I could hardly sit still all through the first four classes today. My mind was racing. What was I going to do if the test came back positive? Where would I go? Even Mr. Tanner couldn't keep me distracted like he normally did. By the end of forth period I had to know. I had rushed to the nurse's office. I hurriedly explained what was going on to the youngest nurse there. She only nodded looking slightly confused. I couldn't wait for the results she said. I had to get to class. She would call and only say if it was negative or positive.
I hurried into Mr. Tanner's class just as the bell rang. I slipped into my seat and took out my books. I could hardly concentrate on what Mr. Tanner was saying and when he asked me a question I just stared at him confused. He moved on to Katie sitting next to me. She answered the question than looked at me with a worried expression on her face. I tried to send a reassuring smile her way but I don't think I quit managed.
When the phone rang I jumped. Mr. Tanner looked at me in surprise, then when to answer the phone. He picked up and turned his back to the class. I heard him say ok a few times before he hung up. He turned slowly back around looking even more confused than when I had jumped at the sound of the phone. I studied his face trying to find out what he heard.
He signaled me over to his desk. I kept chewing my lip and I think I might have started to shake but I'm not sure. He whispered in my direction but I couldn't make out the words. I had to read his lips as he said positive.
That did it. My nightmare was real. This whole thing was real. I started to cry and before I even realized it I was sprinting out of the room and down the hall. Past all the other closed doors of classes where people were learning and lives were somewhat normal.
I made it all the way to the auditorium. I shambled up the stairs to back stage. I found the small indentation that served as the marking point of the trap door that lead upstairs. I pushed it open enough to fit me through then shut it thoroughly behind me. I made my way up the spiral stairs. The room up here was no longer used. It hadn't been used for 5 years. Not many people knew of it. Only those in drama knew about it because Mr. Tanner the drama teacher/ English teacher had shown it to us.
I reached the top of the stairs and found the room vacant and dusty as always. I settled on to the floor. I pulled my knees towards my chest and began to cry even harder. Somewhere in the distance I heard the bell signaling the end of classes and the start of the lunch period. Everyone would be heading to the cafeteria. I hopped that soon I would be able to sneak out and find a vending machine with some food in it. Five minutes later my sobs had subsided slightly. I thought I was finally ready to get some food when I realized I left my money in the English room. Why had I chosen today to be the day I didn't where pants with pockets in them? I knew why of course, because my old pants were getting tighter on me. Why hadn't I done something three months ago when things really started going wrong? I knew the answer to this of course too; I was scared I hated admitting what happened. After a little while of my thoughts chasing one another around my mind I heard the bell for afternoon classes. I hopped my teachers would just think I'd gone home sick or something.
After another ten minutes I was getting desperate. My stomach growled with hunger. If I didn't get food soon I was going to have a cow. Then I'd eat that stupid cow! I smashed my fist into the floor. As I mouthed my pain, as not to make any noise that might be heard by people that might be downstairs, I heard a stair creak. I froze in place, and then trying to hide myself from who know who, I slid into a corner farthest from the door. I took in a breath but I wasn't sure if I had heard the stair or I was being over paranoid.
Then there in the door way appeared a figure. He, it must have been a guy because I've never seen a girl with less of a figure, scanned the room and didn't appear to see me. I would have sighed in relief if it would not have attracted his attention. Then the figure spoke "I thought I might find you up here Rine. What's wrong?" I didn't breathe maybe he would go away but the moment I heard the voice I knew who it belonged to. He would not leave me alone at least not till he got some sort of explanation for my behavior earlier. "I brought you something to eat since you missed lunch," and he walked over and placed a PB&J sandwich and Vitamin water in front of me. "I can't talk now Rine, but please stay here. I'll be back at 3:30. Please stay." There was pleading and sincerity in his eyes as he headed back towards the door. "Oh one more thing," he dropped my book bag in front of me then disappeared though the door.
I was so hungry. I finished the sandwich in about 2 seconds, and then gulped down half the bottle of water. I looked at my bag.
Should I go to class and get detention and make an excuse for not being here at 3:30? No people in my English class would be in the class I was supposed to be in now. They would know what happened and question me. All I could do was wait. Maybe I should just wait till the busses come? Nope more people, more questions. I really needed to get out of here but where could I go? I had never been anywhere but this tiny town before and there was no way I would be able to pay to get out of here either. I pulled my bag towards me. Inside I found a small flashlight and a note.
Stay put! I'll be back and you need to tell
me what is going on. If you leave then
I will look for you!
- Mr. Tanner
Harsh, how could he sound so mean and what right did he have to tell me what to do he wasn't my guardian? He was my teacher and he had always seemed to truly care about his students. That was rare around here. I decided to wait. I took out my book I had been reading for the past few days. Brains did me no good if I couldn't use them. The only time I was challenged was when I read.
A few bells later I heard the sound of a stampede. School must have just let out and all the students would be getting on busses and riding home to families who loved them. Ten minutes passed. Maybe he wasn't coming? Then as if he could have sensed my feelings, he appeared in the door way.
