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He holds the paper up in the air and shakes it. "Is everyone ready to hear which poems sucked? Which ones got the most points?" He's smiling as he waits on a response.

No one says anything. Except Eddie.

"Some of us who wrote those poems may not want to know how many points we got. I know I don't."

Will takes a few steps toward Eddie. "If you don't care how many points it’s worth, then why did you write it?"

Eddie is quiet for a moment as she thinks about Will's question.

"Aside from wanting to be exempt from your final?" she asks.

Will nods.

"I guess because I had something to say."

Will looks at me. "Layken, ask your question again."

My question. I try to remember what my question was. Oh yeah, what's his point?

"What's the point of this assignment?" I ask cautiously.

Will holds the paper up in front of him that contains the tallied scores, and he rips it right down the middle. He reaches behind him and picks the stack of poems up that everyone scored and he throws them in the trash. He walks to the chalkboard and begins to write something on the board. When he's finished, he steps aside.

"The points are not the point; the point is poetry." ~Allan Wolf

The class is quiet as we take in the words sprawled across the board. Will allows a moment of silence before he continues.

"It shouldn't matter what anyone else thinks about your words. When you’re on that stage-you share a piece of your soul. You can’t assign points to that.”

The bell rings. On any other day, students would be filing out the door. No one has moved; we're all just staring at the writing on the board.

"The points are not the point; the point is poetry." ~Allan Wolf

"Tomorrow, be prepared to learn why it's important for you to write poetry," he says.

There was a moment, in the midst of all the distraction in my head, when I forgot he was Will. I listened to him like he was my teacher.

Javi is the first to get up, soon followed by the rest of the students. Will is facing the desk with his back to me when Eddie walks up, detention slip in hand. I had already forgotten he gave us detention. She gives me a wink as she passes me and stops at his desk.

“Mr. Cooper?” She’s being respectful, but dramatically so. “It is my understanding that detention proceeds commencement of the final class period at approximately three-thirty. It is my desire, as I’m sure it is Layken’s desire as well, to be punctual, so that we may serve our fairly deserved sentences with due diligence. Would you be so kind as to share with us the location in which this sentence shall be carried out?”

Will never looks at her as he walks toward the door. “Here. Just you two. Three-thirty.”

And he’s gone. Just like that.

Eddie bursts out laughing. “What did you do to him?”

I stand up and walk to the door with her. “Oh it wasn’t just me, Eddie. It was both of us.”

She spins around wide eyed. “Oh my god, he knows I know? What's he going to say about it?”

I shrug my shoulders. “I guess we’ll find out at three-thirty.”

***

“Detention? Duckie gave you detention?” Gavin laughs.

“Man, he really needs to get laid,” Nick says.

Nick’s comment causes Eddie to laugh and spew milk out of her mouth. I shoot her a cease and desist look.

“I can’t believe he gave you detention," Gavin says. "But you aren’t positive that’s what it’s for, right? For skipping? I mean, he already mentioned that at the slam last week and he didn’t seem too mad.”

I know what the detention is for. I’m pretty sure I know, anyway. He wants to make sure he can trust Eddie. I'm not positive, though, so I lie.

“He said it’s for not turning in the assignment we were supposed to do the day we skipped.”

Gavin turns to Eddie. “But you did that one, I remember.”

Eddie looks at me as she replies to Gavin. “I guess I lost it,” she shrugs.

***

Eddie and I meet outside the door to Will's classroom at approximately three-thirty.

"You know, the more I think about it, this really sucks," Eddie says. "Why couldn't he just call me or something if he wanted to talk about what I know? I had plans today."

"Maybe we won't have to stay long," I say.

"I hate detention. It's boring. I'd rather lay in Will's floor with you than sit in detention," she says.

"Maybe we can try and make it fun," I say.

She turns to open the door but hesitates, then spins around and faces me. "You know, you're right. Let's make it fun. I'm pretty sure detention is an hour long. Do you realize how many Chuck Norris puns we can make in a whole hour?"

I smile at her. "Not as many as Chuck Norris could."

She opens the door to detention.

"Afternoon, Mr. Cooper," Eddie says as she flurries inside.

"Take a seat," he says as he wipes the point of poetry off the board.

"Mr. Cooper, did you know that seats actually stand up when Chuck Norris walks into a room?" she says.

I laugh as I follow Eddie to our seats. Rather than taking the two front seats, she keeps walking until she's in the very back of the room where she scoots two desks together. We sit as far from the teacher as possible.

Will doesn't laugh. He doesn't even smile. He sits in his seat and glares at us while we giggle; like high school girls.

"Listen," he says as he stands back up and walks toward us. He leans against the window and folds his arms across his chest. He stares at the floor like he's trying to think of a delicate way to broach the subject.

"Eddie, I need to know where your head's at. I know you were at my house. I know you know Layken spent the night. I know she told you about our date. I just need to know what you plan to do about it; if you plan to do anything about it."

