“I don’t think I caught your name.” She smiled at me as we walked down the hall way. I smiled back.
“Carson.” I looked down at my hands. “I would shake your hand but…” She shook her head laughing.
“No problem.” She smiled. “I’m Mrs. Harley. I’m an English teacher here.” She opened the door to a room and flicked on the lights. “You can just put those on the table for me.” I put the books I had in my hands down on the table. “So how’d you break your arm?” I looked at the cast on my wrist with a couple signatures on it.
“I slipped on some sand on the board walk two weeks ago and broke it in three places.” I shook my head at myself. “I lost it and ran. This was my punishment for it.” I sighed. She nodded at me.
“I know what you mean there sweetheart.” I looked at her as she sat down at her desk holding her stomach. “But I know when you do the right thing, the right thing happens.” I smiled at her.
“I think I’m going to like you.” I laugh. She winks at me.
“I try to do my best.” She pulled out a sharpie. “Do you mind?” She said pointing to my cast.
“No go ahead.” I put my hand out for her to sign. “So…” I cleared my throat looking down. She smiled.
“You are such a sweet person.” She smiled at me putting the cap on her marker. I blushed. “You going to ask me your question sweetheart?” I shook my head as my cheeks flared with color. “Yes.”
“You are…pregnant?” She nodded putting her hand on her stomach.
“You are innocent aren’t you?”
“That what my boyfriend keeps telling me.” I rubbed the back of my neck. “I didn’t want to just say ‘hi are you pregnant or just fat?’” She started to laugh.
“I’ve had people ask me that.” I shook my head.
“My Mam-maw says never to go that. It’s just plain rude.” She nodded.
“Your grandmother is a smart woman.” I beamed at her. Not many people know what I’m talking about when I say mam-maw. “My mom was from Tennessee. You?”
“Pretty much my whole family is from Louisiana. My…mother was from Texas.” She nodded.
“I thought I caught your accent in those words of yours.” She smiled at me. “You a Saints fan?” I looked at her like she was crazy.
“Am I breathing?” She laughed at me.
“That was a silly question. I do know how football is to you southerners.” I started to laugh. Football was like a religion to my family, let alone the south. I love football.
“I was born and raised a Saints fan. Gold and black runs through my veins. The first baby hat I had was with the fleur de lis on it.” I smiled looking down at my cast where Sarah drew the symbol for me in gold and black sharpie. “My daddy’s nickname for me was Golden before my step mom came up with Lightening McQueen.” Mrs. Harley giggled at my nicknames.
“My Grandpa was a Titans fan.” She smiled. “But my Dad moved here and became a 49-er fan.” I shook my head in disagreement. “I don’t know what went through his head.” She laughed at my expression.
“Sarah, my step mom, was a Texan fan. Still is. My dad hates it. So if the Saints and Texans ever verse each other he doesn’t watch it with her.” She nodded.
“Smart man.” I nodded smiling.
“He doesn’t like sleeping on the coach. He says it’s lumpy.” She started to laugh at me. I took a deep breath. “I miss him.” She cocked her head to the side.
“Where is he?” She asked carefully, not knowing if it was a good idea to ask.
“Deployment.” Her face softened.
“I’m sorry sweetheart.” I smiled at her weakly.
“It’s not your fault.” She sighed nodding. I missed my Daddy so much.
“So what do you have next?” I shook my head trying to clear my thoughts. I was happy for the change of subject.
“Lunch…then AP English.” Her eyes brightened.
“I teach AP English.” I smiled at her happily. I looked at the clock surprised.
“I’m loving our conversation but I should get back to the locker room to get my friend before lunch.” She nodded.
“Go ahead. I’ll see you later than?” I smiled picking up my backpack.
“Yeah.” I made my way back to the locker room as the girls filtered in. Nic was the first one out and smiled at me.
