It takes him a week after that to call her, half because he's busy with midterms and half because he's not sure it wasn't just a fluke.

She laughs at him again, as he trips over the words, but she agrees to join him for dinner saturday night. He grins like an idiot the rest of the day, and more than one student tells him it's creepy.

But he feels pretty confident, by the time he pulls up at the restaurant - her choice, in trade for being allowed to keep the after dinner activity - dancing - a secret. It's a little cliche, and cheesy, he knows, but there's prior knowledge there, and it was fun then. And, yeah, it's an excuse to be close to her. What else is new.

She's already there, actually, just speaking to the hostess when he enters, and he appreciates the opportunity to surprise her - leaning in to say hi in her ear, and settling his hand on her lower back. She only jumps a little, and glares but smiles while they're seated, "Jerk."

It's only the beginning of the mocking - as soon as they order drinks she starts in on how she didn't think he had the - ahem - to actually ask her out, and he counters with "You're not that scary." Which she takes as a challenge.

It feels good, the whole night does. Familiar, even if they didn't get along for a longer time than they did.

She shows up the last day of midterms, when the students have early dismissal but he doesn't, in an outfit he recognizes from high school.

She twirls as she enters the room, shuts the door behind herself, and looks all too smug as she says, "Still fits."

"I can see that," he replies, not even trying to bite back his smirk as she rearranges things and takes a seat on his desk. He leans against the wall behind it.

"I thought I'd give you another chance at getting me out of my clothes, high school style."

He's proud of the way he doesn't blush at that, just manages an amused look as he goes to kiss her, "How very charitable of you."

"Mhm," she murmurs, whispers, "Shame you don't still have one of those dorky hats," before he reaches her lips.

He does, in his car.

She demands they go get it, and he ends up finger-fucking her in the backseat, her fingernails digging into his arms, like they're a pair of overexcited teenagers.

He goes on vacation, over Spring Break, and the whole time all he can think about is he misses her, and nightly phone calls only help so much. She says she misses him too, in this soft voice he's still not entirely used to hearing.

So imagine his surprise when he gets back and she - for lack of a more accurate word - dumps him. Differences, she says, and she doesn't want to get his hopes up, or something. He doesn't get it.

She comes - came over every Thursday evening, distracts - distracted him while he tried to grade homework, until he gave up.

Sometimes she distracted him by singing at the top of her lungs and dancing around his tiny kitchen like she was still 16. Those nights, they'd have dinner, watch a movie, he'd get to hold her for a while. Those nights were rare.

Sometimes she would pick the lock on his door - she had a key, but she lost it all the time - and wouldn't even give him the chance to protest, just situated herself in his lap and bite at his lip until he kissed her back. Sometimes he'd let her make it bleed.

Sometimes - but rarest of all - she'd wake up there friday mornings.

Now he tries to grade papers on thursday night and ends up spending a pitiful amount of time in the shower.

Facts cling into place when Jackson starts to perk up in class, starts talking.

Talking about his dad winning the lottery, or something, and moving back home.

That makes sense. Or, at least - Adam can respect that more. He doesn't know the story there, they'd - actually spent remarkably little time talking about their lives, a flaw he only sees clearly now. Maybe - it's possible it was always the plan for Jackson's father - whatever his name is - to come back, and if Adam was a way to pass time, he supposes he can be alright with that.

He supposes he should feel flattered.

By the end of the school year Jackson's silent again.

Adam visits his mother for a couple weeks, Drew for a couple weeks, gets back home midway through July.

August 4th she shows up at his door with a somewhat smushed ice cream cake (that actually says congratulations) and a not completely full bottle of whiskey, and she pushes her way into his apartment (honestly he doesn't put up that much of a struggle).

She says, "Happy Birthday. Shut up."

He does, but when she falls asleep in his bed, he takes the couch.

No hopes. He can be rebound.

She's gone in the morning. He's not surprised.

She leaves a note - well, a scrawled message by dry erase pen on the fridge door.

Sorry. Family, you know? Had to try.

He's a little early to work that day. He feels a bit like an idiot, sending a text message under the desk as a teacher, as a 33 year old man, but he'd feel more like an idiot if he called.

'I get it.'

Simple, probably pointless, but it makes him feel like the air's officially cleared. No hard feelings, or whatever.

She replies 'Friends?'

He replies 'Sure.'