The next day I arrived at school to find that Mr. Richwood’s secret was out. I first heard of it surfacing into the student body’s gossip while I was in the bathroom. I had arrived early and entered the bathroom to buy myself some time.
While in the stall I heard a group of girls that was entering discussing Mr. Richwood’s secret as if it were their own and they could freely speak of when in reality they that had no authority to speak of his personal life.
“Did you hear that the art teacher, Mr. Richwood, is dating our Algebra teacher?”
“Eww! Where did you hear that?”
“Jason Banks told me. It’s a shame. Mr. Richwood could do so much better. Miss Daniels isn’t all that pretty anyway.”
I couldn’t believe that the secret had gotten around the student body so quickly. I felt heart broken and forced myself to head to class to face Mr. Richwood. As I made my way through the hallway I realized Mr. Richwood and Miss Daniels seemed to be the hot topic of every student I made my way by.
When I reached his class, I reluctantly entered, relived to find that his desk was empty and he had yet to arrive to class. There were a few dozens students already sitting in class talking about him and Miss Daniels.
Heather was sitting at the front of the room, practically leading the class in a discussion of what was going on. I made my way through the rows and took my seat. I stared across the room at her angrily as she sat on top of a desk mocking Miss Daniels.
My anger was bubbling up inside of me. I felt like walking over to Heather and slapping her across the face, but I knew such conduct was not in my nature. I still couldn’t believe that she had actually started this chain of gossip using his secret.
I wanted to flee from school. It wouldn’t be long before Mr. Richwood realized that the entire school was aware of his relationship with my Algebra teacher.
When Mr. Richwood entered the classroom, everyone began to make their way to their assigned seats. From the look on his face he appeared slightly oblivious to the fact that his secret was the hot topic of the school. It hurt me a great deal to realize how clueless he was to what was going on. I was worried when and how he was going to find out.
“How are we doing today class?” he asked us, which was his usual greeting for our class.
“Good,” the students chimed in unison.
Heather’s hand shot up and immediately I knew that this couldn’t possibly be good. I could feel my palms beginning to sweat as Mr. Richwood looked over at her.
“Can I ask you a question?” she asked innocently.
“Sure,” Mr. Richwood said causally. “What’s your question?”
“Well, it’s sort of off topic,” Heather smirked in the process causing her voice to sound slightly arrogant. “So what’s it like dating Miss Daniels?”
Immediately I saw Mr. Richwood’s emotion changing inside of him as him calm demeanor shifted into one that revealed his astonishment based on what Heather had just asked him. His eyes immediately rested on me for a moment, sending my heart rate to incline as if I had just run five miles on the track field. His eyes were on me for a moment and the darted back over to Heather.
His brief shift in eye contact made me realize that he probably thought that I told Heather his secret. I couldn’t help, but feel upset and I wanted to tell him the truth. That it wasn’t my fault that Heather found out however, now wasn’t the time to say all this.
The entire class had their attention focused on Mr. Richwood waiting for him to explain his behavior that they appeared to disapprove of.
“What are you talking about?” he asked placidly, not allowing his emotions to surface in his voice.
“Surely you’re not denying it? It’s all over the school.”
Heather glanced over her shoulder at me, causing Mr. Richwood to follow her gaze. It was almost like she was using her body language to accuse me of being the reason she found out his secret.
I felt frozen in my seat with only my racing heart beat appearing to be active. I wanted to blurt out that I was innocent and tell Mr. Richwood that it wasn’t my fault and ask him to believe me, but the words wouldn’t come out of my mouth.
“I just thought you’d end up with someone better,” Heather continued. “I mean, I’d understand if you dated Ms. Liz, but really Miss Daniels. She’s just-,”
“Enough!” Mr. Richwood yelled a little too harshly.
Heather didn’t appear to be the least bit offended and she actually looked as if she was enjoying herself. Everyone in the class was staring at Mr. Richwood intensively, some appearing betrayed while others just plain downright disgusted in his choice for a mate.
“It’s very rude to discuss other people’s business,”
I watched him glance at me once more, now wearing a hurt look in his eyes which caused a deep sinking in my heart that made it drop inside of my chest. He looked away not bothering to make eye contact with me.
Mr. Richwood assigned us some random book work that I knew was brought up right on the spot so that he wouldn’t have to talk to us. Heather’s conversation with him had probably been embarrassing to the point where he didn’t even want to teach us.
I caught of glimpse of Heather smiling approvingly, proud of the drama she had just caused. I had to do a lot of internal techniques to control my anger. How could she be so cruel like this? Lydia glanced over her shoulder at the front of the classroom, flashing a disapproving glare that Heather appeared to miss.
