When she woke, she realized that it was Friday morning and she had a meeting with the principal at 1pm. School didn't start for another week, but she was required to start lesson plans and submit them, that is, if they actually offered her the job. She opened her suitcase and pulled out her suit. She smiled; getting a suit made out of wrinkle free material had been a good investment.

When she came downstairs, her mother had already left for work. Her mother was a secretary at the doctor's office. There was a note on the fridge with her work number and that she had some oatmeal on the stove for her. Lucky smiled. Her mother never changed; maybe that was why they were more than just mother and daughter. There was a great friendship between them.

The clock said 11:45. She decided she'd walk.

When she arrived at the school, she had some time to kill, so she browsed the halls, remembering.

"Lucky." This time she couldn't help the shivers down her spine.

She turned around and Walker was covering the distance between them.

"Hi Walker." She said.

"Hi." He smiled.

"I have to go and meet Mr. Bickerton now. I'll see you later." She turned and walked away from him. She didn't know how she was going to do this but she needed the permanent job.

"Yeah, sure will." He said from behind. His voice sounded deflated. What was he going to say?

The process was painless. She signed the employment contract which stated that she would have the position for the school year, after which time she was to get a review and they would discuss the possibilities of making her a permanent member of the faculty. She thanked him, picked up the 3 textbooks and started toward the front doors. She would be teaching the 3 levels of grade 11 English, all of which had a different text. She had to come up with the first month of lessons by Monday. Her weekend was going to be shot, but not like she had anything planned anyway.

There was a beep from a horn and a shiny black truck pulled up beside her. The window rolled down.

"Want a ride?" Walker asked.

Lucky sighed. She hadn't anticipated having to take the heavy books home.

"Yes, thank you." Damn it all, she thought.

She opened the door and slipped the books into the seat before climbing up into the cab.

"So how is everything?" he asked as they started toward her house.

"Good I suppose."

"Still on Evergreen?" he asked.

"Yeah." Lucky smirked. He actually remembered where she lived. "What about you?"

"Divorced." He said.

"I'm sorry."

"Got married to Sandy right after high school. We were too young."

"Oh." Sandy Tuckerman. The head cheerleader. He had gone out with her on and off throughout high school. She could have told him that it wouldn't have worked out with her.

"She found someone more…exotic." He continued to look straight ahead.

Lucky didn't say anything.

"She went on a trip to Europe and fell in love with some Italian billionaire. She sent me the divorce papers fed-ex."

Lucky felt sorry for him. She hadn't gotten married, but she felt the sting of lost relationships. Her last boyfriend had been dull, straight laced. The worse of it was, she couldn't love him because she continued to compare him to Walker.

"How long?"

"2 years. I'm thankful for Dakota though. I would have been lost without her."

Another girlfriend. What was his deal? They pulled up in front of the house.

"Thanks for the ride." She opened the door and Walker reached for her wrist.

"Maybe we can go for coffee?"


He nodded. Lucky couldn't say no. There was no way to get away from him. Even moving half way across the country from him hadn't been enough distance.

She sighed. "Let me put these in the house and feed my dog. You wanna come in?"

He turned the key in the ignition and opened the door. She fumbled with her keys before finally finding the right one. Sadie barked and came running, wagging her tail fiercely.

"What a cute dog? Pure breed?"

Lucky nodded. "But I didn't buy her. She was in a shelter because she didn't have the right markings and her tail is crooked. I was lucky…no pun intended." She smiled and Walker broke into a laugh.

"I always thought so."

Lucky grunted. "Really?" She turned and went to the kitchen. She pulled out a can of wet food from the fridge and dumped the contents into Sadie's metal dish.

"Sure. You worked hard, got good grades."

"But if you remember I had no life."

"That's not all it's cracked up to be." She turned and a sad look had clouded his eyes.

"I was meaning to ask, where did you go to college?"


"Lawson doesn't have a teaching diploma."

"I know. I have a diploma in fitness. I'm qualified to be an instructor. I'm working on my teaching diploma through correspondence; I want to teach more than just phys Ed."

Lucky was impressed. "Why didn't you just go out to a teaching school in the first place?"

"I had Dakota to think about. I couldn't just leave her."

Lucky was starting to think that this girlfriend was pretty clingy.

"You should meet her; she's over at my mom's right now. We could pick her up and bring her along; she'd love to meet you."

"Uh, sure." Lucky didn't want to exclude his girlfriend, besides; she had to prove that she wasn't still fiercely in love with him.

"Great." She left her mom a note and gave Sadie a pat before following Walker to his truck. Minutes later they pulled into his mother's drive way. They were no sooner out of the truck when the front door flew open and a little girl with blonde curls flew into Walker's arms.

"Daddy…your home early."

Daddy?! Lucky nearly fainted.

