Chapter 2: I hate how he still affects me
“Mr Parker.” As I notice the slight grimace on his face by the formality of my voice, I sigh and take a deep breath. “Jace. It’s been a while. Why are you teaching here?”
“I can’t teach here now?” he questions a little harshly.
"No," I reply bluntly and in the same irked tone as him. His brows furrow in confusion at my hostility towards him, having always worshiped the ground he walked on before. "Is it incredibly coincidental that you happen to teach here, a school I changed to after you left, or has this been planned for some reason?"
"If you forgot, my mom lives in this district, and I thought I'd live and teach close to her since I've spent too much time with my father. But if you think everything is about you, Maya, fine." A smirk grows on his face as he leans back in his chair smugly. "I love how I still affect you, Maya. After almost two years."
"You do," I admit, which startles him slightly. He thought I would play his mind games with him, his flirty mind games. But I'm different. Motherhood has changed me. He's no longer the center of my world. Maisie is. My daughter. Everything I do now is for her, and that won't change, it can't change. I love and care for her so much. "Look, Jace, this is going to the last conversation the two of us have as... anything more than a teacher and a student. We should have had this a long time ago, when you texted me our breakup instead of, at least, the phone call I think I deserved." He gulps at my detached tone.
"Honestly, I think the text summed up how you felt and why you broke up with me fairly... concisely. I understand that you felt it wouldn't work between us, with the age gap. But... it felt like you thought our relationship didn't mean anything, that the end warranted just a text."
"You know it meant more-"
"But I didn't," I interrupt him, looking into his eyes confidently and sincerely. "I didn't know because you couldn't even give me a call. It's not impossible, you had a phone which was working, clearly. Look, I don't want to spend any more words on the text, because I think it's obvious why you broke up with me like that. We need to be adults. You're now my teacher and I'm now you're student, until my request for a transfer that I will form comes through-"
"Transferring?" he asks in a sudden alarm as he sits up straight.
"I was distracted in just this one class by you. And you do still affect me. And I still have feelings for you. It's just a different kind of love. I loved how we once were. But I've grown up, and maybe you have too and we're different people now. And we have a different relationship." He blinks in stunned silence, staring at my face, searching it for something. I raise my eyebrows at him in question, but he just continues to look at me like he'll never see me again. "I'll get you the transfer form by the end of the day so you can sign it and give it to me tomorrow morning," I declare after the deafening silence was starting to worry me.
Sending a small sad smile his way, I adjust the bag on my shoulder and head out, only for him to catch my hand at the door and turn me back to him.
"Maya..." he whispers, his grip tightening around my wrist as he looks down to me. I used to love how much taller he was than me, that it made him seem older and stronger and more incredible. But now, with him staring down at me with those familiar eyes, it makes me feel small like I was before in front of him. But my life isn't about him anymore, it's about Maisie. And he's her dad, technically.
"Let go of me if you have nothing to say," I mutter, tilting my chin upwards so I can meet his eyes easier. "Let go." His face moves in closer to mine, and as much as I want to run away, I can't. My feet are frozen to the ground. My breath is caught in my lungs. My eyes can look nowhere but him. And then his lips press to mine.
I melt. I melt into him. I don't want to. But I can't stop myself.
He's the only guy I've ever been with. I had a couple of kisses before meeting him, but he was it. He is it. And yet, he left. And I have Maisie to think about. And my decisions now have to be what's best for her. Having Jace in her life could be a bad idea, as I decided years ago. But is that my decision to make? Better yet, is that still my decision to make after all this time?
I immediately pull back, bashing my head against the door behind me but at least halting this loss of judgment. I grimace slightly at the impact but when my eyes connect with Jace's again, it feels as though the pain just fizzles away as if it was never there. But I force myself to blink it away, to blink it all away. He's my teacher now, and that's all he is.
I reach from the handle of the door but his voice calls my name out again. I have to ignore it, I have to leave. I flee from the classroom before anything else can happen and sprint towards the restroom to dry the tears I realized had fallen somewhere in there. Before I can get there, voices in front of me block my path.
"Are you crying?" a screechy girl, a popular girl, asks in front of me, rather in a mocking tone than a sympathetic one, even though she suppressed an amused facial expression. I dry my cheeks completely with the sleeves of my baggy sweater and look to the group in front of me in question.
"You just came out of Parker's classroom? What did that hottie want that made you cry?" another girl asks beside her, hanging off one of the guys circling me earlier in class.
I know, having been here for a year already, that not making an effort to know these people's names is practically criminal in the good manner's world, but I have Maisie to focus on, and school.
"Maya, right?" the guy who coughed earlier speaks up, sending me a boyish grin as he leans against the lockers. It has resemblances of the grins and smirks Jace used to give me back when he was flirting with me, his charm dazzling me in an instant. Quite pathetically, he really didn't even need to flirt with me for him to get me to do anything he wanted. Yet, he wasn't one of those guys who mistreated their girlfriends. Yes, we sometimes fought, like any couple does. Yes, there was a time when his player ways would get the better of him and he allowed the flirting with other girls. He was a frat boy after all. But, thankfully and faithfully, I don't think he ever cheated on me, or even kissed another girl when we were together. All his friends were even astounded by that fact.
"Yeah," I reply nonchalantly, irked a little by people constantly bothering me here. Or maybe that's because I'm especially irritable seeing Jace, I mean Mr Parker, again. "I have to go to my next class, excuse me," I declare hurriedly and weave my way around them before they can even process any of that.
Honestly, I don't know why they bother me. Since becoming a mom, I've... relaxed on the whole self-care thing. Of course, I wash, brush my teeth, eat on occasion and buy the essentials but I still wear my pregnancy clothing which consists of baggy sweaters and jeans, I don't wear any makeup, I barely get any sleep with my two jobs, school, and tending to Maisie. I just tie my standard brown hair back into a ponytail in the morning or an easy low bun to keep it out the way, and so I don't have to brush it also.
I don't know what's so special about me that they continue to keep on pestering me. Maybe it's because I brush them off like they're not the most popular people in school and other students would kill to talk to them and hang around them. But I used to hang out with people like that at my old school, which got me attending a frat party, and the influence of Liz who went to Jace's college, and that got me involved with Jace. I love Maisie though, and would never take her back. She's the light of my life, everything I live for.
Jace is her dad though. And now that he's back, and I can actually contact him this time to tell him, should I tell him?