My Prying Eyes

My Prying Eyes

A Chapter by avoria

Mr. Logan, it turned out, was a very good teacher. He was always polite to his students and ready with a joke or some witty repartee to engage them with, if any were willing. And with a young, handsome teacher at their disposal, most of the students were more than willing, even if it was just to feel a moment of his warm complexion.

He had soon discovered that teaching at Ashpoint College was a lot more whirlwind than he’d originally expected; he had preparations for classes coming out of his ears, ideas to keep his students motivated, a fully scheduled timetable with only the odd break here or there and more than enough to keep in his mind at once. But he always seemed on the ball and alert, friendly with those who would accept it and polite to those who preferred to think of him less as a person and more as a figure of authority. Which was more than fine with him.

Even Annabelle, who so often and through so much of her school years had felt that teachers were nothing but pains in the asses, had grown a liking to him, and Clare was surprised when she actually started doing the extra-curricula work that he set.

Their text for that term was Wuthering Heights, a particular annoyance of Clare’s, and though she did the dedicated reading that was required of them for their lessons, she very rarely came in with a short essay on one of the questions Mr. Logan set the week before.

If she thought the classes would be awkward with him, however, she was quickly proved wrong: after that first day it seemed as though it really had been another man she had met that night, and they soon fell easily into the dynamic of teacher and student. Clare had very little reason to approach Mr. Logan, aside from to ask him the odd question, and he didn’t seem at all phased by her presence in the classroom. Had she cared to, she might have wondered on it more deeply than she did. As it was, her term was spanning out much like the others had: hard work, with little rewards until the end of the year.

Now, this exam,” Mr. Logan was saying as he paced the room, “is closed book, so it’s really, really important that we cover everything this text has to offer, and that you make as many notes as possible. You won’t be able to take anything in with you, except the book, and that itself has to be note-free. If you think you’ll have any problems I’m always available during break and lunchtimes to have a chat. If I’m not here, then call for me in the staff room.” He turned, giving his class a smile. “I’ll never be far away.”

God,” Annabelle breathed quietly, leaning on her hand. “That man is just too perfect.”

Clare raised an amused eyebrow, underlining a passage in her book. A thought that she’d never really considered before struck her as though someone had thrown a ball between her eyes. Putting down her pen, she said, quite bluntly, “Anna, do you like him?”

Shh!” her friend hissed, turning to her whilst hiding her reddening face from the rest of the room. “Not so loud, Clare, geez. And no, I don’t. I just ... respect good teaching when I see it.”

Clare snorted, but decided not to push it; she and Annabelle had made up, for the time being, but something in their air did feel a little tentative still. Clare still hadn’t managed to work out what Annabelle had been quite so upset about, but it had all passed without either of them talking about it and she felt a little weird bringing it up for the sake of it.

In truth, if Annabelle had had a crush on Mr. Logan, she wasn’t the only one. Sky had a little bit of a reputation for crushing on her male teachers, were they in any way viable, and Logan was a particularly fine specimen in anyone’s eyes. Any girl from year seven upwards would have denied all traces of anything remotely resembling a crush, a few perhaps admitting his good looks. But deep down, in the heart of the school, he was one of the most talked about teachers in rings of gossiping girls. And it was just as well he had no idea, because it might have driven him mad.

For example, somehow, most people knew he had a girlfriend. They had no idea what her name was or how long they’d been dating, but the fact that he was ‘taken’ was definitely general knowledge. It was also known what kind of car he drove and where he usually parked. Only the most obsessive people knew his local hangouts when he wasn’t in school, but the oblivious man walked the corridors without the slightest knowledge that girls ducked their faces away from him as he approached, then stared after him longingly as he went by.

The strange thing was, of course, that as he’d grown up and gone to university and done his degree and his training, he had never been particularly outstanding; girls had never fallen at his feet - although he had had a number of relationships - and they certainly weren’t hammering down his door. Perhaps as he’d aged he had mellowed a bit, caring less about whether there was anyone sleeping in his bed and more about the kinds of friends he kept. Perhaps it was the school environment, with the millions of hormones all cascading in a cacophony of confusion in young teenagers’ veins. Perhaps it was because he was one of the few people in that college actually worth looking at. Whatever the reason, nobody would deny that Sam Logan was ‘hot’, unless they weren’t of sound mind.

Nobody, that was, except Clare.

Somehow, in the school setting - and with everything else going on in her life - she just didn’t have time for the idle crushes that most of her peers did. In lessons she kept her head down and her pen scribbling, in discussions she talked openly about her opinions but with very little feeling, and in her free periods she would excuse herself to the library either to study or to read. Her circle of friends, who up until recently had been quite strong, if small, began to feel a little detached from her, wondering if there was a ghost in their midst the few times she did stick around in the common room.

Annabelle was lucky to share lessons with her; the others would have almost forgotten what she looked like.

