In his car, Ash motions for Sullie to pick some music. “What do we want for supper? I’m craving Chinese.”
“I can fix that.” She leans over and kisses him. “How’s that?” She giggles “Craving satisfied?”
“Silly girl. That’s not what I meant.” He laughs, running his hand along the side of her neck. “Although….” He pulls her in for another kiss, this time with a little more force.
“If you want us to make it to supper before the game, you better stop.” A smile spreads across Sullie’s face “and Chinese sounds delicious. Lee Paul’s?”
“Perfect. I knew I liked you for more than your brain.” He pulled the car out of the driveway. “I have a gift certificate for Lee Paul. It should be in the glove box?”
Pulling open the little door in front of her knees, Sullie roots through a small stack of papers. “Nope, not in here.”
“Hmm, where did I put that…? Crap, it’s in my desk at school.”
“Too bad.” Sullie crinkles her nose. “I guess we’ll just have to use it another time.”
“Nope. We’ll use it this time.”
“Planning to break into the school to save a couple bucks?” She chuckles, flipping through a list of songs.
“Have you forgotten who you’re dating?”
“Huh?” Sullie shifts her gaze towards him. “I have no idea what you’re talking about. I’m not the one dating a teacher.”
“No. But, you are dating the editor of the school paper.”
“So, I have a key.”
“To the school?” Sullie snaps to attention.
“Yup.” He flicks the keys hanging from the ignition.
“How the hell did you pull that off!” Her hand flies towards the dangling keys. “Does the editor always get a key?”
Ash laughs, slapping her hands away, “There’s always news. There are rules of course, and they lord the fact that they can take it back over me all the time, but yup, I’ve got a key.”
“We can get into the school whenever we want?”
“The alarm comes on after nine, but until then, yes ma’am.”
“Sweet.” Sullie rubs her hands together.
“You seem awfully excited about getting into a place we spend most of our time anyway.”
“It’s different when there aren’t any teachers there.”
“Do you have something planned?”
“Can we make out on Lemmer’s desk?”
“Just make out?” Ash fakes a pout.
“We’ll have to come back another night for that…” She rolls her eyes at him.
“Well, tonight we’ll just have to be satisfied with getting the gift certificate. And possibly some cavalier making out.” Reaching over, he takes her free hand in his, their fingers intertwining.
“I don’t know why this feels so exciting.” Sullie giggles, clapping her hands together as they walk down the sidewalk to the school fifteen minutes later.
“You’re a little bit of a dork, you know.” Ash laughs as he twists the key in the door. A few other cars are parked in the teachers’ lot. He lets her go in first. “Yonder to the journalism room.” He clicks his heels together like a soldier.
“I’m the dork, huh?” She laughs, pulling him by his hand down the hall. Running recklessly without the watchful eyes of their teachers. The rooms are dark. The hallway dimly lit by emergency lights and the fading sun. Light glows behind frosted glass in the occasional classroom.
At the far end of the hall, Ash opens a door, groping for the switch on the wall. Light floods a room full of tables covered in computers. Sullie bounces towards the white board. Picking up a marker, she begins doodling. Ash opens the top drawer of his desk and begins routing through his papers.
“Ah ha. Here it is.” He brandishes the paper above his head.
“Sweet. Now, about that making out.” Sullie scootches onto a table, her fingers drumming the hard surface. Ash grins as he walks towards her, pulling her forward on the table so her legs wrap around his waist.
“You mean like this?”
“Getting closer. But so far, no smoochies.” She points at her lips with a mock pout. “How can there be making out without any smoochies?”
“Is this better?” He mutters, leaning forward until their lips meet.
“Oh my god, you talk so much.” She chuckles. “Am I going to have to tell you to shut up every time we make out?”
“That’s going to get old real fast.” She pulls him closer. “Now, are you going to shut up?”
“I suppose.” He sighs.
“You suppose!” Sullie pushes him away with mock indignation. “That’s it. You’re cut off.”
“Cut off!” He raises an eyebrow. “You’re the one doing all the talking.”
“Yup. No more of this for you.” She kisses him deeply, her tongue flicking against his. Her hands moving to previously unexplored regions.
“I thought you said no more.” His voice is little more than a groan in his throat.
“Just something so you really know what you’ll be missing.” She unwraps herself from his body, jumps off the table, and flips on the computer on Ash’s desk.
“But… but… damn.” He shakes his head. “One day and I’m already cut off.”
“One day? More like one hour.” She glanced up at him through the fringe of bangs hanging over her forehead.
“Oh man.” He shakes his head and wanders over to his desk. “What are you doing?”
“I just want to check a couple things.” Sullie’s fingers fly across the keyboard.
“Then I might as well run to my locker and grab a book I forgot.”
“Yup.” Distractedly, she leans forward and kisses him.
“I thought I was cut off.” He laughs.
“God damn. I forgot.” She grins before shooing him out of the room.
Halfway to his locker, Ash passes the criminology classroom, the light shining behind the glass. His feet stop of their own volition, his body rigid, knowing who’s sitting behind that door. He turns the knob slowly. The door pushes open silently. Mr. Staal sits behind his desk, his cell phone pressed to his ear.
“Hey, Mr. Staal.” Ash tries to sound casual as he leans against the doorframe.
The teacher looks up. Seeing Ash, he smiles cautiously before turning back to the phone. “I have to go, Sweetie. I’ll talk to you later.” He sets the phone down on the desk. “Mr. Chisholm, what are you doing here? The school is supposed to be locked.”
“I have a key.”
