Sunday, July 10, 2011

Chapter Six

 I know this is a short chapter, but things are going to move a long a bit after this. :)

“Mr. Shields,” Hack said with one, plump arm draped over a tall, metal file cabinet- it was the same cabinet that had concealed Rebekah from curious, hallway onlookers only minutes before.

Dan re-pocketed his Tums and tried to remain straight-faced while the older man eyed him over top his glasses. Shaking his finger slightly, Hack added, “You’ve got to be careful how much time you spend with that young woman.”

Dan bristled. Where the blazes had that spiteful tone come from? The man may have oozed condescension while dealing with Rose and Brian, but he’d nearly spat the words, “that young woman.” And to further inflate the insult, he’d crinkled his nose as though Rebekah was some kind of uncleanly street urchin from Oliver Twist. Even if that were the case, how did that degrade her to non-human status?

When a frown appeared on Hack’s face, Dan cringed.  He’d waited too long to reply and imagined his father berating him for the pause. A good mask required perfectly timed answers and if Dan wanted to stay on Hack’s good side, then a mask needed to be worn. But only for so long and for so many reasons.

After inhaling deeply, Dan replied, “I’ve been warned, Sir. The teachers in the lounge filled me in a bit.”

And so had Rebekah’s mother. After addressing concerns about Brian hassling her daughter, she’d briefly touched the drama her family had endured over the past year. Then, red-faced and pushing her hair behind her shoulder, she’d excused herself while shaking Dan’s hand once more.

Talk about odd behavior. Seemed another interesting facet of the Rose saga needed to remain hidden. Either that or Mrs. Rose simply felt odd for having shared as much as she had.

Hack, rubbing his beard and having shoved his thick glasses back up his nose, asked, “Which version did the other teachers give you? Hers or his?”

“Excuse me?” Dan raised a brow. “I’m not sure.”

“Well, according to him, she came onto him and he refused to give in…so she bloodied his nose.”

Really?”  He only knew of Rebekah’s rumored affair with another teacher. No one had gone into details.

Rebekah may have been bold, but considering that she treated most guys like Princess Leia treated Han Solo, he doubted she’d try to seduce a teacher.

“She says he grabbed her breast and she popped him in the nose,” Hack further explained. “Either way, he definitely got a good gusher.”
Dan felt his lips twitch but managed not to laugh.  “No kidding?” 
Too bad Allie had never been able to deck any of her tormentors.
Hack shook his head. “Some other kids walked in on them and everything blew up from there.”

“I’m surprised her word wasn’t good enough. Most girls can prosecute-”

“She was forced to testify in the courtroom but refused to go after him when he was found not guilty."

"Was she tried for punching him as well?" From his understanding, assault on a teacher meant an arrest, no matter what the reason.

"Oh, yes, but the court also ruled in her favor.  Nothing could be proven either way, but she was given a month of in-school-supension and Towers was asked to resign.  I still find it funny, though...why wouldn't she persue the issue?  I think it casts more doubt on her side of the story, frankly."

Dan returned Hack’s scrutinizing gaze, disappointed by the principal’s ignorance of basic psychology.

Allie’s boyfriend issues had prompted Dan into various web searches, allowing him to discover the deeply-embedded reasons for why some women fail to prosecute their abusers.

Rose, however, struck him as the type of girl to either vehemently fight back or shrug off a confrontation in order to maintain her tough act.  If not forced into court, she probably would have let it go.

But God only knew the extent of her internal struggles.

Her situation just kept growing in complexity and all Hack could do was treat her like some delinquent who deserved no extra attention. Certainly spending time alone with her wasn’t wise- at least not for Dan- but there were other ways to help a lost and hurting young woman.

“Mr. Hack…lots of women fail to prosecute rape and sexual harassment, so, to me…that’s not an indication of whether she’s being honest.”

“Oh, I realize that. But you see, I knew Chris Towers quite well and I can tell you that he’d never harm a child.”
A child? Rose may have been a bit on the pushy, sarcastic side, but her confidence and…well, not to mention her figure-

“He’s a good man, Daniel."
It’s Dan, he thought and then replied, “Even the best can fail.”

Hack shrugged.  "He didn't even want to press charges on the girl, but it wasn't up to him.  The law required us to report her assault."  He pushed his glasses up his nose again.  "I will say the girl had never caused us any problems before, so I suppose the possibility remains that she's telling the truth.  I'm just not sure.  No one is."

Dan relaxed a little.  Maybe Hack wasn't so bad, after all.

Straightening, the principal patted Dan’s shoulder in too familiar a way.  “I don’t mind you reaching out a little to the kids. Just be careful.  As you've been instructed, you need to watch your step, keep your distance...You understand?"

“Absolutely.” Dan exhaled. “I have every intention of watching my step, but I hope you understand that I was just doing my duty today. I broke up a fight and brought the offender to your office. Rebekah didn’t look well, so-”

“No, no, I understand that.” The man waved his hand. “Just the way you stuck up for her in there…I got a little concerned. Don’t let her reel you in too much.”

