I own the story/characters/everything that's in between. Keep your mittens to yourself.
The rest is my usual.
Again, thank you for the feedback – some comments come from anonymous sources so I would like to take this chance, yet again, to profess my gratitude for all the beautiful and amazingly sweet remarks. I thrive on them! Hope you enjoy this one.Feedback to BMoonWriter@yahoo.com
The school grounds of Lincoln High were bustling with activity at the beginning of the year. After the long summer break, everyone was busily catching up with friends, making new acquaintances or simply idling near the front entrance, waiting with slight resentment for that first bell to toll. The usual groups gathered in their usual corners while the new kids were trying to find their way in the crowd. The new seniors were finally feeling like the rulers of the land as they waited with bated breath for that sooner than ever taste of freedom. The sophomores were feeling a little in between while the freshmen didn't even know what awaited them. Teachers were slowly ambling their way to the front entrance, elbowing through the thick crowds of over excited teenagers. Some were murmuring underneath their breaths, longing for the summer to continue, and the new ones were simply happy to posses a job. The newest ones were even quite idealistic, having just graduated from university themselves. They considered teaching a sort of calling; a way for them to influence the future by forming and shaping the future generation. The hopeful enthusiasm never lasted too long though, and soon they were joining the older teachers in the soft murmurings and glazed looks.
As the bell rang, students started to slowly make their way to their appropriate classes, marking the first day of school in their calendars, already counting the days till the next break. Walking down the corridors, the students slowly dispersed, but the raucous continued, amplified by the closed spaces of the classrooms.
"Hey Jake, how was your summer?" one of the students aimed the question at a fellow classmate.
The person answering to the name of Jake was a 5'10 teenaged girl with long black hair and piercing grey eyes. She was wearing tight blue jeans, a white tank top and a heavy leather jacket. She looked much like a female James Dean, and walked with the attitude of one too old for this world. Turning around, she glanced at the student that had called her name. His name was Snake and he was a member in her "gang." She had started this gang when she first got to this high school. It all happened quite suddenly and unintentionally; people just started gathering around her and looking at her for guidance. High school was a rough period for many, and they believed she had found the best way to handle it; run it or die trying. There was something about Jake that pulled people to her, made them either fear her, loath her, love her, or all of the above. She basked in the attention, but she also knew well enough not to show it.
With a nonchalant expression she answered, "Good, and yours?"
He smiled and nodded, "Yeah, mine too. Can't wait to get out of school though."
"You just got back," She said with a smirk.
"Yeah, you know what I mean," he chuckled.
"I just hope this year passes smoothly. I heard we'll be having some new teachers." Jake said as she perched herself on the teacher's desk.
"Yeah, they better be cool, or else this is really gonna suck."
"Tell me about it." She snorted and looked around through narrowed eyes. People admired her for who she was, and probably were too scared to go against her if they had any kind of problem. She had a reputation and did everything in her power to uphold it. When she first got to the new school, she soon discovered that people were already talking, making up stories about her. At first, it upset her, then it annoyed her, and then she simply no longer cared, happy that people wouldn't be bothering her. Though it was a public school, she belonged to the "poor" crowd that was often "fondly" called "white trash" and she did her best to steer clear of those who did. Unbeknownst to her, they did the same and they all lived happily ever after.
It wasn't more than a few moments later that the classroom door opened, admitting a small blonde with ocean blue eyes. Her shoulder length hair was a bit ruffled but her gaze was hard and steady. She looked around the class, immediately spotting the now devilishly smirking teenager on the teacher's desk. Raising a perfectly shaped eyebrow at the cocky look Jake was sporting, the blonde strode purposefully in her direction.
Jake couldn't hide her gaze of appreciation when the blonde stepped inside the classroom. She raked her eyes over the tight body, and smiled sensually. Perching herself further on the teacher's desk, she licked her lips in anticipation when the cute woman drew closer. "Well hello there. And who might you be?" She asked charmingly.
The blonde's lips turned up in a small smile of her own, "I'm Ms. Johnson, and that's my desk you're sitting on. Who might you be?"
Jake's smile quickly disappeared as her leg slipped down onto the floor. Straightening her leather jacket, she stood up casually, looking straight into the woman's eyes, "I'm Jake."
The entire class stared in shocked silence at the unraveling scene. Some were trying to hold a giggle inside, while others couldn't even blink. The new teacher and Jake were seemingly playing a game of tug of war and everyone was more than eager to see who would win.
"Well Jake, I would appreciate it if you took a seat at your own desk and allow me to settle at mine." Ms. Johnson said, not unkindly.
Jake sneered at the slightly condescending tone and at being reproached in front of the entire class, but she swallowed her pride for the moment and vowed to get back at the young looking blonde. Without another glance, she scowled her way back to her seat on the backdrop of slight snickering from her classmates. Shooting an intimidating gaze at all those in her proximity, the entire class immediately quieted down.
"Ok, good morning everyone. As I've said, my name is Ms. Johnson and I'll be your English teacher this year." Sara Johnson was 23 years old, just out of school herself and ready to face the big bad world of snotty teenagers. This was her first time in a real classroom and she was full of idealistic notions about making a difference and shaping the minds of the young ones in her care. She had no idea what to expect but she had a feeling she was about to find out sooner rather than later. Her first encounter with her new class, the class of seniors, didn't go exactly as planned, but she thought she had handled the situation quite well considering. When she noted the angry gaze directed at her from beneath dark bangs, she realized Jake would be a handful. She knew her type; sitting in the back row, acting all angry and pissed off at the world, thinking they were cooler than ice. Yes, she had encountered many of those in her day, but having always been the perfect student, she never really had anything to do with them, so she mostly stayed out of their way. However, being the teacher would prove to be somewhat different. She would have to deal with the surly teenager whether she liked it or not.