"Dakota, this is Lucetta Dalton. She works at Daddy's school."

The girl looked at her. "Good afternoon Miss Dalton." She smiled. Lucky fell in love with the girl instantly. She guessed her age to be about 5 or 6.

"You can call me Lucky."

She giggled. "Your name is Lucky?"

"It's a nickname because Lucetta was such a hard word for me to say when I was young."

Walker smiled. "It suits you better."

Lucky pretended to fix the strap on her shoes so that he wouldn't see her blush.

"Did you want to come for a ride with us?" he asked her.

She nodded. "Yes Daddy. Can I have ice cream? Gran didn't have any today."

"That's because you ate it all yesterday." He smiled.

She smiled shyly.

Walker set his daughter down before pulling a booster seat from the back of the truck.

"Do you mind sitting in the middle? This chair has to use the full seat belt."

Lucky shook her head. Walker strapped the seat in and Lucky climbed into the driver's side to sit beside Dakota.

"The doctor says that I'll grow soon so I won't need this thing anymore." Dakota said.

"Not too quickly." Walker climbed in beside her. His thigh was snug against hers. "Are you okay?" he asked. His face was so close. She knew he wouldn't do anything with his daughter in the truck, but it was enough that she felt his breath on her cheek.

"Yeah...Fine..." Lucky managed.

"I don't have any nicknames." Dakota said suddenly.

"Not one?"

"Well Daddy calls me princess sometimes, but everyone else calls me Dakota."

"Well, I'll think about it and I'll find a short name for you too, okay?" Lucky said.

Dakota broke into a wide smile and Lucky saw that her one eye tooth was missing. Dakota saw her look and closed her mouth.

"Dentist said it would take a couple weeks till my new tooth grew in. I hope it comes in before picture day at school."

"You look cute." Lucky said.

The little girl blushed.

They got to the park where an ice cream truck was sitting outside. Walker bought them each a cone and Dakota ran off to play with other kids.

"How old is she?"

"She'll be 9 in February."


"Sandy got pregnant right before we finished. No one knew."

"Is that why you married?"

He was silent for a few seconds. "Yes and no. I was going to ask her anyway. The pregnancy was just an accelerator. We got married in September, she was born in February."

"And then after 2 years she went to Europe and found some wealthy guy?"

"No, she met this guy on the internet and disappeared. I only found out where she was and that she wanted to marry this guy when I got the papers in the mail. She didn't even care about Dakota. Dakota doesn't even remember her mother."

Lucky thought it was shameful.

"I'm sorry Walker."

"I am too. Not for Dakota, I love her and I would never trade her for anything. I'm sorry that I didn't follow my heart instead of letting something else decide for me."

Lucky knew exactly what he was getting at. He picked girls for how good they looked, not for who they really were. Sandy had turned out to be one of the girls that let a wallet determine her relationships.

"She's beautiful." Lucky watched her playing.

"Thank you. She's so smart."

"I noticed."

"I'm sorry Lucky."

Lucky broke from her daze watching the blonde sprite running around. "For what?"

"For the way I treated you. I shouldn't have just acted like nothing happened. I really did like you."

"It's nothing." Lucky lied.

"No. I'm not blind Lucky." He dumped what was left of his cone into a nearby bin and turned to Lucky.

"Blind over what? It was just a kiss…."

"I saw the way you looked at me. I saw it and ignored it; I know eventually you gave up."

"I got over it Walker. No big deal, really. I'm fine."

"Then why did you avoid talking to me last night and this afternoon?"

"I had to get going…"

He frowned. "I know Lucky. I know I hurt you and I'm really sorry. Please don't let that be the reason why you can't be friends with me now."

"I'm here now aren't I?" she smiled. She took a lick of the ice cream and she felt it smear on her nose. She went to wipe it away but Walker wiped it away first and stuck his finger in his mouth.

A dark look crossed his eyes and Lucky inwardly shuttered. She tried to tell herself that he was just lonely, but part of her wanted to be his finger.

Walker pulled the truck to a stop in front of Lucky's house and he got out of his seat so that she could exit.

"It was a nice trip. Thanks for the ice cream."

"You're welcome." He looked and saw that his daughter was sleeping in her seat. He turned back to Lucky.

Ever since that first kiss he had thought about kissing her again. It had plagued him for the year she ignored him and then again off and on for the last 10 years. Once he had even imagined that he was making love with her instead of Sandy. She licked her lips and it caused a stirring in his stomach.

"I guess I'll see you on Monday then." She went to leave and he reached for her arm. She turned suddenly; he couldn't determine what the look on her face was.

"Yeah." He brought her hand to his mouth and lightly kissed her knuckles.

She pulled away, half smiled and went to her door. He waited until she was inside before driving toward his own house.