I shouldn't have been worried about making up an excuse to spend time with Frankie, she came to see me at pretty much any free chance she had. At first she was hesitant, not sure whether she should be coming to see me or not, but as the weeks passed she became used to it. Sometimes she'd make me listen to a new band she'd found – I was very happy about her brilliant music taste, it seems we are exactly the same in that aspect – but usually we'd just sit around and talk. I don't think I've ever laughed so much in my life as I have in these past three weeks with her.
Everyone's noticed a change in me. Like I said, I was a positive person, but now I'm just… 'Sickly nice', as Frankie has more than once described me as.
I learned that Frankie doesn't want to get attached to people, which is why she always draws away. I don't know why she's like that, and I'm not going to ask. I want to wait until she trusts me to start talking about deep things. I don't want to rush anything. I've waited all these years for her, I'm not going to waste a moment, and I'm definitely not going to screw this up. Anyway, as I was saying, she used to not try to get close to me, but now I think she's stopped caring and has let me in.
Hell, she laughs and everything now.
Damn, I love her laugh. It just… it makes my heart happy. I've never felt as alive as I have the moments I spend with her.
She's sat in front of me now, cross-legged and on my desk, laughing really hard so much she started clapping. I can't even remember what I said that set her off like that, but I was glad I said it.
I laughed with her, smiling so hard my cheeks hurt and, as usual, holding down the need to lean over and kiss her. She's so… young and free. I'd forgotten what it had been like to be like that.
It doesn't help. I'm trying to think of reasons to act mature and act like an adult by not jumping on her and having my wicked way with her, and there she is, bringing out this youthfulness in me which I'd thought had gone for good some years ago, when my mom passed away.
I don't know how she can be this alert, just three hours ago she told me she'd fallen asleep during a lesson. She definitely carries the common trait of a teenager with the whole sleeping thing. Apparently her mom hadn't woken her up on time and she'd only had a shower about five minutes before she left. Which was why her hair was standing up on all ends, because she had to power dry it so she didn't have to come to school with wet hair. It was so adorable. Way too adorable.
The bell went and she groaned, flinging her legs down over the side of my desk. Why she finds the need to sit on my desk, I have no idea. She can never just sit still in an ordinary place.
"Come on, you don't have that long until you can go home," I said, taking her hands and pulling her off. She groaned again and pulled a face that made me surprised she wasn't stomping her foot.
"I don't want to go home. My dad's being an absolute dickhead at the moment. And he's home this weekend, so that means I have to see him even more," she moaned as she reluctantly walked over to the door, shuffling her feet slowly, dragging out the short walk there.
I smiled at her. See? Adorable. "Oh come on, you love him."
Her head snapped around to glare at me. "He broke my Queen's ultimate greatest hits CD!" she wailed and I laughed.
"He said it would make a good boomerang and flung it at me."
"He did what!"
She nodded. "It smashed into the wall next to me and broke. He said he was trying to get my attention. I was ignoring him."
"He accused me of starving myself," she said and I frowned. I don't like that.
"Are you?" she glared at me. "No, seriously, Frankie. You're not, right? Because that's a very serious thing and he wouldn't just come out with that from nothing."
She rolled her eyes and slapped my stomach. "I know its serious – I'm not stupid, I'm not like that. I just didn't eat all of my lasagne when it's, like, my favourite food. He was making a joke out of it but took it too damn far."
I was still frowning at her. "Why didn't you eat it all?"
She let out a breath; walking out the door she'd been leaning against while we'd been talking. "See you later, Mr. Clearwater. We have history last period."
"This conversation isn't over!" I called after her. She just waved over her shoulder.
I'd known it would happen. Of course it would. He's perfect. Smart, wealthy, gorgeous, funny, kind, generous – just perfect. But when that happy petite woman bounced up to him, hugging him, I couldn't help but feel the need to slaughter her.
She looked nice. She was pretty, skinny and she looked like a really kind person. Prettier than me, skinnier than me, and a hell of a lot kinder than me, I could tell.
Why am I even comparing us? She was in a whole different league than I was. I was happy Mr. Clearwater had someone who was so equally happy.
Oh fuck it. No I wasn't. I was hurt, angry, upset and confused. Why was he so lovely to me? Why? It makes me feel stupid, knowing he goes home to this woman everyday while I lay in bed for hours thinking about him. I'm so stupid!
He smiled at her and they spoke in hushed tones.
"You think-k th-th-that his-s w-wife?" Naveen whispered over to me as they whispered to each other, right in front of me.
Kill me now. I really wanted to die. I mean, it felt like I was dying.
"I don't know. Does she come in a lot? I didn't think teachers could have their partners come in during lessons?" I asked, trying not to show that I wanted to kill her. I'd actually started to believe something might come out of me and Mr. Clearwater.
