It seemed I had to be escorted to my English lit class, the last lesson of the day. My lesson with Aiden.
Once I was securely at the door they all waved goodbye and went on to their own classes. Jamie halted part way down the corridor.
"I'm assuming Aiden will be giving you a ride home, but if he needs to stay behind get him to text me and we'll wait for you okay?" He asked and I quickly nodded in understanding.
I stepped inside and my eyes automatically fell on Aiden, he was leaning on his desk at the front. His sapphire eyes turned to me when I entered the room and his lips turned up in a small smile.
I looked around the room to find an empty chair and noticed Cameron was in this class. He did have an empty chair next to him but I wasn't sure he wanted me to sit near him. We weren't friends just because we'd laughed a little in one class. So I continued my gaze until he motioned me with his hand to come over.
"You can sit with me nerdy, I don't bite." He smirked at my reddening face. All eyes were on me now and even though the class wasn't yet full there were enough students to make me uncomfortable. Well, one student would have done that...
I walked over to his desk and sat next to him earning myself a dimpled smile.
Looking back to the front of the class and trying to cool my face down I caught Aiden's eyes again. He wasn't smiling at me this time. Instead his eyes were scrunched like he was confused, and a little annoyed. Maybe he didn't like people talking in his lesson.
A few more students walked in after me and sat down before Aiden lifted himself off his desk and stood straight. His 6ft frame had a few of the students front and centre craning their necks slightly to fully look at him.
"Hi everyone, welcome to English Lit. My name is Aiden Spencer. And for the remainder of the year I'll be your teacher. Occasionally Miss Cooper, your usual teacher will come in and aid me if necessary. I'm currently studying to become a teacher and the school was kind enough to let me practice my skills on you guys. So go easy on me." He chuckled and the class laughed lightly with him.
"Today's mostly about getting to know you and for you to get to know me a little, so when I call your name if you could say a little bit about yourself and I'll return the favour."
He then began calling out names and everyone stood up with ease and said something basic about themselves; age, favourite subject, a hobby.
I hated situations like this. I spent more time over thinking what I can say when it's my turn that the experience is worse off because of how much I've panicked.
The chair creaked loudly as I lifted myself to a standing position.
"I- i like.. to re-read." I stammered out.
"What's your favourite book?" He asked a follow on question. He'd done this with a few other students so I shouldn't have been too surprised that he asked given my vague statement.
"Too- too many. To pick." It was the truth. I also weirdly felt guilty if I ever chose a certain book over another. Like I was betraying the other books I'd read.
"Oh you must have one you could read and read and it's the one you always go back to." He was smiling at me again and seemed to genuinely want to know the answer.
A memory jumped out at me of when the Spencer's were just about to move away...
I was in my room sobbing uncontrollably, Sam had just left after saying our goodbyes and I'd raced upstairs and dramatically flung myself on my bed. I hated that they were leaving. It wasn't fair. My life was over.
A quiet knock on my bedroom door and my mom peeped her head around.
"Baby, Aidens here to see you. He's brought you a present." She opened the door some more to let him walk in. My eyes poured with even more tears at seeing him standing there. Looking equally sad but not bawling like me.
He walked over to the bed and climbed on with me. I let him wrap his arms around me and snuggled into his chest. Soaking his tshirt.
"I don't want you to leave" I blubbered.
"I don't want to either Al, but we'll see each other all the time-"
"No we won't, you're moving a million miles away," I exaggerated. "I'll probably never see any of you again. You're all leaving me. Just like my dad."
"No Alex." Aiden lifted my chin so I was forced to look at his serious face. Which was pretty serious for an 11 year old.
"We will never leave you like he did. We love you. I don't want to go. I'm leaving all my friends behind. Leaving you. It's crap... And I hate it. But we will see each other. I'm sure of it." He nodded more to himself than for my benefit, but it helped in calming me down even if just slightly.
"Mom mentioned a present?" I cheekily reminded him a good ten minutes later and his toothy grin was gift enough but he moved to the bag he dropped on the floor and pulled out a book.
"It's one of my favourites and I want you to have it. So you can think of me every time you read it." He handed over his copy of Treasure Island.
I gently took it from him and held it against my chest.
