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Chapter 9

The soft clink of a mug being put down on the bedside table pulls me into consciousness. I open my eyes a crack and see Bryan smiling down at me.

“Good morning baba. Sleep well?” I nod and yawn, stretching my body until my back cracks. “What do you wanna do today?” He climbs back onto the bed next to me, resting his head on my stomach and wrapping his arms around me. I start to play with his hair. The day he’d come home with his hair cut short I actually cried, much to his amusement.

“I don’t know. Just chill on the sofa all day watching tv?” Bryan chuckles.

“You piss and moan that we never have days off together, and when we actually do you want to stay at home and watch tv?” I sigh deeply and shrug.

“You’re right.....but staying in my pj’s all day having cuddles sounds like heaven.”

Bryan pushes himself up and hovers over me, leaning on his forearms. “You promise you won’t get to this evening and start whining that you’ve wasted the day?” He quirks an eyebrow at me. I nod eagerly. “So I guess you’re sending me out to get snacks.” I nod again, a grin creeping across my face. He grins back at me, and leans down to press a kiss against my forehead, his stubble scratching my skin slightly. “I’ll be back in a few.”

While Bryan is out stocking up on the unhealthiest of food groups for our duvet day I can’t help but find myself on Instagram, guiltily stalking Layne’s page. He had uploaded lots of photo’s from last night of his friends. One catches my eye, his wide grin and slightly turned up nose are covered in a sheen of sweat in a post-gig shot, his bare chest sprinkled in glitter. Behind him are two guys who look slightly older than him, but both sporting the same cute turned up nose and shades of brown hair. His older brothers maybe?

The slam of the door causes me to jump guiltily, and my phone clatters to the floor.

“You ok, baba?” Bryan pokes his head in from the kitchen to check on me. I retrieve my phone and quickly check to see if I’d cracked the screen. Clear and in tact, phew.

“I’m fine!” I smile up at him, pulling my legs up under me and settling back on the sofa. He walks in, throwing a huge bag of peanut M&M’s on my lap, and sits next to me. I stretch my legs out onto his thighs, and he absentmindedly starts tracing circles on my bare legs.

“So....Adam Sandler marathon?” He waggles his eyebrows at me.

“Oh hells yeah!”

***

Bryan sighs as he pushes his medication through the thin metal sheet and holds the small white tablet in his hand. I’d convinced him to go back on his antidepressants after he’d ripped a cupboard door off. Again.

“I really don’t get why they decided it would be a good idea to put antidepressants in a packet marked with the days of the week. I mean, it just reminds us of the days we’ve got left to get through.” He swallows it dry, and goes back to eating his peanut butter on toast which I’d so lovingly prepared for him. Yeah, the whole cooking breakfast thing was definitely passed down to me from my mom.

“Well I’m just happy you’re feeling a bit better now you’ve started taking them again.” I munch on my toast and divert my attention back down to the book I was reading, a good sexy romance novel which had at times given me blushes so strong my feet felt hot. I sigh as I read about sex god Christian sweeping Ana off her feet. I wish Bryan would just throw me over a desk and start fucking me. I look back up at him. He’s frowning down at his phone as usual.

“For fucks sake!” He slams it down on the breakfast bar. “They want me to work a double again.”

“It’s ok bubba, I’ve got to cover detention hall tonight so I won’t be home 'til later on anyway.” He runs his fingers through his hair and nods in acknowledgment. After loudly dumping his breakfast things in the dishwasher, he stomps upstairs to finish getting dressed.

I sigh deeply and return to my book.

***

“Janey! Oh my god, you would not believe the morning I’ve had.” I slump down in her chair, swinging my feet up to rest on her desk. She glances over her shoulder at me and chuckles, before continuing to write notes on the black board in her perfect cursive handwriting. I wished I’d known her when we were doing our wedding invites.

“Students not behaving?”

“They’re just so fucking boring. It’s like pulling teeth. I’m sure I had much more imagination when I was a kid.” I groan, pushing my fringe back off my forehead and letting it flop back down. “Oh, by the way I finished this this morning.” And I pull her copy of Fifty Shades of Grey from my bag and drop it on her desk.

“Did you like it?” She rubs her hands together to get rid of the chalk dust, and pulls herself up onto her desk, picking up the battered copy of the book and holding it to her chest. “If only I could find myself a Mr Grey...” She trails off wistfully.