I'm so fucking stupid! Who thinks that? He's my teacher!
Fuck, I'm so angry.
Naveen shook his head. He talks to me a lot now. He still stutters, but we talk.
The woman looked over at me and I looked away quickly.
Do not panic. She cannot read my thoughts. It's okay. She doesn't know that you've been wishing to get jiggy with her boyfriend/husband. It's fine.
Argh! This is terrible!
Why? Why did I have to start having feelings for him? I knew this would happen.
It hurts so badto know that he's in love with this woman. Why does it hurt so badly? My stomach feels like someone's been kicking the shit out of me. I can't go through this. I shouldn't have let myself start to have feelings for him… especially not after what happened last time.
I let out a sigh, dropping my head to the desk. I'm so fed up of this. Why can't I just get swallowed up by the ground?
"Y-y-you ok-k-k-kay?" Naveen asked and I smiled at him.
"Yeah, I'm fine. I just have a bit of a headache. Thanks."
He just nodded and looked away, as if embarrassed for asking.
I kept trying to tell myself to stop thinking about Mr. Clearwater, but I can't. Why had I been trying to fool myself? Of course he'd have someone. Why wouldn't he? He's perfect. Any woman on this planet would be lucky to have him.
There's five minuets until school finishes. Five minutes. I think I can survive that, right?
"Don't!" he suddenly said loudly and everyone's head turned, but I didn't look up. I was not going to find out what they were doing. I don't want to look up in case they start kissing or something. That would be terrible.
The moment that bell went, I was out of there. For the past weeks I've been going to see him, like, every break I have, or after school. Luckily I remember to tell my mum when I won't be home, so she doesn't murder me every time I come home late.
But none of that will be happening again. It just won't.
Who am I kidding? By tomorrow I'll just give into that tug in my stomach and go see him.
It's like it's physically impossible for me to not see him at least a couple of times a day. I have the worst self-restraint ever.
But, really, he has a wife or girlfriend or something? I know he probably doesn't even think we're what you'd class as friends, but I spend time with him everyday, surely that's…
Oh crap! He doesn't even want me there! He probably just wants me to leave him alone. I've been making an absolute fool out of myself! He doesn't even want to spend time with me! Oh god.
I'm such a bell-end.
Why do I feel this stuff for him when he doesn't even like me? I know I shouldn't be moaning so much, it's not like this is the worst thing that's even happened to me… but it hurts. I was surprised by how much it hurt to find out he was with another woman.
I stormed out of the school and I turned, looking behind myself. I'm such a douche. How could I be thinking all of that? I can't believe myself sometimes.
I should have been looking where I was going, considering I was practically running. I ran straight into someone's chest.
"Oh, shit! I'm so sorry," I said, looking up to see this big-ass man. He'd caught hold of my elbows so I hadn't fallen over and his touch about as scorching hot as Mr. Clearwater's. Argh! Why does everything always remind me of him?
"It's okay," he said, letting go of me, staring at me with a very strange expression.
"Paul!" I heard some cheery little voice shout and turned to see that same woman… Mrs. Clearwater?
It felt like someone was repeatedly pounding my heart with their fist. Shit.
"Louise!" the bloke I ran into said with the same amount of cheeriness as Mr. Clearwater rushed out, locking eyes with me, a panicked look on his face.
"Umm, sorry, again," I said to this Paul dude, but barely even noticed, walking over to her.
I swallowed, trying not to die with each step I took away from them. I didn't look back, I just kept walking. Walking and walking. As soon as I got home I headed for the punch bag. This is not good.
This is not good at all.
Two days. I lasted two days.
Two days without spending time with him out of class, barely being able to eat or sleep, and being more of a grouchy bitch that I ever have been. The excruciating physical pain I felt every time I walked away from him, didn't go talk to him, or went home from school without saying goodbye was overwhelming and it still surprised me.
Today was the worst. He hadn't shaved. What the hell is that man trying to do to me? I'm trying to not make a fool out of myself by hanging around him and he doesn't shave? What's up with that?
Everyone was reading out of the text books to then start answering the questions he'd set.
I could feel his eyes on me.
Do not look.
Do not look.
Do not look
Do not – fuck, I looked.
He looked kinda ill or something. Not that I cared. He had a wife to care for him.
Okay, I lied. I care about him so much.
And when I looked into those eyes, saw that look in his eyes, I couldn't look away.
'Stay after class?' he mouthed to me and I just nodded dumbly. His twitched into a soft smile but he didn't hold it. His eyes flickered around the class and I dropped my eyes to my work.
What am I doing?
I can't stay!
Why does he even want you to?
