"Aria!" Emily hissed under her breath as one of their fellow student stood in front of class reciting their obviously thrown together last minute poem. While the rest of the class texted on their phones beneath their desks or faked interest in their classmate, Aria was wrapped in a day dream of her boyfriend… her English teacher. Ezra.
The night before had been one of the most amazing times she had ever spent with Ezra. She told her parents that she was sleeping over Spencer's. She figured Spencer would be the perfect alibi because her parents are too busy to confirm or even recognize Aria's presence at their house.
She and Ezra spent the entire night cuddling on the couch in his apartment. Ezra was extremely excited to hear all of his student's poems the next day, which got him on a poem kick. He picked one of his many books of poetry collections and read his favorites to her as she rested her head against his chest and breathed in the familiar scent of his cologne. She fell asleep listening to the soft tones of his voice as they played over the words.
The next morning she woke up still cuddled up to Ezra, his chin resting on the top of her head and a slight whistle of air coming from his mouth. He was sleeping contently.
She hated to wake him, but if she didn't they would both be late for school. Slowly she spun around and pressed her lips to his. It took a second, but eventually Ezra was kissing her back.
"Not a bad way to wake up." He commented with a smirk. He gave her one more quick kiss before attempting to getting up. "Let's get you ready for school."
Aria grabbed his arm and pulled him down once more. "Just five more minute, please?" she giggled as they fell into a morning make out session.
Two hours later, here she was, sitting in her boyfriend/teacher's English class. Her eyes were fixed on him as he sat at his desk, chair leaned back and feet propped him. She loved watching him work. She could see how much he really lives for what he does.
"Aria?" Emily whispered once more with more force, but not so loud that Ezra could hear. This time she got her friend's attention.
"Yeah?" She responded half mindedly as she pulled her gaze away from Ezra.
"I've been calling you for the last 5 minutes." Emily scolded with annoyance.
"Sorry. I was…listening to Sarah's poem." She lied, motioning to the presenter at the front of the class.
Emily rolled her eyes knowing that Aria was obviously lying. She decided to ignore it. "Who are you going to homecoming with?"
"No one. I'm not going."
"You have to go Aria. Come on. It'll be fun. We need a little fun in our lives with all this 'A' drama." Emily insisted.
"Maybe all this 'A' drama is a sign that we should just lay low." Aria retorted. If she couldn't go to homecoming with Ezra she didn't want to go at all.
Emily frowned. "Alright look. Jared Hanson asked me to go and it caught me off guard so I agreed. Now he's bugging me to get his friend a date because he goes to a different school and can't get in without one."
Aria narrowed her eyes. "And you're trying to pawn his friend off on me now? Why don't you just tell Jared you can't go?"
"I can't do that. The dance is tomorrow. That would just be mean." Emily put on her puppy dog eyes. "Please Aria. I would really appreciate it. You were just gonna sit at home any way."
Aria let out a big sigh to let her friend know she was annoyed. "I'll think about it."
Once class had ended Aria pretended to be deep in the process of organizing her notebook until the rest of the class filed out. Once the room was empty Ezra closed the door and pulled the shade.
"Do you have any idea how hard it was to not look at you that whole time?" He asked sitting on the edge of his desk.
Aria stood from her desk and walked towards him slowly. "No. I was staring at you the whole time." She placed a hand on either one of his shoulders. He opened his legs to let her body slide in between. "It's one of the benefits of being your student. I'm just a high school girl with an innocent crush on her English teacher."
"Innocent?" He lifted an eyebrow. Aria nodded slightly and leaned forward for a slow kiss. "Are you try to kill me?"
"That's not exactly what I had in mind." She told him suggestively before kissing him once more.
Ezra pulled away quickly, "We can't do this here."
"I know." She sighed and stepped back.
"I want to. Believe me." He watched her walk back to her desk and gather her things. "What wrong?"
"Nothing." She smiled. "It's just Emily. She's got this guy that she wants me to go to Homecoming with."
Ezra felt a little punch to the gut. "Oh."
"I told her I'd think about it, but I'm going to say 'No', of course."
"Maybe you should go."
"What do you mean? Why?" She asked defensively. She knew where this was going. It seemed like every day Ezra was finding some reason for them not to be together.
"It's just…you shouldn't miss out on this kind of stuff. Homecoming dances, proms…"
"I'm hardly missing out on anything. It's a bunch of drunk kids dancing around and couples hooking up. What's to miss when I get to be with you?"
"Look. I'm working the dance anyway. And it's not like it would mean anything for you to go to the dance…with this boy." He continued. "I think you should go. I want you to go."
