But before I could think to say anything else, Morgan rounded the corner, a look of worry on his face.

“Uh, Coach?” Morgan paused. “Ms. Crusie? Someone broke into your desk. All your stuff is spread out all over the classroom. Johnson and Mackie helped me to the bathroom, and we weren’t in there for five minutes tops.”

Forgetting the wet floor, I took off in the direction of the senior hallway, as well as my classroom that wasn’t my classroom any longer.

I came to a halt in the doorway with Ezra standing right behind me.

His growl made my chest vibrate.

Heart in my throat, I walked into the room and scowled at all the papers—the tests—and my things that were scattered everywhere. My gradebook was also ripped to shreds, as well as any receipt that was in my purse.

Hell, even my tampons had been opened and thrown all over the floor.

The money from my wallet was splayed across the desk, and all of my spare change was on the floor surrounding where my purse had been hastily dumped.

The only thing that wasn’t a mess was the answer sheet, which was clearly displayed in front of the entire room full of students—which were early for once, likely due to the commotion.

“Shit,” Ezra pushed past me to gather my things.

I picked up my phone and keys, followed shortly by my money.

Ezra got the extras, like my toothpaste and mini-toothbrush.

I picked up the tests last and threw them in the trash.

It didn’t matter now what I would’ve used. I was no longer the teacher for this course, and since it was nearing the end of school anyway, it didn’t really matter any longer.

Once my things were cleaned up, I smiled at the students—at least the ones that weren’t looking at me with blank faces—i.e., Mackie.

I headed to the door without another word, and Johnson was the one to stop me.

“Where are you going?” he asked.

I turned to survey the group. “Ezra—Coach McDuff—has decided to take the class back over. Now that he’s found time again.”

See, the thing about teenagers, they knew damn well when someone was lying—like I was doing right then.

Yet, none of them called me on it.

Without another word, I walked out of the room and told myself I wouldn’t cry.

I managed not to until I got to the staff bathroom and shut the door.

Then I cried for as long as I could without it being more than obvious that something was wrong.

I came out to find Camryn stuffing a donut into her face.

She was mid-chew when she got a load of my puffy eyes.

“What’s wrong?” she asked in alarm.

I looked down at my hands. “I got a student/parent complaint. They said I made a sexual advance toward a student, and that I will not be teaching that class any longer.”

Her mouth fell open. “They what?”

I nodded. “Yep.”

“You wouldn’t do that!” she cried out. “Out of any teacher in this school, I’d expect it from all of us before you!”

I would, too.

Yet, there was nothing I could do about it.

“What are you going to do?” she questioned.

I walked over and took the rest of her donut. She gave it up without a fight.

“I’m going to teach my other classes and enjoy my new free period I guess,” I muttered, stuffing the entire bite into my mouth without another word.

Chapter 15

Hold on. Let me overthink this.

-Text from Raleigh to Ezra

Raleigh

Getting in trouble did not sit well with me.

Hence the reason I was sitting in a bar, drunk off my hiney, with Camryn at my side just as drunk.

I couldn’t tell you why this bar in particular.

Honestly, neither Camryn nor I were much into drinking, so it didn’t take much to garner our attention.

And when we read ‘real life rodeo bull inside,’ we’d decided that this particular bar, ‘Ride Em Joe’s,’ was the one we’d be drinking at that night.

We were a town over in case things—or we—got out of hand, and neither one of us were feeling any pain.

Well, Camryn hadn’t been feeling much pain to begin with since she wasn’t the one in trouble.

Me, on the other hand? Well, I was feeling pain, but I was able to forget about it while I drank nasty beer after nasty beer.

I’d never been a fan of beer before, but after the fourth watered-down cup, I didn’t particularly care anymore.

It all tasted the same, and Camryn was getting funnier and funnier by the second.

“Do you think that Ezra will have boy children or girl children?” Camryn questioned.

I swiveled my head to stare at her where she was perched on the barstool next to me.

“I would think that it’s possible to have both genders,” I paused. “Why are you asking me that?”

Camryn shrugged. “Because I can. Do you think your brother will get married one day?”

Croft, the man that my best friend had a crush on since we were in college together. All it’d taken was one single time of Camryn coming home with me over the holidays for the crush to become concrete.


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