Resting back at my desk, I watched as the kids sitting at each of the different tables spoke to each other louder than necessary. This happened every Monday, all I could do was let them get it out of their systems as they had to tell everyone what they did over the last two days. I guess I couldn’t blame them, I usually did the same thing every Sunday.
Normally, Candice would demand to know how each date would go. I would call her up at the end of the weekend and tell her everything she wanted to hear. It never ended happily. But just like the dates themself, it was part of the pattern that I had grown used to.
After the runaway date just two weeks ago, those phone calls ended just like the date did. While she was heartbroken that the date turned out the way it did, she did understand from my point of view. I told her that I wanted to take a break, I wasn’t sure when I would be ready to get back into it. I was sure that it wouldn’t be anytime soon though.
Ever since that last phone call with her, I told myself that I would find myself a new distraction. Something that would help dull the ache in my chest. With limited options, I decided to throw myself into my work. Being a teacher had its perks, the children I watched always kept me on my toes. Six year olds normally couldn’t be left alone for long anyway so this would be exactly what I needed.
As much as I wanted it, I’d accepted that love is not in my path. While I wanted to find the kind of happiness my friends had, I knew it would be slim.
Finding myself frowning, I stared down at the desk in front of me. I purposely stacked my plate high in order to stop thinking about my love life. I had more important things to worry about. Such as, the parent-teacher conferences that were to be held tonight. I had barely even started with prepping up for that. I needed to write out reports for every student, how else would I be able to tell each parent how their student was doing? I needed to figure out how I was going to tell some parents that their students were slacking and behind the others. It always turned out bad if I wasn’t ready. Knowing that they’d all blame me anyway, I had to be prepared.
After setting the kids up with a project that would keep them busy for at least half an hour, I pulled out a stack of papers and started writing. I had twenty kids to write reports on, this was going to take some time. At least once class was over, I knew I would spend the rest of my night here.
. . . . .
I was so tired. I was already at this for nearly two hours and I just wanted to go home and get into a pair of comfy pajamas and slide underneath my blanket. Snickers would be right at my side, reminding me that everything was going to be okay. Once I got to that point, I was sure I would never leave my house.
Why did we have to do these meetings in the first place? After talking to so many parents, I was ready to be done with it. At least I knew I only had a few more left before I could finally leave this place. Groaning softly, I pressed two fingers against my temple and prayed that the migraine I had formed would go away. Looking down at my pile, I looked to see who was next.
Olivia Smith—one of my best students. While I could normally wrap these up in ten minutes, I was positive I could get this one done in five. She was a sweetheart and a hard worker for her age. I honestly don’t think I had anything bad to say. This would be a piece of cake.
“Miss Robinson!” I recognized her voice the moment the door swung open, she sounded so excited despite only seeing me just a few hours ago.
Looking up, I smiled as I prepared to greet her. However, the moment my eyes lifted, my smile disappeared. Coming to my feet, I gawked at them as they approached my desk. For the first time tonight, I found myself speechless. Sticking my hand out, I looked at her father. “Janet Robinson,” I introduced as I fought the urge not to swallow my tongue. Damn, did I say my full name? I never did that.
The man in front of me had a matching expression before he smiled as he met my eye. Reaching his hand out, he grabbed mine and shook it lightly. “Mason Smith,” his voice was low and welcoming, his touch was warm as his hand lingered in mine.
I recognized him from the moment our eyes locked. He was the bartender from that bar that had heated memories behind it.
“Do you guys know each other or something?” Olivia asked obliviously, her wide eyes looking at the both of us.
Realizing that I was just standing there, staring at him and holding his hand, I felt myself blush.
He on the other hand smirked as he let my hand go, “You could say that.” He seemed amused at my embarrassment.
Falling back into my chair, I told them to take a seat in front of my desk as I tried to gather my thoughts. I had never expected to see this man again, what chance was there for him to end up being one of my student’s parents? Pushing down the heat that coated my cheeks, I glanced at the empty chair next to his daughter. Was there no mother in the picture? Or could she have then simply too busy to come? I didn’t have the courage to ask.
All I knew was that I needed to focus on doing my job. Whether this guy was single or not, I shouldn’t be worrying about it. Did I have to remind myself that I was supposed to be done with love?
Clearing my throat, I was glad that I had pre-written what I was supposed to say. Otherwise, I would have surely stumbled with my words. By the way he was looking at me, I struggled even with the paper. I had to be overthinking it. What happened between us was just a one night stand that I thought I’d be able to forget. Now that he was sitting in front of me, I was beginning to remember.
How in the world did I manage to let this happen? How did I not know?
“She hasn’t been giving you any issues, has she? I know how much of a troublemaker she can be,” he teased his daughter as he ruffled her hair.
Listening to her laugh left my heart swell with warmth. Seeing his smile as he teased her made a smile form on my own lips. Watching the guy that normally just silently made drinks act like this around his daughter, there was a pleasant difference. Then again, it wasn’t the first time I saw a different side of him. The night I spent and his bed revealed a piece of him that I couldn’t forget.
Just from simply thinking about it once more, I grew more flustered. Shaking my head, I forced myself to remember who I was sitting in front of. “Actually, she’s the opposite! She’s a hard worker and always stays on task. Olivia is a great student of mine,” I confessed as I set my paper down. I didn’t even have to bother looking at it to know all of that.