“I’m not.” Dan hoped Hack didn’t notice his slight wince or hear him swallow. Ever since he’d turned to Christ, lying had become much more difficult.

Rebekah may have been tough but she was cute – and maybe the toughness made her cuter. A bit scary, to say the least and he didn’t fully understand his reaction to her.

His superior produced a slow smile. “You’ll be fine, Son. I think you’re a good one.”

Yeah, and he'd told Rose the same thing- yet he still doubted her innocence.

Dan returned a subtle grin that hopefully looked more confident than he felt. What Dan needed was a good slap upside the head from Allie, and he was sure that in her healthier days, she’d eagerly deliver one.

Enough already.

Why beat himself for something that may have been perfectly natural? Rebekah was a female, he was a guy- a young guy who hadn’t dated in over a year, so it stood to reason that he’d be drawn to her on some level.

He’d just make sure he didn't land in Towers' position and over time, everything would level out. No big deal. Even if he did feel like feeding himself to the neighbor’s dog.

Right now, he guessed he needed to smooth things over, to ensure that Hack would trust him as much as he’d trusted Towers. Lord knew that Dan was more trustworthy, anyway.

Don’t you think you’ve accepted Rose’s side a little too easily?
Scratching the back of his neck, he slowly followed Hack inside of his office.  With his hands in his pockets, he scanned over the neatly arranged desk, the plain furniture and the globe mounted on a tall stand in the corner.  Certainly wasn't a match for Dan's one-of-a-kind globe, but the string of "Calvin and Hobbes" cartoons hanging on the north wall were unique- that is, compared to the rest of the paraphernalia in the room.  Each strip, not surprisingly, involved trips to the principal.

Hack’s chair squeaked under his weight. “You’re free to go, Daniel.”
Not his full name again.  He felt like retorting in as condescending tone as the man had used on Rebekah, “Yes, father.”  But that would do little good.
Turning toward the principal, Dan waved.  Sure, he’d go…but he’d be back sometime soon. Timing was everything.

Once he’d left the room, he picked up his pace as he entered the hallway. No sooner had he stepped out than Ryan launched himself out of God only knew where, wearing a fake, tortured look.

Dan halted. “Ryan, what are you doing here? Where’s Allie?”

“Relax, the nurse is with her.”

Dan sighed and pressed his fingertips against his temples. When Ryan punched his arm lightly, declaring, “Man, you look tired,” Dan glared upward.

In mock fear, the tall kid withdrew his hand and stepped back. “So sorry. What’s wrong?” He motioned inside the office. “What were you doing in there with that hottie?”

“Hottie?” Dan frowned. The last thing he needed was to deal with any hotties, especially a student.

“Yeah, the brunette.” Ryan winked. “Talk about cute.”

Oh, no, he meant Rebekah.
He hadn’t thought of her as hot. “Cute” best described her, even if her figure did compete with Marilyn Monroe’s.

A sick feeling gripped his stomach and he hated to reach for another Tums. Deciding to hold off and drink some peppermint tea, he waved for Ryan to follow him toward the staircase.

“Don’t know what you’re doing, Ry, but please don’t come here just to pick up girls.”

“I came out of curiosity.” Ryan lurched up beside him, scanning the halls as though searching for more prospects. Thankfully, none presented themselves. Ryan, the twenty-year-old teenager, needed another girlfriend like he needed another beer. Neither would be good at this stage in his life.

“I don’t know how you handle the cute girls,” his nutty little brother went on. “Seriously…how do you not-”

“For one, I remember that I’m twenty-four, not to mention their teacher and it would be morally wrong for me to-”
“Yeah, but it has to be tempting.”
Dan groaned. This was the last da-darn thing he needed. They both stopped at the bottom the steps, Dan wishing part of this day away and Ryan wiggling his brows in his typical, ornery fashion.

“Sorry, but I think I’d be psychotic. All these hot, young-”

“Don’t say it.” Dan signaled for him to shut up.

“Who was that girl, anyway?”

“The brunette?”

He nodded, the gleam in his eye and the massaging of his stomach relaying so much sexual hunger that Dan almost felt like popping him in the jaw. Sometimes little brothers needed a good pop in the head, didn’t they?

Yeah, just like you do.

“Never mind who she was. I’m heading up to the teacher’s lounge for some tea. You’re welcome to check things out a little, then we need to get home to Allie.”

“Yeah, yeah…whatever.” Ryan scowled. “You’re such a deadbeat.”

Ch 7:


  1. I'm really liking Dan keep the chapters coming, and I hate to say it but I like Ryan too..

  2. Hahahaha... I like Ryan too! Dan has my heart so far, but it has to run in the family, right?


  3. lol, I love Ryan, as ornery as he is. So does Dan- he's just agitated and knows Ryan sometimes needs a good kick in the pants. LOL

  4. I'm sooooo glad your posting this story again! And I'm even happier that it's a new version, cannot wait to see what's to come !

  5. Thank you, Michelle. I hope you continue to enjoy this version. :)