Playing for keeps, p.22
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       Playing for Keeps, p.22

         Part #1 of Neighbor from Hell series by R. L. Mathewson  
Page 22

 

  His little grasshopper seemed oblivious to the attention she drew as she reached back to grab a large brown paper bag. She winced a little as she picked it up and placed it onto her lap. She held onto it, grabbing a large packet with the other hand. He didn’t wait for an invite. He sat down on the desk right next to her.

  “Alright, guys, for those of you who are just joining us we’re having a review. We’ll each take a turn asking you a question. If you know the answer you get a prize,” she said. He saw his students visibly relax. He didn’t think it was over the prize, but over the reprieve from his temper.

  Curious about the prize he leaned over and gasped. How dare she hide these from him! He sent her a glare, earning one of her exasperated eye rolls. He reached into the bag only to have his hand slapped away. How dare she?

  “You can have one after five of your students answer a question correctly,” she informed him.

  He sent a scathing look to his students, letting them know they damn well better answer correctly and quickly if they wanted to live. The woman had a huge bag, probably twenty pounds, of Hershey’s Kisses and mini Reese’s Peanut Butter cups and he’d be damned if he wasn’t getting at least fifteen pounds of that. The hell with the kids. Did they really need an education more than he needed chocolate? They all had trust funds. They could get away with a tenth grade education. He on the other hand needed that damn chocolate. Once his five students answered their questions correctly he was attacking that bag consequences be damned.

  “Alright guys, first question,” Haley announced as she looked at her packet. “Who was the first President of the United States?”

  Every hand in the room went up.

  Jason snorted. “Are you trying to just give away my chocolate? Make them work for it. ”

  Haley randomly picked a student, one of his, and tossed a Kiss. As she asked the questions they got tougher. Nine questions later he was patiently waiting for one of his students, John, to answer one of Haley’s questions.

  “It was eighteen sixty…. ” the kid trailed off as he thought it over. Jason was going to fail the kid if he couldn’t answer the question. Not because it reflected poorly on his teaching skills, but because this was the fifth question and he wanted chocolate!

  While Haley was watching the kid for the answer, Jason discretely raised four fingers.

  “Eighteen sixty-four,” John answered quickly, trying not to look at Jason.

  “Very good,” Haley said, tossing John a peanut butter cup.

  “Hey, that’s not fair!” Cindy or whatever the hell her name was from the dance cried. He should have known the little witch would be looking for revenge. “Mr. Bradford told him the answer!”

  “Don’t be petty. John answered the question correctly,” he said, holding out his hand for the chocolate that was due him.

  Haley eyed him carefully while he gave her his most innocent expression. “Did you just cheat so you could get chocolate?”

  He did his best to look insulted. “Would I do that?” he demanded.

  She rolled her eyes and handed him a huge handful of chocolate. “This should keep your cheating ways at bay for a while. ”

  “You would think that, wouldn’t you,” he said, unwrapping his treats while Cindy or whatever the hell her name was scowled at him. He ignored her. He ate his chocolate between asking questions of the class. He only paused to reach back and snag Haley’s water bottle to wash down the chocolate.

  While they sat there hip to hip asking questions he reached back and casually rubbed a circle on Haley’s lower back. He almost groaned when he felt her tremor. Outward she was cool and relaxed. She laughed with the kids and never had any problems carrying on with her questions. He only stopped rubbing her back when she handed him more chocolate, which only happened when she caught him cheating.

  The lunch bell rang. Haley held up a hand. “Alright, guys. You’ve studied hard all year. I want you go home, review and then I want you to relax. This is just a test, guys. Just remember that and you’ll do fine. Remember everyone that earns a passing grade of at least eighty will be joining me next week on the last day of school for a make your own sundae party. ”

  Jason glared at Haley. First chocolate and now ice cream. What else was she withholding from him? He held up his hand to stop everyone from leaving.

  “The same deal goes for my class,” he said.

  “Copycat,” Haley mumbled.

  “Damn straight,” he said as he waved the students to leave.

  They got up and left while he reached over and grabbed the bag from Haley. He settled it on his lap and started snaking away. Haley grabbed the bag from him and dropped it in her desk drawer, locking it.

  He rolled his eyes. “Yeah, cause that will stop me. ”

  “Behave. If there’s any left by the end of the day you can have more,” she said as she put her things away. She paused by the door and tried her best to look stern as she said, “That chocolate better be there after lunch, mister. ”

  “Of course,” he readily agreed.

  She threw him one last look of warning before she headed off towards the cafeteria for lunch duty. He’d be right behind her since they had the same schedule. Only he had one thing to do before that.

  After making sure that she was gone he knelt down and picked the lock with two paper clips he found on her desk. Seconds later the lock clicked and he stole the booty and headed for his room, sighing. When would she ever learn?

  **********************

  “I still don’t understand your problem,” Mary said.

  Haley scowled across the booth at her friend. “What’s not to understand? Somehow, someway I managed to find myself in a serious relationship without the relationship. ”

  “That sounds……. different,” Mary said. After a short pause Mary asked, “What the hell do you mean? I thought you and Jason were just friends. ”

  “We are! It’s just that……” She sighed heavily as she fiddled with the label on her beer. “He doesn’t date anymore. He doesn’t even show any interest in another woman. When we’re out he sends women away telling them he’s not interested. ”

  “Well, that’s sweet-“

  “When guys approach me he throws his arm around me and gives them looks that scare the hell out of them. Last night when we were out with Mitch at the movies some guy in line stood too close to me and Jason got into a shouting match with the guy. ”

  “He’s just being protective-“

  “He treats me like his girlfriend. He’s always touching me and cuddling up with me. We sleep in the same bed every night. We try sleeping positions like they were sexual positions!” she hissed quietly, hoping the loud jukebox music blocked out her voice to the rest of the bar patrons.

  “And you don’t like any of this?” Mary guessed.

  “Like it? I love it! Except I want more. God, I can’t stop thinking about him and having him so close but not close enough is killing me. I am so pathetic,” she mumbled sadly.

  “Does he know?”

  “No. If he did he’d step back. He doesn’t want a girlfriend. He wants a friend, a sister. ”

  “Doesn’t sound that way to me. ”

  “Trust me. There’s no chance in hell Jason Bradford is going to change his ways for me. ”

 
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