Easy Fortune (The Boudreaux Series)By: Kristen Proby
It’s been a long day. Hell, who am I kidding, it’s been a long ass week.
And it’s only Wednesday. Thankfully, this is the last week of the school year, and tomorrow is the last day I’ll have kids in class. I love being a teacher, and I love my kids, but we’re all experiencing burn out by mid-May.
I blow a piece of hair out of my eye and stare at my notes on the dry erase board in my classroom. I teach high school English. I’m giving the final exam for our read-through of The Catcher in the Rye.
It’s my favorite book, and I’ve found that when they participate, the kids like it too. Getting them to do the work is the hard part.
It’s hot in here today. Summer in Louisiana isn’t for sissies, especially when you work in a sixty-year-old building without air conditioning.
I’m sweating like… well, like I work in an old building without AC.
I wipe the back of my hand over my forehead and glance at my notes when suddenly, the air in the room shifts.
It’s subtle, but I feel it. The hair stands up on my neck. I haven’t felt this in six years.
“You can get back in your Ferrari and go away,” I say casually without looking over at the doorway and do my best to ignore the damn zoo that’s come awake in my stomach.
“I don’t drive a Ferrari,” he replies. His voice hasn’t changed at all. It’s thick like melted milk chocolate, and he still has his southern accent. I don’t know why that surprises me.
“Well, whatever horse you rode in on? Ride back out on it.”
I hear him sigh, but I refuse to look at him. Because just one look will suck me in, and I’ve vowed never to be sucked in by Mason Coulter ever again.
“It’s good to see you, Lena.”
“Mm hmm.” I pretend to study my notes, but I don’t actually see the words anymore. “Good to see you, too.”
“You haven’t even looked over here.”
I can hear the smile in his voice. It makes me cringe.
“What do you want?”
“I want you to look at me,” he replies.
“Well, we don’t always get what we want.” Yes, I’m being a bitch, and no, I’m not sorry. Mason was the one. The one that I fell head over heels for, the one that charmed the pants off of me, literally, and then he just left. He disappeared, and I was left here, wondering what in the hell happened. Wondering what I did wrong because I was twenty-two and naïve and so heartsick for him I thought I wouldn’t survive it.
But I did.
“So, you’re still mad?”
I blink rapidly for a second, and then I can’t help it. I turn and take him in, from the top of his gorgeous, dark head to the tip of his designer shoes, and my body immediately comes to life. Panties are singed. And if I thought it was hot in here ten minutes ago, it’s an inferno now.
Damn him. He just had to stay hot, didn’t he? I mean, couldn’t he have lost all of his hair? Gained a whole bunch of weight? Something?
“You could say I’m still mad,” I reply, proud of myself for sounding calm and indifferent to him, when I’m anything but indifferent. “So unless you came in here to tell me you have a terminal illness, you can just turn around and go. I’m not interested in chit chat.”
“You were always good at chit chat,” he says and flashes that perfect smile at me. But there’s something there, in his smile that tells me something isn’t quite right.
And I’m just a sucker because I’m about to ask him what it is. I should stay firm and ask him to go.
But first, I need to settle an old score.
“You know,” I begin and put the cap on the blue marker. I set it down and turn to fully face him. “The last time I saw you, you said you’d be right back.”
“I said I’d see you soon,” he says, the smile fully leaving his face now.
“And then you just bailed.”
He sighs and leans against the doorjamb. He crosses his arms over his chest and glances down at his shoes, then back up at me. “I owe you an apology for that.”
“Yeah. You do.”
“I’m sorry.” His grey eyes are holding my own, and I can see the sincerity there, hear it in his voice. “I am truly sorry, Lena.”