Chapter 17 - Déjà Vu

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Ella would be lying to herself if she said she wasn't excited about seeing Joe on the first day of school. For over a year she longed to just see his face and hear his voice, so she couldn't complain now that she could do those things again. Even knowing he was in the audience on Friday night excited her. None of that changed the fact that he had hurt her.

She really shouldn't have been surprised when he appeared at the music room door before the district-wide staff assembly on their first day. She gave him a look of disdain as he announced they could go together since they were both new.

Déjà vu was the best way to describe how she was feeling, especially when she took out her phone to read and reply to a text message. Joe leaned over with his wonderful scent and asked, "Are you texting your date?"

When she looked at him she didn't expect him to be smiling, but he was. His smile and twinkling eyes were enough to make a girl swoon. She knew that Leah would have told him she had a date, in fact, she wanted her to. Ella Burke was playing games and she suspected that Joe knew it.

Her dinner with Dylan was nice. He was easy to talk to and the thing she liked most about him was that he was close to his family. As much as she tried not to she found herself comparing him to Joe. She did, however, allow him to kiss her. It was a nice kiss, but she was afraid that Dylan might have thought it was a whole lot better than nice.

When she didn't answer Joe, he whispered in her ear, "Did he make you sigh when he kissed you?"

She felt the heat creep into her face and she was not embarrassed because he assumed she was kissed.

She hissed, "I don't."

"You do and I'll gladly prove it to you."

Before she could respond the superintendent of schools began to speak which was perfect timing. She hoped she'd be able to stay clear of Joe the rest of the day.

Joe knew that he had Ella off kilter with his comment about the kiss. He wanted nothing more than to win the challenge. He missed the little sigh she made when their lips touched. He missed the feel of her lips and her body and her laugh and her smile. He missed every tiny thing about her.

He spent much of the afternoon meeting with the English department. With Karen as the lead teacher, it wasn't dull. Once they finally wrapped up, he took a walk to the music hallway. He smiled when he found Ella in her room.

He saw a hint of a smile that she quickly changed to a stern look. She spoke first and said, "What do you want Mr. Walch?"

"I wanted to finish our discussion from this morning."

"What discussion was that?" she asked without any of the amusement he felt.

He took a step closer and said, "About your sighing."

"I do not!" she said sharply.

"Prove it!" he challenged her.

She gasped and said, "No!"

"Why not?" he asked keeping his tone amused as he took another step closer.

She backed herself into the corner as he continued to step closer and even when there was space for her to move away she didn't.

He debated whether he should actually kiss her the way he longed to. He hoped that she had the same longing that he did.

He leaned into her ear and whispered, "I promised you... more than words."

He thought he may have heard a slight sigh, but put his hand behind her neck and he slowly inched his lips closer to hers. When he was barely an inch from her lips, he saw her eyes shut and her breath hitched and she sighed.

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