A couple of days later, Rachel found herself leafing through Derrick’s file one more time looking for something that would give her the edge on her mission for him. She had been thinking a lot in the past few days about Derrick. Every time she looked at the pendant, she thought of him and knew in order to get rid of the threat of doing something very unmoral and stupid, she could just get him out of her class, her life and eventually her mind. She was not trying to get her grove back with a student!
“You can stare at that until you’re blue in the face,” Laura said, coming to the desk while Rachel was on her break. “But you won’t find a thing. Does he know what you’re trying to do?”
“No. I didn’t want to say anything to get his hopes up too high.”
“I think it’s honorable how much you care about your students, Rachel, despite what Dwayne says of your qualifications.” That had been the nicest thing Laura had ever said to her. “You should be done with your teaching degree this semester, right?”
Rachel nodded very wary of Laura’s sudden ‘niceness.’ “I should be if exhaustion doesn’t kill me.”
“That’s great, Rachel. I mean you’ve worked really hard to get what you wanted. I hope things go well for you.”
“I hope so too, Laura.” She didn’t trust this cow one bit and just felt Laura had a hidden agenda that Rachel was too tired right now to mentally figure out.
Pointing to the name in the file, Laura said, “Call him. He should be able to get in touch with someone who can get Davish off your back long enough for you to submit the grades for Derrick.”
“Are you helping me out or are you helping Derrick out?” Rachel asked suspiciously.
“Let’s just say this student means a lot to me as well.” Laura left out the room.
Rachel copied down the name Laura had pointed out and went to the main office to make some phone calls. If this could help Derrick, she would certainly try it.
* * *
Derrick stopped at her desk the following week as all the other students filed out. Arwin made Tonya go with him out the classroom because he was helping Derrick distract the girl so Derrick could speak to Rachel privately.
“So what do you plan to do tomorrow?” he asked when all the students were out the room.
“What do you mean?” she asked becoming defensive.
“You and I were supposed to meet. You had an extra day, remember?”
“There is no you and I, Derrick.”
He placed a card on her desk. “Tomorrow at four. I’ll see you there.” Without another word, he walked out.
‘The arrogant prick,’ she said to herself. Picking up the card, Rachel placed it in her pocket and didn’t think about it again until she was at home that night after school. She thoughtfully picked up the card and saw it was for a coffee shop that was pretty far away from school, but quaint enough to be deemed as nice.
Why did he need her to meet him privately? What was he up to? Derrick could be really thinking that he could have a serious sexual relationship with his teacher?
Why was she even considering going?
All day long she thought deeply about not going, but at three-fifteen she found herself getting into the newly acquired used vehicle and driving over to the coffee shop, parking in the lot across the street and watching who came in and out. There was a shopping mall nearby adjacent to the café and realized that Arwin worked there as an after school job.
At four, she stepped into the coffee shop and Arwin noticed her immediately.
“Hey, Mrs. Herlong. Follow me. Your booth’s been reserved in the back.”
“My booth?” she questioned warily.
“Yeah.” He guided her to a back corner where there was a partition, as if this was a private back room with different secluded booths.
“What is this?” she asked.
“A coffee shop,” Arwin said obviously. “But often used for private deals and so forth. The owner has big contacts. Some people like to drink coffee in private.” He placed an empty cup in front of her. “Anything you’d like?”
“Coffee makes me jumpy, Arwin,” Rachel said being difficult on purpose. “I never drink caffeine.”
“Decaf? Hot chocolate? An iced tea?”
“I’ll take a water,” she said, rubbing the back of her neck feeling nervous and awkward.
He nodded and left, but came back in a few minutes with her water.
“Do you know why I’m here?”
“Let’s just say no one else knows, Mrs. Herlong. No one will ever know.” He gave her a secret wink and left again this time closing the curtains.
She rubbed her neck more and checked her watch to see it was ten minutes afterwards. What was she really doing here? Were her intentions really out of curiosity or lust?
The place was so quiet from back there and she felt alone. Sipping at her water, she touched the pendant on her neck. What was her problem? This was her student! This was a little boy who had an infatuation with his teacher and thought he could actually do something about it, when in truth he couldn’t. Rachel knew right then and there she had to put a stop to this before things became worse.