“You have a key?” Gilbert’s eyebrows rise. “This school certainly has some very strange policies.”
“I was thinking the same thing.” Ash walks further into the room, pulling the door shut behind him. “So, how’s my sister? In a better mood than she was this morning?”
Ash leans forward, his hands on the desk, enunciating slowly “How is my sister?”
“How would I know how your sister is doing?”
“Well, you were just on the phone with her. That and the fact that you’re sleeping with her?” Ash stares straight into the angry brown eyes “Pervert.” He mumbles under his breath as he takes a seat on top of one of the desks.
“Watch your tone, young man. I’m your teacher.” Gilbert gets up and walks around his desk.
“That is entirely the problem.” Ash crosses his arms over his chest. “The whole entire issue.”
“You don’t know what you’re talking about. Your sister may have a little crush on me, but…”
“Oh, so that was just a little crush climbing all over you on your couch last night?” Pushing himself off the desk, Ash steps towards the teacher. “Completely one sided, right?”
“So, you’re the one that threw that beer bottle at my window.” Gil squints at him. Ash remains silent. “Do you make a habit of running around peeping into people’s windows?”
“No, actually, I don’t. Do you make it a habit to diddle your students?”
“Don’t make this about me. This is about you invading my privacy.”
“Oh my god! No, it’s not! You and Penelope are both playing that card! Does it make you feel better about doing something you know is so obviously wrong?”
“We are both adults. What we do together is none of your business, Ash.”
“She is not an adult!”
“She’s legal. Close enough.” Gilbert shrugs.
“I know exactly how old she is. She’s seventeen! Remember, twins, we’re the same age! And I’m the more mature one!”
“More mature? You really think looking in windows, and busting up beer bottles makes you more mature?”
“It’s better than what you’re doing. Letting my sister think that you want her for more than sex.”
“How do you know what I want?”
“What can you possibly have in common with a teenage girl!? What?” Ash throws up his hands in disgust, “You are fucking her, aren’t you?”
“Ash, don’t be crude.” Mr. Staal balks, “This is really none of your business.”
“It’s totally my business. She’s my sister!” Ash feels himself starting to shout.
“Ash! Keep your voice down. There are other teachers here.” Gilbert wipes a hand over his face. “Does she tell you who you can and cannot date?”
“That’s different. I’m dating people my own age.”
“So, when she knew you shouldn’t be dating Brooke, and she talked to you, you listened to her and stopped dating that vapid, moronic girl.”
“What the hell do you know about it?” Ash’s face slackens with shock.
“Well, in between all my perverted teacher sex with your sister, she talks to me.” Gil mocks.
“You are disgusting. You know that what you’re doing is wrong.”
“I’m trying to make a point here, Ash. She talks to me, and I listen.”
“And that means what?”
“If I was just using Penelope for sex, I wouldn’t listen to her. And I certainly wouldn’t remember the things that are important to her.” Gil runs a hand through his hair and takes a deep breath. “What exactly do you want me to do?”
“Stop seeing her.”
“And if I don’t” Gil straightens up a little, not going to let a teenager push him around. “If I keep dating her?”
“Then you should probably reconsider how much you want to be a teacher.” He unconsciously mimics his teacher’s stance and looks him directly in the eye.
“If I stop seeing her, you’ll keep your mouth shut?”
“That’s a fair trade I think.”
“Don’t try. Do!” Anger flashes behind Ash’s eyes. “You’re a teacher for god sake. I’m supposed to be able to respect you. I want to respect you. I really do. You are a really good teacher! But, how can I when you’re with my sister.”
“Do you think they would even believe you if you said anything?”
“Does it matter? In this day and age, just the hint of scandal is enough to get a teacher canned. And you’re just a sub.”
“Exactly, I’m a sub. I’ll be gone soon. Can’t you just ignore it until I’m gone?”
“Do you hear yourself? You’re supposed to be the grown up here and you’re bargaining with a seventeen-year-old to keep your job.”
“You do not need to remind me of that. Trust me.” Pushing himself up onto the corner of his desk, Gil crosses his arms over his chest.
“You have to know how wrong this is. You are in a position of power of her. Over me. You wouldn’t need to hide it if it wasn’t wrong.”
“You just can’t see around the fact that I check her name off a sheet every morning. She’s not even in any of my classes.” Anger tinges his voice, Gil tries to calm down. “Can I ask why you were sneaking around my house last night?”
“I don’t need to explain myself to you.” Ash moodily crosses his arms over his chest, looking down towards the floor.
“Don’t be petulant Ash, you’re better than that.”
“I hope the same thing about you.” Turning, Ash heads out of the room, “If you want me to keep my mouth shut, I hope you’ll take my advice and break up with my sister. Tonight.” He closes the door gently behind him, not giving in to his desire to slam it.
Ash returns to the journalism office to find his girlfriend still glued to the computer screen. She doesn’t notice when he walks in. He takes a minute to make sure his face is settled back into a normal expression. “Have you fallen down the internet rabbit hole?”
“Huh?” She glances up at him.
“You ready to go?”
“Oh, right, sure. Did you get your book?”
“Didn’t find it.” He shuts off the lights as they leave the room and head towards the parking lot. “Now, let’s go eat some food and play some therapeutic laser tag. I feel the need to shoot many, many people.”
“And don’t forget the fun explaining-to-your-friends-we’re-dating section of the evening.”
“They have no say in who I do or do not date. I want to be with you, so I will be with you.” He wraps his arm around her waist in a show of defiance against people not present.