Hypothetically, Of Course

Chapter 5, Part II: When It All Falls Down…

2:45 P.M.

The pony tail swung awkwardly as Lea made her way down the recently emptied hallway, jacket flapping open with every step. The latte in her hand had begun to turn cold, from standing in the courtyard with Carusso. Against her will, of course.

"Where were you earlier, Lea?"

Lance stepped out of his office, directly into Lea's path. Stumbling haphazardly, Lea stepped back, startled.

Lance raised his eyebrows, tucking his hands into his pockets. "You missed today's lesson. We started discussing details of the Black Panther movement; I know you would've enjoyed that."

"You don't know anything," Lea mumbled, attempting to step around him. Lance moved back into her direction, a look of determination heavy on his features.

"I know a lot more than you think I know," Lance said, quietly, looking at the eyes that stalked his mind nightly.

Lea paused, silent, and shook her head, succeeding in stepping around Lance. "Excuse me, I have debate practice."

"It can wait." Lance said, firmly, grabbing the edge Lea's shoulder bag.

"What do you want?" Lea growled, her green eyes glowing as she glared at him.

"Well for starters, I would appreciate it if you cut my class less often."

"Can I go now?" Lea's hands were planted into her jacket pockets, the light in her green eyes dimming away as her anger receded.

"Go. But, you can't run away from everything, Lea."

Lea looked over her shoulder at Lance, spilling out a small chuckle. "I could say the same thing to you."

Lance laughed, aloud. "Is that what you think? Is that how you think this happened?"

Lea spun around, eyes glaring. "I don't know what I think! I don't know anything! That's what happens with secrets, you know? The people who are the most involved are always the ones to find out last!"

There was a pregnant silence that filled the expanse of the hallway, painting emotions onto the walls.

"They're always the ones to be hurt the most, too." Lea said, the orbs of her eyes meeting Lance's, and his demeanor instantly softened.

Turning on her heel, Lea walked away from Lance's still form, clutching her bag to her side, as if the rest of her sanity were embedded in its pockets.

8:25 P.M.


Lea stopped at the base of the stairwell as her mother's bouncy hair came into view.

"Is practice over?" Bella said, looking over her daughter's shoulder into the empty hallway.

"Yea, but conferences aren't. Most of my teachers left already…" Lea said, her voice laced with accusatory edge.

"About that; I couldn't get out of work early enough, I had some lose ends to tie. But I can meet with whoever is here, and make appointments to see the rest later." Bella stared into her daughter's sparkling eyes, with one leg propped on the stair above her. She kept her voice bubbly and evenly pitched; maybe to hide the anxiety that burned her throat. She kept hoping that luck would have made Lance leave a long time ago; As she remembered him, he was always very uptight about his free time, and wanted as much time to himself as possible.

Lea's eyes seemed focused… angry, almost.

Bella tried to force all relevant scenarios that would explain her daughter's peculiar mood out of her head, and proceeded to the desk that held the school map and classroom directory.

They were on the second floor. A couple students and parents walked by, a gentle talkative buzz filling the air as Bella noticed the dull interior of the school she paid so much money for, and wondered if the aesthetic of the place was what was making Lea so uptight. At night, it looked like some sort of abandoned castle. Too posh for a school, yet too prude looking for anything else.

"Do you have any classes on this floor, before we head elsewhere?" Bella asked, glancing over at the girl, leaning against some lockers.

"Yea, Global." Lea asked, uninterested, chewing on nails that had been already chewed down to the cuticle.

"What teacher is that?" Bella asked, rummaging through her bag for the cell phone that she somehow, kept misplacing.


Bella's head snapped up at the name, instantly. "Would he still be here at this hour?"

Lea shrugged, "He's usually here late, anyway."

Bella's mind raced as she tried to find some kind of loophole. She wasn't ready for this; not yet. "Do you wanna wait in the car while I do the run around?"

Lea laughed, softly. Bella could hear that sarcastic undertone. "You don't know where my classes are. You don't even have my schedule."

Bella shifted her weight on her feet. "So give it to me."

Lea pushed off of the wall, and stepped towards the opposite end of the hallway. "I don't have it with me. Are we going to see my global teacher, or not?"

Bella awkwardly ignored her daughters gaze, and gestured that she should lead the way.

God, please, if you exist…Deliver me from the hell I'm about to be momentarily condemned to.

