Dale and Alissa debated whether to have Alex come to Mesa Valley or go to see him. Dale didn’t want him to become too comfortable there in Mesa Valley. So since Alissa’ s doctor said it was still okay for her to travel, they flew to see Alex. They only planned to stay long enough to talk with him and then catch a plane to return home.
Alissa held onto Dale nervously as they walked up to Alex’s apartment door. For the hundredth time since they had received the results of the test, Dale tried to calm Alissa’s nerves.
“Sweetie, please stop worrying. Everything is going to be fine.”
Alex looked into Alissa’s face searchingly. “You don’t have to tell me. I’ve known all along that it was our baby!”
He smiled. “Are we having a girl or a boy?”
“It’s a girl.”
“She doesn’t really move around much yet.”
“That’s okay.” He continued to rub his hand across her abdomen.
Dale walked over to look out the window. He couldn’t stand watching Alex with her. He couldn’t stand Alex’s happiness that Alissa was carrying his child! Dale hated having those feelings of resentment, but he couldn’t help it!
However, Alissa wasn’t as happy as he was. As she looked at him she realized that the emotions that she had felt for him before had become just a dim memory.
They had been based on her illusions of Alex, not Alex as he really was. The real Alex was the one who had assaulted her. He was the man who had threatened the true love of her life, threatened her soulmate.
As Alex continued to feel the baby, Alissa looked over at Dale and saw the tension in his shoulders as he looked out the window. Even though he was trying to hide his emotions from her, she knew that this was hurting him inside. Yet he was still trying to be there for her. Alissa nonchalantly moved away from Alex because she knew it was making Dale increasingly upset. Alex stood up.
“Well Alex, I’ll keep you posted on how the baby is doing, but there is one thing.” She took a deep breath. “I know how happy you are about the baby, but for the baby’s sake, I think that it would be best if we keep it between us that you are the father and not Dale. When she is old enough to understand, then we can tell her.”
Both Alex and Dale looked at her surprised.
Alissa’s hands were trembling with stress. Dale saw it. “Alex maybe it would be better. You know that the baby is yours and Alissa knows. Think about the added stress that explaining how this happened will place on Alissa right now.”
Dale started to answer for her, but Alissa spoke before he could.
He was sure that she missed him as much as he missed her, but she couldn’t let Dale see that! By now she had to realize what a mistake she had made in going back to Dale. He decided to find a place in between his home and hers so that they could see each other just as he had originally planned.
She said again, “Please just know how much I love you, Dale!”
The next afternoon at her lunch time, Sharlee walked into the cafeteria. She had run into Noah before first period and they had made plans to eat lunch together. As she went over to an empty table, she noticed that people were staring at her and whispering. Some were laughing and looking down at flyers.
She was so upset that she couldn’t speak. He took the flyer from her hand and looked at it.
It was a picture of Sharlee wearing nothing at all. She was posed provocatively on a bed in a hotel room. The caption underneath read: “I’m always ready to catch a quick pass. Jonathon threw me one last night!”
“No Sharlee! You’ll get hurt!”
“I want him arrested for assault!” Jonathon cried.
Resource officers forced Sharlee away from him.
Before they could continue their conversation, Noah and Sharlee were taken to the principal’s office.
Dale quickly entered the receptionist’s office. He couldn’t believe that he was there because Sharlee had been involved in a fight. By the time that Dale arrived, Mr. Simon, the high school principal had heard the full story.
Dale saw Sharlee waiting in the outer office. She and Noah had been kept separately so that they could not discuss what had happened.
Mr. Simon’s office door opened. Noah stood there. They heard Mr. Simon tell Noah, “Remember Mr. Hall, your suspension means that you must remain off of school property and activities for the next two weeks. However, I cannot promise that that will be all of the consequences of your actions. Mr. Davis and Mr. Henderson’s parents may wish to file charges against you. Don’t forget that I must meet with your parents before I can allow you to return to school.”
Mr. Simon called for Dale and Sharlee to come in.
“I don’t care whether he’s the football team’s quarterback or not! I want him punished for what he has done to my daughter! That is inexcusable!”
Mr. Simon said, “Well thanks to Mr. Hall he has two broken ribs. Don’t you think that is punishment enough?”
“No. It’s not! I want him to make a public apology to my daughter admitting that he faked that picture and lied about being with her! He intentionally tried to humiliate her and damage her reputation. “Do you know why he would do that, Sharlee?”
“This Noah Hall. I gather that he was defending my daughter. Is there anything that can be done for him? I mean most people just stand by or join in when someone is being bullied, but he didn’t. He should be rewarded for that, not punished.”
“Well, he took it too far. It’s my understanding that if he had not been pulled away he would have continued his assault on Mr. Davis. If I may give you some advice, Ms. Stallworth. Although you have not been with us very long, your teachers here as well as from your previous school, have given glowing reports on you. I’ve been a principal for many years and I detect a rebellious streak in Mr. Hall. He has been with us for an even shorter time than you. It would be to your benefit to limit your association with him!”
Dale looked at Sharlee. “Sharlee have you and this boy become friends?”
“Ms. Stallworth, you are clearly the victim in this situation, but I’m sorry. Mr. Hall’s suspension stands. I am going to meet with the school counselors, and we will start a bullying awareness program that will be mandatory for all students. I agree with your father. What Mr. Davis did is inexcusable!”
After he said that Noah’s suspension was still in effect, Sharlee quit listening.