“You ready for lunch?” I nodded as we went to our lockers, her opening hers and mine for me. We made our way to the cafeteria and into the lunch line. I looked at the food in front of me biting my lip. What to choose. I picked up a ham sandwich only to have arms wrapped around me taking the plate from my hands.
“Don’t buy that baby.” Tucker said putting the ham sandwich back on the ice. “I got food poisoning from one of those last year. It was no pleasant.” I shuddered wrinkling my nose. He picked up a chicken sandwich and a salad for me and put a cheese burger and fries as well. He moved me, as I was incased in his arms, and the tray down the line. He put on some fruit on the tray before putting another on too.
“What if I wanted something sweet?” I asked looking up at him. He grinned at me moving down to the sodas.
“Baby I’m the sweetest thing here.” He winked at me making me giggle. “Dr. Pepper?” He asked kissing my neck gently.
“Yeah.” He moved us down the line as I pulled out my money for lunch.
“No I’m paying.” He gently smacked my hand away giving the lunch lady a 10 dollar bill.
“But I have the money.” I pouted at him. He ignored me and picked up our tray and turned to walk towards the tables. Nic paid for hers walking behind him. “Tucker don’t ignore me.” I huffed at him as Ben turned around to look at us before pushing Blake out of the way for Nic to sit next to him. “Tucker.” I crossed my arms pouting at him. He sat down opposite of Ben leaving a space for me to sit.
“Yes?” I frowned at him wrinkling my nose at him.
“That’s mean.” Nic leaned over and smacked her brother.
“Ow!” Tucker said rubbing his head.
“Thank you Nic.” Nic sat back down picking up a fry off of Ben’s plate.
“Alright, alright you can pay tomorrow. Now come sit next to me. I missed you.” I smiled getting my way before sitting next to him dropping my bag on the ground. He pulled me to him kissing my head as I picked up my chicken sandwich. I looked up noticing EJ looking around for somewhere to sit. I put my sandwich down and got up walking to him. He smiled at me.
“Hey, come sit with us.” He looked where I jerked a hand out to show him where we were sitting.
“I don’t know….” He trailed off. I took him arm and pulled him over to the table.
“Budge over Tuck.” He moved over eyeing up EJ. EJ sat down nervously as Nic smiled at him reassuringly. “Tucker EJ, EJ my boyfriend Tucker.” Tucker gave him a nod making me smack him.
“Ow what was that for.” I gave him a stern look that oozed be nice. “It’s nice to meet you EJ.” The rest of the guys followed Tuckers example making EJ relax a little.
“Did you enjoy your morning classes?” EJ said looking at me as my stomach growled since I didn’t get to eat breakfast. He smiled at me as I plopped a piece of fruit in my mouth.
“They were good.” I smiled Tucker looked at me before relaxing his smile coming through again as he watched me eat my sandwich. EJ cleared his throat making my eyes flicker to him.
“Has he given you any more trouble?” He said quietly. But not quiet enough. I felt Tucker tense instantly.
“Who’s giving you trouble?” He said his voice hard. I sighed putting the half of my sandwich I didn’t eat down and picked up my fork to pick at my salad. “Carson answer me.”
“It’s nothing.” EJ’s eyes flickered to Tucker’s face.
“Carson maybe you should-” but my attention was on my salad and Tucker was paying attention to me.
“Answer me Carson.” I shook my head; my stomach no longer wanted food. “EJ, would you care to tell me?” EJ looked around nervously as the table was silent, waiting to see what happens.
“Car got into a little spat with Brock McCarter in the hallway this morning. EJ saved her from his clutches. Simple, easy, now cool it Tucker.” Nic said simply making EJ sigh in relief at not being under Tucker’s pissed off fist. Tucker looked at me before looking back at EJ. Tucker sighed pulling me closer, knowing I needed him and he wanted me close too.
“Thank you.” He smiled at EJ. “For protecting her from him.” EJ nodded before smiling at me. I pushed my food away leaning into Tucker as he held me tighter to him. I sat silently clinging to him till the bell rang at the end of lunch….
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