9️⃣

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The school bell was about to signal for the end of the day when Mr. Whitaker came up to my desk for the second time today. This was the first time I was aware enough to see his outfit. He was dressed in navy blue khaki pants, a tan leather belt, and a blue and white plaid shirt. Admittedly, the man had good fashion sense.

"Hazel, can you stay after for a minute today?" he asked.

As I met his gaze, the power of which was not even slightly hindered by his glasses, I couldn't find myself to say anything but yes.

"Sure," I replied casually.

"Is she in trouble?" Rachel joked with a smirk.

"No." He smiled pleasantly at us. "Not at all."

Rachel and I both watched him go back to his desk. Grabbing my hand, she gave it a firm—almost painful—squeeze. "I think we're in a movie. You two are falling in love. I can see it now."

"Hush!" I hissed, making her squeal in laughter. "You can't say stuff like that, Rach! Besides, I don't even like him."

"Uh huh."

"I don't. All I know is he has pretty eyes and good taste in clothes." My lips curled in a playful grin while I lowered my voice. "For all we know, he might be gay."

Another bout of laughter burst from her. I joined in until the bell rang. Rachel rose from her chair and gave me a sympathetic look.

"You poor thing, having to stay behind," she cooed. "I do envy you so much."

"I would gladly trade places with you."

"But you can't!" She stuck her tongue out and pranced off with everyone else.

Once the room was vacated, I slowly walked up to Mr. Whitaker's desk. He looked away from his computer, and a smile lit up his face.

"What is it that you wanted to talk about?" I asked as politely as possible.

"Here, Hazel," he said, gesturing to the nearest desk. "Take a seat."

Although I was a little uncomfortable, I took the seat and patiently waited for him to get on with it.

"Do you remember that creative writing club I mentioned before?" His long fingers crossed together as he clasped his hands atop his desk.

"Yes."

"Well, we're meeting tomorrow after school. I really think you should come."

"Mr. Whitaker, I would if I had the time, but I've just been really busy lately."

He nodded slowly, a small smile on his mouth. "If you can, I would highly recommend you squeeze it into your schedule. You have great talent, Hazel. You won't regret coming."

"I'll see what I can do," I lied.

Being stuck in the same room with this man any longer than I already was would be torture. He was too nice and too pretty. It was hard for me not to crush on him, but he was my teacher. I didn't want to make things awkward by liking him.

"Okay." He stood up from his chair, leading me to do the same. "That's all I had to say. Thanks for staying."

"No problem."

After retrieving my bag from my real desk, I started for the door. Just before I reached it, he called out to me one more time.

"And Hazel?"

I paused to glance over my shoulder.

"It was good to see you this weekend, at the rotary event. A familiar face is always welcomed."

"Likewise." This man made me lie a lot. Flashing him a smile, I hurried off.

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