Chris, a high school English teacher, finds himself distracted by a very unruly, know-it-all student who constantly disrupts his class. Somehow he manages to make it through his first year of teaching without killing the mouthy, arrogant student, but is glad to see him finally graduate. Five years later, Chris is shocked to discover that the former student, Riley, has returned. This time he’s a teacher and an athletic coach. Unfortunately for Chris, the two have to work together. When Riley shows up in his classroom one evening after school, they both remember that Riley has a detention session he failed to serve prior to graduation.
Riley Sanders remained, by far, the most challenging and infuriating student Chris Anderson had ever endured in his classroom. It wasn’t that the kid hadn’t been bright. No, if anything he was too smart for his own good. Bored, maybe? Whatever the case, he had always somehow managed to get under Chris’s skin and grate on his last nerve.
For one thing, Riley seemed to always slip into government class at the very last second, just as the bell was ringing. A couple times he’d even arrived late and suffered the consequences of a marked tardy. Three tardies within a marking period equaled a detention. Subsequent tardies warranted a trip to the principal’s office. Riley hadn’t pushed it quite that far, but close.
But it wasn’t just that he was late. He also had a very cocky attitude and a mouth to go with it. Although he didn’t use outright profanity or express himself in a manner that was blatantly disrespectful, Riley just seemed arrogant. Overconfident, perhaps.
If anyone had a right to feel confident, it was Riley. Mr. Popularity. He possessed every enviable trait of a high school senior. Looks, personality, athleticism, and to top it off, he was a pretty bright kid. But he was just a kid, and that was what bugged Chris the most.
At twenty-four, Chris was only half a decade older than his government students. Of course he noticed when one of the young men in his class had a nice smile. Or even a nice ass. Chris was still in the prime of his life himself, so how could he ignore Riley’s sculpted torso, rippling abs, and the impressive package he proudly displayed in his skintight skinny jeans? At times it seemed like Riley knew exactly what Chris was thinking and that he flaunted his good looks just to tease.
That was what he was. A cock tease. He had to sense that Chris noticed him, wanted him. He had to realize Chris could never have him, too. That was a line Chris would never cross. He wouldn’t compromise his ethics by engaging in any behavior that might even be perceived as inappropriate. He didn’t flirt. He didn’t make small talk. And of course, he never touched. Was he overcompensating?
“Mr. Sanders, you’re late again.” Chris crossed his arms over his chest and glared angrily at the smiling teen as Riley slipped into the only remaining seat, right in the very front row.
“Sorry.” Riley shrugged. “It won’t happen again.” The class burst into laughter, and Riley’s grin broadened. This was the last day of government class, so obviously he couldn’t be late any more.
“This is your third tardy.”
“And my last day of school. Bummer.” Several other students pumped their fists in the air, clearly stoked by not only finishing government class but also being so close to graduation.
Chris cleared his throat and stepped over toward Riley’s desk. Staring down at him, Chris pushed up his glasses. “This might be the last day of class, but you still have finals next week. And I can still assign detention.”
The smile never faded from Riley’s angelic face as he looked up into his teacher’s eyes. “Did you forget your own rules, Mr. Anderson?”
Chris scowled. That smart mouth again–the backtalk–it was all Chris could do to hold himself back from…
“You said at the beginning of the semester, any student averaging a 96% or higher on their test scores throughout the semester is exempt from taking the exam. My average is ninety-eight.”
As usual, Riley was right, but Chris wasn’t about to admit it. “Very well, you can complete your detention tonight.”
“We have graduation rehearsal right after sixth period, and I can’t miss it. Sorry.” He leaned forward in his seat as if to confide a secret and in a stage whisper said, “I’m one of the speakers. Valedictorian. I kinda have to be there. Unless, ya know, you want to explain my absence to Mr. Warrington.”
Warrington, the school principal and Chris’s boss, was an old sourpuss. He was all about maintaining the school’s image, and again Riley was right. He’d be all over Chris like white on rice if he tried forcing the school valedictorian to serve a detention at the exact time of graduation rehearsal.
Chris pursed his lips and squinted. He opened his mouth to speak but sighed exasperatedly before turning away. He walked slowly across the front of the room, fully aware that all eyes in the room were on him. Spinning around, he again made contact with Riley.
“Get out then. Get out of my class. You’re done.”
“No way!” One of the other students, a dumb jock who’d be lucky to even pass his final, was on his feet.
“Carson, sit down.” Chris leaned against his desk. “Remember, you need these course credits to graduate.” The kid slid back into his seat as Riley stood up, all smiles, snagged his backpack from the floor, and strode to the back of the room.
“It’s been real.” He waved dismissively, then dashed out the door.
Thank God. Chris’s torturous days with Riley Sanders were finally over.