"Will, I already told you," I say. "She's not saying anything. There's nothing to say."

He doesn't look at me. He continues to look at Eddie, waiting for her response. I guess mine wasn't good enough.

I don't know if it's nerves or the fact that I've had the strangest last three days of my life, but I start laughing. Eddie shoots me a questioning glance, but she can't hold it in. She starts laughing, too.

Will throws his hands up in the air, exasperated. "What? What the hell is so funny?" he says. He's getting agitated.

"Nothing," I say. "It's just weird. You gave us detention, Will." I inhale as I try to control my laughter. "Couldn't you just like, come over tonight or something? Talk to us about it then? Why'd you give us detention?"

He waits until our laughter subsides before he continues. "This is the first chance I’ve had to talk to either of you. I didn't sleep all night. I wasn't sure if I even had a job to come back to today." He looks at Eddie. "If anything gets out, if anyone finds out that a student slept in my bed with me, I'd get fired. I'd get kicked out of college."

Eddie straightens in her seat and turns to me and smiles. "You slept in his bed with him? You're holding back vital information. You didn't tell me that," she laughs.

He walks back to the front of the room and throws himself into his chair. He leans onto his desk and sets his face in his hands. This isn’t going how he had planned.

"You slept in his bed?" she whispers, low enough so Will doesn't hear her.

"Nothing happened," I say. "Like you said, he's such a bore."

Eddie laughs again, causing me to lose my composure.

"Is this funny?" Will says from his desk. "Is this a joke to you two?"

I can see in his eyes that we're enjoying detention way more than we're supposed to. Eddie isn't fazed, however.

"Did you know Chuck Norris doesn't have a funny bone? It tried to make him laugh once, so he ripped it out," she says.

Will lays his head on his desk in defeat. Eddie and I look at each other and our laughter ceases as we respect that he's attempting to have a serious conversation with us.

Eddie sighs and straightens up in her desk. "Mr. Cooper?" she says. "I won’t say anything. Swear. It's not that big of a deal anyway."

He looks up at her. "It is a big deal Eddie. That's what I'm trying to tell both of you. If you don't treat this as a big deal, you'll get careless. Something might slip. I've got too much at stake."

We both sigh. The energy in the room is non-existent now. It's like a black hole just sucked all the fun out of detention. Eddie feels it too, so she attempts to rectify it.

"Did you know Chuck Norris likes his steaks med-" Eddie doesn't finish her sentence as Will reaches his limit. He slams his fist against the desk as he stands up. Neither Eddie nor I are laughing at this point. I look at her wide eyed and shake my head, letting her know that Chuck Norris needs to retreat.

"This isn't a joke," he says. "This is a big deal." He reaches over and takes something out of his drawer and swiftly walks to where we're sitting in the back of the room. He smacks a picture down on the crack where the edges of our desks meet and flips it over. It's a picture of Caulder.

He points his finger to the picture as he says, "This boy. This boy is a big deal."

He backs up a step and grabs a desk and turns it around to face us as he sits down.

"I don't think we're following you, Will," I say as I look at Eddie. She shakes her head in agreement. "What's Caulder got to do with what Eddie knows?"

He takes a deep breath as he leans across his desk and picks the picture back up. I can tell by the look in his eyes that his recollection is unpleasant. He lays the picture down on the desk and leans back in the chair, folding his arms across his chest.

"He was with them…when it happened. He watched them die."

I suck in a breath. Eddie and I give him respectful silence as we wait for him to continue. I'm beginning to feel this big.

"They said it was a miracle he survived. The car was totaled. When the first person came on the scene, Caulder was still buckled up in what was left of the backseat. He was screaming my mom's name, trying to get her to turn around. For five minutes he had to sit there alone and watch as they died."

Will clears his throat. Eddie reaches under the table and grabs my hand and squeezes it. Neither of us says a word.

"I sat in the hospital with him while he recovered for six days. Never left his side-not even for their funeral. When my grandparents came to pick him up and take him home with them, he cried. He didn't want to go. He wanted to stay with me. He begged me to take him back to campus with me. I didn't have a job, I didn't have insurance. I was nineteen. I didn't know the first thing about raising a kid…so I let them take him."

Will stands up and walks to the window. He doesn't say anything for a while as he watches the parking lot slowly empty. His hand goes to his face and it looks like he’s wiping at his eyes. If Eddie wasn't in here right now, I would hug him.

He eventually turns to face us again. "Caulder hated me. He was so mad at me he wouldn't return my calls for days. It was in the middle of a football game when I started to question the choice I made. I was studying the football in my hands, running my fingers over the pigskin, across the letters of the brand name printed on the side. This elongated spheroid shaped ball that didn't even weigh a whole pound. I was choosing this ridiculous ball of leather in my hands over my own flesh and blood. I was putting myself, my girlfriend, my scholarship-I was putting everything before this little boy that I loved more than anything in the world.

***

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