Episode 33 – Shadowed
My teacher, Mr. Baker, is shocked as shit that he picked me up! Runs his fingers through his hair. “Cornell? My goodness! What a coincidence! I thought you looked familiar, but I wasn’t sure.”
It hits me…maybe it’s a fucking act. Okay, he was surprised…didn’t know it was me exactly…or, did he?
“That’s quite a load you’re carrying,” he says with a weird smile. Looks me over me from top to bottom…definitely creepy. Before Tobias, I probably wouldn’t have given it a second thought, but he’s a little too interested and I’m suddenly, like, super cautious.
“Are you on your way home?” He asks.
“Nope. Visiting a friend and we needed a few things. Why?” I’m definitely on the defensive.
He looks me in the eye. “I’m always interested in my students. Want to be sure you’re safe. Do I know this person?”
No way I’m gonna volunteer information, so I just shake my head. Realize I can’t let him drop me off at the end of Azalea’s driveway. He might trace the address or something.
He’s driving along nonchalantly, elbow’s out the window…acting like he doesn’t give a shit. Right!
He glances at me. “You’re Carl’s friend, aren’t you?” A weird question, because he’s seen us together ever since school started.
“Uh huh,” I say.
“You’re quite a pair.”
What the fuck does he mean by that? “We are?”
“Yes. You’re both….uh…interesting young men.”
I stare straight ahead, but can see his head move. Know he’s checking me out constantly. Why? I’m nothing like Carl who’s handsome…I’m Chipmunk cheeks.
“Cornell?” He gives me this weird smile. “Bumping into you is an amazing coincidence, a quirk of fate. Nobody would believe it.”
The way he says it…like there’s now some special connection…freaks me. Figure I better get out quick before things get worse,
‘You can let me out right here,” I tell him.
“Where?” He asks. “I don’t see a driveway.”
“I always get out by…uh…that big tree.” I point to, like, nowhere. “There’s a short cut through the woods.”
He pulls over. “But there’s a barbed wire fence.”
“Oh, that,” I say. “I go through it all the time…just push apart the wires.”
I realize that doesn’t make sense at all. It’s a new fence and the wires are strung tight, but I want to get the hell out! He probably thinks I’m nuts.
“You need help? I can hand the groceries over once you’re through.”
“No, it’s fine,” I tell him, jumping out.
“See you Monday,” he calls.
I’m praying he doesn’t stay to watch me go through the fence, and thankfully, he doesn’t. Whew! Dodge a bullet. Realize I’d probably cut myself to shreds trying to avoid the barbs.
I’m s-o-o-o fucking glad to be out of the car. Baker’s probably disappointed it wasn’t a local kid who didn’t know him. Then he could do…whatever. The thought totally creeps me out! The guy’s obviously a pedophile!
I hoof it down the road, round a curve, and there he is! Driving really slow. Why the fuck is he spying on me. Nobody gives me a second look..except Azalea.
The whole thing is so skivvy. Up ahead, I see Azalea’s mailbox, but I’m weirded out. No way I’ll turn in with him around! Decide to keep going. Walk right past it. Then it hits me, there’s a long stretch with no driveways. Fuck! Figure the best move is to turn around and go the opposite way…which I do, but he does the same fucking thing! Damn!
I feel like telling him to fuck off, but he could make school a nightmare.
He pulls alongside and I’m super freaked. “Cornell,” he says. “You sure you know where you’re going? I’m happy to drive you.”
We stare at each other without saying a word. Then, he gives me this creepy smile. “You sure I can’t be of assistance?”
I know I’m acting confused…because I totally am! Don’t want to encourage the guy at all, or he’ll torment me like he does Carl. Anything I say’ land me in deep shit!
I, like, open my mouth to speak, but nothing comes out…know I look like a dumbass.
Out of nowhere, I start running. Fuck! He’ll be more suspicious than ever. I already lied once…maybe he’ll find out I’m living with Azalea! But, my legs are, like, out of control…just want to get the fuck away and end a totally weird situation.
I sprint toward Azalea’s driveway, but don’t go up it…run into the nearby field, so Baker won’t have a fucking clue. I’m in a panic…running flat out!
Finally, at a safe distance, I slow down…circle back to Azalea’s. End up in the doorway gasping for breath.