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Learning Curve

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  Kyle ran the eraser along the whiteboard, smudging the black marks there rather than actually clearing them. There were times when he longed for the days of his childhood, large green or blackboards that spanned one whole wall of a room. White chalk dust that gathered in hills within rusted golden groves, and danced in the air whenever the teacher swiped the eraser across the board. There was a feeling to blackboard and chalk that was lost when everything was updated.

  He cursed as he set the eraser down and spied the line of black along the edge of his hand. This was not supposed to be his life, working at a small school in the middle of the desert. He was suppose to be a big architect, designing award winning buildings that art students would be studying for years to come. But life was funny, that was what his brother had told him anyway. 

  He had gone to college, studied hard, passed his tests, and done what needed to be done. And then everything fell apart. His relationship with Anna had ended, long distance mixed with differing life goals had seen to it. Not long after his father had gotten sick, and he had returned home to help where needed. His brother was still there, but as much as he loved him, he was still the same as ever and not much help. Once his father died the future just didn’t seem to mean the same thing to him.

  He had remained home, taking courses at the local college, and graduating at the top of his class. He worked for while at his old high-school, until his mother assured him that she could survive without him. He had moved that next summer to New Mexico after getting an offer to teach at a private school. And that was where he was now, teaching history to a room full of rich fifteen year olds.

  “You know, if you wouldn’t drag your hand along the board you wouldn’t get smudges all over you.”
  Kyle groaned and smacked his head against the board. He knew she would be by at some point, she always was on the last day of class. Still he had hoped he would have had a bit more time before being confronted by her.

  “The students haven’t all left yet, do you really have to start in already?” He twisted around so he could lean his back against the board, his eyes landing on the woman at his door.

  Darcy Lewis taught economics and was one of the most popular teachers at the school. Of course if one looked at her they never would have pegged her for a teacher. She was shorter than him by almost a foot, had a head full of wavy brown hair, and had the most beautiful green eyes hidden behind her cat-eye glasses. And he was completely in love with her. 

  “I would have come during lunch, but I wanted to give my students enough time to hand in everything.” Darcy laughed as she moved into the room to sit on Kyle’s desk. Every year was the same, on the last day she would seek her fellow teacher out and the two of them would compare their gifts throughout the year.

  “I think I might’ve just beaten you this year. Miss Simmons gave me a set of gold cufflinks this morning.” He picked up the small white box on his desk and dropped it in Darcy’s lap. There were several things about teaching at a private school that he hated, but there were a few perks as well. 

  “What are you going to do with these?” Darcy slipped one of the cufflinks from the box, turning it this way and that in the light. “You know, the only reason you are so popular is because you’re pretty.”

  “I’m pretty? Pretty, really?” Kyle leaned over and snatched the cufflinks from her hands. “I’ll have you know I’m handsome.”

  “No, you’re pretty. If you don’t believe me you should see what is written on the girls’ bathroom wall.” Darcy leaned back to rest her hands on the desk. She liked teasing him, he got all pink cheeked and indignant.

  “I’m not… wait, the students write things about me on the bathroom walls?” The last time someone had written something about him on a bathroom wall had been in high-school, and it had simply read “loser” with a crudely drawn picture of his face.

  “Not just the students. I swear I saw Mrs. Davis scratching into the stall wall that you had a cute hiney.” She bit her lip as Kyle pulled a face. Everyone knew that Mrs. Sarah Davis had the hots for Kyle. It wouldn’t be so bad, but Mrs. Davis was a seventy year old married woman who acted like she was still in her thirties. Last Christmas party, Darcy had watched on as the woman smacked Kyle on said cute hiney before trying to lure him under the mistletoe. 

  “Please tell me you’re kidding, cause if not I’m not sure I will be able to sit through another faculty meeting.” He shuddered, he had had enough of that woman’s flirting to last a lifetime.

  “Guess we’ll never know.” Scooting up further on the desk, Darcy crossed her legs so she could more easily lean forward. “So, besides the cufflinks, what was your haul?”

  Kyle sneered at the woman on his desk. For the past three years she had won. He had thought that first time it was just because she was pretty, but he had hidden just outside of her door a couple of times during her classes. Darcy was a good teacher, a great one actually. She engaged her students, helped them when needed, and listened to them. Like him, she loathed standardized tests, and did everything she could to make it easier on her students. Even the way in which she had her room set up helped. Her desk was smack dab in the middle of the room, all the other desks circling around it. He admired all that about her, and he would admit it helped when it came to him falling for her.

  “I’m guessing by the smug look on your face, it won’t be nearly as much as yours.” He pulled out his chair, twisting it around, and setting down on it. He scooted up to his desk, hands resting right next to Darcy’s thighs.

  “Well, considering I have tickets in my bag for a trip to the Bahamas… I think that pretty much trumps gold cufflinks.” Darcy laughed at the wide-eyed gaze he was sending her. “Technically young Mr. Perry’s father gave them to me for helping his son pass his tests, but I figure it still counts.”

  “The biggest thing I ever got from the parents was a five hundred dollar bottle of wine.” He shrugged his shoulders and gave her a lopsided smile. “Well, unless you count Miss Keller’s mother inviting me to join her for a weekend at her cabin in the mountains. Not that I went of course.”

  “Of course.” Darcy reached out and ruffled his hair. He really was pretty, glittery eyes and all. “Though, I might have an idea on how we could maybe call it a draw this year.”

  “And how’s that?” Kyle smoothed down his hair. She had a thing for his hair, had since they met. Not that he would ever complain, she might stop touching him then.

  “Well, I have two tickets, and if I give one to you we could just count it as one of yours. How does that sound?” Darcy gasped as Kyle placed his hands on her hips and twisted her around to fully face him.

  “Sounds perfect.” He stood up until he could reach her lips, his mouth resting lightly against hers. “But next year, I’m winning fair and square.”

  “Bring it on, pretty boy.”