"What's going on, Fran?" he asked me about twenty minutes later and I looked up, only realising then that everyone had left the classroom. I shrugged, picking up my stuff.
He sighed, "Come on, please don't be like that. Not with me. What's the matter? You haven't come seen me in ages?"
I just shrugged again. He grabbed my hand, pulling me closer to look into his eyes. I tried to concentrate on what he was saying, and not the close proximity I was in.
Fuck, he looks damn sexy with stubble.
The urge to kiss him and run my hand down his face was getting excruciatingly tempting and unbearably hard to fight.
"Stop it, Frankie. I see you practically any free moment you have for so long and then all of a sudden you stop? Why? Something's happened."
Maybe he does want to see me. Maybe he's secretly an arsehole and wants to cheat on his wife with me.
Oh, grow up, Frankie. You saw his wife, right? Why would anyone want you over her?
"Come on, just tell me," he said, bringing his other hand up to stroke the back of my hand.
Tell him why? How can I? 'Ah well, thing is, I thought that something was gonna happen between us, and now I feel like a douche because I found out you have a girlfriend/wife.'
Yes, that's a great idea.
"I don't know what's going on with you, I thought…" he trailed off, looking away with his lips pursed. "Have I done something wrong? Upset you in any way? Because I really didn't mean or want to – that's the last thing I'd ever want to do. And I'm so sorry if I did. Please, just tell me what's happening," he said and I looked away. I felt stupid if I did another shrug.
"Nothing," I said. "I just didn't think you'd want me to come see you."
His face instantly changed into one of confusion, "What? Frankie, why would you think that?"
I just motioned with my hands, not being able to find the right words, taking a step back. He gently pulled me back forwards by the shoulders.
"Frankie, I would never think that, I'd always want you around. What's gotten into your head? If I've ever given off that then I'm sorry, but I didn't mean that. You were fine that lunch but then – oh. Oh, Francesca, no," he sighed, dropping one hand and staring at me pityingly. I shoved his hand of my shoulder and he just stroked my arm.
"You believe what Naveen said, don't you? Honey, she wasn't my wife or my girlfriend or anything like that," he brushed the back of his fingers against my cheek and I just stayed still, unmoving. "That guy you ran into? That's her husband… they're very happily married with two children."
I just nodded.
Sometimes I amaze myself at how much of a douche I am.
"Well, actually last night they had a bit of an argument because this woman he… knew has moved back from England and has been telling him she has something she needs to tell him, but that's not the point," he shook his head and I couldn't help my lips from pulling upwards into a smile. You can tell he's so worried about them. He's adorable. How can he be so damn nice all the time to everyone?
"Is that why you haven't been coming to see me? You thought I was married?" he asked, still stroking my cheek.
I didn't like all this being vulnerable shit. I didn't like that he could make me like this.
"Aren't you?" I asked, finally looking up into his eyes. This seemed to make him smile and he shook his head. "Why?"
His smile fell slightly, just a ghost of it left on his features. "You should be. Why aren't you? Are you, like, a murderer? Or… are you a widower?"
He shook his head again, his eyes searching mine. But what was he searching for? He screwed his face up slightly, sighing as he stared at the ground, finally stopping the shaking of his head.
"Why?" I repeated and he just stared at the ground.
"I can't tell you. Not yet."
"You're not ready, I'm not ready… we're just not ready. I don't want to mess this up."
I frowned at him. "That – you're not making sense. 'This'? You don't want to mess 'this' up? What even is 'this'?"
He shook his head, his eyes meeting mine. "Please, just give me time? It isn't anything bad, I promise."
I stared into his eyes for a moment before sighing.
It's not like I'll get anything out of whining about it. He obviously has his reasons. I could probably get my way if I wanted, I've learnt that he's a bit of a pushover, but I didn't want to. There was a reason why he didn't want to tell me and I trusted him. I shouldn't. I really shouldn't trust him, but I do.
He smiled at me. "Thank you."
I just nodded. This shit was way too deep; it was making me feel yucky. "So, got my CD?" I asked hopefully. He'd had my Ramones CD for about two weeks now. His mouth fell open, a look of horror in his eyes. "Sheesh! For a teacher you're not very damn organised!"
"Oh god, I'm so, so sorry! Okay, I'll give you a lift home and we'll stop off at mine and I'll pick it up, okay? I can't believe I keep forgetting it! I'm so sorry."
I just laughed at him and his franticness. "To be fair," I said, "it is a very good CD. I'd probably steal it too if I were you."
He narrowed his eyes at me but then turned abruptly, packing his stuff up and dragging me out of the classroom. "I did not steal it! You are getting it back right now!"
I laughed loudly and followed him lazily as he ran to his car. It's only about twenty-five minutes after the bell went, but the school was already empty.
