their hand.” He continued as he pulled a small piece of glass from the wound. I reflexively tried to pull my hand back from him but he held onto it tightly. “This is going to hurt a little.” He warned and I nodded, biting my lip. He cleaned the cut and by the time he was done, I had four stitches and a pink gauze bandage wrapped around my hand and up my wrist. I explained what had happened while he worked and I felt surprisingly better when the process was finished. “Life doesn’t get any easier. You have been through a lot. It’s okay to ask for help.” He said kindly and I assured him that I would talk to someone next time I was feeling sad.
“How are you feeling?” my Aunt called from the doorway. I did not know how long she had been standing there.
“I’m fine.” I answered as I slid off the bed.
“You have no idea…” she began but her words trailed off and I did not encourage her to finish.
The ride home seemed to last for hours as I explained to my Aunt what had really happened last night. I was sad, but I never intended to hurt myself. She lectured me for drinking too much and I did not argue. I did not intend to ever touch another drop of alcohol again. All of her sadness was replaced with anger and I preferred it that way. I could not stand to see one more person look at me with pity.
We pulled into the garage and I could not wait to take a shower and go back to sleep.
“Get ready. You still have a few more classes today.” She called from behind me.
“You’re kidding right?” I asked.
“You think you deserve a day off after all you put me through? I’ll be lucky if I ever see Dan again!” she said angrily.
“Dan?” I asked, having no clue what she was talking about.
“My date from last night. You nearly gave him a heart attack!” she yelled down the hall. I rolled my eyes and closed the bathroom door behind me.
I showered as quickly as I could with one arm. It was harder than I had anticipated. Getting dressed was no easier and by the time I was ready an hour had passed.
“Let’s go.” My Aunt called from outside of my room.
“I can drive myself.” I replied. She pulled my bedroom door open and glared at me. “Two hours ago you couldn’t let go of me and now you’re treating me like you hate me.” I mumbled as I gathered my books.
“I don’t hate you. If I did, I wouldn’t care if you didn’t go to school or drank yourself into oblivion.” She shot back. I realized she was right. All this time living with her, I assumed I was a burden to her. It was nice to know how much she cared, even if she showed it by punishing me.
“I’m ready.” I said as I shrugged on a hoodie and pulled the sleeve down to try to hide my pink bandage.
“It’s too hot for that.” She said as I walked by her and down the hall. I ignored her and continued out to her car.
We did not speak on the trip to my school. I kept the window down trying to keep myself cool but nothing seemed to help.
When we arrived, I hoped out of the car and headed towards the building. I heard a car door slam behind me and I stopped and looked back. My aunt was hurrying to catch up with me.
“What are you doing?” I asked, not bothering to hide my irritation.
“I have to sign you in.” she responded and continued to walk passed me. I reluctantly followed her.
“I’m an adult. This isn’t high school. I don’t think I need you to sign me in.” I said but she kept walking. When we reached the office, I hung out by the door as my Aunt spoke to the secretary. Mr. Honor stepped into the office and placed some papers onto the counter. The office assistant turned beat red as she saw him and began nervously tugging at a loose dirty blonde tendril that had fallen free from her bun. He smiled at her and I realized that this was his date from the theater. After a moment, he turned to leave and I tried my best to look anywhere but his eyes, but I could not help myself.
“You missed my class. Come see me after you are done here.” he said seriously. I bit my lip and nodded as he walked away.
“All set. The counselor is going to make time for you. I’ll be back to get you when school is over.” My Aunt called from the counter.
“I can get a ride.” I replied. She waved her hand to dismiss my comment. I left the office and walked slowly down the empty hall to Mr. Honor’s class, tugging nervously at my bandage.
I knocked at his door and waited for him to answer.
“Come in.” he called and I opened the door and walked inside. The classroom was empty and he was removing his button up shirt. His undershirt was black and it matched his tattoo that wrapped his arm and stopped just at his neck. He folded his shirt and laid it over the back of his chair.
“What happened?” he asked as he glanced down at my hand.
“I had an accident.” I replied nervously as I bit my lip. His eyes tightened and his expression was unreadable.
“I saw you at the theater yesterday day. That was…,” he said as his eyes danced up and down my body.
“Awkward” I replied, finishing his sentence. He laughed quietly.
“Unexpected” he corrected me. “Ms. Townsend, do you remember what I said about being late to my class?” he asked and I bit my lip again as I remembered our last encounter in his classroom, alone. He sat down on the edge of his desk and waited for my response. I did not know what to say and after a moment, he motioned for me to come closer. I walked over towards him and sat my books down on a desk in the front row.
