Taboo: Student/Teacher Chronicles pt. 1

He watched her, biting down on her bottom lip as she tapped the eraser of her pencil against the desk’s surface. She was focused on the paper in front of her, the test she’d missed when she hadn’t been in class the week before. He hadn’t planned to let her make it up, either. She’d been in school that day; he’d seen her. Leaning against a row of lockers, smiling widely as she gazed into the eyes of the school’s quarterback. The boy was wooing her, clearly, making her blush and giggle, and playfully nudge his broad chest.

For a moment or so, Robby had simply stood there and watched them. Two students. His students. Kids, practically. Yet, the urge to walk over to them and grab her was so strong he had to curl his fingers into a ball and shove them in his pockets. What was that? Jealousy?  No. Impossible. What was there to be jealous of? The boy was just that; a boy. And her? She was just a girl.

He watched her, though. From his desk, he stared across the room at her. At her bottom lip, gently tucked under her teeth. At her eyes, dancing back and forth across her test. At her hair, falling in thick, wild curls over her shoulder and arm as she rested her head in her hand.

Then, suddenly, her eyes met his.

He quickly averted his gaze. To the door, to the window, then finally down to his desk. A moment later, she was standing in front of him. “Done,” she said, setting it down before him. He nodded without looking up at her. “Thanks for letting me make it up.” He nodded again. He wanted to do more, do something, say something at least, but he was at a complete loss. She was making him nervous. This girl.

Despite his silence, however, she remained there, standing at his desk. Finally, he raised his eyes to her. “Yes?”

“Well, I was just going to wait here for you to grade it. If you don’t mind.”

“Actually—”

“I was really nervous to take it,” she continued, her cheeks turning a soft shade of pink. “I’ve missed so much class this semester, I barely knew what to study.”

Robby leaned forward in his seat. “And why’s that?”

For the first time since she approached his desk, she looked away from him. With a dismissive shrug she replied, “Ah, you know…”

“Would it have anything to do with Justin the Quarterback?”

And there it was again; the flush of her cheeks. The corners of her full lips turned up into a small grin. “You’re going to think it’s stupid if I tell you.”

“What’s stupid?”

“The reason I don’t come to class. You’re going to think it’s trivial, high school bullshit. Immature.”

“I’m not so much older than you, you know. I remember what high school was like.”

Her face reddened even more, she rolled her eyes and shook her head as if disapproving her own embarrassing, childish ways. “Well,” she said, fingering the end of a strand of hair resting on her breast. Robby’s eyes fell on her fingers, wrapped around the small curl, her pink fingernails shining even in the dim light of the classroom. “I sort of have— had— a little bit of a crush on you, Mr. Simon.” She let out a nervous chuckle and shook her head. “It’s stupid. Nothing serious. Just a stupid crush. When you came in on the first day, I mentioned it— jokingly, of course— to Justin, and he took it serious. I guess because you’re so much younger than all of the other teachers.” She looked up at him and her eyes widened. “Not saying that that means anything. I mean, I know you wouldn’t try to… You’re my teacher, nonetheless—” She sucked in a sharp breath and bit down on her lip again, her face impossibly red.

Robby watched her, the same nerves he’d been harboring so apparent on her flushed face, and smiled. “I don’t think it’s stupid,” he replied.

She shook her head. “Anyway, whenever Justin wants to cut class, it always happens to be this one. So, sorry about that. I’ll work on it, alright?”

“Please do,” Robby said with a nod.

She smiled. “Well, I guess you don’t have to grade it now. I’ll just get it in class tomorrow?”

“I look forward to seeing you,” he replied, and he’d never meant anything more sincerely in his life.

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