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“This is the place.” I looked at Cheryl who was all but bouncing with excitement as we stopped outside the noisy bar. “I’m not sure about this,” I said nervously. What had seemed like a good idea the day before now struck me as desperate and maybe a little stalkerish. Plus, “What if he’s here?”
Cheryl grinned and rubbed her hands together. “I hope he is! I want to see him for myself. Come on, it’ll be fine,” she said enthusiastically and reached for the door.
I spotted Miss Sullivan and Miss Green as soon as we walked in and they spotted me too. Nic’s friend Miss Sullivan gestured us over while Miss Green waved.
“So the one on the right is our target then,” Cheryl said through her smile as I waved back then turned to the bar.
“Yes, Miss Green. How could you tell?” I asked as we waited to be served.
“The other one looks too friendly.” She took a quick look back. “Resting bitch face suits her.”
I looked back too and noticed Miss Green finishing off her drink which was perfect really if we were going to do this. Miss Sullivan’s glass was nearly full though so I ordered three drinks then followed in Cheryl’s wake as we made our way to the table.
“Hi,” Miss Sullivan greeted us cheerfully.
“Hey. Thanks for waving us over,” I said as I placed the two drinks I held on the table and took a seat. “This is my friend Cheryl,” I introduced and the others returned with their first names.
“How do you know each other?” Cheryl asked with an innocent look.
“We work together,” Miss Green, Gina, said in a condescending tone as she toyed with her empty glass.
“Vodka and raspberry right?” I pushed the drink towards Gina who looked at me with surprise and a hint of calculation.
“Right. Thanks.” She took a hefty drink then in a friendlier tone said to Cheryl, “We’re all teachers. We met Ms Wyatt after a meeting recently. Gigi is good friends with Nic who brought her along for a drink.”
“Oh.” Cheryl sounded a little confused by the explanation but shook it off to arch a brow at me. “Ms Wyatt? Makes you sound like a teacher.”
We all laughed at that then Cheryl continued the interrogation. “What was the meeting? Violet’s not in trouble is she?” She gave me a concerned look.
“Oh no, she’s wonderful,” Gigi answered for me. “Sascha had just joined the Parent Committee and needed a stiff drink afterwards,” she teased.
“I did,” I agreed light heartedly. “I didn’t know it would be so…”
“Bitchy?” Gina chimed in helpfully. “Which ‘Squad’ did you join?” she asked with air quotes.
“Obviously the concert one if she was with Nic.” Gigi jumped in and I nodded.
“They’re not too bad,” Gina said as she narrowed her eyes on me. “Did you pick that one to get close to Mr Austen?”
My mouth dropped open in shock at the direct question and I blurted a surprised, “What?”
“If you did it’s a waste of time. He deals with Nic for the most part. You wouldn’t be the first to join the committee hoping to spend time with him.”
It was going better than we had planned. Gina was talking about West without any prompting at all. I shook my head and shrugged casually. “I had no idea he’d be involved at all. It was the only one with a space. I hadn’t even met him until we came here,” I added.
“Who’s this Mr Austen?” To my surprise Cheryl directed her question at Gigi. The plan had been to keep Gina talking.
“He’s the Art and Music teacher and he’s kind of hot,” Gigi said and fanned herself with her hand.
“Kind of?” Gina scoffed. “He has all the single parents and some of the married ones panting after him.”
I directed a confused look at Gina. “I thought he was married? Didn’t I see you talking to his wife after that spring art show?”
“Ex-wife,” Gina dismissed with a wave. “Like you she’s kept his name, says it’s easier with the kids.”
Gigi shook her head and leaned on the table. “I think she just likes to remind everyone they were married,” she said with a sly look at Gina.
“What?” Gina looked guilty as hell as she picked up her drink.
Cheryl must have been thinking the same thing I was as her eyes popped wide and she said, “You and the hot teacher? Woo, good for you,” she ended with a big grin. I had no idea she was such a great actress!
I felt a little bit sick as I waited for Gina’s answer but this was why we were here after all.
“Ha! I should be so lucky,” she said bitterly then picked up her drink and threw it back in one gulp. Then she muttered “Excuse me,” pushed back from the table, and disappeared into the crowd.
“Is she okay?” I tried to follow her progress but I lost her after a few steps.
“Oh she’s fine,” Gigi said with a little giggle. “She threw herself at West and he was polite but Gina doesn’t take rejection well.”
“She’s a gorgeous girl, why would any man reject her?” Cheryl said thoughtfully then her mouth dropped open a little and she leaned in to whisper, “Is he gay?”