The first day of school came to an end much quicker than expected. When the bell rang for the final time that day everyone quickly got to their feet, pulling and pushing chairs out of the way, moving in the direction of the main doors, creating a throng of expectantly buzzing bodies and effectively blocking the exit for quite a while. Sara packed her things and made sure not to leave the classroom before all of her students had already gone. Placing the strap of her purse on her shoulder and taking her briefcase in her hand, she made her way to her car in the teachers' parking lot. While opening the door of her car, she felt someone was watching her. Hearing the lock click open, she gazed around, trying to locate the source. On the other side of the teachers' parking lot, stood the students' parking lot, where she noticed Jake's eyes staring intently at her. When their eyes met, Jake quickly averted her gaze, straddled her motorcycle and put on her helmet, effectively shutting the outside world. Sara shook her head and got into her car. She sat for a moment, trying to come to terms with her first day at work. Her day had gone well; her students, at least most of them, seemed nice enough and she felt it would be a good, albeit somewhat difficult year. That student, Jake, kept plaguing her thoughts. Even when she was a student herself, she knew that students whose names teachers learned on the very first day, did not bode good news. And here she was, on her first day, already learning one student's name. A name she couldn't seem to get out of her mind. The girl intrigued her for some reason.
Shaking her head to clear away the thoughts, she drove home. Home was a few blocks away from the school. A small, tidy apartment which served its purpose perfectly. Recently, her boyfriend of three years, whom she had met at university, moved in with her. Deep down, she knew that wasn't the smartest decision she ever made, but she didn't wish to break up with him either. Her parents, along with his, kept pushing them to marry, but both seemed quite reluctant. Neither ever stopped to ask why that seemed to be the case.
Opening the front door, she grimaced at the sight greeting her. Her boyfriend, Greg, was sprawled out on the couch, snoring, with a six pack of empty beer cans situated on the coffee table in front of him. He wasn't a drinker but much like herself, he was recently out of school and looking for a job. The school Sara applied to had only one teaching position and when both sent out their resumes, she was the one who received the call to come in for an interview. That call, she knew, had driven a wedge between them. She felt, at times, that he resented her getting a job before him, and now he was almost unwilling to go out and search for another.
"Greg, I'm home." She walked into the living room and tapped him on the shoulder, trying to rouse him without startling him.
He grumbled unintelligibly and turned on his side, facing the couch and away from Sara.
"Great. Don't think I'll be cleaning your mess…" Sara grumbled under her breath.
Even though the lack of order bothered her, she was unwilling to set a precedent. Whoever made a mess should clean it.
She went into her bedroom and started undressing. A shower sounded like a great idea. Folding her clothes into a neat pile, she pulled a white t-shirt and a pair of grey sweatpants out of the closet and prepared for her shower. The water felt incredibly relaxing as it softly pounded her skin. She had her eyes closed and nearly screamed when someone touched her shoulder from behind. Opening her eyes, she looked angrily at Greg who had decided to wake up out of his drunken stupor and join her in the shower. "What do you think you're doing?"
Greg smiled stupidly, his drunken state still quite obvious. "I thought I was gonna join you for a nice shower. Rub away your aches and pains from your day at work…"
"Oh you think so? Look, I'm not in the mood, especially when I see you're clearly not sober. Sober up and I'll think about it."
"Aww, come on, honeybunny, I want to make you feel good…" he slurred and started caressing her back in slow circles. It was clear he was beginning to enjoy himself.
Sara simply grew angrier. "Look, I'm not in the mood for this. I want to relax as I finish my shower…alone."
Greg's face distorted in anger, "Fine! Have your fucking shower alone!"
When he scrambled to leave the tub, in his inebriated state he misjudged the distance between tub and floor and slipped, banging his head against the side of the sink on the way down. Sara screamed and tried to catch him, but it was too late. Blood started pouring out of his forehead and she suddenly felt lightheaded, like she was about to faint herself. Drawing a deep breath, she grabbed a towel and pressed it to his forehead, "hold this and try to press tightly," she said in a voice that sounded frantic even to her own ears. Greg was moaning pitifully, his eyes closed and his breathing somewhat shallow.
"Oh God, oh God… I need to get him to the hospital." She rushed out of the bathroom, grabbing the clean clothes she planned to wear after her shower and dressed. In less than a minute she was back at Greg's side.
"Greg, honey, I need you to try to stand up. Please, I can't carry you…" She pleaded while trying futilely to pull him to his feet. Deciding on a better tactic, she began dragging him out of the bathroom. He slid on the slick floor but once in the bedroom, it was getting harder to pull. He was a big man, almost 6 ft . tall and muscular. Sweaty and growing more worried by the second, Sara took another deep breath and pulled. Inch by inch she managed to get him into the living room and eventually to the front door. She had no idea how she was going to pull him into her car as he seemed to have lost consciousness somewhere along the way. Opening the front door, she scanned the neighborhood, trying to locate one of her neighbors and beg for help. The towel was already almost soaked through and she knew the alcohol in his blood did not help matters. They needed to get to the hospital and fast. The thought of calling an ambulance never even entered her mind.
Just when she was about to start crying uncontrollably, she heard someone calling to her. In her daze and through the rushing adrenaline, she could barely make out the voice.
"Ms. Johnson, do you need any help?"
