Teacher’s Pet – A sample from the novel
When the dead woman walked into Tim Horton’s and stood in line for a coffee, David felt the familiar sense of dread envelope him and his senses started to shut down. Her image blurred and the banter and laughter of customers became white noise as his eyes fled to the tabletop to escape the vision of chestnut curls and shapely legs. He felt dizzy and wondered what had happened to his coffee. He found it, suspended mid-air in his trembling hands. Carefully he lowered it, closed his eyes and with reluctance, willed her to disappear.
His breathing stilled and the sense of panic subsided as reason began to thread its way past his emotions. The newspaper article announcing her death was in place. Distant from the rest of the mourners, and ready to take flight, he had stood with a young lover’s angst and a strange satisfied calm at the funeral. He gripped the edge of the table to stop his hands from shaking and forced himself to peer cautiously in her direction.
Her back was to him but he would recognize the shape of her head anywhere. The short beige coat hid much of her small frame but David studied the full bottom with a sense of familiarity. There would be a small brown mole on her left cheek. She stepped forward and he watched her ass roll under the tight brown skirt and then right itself.
After all these years, she had no right to show up like this. But he knew, as much as it looked like her, it wasn’t possible. No, she could never tousle his hair again or slide her hand down the front of his jeans. He felt himself starting to become aroused as he remembered the maddeningly slow strip tease that she would perform. Remembered how he would always have to ask permission to touch her. His eyes sought the table again and he studied the top of the coffee cup lid, reading the imprinted words. Anything to distract himself.
She had been the one who was always in control; in the classroom, after school, at her house. He felt the anger stir inside him as he remembered the pain of his abandonment. Deserted without any explanation. She had paid for that. He wasn’t fifteen anymore and no bitch had ever hurt him again. His fear disappeared and angrily his eyes zeroed in on the woman as she took the coffee and turned to leave.
She was at the door and he caught a glimpse of her profile. It wasn’t her, couldn’t be her. She was through the doorway and he lurched from his seat, weaving his way through the other patrons. He collided with an older man who stepped into his path. David swore at him as he pushed past.
In the parking lot he searched frantically. No one. He heard a car start and spun in the direction of an older model Topaz. She was behind the glare of the windshield and the sun blinded him as she swung from the parking space and headed for the exit. He took a faltering step towards the car then stopped as it pulled away in traffic. He stood for a long moment, calming his nerves, focusing on the truths as he knew them until he was once again in a safe place.