"Thanks Aidy. I'll keep it safe I promise. And I'll always think of you. Not just when I read this."
"You better." He warned playfully before scooping me in his arm and lying us back down on the bed. I fell asleep in his arms and knew when I woke I'd have to say goodbye to him. Just like I had with the rest. Somehow with Aiden I knew it was going to be the worst.
I was brought back to the classroom by someone coughing and hoped I hadn't been stood gazing into memory lane for an embarrassingly long time.
"Treasure island." I whispered. "My favourite."
Aiden grinned at me. "That's a favourite of mine too."
I finally got to sit down, but unlike a happy Aiden, I sat sadly, also remembering that I'd broken my promise. The book had been destroyed in the fire.
I didn't really pay much attention to the rest of the lesson. Still in a world of my own so when Cameron nudged me to tell me the class was over I was surprised at how quickly the hour had gone.
"I'll see you tomorrow Nerdy." Cameron said before leaving the class. He was one of the last to go and now it was just me and Aiden left.
"You okay Alex, did I bore you that much in class? You were pretty zoned out." He walked closer to my desk and leaned on the one in front of mine.
I stood abruptly; at his close proximity and to stutter out "N-no, you-you're great- a great teacher. I'm- im sorry. Honest."
Stephen wouldn't have cared about my apology. If I'd zoned out in his class, he'd have punished me for it. If I hadn't zoned out in his class... He'd have still punished me for it.
"It's alright, It was a bit tedious. But apparently it makes students more susceptible to learning if they feel a connection with the teacher. Or so I've been taught." He laughed and it eased my worry some. "What were you thinking about? Treasure island." He teased smirking at me but stopped when my eyes cast downwards.
He moved closer to me and I automatically moved backwards making him stop short.
"I'm sor-sorry. I... I didn't keep m-my promise. I- I lo-lost it." I mumbled unsure I wanted him to hear me.
"Hey," He said soothingly "It's alright. It's just a book. I'm pretty sure there's a copy at home in the library anyway, don't worry."
I didn't care if there was a copy. It wasn't the one he gave me, the one he trusted me to look after, all I ever did was break promises and destroy things. It's what I was best at, or so Derek always said.
He made a move to come closer to me again before his phone started ringing. He look at the caller I.D and without saying hello told them he'd be out in five.
"That was Nathan. They're waiting at the car. We should head out and get home yeah?" I nodded and grabbed my bag while he got his things from his desk and locked up.
I was silent on the car journey home which thankfully was not noticed by Nathan or Carla as they were once again arguing about this Friday and the party they weren't able to go to.
I trailed after the twins still arguing until a hand landed on my shoulder making me flinch.
"Honestly Al, if you're upset about the book don't be. It's just a book... I swear I'm not bothered you lost it. Please don't be upset over something so insignificant."
"Okay." I said emotionlessly. It wasn't insignificant. It had been a keepsake, something for me to remember him by and I'd let it burn. I'd not even thought about it that night. I was too scared and everything was moving too fast. I didn't even know I'd left her... left it behind.
Sandra was in the kitchen when we walked in. She beamed at us both "how was your first day you two? Did you make any friends? Was the classes alright?" She went to ramble off more questions but Aiden stopped her with a chuckle.
"Well my day was fine. The other teachers were pleasant and helpful and I didn't mess up in any of my classes. So I'd say today was a win. But as Alex is my only student so far in this house I guess she can tell you if I'm a decent teacher or not."
He was smirking down at me and I knew he truly wasn't bothered about the book. Of course I wasn't completely thinking about the book and how I abandoned it that night. But it was easier to place my emotions on an object rather than a person right now.
Instead I decided I wasn't going to think about it again for a while. I'd bury it in the back of my mind like most things I didn't want to think about and focused on what Sandra and Aiden were discussing.
"No- he's a goo-good teacher." Was my helpful input but it put a smile on both their faces.
"And your day honey? Was it okay?"
"Ye-yeah. Made some friends" I spoke almost unbelieving of it myself. But I actually had made some friends, and friends plural... me, who'd have thunk it.
Today was a very weird and emotionally draining day... and so I excused myself to go up and rest, but found myself outside the library.
I searched until I found it and then took it back to my room, Treasure island was back on my bedside table.