"Fine. Whatever." She frowned and snatched up the rest of her things. "I'll see you at the dance."
The next day Aria was still annoyed with Ezra for how easy it is for him to just let her go to the dance with some other guy. She decided that she didn't want to attend school that day. It was easy enough to make that happen when she listed off all of the stuff that she needed to get done before the dance to her mother.
They decided to have a girl's day since her parents had recently started their trial separation period and her mother needed a day of pampering. They started off by getting a manicure and pedicure at the local nail salon, continued on to the mall to shop for a dress for the dance, among other things, and finally ended up a hair salon where Aria got an updo and her mother a cut.
By the night both girls were sufficiently relaxed and beautified.
It was around 8pm when Emily, Jared and Aria's date arrived at the house to pick her up.
"Hey! Are you ready?" Emily greeted with excitement as Aria opened the door.
"Ready as I can be." She shrugged. Behind Emily she noticed a tall boy around 17 years old with dark hair and arms that were so muscular she could see the definition beneath the sleeves of his dress shirt. In the past, Aria actually would have been interested in this boy, but her mind quickly went back to Ezra. Sweet. Intelligent. Soulful Ezra.
"Aria, this is Jared's friend, Tom. He's your date." Emily winked, obviously impressed by the boy.
"Hey Aria. Wow. You look amazing." Tom commented holding his hand out to her.
"Thanks." Aria put on a fake grin and reluctantly placed her hand in his. "Let's get out of here before my mom breaks out the camera."
"Sounds good." He smiled back and they headed for the black stretch limo parked in front of the house.
It was less than 10 minutes later before the limo had dropped the couples off in front of the school. The scene was buzzing with their classmates dressed in their best. There were camera's flashing all over and music blasted from inside the gym where the dance was being held.
Aria had to admit that she kind of liked the jealous looks from the other girls as she walked by with Tom on her arm. She was not lacking in the date department. That was for sure.
But as she entered the gym the only thing on Aria's mind was finding Ezra. She wanted to make him jealous. Show him that no high school experience in the world is more important than their relationship. Teach him a lesson.
Her eyes scanned the room feverishly for her boyfriend. She finally found him across the room on refreshment duty with the punch and snacks. This would be easier than she thought. She didn't even have to work to get his attention, because he was already staring at her (and her date).
Aria pressed herself unnecessarily against Tom's arm and leaned up to whisper in his ear. Her eyes were still locked on Ezra, who looked away quickly. To everyone else he must have looked bored, but Aria knew that he was angry…jealous. "I'll be right back. I'm just going to get a bottled water."
Tom pushed her hair back and put his lips close to her ear. "Hurry back."
Aria nodded and gave him a suggestive smile before leaving his side. When she arrived at the refreshment table Ezra was making himself busy by fixing napkins and cups.
"Hey Mr. Fitz." She greeted him cheerfully as another teacher/chaperone grabbed a cup of punch and disappeared into the crowed.
"Aria." He responded shortly, refusing to look at her. She stared at him. "Can I get you something?"
"I just came to get some water."
"Oh. Did you?" He snapped, glaring up at her. He grabbed a bottled water and shoved it towards her. "Here."
"What is your problem?" She was actually kind of shocked by his aggression.
"Like you don't know?"
"No. I don't know what could possibly be wrong." She whispered as another student came over and grabbed a cookie. "You asked for this. This is what you wanted Ezra."
"Yeah. Well, I always seem to want what's wrong." He shook his head and continued fussing with the napkins.
"Will you stop doing that?"
"I can't. I can't stop doing this because if I do…" He stopped not willing to finish the statement.
Ezra sighed and looked up at her longingly. "All I want to do right now is take you to some broom closet somewhere and just …"
He cut himself off quickly as Aria felt an arm slide around her waist. She looked up and found Tom by her side. "Hey babe. You've been over here a while so I figured I'd come find you."
"Sorry. I was just…this my English teacher. Mr. Fitz." She stumbled over her words as she introduced her date and her boyfriend.
"What's up man?" He stuck out his hand to Ezra who reluctantly shook it. "Wow. You're pretty young dude. You're a teacher?"
"Nice. It must be like babe central in that school." Tom laughed slightly.
Ezra had to smirk. "I just teach English man. I wouldn't know."
"Whatever dude. I'd be all about it. Young. Naive. You've got it made."
Ezra narrowed his eyes disgusted by his comment. "Something about taking advantage of young girls just doesn't appeal to me."
"Relax Man. I'm not trying to get serious." Tom rolled his eyes. "So, Aria, did you want to dance?"
