Mrs. Peabody had said ‘no,’ or rather ‘no thank you,’ many times and still Jacob wouldn’t leave her alone. He followed her through the hallways before the first bell as she rushed from the copy room to her classroom. He waited outside her room after lunch when she returned from the teacher’s lounge with Mr. Fiallos. Mrs. Peabody pretended she didn’t know what Jacob wanted. “Oh, Jacob. Have you been waiting for me? Homework help, again? Thanks for that link, Mr. Fiallos. I’ll check it out later.” Then she pulled Jacob inside, closed the door, and whispered, “I said ‘no,’ Jacob. No. This isn’t happening. Leave me alone.” Her hand moved to her throat. “I will tell the principal if you don’t stop.” Jacob smiled, let his eyes trail up and down her body. His smile said No you won’t. You wouldn’t dare. You know what I know. She could smell him, taste his breath; she shoved him out the door into the corridor. When he tried to reenter, he found the door locked.
The last bell of the day rang and Mrs. Peabody packed up the math quizzes. When she walked to the faculty parking lot, Jacob was leaning on the passenger side of her minivan. She stopped mid-step, stared at him, and shook her head ‘no.’ Jacob nodded ‘yes.’ Mrs. Peabody walked to the driver side, unlocked her door, and slid onto the seat. Jacob stood at the passenger window and pointed to the lock. He mouthed Open the door. Now. And she did, she opened it, knowing full well what that meant.
Melissa Scholes Young’ work has been published in Mothering, Literary Mama, New Madrid, The View, Mused, Yalobusha Review, and other literary journals. She’s contributed to the anthologies A Cup of Comfort for Teachers and the Voices of series from LaChance Publishing and won the Editor’s Award from New Plains Review. Melissa is currently pursuing an MFA in fiction at Southern Illinois University and was recently nominated for a Pushcart Prize. You can read more of her work at her website: http://www.melissasyoung.com.