1: Educating Kaylee Ch. 03bySpartan22©
Kaylee skipped cheerleading practice later that day. She told Audrey to tell the coach she wasn't feeling good. Technically, it was the truth; she felt sick to her stomach, but it wasn't exactly because of the flu. It was more self-induced.
Kaylee darted inside the library, but Luke wasn't there. She tried calling him on her cell phone, but it went straight to voice mail. She listened to his entire 'leave a message' spiel, but right when she was about to leave a message she chickened out and hung up.
Throughout the rest of the day and even into the night, she tried calling several more times, each one met without any luck. After the eighth or ninth call (she admitted to herself that she lost count), Kaylee finally decided to leave a message. Taking a deep breath after the beep prompted her, she said, "Hi, Luke. I..., just wanted..., to say I-I'm sorry. I hope that, um, please call?"
She hung up and sighed. That went well, she sarcastically thought to herself. Very professional.
The next morning, Kaylee lingered by her locker as long as she could, hoping to catch Luke in the hallway. She silently cursed under her breath as the last bell rang, realizing that not only would she be late to her first period class, but also that Luke was a no-show.
"Nice of you to join us, Miss Reed," Mr. Scott, one of the youngest teachers in the high school, told her as he continued to write the daily assignment up on the board.
"Sorry," she said softly, sliding into her seat next to Audrey.
"Kaylee," Audrey whispered, "You've got to pull it together."
"Am I that obvious," Kaylee whispered back. Audrey gave her a 'well, duh' nod.
"Look, I saw you hanging out by his locker. Just give it time. He'll eventually show up, you apologize, and then get on with your life. Or, just do what the old Kaylee would do and say fuck it."
Kaylee didn't even acknowledge her comment. She instead tried to refocus her efforts to the teacher, looking straight ahead towards the board. Her effort was unsuccessful as she somehow looked past it, distantly staring off at nothing.
"If I didn't know any better, I'd say this new Kaylee is growing a heart," Audrey said with a slight upward curve to her lips.
Kaylee even managed to crack the smallest of smiles. "Yeah, three sizes too big," she said sarcastically.
Audrey's face brightened. She exclaimed, "I love the Grinch!"
"Why won't you tell me what's going on, babe," Bradley asked impatiently. "You've been moping for the last couple of days. Even the last couple of nights – I mean, I would have thought you'd actually be happy hanging out with me." He took her hand in his, walking her to the next class.
"I am, Bradley. I told you," Kaylee said, annoyed with the constant questions. "It's... It's nothing."
"Bullshit, Kaylee. Is this about your dad again?"
Kaylee sighed, trying to ignore him.
"Is it about your grades?"
Her eyes flickered, just enough to tip her hand.
"Oh, it's your grades. Don't worry about it, babe. You stress too much. Besides, with all of the studying you've been doing lately, you'll be fine."
She sighed again, "It's NOT my grades." Well, that was partially true.
"Then what is it, is it me? You've been acting this way since Tuesday."
Bradley was starting to get frustrated. Kaylee groaned quietly. She knew she'd have to tell him something to get him off her back.
"No, it's not you, Brad-LEY," emphasizing the last part of his name. "It's Luke. Now just drop it."
"Luke Patton? That nerd that's been staring at you in the locker bay since freshman year? What'd he do?" Bradley was getting fired up.
"Look, he didn't do anything. He tutored me a few times, and it didn't work out. Wait... and what do you mean he's been staring at me since freshman year? No he hasn't. I think he's gay."
Bradley shook his head, "If by gay you mean he wants your hot little ass, then sure, whatever. The only reason I haven't pounded him yet for looking at you like all the other nerds is he's a loser with no chance and he's stayed clear of you. But I swear, if he's hurt you or went all perv on you..."
"Bradley! Just DROP it," Kaylee exclaimed as she stopped and threw his hand down. "Just... just, no." She put her hands up in the air, signaling for him to stop.
"Look, thanks for walking me to class. I'm not doing anything tonight after choir. Call me then. I'll be in a better mood."
She kissed Bradley on the lips and walked inside.
"What the fu..." He shook his head and walked off.
"I don't think I've ever seen you miss class before. You must have really been sick," Aaron said, talking while chewing a bite from his peanut butter and jelly sandwich.
"You have no idea," Luke sighed, leaning on his chin with one hand while stirring his instant potatoes with his other, with no apparent appetite.
