Thursday, April 28, 2011

Back to Play Some More FUN & GAMES

When we last left Harper and Grace, they were at opposite ends of their little world.  Grace's long lost cousin Abby popped in for a little late night spaghetti supper, and Owen took Harper back to his place to talk to someone special.  (I feel like I'm narrating a soap opera here  *shrugs* ah, well...it's fun, and that's all that matters)  On with the show!!


Harper heaved out a sigh of relief as the door closed behind Owen. She hated to admit it, but she owed Lucky big time for calling on his brother for a ride. A quick glance at the clock told her that Lucky and Grace hadn’t been together all that long, and Harper briefly wondered what had caused the pie-eating fest to end so abruptly. Any other time, she would’ve called her friend immediately to dish.


That wouldn’t be happening anymore.

“So,” Mrs. Lancaster—Lucinda, she’d told Harper to call her when Owen had introduced them—said, her soft voice tugging Harper out of her reverie. “Now that my son is no longer hovering, we can talk.”

Here, we go, Harper thought as she sucked in a sharp breath, steeling herself for the barrage of questions to come. She said nothing, just waited for Lucinda to deliver the first blow.

“Tell me everything,” she pressed.

For what seemed like the millionth time since Grace and Owen’s first intervention, Harper opened her mouth to form her standard response of ‘I’m fine’ but instead, those two syllables swelled in her throat, growing and morphing so that when they finally jumped off the tip of her tongue, they’d become something far different, something she didn’t expect.

The tide of truth rushed forth and everything that happened came tumbling out in a mad rush, letters racing around through the air, her words stumbling all over themselves to be the first to smack into Lucinda’s ears.

The encouraging smile plastered across Lucinda’s face froze as the story poured out of Harper. The clothes, the makeup, the hair, the invitation to use Haas’ private bathroom. And when Harper got the point at which she’d ended the story with Grace, she faltered.

Eyes wide with worry and just a little fear, she whispered, “I-I waited in the bathroom for a long time. I wanted to make sure he’d be gone when I came out.”

Lucinda nodded, reached out a slid a reassuring hand along Harper’s arm. “But, he didn’t leave, did he? That’s what’s hurting you now, Harper. Not what happened before. No, you defended yourself, and that’s something to be proud of, but you know that already.”

Scrubbing her watery eyes, Harper nodded.

“So, tell me what happened next, after you beat the shit out that bastard and then locked yourself in the bathroom. Tell me what has you all tied in knots, Harper.”

Deep breath in, and Harper dove into the deep end of the pool.

Just a misunderstanding, he’d said. A misunderstanding? Harper bristled again, just thinking about the un-apology that douchebag had the stones to throw out, and then to quickly follow it up with a comment about her clothes?

Because apparently the outfit she and Grace had picked out that afternoon was actually a glowing neon sign that shouted out, “Please rape me, teacher!”

Grace. Harper stared down at her best friend’s boots, particularly the broken heel on the left one. What had she been thinking to borrow something so expensive? Grace was going to kill her…well, after she marched Harper down to the bank to empty the entire contents of her savings—which pitifully enough still wouldn’t come close to paying for the footwear.

Anger at what he’d done surged forth again. How dare he do this to her? To anyone? Even if she had been willing—which she most definitely was NOT—that kind of thing between a teacher and a student was just plain wrong, not to mention illegal.

Leaping to her feet, Harper’s anger carried her across the room, to her closet. As she moved, clothes came flying off. Grace’s favorite pink sweater whipped up over her head and dropped to the floor. For good measure, Harper kicked it under the bed. Sorry, Gracie, she thought, but if I never see that thing again, it’ll be too soon. Next, she shimmied out of the skirt, balled it up, and shoved it to the back of her closet.

Cool air skimmed over her flesh for less than moment, as she made short work of trading those offensive garments for a pair of well-worn jeans and Dad’s faded red Wisconsin sweatshirt. Hugging the bulky material to her chest, she almost felt human again…that is, until her eyes landed on the bed.

Shiny black leather stared back at her, mocking her. That broken heel would be her downfall. Shit. What was she going to do now?

The answer popped up, bright and clear. An easy and sensible fix. With a cry of victory, she shot back to the bed, scooped up the boots in her arms and grabbed her cell phone before sailing back out of the house.

Grace’s number dialed, she pressed the phone to her ear as she locked the front door behind her. Grace would be on the warpath when Harper told her what happened, but who else could she call? And, with Truman missing in action yet again, she had no other option for a ride to the police station.

Haas was going down for this. She—and Grace—would make sure he never tried that again with any other students.

A loud annoyed groan leaped out of her when the call was automatically routed to voicemail. Harper clicked ended the call without leaving a message. Great. Where was Grace? And, who could she call now?

Owen’s face flashed through her head, but she quickly dismissed the idea. Yeah, great idea, Harp, she sneered at herself. Call your crush and tell him what, exactly? That you were almost raped…by his favorite teacher? That’d go over real well, and bonus: he’ll stop looking at you like a girl and see nothing but a wounded animal that’s so broken it should probably be put down. She snorted. Not a chance.

She walked around the side of the house and grabbed Chase’s bike. The police station wasn’t that far. She could make the ride. Still, for good measure, she dialed Grace’s house phone. No answer there. Well, then. Her decision was now made. She wheeled the bike around to the front of the house.

And, stopped dead in her tracks.

The slamming of the front door yanked Harper back to the present and Lucky’s blinding grin.

 
Until next week, folks, when Kelly dazzles you all with her next installment.