CHAPTER 18, Short Excerpt
When she spotted Rick and Michael coming in, she glided over to them, firmly in the moment. Rick was sniggering, punching Michael in the arm hard enough to make his bright tie sling shot across his wrinkled denim shirt. They both quieted when Addy approached, exchanging a quick look. That’s not weird at all, Addy thought.
“Hey babe. Wha’s up?” Rick reached out to Addy, his long fingers grappling her satiny waist, leaning forward aggressively to give her a firm, wet kiss on the lips. She jerked away.
“What are you doing?! We’re at school, remember?” Something caught her attention. She leaned back into him and sniffed his face. “What’s that smell? Rick? Is that alco-”
Rick stiffened, looking past her.
“You must be Mr. Taylor,” a deep voice rumbled over her head like a thunder boom.
Ah, hell. Of course Ford was behind her. She spun around, her skirt flaring like a Ginger Roger movie shot.
“I am. Rick Taylor.” Her husband stuck his hand out with an air of belligerence. “And you?”
Michael, the pudgy parent, edged away, fading into the shadows.
“I’m the vice principal, Troy Ford. Nice to meet you.” Ford’s blue eyes flicked to Rick briefly but came back to Addy. “Mrs. Taylor is an excellent addition to our staff. We’re happy to have her.”
Behind her, Rick slid his hands back around her waist and pulled her back against him. Addy froze for a second, trying to decide if it was more dignified to struggle or stay put, a mask of calm on her face. Inside, she was seething. His testosterone is out of hand.
There was a sudden, secondary silence hanging in the air as songs changed. From across the gym came a loud cry and a round of bellowing guffaws. Ford grimaced. “I better check that out. Have a nice night.” With a nod, he strode away, tall and imposing even from the back.
Addy rammed her rump into Rick’s crotch, hard, breaking free. “What’s your deal? I work here!”
Rick spread his hands wide, his brown eyes innocent. “What?”
Addy glanced away, breathing out her anger, not wanting conflict.
“That guy is a dick.”
Breathing. “Really? He said hi.”
“What, now you like him?” Rick pushed off the wall he’d been leaning against, taking an angry step toward her.
Uh oh, I’ve gotta’ reel myself in, shut this down now. “You know I don’t. That doesn’t mean I can be unprofessional.”
His eyebrows remained in the Cro-Mangnun position. She tried flirting. “Hey, maybe we should go dance. Remember when we saw this band at the Dandelion Pub two years ago?”
Rick’s face un-pinched slightly as he eyeballed the chaos of dancers twenty feet from them. “Are there other teachers dancing?” He peered closer, dismantling the crowd, looking for adults. “Where are the other teachers? I thought I’d be meeting all the people you work with.”
Addy blinked, seered to the bone by an epiphany. Rick agreed to come tonight so he could scope out his competition.