UPDATE- This is going to be rather light-hearted, despite some of the subject matter. If you'd like a more intense, in-depth, longer-lasting story, see the link in my blog. Thanks for reading!

DISCLAIMER: This story is in no way, shape, or form meant to encourage student/teacher relationships. This story is simply about what could possibly happen between two people who share some common ground and begin to fall in love, despite what society might think. If you have a crush on a teacher, please do the smart thing and wait until you graduate to see where your relationship might lead, OK? Yeah, so on with the story...

Prologue

"Excuse me, Ma'am, are you here to pick someone up?"

Rebekah smirked. While the cool night air sent goosebumps up and down her arms, the man's dress shoes clicked softly against the terrace blacktop. Wouldn't it shock the heck out of him if she decided to toss herself over the rail right about now? She shivered, because while the idea of shocking him seemed about as exhilarating as a blast to the moon, she wasn't ready to end her life. Even if she had been thinking about it for the past half an hour. Staring at the red Jeep parked below the terrace and wondering what it be like to blot out painful memories forever.

The music from the "nerdfest" blared and then became muffled again when the gymnasium door opened and closed behind them.

"Ma'am?"

She turned to face her US History teacher, who slowed as he tugged his tie.

"Hi, Mr. Shields." She smoothed her black dress, undoubtedly leaving a residue but it didn't matter. She wouldn't give a flip if someone tossed a bucket of green slime on the raggedy dress.

Taking a step forward, Shields squinted as the overhead lamp illuminated his dark eyes. "Rebekah Rose?" He rocked back on his heels. "You looked like... someone else."

She cursed her glowing cheeks but wasn't surprised that he'd seemed to have mistaken her, a sixteen year old High School Junior, for an adult. Not only had her once waist-length hair been cut and styled so that her light brown layers softly dusted her shoulders, but her curves stood out a little more than usual in the plain, black dress she'd selected. No frills, no sparkles like on the other girls' fancy attire. Why wear a gorgeous gown when she didn't have a date, anyway?

Not that she couldn't have a date if she'd wanted one. Two boys had asked to escort her to the Homecoming Dance, but she'd refused for two reasons: 1) They were too young. Yes, they were both sixteen but still too young for her; and 2) they were too goody-goody, damn it! Not only were they Honor Roll students, but they must have been participants in every flippin extracurricular activity known to mankind! Too good. Too predictable. They didn't even have the courage to act shy about asking her out.

Heck, she hadn't planned on coming tonight, anyway, but going to the dance...getting her haircut...she'd only conceded to both in order to please her parents. If she kept up with the charade, eventually they'd stop nagging her to get on with life.

With his hands tucked in his back pockets and his suit jacket ruffled by his awkward stance, Shields inched toward her as if she was a scared, little fairy who'd fly away if got too close. "Where's your date, Rebekah?"

"I don't have one."

"Really?" A faint smile sat on his face. "A cute, little girl like you?"

Little girl, huh? She wasn't a little girl but decided not to waste her breath explaining that to a man who was all of seven or eight years older than her. If she was a little girl, then he was a teenager, for crap's sake.

"Yes, us cute, little girls don't always need someone to hold our hands. Like right now...I think I'll just walk home."

She started around him but he took her arm as he frowned down and the wind scattered his wavy, brown hair. "Alone?" he asked. "You plan on walking home alone?"

"Well, yeah." She cupped her hand at the side of her mouth and whispered, "It's a common practice."

"No, I don't think so," he said as her lighter than usual locks few up around her. Blinking as though seeing her for the first time, he released her and motioned toward the cafeteria. "Forget it, Girl, no female student of mine is going to walk home in the dark in this neighborhood."

"Just the girls?"

Producing some change from his pocket and tugging her with him, he chuckled hoarsely. "Girls are more of a target, if you catch my drift."

"Because we're little and frail and need to be babysat?"

"Knock that off. I'm not trying to patronize you, now, here." He handed her the change as he reached for the door. "Time to call your parents."

She half groaned, half sighed as she stepped inside with him and he led her to the back corner of the vast food poisoning arena.

Not trying to patronize her? Yeah, right.

While she lifted the receiver from the payphone hook and wondered how she could fake him out- Misty, Alice and Renee had planned to meet her in the park in an hour, so calling Mommy and Daddy and going home had not been on her agenda- he leaned against one of the thick beams that separated the large window panels.

"Tell me something," he said. "Are you always this serious? I don't believe I have ever seen you smile." When he narrowed his chocolate eyes to study her, she felt what she thought was the classic good boy/bad boy vibe, like what one in find in someone like...Annakin Skywalker. Heck, Shields' teacher scowl alone should have produced that effect in the past, but she'd never paid close enough attention to notice.

That's so corny. And stop or pretty soon you'll have a crush on him, just like every pom-pom waving girl in the school.

She'd gouge her eyes out before she'd find herself mesmerized by his goody-goody lectures and the muscles that sometimes stressed his dress shirts. Of course, watching him beat listening to old Mrs. Sanders lecture them about sexual reproduction. Geez, why couldn't they bring in a young teacher for that subject?

Realizing that he was still watching her, now with his hand cupped under his jaw and his fingers searching for whiskers, she forced a smile. "Better?"

He raised a brow. "You know what, Rebekah? I think I have an extra assignment for you."

"You can call me Bekah." Oh, why'd she tell him that?

"Bekah Bekah, Bo-Bekah... I want you to go home and look something up on the internet and give me a report on it."

Yay, more homework. Exactly the thing to make her life more thrilling. "What do you want me to look up?"

"Space Travel."

She knit her brows and raised her top lip in sort of a half snarl, a move that brought a wide grin to his smoothly shaven face.

"Just do it," he laughed. "Do it and see what happens. Oh, and I'd like a report."

OOOOO