"You even forgot to bring your lunch, man."
Luke looked up. With a straight face, he said, "You got me, Sherlock."
"Dude, you don't need to be a douche."
Luke sighed and straightened his posture, "Sorry, you're right. I'm kind of being one, aren't I? It's been a long week. And honestly I've lost my appetite."
"It's all good. Besides, who actually has an appetite with cafeteria food?"
Luke nodded; Aaron had a good point.
"I'd also say I'm more like Watson than Sherlock, I guess. The Jude Law version, not the old chubby one. So... are you going to tell me what's up, or...," Aaron intentionally left his words hanging, giving Luke an opportunity to finish the sentence for him.
Luke wasn't listening to Aaron; something else had his attention. Out of the corner of his eye, Luke saw Kaylee over at the popular crowd's table. She was sitting with Bradley, Audrey, Cindy, and Mick. Luke heard all of them laughing about something; probably about him. It wouldn't be the first time.
Gradually, he turned his head, trying not to look conspicuous. The smile on her face was beautiful; she was really happy about something. She looked amazing, he thought to himself.
Her tight turquoise athletic shorts with pink trim held her butt nicely. He'd seen her in those shorts once before earlier in the school year. She had bent over to pick something up, revealing two tight, round, spherical muscles stretching the fabric as tightly as possible, and it had been all he could do to avoid drooling.
Even her shirt was tight, what little material there was of it anyway. Her belly ring was hypnotic; he could have stared at it for hours and he just might have, had the view not been partially obstructed by the cafeteria table. Not like he had a chance with her, but that was ok. Guys like him never had a chance with a beauty like her. Maybe that was why he was so mad at himself; for a brief moment, during his time tutoring the Princess of Remmington High, he felt like a knight in her court. It was nothing more than a childish fantasy, but it felt nice to dream.
She was right; he was a loser. It wasn't a big deal to him, really; so what if he was a loser? It was only high school after all, and the real world waited for him. The only downside to being a loser was that it put them in completely opposite castes. He just needed to be reminded of that, which she did.
Even though he felt defeated, he still couldn't resist the faintest of smiles.
Out of the blue, Kaylee turned in his direction and made eye contact with him; the smile left her face. Wide-eyed, Luke looked back towards Aaron so quickly he thought he was going to have whiplash.
Aaron looked over to see what he was looking at. "Oh, dude," he exclaimed, watching Kaylee get up and walk over to their table. "Does this have anything to do with her?"
Luke didn't answer. Barely moving his lips like an inexperienced ventriloquist, Aaron told him, "Don't look now, she's coming over here."
Luke intentionally looked in the other direction. He remained seated for a moment, fidgeting and thinking of his next move. "Catch you after school," he said, standing up with his tray and walking off.
Kaylee stopped walking in the middle of the cafeteria. She just stared as Luke turned in his tray and darted towards the locker halls.
"Kaylee, what are you doing," Bradley asked, exasperated. Half of their table was puzzled, trying to figure out what Kaylee was doing, while the other half didn't seem to care or notice she even left. Kaylee ignored Bradley and walked off, folding her arms across her chest.
Audrey looked at Bradley. "I'll check on her," she said, getting up from the table.
Cindy told Audrey as she was walking away, "Oh, please. Just let her go, she's still just upset we found out how often she's been hanging out with Loser Luke at the, quote, 'study sessions.' She's just worried about her social status."
"Cindy, stop being so bitchy," Audrey said as she walked off after Kaylee.
Bradley asked Cindy, "Wait, what do you mean she's been hanging out with Luke? She said he tutored her once or twice."
Cindy shook her head, "Once or twice a day, more like. I don't know how often she's been with him because she's so secretive about it. I think she's been meeting him every night at the library after cheerleading. If she wasn't with you, I'd swear she was giving him blow jobs or something. Talk about disgusting."
His eyes narrowed. He looked across the cafeteria towards Aaron.
Aaron, still staring at the popular table, initially locked eyes with Bradley but just as quickly he looked away. He grabbed his camera bag and backpack, stood up from the table, and tossed his empty brown lunch bag in the trash. As quickly as he could, he left the cafeteria.
Bradley followed him.
Bradley shouted angrily at Aaron, trying to get his attention.
"Shit," Aaron whispered under his breath as he turned the dial on his lock faster, feeling the presence of Bradley drawing closer by the second.