"Uh sure. Definitely." She agreed. They turned towards the dance floor with Tom's arm pulling her close to his side. Aria turned to look back at Ezra. This whole making him jealous thing wasn't fun anymore. He looked so sad. She just wanted to be with him right now. To kiss him. As she rested her body against Tom's, she laid her head on his shoulder and closed her eyes, imagining that it was Ezra in her arms at the moment.
Towards the end of the night Tom was dripping with sweat. She could swear he was about to go Jersey Shore at minute and rip his shirt off right on the dance floor. Aria wiped a drip of perspiration off of her arm in disgusted.
"Do you want to get some air?" Aria yelled with concern over the pulsing sound of the music from the speakers.
He leaned down still dancing. "Yeah. Definitely." Tom grabbed her hand and pulled her towards the exit. From the refreshment table Ezra watched his girlfriend disappear into the hall.
"You're sweating." Aria laughed as she grabbed Tom's arm and used the sleeve of his shirt to wipe his forehead. The hall was totally empty except for the two of them.
"Yeah, well, I'm a dancing machine." He joked leaning against a row of lockers and grabbing her waist. Before she knew it his hand was cradling the back of her head forcefully and he was kissing her.
Aria pulled her lips from his and backed away awkwardly towards the opposite set of lockers across the hall. "Sorry. I don't want to be mean. I'm just…not interested." She tried to let him down as easy as she good. "It's not about you. I promise."
"Of course it's not about me." He laughed using his momentum to lift himself off the lockers. He walked towards her slowly and placed his hands flat on the lockers above each of his shoulders. "This happens a lot. Girls get intimidated by me."
"I'm not intimidated." She was getting annoyed by his forwardness. "I'm just not interested in you."
"Whatever you say." He smiled before forcing his lips on her once again. As she lifted her hands to push him away he grabbed her wrists so that she couldn't move. "Don't worry Aria. I like you."
"Well, I don't like you." She yelled while struggling to free her arms from his grip, "Let me go."
"Stop fighting it." He pushed her body hard against the lockers and kissed her again. Aria pushed back as hard as she could releasing muffled cried for help whenever she could manage. She could not believe this was happening right now. She hadn't even wanted to come to this stupid dance with this guy. Now here he was forcing himself on her. She squeezed her eyes shut refusing to cry because she didn't want to look anymore weak than she already felt.
Suddenly her hands were free and the pressure holding her against the cold, metal lockers was gone. Aria's eyes flew open to find Tom and Ezra in the midst of a fist fight. Ezra was defending her but it was obvious who would win this fight. Ezra was never meant to be a fighter. At least not against a guy like Tom, who was basically made of muscle.
Tom had Ezra pinned to the ground and Aria had to do something. "Stop it, Tom!" She screamed. She grabbed his arm to try to pull him away, but he pushed her back.
"Tom!" She heard a foreign voice yell from down the hall. Aria turned around to find Jared rushing to the fight. He pulled Tom off of Ezra and threw him again the locker. Aria immediately kneeled beside Ezra to see if he was okay.
"What the hell man? You're beating up my English teacher! Are you insane?"
Heavy breaths escape from Aria's date as he wiped his face. He stared back and forth between Aria and Ezra. He would never admit the reason why he had been fighting his friend's teacher. "Whatever Man. I'm outta here." With that he stormed towards the closest exit.
"I'm so sorry Mr. Fitz." Jared apologized in total shock before running after Tom.
Aria and Ezra were quick to get themselves out of the hall and into his classroom. The last thing they needed was to draw attention to Ezra's noble defense of his teenaged girlfriend who just happened to be his student.
Aria pulled the shade on the door and snapped the lock closed before turning to face Ezra with shame. "I'm so sorry." She could feel the tears puddling in her eyes.
"Come here." He whispered from a front row desk.
Aria left the room dark. Only the light of the moon shining through the windows help her find her way. When she reached the desk, she kneeled down in front of him and looked up into his eyes. "You could have been seriously hurt."
"He was hurting you."
She shook her head. "You risk so much for me. Your job. Your reputation. Your life." She broke eye contact and stared down at his lap. "I'm not worth all of that."
"You're worth more than that."
She refused to look up at him. She placed his hands on either side of her cheeks. "Aria." When she finally allowed herself to look up at him she was met with a kiss. A strong, passionate kiss. It was nothing like Tom's kiss. It was caring and perfect. She couldn't understand how anyone could find this wrong.
When they finally pulled away he pressed his forehead against hers. "I love you." He paused. "Did you know that?"
"Not for sure. Not until now." She breathed, their fingers interlocked. "I love you too. Did you know that?"
Ezra shrugged. "Who wouldn't love me."
They both laughed