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Things reach there peak and then crumble back down.
" Parker's eyes widened. "Yeah, I know. I can't believe he didn't get canned earlier."
"I didn't know he was fired."
"Well, technically, he quit. Just stopped showing up one day. I still don't know what happened but I'm pretty sure there was a warrant out there with his name on it. He's probably in Mexico now." Grayson wadded up the cheeseburger wrapper and tossed it in the trash can. "They didn't tell you anything about the guy you were replacing?"
Parker shook her head. "They said that the previous teacher had quit and I didn't ask questions. I was just surprised they'd called me."
"Why? You seem smart. You're young, so you're relatable and students will be comfortable with you. There's danger in that though." He smiled slyly. "You'll probably get some unwanted attention from your male students if you haven't already."
Parker blushed and tried to shift attention. "How long have you been here? You're not that much older than me." Grayson's eyes narrowed on hers, and she could tell he knew what she was doing. He still answered, though.
"I guess this will be my fourth. I was fresh out of college too, so if you need any advice, all you have to do is ask." He gulped down the rest of his soda and it followed his wrapper into the trash can. Parker was still working on her sandwich.
"I'm fine, thanks." Grayson snatched one of her carrots and popped it in his mouth. "Will you please stop doing that?"
"Doing what?" The carrot crunched loudly between his teeth as he spoke.
"Taking my things. Seriously, it's a problem. Didn't you learn to just ask for stuff instead of stealing it?"
Grayson shrugged. "No."
"Then I'll teach you. Here's your first lesson: knock it off."
"Wow, those are some fine teachin' skills. I have so much to learn from you." His voice dripped with sarcasm but he was grinning. "Fine, fine, I'll stop. For now. Here, I'll even make restitution." He ripped open the bag of chips and held it out to her. "Take as many as you want."
"Those things are like poison," Parker responded automatically. Grayson scoffed.
"Be careful with this earthy crap or you'll turn into Pierce."
"I will not. And I can't help it, it's how I was raised. My parents are organic farmers."
"Really? My parents are drunks." Parker glanced over at Grayson, searching his face. He didn't seem to be kidding.
"Oh. Um, I'm sorry."
"Don't be." Silence fell between them, interrupted only by the crunching of chips and carrots. The bell rang and footsteps began piling up in the halls. Parker finished her lunch and started cleaning up while Grayson just sat there. "I sure know how to kill a conversation, huh?" Parker glanced over at him with a small smile.
"You say that a lot." He stood and wiped a few crumbs from his shirt. "Well, this was fun. See you later, Miss Burrows." With that he went back into his classroom and her students started arriving from their own lunch. Parker snapped back into professional mode and made her way somewhat distractedly through her next two classes. When the bell rang for the final class of the day, Parker wished she could have a cigarette break.
"Alright guys, we're going to do something fun today. Partner up with someone at your table." There was chatting and laughing until it looked like everyone had obeyed. "You're probably wondering why there are easels at your station. That's because you're going to be doing portraits today!" Some students booed. "I know, I know. Replicating faces is one of the hardest things to do in the art world, but-"
"I'd do you in the art world," someone whispered loudly, interrupting her. There were snickers and Parker felt her face flush.
"What was that?" She cast her eyes around, landing on a kid at one of the back tables. His arms were crossed and he lounged in his chair as if relaxed, but he wouldn't meet her eyes. "Evan?" All eyes turned to his face, which Parker was glad to see was turning red.
"Nothing," he mumbled.
"Are you sure?" She turned her gaze to the student next to him.