January passed quickly and with two weeks to go before the performance, Rachel forced herself to concentrate on her classes. Her home life was becoming more stressful, but she tried not to think about it.
Robert was drinking more and she found some small plastic Baggies in the living room, while cleaning out the couch that indicated that he was doing more than just smoking cigarettes. There were other things around that gave her indications that he was doing a lot more drugs than what she had imagined, but she had no one to speak to about the matter, because she had no close friends and she didnt want to go to the police. Keeping everything in was taking a toll on her health, but that seemed the only good thing because she was losing weight from the stress and being too upset to eat anything.
The children were her only sunshine at home. Justin had tempered down immensely and was almost as pleasant as his sister, Jessica, except for his overly curious nature.
Derrick had kept his word and kept his distance. During practice he stayed with Arwin or he was diligently helping out with the production. The students noticed her mind was off a lot and some of them commented on it, but she would just say she had a lot on her mind.
You wanted to keep the props where they are? Tonya asked one day, as everyone was finishing for the day with practice.
Rachel checked her watch not realizing the time had passed so quickly. Yes, Tonya. They should be fine until our next practice.
Is everything alright, Mrs. Herlong? Tonya asked very concerned. Youve been spaced out lately and its getting worse and worse.
Im sorry, Tonya. Theres just a lot on my mind. She forced herself to stay focused on what was going on.
I dont want to get in your business.
Ill be fine, she assured the girl and packed up everything. When all the students were gone, she took a moment to collect her thoughts. After locking the auditorium and signing out in the office, she went to her car. Derrick was standing outside waiting for his ride waving goodbye to his fellow students as they all seemed to be taking off and leaving him alone at the same time.
Not wanting him to stand there by himself despite their past, she went over to him. Will your ride be here soon? she asked.
Do you care? he questioned.
Oh yeah, he said sarcastically. Youre my teacher. You should care, but to a point.
Do you want me to stay? she asked, ignoring his sarcasm.
He shrugged nonchalantly. You can if you want.
It was record cold for a January afternoon in Davenport and Derrick had on a light jacket.
Rachel offered, Why dont you join me at the car? We can sit there with some heat.
Are you sure its safe? he asked warily. Your boyfriend Austin might be around spying on you.
Has he? she asked teasingly. I didnt notice, but Im sure you have.
He growled something under his breathe, but that didnt stop him from following her to her car and getting in on the passenger side. Am I not supposed to notice that mans got the hots for you, Rachel.
If he does, Derrick, he does. Its not going to change my decision about what Ive chosen in life and I wont cheat on my husband. Looking him up and down, she added, No matter what temptation offered.
He calmed down. You want to tell me what is going on with you then if its not him.
Thats what you thought? You thought he and I were doing something?
Forget what Ive been thinking, Rachel. Im talking to you like a friend. You need that, dont you?
Gripping the steering wheel and looking forward, she said, I need a lot of things right now, Derrick. Biting her lip, she fought the urge to admit how much she needed a friend.
Rachel, you know I can keep business to myself, he urged. Tell me before I go crazy seeing you like this.
She could hear the serious concern in his voice and looked his way. Its my husband, Derrick. Do you really want to hear that?
I said Im your friend.
I think hes using drugs and … Running a hand through her head in frustration, she continued, I dont want to be with him anymore. I know I dont, but I dont know why I stay.
The kids? he guessed.
I want a family for them, but I dont want to sacrifice my happiness for it all. Closing her eyes, fighting not to cry, she admitted, Im so alone there. This is not what I thought my marriage would be like. I thought he would at least try to make it better for us.
Does he still love you?
I wouldnt know. He hasnt touched me since I had the twins. This was a mistake to admit to him, but she had to tell someone before she went crazy.
How long are you going to allow yourself to be this unhappy? he asked.
Rachel shook her had. I refuse to think about divorce, Derrick, but thats so hard to do when Im so alone and miserable. She touched her chest as if there were physical pain, but it wasnt. Still she felt a dull ache that was indescribable.
A horn honked and Derrick reluctantly got out. See you next week, Rachel.
To admit that she didnt want him to leave, but knowing he should before… Rachel forced an appreciative smile to her lips. Thank you, Derrick.
He only nodded and left.
Teach Me To Love Chapter 12 Part 4 (c) 2005 Sylvia Hubbard
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