...Two...In the morning I got ready just as usual and went to school. Mrs. Kelly was in the parking lot smoking, but looked up to me with a smile before coming over.
“Morning,” I replied with a yawn, “Why are you so chipper?”
“My husband’s coming home today and is taking me to dinner! I can’t wait!” She said with a laugh of pleasure and then stomped out her cigarette.
“Is Mr. Travis here yet?”
“I saw him go inside a few minutes ago,” She said and then gave me a greedy look, “Gonna go get some before class?”
“No!” I retorted, “I just need to talk to him,” I said and then made my way inside. I went past my classroom and knocked on Mr. Travis’s open door. He smiled towards me.
“Hello, Ms. Patrice.” He said as I came in.
“Mr. Travis, I’m really sorry, but I’m gonna have to cancel our dinner date tonight. Something came up.”
“Oh? Is everything alright?”
I nodded, “Yea, but one of my friends is sick and I have to go take care of her. I’m really sorry!”
He stood and put his hand on my cheek, “Don’t worry about it, Ms. Patrice. If you have to cancel to take care of a friend I understand. How about we reschedule for Friday night?”
I nodded with a smile, “I’d like that.” I replied, but quickly moved from him as the first bell rang and some of Mr. Travis’s students came in. I waved to him before leaving the class and then walked down to mine. A few students were already there, but I was shocked to see Kevin. He always came right before the second bell and was never here at this time of day. I ignored his watch and went over to my computer. I turned it on and logged in before looking up as a very tall boy from my class came over to me.
“Good morning, Ms. Patrice.”
I smiled and stood in front of him, “Good morning, Oliver. What can I do for you?”
“Uh, I was sick yesterday and missed the test. Could I take it today at lunch?” He asked while blushing.
“That’s perfectly fine, Oliver. I’ll be sure to have the test ready for you to take, but you will probably need to come in tomorrow at lunch also to finish.”
“Alright, thank you.” He said and then left. I stayed standing because the second bell rang and the class fell silent. I taught English for two hours and then History for the second two hours before lunch started. When it did I had Oliver take his test into the teacher’s lounge to start but looked to Kevin as he came over to my desk. He gave me a warming smile I had not seen before yesterday.
“Hello, Kevin,” I said with a smile, “How is your cheek?”
“Better, the swelling went down.” He replied, but I was turned to a group of girls when one of them ran over to me.
Ellen smiled towards me, “Ms. Patrice! Your look alike is going to be playing tonight at a huge club in the city!” She exclaimed and I smiled towards her.
“You don’t say? Are you a follower of that band you showed me a picture of yesterday?”
She nodded, “I love Released Reality! I want to be just like their lead singer!”
“Since when are you into Released Reality?” Kevin hissed.
“Not everyone has to act all gothic to be a fan of Released Reality, Kevin. Geez,” Ellen said but then looked to me again, “You should go see them with us, Ms. Patrice! I think you’d like them!”
I let out a small laugh, “I’m not really into that type of music and isn’t their show going to be really late tonight? I’m not sure you should go.”
“But I can’t be a fan and not go!” Ellen complained, “But it won’t hurt my grades, so there’s nothing to worry about!” She said and I nodded.
“Alright, don’t stay out too late.” I said and she nodded. The bell rang a few moments later and I had to start class. I taught Shakespeare for the rest of the day and when all the students left so did I. I went home and graded more tests for almost 4 hours, but looked up when my cat started jumping on the couch behind me and purring while brushing against my face. I let out a laugh and picked her up, “You hungry, Lulu?” I asked and she purred again. I stood and got her a bowl of food before setting her on the counter next to it. The doorbell rang and I looked up to the clock. It was only a little after 8, so it wasn’t Ash, but who else would be coming by this late at night? I went to the door and opened it to see Kevin, “Kevin? What are you doing here?”
He smiled, “Well you treated me to dinner yesterday so I thought I’d repay you,” He said and then strolled right past me. I watched as he went into my kitchen and petted my cat like he was used to coming here.
“You didn’t need to do that.”
“Well I had fun hanging with you yesterday so I thought we could do it again,” He said and then pulled out a plastic container, “I made fettuccini-alfredo,” He added as I shut my door and came into the kitchen. I pulled out two plates and handed them to Kevin as he put noodles on each plate. I brought them over to the table and then got silver wear and napkins. I poured two glasses of water before sitting down across from Kevin, “What’s your cat’s name?”
“Really? Why’d you name her that?”
I shrugged my shoulders, “She’s technically not my cat. She’s my brother’s. He gave her to me a while back and he had already named her so I just kept it.”
“Why’d your brother not want her?”
“Well he did, but he’s been in a mental institution since I graduated high school. I’ve had her ever since then,” I replied, “But it was very sudden of you to come over, Kevin.”
“Why? Cause you’re going out with some old high school friends tonight?”