It was Jake on her motorcycle. She was straddling the bike, looking expectantly at her teacher. Lowering her gaze, her brow rose into her hairline when she saw exactly what her teacher was dragging. When no response was forthcoming, she pushed the stand on her bike and walked over to the blonde. Placing a gentle hand on her shoulder, she was startled at the look of utter desperation in those baby blue eyes. Without any further questions, she gently moved Sara out of the way and went to the burly man sprawled on the floor with a blood soaked towel held to his head. "Alright, dude, up you go." She put her hands under his arms like one would do with a small child and hoisted his heavy body up. When he was semi-standing, she quickly shoved an arm around his waist, making him lean on her body.
Sara couldn't believe her eyes. Suddenly there was her student, the one who seemed to refuse to leave her mind that afternoon, standing on her front lawn, holding onto her unconscious boyfriend as though he was a mere rag doll. She still couldn't wrap her mind around the way Jake had simply pulled him to his feet. Everything must have taken less than five minutes but it all seemed to her as though hours had passed. When that voice called to her again, her boyfriend had been strapped into the passenger seat of her car. "Ms. Johnson, I think it might be better if I drive."
Without saying a word, she handed Jake the car keys and allowed herself to be led into the backseat. Jake took care to fasten her seatbelt before moving to the driver's seat and getting in. The drive to the hospital took no more than a few minutes and Jake took care of everything. She spoke with the doctor who rushed out of the emergency room to look at the incoming patient. She didn't know what had happened and said that the blonde, who was probably the guy's girlfriend, would know and would tell the tale once she snapped out of her shock. The guy taken care of, Jake parked the car and took Sara to the waiting room. "Ms. Johnson, are you okay? Should I ask a doctor to take a look at you as well?"
Sara swallowed and shook her head. Through parched lips, she said, "No, no I'm ok. Oh God… I'm so sorry for being so completely out of it. He fell down and blood started pooling on the ground. So much blood. I was so scared, I didn't know what to do, and then, when I finally got him to the door and I looked at my car, I lost it… I simply started shutting down…" She then looked at her momentary savior like she was seeing her for the very first time. The girl was absolutely beautiful. What a strange thought to have at such a time, the words briefly flashed through her mind before she pushed them down. Probably one of the most beautiful people she'd ever seen. Her eyes were an icy grey, and at that moment, they were looking at her with concern. So different from the angry frown she received back at school.
"Thank you. I don't know what to say. Thank you so much for helping me… us."
The brunette smiled crookedly and shrugged it off. "No problem. Are you sure you're ok?"
Sara smiled, "Yes, yes, I'm fine."
"Maybe you should speak to the nurse and tell her what happened. They asked me but I didn't really know what to say. And she also asked you to fill this out. I'll get us some coffee in the meantime." Jake handed Sara a form and went to search for the vending machines, not waiting for an answer.
Following the girl's advice, Sara got up and went to speak with the nurse. By the time Jake returned, Sara had good news about Greg. "He'll be fine. He lost quite a bit of blood, and if it weren't for you… well anyhow, thank you so much for being there and for helping. I don't know how to thank you enough."
Jake shrugged again and handed her a paper cup filled with vending machine coffee. "No problem. So, umm, when are they going to let him out?" She shoved a hand into her front jean pocket and looked a bit uncomfortable all of a sudden.
"They're going to keep him overnight just to make sure he's ok. He had a mild concussion and they had to stitch him up, but if everything looks ok by tomorrow, he'll be free to go."
"Great, glad to hear." She was about to say something else, but before the words could pass her lips, Sara asked, "I'm going to head home now. You left your bike at my house, so, umm, come with me?" Sara grimaced when what she said registered in her mind. It certainly didn't sound like something that should be coming out of an English teacher's mouth. She assumed she was still in shock over the entire ordeal.
The teenager didn't look any more comfortable. "Yeah, thanks."
They climbed into Sara's car and made most of the way back to her home in silence. Neither knew what to say now that the crisis was over. Parked in her driveway, Sara cut the engine. Thankfully, Jake's bike was still in front of the house. Sara turned to gaze at the brooding brunette and smiled softly. "Thanks again for all you've done. I really appreciate your help." It sounded lame even to her own ears, but didn't know any other way to convey her gratitude, especially since this was one of her students.
"Again, not a problem. So, was that your boyfriend?" Jake asked nonchalantly. She wasn't really sure why she cared but for some reason she wanted to know.
Jake nodded once and opened the car door. "Thanks for the ride. See you at school." And with that, she walked to her bike, revved the engine loudly enough to scare some nearby birds, and rode away.
Shaking her head, Sara wondered aloud, "That is one strange person." With a sigh, her strength now utterly drained, she entered her house.
The following morning she picked Greg up from the hospital. The night passed smoothly and he was ready to return home. Sara brought him a change of clothes since those from last night were clotted with blood. Thinking he'd be at least somewhat remorseful and contrite at what happened the other day, Sara was surprised by his brusque, nearly hostile manner. He was silent when she came into his room, he was silent when she handed him his clothes and he maintained his silence on the drive home. Finally, Sara couldn't take it anymore and snapped, "What's wrong with you? You could at least say something after what happened. Hey Sara, sorry for being a jerk, I'll go look for a job and stop being a drunken load off, or hey Sara, thanks for carrying my bloody body all through the house, frantically trying to get your bleeding ass to a hospital, or anything of that kind." Sara was angry and getting angrier by the minute. She wasn't the type to yell or snap at people but things have been festering and they were starting to bubble up.
Turning his angry gaze at his girlfriend, Greg had seemingly reached his own end of the rope. "You want me to thank you for bringing me to the fucking hospital when it was your own FUCKING FAULT that I got in this freaking situation as it is?!" He turned his body in the seat to face the blonde teacher.
