Infatuation -1-

The last first day of stepping into my high school. My senior year had finally arrived. After this year, I'd be free of the clutches of this district. I'd flee from the bonds of this prison, this hell that failed miserably to prepare us for college.

I drew a deep breath. My backpack lay by my bedroom door, innocently holding the "new and improved" torture instruments for my semester. The problem wasn't that the material was too complicated; it wasn't. Acing my classes were no big deal. My hatred of my school was on account of the pointless burdens of work that the teachers piled on us. It was caused by the stereotypical attitudes of our misinformed teachers, who all believed we'd become juvenile delinquents if we weren't put to work.

And it was for the drama. The endless flames of drama that blazed throughout the halls were cruel and heartless. I myself had witnessed the dethroning of last year's "queen-bee," when the onslaught of rumors and insults became too much for her. It was a shame really; she had been the only person deserving of that title, because she hadn't stepped on everyone to get into the position.

Of course, the horrid situation about the drama revolves around the teachers once again. Ignorantly, selfishly, they have always dismissed the idea of the verbal abuse of this school, claiming it was the "students' need for attention." Being as wicked as I've explained, they have no problem addressing the student body about drugs or alcohol; neither of these were ever a real predicament for addictions. They were perfectly capable of punishing the students when they were treated with disrespect, but what did they care about the world's next generation's lack of moral values?

As I said, as soon as I'd be rid of this school the better. The teachers made high school no longer a school, but an asylum of long and repetitive disasters. It was funny; to the teachers, I was their pet. My peers knew better of my loathing, which was far stronger than all of the others. God forbid if I actually found a teacher who cared about more than themselves . . .

My outfit was gorgeous. It was a dress of smooth material, outrageously red and stopping to wave around my calves. The top and bottom halves were separated by a stylish, black cloth belt; the buckle was large, chunky and plastic. My favorite part, of course, was the no-so-subtle halter top that had an extremely low cut. The cut ended at the beginning of the belt, which started right below the bust line. The outfit screamed 'dramatic,' and I topped the look off with a pair of strappy black heels. It was the exact outfit I wanted to wear: eye-catching and completely against the rules.

My being a senior spurred a lot of passions in me, one of which was experimenting on how many things I could get away with. Dress code rules were extremely strict (as everything else was in this Hell hole of a school), and knowing this, I wanted to make a point my senior year: Rules wouldn't matter as long as you abided by them for a certain amount of time. Hence, being the "teacher's pet" was a perfect shield to use for to carry out my experiment.

I strutted into the courtyard at seven-thirty, keeping my gaze high as patrolling teachers glanced my way. I was fifteen minutes late for first period, and I still hadn't picked up my schedule. Mrs. Rivers, the elderly health teacher, approached me briskly. I stiffened. Was my test going to fail already?

She smiled. "How was your summer break, Miss Graham?" The beads of her earrings clinked softly.

"It was fine. Thank you for asking, Mrs. Rivers."

Her eyes scaled my body. "That outfit is absolutely adorable on you, my dear. Why aren't you in class?"

I sighed. To her it seemed like a regrettable sigh, but truly I was ecstatic. She'd complimented me. A teacher, within the first five minutes of me stepping into the school, had noticed my outfit and complimented it.

"I never had the chance to pick up my schedule. May I do that now, Mrs. Rivers?"

She beamed. "Of course. I'll take you there myself."

We entered the guidance office quietly. She pressed her finger to her lips to motion for silence, then went into the desk to grab my schedule. I stared at her in amazement. Even I, who hated every fiber in my teachers' being, had to admit she was the coolest teacher ever. It was then that I realized she'd probably known my intentions of coming to school late, and she hadn't said anything.

Mrs. Rivers handed me the slip of paper. "Here you go, Leslie."

"Thanks, Mrs. Rivers," I whispered.

"Now get to your first period. I wouldn't want to write you up." She winked.

I laughed and made my way to the office door.

"Leslie?"

I turned back to her. She approached me quickly with a twinkle in her eye. Curious, I cocked my head and waited for her to speak. Mrs. Rivers smiled at me.

"I suppose you haven't heard of the new teacher. His name is Mr. Night, and he used to teach at New York University. The students-especially the girls-haven't stopped talking about him."

My eyes narrowed. "Is that so?"

She smiled. "Knowing you, my dear, I'm sure you're going to assume that you'll hate him like all the other teachers. Don't be too sure, Leslie. Even the strongest, most stubborn warriors fall." Without another word, she swept past me.

