*****THIS STORY HAS NEVER BEEN WRITTEN TO MY SATISFACTION AND IN FACT, NOW THAT I AM OLDER AND A MOTHER, I DON'T LIKE IT MUCH. I STILL LOVE THE CHARACTERS, HOWEVER. I MAY PRESENT THEM DIFFERENTLY. THANK YOU- TO MY READERS.*****
The bell rang, dismissing the students from the stuffy classroom. Today's History lesson hadn't been as interesting as usual, because Mr. Shields had asked them to read quietly at their desks. He had a sore throat, apparently, and it was difficult for him to speak.
Rebekah gathered her books close to her chest, intending to meet up with Renee in the hall, but lo and behold if Mr. Dan Shields didn't call her name before she could reach the door. He sounded a bit hoarse. She turned into the flow of departing students, catching Kevin Murphy's grin in her direction. The tie-wearing nerd in the pink shirt declared, "You look nice today, Rebekah."
"Thanks," she muttered, wondering why he'd say that. She wasn't wearing anything special, just a pair of jeans and a red turtle neck shirt. Her hair was- Oh, she thoughts. It's your new haircut, ding-a-ling.
She stepped up to Mr. Shields' desk, which was cluttered with the homework papers he'd been grading.
Her books pressed tightly against her aching breasts, she spiked her brows at him and batted her lashes. "What is it?"
He mimicked her expression and extended his hand. "Report?"
"I… don't have it."
He scowled… a scowl he rarely used in the class, because the students found him so barfingly cool and engaging that they gave him their utmost attention.
"I gave you the assignment four nights ago. And you still don't have anything?"
She shifted weight. Sexy glare or not, he'd better knock it off.
But she deserved the look, because she'd had plenty of time to produce some sort of report, even if it was a two paragraph mockery of all the science-speak she'd read. She'd gone home the very night the 'assignment' was given and looked up "Space Travel" on the Internet. When a billion plus one links popped she'd cursed and stomped away from the computer, only to find herself plodding through some of the articles. Finally, she'd found herself amazed by the advances made in space travel. She'd even felt a little, tiny flutter in her chest as she'd read about inhabiting Mars, a feat the government and scientists were busily trying to pull into reality.
Cool as it might have been to wander the red landscape in a spacesuit, the weightless drifting would do nothing to remove the heartache of her past.
"I looked it up. But there's so much to read that I didn't know where to start writing."
He smiled. "Isn't that cool?"
If you say so.
"Did you see anything at all that caught your attention?"
"Yes." She shrugged. "Inhabiting Mars."
His eyes twinkled and reminded her of the Hershey Bars beckoning her from the downstairs vending machines. Lately she'd been eating tons of chocolate, but thankfully she wasn't prone to a horrible syndrome known as widening of the buttocks.
"Write a story about it. Maybe that will make it more interesting."
Her jaw dropped. He wanted her to write a story? "Is this really an assignment?"
He squinted at her, thinking. "Hmmm." His hand went to his tie and she began to wonder why he bothered wearing them at all. Every day he tugged and pulled at the infernal nooses.
Suddenly caressing his throat, he spoke through clenched teeth. "Do you have siblings, Bekah?"
She swallowed. Why had he asked that question?
"No," she said. Partial truth. Whole lie.
He wiggled his pencil between two fingers. "Do you have a lot going on a home? Are you involved in many extracurricular activities?"
"No and no," She sighed.
"That's what I thought."
How would he know? She sent him a questioning looK.
"Then, yes, it's an assignment." He grinned again. "A ten-page story at least. Typed, double-spaced."
"I don't know enough to make it accurate!"
He shrugged. "Use your imagination. Have it finished by next Tuesday. That gives you a week, little Miss Bekah Rose."
Her tone revealed her annoyance. "Why are you asking me to do this?" Of all the crazy things to ask… he wants me to use my imagination, like everything's perfectly normal and happy in my screwed up little world. He wants me to write a nice, sweet sappy story!
Maybe it doesn't have to be sappy.
"Because…I have a feeling."
A guy admits to having a feeling'? Is that a first in the history of the friggin world, or what?
"You'll see. Now I better write you a pass for your next class."
Students for his next class had already been filing in behind her, but she'd barely paid them any attention. Was that the effect Mr. Shields had on her, or was she just a space cadet? Likely the latter.