Sara's blue eyes burned as they turned away from the road and focused instead on Greg, "I am the one who caused this?! How dare you?! You ungrateful ass! You lie on my couch, in my house, eat my food and drink beer you bought with MY money and then when I refuse your drunken fumblings, it is MY fault you make a complete fool of yourself by falling and banging your empty head against the sink?!" All through her tirade she didn't look once at the road, cars whizzing by on the opposite lane. Greg was starting to get worried and the headache he already had intensified.
"Sara, look at the road…" he warned worriedly.
"It's fine! But don't think I'll forget all this. Some things have to change." And with that final note, she returned her gaze to the street.
When they got home, Sara parked the car, turned off the ignition and slammed the door shut as she got out. The front door followed by her bedroom door was soon slammed shut as well. 'And to think I had taken the day off to pick his sorry behind up,' she thought bitterly.
The following day she left the house early, leaving a snoring Greg on the couch, where he'd taken to sleeping. She was glad to be back at school. Her house no longer felt like a home for her. It simply felt confining. Her conscious mind almost forgot all about Jake and the great help she offered a couple of days before. When her eyes caught the steely gaze of the student, it all came rushing back. She had no idea how she would face the girl. For some reason, she was somewhat embarrassed. She wasn't sure if the student had told anyone of what had happened, sure that if she had, the entire school would be ogling her, judging her. But everyone looked the same and acted the same. The teachers' lounge bustled with the same inactivity that always defined it. And her classes had gone over smoothly.
It was last period and the seniors' class. She squared her shoulders, raised her chin in determination and walked into the classroom. Jake, much like the first day of school, was propped against her desk. Clearing her throat loud enough to be heard over the din, she walked towards the middle of the class, awaiting Jake's reaction and hoping it would pass without incident. Jake turned around, sensing her teacher's stare. "Ms. Johnson," she said in greeting as she moved away from her desk, bowing in exaggeration to let her through. With a small smirk and a twinkle in her eye, she winked at Sara and went to take her seat. Sara, for some unknown reason, felt her cheeks burn with an embarrassing blush. Hoping the children wouldn't notice her strange behavior, she placed her things on the desk and got right to teaching.
That was the only awkward encounter she had with Jake ever since the incident with her boyfriend. Jake still persisted in her arrogant, bordering on obnoxious behavior, especially when it came to the little blonde, but overall, life was okay for Sara. She had no idea why she was the target of the girl's attitude, especially when she had helped her so on that crucial day, but she attributed it to her private life and left it be. She and Greg had spoken, laying things out in the open, eventually leading to some kind of agreement. They agreed neither wished to separate, but he would have to look for a job and start sharing their obligations and responsibilities as a couple. A month later, Greg got a job at another nearby school and things seemed to finally settle into a calm routine.
About halfway through the semester, trouble started brewing again. The calm routine of before that was longed for by both Sara and Greg slowly metamorphosed into a dull, pathetic excuse for a living. Sara once again felt suffocated and could see no retreat. Her days at school weren't any better since Jake seemed to make it her purpose to cause trouble in the already troubled life of the young blonde.
"Last class I asked you to analyze the symbol of the green light in Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby . Who would like to read what they wrote?"
No one raised their hand, and suddenly there was complete silence. "Not everyone at once…" Sara joked. "Anyone willing to give it a try? I won't bite, promise."
"Well, I might answer if you do promise to bite," said a cocky Jake, her head held low, her eyes looking up through her dark bangs. She smirked when she saw the red coloring her beautiful teacher's cheeks.
Sara wasn't sure what to do with such a comment, but they were starting to come more frequently from her rather unnerving student. She swallowed and looked around, trying her best to ignore it altogether. "Anyone? The green light, what does it remind you of? What does the color green remind you of?"
Jake hated being ignored, so she persisted, "So is that a no?"
The entire class kept silent as the air grew tenser. They looked from Jake to their teacher and back, their eyes and head bobbing from one side to the other.
Knowing she couldn't possibly continue to ignore her student's crass comments and behavior, she looked directly at Jake and said with a confidence she didn't really feel at the moment, "if you are unwilling to partake in the class discussion, I ask you to leave my class. If you speak to me in this manner again, I will make sure you never enter my class again. Is that clear, Jake?"
Jake snarled, "What kind of manner is that, Ms. Johnson?"
Clenching her teeth, Sara responded, "This discussion is over. Have you done your homework for today?"
"Alright then, please leave my class and go to the principal's office, and wait for me there." Slowly closing the book she had in her hands, Sara crossed her arms over her chest and waited. She wasn't sure what she would do if Jake refused to follow her order.
Silently, Jake straightened her back, got up from her chair and started moving towards the door. On her way out, she briefly stopped in front of Sara and whispered, "this ain't over." When she was about to open the door and leave, she turned halfway around and said, "Oh and by the way, I read The Great Gatsby when I was ten and the green light is a symbol of many things, like money, growth, fertility, a new beginning, but mostly for Gatsby, it represents Daisy and the American dream that he can never achieve," and with that she left.
Sara was shocked mute, as was the rest of the class. That girl made her blood boil and run cold all at the same time. She was obviously intelligent and capable but for some reason refused to even try. Her complexity and wild nature drew Sara like a moth to a burning flame. Class soon came to an end and Sara rushed to the principal's office to try and figure out the complex problem that was Jake O'Neal. Surprised on some level to actually find her there, waiting for her, she approached the principal's secretary and asked to speak with the principal. In all the time since she had started teaching at Lincoln High, she never once sent anyone to the principal's office. She wanted to believe she was a different kind of teacher, but apparently some students didn't know any other way.
The principal immediately ushered them into his office and took his seat. "What seems to be the problem, Ms. Johnson?" The gentle smile on his face indicated an amount of fondness he felt for the young teacher. She had graduated at the top of her class, was motivated, hard working and ambitious, everything the school needed and required of its teachers.