"I'm talking to you, nerd," Bradley growled as he pushed Aaron's shoulder. Aaron sunk back against the locker, avoiding eye contact.
"Hey man, not cool..." Aaron nervously said.
"What the fuck is going on with your loser friend and Kaylee?"
"Which one of my loser friends? I have a lot...," Aaron instantly regretted those smartass words the moment they left his mouth. Bradley grabbed his shoulders and slammed him against the locker again. Aaron let out a groan of pain as the sound echoed throughout the hall; his heart was racing and all he wanted was for Bradley to leave him alone.
"Man, I don't know, they're just studying, dude. Seriously."
"Studying? Then why is my girl always moping around like her dog just died?"
"Maybe because her dog died?"
Again, Aaron realized his mouth was moving faster than his brain. It cost him another slam against the lockers. He promised himself he'd try not to make any more remarks that would bring him pain; he just wanted out of this situation.
"Look, you better tell me where Luke is before I tear your head off. It's yours, or his. If he's been hurting Kaylee... I don't know what he's been doing to Kaylee, but I'm gonna find out, do you understand?"
Bradley's face was red with anger, and Aaron knew he meant business.
Audrey could tell Kaylee was upset that Luke ran off, obviously avoiding her. She tried her best to comfort Kaylee, but wasn't having any luck. Kaylee acted like she didn't want anyone to bother her, not even her best friend, but Audrey still had to try despite her failing pep talks.
"What's with the commotion down there," Kaylee asked Audrey. Audrey had been so wrapped up in her friend she didn't even notice a mass migration of students flocking towards the end of the hallway. Several cheers and quite a few laughs broke out.
In a way, Audrey was glad; whatever was going on, it served as a distraction for Kaylee. Both girls eventually wandered down the hall to see for themselves what all of the commotion was about.
"Bradley! What are you doing," Kaylee exclaimed, realizing the crowd was circling around her boyfriend and Luke's friend Aaron. "Leave him alone!"
Audrey exclaimed, "Bradley, stop!"
Bradley looked at Kaylee, and then back to Aaron. Angrily, he leaned in, put one hand forcefully on Aarons shoulder, and whispered to him, "Tell Luke I want to see him, and tell him to stay away from..."
Before Bradley could finish his sentence, something – or someone – slammed into his side, knocking him down to the ground. Luke certainly wasn't as big or as strong as Bradley, but he used the general laws of physics to topple him over.
Luke's own forward momentum had caused him to stumble, but he caught himself with one hand on the ground, maintaining his balance.
"Don't touch him again. Leave my friends alone."
Kaylee gasped, as did most of the other students.
Bradley stood up, and he looked pissed. Gritting his teeth, he was just about to lurch forward at Luke when Mr. Scott walked around the corner. "Alright, what's going on," the young teacher said apathetically, adjusting his tie. A few boos and groans rose from the crowd, but most of them scattered like insects since the show was obviously over.
"Nothing, Mr. Scott, I was just going to my locker," Bradley said without taking his eyes off of Luke, as if to say they'd take care of business later. Luke didn't flinch. Aaron sunk back against his locker, waiting to see what would happen.
Bradley slowly walked off without saying a word, but gave Luke one last dirty look. Kaylee looked towards Luke, then back at Bradley as he walked off without giving her a single glance, and then shifted her attention back at Luke.
It was fairly obvious she wasn't sure if she should chase after Bradley or stay and make sure Luke was ok.
Before Kaylee had a chance to make a decision, Mr. Scott calmly said, "Mr. Patton, why don't you come with me." He turned around and walked towards his office, crooking his finger over his shoulder, beckoning Luke. Luke quietly followed. Aaron sighed, whispering to Luke as he walked by, "Sorry, man. But, thanks. I owe you."
Luke nodded in understanding. He looked at Kaylee with his blue eyes as he walked past her.
It was a deliberate glance, but Kaylee couldn't interpret the look on his face. If she didn't know any better, she would have thought that it was nothing more than a look of indifference, or casual eye contact. Indifference and casual – that described Luke perfectly.
But her instincts told her that there was something more to it. Maybe it was disappointment? She wasn't sure, but that guilty feeling was returning again. Biting her lip, she regretted her silence throughout the entire event. She should have at least asked if he was ok.
"I'm going to catch up with Bradley," Kaylee told Audrey and wandered off down the hall.
