It's simple: Noah Peterson and I are enemies. Our fellow teachers know it, our friends know it—even the Starbucks drive-through lady knows it since every Monday she scrawls the name A. Hole for me on Noah's cappuccino when I pick up the weekly group order.
The shrill whine of the school bell announces the start of each day's no-holds-barred grudge match. Since neither of us is looking to get fired or thrown in prison, we war with our words and our wits. We prefer banter that bites. All day, I'm on edge, looking around every corner, expecting him to do his worst. Just when I think I can't take the sight of his (regretfully) handsome face for one more minute, the school day is done.
Summer usually offers the sweetest relief—a two-month Noah detox—but not this year.
“We need two volunteers to chaperone a group of eighth-graders in Rome” becomes a game of chicken neither one of us is willing to lose. We both want that bonus check.
“Back out,” I tell him.
“Scared?” he taunts.
No one thinks it's a good idea for us to go to Rome together, least of all me. Taking this battle abroad will only lead to mayhem and misery.
Ding. Ladies and gentlemen of flight UA447 with service to Rome, fasten your seatbelts.
We're bound to have a bumpy ride.