“I will admit I am pretty jealous of Ana.” Janey smiles suggestively at me, and I shake my head. “Not because of all the eat me beat me shit, but just the fact that she’s that desired by someone who seemingly can’t keep his hands off her. No hand but my own has touched me in over six months.”

From the store room at the back of the classroom where all the science equipment is stored comes a smash of glass followed by “Shitfuck!", and a guilty looking Layne appears in the doorway.

“Language Mr Stanley.” Janey calls over her shoulder. She looks back at my beet red face with a smirk and a shrug. “Sorry hun, forgot he was back there.”

I grab my bag and run from the classroom, face still burning in embarrassment.

“Rosa-Lee! Geez woman you can run.” Janey catches up with me and bends over, hands on knees, trying to catch her breath. “I really am sorry. I totally forgot he was in there. I found him moping around the halls on his own and offered for him to sort out the store room for me. He was so quiet, like a cute little mouse.” I scowl at her. “I honestly wouldn’t have let you keep talking like that if I’d remembered there was a student listening.”

I allow her to pull me into a hug, her signature patchouli scent wafting around us. I squeeze her back and pull away.

“At least I said those things in front of someone who has no friends to gossip with.”

“Atta girl, look on the bright side!”

***

After baby sitting the usual suspects in detention, I had spent another hour in my classroom preparing things for the next day, so when I finally left school it was edging on to six o’clock. I hurry down the steps, pulling my coat tighter around me to try and keep some of my warmth, the temperature had dropped significantly over the last few days. I notice a lone figure sitting on the back of one of the benches, feet on the seat, the light from the street light not quite reaching them. As I get closer I realize it’s Layne. He blows out a plume of smoke as he turns his head towards me at the sound of my footsteps.

“You know you shouldn’t be smoking on school grounds.” I scold.

“Technically, Miss, I’m not on school grounds. And also it’s out of hours so...” He takes another deep draw on his cigarette and smirks at me.

“What are you doing hanging around so late?”

He scowls, exhaling deeply surrounding us in another big cloud of smoke. “My ride...I think forgot about me.” I notice his nose is red and he’s shivering a little, the cigarette shaking between his fingers. My fingers are already cold and I’ve only been outside for a few minutes. If he’s been waiting here since the end of school that means he’s been sat here for nearly three hours with only a hoodie on over his t-shirt.

“Well since it’s out of hours and off school grounds, does that mean technically I’m not your teacher right now?” He raises his eyebrows questioningly. “I’m not supposed to do this, but I can’t in good conscience leave you here in the cold, so grab your bag and I’ll drop you home.”

I walk off towards my car, somewhat surprised at myself for breaking the rules like this. I hear Layne’s boots hit the asphalt behind me, crunching a little as he stubs the cigarette out. We walk in silence to my beat up white Fiesta. As I unlock the doors he shakes his head slightly, before settling into the passenger seat. The engine roars into life, and my music blasts loudly from the speakers.

“What the fuck are you listening to?!” He snorts, as I lean forward and turn the volume down.

“The very best of early nineties hip hop! This is Digital Underground’s masterpiece Sex Packets.” I nod my head along to the beat.

“You listen to some weird shit.” Layne chuckles. “And I thought teachers made enough to afford decent cars. This one must be older than you.”

“It’s all my brother’s.” I smile, remembering how happy Dylan was the day he’d driven home in the hunk of junk.

“Well, tell your brother he needs to get some more current music.” Layne had opened the glove box which is where the rest of Dylan’s cassette tapes hide, and was flicking through the small collection. Yes the car was so old it played tapes not cd’s.

“He..um, he died a while ago. This car and music are what I have left.” I shrug, and smile at Layne. “And besides, you can’t listen to metal exclusively. Broaden your horizons kiddo.”

We lapse back to silence, Layne only breaking it to give directions to his house. When we pull up he grabs his bag, but pauses before opening the door.

“I’m sorry about your brother, Mrs Maddox.”

“It’s ok, sweet.” I smile at his worried face.

“And I guess the music isn’t so bad.” His face breaks in to a wide grin, and he throws the door open. Before he closes it he ducks back down and peers at me through the strands of brown hair which had fallen over his forehead. “And don’t stress about what you said earlier, Miss. I guarantee there is a guy not too far away who would love to replace your hands with his own.” I feel my cheeks redden as he winks and slams the door shut. I watch as he saunters down the path and bangs on the front door. Before he disappears inside he turns and flashes me a grin.

Stupid Christian Grey getting me in trouble.

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