Lea walked briskly, one step in front of the other, focused and elegant. Bella watched her grip her bag as they rounded a corner, and mentally recorded this notion in her head. The feeling in her chest was forewarning; every bone in her body wanted her to turn around and head right for the little black car that was parked in the lot, while every ember of her dignity told her to face the music.

Music just sounded more appealing. And then there's death metal…

8:26 P.M.

Lance swiveled in small circular motions in his desk chair, just closing up the last meeting with a parent. He was finally at ease. The day was coming to a close and, maybe, for once, he might have been able to rest well.

With a yawn, he reached for the messenger bag on his desk, packing up the last of his things as the student runner knocked politely on the open classroom door.

"Mr. Lakeland. There's another parent here to see you – I think she might be the last one. Will you see her?" The girl tucked the door behind her foot, awaiting his response.

"Sure, Norveen," Lance said, rising out of his seat to retrieve the grade books out of the teacher's closet at the back of the room. "Send them in."

8:28 P.M.

Bella stepped around the awkward girl, closing the door behind her softly.

"Give me two seconds; I'll be right with you." Lance called over his shoulder, blinded by the large closet doors as he rummaged for the grade books.

Bella smiled reluctantly, "Even from all the way over there, you still smell the same."

Lance froze in between removing the books from the closet and closing the door.

In less than .5 seconds, every emotion rose to Lance's chest and in an effort to stay upright, he reached for the wall.

She was just as he had expected, yet nothing like what he'd expected at all. She was taller (maybe it was the pumps), her caramel skin still as clear as he remembered it. The hair – shorter, different color, but still just as soft on the eyes as he'd remembered it. Her figure, just as curvy and appealing to the hands as it had always been. But she was a woman now, mature, and beautiful and—

"Why are you here?" He asked, a tremor in his voice, swallowing the words that he really wanted to say.

"The letter the school sent home said that meeting with all teachers are necessary, as the students are nearing midterm reports. I'm just…doing my parental duties." Bella took a step back, obviously intimidated, instantly regretting the decision to give bravery a try.

"Where's Leyarie?" Lance asked, vocals caught in the back of his throat.

"She's waiting for me, in the hallway."

"She cut my class today." Lance said, taking a seat on the edge of a desk.

Bella laughed, softly. "I hear that the two of you don't get along well."

Lance's mood changed instantly, his face burning. "And that's funny to you?"

"It's funny to you that my own daughter dislikes me because she thinks that I'm just another teacher out to watch her fail?"

They hadn't even noticed when the door opened and closed again.

"So, it's true?" Lea said, a passive expression on her face, hands tucked into the cute little jacket pockets.

Both adults looked towards the voice instantaneously, Bella speaking first. "Is what true, Lea?"

Lea laughed, "Seriously? Are we going to play this game? You know exactly what I'm referring to."

Bella breathed deeply, suppressing a myriad of panic attacks. "I think that we should talk about this in the car."

Last straw. "What?"

"Lea," Lance breathed, finding immense difficulty with gathering oxygen into his chest.

"What?!" Lea snapped, her head and hair flipping wildly to finally look at Lance.

It was a pregnant moment, identical eyes meeting gazes in the realization of finally knowing the truth. It was surreal, yet – it was so real.

Lea exhaled harshly, holding back the emotions that were sending signals to the ducts in her eyes. In the flash of the moment, Lea spun around, slammed open the heavy classroom door and raced down the echoing hallway.

Bella stepped forward to chase after her, before the strong hand of Lance grabbed her arm in a halt. "Let her go. I don't think she wants to be bothered with you right now."

Bella spun around, eyes aflame. "So, what, is this bad mother night? I just get the black card, automatically? I thought that this would be the best way."

Lance stepped back, "You know Bella, you always had a way of assuming things and then finding out that you were wrong. This is one of those times."

Bella opened her mouth to speak as a lone tear crawled out of her eye."You have no idea what this has been like for me. I break my back to make sure that my daughter is well taken care of, and as healthy, physically and emotionally as possible. You said to me, years ago, that something serious was not what you wanted. So excuse me for granting you your wish. Don't you dare lay this all on my head."

Lea swiped the tears from her face in a heated measure, and stomped out of the door, angry.

Lance sighed and called after her, gently, with no response

"Bella," Lance called again.

AND it's not over. No, no. I have the next chapter hot and ready - just review, and you'll be happy, Trust me, you'll like the next one.