Summary: Between writing for the school paper, fighting with his girlfriend, and leading on the resident football team dumbass, Eric really doesn't have time to crush on the hot new English teacher that's fresh out of college. slash
Warnings: Quite of bit of swearing, sexual situations (not for this chapter in particular), and male/male relationship, though I personally don't think that last point warrants a warning. Just saying.
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Here's the thing about a new school year that sucks, after four months of freedom and being able to piss away your time however you want, you're suddenly trapped with about five million obligations. None of which you can be bothered to give an actual shit about. The worst is when you drag your ass to something you absolutely do not care about and the person running it decides to take their sweet ass time.
"So, I say if Maddy and the new teacher don't get here in five more minutes, I'm peacing out." I pass a quick look over the other members of our school newspaper team and take in their pissed off expressions. Judging by their nods, we're all on the same page. For once.
Well, we all are except for Michelle. She hates Maddy – and me through association – so it's not much of a surprise that she's rolling her eyes at me.
"You mean she didn't tell you anything about why she's late?" she asks irritably, as if I should be keeping tabs on every single step Maddy takes.
I raise an eyebrow incredulously and wonder if Michelle actually believes she can pull this shit on me. I'm not only in the year above her but I'm in the social circle she has wet dreams about.
"I'm Maddy's boyfriend, not her mother," I remind Michelle sharply, mocking her irritable tone and she swallows, nodding her head. This girl may fucking thrive on making up gossip but she knows who not to mess with in the process.
There's an awkward silence when I keep looking at her with a glare that clearly says 'not worth my time'.
The silence is broken by an equally awkward cough and I let Michelle off the hook, moving my attention to my good buddy Mike and smirking.
"Well, either way, I'm not sticking around much longer. I've got shit to do," Roland, the resident sports reporter of our happy little newspaper team announces, leaning back in his chair and stretching his arms over his head.
Everyone looks to me for some sort of affirmation so I nod my head in agreement. As I'm the Editor-in-Chief's boyfriend I'm somehow the second in command even though I don't even have an official place in this paper. I like to think of myself as the free-lance writer that covers whatever story he wants.
I check my watch. "Three minutes and we're home free," I announce and everyone begins closing up their notebooks as if I have just dismissed them.
That is, until the door is thrown open.
"Hey guys, thanks for coming, sorry I'm late. I just needed to sort some stuff out with the office..." Maddy Turner, the Editor-in-Chief for our high school newspaper bursts into the room and I'm pretty sure everyone's a bit disappointed to see her. I mean, yeah, it is a Monday, but there are still a shit ton of things I'd rather be doing.
"Um... I guess our new advisor hasn't shown up either..." she observes as she looks over the group of us and I want to thank her for telling us because we obviously hadn't noticed.
But I don't.
Instead I snort and say sarcastically, "The leadership in this club is mind boggling." And I know it's kind of a jab at Maddy but I don't really care. She was late all on her own.
Officially, the meeting started fifteen minutes ago and in that fifteen minutes I could have walked my ass home, had something to eat, and made plans. But instead I'm sitting here, only thinking about the good time I could be having.
Maddy blushes and her jaw clenches but she doesn't say anything, just drops into the seat beside me and begins digging through her backpack for her notepad and a pen.
"Yeah, apparently our advisor is new to the school so he probably just got lost or something," she says awkwardly, pretending my comment hadn't been directed at her. I glance across the table at Mike and he's smirking at me and I can't help but roll my eyes as Maddy keeps talking. She loves to pretend we're perfect when there's an audience to pretend for.
"Well, I guess we'll start the meeting now, just give me a second to get your names down." Maddy smiles in the face of everyone's unimpressed countenances and it's kind of impressive how she can just brush it all off.
I lean in and glance over her shoulder, watching with mild curiosity as she takes down the same list of names she took down at last year's first meeting.
"So..." Maddy says as she finishes drawing a little heart around my name and looks up at us all. "Any ideas on stories or themes for our first issue?"
She's met with dead silence as per usual and lets out a huff of breath. "Didn't think so..."
Rachel, the writer for the ever popular Ask Rachel column, looks like she wants to say something, but doesn't. Probably because she's the youngest and still feels uncomfortable with all us big kids... or something like that.
I'm just about to suggest we just call the meeting and leave when the door is suddenly thrown open and our new advisor walks in. From the corner of my eye I see Maddy's face light up and I shoot her a strange look, wondering what's got her so happy all of a sudden.
I don't bother turning around to see the new teacher.
"Hey, sorry I'm late. I forgot that the meeting was today," someone says in a voice that doesn't sound anything like sorry and I catch Mike's eye, mouthing the words 'are you serious?' at him. He laughs.