"Well, Ms. O'Neal has been making my classes somewhat more difficult by offering inappropriate commentary, often directed at myself." Sara tried to choose her words carefully. She wasn't exactly sure why she was doing so, as though unconsciously protecting the delinquent, but it simply felt right.
"What kind of comments, Ms. Johnson?" The principal sent a harsh look in the direction of the student, to be completely ignored by the nonchalant, coolly reclining girl.
Sara found it hard to put it into words since she was embarrassed at having allowed this to continue and at the same time, now that she thought about it, none of her comments were extremely overt. "Subtle comments laced with all kinds of innuendos. And on top of that, she comes to class with no homework, no books, notebooks, and so on. And I really don't understand why since she is such an intelligent girl." Unnoticed by either Sara or the principal, Jake's eyes flashed in anger at hearing the word 'girl.' She was a person, a grown woman, and absolutely hated being referred to as a 'girl.' Her step father used to call her that too. Until she stopped him. Altogether. Now he was spending his elder years rotting in jail.
"I'm such an intelligent girl, am I?" She suddenly spat from her seat, no longer reclining in boredom.
Sara was shocked at the vehemence coming off the student. "Well then, why don't you take your English classes and shove 'em? Remember what you promised in class; if I ever speak to you in this manner again, I won't be welcome in your class. Well, I don't even want to be in them anyhow." Without waiting for an answer, she got out of the chair and headed for the door. The principal had gotten so red, it was actually funny. Jake resisted bursting into laughter. "Oh and next time you need help, look for someone else." When Jake opened the door, the principal suddenly found his voice, "As of right now you are expelled from this school, Ms. O'Neal. Don't dare step back in here unless you wish to be taken away by the police, you hear me?!"
"Yeah, yeah…" answered Jake, already making her way out of the office.
"I'm sorry you had to endure that, Ms. Johnson. This has never happened before. I mean, Jake is known as quite the trouble maker but she never spoke in that way to any of her teachers. I don't know what has gotten into her."
"Sir, may I say something?"
"Yes, of course, please."
"I don't think expelling her is a good idea in her case. I think that is exactly what she wanted. Somehow, I think she was offended by what I said. I think she actually cares about my class and about school, somewhere deep, deep down inside, but is just afraid of showing it. Please don't expel her on my account. I couldn't possibly live with myself. She's not a bad student. She's filled with potential but lacks in will. Allow her to come back and I'll have a chat with her. I'm sure we could work something out."
The principal listened carefully, thinking he may had been too harsh and rash in expelling the student so quickly, but his blood continued to boil in anger at the girl's furious comments. "Alright, I'll allow her to come back, putting her on probation. If she acts up again, she's out. I'll call her home and leave the message that I expect her back here in three days. Give her some time to cool off and set her priorities straight, if she has any."
Sara thanked her boss and left the office. A new mission igniting a fire inside her that had long been dormant. She would make Jake come around, and would take her as a protégé. She would transform this kid's life around.
The next few days passed rapidly by. Greg didn't know what happened to his now usually sullen girlfriend. She was suddenly radiant and looking happy. Confronting her on the subject one night, she brushed him off and kept at her work. Suspicions rising, he pulled Sara out of the chair she was sitting on, grading papers, and asked harshly, "What's with you?"
He knew his reasoning was ridiculous but felt he had the right to know if something was going on in his girlfriend's life that made her happy.
"What do you mean? Let me go, I have papers to grade." She tried pulling away, but he held fast.
"Are you cheating on me?"
Sara's eyes grew to the size of saucers, "What?! What are you talking about?"
"I see how you've been this past week, all smiley and happy, humming while working. If you're not cheating on me, I want to know what happened."
Narrowing her eyes to an almost invisible slit, she ground through her clenched teeth, "What in the hell is wrong with you? If I'm happy the first thing you wonder is whether I'm having an affair? Well that should tell you something about our relationship, now shouldn't it?! Now unless you have something NORMAL and mature to talk to me about, I suggest you go back to whatever you were doing and let me get back to my work." Thinking the discussion was over, she was surprised by the strengthening hold on her arm.
"Who the fuck do you think you're talking to, huh? You think I'm one of your stupid little students that you can boss and order around? You freaking slut, I'm sure you're boinking one of those ugly ass teachers from your school, aren't you?! Well fuck you! It doesn't matter anyhow. I've had enough of you." He pushed Sara away, sending her crashing against the kitchen chair she had been occupying. She stumbled and fell on her side, hitting the floor hard, crying out softly.
Helplessly, she watched as her longtime boyfriend made up a bag and stormed out of the house they had shared for the past six months. After he slammed the door shut, not even bothering to glance back at her once, she pulled herself off the ground, clutching her wrist. It was throbbing dully and she hoped she hadn't fractured anything. Trying to rotate it slowly, she was happy it worked with only mild pain. She knew all of her left side would be sporting black and blue bruises for a while to come. Taking a bag of frozen pees out of the freezer, she placed it on her wrist, which was slightly swollen. Looking at her students' papers, she decided against continuing her work and opted to go to bed early, eventually crying herself to sleep. She knew she wasn't sad over the break-up but rather having her emotions on overload for the past few months had finally gotten to her.
The following morning, as predicted, her body hurt as though she had been run over by a truck, which then decided to make a u-turn and drive over her a second time. Slowly getting out of bed, she took a quick, painful shower, dressed and left for school. She knew she would be walking funny, but preferred to hold onto her sick days for when she was actually sick and immobile. Also, working would keep her mind off of her personal life, or so she willed herself to believe. At school, her hunched form and awkward walk garnered some strange looks, but no one asked. She didn't know if she should be thankful or upset by her co-workers' lack of interest. As always, she simply attributed it to their reluctance to butt in.
