I grabbed a pass from him before I walked out of his classroom. I was already a good twenty minutes late but I didn't really care. Spanish was as interesting to me as drying paint. It was easy enough that I could get by with barely listening. So when I walked into the room and handed the teacher the pass, I just sat at my desk with my face buried in my arms. I wasn't sure how I would go all day like this.
I guess seeing my face scared my teacher away because she didn't call on me the entire class period. It was fine with me. But when the class was over, I didn't go to my next one. I couldn't sit through all the stares. It was more than I could handle. The bastard had actually broken my face. I walked through the red painted hallways and out the backdoor of the hall. I wouldn't go to class the rest of the day. I refused. I knew it would cause concern, and when Raye called me it would be like all hell broke loose. My thoughts drifted to Coach for a moment. Surely he would worry, but I would come talk to him after school. He would understand, right?
I made my way down to the football field. Right behind it and down the hill was a city park. I would hide there for the rest of the day. Maybe run the track a couple times. Everyone knew I needed to keep my fitness up. It was the only thing in my life I could control anyways. I had stashed all my books and book bag in my locker before I came down here. I walked down to the track and began to stretch. The monotony of running should clear my mind. It had to, right?
When fifth period came around, Jason looked intently for Lana. When she didn't show up before the bell, worry ran through him. Had someone come and taken her? Had she run off? He went with the latter. She had probably run from this place as fast as she could. He didn't blame her, but he was worried. Where in the hell was she? Raye was supposed to show up this period to talk to her. He sighed heavily and stood up. He taught the class almost absentmindedly, and when Raye walked in towards the end of it, he didn't know what to tell her. He excused himself from the class and stepped outside.
"She didn't show up for class today," He said as he shut the door behind him.
"What?" The look on the woman's face was comical. As if she couldn't believe that a teenager would skip class.
"She's not here. I don't know where she went." Jason said blandly. It should have been taken care of this morning. Lana shouldn't have had a chance to run off before she got help.
"It can't be that hard to keep track of a sixteen year old." She said flatly.
"With all due respect, Dr. Raye, this should have been handled this morning when I brought it to your attention. Not hours later." Jason leaned up against the wall and placed his forehead in his hands. This was a nightmare.
"It'd be in your best interests not to question me, " The woman spoke with such arrogance.
"I think it'd be in your best interests to actually find her, ma'am," Jason said shortly. "This isn't my fault. I tried to act on behalf of her and you ignored me. This is not my fault."
"Go back to class. We'll deal with this later."
"You know, it's that attitude that got us in this position. We have a student missing, which means you have to call her parents and notify them. And that isn't in her best interests, now is it? Because you have no idea what's going on in that house." Jason snapped as she walked away. What was it with this school? Did they not care?
It was nearing the end of the day, and I had nothing left to do. I knew that I had to go back in and explain myself, but I didn't really want to. It was more than I had in me. And somehow I had to convince Coach that my injuries were just an accident. It was my fault though, wasn't it? I spoke out of turn and the dirty son of a bitch had hit me. If I would learn to keep my mouth shut, the only abuse would be the kind he paid for.
My stomach rolled thinking about it. There was a lot about Dave that made my situation even more complicated than it was. I knew Jason had gone to Raye earlier today. The fact was that she would never report it. Her wanting to talk to me today would have gone a little like a cover-up. Her pockets were well lined by my parents. She would go after Jason and everything he had just so he would keep his mouth shut. All because of who Dave was. He was the superintendent of my school district. He had a good time with teenaged girls. It was absolutely sickening. But there was nothing I could do to stop him. Not as long as my parents were still in the picture.
I sat down on a bench by the track until the bell rang. I was drenched in sweat from all the running I just did. My calves ached pleasantly and my lungs burned from the workout. As soon as I heard the bell ring I got up and started walking to the football field. I knew Jason would be there, and I knew I owed him an in depth explanation. It was an accident. I needed to get my story straight to protect him. I needed to avoid Becca. I needed to get out of this school before my parents realized I had skipped the entire day and didn't even attempt to cover my face up. I needed to talk to Jason.
I waited by the field house for him. He was always a little bit late because of the tutoring. I hid in the shadows by the gate to avoid drawing unwanted attention to myself. Finally, I saw him walk out of the building and down the hill. I was standing by the coaches' entrance and watched as his eyes slowly widened when he saw me. When he got to me, his arms encircled me. I stiffened. I couldn't help it; a hug always meant something more nowadays. He let me go when he realized how uncomfortable I was.
"Sorry, Coach." I said quietly. He squeezed my shoulders like he had this morning.
"Lana, where have you been all day?" He asked. I loved the genuine concern in my voice, but somehow I had to smash it.
"At the track. I couldn't take all the looks." I settled on telling him the truth. If he was going to be a part of this, he deserved to know everything.
"You could have come to me, you know that right?"
"Coach, please don't press this. You don't know what you're getting yourself into. I promise it was just an accident. I was working out and stretched the band too far. It snapped back and hit me in the face." I could tell he didn't believe me.
"I don't believe you." His thumbs rubbed circles on my arms.
"Well regardless, please don't get involved any more than you already are. I don't want you to get hurt. You don't know what they're capable of."
"What who is capable of?" he asked.
"Don't worry about it. I really have to go. I have to get home before they realize I missed the bus. But thank you for caring, I really appreciate it." Tears burned at the back of my eyes. I didn't want to push him away. But it was for his own good. I couldn't watch him fall because of me.