But the tone in Robbie’s voice had a nightmarish quality to it. I’d never heard it from him before, and it frightened me.
“Peter,” he said. “That man, the man in the store. He’s my dealer.”
“Oh,” I said. It’s funny. Most teachers are supposed to tell you not to smoke, not to drink, not to do drugs. Okay, so of those, Robbie hadn’t pulled out a pack of cigarettes, but so far he’d helped break all those stereotypes. I know that teachers are human like the rest of us, but it was certainly refreshing to see that evidence first hand. And so what, my English teacher smoked pot. Big fucking deal. Who hasn’t?
“So. What’s the big deal?” I asked.
“I owe him a shitload of money,” Robbie said. “But there’s more. And I know I can confide in you, but I don’t know how to tell you the rest.”
“The rest? Of what?”
“The rest of my confession.” He drained his cup again in another single gulp and poured himself another drink. I think that was his third in so many minutes.
For the first time in our relationship, it didn’t feel like he was my teacher. He was suddenly just another friend, and a friend with a problem. “Just start from the beginning.”
“Fair enough. And I’ll actually start with a smaller confession. I’ve been reading your blog.”
“Yes. Since about the second day of class. I discovered it one night. Actually, a lot of teachers I know have started doing it, started doing Google searches on their own names as a means to see if students are blogging or posting comments about them and their class. I spotted yours almost immediately, and went back to the beginning.”
“So you know all about Sarah?”
“And the other deaths?”
“And about Miss Hamilton’s accident?”
“Yes. And also about Monica.”
Monica. Oh man, this was so embarrassing. Robbie had been reading my words. But what could I expect, really. There were tons of strangers out there, people I’d never met who were reading my online journal and making comments on it. Why did I think that people I knew wouldn’t find it and read it too?
I tried to think back to all the things I’d said about Robbie on my blog, and was slightly embarrassed about how much I talked about him, gushed about him. But it wasn’t quite so bad -- this was Robbie, after all, and to know that he’d had these insights about me almost from the beginning, yet he still wanted to be my friend, hang out with me -- well that was pretty darn cool.
“I don’t know what to say, Robbie.” I said. “I feel guilty about what happened to Monica. As if I could have prevented it.”
“Oh, Peter,” Robbie said, and tears started to roll down his eyes. “You have nothing to feel guilty about with Monica. What happened to her is actually my fault.”
“Your fault?” I said, completely perplexed. “How could what happened to Monica be your fault?”
“I know you had feelings for her, Peter. I know you were interested in her. That’s what makes this so difficult; so difficult to tell you.” He paused, put his head in his hands, then wiped the tears away. “I’m such a fool. I never should have done what I did. But I got caught up in the moment, carried away by emotions. I’d fallen in love with her from the first day that I met her.
“Peter, Monica and I were having an affair. We were sleeping together.”