chapter one

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JUST before summer break in 1993, the students in front of Isaac Walker were practically bouncing off the walls with energy. The fresh sunlight was coating the classroom in a warm glaze, so every student felt ecstatic with the adrenaline rush of summer being so close.

Isaac lowered his head in his hands as the noise level grew louder. He remembered when he thought he could handle eleventh grade students - he figured since he was only in his early thirties, he should be able to relate to the students and have them respect him easily.

He learned that he was idiotic for assuming such a thing when he asked for them to be quiet several times, and to no avail.

The bell finally sounded after what felt like an eternity, and the students squealed with elation. They all mumbled a garbled, "Bye Mr. Walker!" as they piled as quickly as they could out of the classroom.

"Bye everyone, have a good summer!" Isaac called out to them, before he turned to erase some scribbles off the chalkboard behind him.

The silence of the room eased his headache significantly. But just when he thought the room was empty, he heard the sound of a bookbag dropping to the ground.

He quickly looked to find that a lingering student, the only one in the classroom with him, had dropped her backpack to the floor. Her books and papers were spilled and scattered across the floor, and she instantly looked up at him with wide eyes.

"I'm sorry, Mr. Walker," she spoke meekly around the lollipop in her mouth, kneeling to collect the books.

Isaac recognized her as his student who barely talked - he probably only heard her speak about four times the entire school year. Compared to the other students in his class who spoke continuously despite his protests, this particular student always seemed very respectful.

Her appearance was different that day, Isaac noticed. She wore a skirt hiked up to her mid-thigh, and a light windbreaker over a tanktop, when normally she would wear clothing thick enough to hide her entire figure. Her long, golden hair was down and shimmering against the beating sunlight, when normally, her locks were confined to a tight bun.

"No worries, Lainey," Isaac rushed over to help her, kneeling down and shoveling the books into her bag. Immediately, the scent of cherries invaded his senses, and he looked up to find her olive eyes staring into his.

"Thank you, Mr. Walker," she said gently, her words dripping with sincerity as he stood up with her bookbag in his hand.

Isaac shook his head, "Anytime, darling. Have a nice summer," he smiled at her, before turning to go back to his desk.

Just as he was collecting all of his papers, as well as ungraded final assignments, he heard the door slam shut. He pushed his glasses up the bridge of his nose and began to read an essay from one of his students, enjoying the peace and quiet throughout the small room.

"Mr. Walker-"

Isaac jumped immediately, not expecting anybody to be in the room with him still. His eyes met with Lainey's, and he exhaled heavily through his lips.

"You scared me," Isaac admitted, moving his hands through his thick, dark hair.

Lainey's eyes narrowed a little bit as she watched him, and Isaac cleared his throat.

"Are you all right?" he asked her, furrowing his eyebrows towards her strange behavior.

This was the same girl who's voice was so quiet that whenever he called on her, he could barely understand her. Now she was standing in front of him, speaking with full confidence.

Lainey reached back into her bookbag and pulled out her school yearbook, plopping it on the desk in front of him. Then, she twirled her tongue around the lollypop in her mouth, her eyes locked on Isaac the entire time.

"I just wanted you to sign my yearbook," she mumbled, her lips tilting into a gentle smile.

"Oh, okay," Isaac took a second to sign her yearbook, feeling her large eyes watching him the entire time. Isaac noticed that looking through the autograph page, there was not one other signature. But he signed anyway; he wanted to get her out of the room as quickly as possible, as he couldn't help but feel extreme discomfort towards the way she was acting.

He closed the book and handed it to her with a forced smile, but Lainey didn't turn away. Instead, she continued moving her tongue around the red candy in her mouth, as she looked over at a framed picture of Isaac's girlfriend and their one-year-old son.

"You're married?" Lainey asked, biting into her glossy bottom lip.

Isaac followed her gaze to the picture and shook his head. "Ah, no... not yet, at least."

"But you guys have a kid together?" Lainey tilted her head, and Isaac took a deep breath.

"Lainey, I don't mean to be rude, but I really need to focus on grading these last papers. Go enjoy your first day of summer, everyone else was so excited," Isaac spoke, his tone laced with forced excitement as Lainey continued staring at the photo.

"Your girlfriend's pretty," she said quietly, her cheeks tinting with a light pink colour as she pulled the picture closer to her.

"I know," Isaac smiled, looking down at the paper he had started to grade.

"I'll bet she's happy to be with you. You're so handsome, who wouldn't be?" she said, and Isaac's eyes shot to the doorway to make sure nobody was there and hearing this.

"Lainey, I really don't-"

"It's all right, Mr. Walker. Really," Lainey took her lollipop out of her mouth and tossed it in the garbage can beside his desk. "I'm eighteen now."

"What the hell are you talking about?" Isaac stood to his feet and threw his papers into his own bag, accepting the fact that he probably wouldn't be able to get alone time. "You can't be doing this."

"I'm just saying, there's no reason to be scared by a little compliment from your student. That's all..." Lainey's eyes widened a little bit, the golden flecks surrounding her irises even more prominent in the afternoon sunlight. "What did you think I was doing?"

"Oh," Isaac took a deep breath of relief before exhaling heavily. "I'm sorry, Lainey. I didn't mean to... assume anything, I'm just - a little stressed out, I guess."

Lainey pretended to adjust her skirt, lifting the fabric higher against her flesh in the process, before she looked up at Isaac. Fluttering her lashes, she offered him a warm and forgiving smile.

Isaac started towards the doorway of his classroom, shutting the light off and jingling his car keys in his hand as Lainey followed him out into the vacant hallway. Her demeanor was calm and fairly innocent, as she leaned up against one of the purple lockers.

"I'll see you next year, have a great summer," Isaac spoke with a smile while locking the door of his classroom.

Lainey paused for a second, before throwing her hair behind her shoulder.

"You'll see me sooner than that," Isaac heard Lainey say, but before he could respond, she was strutting down the empty hallway.

Isaac furrowed his eyebrows - this entire experience was so uncharacteristic and strange. He had only been teaching for two years, but that interaction alone had to be one of the most bizarre incidents of his career.

Lainey looked over her shoulder, her dark lashes fanning across her cheeks, before she turned into another hallway.

_

thoughts? :)
if you think this'll just be another cliche teacher/student love story or something, you obviously don't know me well! so don't just assume... this story gets pretty gruesome ;)

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