Rachel reached into a pile of papers and pulled out his research paper he had done on Nikki Giovanni. He thought for sure she was going to ask him about the note that he had written to her.
Derrick prepared himself to admit he had done the deed.
“I wanted to speak with you about your research paper you did on Nikki Giovanni.” Rachel said going behind the desk and sitting. “Your resources are incorrect and you plagiarized words.”
Defensively, Derrick refuted immediately, “I’m never incorrect and I don’t steal.”
“Really?” She snatched the paper out his hands and flipped to the last page of the research paper and read off the last sentence.
He found no errors in what she read and immediately became upset because he felt she was just like all the others trying to get him kicked out. “If you want me out your class, Mrs. Herlong, all you had to do was ask.”
“What’s that supposed to mean?” she asked confused. “I’m merely pointing out-“
Derrick cut her off abruptly. “You’re just like all the others. You can’t wait to see me at some dirty nasty detention home again.” He leaned over the desk with his formidable height, glaring hard at her in disgust.
“That’s alright, it ain’t worth shit to fight whatever you’re going to lie to them about.”
“I’m not lying,” she protested standing up to make her point as if she were ten feet tall. “If you would just look, you’ll see that you quoted Ebony magazine incorrectly and you didn’t write quotations on your paper. Any other teacher would have immediately taken this to Davish and let him see what you’ve done to take it out of context, but I was willing to fie you an extra day on your assignment before turning your work into him. He sent me a note earlier this week that from now on all your work is to be sent to his office even before its proofread or graded. I was trying to save you face before I turned your research paper in.”
If Derrick’s foot could get any deeper down his throat, he would probably shit soles for a week. He looked over at Arwin who mouthed the words, ‘Apologize.’
Derrick had never apologized for anything before in his life. He was motherfucking Derrick James, Dammit!
But he wanted to make amend to his rudeness. “So I have one day to complete it?” he asked to be sure.
Sitting behind her desk again, she nodded. “Of course in turn you’ll owe me.”
He should have known there was a catch. Forcing his eyes to stay on her face and not the partial opening her shirt made when she leaned forward, Derrick tried hard to concentrate on what she was about to say. “What would that be?”
“You know the Black History contest coming up for the English Department? I want you to help me win,” she announced excitedly.
“You want me to get up in front of the whole school and recite some stupid shit?” he asked. Before she could answer him, he said adamantly, “Hell no!”
“Give me a chance to-“
Again he cut her off. “No fucking way are you going to blackmail me into getting on stage to read no stupid essay like this was third fucking grade. Bull shit!”
She shot out her chair and raised her voice slightly. “Would you let me speak, Mr. James!”
Rachel had never raised her voice at a student before. Even Arwin looked a bit worried about her upset.
“The contest consist of writing about prolific African-Americans and presenting them in a creative way. Most times it has been an essay, but I was thinking of something different our class could do this year from other classes. Davenport High doesn’t have a drama program and I think if we come up with the script, we could perform a fifteen minute sketch that would certainly win the contest.”
Warily, he asked in a more calmed voice, “And I don’t have to act in it? I just have to help you write it?”
She nodded. “I need the whole class participation and if they see that you’re involved they would certainly get involved because a lot of them look up to you. I know you can also find the information that I need in record time. I have approval by the principal to do this and he’s given me three days of paid overtime to stay after school to work on the script with a student.”
“And why’d you chose me?” he questioned suspiciously.
“I can only use a student in my homeroom class. You’re the best writer in my homeroom. You’re smart, you think you know everything, and you are a natural leader, which would make my job a lot easy.”
Arrogantly, he said, “I do I know everything.”
“And you are certainly not modest,” she clipped amused.
“What if I don’t do it?”
“Then I’ll be forced to assign you a make up thesis of the life and times of Shakespeare with a minimum of fifty paged due before the Christmas Holiday,” she said using her teacher’s voice that should have brook no contest.
Derrick knew most of Shakespeare by heart, but he wasn’t going to tell her that and could probably write the paper overnight. Yet, this was a chance to be alone with her – To talk with her. Hell yeah, he would do it, but he didn’t want to give in so easily. “What if I can write that in my sleep?” he challenged.
Coming around the desk to face him, she said, “I’ll be forced to let Mr. Davish see this paper as is. This isn’t my only copy.”
He couldn’t believe how deep down devious she could be all wrapped up in the sweetest package of a woman imaginable. “You’re almost a bitch, Mrs. Herlong.”
Surprisingly, she didn’t take the least bit of offense at almost being called out her name. “I can be when I want to,” she said with wickedness flashing in her eyes and placed her hand gently on his arm.
Derrick was very evident of the soft palm from the innocent touch even though he wore a long sleeve shirt and he could feel the heat emanating from her hand.
Leaning to him, she whispered, “This would mean a lot to me, Derrick. As a new full time teacher, you cannot begin to understand the stress I have to go through with other teachers and administrators.”
Did she know he would move mountains if she asked? Did she know how much her touch affected his whole body, despite how innocent it was? Did she know when he looked deeply enough in her eyes, he could lose himself? Damn, somehow he would have to get her out his system. He knew if it wasn’t soon he would find himself consumed with her. This was really all new to him to be attracted to a female like this and he was very perplexed by his reaction to her. He was very aware of her being older and even more aware that she was a teacher. Even before he went to prison he had never had a crush on a teacher or any other female like he had on Rachel Herlong.
“Fine,” he said doing his best grumble filled with reluctance.
The bell rung and he took the paper off her desk and headed for the door. Arwin left out to get to his next class, which was different from Derrick’s this hour.
“Derrick,” she called him.
He turned only slightly to see what she wanted.
Walking up to him, she handed him a slip. “Tomorrow after practice and have your parents sign this to let me know its okay.”
Derrick only nodded and watched as she walked back to her desk to get a good glance at her apple bottom.
“Mrs. Herlong,” he called as she was sitting at her desk.
“Arwin was right. You really don’t need to lose any weight.”
She rolled her eyes heavenwards and ignored him to return to her lesson plans.
Derrick caught up with Arwin in the halls and Derrick pondered to himself what could possibly happen meeting Rachel after football practice.
“Are you really going to do it?” Arwin asked as they maneuvered themselves through the crowd to their next hour.
“Yeah,” Derrick shrugged. “I’ll help her out and you pass around the word that everybody better go along with it or they’ll have to deal with me.”
Arwin chuckled. “I’ll be over tonight, so make sure the windows unlocked.”
“Don’t your old man ever wonder where you are?” Derrick asked.
“Nope and I wouldn’t care if he did, man. See you tonight.” Arwin ducked in his classroom.