That made Gigi laugh, and shake her head. “No, not hardly!”
“Oh,” Cheryl hummed and nodded knowingly. “You and him huh?”
“What? No!” Gigi sputtered and laughed again. “You know that saying? About not pooping where you eat?”
“Pooping?” Cheryl repeated with a grin.
Gigi shrugged, “Teacher, conditioned not to swear.”
“As a parent I appreciate that,” I said. “Though I think it’s a futile effort.”
We all nodded then Gigi said, “Yeah so West doesn’t date work colleagues or parents at the school.”
“Ever?” Cheryl asked with raised eyebrows of disbelief.
“Well, if he has he’s been discreet,” Gigi said with a thoughtful look . “I’ve never heard any hint of gossip.”
“Oh gossip! I love it, spill!” Gina picked the perfect moment to return with a fresh drink.
“No, no gossip,” Gigi said quickly at the same time as Cheryl spoke.
“We’re just hearing how Mr West doesn’t date.”
I was glad Cheryl was there because I would have folded under the glare Gigi sent her way.
“Oh he dates,” Gina said, that hint of bitterness still in evidence. “Just not people he works with because it could be awkward.”
“So he dates a lot then?”
“I don’t think so,” Gigi began.
“I’ve heard never the same woman twice,” Gina said with a smirk.
Gigi glared at Gina who rolled her eyes and shrugged with a sigh. Then she was obviously done talking about it as she said, “But hey, if you’re looking for fuckable guys, I know a few around here.”
“Well, I’m happily married,” Cheryl said wiggling her left hand at us. “But Sash could use-”
“Oh no no,” I protested. “You know how I feel about dating right now. Maybe when Violet is older.”
“Who said anything about dating,” Gina interjected. “Men are only good for one thing and most of them aren’t that good at it anyway.”
Cheryl mouthed “Wow” at me then we were treated to an in depth run down of Gina’s latest conquest.
“He really liked phone sex and he was actually pretty good at that,” she finished with.
“You sure know how to pick them Gina,” Gigi said not sounding at all shocked or surprised. “Anyone seen any good movies lately?” she blatantly changed the subject.
We chatted for close to an hour before Cheryl’s cell chimed. “That’s my curfew warning,” she joked and though Gina and Gigi protested that we should stay, we didn’t.
“I’ll just cramp your style,” she told them with a grin and we took out leave.
It was a relief to get outside and away from the noise and crush of people. We clambered into the van and sat there in silence for a minute.
“Well that was a waste of time,” I apologised to Cheryl. “But hey, the beer was good right?”
“Waste? No sweetie, that was great! The fact that there was no real gossip about your hot teacher means you have a green light.”
“A what?” I frowned as I pulled out of the carpark.
“A green light. For your affair,” Cheryl said as if she were taking to a child.
“My what?” I said with a bark of laughter.
“You heard.” I glanced over to see Cheryl with her arms crossed over her chest giving me one of her ‘I’m the boss and you know it’ looks.
“Cheryl,” I said sternly.
“Hear me out,” she said pleadingly. “He’s perfect for this. You heard those girls, they knew nothing about his personal life so he’s discreet. You already know he’s good in bed. But most importantly? He made you happy.”
“I hardly know him,” I protested. “How could he make me happy?”
“I don’t know? Was the sex that good? Was it the way he treated you that night? All I know is, the days after it happened, you were more relaxed and happier than I’ve seen you in a very long time. He could be so good for you Sascha.”
It was true, I had felt great. And Cheryl had nailed the reasons. Phenomenal sex and a man who made me feel beautiful and cherished and wanted, even as he talked dirty and fucked like a sex god. And then when I’d seen him next? He’d been polite, not at all crass or rude.
So maybe Cheryl was right, maybe he would be good for me. But I’d made it clear that I wasn’t interested in more. I had used work and Violet as my reasons but they were just excuses.The truth was I didn’t want to risk my heart, didn’t want to be hurt again. The truth was, I was scared.
Proving she knew me well she quietly said, “I wise man once said, love conquers all things, let us too surrender to love.”
We drove the rest of the way to Cheryl’s house in silence, my mind full of what ifs. As she opened the car door I asked the question that was weighing heavy on my mind.
“What if he’s like Corey?” He hadn’t been able to accept me as I was but we’d been together close to two years before he’d made that decision and walked out of my life, leaving me heartbroken and Violet confused.
“But Sascha?” She waited until I looked at her to say, “What if he’s not?”
continued here Hot Teacher 11