I nodded, “And I have to get ready soon.”
“Well don’t mind me; I’m just here to chill so you can go change if you need to.”
“You’re my student so I shouldn’t change while you’re in my house. It’s a little sketchy.”
“It’s fine, teach,” He said and I quietly ate the noodles as time passed. Lulu suddenly sprinted towards the door and the bell rang. I sighed and went to the door. When I opened it Ash smiled.
“Hey, Rave!” He said and then noticed me, “Why are you still in your job clothes? We gotta leave soon.”
I sighed, “Come on in.” I said and Ash did so. He set his guitar case down and picked up my cat.
“Hey, Lulu!” He said as the cat purred while he brushed her, but he suddenly froze when Kevin came over towards us, “Whoa, why is there a kid here?” He asked and then gave me a dirty grin, “Being a naughty school teacher and having a fling with a student?”
I slugged his arm, “Mind your own business, Ash,” I said and then sighed, “Ash, this is my student Kevin. Kevin this is my friend Ash.”
“Your high school friend?”
Ash looked at me again, “How much have you told the kid?”
I frowned, “He was with me when you called yesterday so I told him I was meeting with some high school friends.”
He smiled, “I guess you could call our pack that.”
Kevin suddenly came closer, “You’re a guitarist, right? You look really familiar.”
“I would think so! I am very popular!” Ash said with a laugh, “But not as popular as Rave!”
“Rave?” Kevin asked me.
I sighed, “It’s a nickname for my first name Raven,” I turned to Ash, “Kevin you should go. Ash, I’ll be back in a sec. I’ll change really quickly.” I said and then quickly ran to my room. I put on a purple dress that had black lace all over it. The dress was very short, had a matching pair of sleeves that weren’t connected to the dress itself and were loose after my elbows to give the outfit a very vintage medieval look to it, and went into a choker that went around my throat. I put on my cross necklace, red contacts, and put my hair down in order to put in my red hair extensions. I slipped on a pair of black flowery leggings that were all ripped up before putting on my platform boots. I then quickly came out to see Kevin was gone and Ash was waiting on the couch for me. I smiled as I came over to him, “Alright let’s go.” I said and we quickly left my apartment. We went downstairs to see Dwayne and Sly waiting in the truck with very annoyed looks.
“What took ya’ so long!” Dwayne complained.
I quickly threw my guitar case into the back, “Nothin’, let’s just go.” I said as I shut the door to the passenger seat. Sly drove us to the hottest club in town and we snuck in through the back while a crowd waited in the front for the place to open. When we got in we were told we had ten minutes to set up so we quickly got our stuff out and then met up in the middle of the stage that was concealed by a red curtain.
“I say we do what we did on Sunday except without the solo and open with ‘Death of a Dreamer’.” Sly said and I nodded.
“Alright, you guys ready?” Dwayne asked as we heard the crowd start to chant our name and I smiled.
“Let’s go kick some ass!” I called and we all cheered. We went to our places as I did a sound check. Then a person’s voice came out of the speakers and seemed to be very deep.
“Please welcome to the stage, Released Reality!” The announcer yelled and the curtain rose. I felt the heat of the stage lights as Dwayne started attacking his guitar to make a very deep, terrifying rhythm. Quickly Sly joined into the sound, and soon after Ash followed. For the beginning of the song I did not need my guitar so I pulled on my strap to make it so my guitar was behind me and grabbed the microphone. I started humming to the beat with my eyes closed and as Dwayne’s rhythm seemed to speed up I threw my eyes open. I stared down the crowd.
“Imagining what the world has to offer! Setting his sights on fame! Shooting for the Oscars and to have everyone chant his name! He was a well born dreamer! Imagining his name in lights! But now he’s broken and bleeding upon a deadly sight!” I flipped my guitar to the front and started playing a deep, dastardly beat, “Death of a dreamer! Death of setting sights on high! Death from truth and reality! Death for a lie!” I sang and played on and on for over two hours. When our last song was finally over I was nearly dead with tiredness, but gave ‘goodnight!’ to the crowd and then the curtain fell. I turned to Sly as he put his hand on my arm.
“Damn! You put it all out today! That was amazing!” He said as he gave me a noogie and I coughed, “You okay, Rave?”
I nodded, “My voice just hurts a bit,” I replied and then cleared my throat again, “I should be getting home. I have work in three hours.”
“I’ll drive you home.” Sly said and the four of us left. The three guys dropped me off at my house and I quickly went upstairs. I took a shower and went to sleep for two and a half hours before I had to wake up again. I took some medication for a sore throat before getting dressed in a black suit and pink shirt for school. I drove quickly to the school and went inside to see that the students were already in my class and I only had a few minutes till the second bell would ring. I went to my computer and turned it on with a yawn. I looked up as Ellen came over.
