Mac strolled down to Sid’s classroom. Mac had had one heck of a day. In his eight years of teaching, he’d never had a student steal art supplies before, let alone go full rebel and use the India ink to tattoo himself. The art wasn’t the calligraphy project Mac had in mind for his students. Once he’d caught the student with the ink and fresh artwork, he spent the remainder of the afternoon in the office. The student had been reprimanded, but so had he for not paying attention. He groaned. He’d counted the bottles, but noticed one student tossing a bottle. He should’ve gone back to retrieve the bottle to ensure it was empty, but he hadn’t been duped like this before.
Right now, he needed to see his friend and talk about anything except students.
He turned the corner to Sid’s hallway and spotted Sid just outside of his classroom. “Sid?”
Sid paused, then looked up and smiled. “Hi. I thought you’d still be in the office.” He wore a baseball cap, which wasn’t like him at all.
“Word travels fast, doesn’t it?” He joined Sid at his classroom. “Leaving?”
“No, just returned.” Sid unlocked the classroom door. “I was part of the group that took the sophomores to the vocational school.” He left the hat on and the lights off. “I’m back to collect my things.”
“You got that gig this year?” He sat on the desk directly in front of Sid’s and rested his elbows on his knees. “Are you okay? You look…tense.”
Sid sank onto his chair and fiddled with the papers before him. “I’m….it’s not as bad as it could be.”
“What?” His heart skipped a beat. He hoped Sid wasn’t going to tell him he had a boyfriend. They’d become too close and he wasn’t ready for Sid to be with someone else.
“I got a haircut yesterday. Went to the salon on 8th Street and the cut looked okay when the stylist did it last night, but after I washed it this morning and tried to comb it the way she did, it just looks awful. Everyone stared at me and I felt so foolish I went home to get my hat.” Sid bowed his head. “I don’t want to go to the bank to cash my check tonight and I really don’t want to attend the teachers’ meeting at seven. I look ridiculous.”
“I’m sure it’s not that bad.” He doubted Sid could look ridiculous, even if he’d dyed his hair pink. “It’s just you and me. I won’t laugh.”
“Would I lie to you?” He hadn’t yet and didn’t plan to.
“This feels like using the trapeze without a net.” Sid removed his hat. “Well? It’s probably flat right now.”
“It is.” Mac left the desk and rounded Sid’s. He held out his hand, then paused. “May I?”
“You’re going to fix it? Sure. You can’t do any more damage than I did.”
Mac ruffled his fingers through Sid’s hair. The cut wasn’t bad, but it was meant to be worn as a pompadour. With a little more lift, Sid would be a knockout. Mac stepped back to look at Sid. “Wow.”
“I knew it was that bad.” Sid covered his face with his hand and groaned. “I never should’ve tried something new. I wouldn’t be offended if you didn’t want to ride along with me to the meeting tonight.”
Mac shut the classroom door, giving him and Sid some privacy. “I never said it was bad.” He knelt in front of Sid. He wanted this moment to be private. “You look great and I like it. I’d be honored to go with you to the bank or the meeting or wherever because you’re a good man and that haircut actually suits you–much as you don’t believe it.”
Sid’s lips parted and he stared at Mac.
Oh crap. He’d put his heart on the line. He hadn’t done that since Jamie. But he couldn’t gauge Sid’s response. Happy? Shocked? Upset? “Sid?”
Before Sid could answer, the someone knocked on the classroom door.
So much for a tender, but completely innocent moment…