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I looked over at Caeden, snoozing peacefully. He was on his stomach with his face turned towards me. His eyes flitted beneath closed lids and his freckle-covered shoulders rose and fell with each breath. A curl fell over his forehead. I wanted to brush it away but I feared I might wake him.
With a sigh I stood up from the bed and grabbed my backpack up off the floor. I was already dressed and ready for the day. I had to arrive at school early today in order to serve detention.
Detention. I’d never had detention before. This was really going to suck.
I closed the bedroom door as quietly as possible and grabbed a cereal bar from the kitchen before snatching my keys off the side table.
I marched out to the car with a determined gait. I would not let Mrs. Harding ruin my morning or my day by giving me detention.
After all, who gives someone detention because they say math makes them happy? The woman is freakin’ crazy and needs a chill pill… or three.
I ripped the paper off the breakfast bar and took a big bite before starting the car. It was still dark out, I yawned, wishing I could go back to bed and snuggle up to Caeden.
I forced myself to put the car into reverse and back out of the driveway. I drove the two or so minutes to school and parked. The student parking lot was empty except for my car.
I shook my head and grabbed my backpack, heading into the school, all the while I fussed under my breath about demon teachers.
The door was, of course, locked and I had to knock on it until one of the gym teachers took mercy on me and let me inside. I thanked him profusely and looked at the large clock on the wall. I had forty-five seconds to make it to Mrs. Harding’s classroom without being late.
I glanced around, checking for any teachers, when the coast was clear I sprinted down the hallway at a pace a normal human could never meet.
When I rounded the corner to the math hallway I slowed to a walk. My hair was a bit ruffled and I quickly fixed it. I knocked on Mrs. Harding’s door with twenty seconds to spare.
She opened the door, grinning, her teeth were yellow and I could smell the distinct odor of cigarettes on her breath. Ew.
She ushered me inside and I picked a desk in the front. I dropped my backpack down beside me.
A sense of dread pooled in the bottom of my stomach.
Mrs. Harding waddled over to her desk. She shuffled a large stack of papers until they were perfectly straight. She picked them up and dropped them on my desk. The papers made a loud thwacking sound.
“Using a red pen I expect you to grade every single one of these tests before the morning bell rings,” she thrust her index finger against the papers. “I suggest you get started,” she smirked.
I stared in disbelief at the stack of tests in front of me. There had to be at least sixty of them, four pages each. I shook my head and dug a red pen out of my bag. I’d probably get shot if I used a pink or purple one.
I removed the cap and tapped the pen against the desk.
“Ms. Beaumont, none of that tapping!” she yelled.
I ceased the tapping.
I grabbed the first test off the pile and scanned the first problem.
What the hell was this?
“Uh, Mrs. Harding?” I raised my hand.
“Yes?” she rolled her eyes.
“This is college level.”
“I’m aware of that.”
I gaped. “But… but… I don’t know this kind of math.”
Mrs. Harding smiled like the cat that ate the canary. I could easily picture her plucking small yellow feathers from between her teeth.
“I suggest you learn real fast then.”
I looked at the clock and hoped that Caeden was awake.
Soph? Is everything okay?
Ugh, no… this old hag expects me to grade her college level tests. There’s like sixty of them here. I fanned the tests and Mrs. Harding glared at me. Can you call Bryce? I can tell you the problem and what the answer is and you can ask him if it’s right.
Sure, I’m in the car. Let me call him. A few seconds went by before Caeden said, I’ve got him. What’s the first one?
I told him and he relayed the information to Bryce.
By the way, I’m pretty sure if I don’t get this done she’s going to make me serve detention again.
We better hurry then. I don’t like being without my snuggle buddy.
“Ms. Beaumont? Is something funny?” Mrs. Harding narrowed her eyes at me.
“That’s what I thought.” She went back to playing angry birds. Angry birds! Geez.
Snuggle buddy? I said to Caeden.
Yep, you’re my snuggle buddy. What’s the next one?
With Caeden and Bryce’s help I finished with two minutes to spare. I straightened the pile of papers, like she’d done, and handed them to her.
“Did you grade all of them?” she huffed and glanced at the clock.
“Yes,” I danced on the balls of my feet, ready to flee.
Her eyes narrowed and she flipped through the tests, scanning for red marks.
“I guess you’re free to go then.”
I turned on the charm. “I just hope I helped you Mrs. Harding. It must be so difficult having to grade all of those tests. I don’t see how you ever have time for yourself.”
“Well,” she straightened in her chair; plucking on her button down shirt that was stretched so tight I was afraid if a button flew off it might blind me. “It is certainly difficult but I do try to find the time to enjoy the occasional bingo game.”
“I sure hope so,” I patted the end of her desk. “Everyone needs a night off.” I grabbed my backpack off the floor. “I’ll see you tomorrow Mrs. Harding,” I smiled for affect and opened the door.
“Close the door behind you, Ms. Beaumont.”
I closed the door with a soft click and ran down the hall to where Caeden was waiting.
He was leaning against the wall and looked oh so delish in his jeans and pale blue polo shirt. “You’re alive!” he grinned.
“With you by my side I’ll always make it out alive,” I kissed his cheek and took his hand.
“Then I guess you better never leave me,” he squeezed me to him.
“That’s a promise I can easily make.”