Maddy nudges me in the side and gives Mike a dirty look. "Eric, be nice," she whispers and motions for me to look at the new teacher.
I give in and turn around. I'm expecting some fifty year old fatass but... Well, I'll be honest, he's not what I was expecting. He's… young. Like fresh out of school young and really… pretty.
I frown, taking in his pink dress shirt, exceptionally well-styled hair, and flushed cheeks and decide that he's way too into himself.
"Mr. Kramer," Maddy greets sounding like she's trying to contain her giddiness. She beams up at him and I realize why her face got so excited a few seconds ago.
You have got to be fucking kidding me. My girlfriend has a crush on the new advisor?
I watch, judgemental and disbelieving, as Maddy motions for him to take the open seat on her other side. He takes it without a word and she smiles up at him adoringly and I want to puke.
"Are you going to introduce yourself?" Maddy asks, suddenly chipper, and I glance around the table to find that the other girls are all watching the new teacher with the same dreamy expression as Maddy.
"My name is Mr. Kramer and I'm the newest addition to the school's English department," he tells us in a very cool but pleasant tone and makes a point of looking at everyone. I swear he looks at me longer than anyone else. In fact, I know he does because I stare right back.
Let me rephrase that.
I know he looks at me longer because I glare right back. I am not impressed.
After the meeting has finished, Maddy ditches me for some quality time with her girls and I don't really complain because I'm all for space and I love that Maddy loves to give me it. Seriously, we have the perfect relationship.
I end up at my best friend John's house doing what we do best: pot on his rooftop patio. We're both sprawled on our backs, staring up into the sky, shielding our eyes from the sun as it slowly sinks.
John passes me the joint and glances at me. "So, you coming to Ricky's this Friday?"
"Yeah, probably," I respond before settling my lips around the reefer and inhaling deeply. I hold the smoke in my lungs before releasing it and sinking deeper into the roof. "Isn't it the frosh party?" I catch John's nod and grin.
"Fucking frosh," I mutter and pass the joint back over.
"Don't even start like you remember anything, man," John laughs, "You were completely trashed."
I snort, trying not to join in his laughter. "How would you know? We didn't even know each other yet."
I think the weed is hitting John because he just starts killing himself laughing like I just said the funniest thing he's ever heard. Still, without him even saying a word I know exactly what he's thinking.
We hadn't really known each other at our frosh. The end of that night was the first time John and I had ever spoken, and that was because he had passed out (sort of) and I had tripped over him and ended up puking on him. It was a really shitty night, but man, nothing holds a friendship together like vomit.
I chuckle too and steal the joint from him while he's busting a gut with laughter. "Whatever," I say, my voice bright, "the like… five memories I have from frosh are fond ones."
That comment gives John a second wind and he's killing himself laughing all over again. I would join but I'm too relaxed to bother. I stare up at the sky and watch the cloud formations. I swear if I look hard enough two of the clouds look like a perfect set of tits.
This puts a grin on my face.
"Maddy's in love with the new paper advisor," I say into the sudden silence as John stops laughing. My head rolls to the side and I take in the exhausted amusement on John's face. He raises his eyebrows, demanding further explanation without a word.
It's fucking creepy how well we get each other.
"He's really young," I elaborate, "probably fresh out of school – and pretty hot." I shrug as if there's nothing more to say and take a drag from the roach, considering, then add, "Kind of gay too."
"Sounds more like your type than Maddy's," John notes, trying to keep a straight face and the giggle from his voice. Hardy har har.
John and his fucking gay jokes.
"Yeah, only I'm partial to blond's and he's got like black hair," I say candidly, not bothering to rise to the bait. "Besides, Maddy would probably skin me alive if it turned out we were both after the same man."
"Or she would plot out a way to get you all into a super hot threesome." John is a fountain of wit and hilarity.
I raise my eyebrows and survey him. "Nah, she'd be too pissed 'cause she'd know I'd get the guy first. Gay remember?"
John laughs. "Wouldn't that be a fucking situation for the Ask Rachel column. 'My boyfriend is fucking my English teacher but I saw him first'." He looks over at me and steals the roach; his face is frozen in a cheeky grin.
I let him take the joint and look back at the sky, smirking. "It's a shame I'm straight, hey?"
Wednesday brings along my first English class of the school year. I love English. It's such a breeze. Really, it should be renamed Bullshit 101 or something because that's all you have to do to pass – be good at bullshitting. With my old teacher, Mrs. Wells, it didn't hurt to be good-looking. She loved me because my face was easy on her and in return she went easy on me.
I'm not too sure about Mr. Kramer though. From my memory of the guy at Monday's newspaper meeting, he seemed like a tool. One of those fresh out of school hard asses that somehow still think they can be your friend while being a humongous prick.
