CHAPTER TWO, Part One
Dan wasn’t sure the candy bars had been a good idea, and not just because of the sugar.
He sat on the corner of his desk, scanning the room. Three broad-shouldered boys slouching in the back challenged him with their hard gazes as they drooped in their seats like lazy husbands with the remote control in one hand and a beer in the other.
Nonchalant tough guys. Like Jeremy, Allie’s ex.
How the h…heck was he supposed to deal with them? They were seniors, hardened and set in their ways and probably more prone to beat him to a pulp than to be considered ‘projects.’ Pumping up his weight-lifting sessions sounded like a good-idea, because three Jeremys would be a bit more difficult to beat- if they ever decided to gang up on him, that is.
He tossed his pen on the desk, noting the way his hand shook and clearing his throat. He’d never been afraid of people in his life- aside from his father- and he wasn’t about to show fear now. Situations scared him but not people, so it must have been his nerves and emotional fatigue coming into play.
God, what was he supposed to do now? He may as well have just climbed out of bed and his coffee hadn’t yet cleared his thinking; but his vision had cleared enough for him to see the redhead in the front row, who tossed him a wink as she folded her hands under her chin.
He cocked his brow.
For months, Allie had been teasing him by singing, “Young teacher, the subject of schoolgirl fantasy-” her way of warning him to prepare for school-girl crushes. After wondering how other male teachers handled that problem, he’d done some research and decided it best to let them have their crushes but do nothing to encourage them. However, he was sure simple counseling could have been taken as ‘encouragement,’ so counseling with any student- male or female- alone in any room was completely out of the question.
He almost smirked. Several of the other girls blushed and averted their eyes when he peered at them. Cute in a way and not as worrisome as the wide-eyed fascination some of the other females wore as they boldly returned his gaze.
Then there was the brunette two aisles from the door. She, who sat chewing her chocolate while staring into the distance, had instantly reminded him of Allie, with her long, shiny hair and bright brown eyes. It wasn’t just the looks, though. Something about the way she’d secluded herself from the rest of room…just the fact that she’d chosen a seat so close to the door suggested her desire to leave. As if that wasn’t enough, she appeared pale and sort of- folded in, leaning over her lap as she mused on anything but her surroundings. Allison had been the same way in the presence of her peers.
However, the weight issue was apparently not a problem for this girl, either way. She appeared healthy and well-rounded, her blue t-shirt glued a little too closely to…he looked away. Difficult not to notice a full chest, but not so difficult to avoid staring at it. These girls were still kids, regardless of the maturity of their figures.
They’re not that young, Shields. Only about six years your junior.
He slipped off of his desk, hoping he’d be able to balance his attention and not focus too much on one girl simply because she reminded him of Allie. Besides, they weren’t completely alike, he noted when the brunette began licking her fingers and wadding the empty papers in her hands. Allie never licked her fingers- their mother had thoroughly groomed her to be a ‘lady,’ and licking her fingers was absolutely out of the question.
No, Allie had not been allowed to live, to be her true self. It was no f-freaking surprise that she’d turned out the way she had. The blame for Allie’s anorexia did not fully fall upon Dan, a fact he should have always remembered so he’d stop beating himself over the head.
But regardless of what he did and how much he tried to trust his Lord, the sense of looming tragedy could not be shaken; but maybe too many hours spent in the reading of tragic stories had engrained that feeling in him.
Back to your class, Dan, back to your class.
Peeking at his watch, he realized he’d been far too silent while the kids devoured their chocolate, and cleared his throat.
Most of the boys had slouched in their seats, either tapping their pencils on their desk tops or scrutinizing him through narrowed eyes. All but one, who’d taken out his notebook and watched Dan expectantly. All ready for note-taking and business in general, judging by the dress shirt and tie he wore. At least one of the boys in this room didn’t appear ready to fight- either verbally or physically. He was sure there were more, but the time for studying his students had passed, so he opened his laptop and found his attendance chart.
He began calling out names and it didn’t take long for him to discover that the hulking boy in the back of the room, who shouldn’t have been wearing his ball cap indoors, was Brian Cruise. Finally, he learned the winking redhead’s name to be Kelly McBride and the young business man was Kevin Murphy.
Several roll-calls later, he hit Rebekah Rose. No reply.
Dan looked up and said the name a bit more loudly.
“HUH?” The brunette who’d reminded him of Allie jumped in her seat, spilling her notebook over the side of her desk and inciting laughter from several of the other students.
Although not shocked by the immaturity displayed by high school seniors, Dan balked at the nasty comments that followed.
“She’s such a dope,” one of the girls said while Rebekah leaned over to retrieve her items.
“Cheap Rose,” someone else sang out tauntingly in her direction.
Upon straightening, Rebekah’s pale face had been painted the color of her last name. Displaying a temperament completely opposite of Allie’s, she glowered at the rows of grinning students. The set of her chin suggested her desire to pop someone in the nose.
Dan felt his own anger rising.
CHAPTER TWO, PART TWO: http://bloodyroseandthorn.blogspot.com/search/label/Ch%202-2