Last period finally rolled around and she was both saddened and angry at seeing that her new protégée decided to skip class. Waiting for the bell to ring, she tucked The Great Gatsby into her bag, which they were finally done discussing, and left the building. Standing in the parking lot, she realized she had no desire to go home. Her home was empty and her loneliness would consume her, she was sure. It wasn't that she missed Greg because she didn't, but his presence, any presence, still meant she would not be completely alone. On the other side of the parking lot stood the school's football field where it appeared the school's team was in the midst of practice. Deciding to watch the impromptu game they were putting on, she walked up the hill and settled down on the grass, facing the field. The air was cool and the sky bright blue and it gave her a sense of tranquility. She turned her face to the sky, eyes closed, letting the mild breeze caress her features. Her blonde hair billowed in the wind, playfully un-tucking soft tendrils from her ponytail. She didn't hear the footsteps approaching since she was too caught up in the moment.
"How was class today?"
Sara quickly opened her eyes and turned her gaze to look at the "intruder." Tranquility rapidly morphed into anger at the sight of Jake, casually leaning against a light pole, smirking at her.
"Where were you?"
"Aww, you missed me…" said Jake sarcastically. And then she noticed the crestfallen look on Sara's face. Suddenly, she no longer felt cocky, nor did she wish to give the blonde a hard time. She approached her silently, as Sara had already turned her back to her, seemingly intent on the game.
Chewing on her bottom lip thoughtfully, she plopped down next to Sara. "Look, I'm sorry I didn't come to class. Something happened at home and I couldn't leave." After a brief pause, in which no response came for the blonde, Jake continued, "You don't have to take school matters so seriously, you know. It's just school, just a job."
Sara then turned watery eyes towards the brunette, who was reclining back on her hands, legs slightly spread and stretched out in front of her. "You think this is because of class, or because you didn't come to it? Someone's mighty full of themselves…" She knew she shouldn't have said those things out loud, but couldn't help shatter the confident young woman's sense of bravado and over inflated self worth.
Jake swallowed, seeing that this was something else, not to do with her or with school. Tucking her legs under her, Indian style, she scooted closer, for the first time noticing the bruising on the blonde's arm and hand. "What happened to you?" She asked, concern lacing her tone.
Sara glanced at her arm and shrugged, "Nothing that should concern you."
Jake was suddenly angry, "But what if it does?"
Sara looked at her quizzically, "What do you mean?"
"What if it does concern me?" She was met by silence.
"What happened? Who did this to you? Greg?" She could feel her anger begin to rise.
Sara closed her eyes, shaking her head. "This is not an appropriate conversation. You're my student, I'm your teacher and that is all. What concerns my private life is just that, private, and I would like to keep it that way."
"Bullshit! Fuck appropriate. Is it bad if I care about you and want to know what happened? You told me you wanted to take me under your wing, make me your little protégée. Doesn't that include a glimpse into your own life, or is that only one sided? Am I the only one supposed to bare my soul to you?" Jake got to her feet and started pacing. She had said more than she had intended to and was starting to regret opening her mouth in the first place. She had to admit that Sara was nice, and if she looked deep down inside she knew the real reason behind her seeming animosity towards the young teacher was that she liked her. It was as simple as that.
Sara couldn't believe her ears. She knew something had to be going on but never suspected it would come to this. Or perhaps this was exactly what she had secretly been waiting for. Grudgingly she admitted to herself that she was thrilled to learn the girl liked her. And she could in fact trace the moment her mundane life suddenly took a turn for the better. It was shortly after conversing with the girl following her near expulsion. She tracked the girl's home address and made her way over. She was alone in the house when she got there. The house was small and looked neglected, unlike the clearly very loved bike parked in the yard. Knocking on the screen door, it was opened several seconds later. "What do you want?" Jake barked at her.
"I wanted to let you know you aren't expelled."
"Great, like I care." Jake shrugged, still standing in the doorway, blocking her teacher's view of the inside.
"I think you do care. And I care too. I didn't mean that I didn't want you in my class, all I meant was that it would be nice to be spoken to with respect, just like you like to be spoken to with respect."
Jake lowered her eyes to the ground, shuffling the toe of her boot against the stone. "Fine. I'm sorry for speaking to you like that. I didn't mean it. Are we done here?" The mask of indifference was firmly back in place.
Sara smiled, "Yes, if you promise you'll come to my class in three days, after the period of suspension the principal decided on. With your homework."
Jake smirked slightly, "I don't know. Can't promise anything. Especially about the homework."
Back in the present, Sara was shaken out of her thoughts by the soft hand placed on her own. She slowly looked up and was met by the expectant gaze of her student. "I can't do this. This isn't right."
Jake, however, did not relent. She kept hold of the blonde's hand and secretly thrilled at the fact she wasn't pushed away. "What can't you do? Talk to me? Share? That's all I ask. I don't want your life story, all I want is to take a little bit of this burden off your shoulders and maybe lighten your load for a bit. Is that too much to ask?"
Touched by her sincerity, Sara was mortified to feel tears filling her eyes. Covering her trembling lips with her hand, she pulled the other one out from under Jake's. "I don't get you. One moment you're completely hostile, throwing insults and lewd innuendos with that devil may care attitude of yours, and then the next, you're the sweetest, most intelligent soul I'd ever met. Who are you?"
Jake smiled sweetly. "A mystery I guess," she said and sighed dramatically.
Sara laughed. "Yes, well, my dear mystery, I think it's time for me to head home."