Then again, it doesn't hurt to go into a situation with a positive outlook.
I walk into the class room just as the bell rings and settle into a seat near the middle of the room, right beside John. As soon as I've sat, I find myself craning my neck to find out where Maddy is and who she's with. There's a bolt of relief when I see her in the back corner with some of her girl friends but it's quickly shot to shit when I notice Ricky Letts leaning over and whispering in her ear. She eats the attention up, raising her eyebrows attentively and giggling at his words. My blood boils and I turn back to the front of the room.
Ricky's that asshole that always hangs out with the girls and hits on everyone's girlfriends and ditches the guys every chance he gets. Not that that last part is so bad, I mean, none of us are worse off for never having Ricky around. To be honest, he's a pretty bad time unless he's holding a party. And even then he's got nothing to do with the success of the party.
I surreptitiously glance back at him and see his hand on Maddy's shoulder. It's the hitting on everyone's girlfriends that really pisses me off about him.
"Eric, what's up?" John pulls my attention away from Maddy and I fix him with an irritated glare, knowing he knows what's up. He meets my stare with a shrug, as if to say 'what can ya do?'
I sigh out my frustration and shake it off. No point getting in a bad mood over someone as lame as Ricky, so I finally say, "Nothing's up," and get my books out.
"Where's your secret lover?" John asks, referring to Mr. Kramer. I give the room a once over and find that he's not here yet. Is this fucker seriously late for everything? Then it hits me that John called him my secret lover.
For some strange reason, this reference amuses me, so I run with it. "Cleaning up obviously – we had a little run-in in the supply closet," I say, completely poker faced.
John's face splits into a massive grin and he holds out his hand for a high five. "Champ," he mock admires, shaking his head at me.
We're just finishing our high five when Mr. Kramer enters looking just as pretty as he had on Monday. I would be impressed if it wasn't apparent that he puts A SHIT TON of effort into his appearance. I'm just as hot with a quarter of the effort.
What a fucking loser, I think and consider how much time he probably did devote to looking like he does.
The first person Kramer notices upon his late entry is Maddy and he smiles at her the way every teacher is inclined to smile at their favourite student. Without even looking, I know that she's melted in her seat.
What a fucker.
He only likes her because she's the head of the school paper. On the plus side, I bet you Ricky's feeling particularly replaced.
Mr. Kramer sits on the edge of his desk and takes us all in, his eyes quickly passing down the rows… until he gets to me. I'm still smirking, pleased at the thought of Ricky's dejection and it takes a moment for me to notice that Mr. Kramer's looking at me. His expression doesn't change when I meet his gaze but I swear there's something there that makes my breath stop for a beat. He watches me calm and expressionless and I stare back and wonder why he's not moving on or why I don't just look away.
I swallow and feel my face flush as his eyes remain completely and unapologetically focused on me and I can see that he's not breathing either and I wonder what the hell is happening right now.
And then as if in unison we both break the contact and I feel like someone's just let me breathe again and Mr. Kramer continues his scan down the rows without any further acknowledgement.
John leans over to me. "You didn't tell me we weren't just joking about your sordid affair," he whispers, trying to sound offended.
"Hey, some things are better left unsaid," I reply in a whisper of my own and without any intention on my part, my eyes latch back onto Mr. Kramer as he turns back to his desk and begins collecting a pile of papers.
When he catches me staring a few seconds later I jump as if caught doing something I shouldn't.
On Wednesdays after school Maddy usually meets with the newspaper teacher advisor briefly to discuss some of the ideas she wants to put forward at the next Monday group meeting. It's part of the ritual that she drag me along with her, so here I am, stuck in a room with my girlfriend and the teacher she probably has fantasies about. The teacher that I cannot figure it out for the life of me.
Maddy's talking prom already, wondering about an article or two on the perfect dress. I point out that prom happens every year and Maddy snaps back that her prom doesn't though, and since she's editor she wants to throw in a few articles on the subject because she can.
I shut my mouth, knowing when I've entered a losing battle.
Besides, Mr. Kramer thinks it's a 'faaaaaabulous' idea. After he and Maddy have had a few seconds to pointedly discuss how it's important people be up to date on their school's prom, Mr. Kramer looks over at me and smiles.
"You know Eric, since you don't cover any one particular section of the paper you could cover all things prom…"
"Oh my god," Maddy breathes, "that is such a good idea!"
I raise my eyebrows sceptically at Maddy. "I don't give a shit about prom," I remind her.
She knows I think prom is a waste of money, and she also knows the only reason I plan on going is because it will make her happy. Can't she appreciate how selfless I'm being by doing that and not ask for more?
