The weeks flew by at a crazy rate. Before I knew it, finals were underway. Me, Alex, and Joseph studied like madmen. We were determined to do whatever it took to cover all of the class material in such a limited amount of time.
Study sheets, note cards, and partner quizzes. You name it. We did it. I felt confident about the majority of my tests except for chemistry, so I spent the better part of my time working on that.
Outside of school I occasionally accompanied Joseph to the hospital. The first time I saw David in that bed, his torso was wrapped in thick blood stained bandages with IVs sticking out of his arms. It was rather difficult, but even more so for Joseph.
He told me he and his mother would spend hours by David’s bedside just holding his hand. On the days Joseph would normally spend by himself, I was there with him. I understood that he didn’t want to go through this alone and I was more than happy and honored to be the one he wanted by his side.
Slowly but surely, with each visit, David’s health had increasingly gotten better. Around the fourth visit, he regained consciousness. Joseph was beyond relieved to hear his father’s voice again- something he didn’t think was going to happen. Watching the two men smile together again brought me great comfort.
It wasn’t too much longer before he was ready to be released and sent home. With strict rules of course. In the end, his ribs were severely damaged. On that same day Joseph wanted me to stay with him, but I swayed him to let me go. I’d have loved to spend more time with him, but I knew Marlene and David needed their son more. Especially after such a traumatizing event. Joseph needed healing time with his family and I made sure he would get it.
From the hospital, I went home and straight to the bathroom for a much needed shower. Back in my room I sifted through my dresser for something to put on. I discovered Joseph’s black t-shirt folded neatly inside the bottom left drawer and thought:
“I never returned this to him, but I don’t think I want to.”
I pulled the large fitting garment over my blow-dried hair, smiling. The hem stopped right at the middle of my thighs, covering my bottom. Joseph’s heady scent clung to the fabric like white on rice, and made my body ten degrees hotter than normal.
My plan was to study for my English final, but suddenly I couldn’t focus on anything but the desire saturating the thin pair of panties I wore.
Before I climbed onto my bed I made sure to secure the lock on my door. If I was gonna take the time to try to do what I wanted to do, I surely wouldn’t want my mom to come barging in. Or even worse- my dad.
When I reached my mattress I lay on my back and scooted to the very top near the headboard, tucking a pillow underneath my head. I planted my feet and spread my legs as I slowly slid the hem of Joseph’s shirt up my body, exposing my stomach and the underside of my breasts.
My body was scorching as my fingertips lightly ran a trail lower and lower down. The peaks of my chest puckered once I reached the center of my desire. With the other hand I gripped the inside of my thigh, squeezing.
I closed my eyes and let the sensations take over. Joseph wasn’t here, but the beautiful tale I crafted in my head made it seem like his hands were the very ones taking my breath away. Over my panties, I gently tapped at the sensitive bundle of nerves that made my body twitch.
The friction of the fabric against my pearl had me drawing my lip into my mouth. I traced circles over the growing wet spot, small whines escaping my mouth. I pressed down harder when images of Joseph kneeling between my legs flooded my mind.
"Oh... please,” I moaned softly, gyrating up and down against my hand. I don’t know what I was begging for, but I begged until I felt the buildup of overwhelming energy in between my hips. I rubbed faster and harder, so fast and so hard that I had to clamp a hand down over my mouth to muffle my cries of bliss from echoing through the house.
My eyes were shut tight like a zipped jacket. My mind went blank and my breath came out in short pants. In time, I relaxed back into my mattress, enjoying the feeling of serenity that washed over my body.
Surely after, I slept the rest of my Saturday evening well into Sunday afternoon.
⋅. ✯ .⋅
Monday - at lunch
“Hey guys,” I said, approaching the table with a hot slice of pepperoni pizza on my food tray.
“Milady,” Joseph replied.
I chuckled and took a seat on the opposite side of the table across from him and Alex who looked completely out of it. She stared off into the distance with vacant eyes and a deep frown on her lips.
“Hey, Lex?” I called out.
“Hm?” she replied absently.
“I said, hey.”
“Oh, sorry. I spaced for a second.”
“Well that’s clear to see,” I said lightly. “What’s been going on?”
“Oh. I haven’t been feeling well. I think the stress of finals has really gotten to me,” she said.
“Are you sure that’s all that’s bothering you?” I knew my Alex and I knew something was wrong. She was a shell of herself.
“I- yeah, don’t worry. I’ll feel better once all the testing is over.”
I didn’t believe it for a second.
