Chapter Eighteen

"Wake up! Now! Up!" Clara awoke to a voice shouting. She opened her eyes and the sunlight blinded her.

"What time is it?" She heard Gabby ask groggily.

"Almost ten o'clock." Another, calmer, voice responded.

"We slept in." Clara stated obviously. Her heart began to race as she remembered where she was. And she was naked! She quickly pulled the covers up to her chain, hoping no one noticed she was naked. As her eyes adjusted to the bright light she could see that it was not only Ms. Baker, their floor leader, but the headmistress, Ms. Shapel. Clara shut her eyes tight, hoping that she would wake up and this would all be an awful dream. She opened them. It didn't work.

"Someone needs to explain what is going on here!" Ms. Baker shrieked.

"Nothing is going on here." Gabby said, trying to stay calm. In truth she was freaking out as much as Clara was. She gently took Clara's hand under the blanket. She was trying to keep herself as covered up as possible, while trying not to look like she was lying here naked with another girl.

Clara quickly pulled her hand away. She didn't want to deal with this; not now, not ever. She didn't want everyone knowing about her. She didn't want everyone to know she might be a lesbian.

"I want you to get up, get dressed and both of you to be in my office in twenty minutes." Ms. Shapel told them. "And yes, your parents will be notified."

Clara's stomach dropped. What would her parents say? They hated Gabby, they hated the situation she had gotten herself into. Would they take her home? Send her somewhere else? What would they do?

Gabby seemed more calm. But Clara realized she was already distant from her parents, what would she care if they knew about this? They obviously already hated her and tried to see her as little as possible.

The two teachers closed the door and left the room without another word.

Streams of tears flowed silently from Clara's eyes. She tried to get some clothes on without Gabby noticing that she was crying, but she was unsuccessful.

Gabby wrapped her arms around Clara from behind, and Clara tried to push her away. Gabby spun Clara around in her arms and wrapped her arms even tighter around her. Clara rested her head down on Gabby's shoulder and let herself cry.

"Baby don't cry. Everything will be ok." She whispered comfortingly.

"You don't know that. They already hate me, this could put them over the edge you know."

"What do you mean?" Gabby asked.

"They'll take me out of this school. They'll take me home, or they will send me somewhere else if they don't want to deal with me themselves. They hate this part of me, they hate us together. They aren't going to just stand by and let this happen, I know they won't."

Gabby was silent, but tightened her hug.

Twenty minutes seemed to go by like twenty seconds and before Clara knew it, she was standing in front of Ms. Shapels office.

"Knock." Gabby told Clara.

"No, you." Clara whispered back.

Gabby knocked twice on the hard wooden door.

"Come in." A harsh, steady voice called to them.

Clara took a deep breath and followed Gabby through the door.

"Sit down." Ms. Shapel told them, gesturing towards the chairs in front of her desk.

"Ms. Shapel, please, we didn't do anything wr-"

"Quiet please Miss Gallagher. You're parents will have to be called later tonight because they have the right to be informed about this. Now, Ms. Baker, can you explain to us what happened?"

Ms. Baker was sitting at the corner of Ms. Shapel's desk, across from the girls. "Well the girls didn't show up for breakfast, so I was a little concerned. Then when they missed their first class, I figured I better go in and check on them. I knocked on the door, but there was no answer. So I opened it up and I found... I found that!"

"What did you find Ms. Baker?" Ms Shapel asked calmly.

"Those girls were in bed together and they were... they were... they were..."

"Naked." Gabby finished for her.

Ms. Baker made a disgusted face but didn't say anything.

"Well I do not need, or want for that matter, to know the whole story here. For right now, we will be changing your rooms. You will not be allowed to be alone together; you must always have a chaperone. Your parents will be called and further action will be decided upon later." Ms. Shapel still seemed calm and collected as she destroyed Clara's life forever.

None of Ms. Shapel's rules even mattered in the end. As soon as Clara's parents were called they drove down to the school and dragged Clara home. They eventually decided to keep her at home where they could keep an eye on here. They also decided to send her to a privet Catholic school, even though neither of them had ever been very religious.

Clara of course had the 'gay stamped out of her' as her father liked to put it. She met a man, Adam, as school and the two of them were married the summer after she graduated. Her 'incident' at CVA was never talked about again. Her parents said nothing about it after they brought her home. They seemed to simply pretended it had just been a phase and had passed. Or they completely forgot it happened, but Clara doubted that.

Clara never saw Gabby again, but not a day went by that she didn't think about her. She missed the girl that taught her to love; taught her what love really meant. Gabby was the only person Clara ever really loved, and she would never forget her. She wished every day that Gabby would come back and sweep Clara off her feet; take her somewhere they could be together and not have to worry about parents, about society, about boys. She wanted to spend the rest of her life with a girl she had only known a few short months, not the boy she did eventually end up marrying.

Clara never completely forgave her parents for what they did. She supposed that they never completely forgave her either. The close relationship they had once had was gone and in its place was a cold, distant, barely speaking relationship that Clara despised. She had been pulled away from everything she loved in one fell swoop and she had never felt that happy again.

Besides not being able to forgive her parents, Clara was never able to forgive herself. She gave up everything, her love, her life, her happiness, just to try and please her parents who were never able to love her the same way again. That one night she had with Gabby was the best night of her life. She would never forget it. It was just a few short months she had had with the love of her life, but she had never experienced anything so wonderful.

She gave up absolutely everything and ended up with nothing.