They were in English one afternoon, a few weeks after the beginning of term and where the work was really starting to pile on, when the strangest of things happened. The class was encompassed by a heavy dose of silent reading, noting phrases or passages they thought were relevant to that week’s theme, and all of a sudden Clare stood up and walked out. She did it so quietly and without drama that only a few people in the room actually noticed, but those that did gave each other very confused looks. Clare was usually quiet, obedient, occasionally sassy; the behaviour was really unlike her.

Mr. Logan asked Annabelle if anything was wrong with her friend, but Anna had no answer to give that would explain the behaviour. In fact for that particular lesson, she had chosen to sit with another girl " Casey " and had left Clare to her own devices by the window.

Shouldn’t you go after her?” Mr. Logan suggested, a little perplexed, but Annabelle just shrugged.

She wouldn’t listen to me anyway. Let her deal with whatever’s on her mind.”

Logan frowned, seemingly hesitant, but went back to the year eleven papers he was marking. When Clare came back in again ten minutes later, he couldn’t help but notice her slightly reddened cheeks and puffy eyes. Barely a soul looked up as she took her regular place by the window, the seat beside her usurped by her bag. He was in two minds about whether to call her behind after class, but she packed up and left too quickly at the end of the lesson for him to even mention it.

That afternoon in the staff room, he was unusually quiet, avoidant of the conversations and gazes of others as he leant near the coffee machine deep in thought.

He was so deep in thought that he barely noticed Drew Marx, from the Maths department, approaching him. He only looked up when the other man started talking at him, pausing momentarily to ask if he was all right.

Sam shrugged. “I’m all right. Unusual behaviour from one of the students in my classes, though.”

Drew frowned in sympathy, joining his friend next to the small counter and folding his arms. “What’s going on?”

Sam explained about the situation that had happened with Clare, noting the strange response from Annabelle and the completely random fact that she seemed to disappear to cry to herself for ten minutes.

Drew shrugged, unfolding his arms and slotting some money into the coffee machine. “That girl’s a strange one " she’s always carrying something or other on her shoulders.”

Oh, you know her?”

Sure do.” Drew punched in his drink choices to the machine. “She’s one of my students. Pity she’s not thinking of doing Maths for her degree, it’d do her well.”

Hmm,” was all Sam could reply, his mind looping back into memory again. It was the expression on her face as she’d come back in that stuck with him. It looked positively tortured, and it was probably made worse that her friend didn’t go after her. “Does she have many friends?”

Drew shot him a sharp, if friendly, look. “Careful Sam,” he warned, taking his drink.

Sam stared at him for a long moment, giving him a strange look. “I’m sorry?” he questioned, when he couldn’t fathom what his friend meant.

Don’t start caring too much,” Drew chuckled. “It’s the downfall of every teacher.”

“‘Caring too much?’ What on earth do you mean?”

I mean just that: don’t start caring too much. It’ll get you into trouble.”

Sam followed him to the seated area, his curiosity coming fully to the surface.

Look,” Drew continued with a sigh, sensing Sam’s questions as well as his concerns, “if you’re really that worried about her, recommend her to the guidance counsellor. That’s why we have one. We’re teachers Sam, guiders " not carers. Our job is to pave the way for our specific subjects. Sure, we’re encouraged to make honest bonds with our students, but caring is a step further than that.” He met his friend’s eye in complete seriousness. “And it’s not yours to take.”

It dawned on Sam what Drew was trying to say to him, and the thought of it almost made him recoil in shock. Slumping next to his friend on the sofa, he leaned towards him conspiratorially, something akin to murder in his eyes.

Are you suggesting I would let something unprofessional happen?” he said in a low voice. “Because I don’t much like that accusation.”

Drew gave a small chuckle. “Chill out, man. I was giving you some advice. I’ve known of too many teachers who’ve walked that sad and lonely path.”

Well I’m not one of them,” Sam insisted, almost fiercely. He then let out a breath, relaxing into the chair. “Sorry. It’s just that it’s the furthest thing from my mind. They’re ... they’re kids, you know? Betraying that level of trust and authority is disgraceful.”

I’m pleased to see you think of it that way.” Drew met his eye casually, something simmering just below the surface. “But don’t think you’re above it, either.”

Sam gave a contemptuous snort in response, but chose not to push the conversation further. Instead he asked for the name of the guidance counsellor, although he had a feeling it would hardly be the kind of help Clare was looking for. Still, if her friends were turning away from her " for whatever reason " perhaps it was good to remind her she still had other people to turn to instead.

Excusing himself from the quiet sanctuary of the staff room, he navigated his way around the college’s endless corridors, their diverging routes a curiosity to those who had been wandering the building for years. Feeling a little like a man on a mission, he slowed his pace, greeting the students he passed as he walked.

Mr. Logan!”

Sam turned, a little surprised at the lightness with which his name was called. His gaze was drawn towards a small group of people by the double doors half way through the English corridor, at the front of them Sky Hunter, who gave him a small wave as she saw him. He approached slowly, with a warm smile.

Good afternoon, Miss Hunter,” he greeted, eyes sweeping over her group of friends, who looked suddenly very busy inspecting their fingernails.

Hello, sir.” Sky pushed some of her blonde hair from her eyes, her smile light and tender.