Like a fish out of water, my eyes bulged and my mouth hung open. How had she known all along of my loathing of the teachers here? What had she meant by me 'falling?' If she meant that I would waver and actually develop affection for this new teacher, she had another thing coming. I shook my head. There was no way!

How could she even say such a thing? Students didn't-couldn't-become infatuated with teachers. It was illegal, and there weren't any teachers charming, attractive, or interesting enough to make a person want to break the law. I stepped into the elevator permitted only for teachers and handicapped people, deep in thought. Why did she say that with such a cryptic message? The glint in her eyes had shown mischievousness, as though she knew something I didn't.

The doors to the elevator slid open, and I found myself face-to-face with Mr. Davis. He was an aging man, tall and lanky, with a receding hair line. Icy blue eyes behind thin, wire glasses gazed at me curiously as he noticed me.

"Miss Graham, what would you be doing on the teacher's elevator?"

My mouth opened in shock. "Oh, I'm so sorry, Mr. Davis. I was running late for class, and I really wanted to make an impression on my teachers this year. I didn't want to be later than I already am."

Mr. Davis closed the manilla folder he held and sighed. "Just this once, Miss Graham. Next time, take the stairs like everyone else."

"Yes sir!" I brushed past him and inside the hallway.

Amazing. Simply amazing. Within the first ten minutes of my arriving to school, two teachers had seen me doing something wrong; both had blatantly disregarded my misconduct. I grinned. The day was looking up.

I stopped outside the pale orange door, checking my schedule to look at the room number.

Building 1 Rm. 220

I was certainly in the right place. This was it. Anticipation curled in my stomach. How would this new teacher make of me? More importantly, how would I make of him? I sighed. There was no point in standing outside looking idiotic. Taking a deep breath, I turned the handle and began to push the door open.

"...So I expect you all to have your books for-" The teacher looked up from his planner as I strolled in.

Electricity jolted through me. This teacher, Mr. Night, had to be no older than twenty-five. He wasn't some geeky mama's boy, either. No; this teacher was all brawn, and apparently, all brains too. He had sun-kissed skin, thick black hair, and was stunningly masculine. This man reeked alpha-male. 'Mr. Attractive' looked about six-foot-four, and he had sculpted, rippling muscles which showed nicely through his black shirt.

Bright blue eyes framed by dark eyelashes peered down at me. His burning gaze raked up and down my body slowly. I licked my lips.

The teacher cocked his head. "You must be Leslie Graham, am I correct?" When I nodded, he inclined his head in response. "You're fifteen minutes late, Miss Graham."

"I'm sorry, Mister Night." I said. "It seems I couldn't sufficiently express my excitement to be back in school again." Carelessly, I tossed my brown hair over my shoulder, pleased with the approving laughs I earned from my peers.

After a moment, he pursed his full lips. "Indeed." He turned around, moving to his desk. "Here Leslie. I have the spot where you will be sitting and . . . "

Once he'd turned around, he saw that I'd already situated myself in a seat. A spark of amusement flickered across his face, and he cleared his throat. Mr. Night motioned to a seat in the front corner of the room-right in front of his desk. I stared right back up at him and crossed my arms.

Mr. Night bent forward with both hands on the surface of my desk. He smirked, flashing his sickeningly perfect, straight white teeth. He leaned closer and closer, until I could feel his cool breath on my face. "Meet me after class, Miss Graham," he murmured.

A rumble of quiet laughs rolled my way. I blinked up at him, twisting my lips into a heart-wrenching smile. He returned my smile; impossibly, the action made his already handsome face even more attractive.

"Yes sir. I wouldn't want to give you trouble on your first day of work." I flipped my hair again.

"Truly," he laughed. "Because you must have realized that I've taught college boys who were much more intimidating than you, Miss Graham. After class."

My face turned scarlet. I narrowed my eyes at him. He dismissed me with a satisfied smile, then turned back the class. People jeered, but I paid no attention to them. I didn't even pay attention to the lesson he taught. All I could think about was his sickeningly beautiful face and how I wanted to rip it apart with my nails. Damn. This school year was going to be hell.

The bell rang. A flurry of scraping chairs and rustling bags forced him to stop his lesson. The new teacher sighed and turned to his desk. Swiftly, I picked up my bag and made my way toward the door. There was no way I would stay with him. He was my competition this year. I was not going to make this easy for him.

"Miss Graham, where are you going?" He sounded slightly amused.

"To class, of course." I tried to step out into the hall.

Mr. Night was by my side instantly. I gasped and jumped back. I hadn't expected him to move so fast. He smirked and closed the door, then motioned to the desk where I was assigned.

