Nikki Marnell is a history teacher enjoying a great life: she has a job she loves, and two husbands that adore her. A young student’s obsession with her threatens to destroy everything she’s worked so hard to build from a life as a teenage runaway.
She smiled as she dusted a picture she’d taken of her husbands last summer, when they’d gone camping. Both were sleeping, Cody’s long, sun-lightened hair mixing with Ritchie’s longer, darker hair as they cuddled. Cody had been holding Ritchie close, his face buried in the back of Ritchie’s neck, as Ritchie held Cody’s hands to his chest. The peacefulness on their faces was something Nikki loved to watch. She grinned. She wondered if watching your lovers sleep was an actual fetish, since all three of them did it regularly. There were similar pictures for them all over the house, some more of Ritchie and Cody, some of her and Ritchie, and others of her and Cody.
The phone rang, making her smile, checking the time. Her husbands were eager to talk, it had only been an hour. She hurried to the phone, but paused when she saw the Caller ID. It was a local number, not either of her husbands numbers.
Pat Sloyer answered. “Hello, Nicole, how are you tonight?”
“Mrs. Marnell, Pat. We’ve discussed this before.” Nikki kept her voice calm, but a little stern, trying to make her disapproval clear, without being cruel. Briefly she wondered if that was what it would take, though. “How did you get this number?”
Pat ignored the question, asking instead, “How about you meet me for dinner? I’ll take you to a really nice place, where it can be just us two.” The boy’s voice was excited, and Nikki recognized that he was trying to be seductive. However, it just creeped her out.
“No, Pat, I will not meet you for dinner, it would be highly inappropriate. I am your history teacher, and you are one of my many students. If you need help with an assignment, then we will discuss it during class tomorrow, or you can send me an email,” Nikki paced the living room, agitated. Her students and their parents had a school email for her, as well as a cell phone number she kept for her students, but none had her private home number, nor her personal cell number. Pat was calling the house number.
“Come on Nicole, we have something more special than that. I can even pick you up from home, take you to dinner, maybe go to the park and talk for a while,” Pat voice changed to a wheedling tone, one she’d heard countless times from boys over the years. The same tone that arrogant boys used whenever they wanted something from a female, whether it was a better grade or sex, the tone and attitude behind it remained the same. That tone that said “come on, don’t be difficult, you know you want what I want and I want you to give it to me. Don’t be a cocktease.”
“No, Pat. Good night.” She hung the phone up. It immediately rang again, with the same number, but she ignored it. She called Cody on her cell phone, shaking, moving to check all the doors and windows, needing to make sure they were locked. She shut the windows she’d opened to let the nice evening breeze into the house.
“Hey good looking, what’cha got cooking?” Cody asked, a hokey, teasing lilt in his voice. She could just see the goofy grin on his face as he spoke, even though he was halfway across the country from her. Nikki couldn’t help but smile, even as shook up as she was.
“Pat Sloyer just called the house line,” Nikki answered.
“That’s it, Nikki,” Cody replied, sounding angry. “I want you to tell Vincent that Pat needs removed from your classes.”
Nikki nodded, even though he couldn’t see. She had resisted that suggestion before when Cody and Ritchie had suggested it, but now. They were right. This was no longer just a crush. “I will, this is getting more than a little creepy.”
Cody grunted, but only added, “And Ritchie wants you to call the police and make a report of it. It might not be necessary but…”
Nikki sighed. “I will, but we both know there’s nothing they can do as things are right now.”
Cody echoed her sigh. “I know baby, but at least there will be a trail outside your reports at school.”
Ritchie’s voice came on the line. “Maybe you should go stay with Mom and Dad.”
Nikki shook her head. “No, I’ve closed and locked the windows, and checked the doors and the alarm system. I’m safe here.”
Ritchie made a frustrated sound. “Stubborn woman.”
Nikki smiled. “I’m not letting a little boy scare me out of our home, Ritchie. And he hasn’t been threatening, just getting obsessed.”
“Obsession gets to threats way too often, baby, you know that,” Ritchie answered worriedly.
“I know, babe,” Nikki conceded. “That’s why Vincent, the school counselor and I are going to insist that the Sloyers get their son some help. None of us want to see that potential wasted, let alone the damage he could do to someone…”