When she didn’t seem to say anything, Sam probed, “Can I do something for you?”

Oh! Yes, here.” She burrowed in her bag for a moment, then thrust a crumpled envelope into his surprised hands, somewhat batting her eyelids at him as though asking a favour. “I’d be very grateful if you’d come ... ”

From behind her a small hush of giggles broke out, but it was silenced immediately when Sky turned to glare at her friends.

Sam’s eyebrows rose to his hairline, his mouth caught in a half-reply. Fumbling with the envelope flap, he pulled out a piece of card adorned with hearts and balloons, proclaiming ‘Sky Hunter’s Birthday Bash’ in crass, loud letters. Words stuck in his throat as though he was choking on them as Sky flashed him a shy smile.

You don’t have to decide right now,” she assured. “But it’s my eighteenth soon and I’m inviting everyone from school.”

...Thanks,” he said carefully, pocketing the invitation. Then, letting himself relax, he smiled at her. “I’ll think about it. Anyway, if you’ll excuse me, I have somewhere to be.”

He left her be as soon as he could manage, glad to duck out of the English corridor and down a flight of stairs, hunting down the guidance counsellor. Over the weeks it was clear that Sky had grown somewhat attached to him, always straining to answer his questions and calling him over to her desk for the most ridiculous of reasons. Her boyfriend didn’t seem to happy about it, but there wasn’t exactly much Logan could do without embarrassing her, or himself. Perhaps, if it got too much, he might have a quiet word with her.

Shaking the thoughts out of his head, he knocked gently against the glass of the guidance counsellor’s office, poking his head in when he was allowed access. The woman sat at the desk, he must admit, was a little terrifying. Perched there as though sitting on pins, the woman with grey-blonde hair peered at him over half-moon spectacles, her eyes beady and her lips pursed.

Yes?” she queried, and Sam felt as though he himself were back in school. He came in, shutting the door behind him.

I wanted to talk to you about a student of mine,” he began timidly, coming forward. His eyes spotted a plaque on her desk, reading in large bold letters: Beatrice Preece. “I think she’s under a great deal of stress.”

Beatrice turned her head, examining her ancient monitor. “If you’re here to book in an appointment I don’t have one free until the beginning of next week ... ”

No. She doesn’t know I’m here.”

Mrs. Preece adjusted her glasses, peering up at him curiously. “Well then, I don’t quite know what you expect me to do. What is the student’s name?”

Sam hesitated. For some inexplicable reason, he felt as though being here was some kind of betrayal, as though what he’d witnessed in his classroom was somehow secret. Perhaps he should have spoken to Clare first before assuming she needed help from a place like this.

Her name, sir?”

Abbott,” he blurted, feeling himself twinge. “Clare Abbott.”

Preece turned back to her monitor, nodding and humming at it all at the same time. “Yes, yes. Clare’s been in here before. Quite a lot towards the end of last year.”

Sam frowned. “She has?”

Yes. Although obviously I can’t tell you what it concerns.” Her smug little smile was less than attractive. “I will get in touch with her if you believe it’s necessary, but she knows where I am should she need me. I’m surprised she hasn’t been to see me. Can you tell me what reasons you have for suspecting she may need help?”

I ... She ... ”

No matter how hard he tried, he couldn’t seem to get the words out. Somehow, admitting that he thought she’d been crying, without any evidence, didn’t seem like it would go down well in a place like this, with a woman who documented each and every detail on her computer.

Preece gave a small little smile. “I’m going to need a little more than that. Perhaps you could describe the issue?”

Sam wordlessly shook his head, realising what a mistake it had been to come here. What had he even been expecting to achieve? It wasn’t as though the students weren’t aware of the support department in the school and the most he could expect to do was alert Beatrice Preece of Clare’s problems, which he had; he didn’t even know if Clare had any problems (aside from the occasional under-age drink).

So it was with a heavy heart and a feeling of defeatism that he couldn’t shake, that he left Mrs. Preece’s office a few minutes later, with her card should he need to get in touch with her again. Perhaps, he thought as he made his ways through the corridors back to his classroom, he should go to Clare himself. But hadn’t Andrew warned him about that, about getting ‘too involved’? But surely there was no harm in just checking she was all right? As teachers their role was to provide some sort of model for life, and if he couldn’t summon up the expression to care about anyone then what sort of message did that send to his students?

By the time he got to his classroom, Sam resolved that he would approach Clare when he next got the chance. Trouble was, with her tendency to rush from his classes at her first opportunity he didn’t imagine that that would be any time soon.

© 2010 avoria

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wow this was really good. this was very descriptive and i could feel myself being dragged into the story more and more, the more i read. this was nicely done and the grammar and flow was nice too. glad i could read this! keep on writing! 100/100

Posted 10 Years Ago

Nice! I like this one..

Posted 10 Years Ago

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Added on March 25, 2010
Last Updated on March 26, 2010



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I've been an amateur writer for more than ten years. When I was fifteen I discovered fanfiction and, in my time writing it, explored my own creative writing style and and branched out significantly. S.. more..

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