"Maybe writing about it will get you in the mood," Mr. Kramer reasons, and I swear he's smiling behind the serious expression he's portraying. "A segment on how a man properly treats his prom date would probably do wonders for your attitude."
Maddy grabs my knee under the table and squeezes it excitedly but I don't take my eyes off of Mr. Kramer as I say, "My involvement with the school paper has nothing to do with my attitude towards prom."
"Eric," Maddy chides, grabbing my chin and pulling my face to hers for a quick kiss, "I need my best writer on prom this year and you know you're it." She flashes me a brilliant smile and my stomach tightens. I almost say yes, but part of me pulls back.
She's going to be tossing all of her editor responsibilities on me in a few weeks and the last thing I'll want to be worrying about then is an article I don't even care for.
"If you want your best writer on it, the only person for the job is you," I level with her in a sharp tone as I pull out of her grasp. I try to smile supportively so she doesn't take the comment the wrong way – or rather, the right way.
"But I'll be way too busy, Eric, baby." Maddy's hand is back on my knee and she's kneading it softly. "I'm the head of Prom Committee too…" She doesn't even bother trying to be modest by contesting the fact that she's the best writer.
I look away uncomfortably, not wanting to make a scene in front of a teacher, but I can't help that I'm seriously starting to get irritated. Like most people, I hate being cornered. "Maddy, piss off," I mutter under my breath in warning – trying to avoid a scene. She snaps her hand away from my knee and glares at me. I still don't look at her.
Mr. Kramer clears his throat, drawing our attention. "If Eric really doesn't want to we could always see if Rachel's up to the challenge." He sounds disappointed. If he expected me to give a shit, he's sadly mistaken.
"But Rachel's only in tenth grade. I don't want her writing about a prom that isn't even hers," Maddy presses, and I know that she's starting to get angry now because there's a shrillness in her voice that wasn't there before.
This is bullshit.
"Well then I guess the only people eligible are you, Michael, or Eric," Mr. Kramer addresses Maddy as if I'm not even present.
My jaw tightens and I try to keep my anger in. "No, it's either her or Mike."
"Eric, can't you just do this for me, baby?" Maddy insists and she's definitely pissed now.
I scowl at her and say in a mocking tone, "No, baby, I'm not going to do this for you."
"Eric," Mr. Kramer interjects, trying to be the voice of reason, "Why don't you just do it?"
"Because!" My voice rises and drips with derision and I know this is not going to end well. "I don't want to write about our stupid fucking prom. End of fucking story!" I give Mr. Kramer an obviously fake smile in pretence of civility. He raises his eyebrow and gives me a strange look that I can't even begin to identify.
There's a clatter as Maddy jumps to her feet and sends her chair falling backwards and I remember that she's still in the room. "You are so immature," she hisses at me and then makes a grand exit, complete with the slamming of the door behind her.
There's this moment of dumb silence as I stare blankly at the spot where she just was before I finally turn to face Mr. Kramer, resolute and stony-faced.
"I'm not doing prom segments."
I cannot believe I'm doing fucking prom segments.
As of right now I'm standing on Maddy's porch holding a magazine dedicated to 'all things prom'. I have just rung the doorbell and I can hear her making her way to the door. It opens to reveal her in a pair of pyjama pants and a loose tank. Mascara is running down her cheeks.
She sniffs and refuses to look at me, choosing to instead keep her eyes on the ground and I feel like the world's biggest tool because I made her cry.
"Hey," I say awkwardly and my voice is gruff, "I wanted to say I'm sorry and ask if there's any chance you're willing to help me research for my first article?" She looks up, tentative and I hold out the prom magazine. "I don't really know where to start with this kind of stuff…"
Without a word, Maddy takes my hand and pulls me into the house and up the stairs to her room where we end up having one of my favourite things in existence: makeup sex.
When it's over and she's draped over me like a second skin, she tells me, "I'm sorry too."
"You didn't do anything." My hand rubs circles over her back and I squeeze her closer.
She laughs – sardonic – and sits up, reaching for the magazine that ended up forgotten on her bedroom floor. "Let's start researching, k?"
I nod and get up as well, allowing her to show me what styles of dress each type of girl should look for and I try to absorb it all. After it's dark and I'm finally getting my clothes back on to go home, Maddy catches me for a quick kiss.
"I'm so lucky to have you," she confides with a smile and I'm not sure how to respond because there's this dirty little truth hanging between us that I should never have acknowledged but was aware of the day I said yes to dating her.
And that truth is that she's right.
She is lucky to have me.
AN: For anyone rereading this from the beginning, this chapter is a bit different from how it used to be. I've decided to go back and rework some of the earlier chapters to create more consistency in characterizations! Please leave a review telling me what you think! I appreciate it a lot!