Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Teach Me To Love - Chapter 11 Part 2

Yeah I know I've been slow at posting, but girl got real busy.
I'm trying to push my event on the 29th of December and someone didn't do what they were suppose to (send me my money) and sistah had to hustle for the facility fee mad as heck. On top of that I was in training too.
But c'est la vie and here it is.
          Staring at her grade book and the official grading form, Rachel was stuck. If she marked the correct grade for Derrick James, she would be jeopardizing her career, but if she made the wrong decision, it would hold him back. Either way, she was damned if she did, damned if she didn’t.
          Looking at the time, she saw it was just after four and she was supposed to help with last minute decorations of the gym. Taking a break from her grading, she went to the office to speak to the principal. The threat to her career really bothered her and she felt Austin would understand enough to do something about it. She would tell him Dwayne had threatened to hurt her career if she didn’t fail Derrick and that was a serious thing because she felt Derrick wouldn’t take failure lying down.
          This had been on her mind a lot, especially since she was constantly thinking about the conversation she had with Tonya a few weeks ago.
          “He’s not here,” Laura said. “He’s coming back to help monitor and host the fest, but he had some meetings to attend to.”
          Dwayne just happened to come into the office. “Ah, Mrs. Herlong, I just noticed that you haven’t turned in your grading sheets yet. Is there a problem?”
          “No, Mr. Davish,” she said, rubbing her neck, trying to keep the contempt out of her voice.  “I’m just running a little behind, but the deadline time is five, isn’t it?” Derrick’s grades were the only ones left to do.
          “Yes, that’s correct. I expect to have them in my hand whether they are complete or not.”
          “Yes, sir.” She started to leave the office, but Laura called out to her.
          “You didn’t check your box today.”
          Rachel frowned because she always checked her box on her break and Laura knew this. Looking towards her mailbox she was surprised to see a folder lying in there that hadn’t been in there at her break hour.  She thanked Laura and picked up the folder before hurrying out the office and going back to her classroom.  Pulling the shade down and locking the door for privacy, she faced the desk and was startled by who was sitting in her chair.
          For the past few weeks, she had been avoiding Derrick and using Tonya as a buffer. Tonya had been assigned to the English Department as a student assistant for the past couple of weeks with Rachel’s recommendation to Austin. Derrick had been keeping his distance from her even during rehearsals.
          “What are you doing here?” she demanded to know. “My door was locked.”
          “That’s a funny thing, Rachel,” he said, getting up from the desk. His movements were relaxed, but she could hear the tension and anger in his voice.
          As he stepped towards her, she backed up against the wall. He didn’t stop walking until he was mere inches from her, and placed his hands on either side of her body on the wall holding her in place. Her breathing increased and she could feel the blood racing to her head and felt a little dizzy.
          “These cheap ass doors can’t keep anyone out if they want to get in.” He sucked his teeth and narrowed his eyes. “Are you going to tell me what Tonya put in your head?”
          Bravely, she asked, “What makes you think Tonya put something in my head?”
          Raising a hand slowly and pushing the hair out of her eyes, he said, “She’s just a little bit too happy and thinks she knows what’s really going on, but I assure you that she doesn’t because if she did. .. You wouldn’t be working here anymore.” His fingers lightly caressed her check.
          She turned her face to the side as if his touch disgusted her. “You shouldn’t be here, Derrick.”
          “Don’t tell me where I should be.”
          Looking back at him, she replied, “She made me realize that I have a career to think about, and not just some fly by night romance, that you think you can put in my heart.” Gathering herself, she pushed against his chest and was surprised to see how easily he moved away.
          Using her desk as a barrier, she continued, “Derrick, you don’t understand how hard it was to get where I am. How I’ve worked and toiled to achieve the success I have. I’m not going to let some little boy with a high school crush mess it all up. You’re thinking only of yourself. You’re just living in the moment. I have a responsibility to my children to make sure that they have a place to stay and food to eat. A relationship with you could ruin everything, including my reputation in this city.” Calming down, she knew that getting upset wit him wouldn’t make a difference.  When she spoke again, her tone was reasonable with a touch of pleading, hoping he would understand. “I’m not asking you to deny what you’re feeling, I’m only asking you to consider my needs in this game you’re playing. I already have too many cards in my hand and if I take one more, I might lose everything.”
          Derrick felt torn between what he wanted to do, and what he knew was right. She had reached him, but he didn’t want to accept what she was saying. Leaning across the desk, he replied, “The cards you hold are not the cards you need we both know that.”
          “But it’s the cards life has dealt me.” Taking deep breath, she implored quietly, “Please understand that what I feel for you isn’t something that should be, Derrick. I have to be an adult and deny it. I’ve already made my decision of whom I’m going to be with and what I have to do. To change my mind now would only cause everyone unnecessary pain.”
          “Even if I can make you happy?”
          Exasperated, she looked down at her grade book to remember that time was running out. “Derrick, I don’t have the time to debate this with you. I have less than thirty minutes to make some really important decisions.”
          He looked down at the grade book. “You did everyone’s grades, except mine. Is it that hard?” There was hurt in his tone of voice
          “Derrick, please. I don’t want to discuss this right now.”
          “Fine. We won’t discuss this. I’ll see your decision soon enough, right?”
          Rachel didn’t comment seeing the hurt in his eyes. She was under enough pressure from everything else that she didn’t see why she had to discuss this matter with Derrick. Not until everything was over with. “Are you going to leave now?”
          “Are you going to keep avoiding me?” He still looked pretty pissed, yet backed up from the desk.
          “If that’s what it takes, I will. Don’t push me right now. I have enough to deal with.”
          As much as Derrick hated not knowing what her decision was going to be, he still couldn’t stop the way he felt about her. It was like he was on the Titanic and knowing that it was going to sink, he still stood firm on the deck...hoping. He had come in there with other intentions in any case and decided to carry it out. “I need a favor. I won’t bother you or try to see you alone or pursue you if you do one thing for me.”
          Warily, she asked, “What?”
          Taking an envelope out of his back pocket, he said, “Open this envelope at seven-thirty tonight and follow the directions.”
          “But I’ll be here at the dance.”
          “Trust me, you’ll have time to do what’s there without the least bit of guilt, Rachel. You’ll do it?”
          Taking the envelope, she said, “Yes, Derrick.”
          He smiled devilishly and walked out the room.
          Sitting back in the chair, she huffed in vexation. The folder she had brought from the office was lying on top of her desk. She opened it and looked through the papers. It was a file full of copied work from Derrick’s other teachers and copies of their grading sheets. They had all given him a failing grade or D, yet his work was flawless.
          Why was she given the folder? To help her make the decision about betraying Derrick easier? Or to show that she was the only teacher in this school who wouldn’t bow down to what Davish or Derrick’s parole officer wanted?
          Coding in the grades she felt she should assign him, Rachel released the breath she had been holding. So much for her career, but at least she didn’t’ feel guilty about it anymore.
Teach Me To Love - Chapter 11 Part 2 (c) 2005 Sylvia Hubbard

Sylvia Hubbard
Author of Stone's Revenge just newly re-released @ http://lulu.com/StonesRevenge .
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