Gripped with startling shock, Lani desperately fought the overpowering urge to allow her petite frame to collapse upon the floor. Instead, she stood motionless as if encased by an invisible force forbidding her to move, until miraculously, she seized the willpower to disappear undetected.
*****Earlier That Day*****
The lunch bell rang and the usual echoing voices of several hundred junior high students commenced in unison. As Lani stuffed her books into her backpack, her math teacher Mrs. Burke approached her. “Excuse me Lani, may I ask you to do me an enormous favor?”
“Sure, Mrs. Burke, what is it?”
“I’m having a parent-teacher conference in a few minutes and I want to make a fresh pot of coffee, however I’m out of coffee. Would you mind going to the teacher’s lounge to get me a few packages?”
“Not at all, but I didn’t know they allowed students up there.”
Knowing how shy Lani was, Mrs. Burke smiled and replied, “Actually, we have students work in the lounge for extra credit on certain days during the lunch hour, and although today isn’t one of them, you can trust me when I say you won’t be noticed.”
“Oh, okay, but where do I find the coffee?”
“After you go up the stairs and through the door, head straight back to the kitchen. You’ll see a red box filled with pre-measured coffee packets sitting on the counter in a tray next to the double coffeemaker.”
Never having had the opportunity to see the sacred teacher’s lounge, Lani felt privileged and enthusiastically replied, “Okay, Mrs. Burke, I’ll be right back.”
As Lani reached the door of the stairwell entrance leading to the teacher’s lounge, she paused to read the sign printed in bold red letters, NO ADMIITANCE – Personnel Staff Only. What if Mrs. Burke is wrong and I do get into trouble. Overcoming her apprehension, she cautiously opened the door and hesitantly climbed the stairs and although Mrs. Burke had given her permission to retrieve the coffee, she felt uneasy as if she were doing something illegal.
Nervously, Lani opened the last door leading into the lounge, quietly making her way toward the kitchen. To her immense relief, no one even looked at her. They were all too busy chattering away, heavily engrossed in their conversations.
Smiling inwardly and taking a reassuring breath, Lani reached the kitchen unobserved. She hurriedly snatched three packages of coffee and as she turned to leave, heard one of her favorite teachers, Mr. Liggit, explode with laughter, “No I’m not joking, she was loaded to the gills, sitting flat on her ass in the middle the floor. She didn’t know what hit her!”
Replying with an amused snicker, Mr. McElroy, Lani’s science teacher, answered back, “Well, she’s definitely a good looking woman which is probably why he puts up with it. Was he with her?”
“Hell no, he’s too embarrassed to be seen with her anymore, so she goes bar hopping in a Taxi, and I’ve heard that once she’s drunk she hits on every driver. It’s a shame because Ted is one of the nicest guys I’ve ever met.
Anyway, when Lily sat on that stool next to that guy and fell all over him, he pulled his arm away and said, “Look lady, get the hell away from me.”
Oh God, please NO, they’re talking about my mom. They don’t know I’m in here! With stifled breathing, Lani feverishly made her way toward the door where she eventually slinked out of the teacher’s lounge unnoticed.
However, regrettably, Lani was not yet out of hearing distance when Mr. Liggit continued. “That’s when she fell on the floor and couldn’t get up. The worst part was that she wouldn’t let anyone help her, so Tony, being the good bartender he his, called Ted to come get her. You should have seen the look on that poor mans face when he got there, it was pitiful.”
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