My office was so cozy. It had a large wooden desk, wood paneled walls. Books lined the walls. They were supplied by the school so I could use them in class. A large panel window let light in the room so I didn't have to use a lamp. And the large pile of curriculum papers helped add a sense of diligence to the space. I needed to get out of there.

I pushed back from the desk, a pile of papers fell on the floor, I left them there, tempted to step on them as I passed, just managing to avoid them on my way to the door. I wrenched it open, preparing to slam it shut behind me, when I saw Maria in the hall. I stopped cold. She was dressed casually, in a sun dress. I looked her over before I could stop myself. She had very long legs, and she was wearing heels, which made them seem longer. Her arms were bare but for a few bangles at her wrists, and she held a large straw hat in her hand. I caught myself before my eyes could explore further and looked at her face. Her heels made her eyes level with mine, they were very blue. I couldn't help it.

"Your eyes are very blue." I quoted. She smiled.

"Is that all you have to say?" She asked. She didn't sound at all like herself. Not very 'head teacher-y' at all.

"Well, no..." I hesitated, I did have a lot to say. I shook my head and went for the most appropriate answer. "You look lovely, Maria."

She smiled and twisted her arm through mine, I looked at her, she grinned and started pulling me to the front hall.

"I was going to the lake, you should join me," she said, pulling me along. I got into step with her, with some difficulty, she was walking very fast." It is such a lovely day! And I hear the lake is so nice, it's almost too bad that it's against the rules to go swimming!" I felt my face heat up as I remembered the other night when I'd caught those students swimming in the lake. Maria's laugh stopped my mind from reliving that night.

"Don't get any ideas young man!" She laughed again. I shook my head.

"I don't-- I wasn't!" I would've stopped walking but Maria still had a firm grip on my arm. She wasn't listening to me, apparently it didn't matter what kind of ideas I was getting. What was it with these Ward women? I did really need to get some work done, or I couldn't call myself a teacher, not a good one. We walked through the front hall, and Maria slowed down, I almost collided with her, unable to slow down as quickly.

The boy, Al, was headed for the front doors. He had a look on his face I hadn't seen before, not that I'd seen him much before, just in class and at the lake, but he had had a sort of hidden look to his features, like he was disguising his thoughts and feelings behind a sort of mask. Now he had a grin on his face, almost like a cat trying to get a mouse. Maria stopped to let him pass.

"Good morning Mr. Phonse," she said cheerily. Al nodded to us and kept going, pulling the front door open. I worried for a moment about the strange behavior, but Maria didn't let me dwell on it. She caught the door before it swung shut and she was dragging me behind her again. I followed, a tame puppy on a leash, until she let me go. I'd make a break for it then. Then the sun hit me. I didn't want to run anymore. I wanted to take a nap. Then Maria pulled at me again. Never mind the nap. As we went down the stairs I saw Al talking to Naomi, she was smiling, she seemed to like this version of Al. All my concerns washed away and I let Maria pull to to the lake. I only hoped she didn't harbor any plans of throwing me in.

The End

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