"Hey, don't change the subject. Come on, what happened?"
Sara sighed. She knew she was going to give in eventually. "I had a fight with Greg and I fell down. We broke up, end of story."
Jake's jaw muscles bunched and relaxed as her eyes filled with blue fire. "I knew it. That bastard touched you?" She felt she had the right to ask this of Sara. She felt protective of the petite woman for some reason, and was ready to jump to her feet and go after that bastard of a boyfriend she had once helped save. "I'm sorry I ever helped you that day," she said in contempt.
"Jake, don't say that. He didn't do this. I really did fall. I guess I'm a little bit of a klutz and should watch my step more carefully. Don't worry about it, I'm already better."
As Jake helped Sara get back to her feet, her eyes lingered on her teacher's arm. Right around her bicep there were fading finger marks. She fumed inside but decided to let things rest as they were.
Dusting the seat of their pants, they made their way to the parking lot.
"Want me to give you a ride?" Sara asked.
Jake looked sheepishly around, scuffing the toe of her boot against the ground, looking like an oversized three year old. "Would you? I left my bike home. It needs some repairs."
"Of course. Hop in. So what happened to your bike?"
Jake entered the passenger side and buckled her seatbelt. "Well, its engine may need to be replaced…"
"Ouch… how did that happen?"
"Uhh…let's just say I gave it a run for its money."
"I thought you loved that bike, why would you treat it so roughly?"
Jake shrugged and scratched the back of her neck. "It just happened. No matter, I got the spare parts. I just need to take the time to fix it."
Sara parked her car in front of Jake's downtrodden house and cut the engine. Jake sighed and asked, "Would you like to come in?" She knew she had been rude the last time Sara had been around, but making up for her behavior wasn't the only excuse behind the question. She truly wanted to get to know her better as she felt an incredible sense of attraction towards her. She knew it was inappropriate due to their relationship, but she couldn't care less. She always knew she liked girls but Sara was different. She wasn't like any of the girls she'd been with.
Sara swallowed thickly, her throat suddenly parched. She knew the correct answer to Jake's question, but couldn't for the life of her get it out. Jake was indeed a mystery to her. Greg had been her only serious boyfriend, having only sporadically dated in high school. She didn't know how to describe these new feelings Jake was causing in her and the only thing she knew was that she was terrified. Her feelings were both exhilarating and scary. She couldn't allow them to dominate and take over her rational mind. She had to maintain professionalism and decline her offer. Put some respectable boundaries between them. 'My God, what am I thinking?!' her mind screamed at her. 'This is illegal, unethical and simply horrendous. She's my student. A girl. A teenager, for God's sake!' Even though Jake had turned 18, she was still a teenager who was under her care and supervision. She couldn't imagine what this would do to her career if any of it were ever to be discovered.
"Okay," she eventually answered. Her inner voice sighed in defeat.
They stepped out of the car and Sara let Jake lead her into the house, of which she only got a glimpse before. The interior matched the exterior perfectly, looking run-down and shabby. The house was empty, she noted as they made their way inside. "I'll give you the nickel tour. This is the living room, there's the kitchen, and if you squint your eyes real tight, you can almost see into the bedroom," Jake joked.
Taking a chance, Jake took hold of Sara's hand, looking into her eyes, making sure they were both on the same wave. Sara gulped when she saw her own feelings reflected in the grey eyes before her. It was slowly becoming real. This was definitely the time to take her leave and flee. But she didn't. Later she would contemplate her decision and think about the enormity of it all. At the moment, she let herself be led to what she assumed was Jake's bedroom. The walls were bare, the only furniture in the room, a bed and a dresser. It looked empty and un-lived in. Standing in the middle of the room, they gazed at each other, Jake softly holding Sara's hand in hers. The silence was making it hard to breathe.
"I don't know what to do," said Sara.
Jake shrugged. "You don't have to do anything. I'm not completely sure why I brought you here. All I know is I feel something when I'm around you. At first, I know it came out the wrong way, but it's only because… well, because I've never felt like this before and I'm not really used to not being in control, you know?"
"So I see. What do you expect from me? What do you want?" Sara asked softly.
"I don't know. When I helped you out that day with your boyfriend, you looked so scared and lost that I just wanted to hold you and comfort you. God, that scared me. I didn't know how to run away from you without totally hurting your feelings or confusing you," Jake smiled awkwardly. "When you told me what he did to you, I felt like I could rip him to pieces. What I'm trying to say is, I don't expect anything. I do, however, really want to kiss you right now."
Sara bit her bottom lip. The entire speech was simply too precious. She was too precious. There she was, this big, bad, motorcycle riding delinquent giving her puppy dog eyes and begging her for a kiss. She knew she should have run away and never looked back, but she couldn't. It was too late. It was probably already too late from the moment she entered the house. Lacing her fingers in midnight curls, Sara took the initiative and pulled Jake's head down for a kiss. The first touch of lips was sweet and gentle. A chaste making each other's acquaintance. The second kiss was more engaging. She felt the brunette's arms wound around her waist and pull her closer to her tall body. The kiss slowly deepened as they became intimately familiar with each other. Soon tongues came into play, softly mapping the other's mouth, sucking and nipping, savoring the taste.
Jake used what little thought she still had left in her brain and gently pulled away from the kiss. "Are you sure, Sara?"
That was the big question. It was indeed a humungous question but Sara had no qualms any longer, so she simply nodded.
Jake smiled and pulled the blonde's body back to her own. Swiftly maneuvering Sara, she turned their bodies around and laid her smoothly on the bed. Sara gasped at the sudden change in position. Jake disengaged from the ongoing kiss and smiled down at the blonde. "Is this okay?"