“I’m really sorry. It has been a crazy morning and…” I began to explain. He stood up quickly and in one swift motion, he bent me over onto his desk. Before I could protest, his hand can down hard across my bottom. I gasped loudly at the sudden pain as he smacked me once again. His body bent down over top of mine and his lips brushed against my ear.
“Shh…” he whispered as his hand rubbed my stinging bottom. He stood upright again and smacked, this time harder. I curled my fingertips over the edge of his desk as he smacked again and again. I could not breathe and I pressed my lips together to keep from moaning. I was overwhelmed with embarrassment and pain. His hand rubbed gently over me where he had struck. His fingers dipped between my thighs and the pain gave way to pure wanting. As the stinging subsided, he hit again. As quickly as it began, it was over. I lay bent over his desk gasping for air.
“Get to class.” He breathed heavily but it took a moment before I could move. I lay there as he circled the desk and began putting back on his shirt. After a moment, I regained my composure and stood upright. He came back around and grabbed my books, holding them out to me. I took them, unable to look him in the eye and left the room as quickly as I could.
The rest of the day, I no longer thought about the crazy morning at the hospital. All I could think about was Mr. Honor. I did not know if I could ever go back into his classroom again and at the same time that is all I wanted to do.
I walked out to the curb in the front of the building and sat down as I waited for my Aunt to pick me up. The students came and went and soon the parking lot was all but empty. The teachers began to file out and I opened one of my texts books and read over the things I had missed. I spotted Mr. Honor walking with the office assistant and my cheeks burned with jealousy. They walked over to her car and talked for a few minutes before he kissed her on the cheek and she got in and left. I went back to my textbook and did not realize he had walked back towards me.
“No ride?” he asked.
“My Aunt is hit and miss when it comes to responsibility.” I replied, irritated that she did not let me drive myself.
“I never miss.” He replied and a shiver ran down my spine. His eyes burned into me and for a moment, all I could do was stare up at him helplessly. “Come on. I’ll take you home.” He said and turned to walk away. He did not give me the opportunity to protest. I jumped up from the curb and followed behind him. He opened the passenger side of a sleek little black sports car and took my books from my hands. I slid in and watched him walk to the driver’s side as I bit my lip. His car smelled just like him and I inhaled deeply, not able to get enough of his scent. He threw my books into the back seat and got in next to me. He looked angry and annoyed that he had to drive me and I suddenly felt self-conscious.
He pulled out quickly and if I was with anyone else I would have been scared, but I trusted him. As we reached the light just off school property, he leaned his body across mine, pausing to breathe in the scent of my hair. I sat frozen in place. He grabbed the seatbelt and pulled it across my body.
“Wouldn’t want you to get hurt.” He said with a smirk and stepped on the gas. I stared at him as he drove, in awe of his perfection. “What happened?” he asked, his eyes darting down to my pink bandage.
“Long story” I replied as I tugged at it nervously. I felt his eyes on me but I did not explain further.
“What happened?” he asked again, this time with irritation in his voice. I sighed heavily and thought about which details I should give him.
“I drank a little last night. I knocked down a picture and accidentally cut myself trying to clean up the mess.” I explained holding up my hand. “No big deal.” I explained with sarcasm. He whipped the car to the side of the road and before I could say anything, he had unbuckled his seatbelt and had turned facing me. His mouth was dangerously close to mine and I struggled to steady my breathing. His eyes were hard and full of anger.
“Do not talk to me like that. It pisses me off and you don’t want to see what I do when I am pissed off.” He barked angrily and I his tone was frightening. My breathing accelerated and I tried my best not to show my fear. He stared at me for a long moment before taking his hand and gently running the pad of his thumb against my cheek and down over my bottom lip, his breath warm against my face. His expression softened for a moment as his eyes danced from mine to my lips. “You don’t want this.” He whispered quietly, warning me. He had no idea how much I wanted him. Ever part of my body ached for him, for his touch.
“Yes I do.” I whispered back, the words barely audible. His hand slid around the side of my neck and back into my hair. His breathing became heavier and uncontrolled.
“You don’t have any idea what you are getting yourself into.” He replied. I could not take it anymore. I needed to feel him. I licked my lips and parted them, breathing in his warm air.
“Please” I breathed. His fingers wrapped tightly in my hair and he crushed his lips against mine. His tongue slid inside of my mouth and I pushed back with my own. I breathed a soft moan into his mouth and he kissed me harder, groaning into mine. Every inch of my body was on fire. I slid my hands over his hard, muscular chest and up his neck. His lips slid down my jaw and onto my throat. I moaned louder and arched my back, pressing myself harder against him. He stopped suddenly, his fingers still wrapped tightly in my hair.