He kneeled down in front of me. When he placed his hand on my shoulder I recoiled. No one and I mean no one could ever touch me! I moved away from him. He stepped towards me again. I slid away into the farthest corner. He stopped and just sat down where he was. He crossed his legs and looked over at me. "What happened earlier Rine?"
"Who cares," I shot back?
"Really I never knew teachers cared so much about their students?"
"Some do," he replied. "Now, please tell me what's going on." I stared at the face of my favorite teacher. His curly brown hair was messy from a day of teaching teens. The blue eyes that penetrated the darkness shown right into me, examining me, as though they knew what really was going on. His lips formed a frown but in all of his features you could tell there was concern. I could trust this man, or at least more than other men, other people. I had known him to be a Christian and I was a Christian too. There was something about him that just made me trust him.
I sighed and took a deep breath. "Don't take this the wrong way. Its not what you think." He looked only a little confused but smiled a reassuring smile all the same. I took a sharp breath in again. Maybe the tears wouldn't flow. I tried to hold them back but I knew as I started to speak, that I was going to flood this room with my tears. "I'm… pregnant," I nearly whispered before I totally broke down. I thing I hear a sharp intake of breath and then I felt an arm around me. I tried to shrug it away but I couldn't finally giving up I let him pull me towards him. He pulled me onto his lap and my sobs continued to drench his shirt.
After a few minutes I came back to reality. Shot I'm crying and there's a teacher, male teacher, holding me. This is so bad. If anyone saw this he was going to get in trouble. As though I knew someone was watching I pulled myself together and got up. I walked over to the door. "How...," was all he managed?
Facing away from him so he couldn't see my tears or my embarrassment I started though the story. "About three and a half months ago, I was raped. The thug didn't use protection and when I finally got away I was too scared to go strait to the police. I told Cit but she didn't believe me. About two weeks ago the guy was arrested for another rape charge and sentenced to 20 years to life in jail for the same girl's murder. I kept trying to deny the fact that I might be pregnant but when I tried on my tightest pants this morning they were to small and I know I didn't just gain a lot of weight. I went to the nurse's office to take a test this morning, right before class. That's what the call was about." He let me talk without saying a word. I couldn't face him. I didn't want to know what might lie in those handsome features that sometimes haunted me. I knew it was wrong but I couldn't help but fall for this teacher. He was… special. Crap here I go again, I fall so easily.
When he didn't say anything for a while. When I found the courage to look at him I saw tears in his eyes. Why the hell should he be crying? He wasn't carrying a child from a rape/murderer. He stood and walked over to me. "I understand now why every time someone touched you, you freaked out. Isn't there anything for you to do? Is there anyway for me to help?"
"If you can turn back time and make sure none of this ever happened."
"If I could I would but that's impossible. Are you going to give up the child?"
"To give up the child do you mean an abortion or adoption?"
"You're going to keep the child? You're so young. Are you going to continue with school? Who will take care of the child?"
"I haven't quit figured out all the details as I just found out today." This comment brought a smile to his face and I couldn't help but smile back. Shoot I could feel the heat rising in my checks. I was happy the room was so dark.
"Where are you going to stay tonight? Does Cit treat you ok? God you're only 15! How are you so strong I thing I would have totally freaked out? I mean like done something drastic."
"Growing up the way I did you learn to be strong even before you learn to talk. My past is full of crap that makes me stronger. Isn't it like that saying 'whatever doesn't kill us makes us stronger'?"
"Yes, I suppose it does but still that's pretty amazing."
"Faith helps too. You know Mr. Tanner you sound more human than teacher right now? You believe don't you, I mean you're a Christian right?"
"Yes, I am. Tell me Rine what makes me more human now."
"You're vulnerable than I've seen from most people. I practiced hiding my feelings long ago. I guess it's sort of like being strong."
"Alright enough chit chat, we need to get you to a doctor then were finding you a new place to stay."
"I don't have any money and if you think you can send me to a social service person you've got another thing coming. I have escaped more social service workers than girls you've probably dated in your entire life." Mr. Tanner smiled at this.
"I don't doubt that. As for money, I can pay for one visit to the doctors; I'm not that poor even if a teacher's paycheck is small. I'll find you a safe place to stay right now lets just get out of this dust hole."
"Ok." We headed out the door and down the stairs and onto the stage. In the hall the school was deserted. Most people had left by now. I waited outside Mr. Tanner's room while he collected his belongings. I cursed myself for being so stupid. What had I gotten myself into by telling a teacher? He probably thought I was some hooker or something. I needed help though. I stashed most of my books in my locker as teachers rarely gave homework on Fridays.
I pressed my forehead against the window as we drove away from the hell hole called school. This was so wrong. I'm sitting in a teacher's car. What if someone saw us? He was taking me to a doctor, shoot this was even weirder. What was I going to do? Where was he going to send me? How the hell had all this happened to me? God, right if he really cared he wouldn't have let my parents abandoned me and then 14 years later let me get raped by some possessed freak! God, what God?!
When we reached a traffic light I turned to see my teacher staring in my direction. I yawned and he laughed a little. "You're cute when you yawn." Dang now it was light out and I could tell that I was blushing. I turned away again to hide my face. "I don't mean that to sound inappropriate I just thought it might cheer you up."
