Staying calm, she asked even though she was positive he could hear the hammering of her fast paced heart. It was getting very difficult to breath all of a sudden, but she forced herself to look as innocent as possible as if she had expected this all to come to the surface sooner or later. What are you talking about, Austin?
Laura contacted me during break and said you were having an affair with a student.
Why would she make up those lies?
Are they lies, Rachel? he asked, leaning forward and staring very critically at her.
With a hard expression on her face and her back stiff, she easily lied, Of course theyre lies, Austin. Maybe it was because she had practiced the denial so long in her head that everything came so easily. Or maybe she knew deep down inside what her job meant to her.
He seemed to relax some, but Rachel didnt put her guard down because she had a feeling the storm was not over. Austin continued, I questioned the student and he denied this, but I felt differently after seeing his grades, there was some favoritism for him from you.
Whats that supposed to mean?
Austin pulled out a report card. Thats Derricks report car. Dont you find it strange hes near failing in every subject except homeroom and English where he has you as a teacher?
Becoming defensive and offended, she said, Dont you? Derricks midterm grades were perfect.
Austin looked confused. Thats impossible.
You didnt check? she asked incredulously. You come to me with these accusations without checking his records? She reached in her teachers bag and tossed the folder that had been in her mailbox. I dont think Im showing favoritism. I think you have someone in this school who is determined to fail Derrick James. Angrily she stormed out the office.
The gossip clique all stared at her as she walked out the office to go to her class.
Hustling in there still in a pique, the class looked surprised to see her.
Hey, Mrs. Herlong, Tonya said. Mr. Davish said you werent going to be here today.
Dwayne glared at her as Rachel came over to the desk and put her bag down.
I think Mr. Davish was misinformed, Tonya. Her words had a double meaning and when she looked at Dwayne, he narrowed his eyes voraciously.
You sure about that? Dwayne asked.
Positive, Rachel said, glaring up at him.
Austin knocked on her door and Dwayne had the nerve to look triumphant.
Dont be so sure, Dwayne said under his breath.
With Derricks folder tucked under his arm, Austin spoke firmly. Mr. Davish, can I speak with you for a moment?
Dont you mean, Mrs. Herlong? Dwayne questioned.
No, Dwayne, Austin said stiffly, looking as if he didnt want to make a scene in front of all the students. I mean you.
Dwayne walked out the room with Austin and she knew by the grave look in Austins eyes there would be a lengthy discussion about Derrick James.
Looking towards Derricks seat, she frowned because it was empty. She knew Derrick wouldnt jeopardize his education. Arwin saw the questionable look in her eyes.
They moved him to another class, he answered.
Does that mean we wont be doing the play? Tonya asked.
There was a wave of protest in the class.
No, it doesnt mean that, she assured them getting her thoughts together. Were going on with the play. She started to do roll call, but in the back of her mind wondered what she should do about Derrick not being in her class. If she made a big thing about it, her emotions could show. If she said nothing… She didnt want to just do nothing.
On her break she didnt bother to eat anything.
Austin appeared at her door during her break. Rachel, can we talk for a moment?
Rachel nodded and stood up to greet him as he came in the room. She was dying to know what Austin and Dwayne had spoken about. She hadnt seen Dwayne around and she knew that Tonya had been relieved for the day in her student assisting duties.
As youve noticed, Austin said. Ive moved the student in question out of your room.
But your accusations were wrong, she said, keeping her emotions in check for each word. Why should we disturb his lessons when there was no relationship between him or I, other than student and teacher.
Austin said, That student is the one I caught with Laura. Its not safe for him to return to the sixth floor.
Flabbergasted and too speechless to ask any more questions, Rachel slowly sat down needing some air. What the hell happened?
Teach Me To Love – Chapter 12 Part 2
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