“Okay, but please go eat something. If you’re hungry, go fill up that tummy,” I told her with a teasing scrunch of my face.
“I’m not hungry,”
“Bull. You’ve been eyeballing my pizza for 2 minutes and counting,” I said, picking up the slice and taking a nice bite out of it. Sure enough her eyes followed my every move.
“It’s just... very pleasing to look at.”
“Who do you think you’re fooling, Johnson? Get up and get some food or I’ll feed you myself. I can promise you won’t like the latter. ”
“But it’s such a long walk,” she complained.
“Ay, pobrecita.” (Oh, poor you.)
When she finally got up from the table and was far enough out of earshot, I looked at Joseph raising a questioning brow.
“Do you know what’s up with her?” I asked.
“I’m almost a hundred percent sure it has something to do with her parents,” he said, dusting his hands on his jeans. “It can’t be finals stressing her out because between our group sessions and her ‘special one-on-ones’ with Ethan, she’s golden. Her parents are the only reason she’d ever be so bent up.”
I sighed. “I just hate that she has to go through this. Do you think we should talk to her?”
“She’ll come around when she’s ready to,”
I meekly shook my head and pushed my half-eaten slice over to him, which he graciously accepted. My appetite vanished thinking about what Alex must be dealing with. What must be going on in her head, and what could possibly have happened for her to shut down like this. But like Joseph said, she’d come around when she was ready.
After another 15 minutes or so chatting with the two of them in the cafe, I dismissed myself to go speak to Mr. Klein. This was my last day attending his class. I’d see him at graduation, but I wanted to give him a proper goodbye with just the two of us.
⋅. ✯ .⋅
“Knock knock,” I said, poking my head into the empty classroom.
“Bryce. It’s too late. You should’ve asked for extra credit three months ago instead of spending your time getting high,” Klein voiced from the opposite side of the door.
“Whoa, take it easy. It’s me, Sienna,” I defended, fully revealing myself.
“I’m sorry,” he said with an embarrassed laugh. “What brings you here? You know you’re not obligated to come to class from this point on, right?”
“I know. I just wanted to say goodbye, and I couldn’t have done that with seven students on your tail begging for a grade change, now could I?” I replied.
“I don’t think you could have,” he said, beckoning me to sit.
I took a seat closest to where Klein was standing at his desk. Upon sitting down I felt nervous and I wasn’t sure why. But sadness ultimately overpowered those nerves. A big part of me wasn’t ready to close this chapter of my life yet. The last three years of my high school career have felt like three weeks and it baffled me to think I’d be going to college soon.
Little old Sienna Martinez has finally grown up, huh. As I got older, I definitely have become wiser and a big influence on me, if not the biggest, was the one and only Christopher Klein. He made this high school experience a good one. A much easier one.
“So what’s on your mind, Martinez?”
“I just want to start by saying thank you.”
“For teaching me the difference between a semicolon and a comma, and for teaching me how to identify good literature. Thank you for guiding me through a complex curriculum... and for helping me find solutions to tough life decisions I had trouble finding alone.” I took a deep breath to calm myself as I felt my voice beginning to shake.
“Thank you for helping me grow into who I am and thank you for being such an awesome person. You are so much more than a teacher. You’re a mentor and a damn good friend,” I told him, wiping my eyes.
“Sienna,” he said, giving my shoulder a comforting squeeze. “I’ve always known there was a light, something so intriguing and special about you. You were a student that so clearly wanted to be here and every time I reviewed your writing, I was left in awe,” he told me.
“Every time. You have so many stories to tell, and as long as you keep sharing those stories, I promise there will be someone who will always want to read or listen to them. Let me know when your first novel comes out. I’ll be ambushing every bookstore in the tri-state area.”
“C’mon Klein, I’m already a mess here,” I said, giving him a watery laugh.
He walked to the closet behind his desk and retrieved a fresh box of Kleenex.
“I’m serious. You are a lovely young woman with a great gift. There’s no doubt in my mind you will go far whether that be with your writing or in life in general. There is nowhere you can’t go and there is nothing you cannot do,” he said, crossing his arms over his chest.
At this stage I was bawling. I grabbed a few tissues to blow my nose and tossed them away before grabbing another handful.
“Y-you’re the best teacher I’ve ever had.”
“And you are the best student I’ve ever had the privilege of teaching and watching grow.”
Klein gently took me into a warm hug. We stayed like this for a minute or two. I definitely felt a lot better about transitioning to that phase of my life. Change is inevitable. I knew time would move forward with or without me. I simply had to buckle down for the ride.