I couldn’t focus on the assignment, but instead my eyes were glued to Mr. Richwood. He was working on something on his computer and didn’t even bother to look up once to address the class.
I thought about the look he wore in his eyes and I felt my heart cracking again. I wanted to clear my name. I wanted him to know that I was innocent and that I hadn’t told Heather his secret.
I spent the entire class period telling myself that I would talk to him abut it right away after class, but when the bell rang Mr. Richwood rose form his desk and made his way into the hallway. I ran to catch up with him, but he disappeared among the mob of people.
I was just going to have to wait until lunch time.
I couldn’t help but feel anxious as I made my way toward Mr. Richwood’s class for lunch. I already knew that I wouldn’t be eating while in his classroom since I felt far too guilty and bad about myself to shove food down my throat.
I had been dreading and waiting for lunch so that I could clear my name and hopefully regain Mr. Richwood’s approbation in me.
When I entered his classroom I saw that he was on his computer. I could just feel the tension that was being generated by my presence. Mr. Richwood didn’t look up or address me the way he usually did when I entered his classroom. It hurt me deeply how cold he was being toward me.
I considered just leaving his classroom, but reminded myself that the reason I had come here was to clear my name. I hesitatingly made my way toward my desk in front of his and took my seat. I was waiting for Mr. Richwood to address me first, since I was suddenly too shy to speak to him to him first. He never utter a word.
After five minutes elapsed and the silence became unbearable, I forced myself to say his name. My tone was clearly lacking confidence as I spoke.
He looked up slowly as if it was causing him great pain just to make eye contact with me. When his eyes did lock on mine, which was all I wanted was to see was his pretty blue eyes, I immediately regretted desiring it because his usually heart warming eyes were now filled with an icy cold, accusing glare, that was so strong I wanted to break eye contact with him. I forced myself to maintain it.
“Are you here to explain yourself?” he asked in a cold way that hurt me, but forced me to stay strong.
“Mr. Richwood, I didn’t tell Heather your secret. I promise you that I didn’t,”
“Then how did she find out?” he asked angrily. “You, me, and Emily” he corrected himself. “Miss Daniels were the only ones who knew and I know for a fact that me and her didn’t tell anyone.”
“But I didn’t-”
“The students, the staff are talking about our relationship. It’s only a matter of time before my boss finds out and we have to go before the school board to see if our relationship is appropriate now thanks to the Edwin Rights Laws that were enacted a few years ago.”
I recall hearing on the news a few years ago that a school that was down south in our state had two teachers that were having a relationship that was very intimate on school grounds. They were caught making out in a closet and were fired.
Our state government then passed a law saying that all relationships between co-workers and employees who shared similar job titles in the Education System had to be notify the Board Education about it so they could deem whether the relationship appropriate since they had to be remodels around their students.
I could only stare at him silently. I was frightened by the tone he was addressing me with. In all my encounters with Mr. Richwood he was a caring, sweet, gentle person, but the person who was talking to me now seemed like a cold, dark, monster.
The way he wore his feelings of betrayal in his eyes is what hurt the most.
“What happened?” he asked. “I thought you were smart enough to know not to do that tell one person and make them promise not to tell anyone else crap because that doesn’t work.”
“I didn’t tell anyone!” I blurted out in frustration. “It wasn’t me!”
“Then how did everyone find out? Miss Daniels and I have been very discreet. The only way the secret could have come out is through you.”
At that moment I wanted to tell him everything that had happened and how Heather went through his phone, but I couldn’t because if I did Heather would publish my note in the paper. I wasn’t sure which was worst, having the entire school know my feelings for Mr. Richwood or having him feel betrayed by me.
Either way, they were both equally painful, but I couldn’t bring myself to tell him what was going on. I think I truly feared more the school knowing about my feelings because I had to spend two and a half more years with these people.
“I can’t tell you,” I said. “But you have to believe me. I didn’t tell anyone.”
Mr. Richwood shook his head, obviously not believing a word that I was saying. He probably thought that I was lying to him or making up excuses.
“I don’t understand you Amanda. I was always there for you whenever you needed me and I never asked you for anything, except this one thing. I guess I was wrong for trusting you.”
I felt tears beginning to form behind my eyes because there was so much I wanted to say, but I couldn’t form the words in my mouth to say it to him. He turned his attention back to his computer screen not bothering to look at me It was almost as if he was saying that I wasn’t worth his eye contact.
“I don’t think it’s a good idea for you to come here anymore for lunch,” he continued. “I just really don’t feel comfortable being around you anymore.”
I could barely speak. This couldn’t be happening. Mr. Richwood was the only male in the world that I had ever felt so close to and to hear him say this I felt like my world was crumbling in front of me. I could barely speak for a moment and when I did I managed to get another statement out.