"Thanks," was all I managed. I hadn't realized where we were heading until I looked out the window and saw tall, elegant buildings. "Where are you taking me?"
"To a doctor I know. Don't worry you can trust her. I trust her with my life and she's proven to me many times over the years she can be trusted." I wonder who this woman was and if she really could be trusted. We neared a tall building with a sign that read "Elizabeth Chambers head doctor." I wonder is this Mr. Tanners girlfriend or maybe it was more than just boyfriend/ girlfriend. Maybe when the car stopped I should make a run for it, but then again Mr. Tanner had been so nice to me. We pulled into the parking lot. "One more quick question if you don't mind."
"How did you deny that morning sickness was just something and not signs of you being pregnant?"
"Funny, you know? I just kept trying to deny the fact that it was what it was. Then I couldn't keep doing that anymore. I had to know for sure. I thought it was odd coincidences and the flu. It was stupid, I know."
"Yes it was but I understand or as much as I would understand seeing as I'm only a man and that sort of stuff is the woman's expertise. We're here." I hopped out of the car. I almost mad a run for it then but I thought better of it. We entered the building through glass doors. The office was large with light blue walls and a smiling receptionist sitting behind a big glass cubical. She looked up as we entered
"Hi there, Taz. Elizabeth will be out in a few minutes she's with a patient right now." She barely seemed to notice me at all. Taz, Mr. Tanner's first name was Kevin, Weird. We sat down in some comfy chairs and waited. I picked up one magazine then looking at the cover realized that there was nothing in there that would entertain me. After a few minutes a door behind me opened and out stepped a woman probably in her early thirties. Behind the desk appeared a short woman with curly brown hair and brown eyes. She spoke quickly to the receptionist then looked over in our direction. She smiled at Mr. Tanner then looked over to me. She walked over to us.
"Taz," she exclaimed! I wasn't expecting to see you till tonight. What's going on? Who's this?" she kissed him lightly on the check and I don't know why but these made me even more uneasy.
"Yes sorry. This is a student of mine." Quickly glancing at me and back to Mr. Tanner, she looked confused. "I thought you might be able to help." He quickly explained my situation and she nodded here and there.
When he finished she showed me to a small examination room. She told me to put on one of the horrid examination gowns and then she would be back. This was getting weird. When she came back she did a few examinations then took some notes and said she would be back in a few minutes. She had to run something to the lab examination room.
There was a knock on the door then I heard Mr. Tanner's tenor voice through the closed door. "Rine can I come in for a moment?"
"Hold on a moment please." I tried to straiten the gown so it hid most of my body but it was a little too small. I had to fold my arms so my chest was somewhat obscured from view. I knew this was going to be awkward from the moment I heard the knock on the door. "Ok come on in."
"I've made arrangements for you to stay with my sister for a while. She can take care of you and you'll also be in a safer neighbor hood." He didn't look at me he just stared at the wall adjacent to where I was sitting.
"Who's your sister? What's she like? Will I like her? How will I get to school? What's going to happen after that," all flooded out of my mouth at once?
He laughed at this. "Lets just start with one thing at a time. You should know who my sister is and that's for you to decide if you like her. As for getting to school she can drive you. I would drive you but we don't want to give people the wrong impression."
"Wait, how am I supposed to know who your sister is?"
"Dr. Elizabeth Chambers is my sister. Haven't I mentioned her in class before? I'm surprised I haven't."
"Oh but then why is her last name Chambers?"
"She's married. You will be staying with her husband and little daughter. I hope you don't mind but that was the only place I could think of to send you."
"Oh." I laughed a little at this.
"We'll go from there. We can figure out what to do next later." He left then saying he had a few things to take care of. Then his sister came back. Weird they did look alike I just had always assumed she was his girlfriend.
"You're free to go Rine."
"Thanks." I got down off the examination table grabbed my cloths and nearly sprinted down the hall to the bathroom. After a few breaths and some cool water on my face I felt much better. I quickly changed into my cloths and headed back out to the waiting room. When I arrived Mr. Tanner was closing his phone. "if you don't mind me asking who were you calling?"
I thought he might scold me for being so rude but he only grimaced explained, "I really should ask you if you minded but I called this and reported it to the police."
"That's fine I guess. There's not much that can be done now anyways." He thanked the receptionist and we headed out the door. Back in the car we headed out.
The roads kept becoming more and more familiar until I realized he was taking me back to my old house to get my things. Shoot what was I going to do? Cit would kill me if I told her what was going on. This had to be done quickly and quietly. As we pulled into the driveway of a rundown house I saw Cit. She was waiting in the door. Already from here I could see she was high and probably waiting for a fight. This wasn't going to be easy. As I hoped out of the car I could tell there were only two options left, turn around and forget my stuff or face Cit and her fury. She was twice as scary when she was high but if I didn't get my stuff she would take my money and I would have to get new stuff. There was important stuff in there. As I headed down the driveway I could feel two sets of eyes on me, one of a caring teacher and one of a hating guardian. I stepped closer to the house fearing every step.