"Mr. Patton, would you care to explain what all of that was about?"
Mr. Scott seemed to have a neutral face; Luke couldn't read him one way or the other. He sighed, "Well, Mr. Scott, the truth is, he was giving my friend a hard time."
Luke carefully thought about his next words, "I simply wanted him to leave Aaron alone. That's all."
A slight smile surfaced on Mr. Scotts face. "I thought as much. I just wanted to hear it from you. I don't know what that was about, and I don't really care. However, I would caution you to keep your distance from him and his friends in the future, if you can help it. Both of you are on my radar, so consider this a warning and please don't let it happen again. That's all; you can go to your next class now."
Luke, slowly starting to realize he wasn't going to be in trouble, breathed a sigh of relief, thankful that Mr. Scott let the situation slide. He expected the situation to turn out much more differently and wasn't quite sure how he was going to explain to his mom how he got in trouble – or worse, suspended – for fighting.
Luke was grateful Mr. Scott let him off the hook. As he stood up to leave, Mr. Scott told him, "Luke, I admire your loyalty to your friend. Not many people would do what you did, especially against someone his size. I wish I had more students with that kind of integrity."
Luke gave him a nod of thanks. "See you tomorrow, Mr. Scott."
"Bradley, wait! What the hell was that all about back there?" Kaylee was fuming.
Bradley spun around. The look Kaylee gave him was unnerving, but he was just as frustrated with her, "Kaylee, are you going to tell me what the hell is going on, or not? Do you have something going on with that nerd, Luke?"
"He's not a nerd, and no, I don't have anything going on with him," she snapped, "He's been helping me with my classes. I dug a hole so deep I didn't know if I could get out of it, and he's been a really great tutor. In fact he has a way of explaining things better than any of our teachers. So what if I've been spending time studying with him a couple times?"
Bradley contemplated her words, but it was clear he wasn't sure if she was telling the truth. "If that's the case, why have you been so bitchy lately? I swear you're on the rag," he sighed, which came out more like a growl.
"First of all, Bradley, don't you ever say that a girl is on the rag! Or that she's being bitchy, you prick," Kaylee hissed.
"Unless of course you want to trade me in for some slutty trailer trash that likes being called that, than by all means, say it to me again," she threatened. "Secondly, I said something I shouldn't have. Something I didn't mean, but it's been said and I can't take it back. It involves Luke. It was my fault, not his, so leave him and his friends alone, alright? That's why I've been... in a mood. And that's all you need to know because it's between me and him."
Bradley nodded reluctantly, slowly starting to calm down.
Kaylee noticed Luke not too far down the hallway. He had just walked around the corner and out of her sight. She couldn't tell for sure, but it looked like he might have had a smile on his face.
Kaylee bit her lip. Did he hear me, she asked herself. You need to learn to keep your mouth shut, Kaylee; you're just digging a bigger hole.
"Hey Kaylee," Luke said, answering his cell.
Kaylee was completely caught off guard; even though she was the one who called him, she was surprised he finally picked up the phone in spite of her several unsuccessful attempts. She never did blame him for ignoring her. In fact, if roles were reversed and he had hurt her the way she had hurt him, she confessed that she would have done a whole lot worse than ignoring a flood of phone calls.
Replying back as calmly as she could, Kaylee said, "Hey Luke, I'm glad you answered." She had rehearsed her apologies a thousand times, but she wasn't ready for her lines.
All she could think to say was, "Whatcha doing?" She winced at the carelessness of her own words.
"Just working on one of my papers for Mountain View. I'm about a month ahead in all my high school classes; it's really my three college classes that are taking up most of my time. What about you?"
His voice sounded normal to Kaylee, which was a small relief. Maybe he was ready to talk to her again; maybe he would forgive her and find a way to get past her cruel words.
"Just baking some cookies. Double chocolate chip; the dough is chocolate, just like the chips. Pretty much the whole thing is chocolate," she said.
Kaylee giggled as she heard Luke moan on the other side of the phone. "They're not for me, though," she said. "They're for a friend."
"By the way," she asked warily, "why did you... I mean, I'm not sure why you answered the phone, but I'm glad you did. Does that mean you're ready for me to apologize and beg for your forgiveness?"
She felt awkward even asking that. As the words escaped from her mouth, she pondered how that sentence didn't even seem to be in her vocabulary, yet here she was on the verge of apologizing.