Chapter 9

Kevin Dunner stepped into a dark, seedy-looking bar, his gray eyes slowly adjusting to the lack of light. He scanned the patrons, his gaze catching upon a young man sitting alone in one of the establishment's booths, his leg shaking under the table nervously. Kevin smiled to himself and walked straight to where the guy sat, sliding into the booth across from him and catching the young man by surprise.

"Phil? Phil Caldon?" Kevin asked, a soft smile on his features.

"Yeah? You the guy who wants to know about my brother?" The other man crossed his fingers together, leaning back slightly and straightening his posture.

"I am." Kevin nodded, his body language remaining the same.

"Well, information ain't exactly free around here..." The younger man glanced around the room before leaning in, "And he and are aren't exactly close anymore, so anything I do remember is gonna be a little fuzzy, you know?"

Kevin only reached into his jacket pocket, pulling out a thick white envelope and sliding it across the table.

"Now talk."

Leila sat on the couch in Caldon's living room, her cat curled up at her feet and an Xbox controller sitting in her lap. It had been two days since she and Caldon had left Kevin's house with all of her things, including her Charlie. Caldon himself was in the kitchen, pouring them a couple of drinks. She reached down and stroked her cat behind his ear, smiling as his fluffy tail brushed against her foot as a 'thank you'.

They'd just gotten back from the first day back to school since Caldon had taken her to his house, and things had been quite awkward. He'd definitely called on her less in class, trying to draw less attention to any interaction between them, but that was probably something that was more noticeable now. Leila had avoided all eye contact until the final bell had rung, then she had slunk off to hide out in commons area. When she spotted Caldon heading out the door, she followed a few yards back, trying to look as nonchalant as possible. He'd purposely parked a few blocks away from the school and when they both finally got to his truck, they'd only grinned nervously as they climbed inside.

Now they were back home, Leila playing through the campaign mode of Halo on her own and Caldon bringing her a glass of water before sitting down in his favorite chair and flipping through the papers he would be grading for the evening.

"So, do I get to know my grade early?" Leila flashed him a smirk after taking a long drink of water, wiping her upper lip with the back of her hand.

"Mm, no. That would be unethical, giving you special treatment." Caldon slipped a pair of plain black-rimmed glasses on, beginning to shuffle through the somewhat messy stack of essays in his lap, "I do think that maybe a writing assignment over the weekend was a poor choice on my end."

"Yeah, good luck with that." She laughed lightly before returning back to the game on the screen, giving alien bugs the shotgun treatment.

"How do you feel about getting some grocery shopping done when I get through with some of these?" He didn't look at her as he asked, his eyes scanning over the lines of a paper.

"Um... Together?" She raised an eyebrow, but her attention stayed focused on the television.

"Yeah, I mean... I don't live too close to the school. It's not like anyone is gonna automatically assume we're teacher and student. I don't really want to just leave you here, and we are running out of food." He glanced up at her, watching her as she stared straight ahead, letting himself really take in her features. She was really adorable when she was playing video games, her whole body got into it, even now as her spine was twisted slightly, her forearms flexed as she mashed the 'A' button on the controller.

"I guess so. Maybe I can buy a shirt or something. I think wearing the same three shirts will get rather suspicious." Leila murmured before shouting a victory cry and thrusting her hands in the air, "Got you, you alien bitches."

She looked over, only to catch Caldon staring at her. A deep blush crept up her cheeks, "What?"

"Nothing." He muttered, looking back down at his papers.

A few hours later, when he had finished about half of his stack of essays, they were locking up and going to his truck, the sun beginning to set and striking beautiful color across the sky. They rode together with only the radio filling the silence between them, Leila staring out the window and wondering vaguely when this was all going to come crashing around them.

They arrived at the supermarket and quickly threw some staples in the cart: meat, veggies, ramen and mac and cheese. Browsing up and down each aisles, they took their time picking some snacks and whatever else looked tasty. It didn't take too long before they had a full-looking cart.

Stopping in the clothing section so Leila could browse the clothes, she picked up a few shirts before pausing in front of a full length mirror and holding each one up, tilting her head to the side and pondering.

"Good evening Mr. Caldon," Came a voice from behind them as they both froze in place. Slowly turning, Leila almost sighed in relief when she realized it was just the principal of the school.

'Oh fuck,' Leila's mind was panicking and she nearly dropped the clothes in her hands.

"Hello there, Mr. Golden." Caldon nodded, seeming completely calm.

"I didn't know you fraternized with students outside of the classroom." The short, balding man before them frowned at Leila, his eyes sweeping back and forth between the two.

"I don't, she's-"

"A friend of his niece!" Leila interrupted quickly, a small smile on his face, "She's in the fitting room trying stuff on, but we were up here together and she had to come over and say hi to her uncle."

"I see..." The principal seemed to be somewhat relieved, but his eyes remained stern, "Well, I guess I'll see you both on campus, then."

Caldon only nodded as his boss walked away, and waited until he was completely out of earshot before he turned to look at Leila, sighing heavily, "I'm so fired."

"No you aren't." Leila stated, putting all of the shirts back on a random rack, "I doubt he'll even say anything to you, he'll probably ask me if anything. But to be safe, we should probably split up when we shop."

He smiled softly as she grinned cheekily at him, trying to say 'I told you so' without any words.

"I hope you're right, Leila."


Author's Notes: Holy crap! Like 3 years later and bam, update. Think it's crap? Think I should keep trying on it? Lemme know, my babies.