She grabbed her order while he was waiting for his and headed for the door. “See ya.” “I won that bet on my own!” he called after her, making her smile. Sometimes he was like a big child. It was rather cute. ************** Jason bit back a smile as he watched Haley tell Headmaster Jenkins that she couldn’t chaperone the dance tonight. A month ago his little shy friend would have simply stared at her coffee and nodded no matter what her plans were. Now, she was telling the man no, firmly yet gently. He took some pride in it. It was because of him after all. It took some work, but she was coming along rather nicely. Who knew there was a little tigress beneath all that cuteness? He sure hadn't, but it was nice to see her stick up for herself for once. The staff might bitch at his methods and his easy going relationship with the kids, but at least he never ganged up on a woman like Haley and took advantage of her making her chaperone this or organize that. “But, Haley, we really need you to chaperone. John has tickets to a play tonight.” “I’m sorry, Tom, but I have plans already tonight. I really wish I could help you out, but I can’t break my plans at the last minute. You understand,” she said politely yet firmly. Her self-esteem was clearly on the rise and it made the whole package even better and he wasn’t the only one to notice either. Other teachers were showing her more respect and the men were definitely noticing her. Oh, he took a hundred percent of the credit for his little protégé. Yup, he was the master. It was probably about time he used his greatness for good. He spotted the table where she left her coffee and muffins as well as three men, losers in his opinion, who were eying the seat next to hers. Without any hesitation he sauntered past them and sat down at her table, earning killing glares from the other men. Too bad. In his opinion if a man didn’t have the balls to make a move he didn’t deserve the woman he desired. Not that he desired Haley. He didn’t. She was his buddy and turning out to be one of his best friends. No, what he desired was that piping hot chocolate chip muffin with extra butter he saw her buy earlier. He sighed happily as he fished the muffin out of the bag. “When will she ever learn?” he mumbled as prepared his ill-gotten muffin. “Please, help yourself,” Haley said dryly as she sat down and added a sugar to her coffee. “Thank you, I think I will,” he said happily as he slathered more butter onto his muffin. “What are these amazing plans you have for tonight?” he asked between bites. “Date,” she said. “I guess that means our love affair is over,” he said with a pout. “I guess so.” “I’m hurt.” “You’ll survive….with therapy of course,” she said with a wink and a grin. “Is this another loser?” She looked away and mumbled something. “I’m sorry I don’t speak mumble,” he said while eying the piping hot apple muffin with streusel topping that she just took out of the bag. Hell, how had he missed that delicious little morsel? His hand seemed to have a life of its own as it crept towards that tasty little treat. With a gasp, Haley’s hands came down to protect her muffin. “Control yourself!” she hissed as she broke off a small chunk and ate it. His eyes went back to the muffin. He knew he was pouting when Haley rolled her eyes and continued to eat. Damn it, where was the love? He was a hungry man. With a sigh he opened his bag and pulled out one of his three coffee rolls and began eating all while keeping his eyes on that muffin. “You’re pathetic,” Haley muttered with an eye roll. She pushed the last half of her muffin over to him. With a huge grin he popped the large half into his mouth and savored it. It really was as good as it looked. “So, what is it that you don’t want me to know, my little grasshopper?” he asked, stirring his coffee. The last date she had was a loser in his opinion at least and really wasn’t that all that mattered? The loser was not worthy of all his work. They’d work on that until she dated guys that he approved of. Someone cool with a cabin in New Hampshire for fishing trips or a house down in Florida would make him very happy. He really could go for some deep sea fishing in the winter. “Stop calling me that!” Haley hissed softly. “For the hundredth time I am not the Daniel-son to your Mr. Miyagi.” He simply shrugged. “If that’s what you want to believe…” “It is and I do.” “If I could get everyone’s attention before you head off to homeroom?” Jenkins said, holding up his clipboard to get everyone’s attention in the teacher’s break room. “We need one more volunteer for tonight’s dance,” he said, throwing a hopeful glance Haley’s way. “Wax on…..wax off….” Jason whispered, earning a rather indelicate snort form Haley. “Did you say something, Miss. Blaine?” Jenkins asked Haley, drawing everyone’s attention to her. Jason leaned back in his seat and watched Haley as the blush crept up her cute little face. She nervously pushed her glasses up her nose. Ah, seems his protégé still hated drawing attention to herself. Well, she’d have to get used to that if they were going to be friends since he had a rather nasty habit of drawing attention to himself pretty much everywhere he went. “Yes, Miss. Blaine, did you have something to say?” Jason asked in an amused tone. She shot him a narrowed glare before turning to look at Jenkins. The glare was gone only to be replaced by a rather sweet and innocent smile. He was so focused on her smile that he almost missed what she said. “No, Mr. Jenkins, that wasn’t me. Mr. Bradford was volunteering to chaperone tonight,” she said cheerfully. “What?” he said, too late. Jenkins grinned at him. “Well, that’s excellent! Very good. Make sure you’re here by seven o’clock and it goes until eleven. Thank you, Mr. Bradford.” Jenkins said. It didn’t escape Jason’s notice that the man didn’t bother double checking with him and that he practically ran out of the room before Jason could refuse. His attention immediately turned to the little traitor. “You betraying bitch,” he gasped. Her smile went from innocent to wicked in less than a second. “Have fun at the dance.” She stood up and placed her hands together in front of her as if she were praying and bowed. Smartass. She betrayed him. Damn that hurt. He couldn’t help but grin. She really was coming along rather nicely. ************* “Oh my god, I love him!” the girl, Cindy or something, wailed loudly, making Jason shift nervously. He’d never dealt well with emotions, especially female emotions. He looked around nervously and damn near sighed with relief when he spotted a small group of girls descend on the girl. “He’s such a jerk!” one of them said. “Don’t say that! I love him!” Cindy cried. “Oh, I know you do. He’s not good enough for you,” a slightly chubby girl said as she put her arm around the girl. Good. Everything was fine. He could go back to chaperoning a bunch of hormone driven teenagers to god awful music. Yup, he was truly going to kill Haley. He stepped away.