“Fine,” I gathered my things together. Tears were beginning to stream down my face. Mr. Richwood didn’t notice because he was too busy staring at his computer screen. “I won’t ever come back here,”
I quickly hurried out of his classroom slamming his door behind me.
At the end of the day I met Dan at his locker. I didn’t go over to his house yesterday because he had to go into town with his Dad so we agreed to hang out after school today.
After walking out on Mr. Richwood I had spent the remainder of my lunch period in the bathroom sobbing my eyes out. I told myself several times to stop crying since it was never a good idea to cry at school. People looked down on you if you wept in public, but no matter how hard I tried I couldn’t stop crying.
It just hurt too much. It took a lot of strength, but I managed to pull myself together. I just really wanted to go home so that I could be alone and figure out what to do to win Mr. Richwood back.
Dan was late to his locker so by the time he arrived the halls were desolate and I was under the impression that we were the only students at school. He eventually showed up, apologizing for being late. He had to stay behind class and talk to a teacher about an error in his English paper.
“Hey, did you hear that the art teacher is dating Miss Daniels. That is so weird.” Dan said as he opened his locker. “A lot of girls are mad.” Dan quickly moved on to the next subject, failing to realize the offense I had taken to his remark. “So Heather and I are officially going out on our first date tomorrow.”
I stared at him with a great of deal of concern. I was worried that Heather was going to do something humiliating to Dan so that she could get even with me for collaborating with him. I had no choice. I had to tell Dan the truth about Heather before he got hurt by her.
“Dan, I have to tell you something about Heather,”
“Sure,” he said sounding distant as he moved items around in his locker.
“She’s not who you think she is. She’s a monster.
Dan closed his locker and turned his attention toward me with concern written all over his a face.
“What do you mean?”
I began to confess to him how on the first day of school Heather made up in her mind that she was going to tame Mr. Richwood’s heart and that she’s been after him ever since. I told him how she figured out about our lessons and now she was toying with his heart to get back at me and how she didn’t really love him.
Dan studied me for awhile, searching my face for some kind of humor, but after finding none he allowed himself to laugh for a second to fill the long silence.
“You’re joking, right?”
“No, it’s the truth.”
“I don’t believe you,” he said seriously. “Amanda I think you’re mad that Mr. Richwood is dating Miss Daniels so now you’re trying to ruin things with me and Heather.”
“What are you talking about?” I said outrageously. “That’s not true. I’m telling you the truth, she doesn’t like you. It’s all a game to her.”
“You don’t know Heather,” was his response.
I was on the verge of shoving him. How could men be so slow?
“I don’t know her? You don’t know. You’ve barely been talking to her for a week. I’ve known her for months and I know it’s hard to believe, but this is a game to her.”
“If this is true, why didn’t you tell me any of this sooner?” he asked sounding hurt. “Why did you keep it a secret for so long?”
“I…I…,” I had to think for a moment and then I said. “I didn’t want you to be hurt. You really liked Heather and I was afraid that if you knew the truth you would be sad.”
Dan looked over me shaking his had disapprovingly.
“Like this isn’t suppose to hurt now?” he ran his hand through his hair. “You spent hours teaching me Amanda,” he said sounding angry. “Hours and you didn’t think to mention to me once what Heather was supposedly doing?”
“Why are you getting angry with me?” I asked sounding slightly hurt. “I was trying to protect you,”
“I don’t believe anything that you’re telling me,” he said coldly. “But if it is true, then your just as worst as Heather to keep it a secret from me,”
Dan turned and walked away from me. I had just lost Mr. Richwood, I wasn’t ready to lose Dan. I raced after him and grabbed his arm, halting him as I was trying to get him to look at it from my point of view to see how cruel Heather really was.
“Dan you don’t understand,” I walked in front of him. “Heather is blacking mailing me and I need you now, more than ever. She found out Mr. Richwood’s sec-”
Dan interrupted me before I could finish the statement.
“I’m so tired of everyone talking about Mr. Richwood.” Dan stared into my eyes for a moment and suddenly a realization entered his mind. “Is the reason you wanted to help me get close to Heather because you were hopping that it would pull her away from Mr. Richwood?.”
“I can’t think with you in front of me Amanda,” Dan gently pushed me aside. “Just leave me alone, okay?”
I watched him walk away and for the second time today my heart was breaking.
I'm having some PC problems, so sorry if it takes a bit to upload future chapters. My PC won't let me post stories, but it still allows me to comment. So I'll try really hard to add chapters. Once again, tell me what you think. This was definitely one of my favorite chapters to write
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