"Have a seat, Miss Graham." He strolled to his desk to sit.

"I'm perfectly okay, thanks." When he sat, I was taller than he meaning, symbolically, I had the control.

Sighing, he stood and stepped close to me. At this close of a range, he towered over me easily. "This is a dominance issue, isn't it, Miss Graham? I'm telling you right now, you will lose." His smell was spicy, deliciously sensuous.

I turned my face but ended up staring into his muscular chest. I ran my tongue along my teeth impatiently. This man was pulling me in like metal to a magnet. I felt so disgusted with myself.

Mr. Night lowered his face until it was inches from mine. "Now sit."

"You could have said please," I grumbled. Shuffling backwards, I situated myself at a desk. I entwined my fingers. "I have to get to class soon."

He ignored my statement. "I've heard a lot about your reputation, Miss Graham, but you aren't living up to it."

My mouth dropped. "Excuse me?"

"I've heard a lot about your passion for writing, that you plan on attending New York University to become a journalist. I've also heard that you're very respectful, but all I've seen from you is sassiness. Not your best quality, Miss Graham."

I narrowed my eyes at him, my gaze burning hot.

"You waltz into my class fifteen minutes late, and then you give me attitude. I've seen more maturity in a ten-year-old."

"Indeed," I said in a tone quite like the one he'd used. I picked my bag up. "I'm going to be late for class, Mr. Night."

"Leslie, I wasn't finished." His hand touched my upper arm gently. "You're not wearing an outfit that's appropriate for school."

Flinching, I pulled back. There was no way the newteacher had memorized the rules already. There was no way I'd be told off now! I exhaled sharply.

"I'm sorry, Mr. Night. I don't have anything else to wear. Good day."

"Leslie," he said sternly, "do you know why we have such a strict dress code?" He approached me carefully.

I backed up, my eyes wide. What was he doing? I ran into his desk. Hopelessly trapped, I gulped and shook my head.

"Boys never have enough self-control, Leslie. Dressing up like this doesn't only get approval from your girlfriends; it gets these boys' attentions." Mr. Night walked around me to take a jacket off of his chair. "Here. Tomorrow choose a more appropriate outfit for school."

I gazed down at the black jacket. Was he being serious? There was no way I was going to wear it. It was a hideous men's jacket! I didn't care that it was made of nice black cloth or that it might actually go with my outfit. I looked good in my dress; who cared about what I wore? It's not like I'd be raped in broad daylight!

"Thanks for the nice gesture, but I think I'm fine."

"I would hate to give you detention on your first day back, Miss Graham. Take the jacket, or come here after school."

Cursing under my breath, I snatched the jacket from his hands. I slipped it on. The material was soft, yet it had the same scent as he did, wild and alluring. He handed my bag to me, then strode to the door to open it for me.

"See? That wasn't so bad!" He grinned down at me with approval. "I'll walk you to your next class. I'm on patrol anyway."

That wasn't so bad. Yeah. Sure. My new teacher, of all people, had been the one to tell me off about my clothes. This was simply fantastic. I sighed and clenched my hands into fists. My palms were sweating, and occasionally his arm would brush mine. Odd jolts of electricity sizzled where he touched me; I remained stiff and quiet as we walked.

We reached my classroom. I took a shaky breath. He dug in his pocket momentarily then pulled out a folded piece of paper. He handed it to me.

"Give this to your teacher. It will explain why you were late."

I nodded and turned to enter the room.

"Oh, and Leslie?"

Biting my lip, I turned around to face him. "Yes, Mr. Night?"

He licked his lips and leaned forward. His breath caught on my tongue. "I expect better from you tomorrow," he said.

My lips trembled. How could he get so close without me freaking out? If I so much as puckered, or lifted my face, we'd end up in a kiss. I could feel myself quaking, and I knew he could see it. Heat pooled low in my belly. My gaze shifted to his broad shoulder; it was only then that I saw the perfection of his height compared to mine.

"Do you understand me, Leslie?"

Too quickly I looked up. Our noses brushed, yet he refused to move away. I jerked my head back but immediately regretted it. I'd done exactly what he'd wanted me to do-falter and be the first to show weakness. His blue eyes stared at me intently.

"Yes," I managed.

I gaped at him as he stepped away. My cheeks blazed red as he gave me a curt nod. He turned and walked down the hallway. Regaining my pride, I rolled my eyes at him. Just as I did, he looked over his shoulder.

"As I said, Miss Graham, you could improve on your attitude." he called.