Inside Look: Chapter One _Teacher’s Pet

IT IS A TRUTH commonly acknowledged that in every high school there are winners and losers.

No one would dispute that at Woodstock Tudorsville Union High School, Noah Beemer was a winner.

He had the looks: Dark hair, dark eyebrows, dark eyes, and the grace and athleticism of a competitive skier.

He co-captained the WTUHS ski team along with his girlfriend Eva Silver-Adams, also a winner in looks, smarts, and accomplishments.

He led the WTUHS debate team to the finals at the Vermont State Forensics Tournament in Montpelier.

He lived in a handsome Victorian near Woodstock center.

After his older brother Josh left home, his parents, both locally prominent lawyers, lavished on him their undivided attention and generosity, most recently when he turned seventeen in the form of a gleaming new SUV.

You might expect that a person with such outstanding qualities and advantages would be envied, and therefore resented, but in his encounters with others he was so consistently polite, on time, and well prepared that he was very hard to dislike.

He never failed at anything major that he undertook to do.

Other than missing out on whatever people learn from failure, his shortcomings, if he had any, weren’t readily apparent.

Noah and his friend Morrie Klein were catching up before the start of their senior year at WTUHS when Morrie said, “What do you think of our new history teacher?”

“Who do you mean?” Noah said.

“Esme Linde. Didn’t you see her at the orientation?”

“No. Guess not.”

“You’d know if you had. She’s incredibly hot.”


“Seriously, you wouldn’t believe…”

“Okay, I’ll keep an eye out then.”

“Although for you it will be lookee-no-touchee since you already have Eva. But for the rest of us…”

“Dream on, Morrie.”

“When I dream about Ms. Linde, I need lots of Kleenex.”

Noah grinned. “Too much sharing.”

“Some of us have unmet needs.”

Morrie just assumed that Noah didn’t suffer from unmet needs given all that he had going for him, including, in particular, his openly affectionate longtime girlfriend.

For his part, Noah never talked about such things on grounds they were personal.

In fact, he’d made less progress on that front than generally assumed.

“When we’re engaged,” Eva said, placing her hand firmly on Noah’s, allowing their intimacies to go only so far.

The lure that Eva dangled, herself, was more than a little enticing.

But for now, Noah’s bottom line was it was too soon to commit. They were too young to get locked down. He was only being realistic. Soon they’d leave Woodstock where they’d spent their whole lives and anything could happen. With so many choices coming their way they had to stay flexible, as did Josh and his girlfriend Maxie when Josh chose to live in New York City while Maxie ended up working for the state in Montpelier.

Noah was quiet spoken, except when he was performing on a debate stage, and usually he deferred to Eva’s wishes, but he wasn’t a pushover. On the matter of getting engaged, he wasn’t ready, and that was that.

Nevertheless, Eva persisted. “We don’t have to get married right away.”


“But being officially engaged will help us resist temptations when we’re apart at different colleges.”

“Good thinking,” said Noah, his hand still locked in place under Eva’s.

“I’ll show the football hero my engagement ring when he asks me out.”

“I’ll do the same at my college,” Noah said. “That’ll make him think twice.”

Eva laughed. “So? Are you ready to propose?”

“It’s certainly a possibility,” Noah said, pulling his hand free. “At some point.”

Among the classes that Noah selected for his senior year was Advanced Placement United States History, taught by Esme Linde.

It was quickly apparent to Noah and others in the class that Ms. Linde was an excellent teacher.

Her online guide for their upcoming homework assignments was well organized, precise, and appropriately challenging for an AP course.

And from the start she brimmed with vigor and good cheer so that even chronic classroom nappers stayed engaged. She fired off questions, pop! pop! pop! keeping everyone on their toes.

“Hannah Green, what can you tell us about…”

“Richie, yes, you, Richie, your thoughts please.”

“Ethan, elaborate on what Richie just said.”

“Henry, is he right?”

“Morrie, why are you laughing?”

They called out their answers like game show contestants, and whether they were right or wrong, she pushed them to say more.

Beside her desk she kept a bucket of nerf balls which she threw at students who were checking their phones, and she had a good arm. Clearly getting ‘nerfed’ in her class would become one of the highlights.

Plus, as Morrie said, Ms. Linde was scorching hot, with bright brown eyes and a wicked smile, and a body that was both fit and shapely.

Noah believed that it was wrong to objectify a person, especially one of his teachers, but he did notice how Ms. Linde’s sweater pulled against her breasts when she pointed at someone in class, and how the contours of her back were revealed when she turned to the board.

He didn’t just notice. He was fixated.

Because, beyond her striking appearance, there was something more about Ms. Linde that resonated with him. Perhaps it was her tantalizingly husky voice, or her lively expressions, or how she kidded with her students. Or maybe, with her being from Boston, there was a hint of sophistication, of possibilities beyond Vermont.

Whatever it was, Noah found Ms. Linde captivating and disorienting, like when she called on students to stand and introduce themselves and Noah’s turn came to give his name, and Esme Linde looked directly at him with a welcoming smile. Caught in her luminous gaze, Noah felt like they were the only two people in the room or on planet Earth for that matter, and he lost his train of thought.

Eventually, after what seemed a very long time, he croaked “Noah Beemer” and abruptly sat down.

Noah was known as a self-assured public speaker, formidable in debate and always ready at parties and other events to rise to deliver a few well-chosen words. So his lapse just now was unusual, to say the least.

He stared at his hands clasped in front of him as others in the class introduced themselves. He sensed, without looking up, that he was getting curious glances, especially from Eva.

After the bell, Ms. Linde waited at her desk while students filed out past her.

Noah kept his head down and eyes straight ahead as he went by, intensely aware as he left the classroom that for a few heated seconds he and Esme Linde were only a couple of feet apart.

Eva Silver-Adams caught up with him in the corridor.

“Great class,” she said.


“Ms. Linde is something else!”


“Are you okay, Noah?”

“I am,” he said. “I agree with you.”

She gave him an appraising look. “See you later?”

So, Noah thought, Eva had definitely picked up his unsettled vibe around their new teacher.

Not good.

Eva didn’t react well when his attentions wandered and she didn’t miss much as far as he was concerned. He’d discovered long ago that life was better when Eva didn’t get riled up. No matter how he felt in Ms. Linde’s presence, to keep the peace with Eva he’d have to manage himself better.

“Absolutely!” Noah replied.