Tuesday, February 16, 2010

risky business

"You made out big time!" Maria said peaking inside Heath's classroom.

"I did?" He looked at her blankly. After awhile, he totally forgot about what was all on his desk. Roses, boxes and boxes of candy. There were balloons. He was packing it all up and moving it to the teacher's lounge. Anyone could take what they wanted. He didn't want to see any of this in his apartment.

"You are the luckiest teacher." She smiled brightly as she went to investigate.

"Lucky, huh? I bet you made out, just as much." He smirked as if he had to be happy. Valentines day in store for the whole weekend, wasn't it?

"Well, Roy did send me a dozen roses. It does sort of look like a flower shop in my room." She shrugged.

Heath reached in his top drawer at his desk then and handed her over the latest from Vampire Weekend.

"Um, less calories and it won't wilt." He'd downloaded the mp3 tunes from Amazon. It was an addictive collection of songs.

"Aw, that is so sweet." She smiled then, as if he'd given her something personal. Heath was about to have a panic attack then and broadcast right there who was important to him, and it wasn't her, but he managed a deep breath and relaxed. She was like watching a little girl in a candy store. He was sure she always got what she wanted when she was little. "Thank you so much." But Heath backed away before she could lunge into a big hug.

"So what are you and Roy doing tonight?" Heath bit a smile.

"Roy?" She acted as if he didn't exist. "Oh, you know, down at the steakhouse. Nothing fancy. You could come, you should." She nodded.

"No, no, I'd be spoiling your big Valentines day." He crossed his arms. "Besides, I'm waiting for a big important phone call."

"Big? How big?" She winced as if he might be leaving the school or something.

"Some one, I-I met in college. We still keep in touch. We're sort of- sort of together. Well, you know, dating, we just-" He could only picture Nick in his head.

"A long distance relationship?" She looked at him as if she understood.

"Yes." Heath nodded.

"What's her name?"

"Her name?" Big brain fart then. He couldn't use his sister's name, but he could think of the closest thing that was one. "Olivia." He grinned. Break through. "Yes, Olivia, she uh, helps with deaf children." Which was true.

"Oh." She looked as if air had been let out of a big happy balloon fantasy of the two of them together.

"She's amazing, she really is." He nodded.

"You'll have to show me her picture," Maria said next.

"Picture?" Heath found himself giving her a silly laugh. Then he wondered what Maria was thinking. "I dunno. I'll have to see. They're kind of personal." He couldn't make Olivia out to be a complete saint.

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