I knew the next day at school would be interesting. I knew most of the students habitually taped TRL and watched it when they got home, or watched it after dinner, or when they were supposed to be doing their homework. I happened to get to school about the same time Chris did, and ran up to him in the parking lot. "Chris, wait up!"
"Hey, Ree, how's your day going so far?"
"Today should be...interesting," I said, a bit out of breath.
"Oh yeah? Why's that?"
"Isaac went public yesterday about us."
"Didn't the album come out yesterday anyway?"
"Yeah, but he broke the news on TRL. He told the entire country I said yes. But at least he didn't say who I was, just an old friend of the family and high school English teacher. The band's very private about the rest of the family."
"Well, good, I've been just bursting to tell people about it for the last month!" He held the door open for me as we walked in. "So, how do you think the students will react?"
"Most of them already know we're dating anyway. Other than Leah Birdsong hating me for taking away her number one dreamboat, and a couple girls trying to get me to fix them up with Zac, I don't think it will be such a big deal."
We arrived at his classroom. "Well, good luck to you, have a splendid day! If I hear any crazed screams, I'll come to your rescue!" He threw an imaginary cape around his shoulders, and dramatically entered his room.
A few students were arriving at school already, usually the bookworms who hung out in the library before homeroom. Cindy Gregory, one of my favorite students and from my favorite class, came up to me as I unlocked my room. "Hey, Miss Smithson, good morning."
"Oh hi, Cindy, good morning to you, too. Did you finish chapter ten last night?" I asked as we both walked into my room.
"Yep...so, did you catch anything interesting on TV yesterday?" she said excitedly.
Here we go. "Yeah," I said, trying to be casual as I put my bag down next to my desk. I knew I could tell Cindy just about anything, I was quite comfortable with her, and she was more mature at seventeen than a couple of the middle-aged teachers at the school. I figured if I tried to hide anything more, things would just get blown out of proportion. "Alright, Cindy, here's the deal. You all knew I was dating him anyway. We've just taken the relationship to the next logical level, that's all, it's no big deal, okay?"
"'Kay...so lemme see it!" she exclaimed, practically ripping my left hand off of my arm. She examined it closely. "Hey, you've had this ring on for a month!"
"Yep, but it was on my right hand."
"Sneak!" Cindy said, laughing. "Congratulations, Miss Smithson...I guess, Mrs. Hanson!" She giggled again. "Oh, I'm a senior, I'll miss being able to call you that."
"Well, you won't be the only one. Can you keep a secret?"
"You know I can," she said confidently.
"I'm not coming back after this year."
"What?!" she exclaimed, sitting down at a desk in the front row. "Well, I guess you won't need to work, being married to a rich rock star."
"That's not it, it's just that I'm moving, and we don't know where we're moving to just yet, probably Tulsa, but maybe New York. After school's out, they'll start touring, and I'm going with them, just like the family always does. And after that, we'll start looking for a house, and then I'll look for a job, too. Diana--their mother--already said she'd love my help homeschooling the younger kids at home and on the road, if I want. And maybe I'll teach high school, but maybe I'll try for college, too, who knows? But I'll certainly miss this place," I said, looking around the room at my decorations and posters.
Cindy's eyes fell on the same poster I was staring at. "Hey, are you taking that one with you?"
"Yes!" I said. "That one's going with me, no matter where I end up!" I continued, referring to my poster from Pride and Prejudice. Several of the girls (and Chris, too, he'll admit) developed a crush on Colin Firth's Mr. Darcy after seeing that.
"So, when did you decide you were leaving?"
"Isaac and I had a long talk the night he proposed--"
"Which was when?" she prodded.
"Valentine's Day, if you must know."
"I guess those roses worked, eh? I knew it! Go on."
"Anyway, we talked, and decided to get married before they go on tour this summer, and that I would go with them, and then look for a place to live."
"Wow, that's really soon...are you gonna have kids?"
"Cindy, I don't know the answer to that. Probably, but not right away."
"Wow, Miss Smithson, I'm sure gonna miss you."
"Cindy, you would miss me anyway, you're graduating."
"I know, but this is different..." she said, her voice trailing off.
"And Cindy? You can't tell anyone that I'm not returning, I haven't talked to the powers that be about it yet. I wanted to get midterms over with first."
As she nodded in agreement, Andrew Bedford, Mr. Smart-Ass, burst into the room. "Miss Smithson! Congrats, dude!" he said, high-fiveing me, followed by three members of the JV football team and their girlfriends, who simply hugged me. As a small crowd developed around my room, I knew the rest of the day would be a waste, teaching-wise. Oh well.
Chris helped me out to my car with the last few boxes of stuff from my room the day after finals. As meticulous and organized as I was, I managed to cram quite a bit of stuff into my classroom in just three years. As I was bent over, shoving a box into the trunk, I heard a car pull up next to us. I heard what I thought was Isaac's voice, introducing himself to Chris. I peered around the trunk, and saw Isaac and Chris chatting. Chris was so friendly, he could strike up a conversation with anyone and anything, and I'm sure they both felt like they practically knew each other anyway.
Chris leaned into the trunk and said, "Ree, Isaac's here," leaned closer and whispered to me, "and he's much hotter in person, good job!"
I playfully slapped Chris on the arm. "You never stop looking, do you?" He grinned and continued organizing my trunk as I hugged Isaac. "I thought you weren't coming until later."
"I caught an earlier flight, and decided to surprise you here. Need any more help?"
"Not really, but I still have to turn in my keys. Wanna come in?" I asked, closing the trunk.
"Sure, I've never seen where you work."
"Have you ever been inside a high school?"
He laughed. "No, actually."
"Well, let us show you around," I said, taking his arm and Chris with my other, walking towards the school.
Chris said, "I can't, I need to get going. I'll see you in two weeks, then?" he said, hugging me.
"You'd better, you're the one singing!" I replied. He and Isaac shook hands, and Chris went back to his car.
After giving Isaac the grand tour of the high school, and turning my keys in and saying goodbye to the teachers and administrators who were still in the building, we walked back out to the car. He asked, "Do you want to take this load directly to storage?"
"Yeah, might as well start filling it up. I've got my winter stuff packed at the house, too, so I think we can swing by and pick up some of that."
"And where do you plan on putting it? Your trunk's full, and your backseat only has room for one box."
"Alright, you're right, let's just go to the storage place."
"I hope you got the biggest one," Isaac commented as we drove off, the first step in putting my old life in storage and beginning my new life with Isaac.
Back to Chapter Twelve
Hanson Fan Fiction
Copyright ©1999-2006 Winona Patterson.