"More than okay. Come here."
Jake readily obliged. Kissing the blonde's sweet lips was quickly becoming one of her favorite activities. They were soft and pliant, and extremely delicious. Sensually lapping her tongue against Sara's mildly spread lips, she used her hands to pull her shirt up over her head. Before Sara even noticed, her pants and bra were gone as well.
"You're so incredibly beautiful. That asshole didn't deserve you. And neither do I." Jake lowered her head to almost touch Sara's chest.
Sara swallowed thickly and placed her palm against Jake's cheek, bringing her face back up to her own. "We have so much to talk about. It's not an issue of deserving here, it's an issue of me doing something I shouldn't be doing. But I can't help myself. You think you don't deserve me? I spent three and a half years with Greg and not once did he make me feel the way you do. I guess that says a lot about me as well. I know I'm probably being selfish here, but I need you. I look into your eyes and I can't imagine not being with you… I…" Before she could finish her sentence, Jake took her lips in an almost animalistic kiss. She needed to be closer to her. She wanted to merge with her.
The rest of their clothes quickly became history. Jake marveled at the view uncovered. She used her hands and lips in worship. She caressed and tasted and nuzzled and kneaded. She couldn't get close enough. When her fingers made first contact, she thought she was going to die. The heat seared deep into her very being. Sara's body moved in tandem with hers, arching and pushing, begging to get closer. Jake's hand was holding the back of Sara's neck and as they moved faster and more frantically, her hand slid out from underneath, cupping her cheek, bringing her face closer to her own, needing to see her in that perfect moment. Sara's lips spread as her moans grew louder and the thrusts came deeper. Two of Jake's fingers quickly found their way into the open mouth, reveling in the doubled heat. Their movements were growing frantic, Sara's breath coming in short, sharp gasps. Her left hand clutched the bed spread as her right clawed at Jake's back. Jake leaned down and kissed her sweaty forehead, closed eyelids and then nuzzled her way down to her ear, whispering, "Come for me, beautiful. I need to hear you, let me feel you baby. I love you…" When those words registered in Sara's unconscious, her body automatically reacted, falling deeply into heavenly bliss. Her mouth opened in a silent scream as her eyes nearly rolled back into her head. Her back arched in an impossible angle. In that moment, she died and was reborn. All of those clichéd notions she had read about came to fruition.
It was Jake's small, feathery kisses placed all over her face and neck that brought her back to reality. Unable to utter a word, she simply pulled Jake's head down and kissed her deeply.
Their lovemaking continued uninterrupted until early evening. At 6pm, they were startled out of their warm cocoon by the sound of the front door opening. Sara was the first to jump to her feet. Not pondering who it might be, she quickly pulled her clothes on and tried to untangle her hair with her fingers. Jake moved more leisurely. She, unlike Sara, knew who it was and couldn't care less. Donning her own clothes, she got up and placed a calming hand on Sara's now slightly trembling arm. "Hey, relax. It's only Kate."
Sara looked at her strangely. "Kate? Who's Kate?"
"Yes! That's exactly what I was afraid you'd say. And why do you call your mom by her given name? I guess that's another thing we'll need to discuss…" Sara rambled on only to be stopped by Jake's amused chuckle.
"Why aren't you freaking out, Jake?"
"Well, first, 'cause I don't give a rat's ass what she thinks, and second, she's probably hammered and wouldn't even remember pink elephants storming out of the house." Taking Sara's hand in her own, they left the bedroom. Sara tried to take her hand back before entering the living room but found it tightly clutched in the brunette's. Jake was right. Her mom was obviously drunk and wobbling across the living room, trying to locate the couch that was right in front of her.
"Hey Kate, your hair's on fire," Jake threw jokingly as she opened the door for Sara. Her mom, as expected, didn't even acknowledge her presence, much less that of Sara's.
Walking to Sara's car, Jake gallantly opened the driver's side door for her. Propped on the door frame, she looked down at Sara's suddenly shy features.
"Thank you for the most amazing experience. I don't even have the words," said Jake, charming her way deeper into Sara's already smitten heart.
Hating to ruin the moment, but knowing she must, Sara said, "We have a lot to talk about…" She knew it was time to rejoin reality and reality screamed jail bait. "I'm not sure we should have done what we just did, in fact, I know we shouldn't have done it, but…"
"Hey, please don't say you regret it…" Jake looked almost desperate as she uttered the words.
"No, no, I don't regret it, though I should. You're so young…"
"You're only a few years older than me!" Jake retorted indignantly.
"I'm your teacher…"
"And a good one at that! I can assure you I'll remember this lesson." Jake tried to maintain a neutral expression, but she couldn't hold the laughter in when she saw the bulging eyes and the scarlet red covering Sara's cheeks. "I'm kidding, I'm kidding…" She only laughed harder when Sara slapped her bicep. "Come on, don't ruin this beautiful experience with over-thinking it. We'll talk about everything you want and more, I promise. And if you're worried about anything getting out, don't be 'cause I'll be keeping this to myself. Besides, I'll be graduating soon enough and we can be together for real, in public… if you'll still want me, that is."
Caressing the spot she just hit, Sara looked up into soulful grey. "Of course I'll want you. As strange as it is, I can't think of ever not wanting you. I guess we'll just have to find a way. And I'll have to find a way to shut that little voice deep down that keeps screaming obscenities at me."
Jake chuckled. "Yep. That voice doesn't know shit anyhow. Promise me one thing though."
"Anything," Sara said without thinking, and she knew she would.
"Promise me you'll look at me just like that again tomorrow." Jake smiled tenderly at the soft gaze she was receiving.
"Tomorrow and always." And that sealed it.
The End (for now)
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