“You okay, Ms. Patrice? You don’t look so good.”
I smiled towards her, “I’m fine Ellen. I just stayed out a little too late with my old high school friends last night.”
She nodded, “I know what you mean! Linda and I were at the concert till 3!” She said but quickly went to her seat as the bell rang. I stood and smiled to the class. I started teaching chemistry but my voice kept going out from how much strain I had put on it yesterday. When lunch came my throat hurt so bad I could not even eat. I sat in class and graded papers and the students in the classroom talked. I looked up when Laura came in.
“Ms. Patrice, could I talk to you in my room for a moment?” She asked and I was afraid of what she needed. Had another fight broken out? I followed her down to the health room.
“What’s wrong, Mrs. Kelly? Did something happen?”
She sighed, “I should be asking you that, Raven. Two of your students came in to tell me they were worried about you. They said your voice kept going out in class and you looked really tired. Are you sick? Did you come down with something?”
I smiled towards her, “I’m fine Laura. I just had one heck of a night yesterday. I went drinking with some old friends and ended up hurting my voice and losing sleep.”
“You really shouldn’t do that kinda stuff, Raven. I mean your students were really worried about you. Maybe you should go home early. It would make them and me feel better.”
“But who will teach my class?”
She smiled, “It’s the perfect time for a health lesson, so I’ll take over. You should just go home and rest.” She said and I sighed.
“Alright.” I replied and she followed me down to my classroom. I packed up my stuff and then left her to tend to them. I went to my car and drove home. When I got there I quickly threw on some pajama pants and a tank top before crashing on the couch and sleeping with Lulu beside me. I slept for a good 7 hours, but woke up when there was a knock at the door. I stood and opened the door to see Kevin, “Kevin?” He made his way past me and to the kitchen. He put something on the stove as I shut the door, “What’s the meaning of barging into my house?” I asked with a cough.
“You’re sick, right?” He asked and I just watched him, “Well I’m here to help out. You shouldn’t be by yourself while sick.”
I sighed, “I’m not alone. I’ve got Lulu.”
He let out a small laugh, “I mean another human here. Just go lay back down and I’ll bring you some soup when it’s warmed back up,” He said and I was too tired to argue. I went over to the couch and snuggled into Lulu as I listened to Kevin moving around the kitchen. After a few minutes he appeared with a bowl of soup and set it in front of me, “This should help.”
“Thanks.” I whispered and then tried to eat some of the soup but it was hard to get down my sandpaper throat.
“When I left your house yesterday I went and saw Released Reality with a group of friends,” Kevin said as he sat on the coffee table in front of the couch, “I knew I recognized that Ash guy from yesterday, but I couldn’t pin point it. He’s the base guitarist for them, isn’t he?”
I looked to Kevin and then nodded, “Yea, that’s Ash.”
“And last night when I was leaving I was curious what kind of relationship you had with that guy so I hid in the bushes on the side of your apartment complex and saw you get in that car. You really do look different in that outfit you had on. You definitely don’t look like the happy school teacher you act as in school. But the guy sitting in the front was Sly, the drummer for Released Reality, and the guy that was sitting in the back is the main guitarist. It didn’t take me long to figure out who you were,” He looked intensely into my eyes, “You’re Rave Life, lead singer and second guitarist of Released Reality.”
I smiled towards him, “Nice work, Sherlock,” I said but then coughed, “You’re the first person to figure it out in a long time.”
“Why do you dress up like a preppy school teacher? You were made to be a gothic rock singer.” He said and I sighed. I set down the bowl of soup beside Kevin.
“In high school the three guys and I made our band, but after my brother was institutionalized I realized I had to take care of my dad. My mom died a while back and my dad has cancer, but I didn’t really have to worry because my brother took care of ‘im. Then in my senior year I realized I couldn’t support my old man by being in a rock band so I went to college. The band stopped playing for almost four years, but when I got a job in this town I decided I could probably be a teacher by day and a singer at night. It’s worked for almost three years now, but lately we have started becoming more and more popular. Soon I’m going to have to choose to either give up my band and stay as a teacher in order to support my dad or give up my job in hopes of becoming famous and hopefully make enough to support ‘im.”
He sighed, “Personally I think you should give up teaching. It’s not the real you what you do at school and it’s not what you love.”
I smiled towards him, “I wish it was that simple,” I whispered, “But it can’t be what’s best for me anymore, I have to do what’s best for my dad.”
“Who cares! Just become famous and then you’ll be able to support ‘im!”
I frowned towards him and sat up, “You’re still living in adolescences if you think like that, Kevin. If I had to make this decision when I was a kid I would’ve stayed with my band hands down, but it’s more than that now! My choice could decide if my dad lives or dies!” I sighed and then lay back down, “You need to leave, Kevin.” I ordered and he frowned as he left with a slam of the door as I let out a big sigh.