What's up? This is another thing I've been working on and have little idea as to how to continue it. One of my few faults...so many great ideas...just don't know how to accomplish them...

Haha...oh well.

Like before, R&R is appreciated!


Effect

O-O

-Part I-

Setting Them Up

O-O

-Chapter 1-
Catherine

"The coffee machine must be on the fritz again." I said putting my "2 Teach Is 2 Touch Lives 4 Ever" coffee mug down on the round table.

Mariah looked at me from across the table. Her mouth was wide open. "H-How are you just going to change the subject like that?" She asked when she finally managed to talk. "That was some serious shit you just told me, girl."

"I'm aware of that 'Riah." I said annoyed. I was starting to regret telling her about it knowing how she would react. But I had to tell someone. Who else but my best friend?

"I probably should have waited to tell you after work." I admitted sitting back in the khaki foldable chair and crossing my arms.

"That would have been a mighty fine idea, Catherine. You know I can't deal with stuff like this." Mariah replied placing her fingers to her temples.

I knew this was true. Mariah was always one to get emotional and stressed out by the simplest of things. Like, the time the weather channel had said it was going to be a clear and sunny for the entire day. Which was a lie since it had rained in the afternoon. "Lies, lies, lies!" Mariah was shouting at me, pulling at her chest-nut brown curls. "I mean, c'mon, man! People depend on the weather to be correct and then...this! What's the point?"

There was another altercation like that one when we went to an italian bistro on her birthday. She was expecting to get her favorite dish: Spaghetti. However, they were all out...causing all hell to break loose.

But, now-thanks to many psychiatric visits later and medications-Mariah's freak-outs were more subtle.

"In The Loll of all places." She mumbled.

The Loll, what we called the teacher's lounge, was the perfect place to tell her. It's olive green, off-white, and coffee-stained appearance was the perfect surroundings for any type of chitchat. This would include what our colleagues were up to, news, sports, students—anything.

Don't get me wrong. I know the dangers of this place. What goes on in The Loll does not necessarily stay in The Loll. Thanks especially to a certain associate of ours aptly called, Dezirae the Hearsay. She knows everyone and everything.

Fortunately, we were the only teachers in the lounge today. The others were either at the special assembly today or teaching classes. I had an English class a while ago but I let them out early in order to talk to Mariah. Mariah had done the same with her Physics class.

"Catherine," I heard Mariah say after a while. "Tell me your kidding around. Please." She seemed to be pleading with me.

"I can't say I wish that I was, to be frank." I confessed.

"He's a sixteen-year old boy!"

"Shh!" I hissed putting my ring finger to my lips as if she were one of my rowdy students. "I wanted to keep this between you and me, remember?"

"Sorry." She apologized. After taking a quick breath she whispered harshly, "Excuse me for getting emotional over my married and almost thirty-year old friend's infatuation with a minor."

"I can't help what my heart—"

"Oh my god!" Mariah interrupted. "You English teachers…don't give me that romantic fantasy bullshit, Cath. This is real life where your heart can get you in big-ass trouble for something like this."

I looked down at my thighs. I knew it was wrong and that it was against the law but this kid is so…

I could feel Mariah staring at me. I heard her sigh loudly. After a brief pause she asked, "Does he like you?"

"I don't know." I said with a shrug.

"Does he know you like him?" She asked a bit hesitantly while slightly squinting her eyes. She was worried if I had made a move on him.

"No, 'Riah. I may be crazy, but I'm not that crazy." I don't think I made it obvious that I had feelings for him. Sure, I may have let him have higher grades then he should have and gave lower grades to the girls who so much as glanced at him. Yet, I don't think anyone could tell...could they?

"I cannot believe this is happening." Mariah moaned as she lowered her head into her arms that were resting on the table. Her long and elegant caramel-toned fingers created a monotonous drumming on the counter. My eyes went to her nails, admiring her French tips.

Mariah finally lifted her head. Her outsized silver hoop earrings swayed while a set of large brown eyes looked at me in good nature. "Catherine," She started. "Forget about Darren and—"

"Derek." I corrected.

"Okay. Forget about Derek and just focus on Ian. Your husband. You can't be with Derek. It's against the law and furthermore, you're married, 'member?"

Of course I remember. Every time I glance at my right ring finger I'm reminded.

Ian and I have been married for two years already and things have been going quite smoothly. Sure, we've had our disagreements and scuffles but, other than that, it's been good. It's just that…I don't believe I love him as much as I thought I did.

Since the day we were wedded, I've had regrets. Right before I was supposed to say, "I do", I said, "Do I?" You can imagine how embarrassed and scared I was. Luckily, everyone took it as a joke. So did Ian and the minister. I was the only who took it seriously. I even told Mariah how I felt at the after party. She was my maid of honor then.

"You're just nervous. Of course you're going to question your decision." Mariah had said. "If you want an opinion, I think you made the right one. Ian's great."

Although Mariah was my best friend, I really couldn't take her opinion of Ian all too seriously. She was his ex-fiancé after all.

Back in the present, Mariah groaned in frustration.

Probably feeling she couldn't do anything more, Mariah crossed her arms and advised, "Forget your heart. Just tell your brain not to do anything stupid."

OoO

It was a crispy cold autumn afternoon. So much so, I was surprised to see that there wasn't any snow.

"Shit." Mariah commented as she adjusted her brown plaid scarf about her neck. She shoved her hands into the pockets of her matching felt overcoat. I had got her that set last Christmas.

"Should have brought gloves." I said mimicking Mariah's actions with my onyx leather overcoat.

We were walking through the teacher's parking lot, heading over to our cars that were side by side. From where we were, I could pinpoint the pair. Mariah's was the golden-brown Nissan Altima while mine was the wine-colored Infiniti G35.

Simultaneously, we pulled out our keys and unlocked our cars by a press of a button. A pair of beeps confirmed the unlocking. Then, together, we headed to our driver sides. All of which were done in silence.

"You're…still coming over for Thanksgiving on Thursday, right?" I asked hesitantly, breaking the silence.

"Oh, yeah." Mariah replied coolly as she stared at her car window.

Suddenly, she turned her head to look at me. "Catherine?"

"What is it?" I inquired in vexation. It had to be about Derek.

"…Forget it." Mariah opened her car door and got in. "Just remember what I said."

With that she closed the door and started her car. I got into my own and watched as she pulled out. She gave me a little smiled and beeped her horn before exiting out the lot.

After she left, I closed my door and sat in my car for a while. With a sigh I leaned back, letting my skull rest against the headboard.

Forget your heart. Just tell your brain not to do anything stupid.

What was I thinking? It's probably just some dumb attraction I have towards Derek. I mean he's young, good-looking, popular, and funny. What's not to like about the kid? In fact, I probably wasn't the only teacher who felt that way.

I started to laugh. It's not love. I can't believe I thought it was.

Heh, now feel bad for making Mariah sit through all that.

A foolish little attraction.

Forget your heart.

That's all it is.

Just tell your brain not to do anything stupid.

And that's how it will have to stay.