"You have, like, the biggest guilt conscience ever," I commented as he started up his car and I slung my bag in side, flopping in after. "I really don't think you're forgetting to bring it in on purpose."
"And you're, like, going to get it anyway," he said, doing a very mad imitation of my voice. I started laughing like a loon. A voice that high-pitched coming out of his mouth is just weird. Seriously, it's so strange.
"Are you laughing at my Frankie impersonation?" he said in the same voice and for some reason I was near shedding tears of laughter. I nodded, still laughing.
He shook his head at me and smiled.
I put my feet up on the dashboard, putting a hand on my chest, breathing deeply to calm my laughter.
"Feet off!" he shouted and I quickly removed them, shocked at his sudden shout.
"Jesus! You freaking scared me!"
"Sorry," he said, at a much calmer tone. "But you could get hurt if we were in an accident."
I rolled my eyes. I thought something serious was going to happen, not that.
"That's what my dad says when he doesn't wanna say it's just 'cause I'm dirtying up his car."
He looked at me disapprovingly. "Yes, well, I don't want you to get snapped in half when another car comes crashing into us."
I pulled a face. "What a lovely imagination you have."
"Sorry…" he said, pulling up to a house that I now assume is his. I put my feet back on the dashboard, trying to get a glance of his house but not making it too obvious.
He sighed at my feet. "Come on! Out!" he said as he hopped out, coming around and opening my door.
My eyes bugged out of my head. "Err, what?"
"Someone could come and kill you when I'm in my house. Come on."
"Stupid imagination," I grumbled, getting out of the car. He grinned at me and I couldn't help but smile. Damn man.
I couldn't help but let out a laugh when I entered his house. "This is your bachelor pad?" I joked and he rolled his eyes, chucking his car keys on a counter.
"What's wrong with my bachelor pad?" he asked hands out as he walked backwards, as if offended.
I laughed as I followed him into the kitchen. "It's way too tidy and – holy shit! You have one of those kitchen islands!" I shouted, jumping onto it.
He raised an eyebrow at me, freezing mid-step.
I stared at him, wide-eyed. "My bad…" I said sheepishly and he laughed loudly.
"I take it you like them?"
I nodded feverously. "Yeah. Every single damn place we move to I tell my parent's to pick a house with a kitchen island – or to do the kitchen up with one. But nope, every time they choose not to. Last year I even found a house with one – the whole house was perfect for us. Plus itt was unbelievably cheap and my dad could easily do it up. But oh no, my parent's found out there was something wrong with it. Really, they just didn't buy it out of spite."
"Aww, you poor thing," he called as he went through to the over room, in search for, I'm guessing, my CD.
"It really is quite terrible. Do I have to follow you or can I stay here?" I shouted back, lying down. I would so love one of these.
"Stay there… the disc has gone into hiding and I can't find it," I laughed and lent my head back.
This was so his house. You could just tell.
Shouldn't this feel weird? I'm in my teacher's house…
It didn't. I kinda scared me that it didn't feel weird, because I knew it should. But Mr. Clearwater was just so damn nice, I knew I could trust him.
That makes me sound naïve, right? I'm not some stupid girl, I don't go around trusting people I don't know. There is a chance that he's just some sick perverted teacher who's luring me back to his house so do something bad… but he isn't. I know he isn't and I'm going to trust my instincts, just this once. Because I get the feeling that if I don't, then I'll hugely regret it later. I'm being stupid, I know, but I can't ignore that there's some deep shit going on with him, and I want to know. Nothing may come of this, but it just feels like my once chance. I may move in a week and nothing will happen, and that'll be fine. I'm just not gonna deliberately ruing whatever the hell is going on, because something is going on. I'm just going to carry on, doing whatever feels normal. I'm going to go with the flow – however stupid that sounds. And at this very moment, being in his house, talking to him like we're old friends, it feels normal. This is right. It might not be for everyone else, but it feels right for me. In the end, that's all that matters… right?
Okay, I hadn't planned on being so deep at the end there, it just sort of happened. Apologise if you guys get two alerts through, but someone pointed out I'd repeated something and I wanted to delete it. I also wanted to change a couple of words, but it's nothing drastic and you don't have to reread it, you probably wouldn't notice the difference.
Anyway, thank you for all of the beautiful reviews. I appreciate them all! Please send some more, I really want to know what you lot think of this. Oh, and be as honest as you can! Also thanks to anyone reading and adding this to fav/alerts.
How am I handeling the situation between them at the moment? And I've started setting out something to happen in the future for this story already, and it's kinda making me giddy so I'm gonna try write some more because I really want you guys to know what evil plan I've got going.
Thanks again everyone!
PS - reviews empower me to write quicker ;)