“You’re only drinking water?” Derrick asked, coming into the curtains and sitting down across from her. His presence seemed so commanding and overwhelming. It was too easy to forget he was her student. Too easy.
“Yes,” she answered him with her brows in a deep crinkle. “Derrick, before this goes any further, I think I should say some things to you.”
“What goes any further?” he asked innocently.
“I don’t want you to get the idea that there could be something between us. I’m your teacher. I can even be your friend, but I won’t be anything else to you. There’s a six year age difference.”
“Five,” he corrected coolly. “You don’t think I haven’t thought of all that, Rachel.”
Huffing in annoyance, she said sternly, “Don’t call me that.”
“Why? When I feel I’m just as equal as you are?”
“You haven’t thought this thing through, Derrick.”
“Yes, I have.” He took her hand in his.
“Oh really?” she asked, becoming upset and snatching her hand away. “So you’ve thought of the fact that I’m married and you’re proposing what? Adultery? You want me to cheat on my husband, or are you willing to wait for me to divorce him?” She snorted. “That will never happen just for you, Derrick. And another thing, I have two children or did you forget? Even if I did leave my husband and you stay around, what are you going to do? Help me out? Pay for my bills with your daddy’s money or some minimum wage job? McDonald’s will just barely pay my insurance. You haven’t thought this through, Derrick. You’re only thinking with what’s between your legs, but that’s expected because you are still a child and too young to know about the real responsibilities of life. Any interest in me is purely an infatuation that you won’t even remember once you get older.” She could see that her words had hurt his feelings and he was trying not to show it. “I don’t want to destroy something that’s wonderful inside of you and being with me… You can’t be what you’re destined to become if you’re with me, Derrick.”
“You think that Robert lost his potential because of you?” he asked.
He had hit too close to home and Rachel wanted to end this conversation and run away. “I think that this has nothing to do with Robert.”
“And if I was older? What if I wasn’t your student? What if I was able to take care of you without my dad’s money?”
“What if will always be there. I’ll still be married to Robert. I’ll still have the twins. I’ll still be a teacher. My life will not change.”
“But you aren’t happy. Not with him,” Derrick disputed upset.
Rachel took a deep breath. “We’re not going to dwell on my happiness, Derrick. It’s you that’s more important to me.”
“But what if my happiness depends on your happiness?”
“It shouldn’t. Please don’t let it.” She took his hand in hers this time tenderly really needing him to understand and connect with him at that moment. “You’re going to find a wonderful girl who will worship the group you walk on, who will give you her heart, and who will be able to grow with you and have fun with you instead of being at home tending the kids and worried about responsibilities. You’ll find her and you’ll be happy together. I know you will.”
It looked as if he was giving into her idea and Rachel knew this was her time to leave. Getting up out of the booth, she put her purse over her shoulders after putting her coat back on and took one more look at him.
Gleaming with renewed strength, Derrick looked as if he had been the one to triumph and she was mesmerized by the beam in his reddish brown eyes while he stood up in front of her and moved his arms around her waist pulling her to him.
“Why should I want another woman, when you’re all I’ll ever need, Rachel?” he asked in a deep low voice. “I can give you anything you’ve ever dreamed of and needed.”
His words sounded so good to her soul, but she knew… Oh Lord, his body felt so hard and his touch…
Breathless, she said, “We can’t… I can’t.”
That was juts before his lips met hers and she felt her body quake with expectation. Rachel allowed herself to give into him, meeting his passion with her bottled up own desires and wanting him without any thought to what the consequences could be. He did taste as good as she had imagined and she wanted more of him. His arms tightened around her waist sculpting her body against his and even though she wore a coat she could feel his own thick hardened arousal against her belly.
A glass shattered somewhere breaking their kiss abruptly. Pushing away from him, she covered her mouth ashamed of her immoral behavior. “You won’t do this to me, Derrick! You won’t make me forget…” She was lost for words because her mouth still wanted to taste him and couldn’t form the words she needed to resist him. To make it worse, she was more angry at herself for enjoying his kiss so much.
He started to touch her again, but she jumped away as if he were trying to hurt her.
“Stay the hell away from me!” she hissed and stormed away.
Derrick called her name, but she continued to rush out the coffee shop to get into her car.
Cranking it up, she drove away burning rubber. If she didn’t get Derrick James away from her, she was very doubtful if she would be able to resist him much longer.