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Steven & Jason - Chapter Twenty-Six

I ended up being in the hospital for about four days. I was released and sent home with instruction to stay home and rest for another two weeks until my primary care doctor signed off for me to resume going back to school or doing other activities that could be strenuous or stressful. I was also scheduled to attend rehab for a period of at least a month. The shooting review board had submitted their report on the incident and Stan was still on leave until the findings were ruled on. I had more pleasant visits while I was in the hospital from Stan, Eric and the Sheriff. My grandmother flew out to see me and offered to stay with us for a couple weeks until I was better and so I wouldn't be alone during the day.

Jason was holding up well during my time in the hospital. He was more than willing to help and do anything for me. I asked him to stop bringing my homework and went as far as saying that it was stressing me out when the nurse came in to check on me. She would just giggle and tell me I was full of it. He would show up by 4PM and leave around 8PM. He would arrive with a smile but leave with a bit of a frown each day until I was released. He made sure to repeat the process each day while I was stuck at home. Him and my grandmother got along well and we enjoyed many games of cards daily. We made sure to keep our displays of affection to a minimum while she was around but my grandmother is a woman who can smell a rat. One day while we were playing cards and chatting she asked us how long we had been seeing each other.

I choked on my water spitting some of it out with some more coming out of my nose. I was so shocked and Jason was turning crimson really fast. She said it was obvious and she was fine with it so we told her about our relationship minus the intimacy from the night at the movies until the present. Soon enough my doctor had signed off for me to return to school but to wait on my physical therapist's approval for me to resume more physical activity like training for baseball or going back out on ride alongs. My grandmother spent another week or so out here making stops at her other childrens houses and seeing old friends.

Monday morning as I was getting dressed for school, dad came into my room. "I will be following you to school and we are going to see Mr. Dietrich for a few minutes. I just want to relay doctors orders and see if we can make some arrangements in case something happens while you are finishing up your recovery process."

I nodded and finished getting dressed to head off. I arrived at ten minutes before class started, making my way to the office with my dad next to me. Upon walking inside, Linda and the other secretaries came over to me and hugged me in turn expressing thoughts of sympathy and wishing me a speedy recovery. Mr. D was called to his office by his secretary and Mr. LeValley was also summoned as well. The four of us talked for a few minutes about the ordeal and the school was more than willing to hear us out on our concessions for any residual complications during the final stages of recovery. It was mainly for the school to relax their rules about taking my Motrin 800 and to have my teachers let me step outside if I get a fit of coughing. My abdominal muscles could really start to hurt if I coughed, laughed, sneezed or did anything strenuous that caused those muscles to contract all of a sudden. Other than that, everything was in order as I was given a pass to first period.

I walked into my criminal justice class about 15 minutes late and went to hand the teacher my late pass but he waved it off and embraced me warmly and expressed his happiness that I was on my way to recovery. He asked me if I wanted to tell the class what happened explaining that it was something each member of law enforcement faces when they chose that career path and it would be best explained to the class from one of their peers. I had kind of hoped to fly under the radar but at some time would have to talk about it so I agreed and got it over with. By the end of class, there were a few misty eyes including the teacher. I was asked if I was happy that the guy who shot me was also shot and killed. I didn't quite know how to answer it. I was feeling conflicted and said that as my answer so I cited eye for an eye but also the family disruption on their end from the shooting. Second and third periods were better with a lesser amount of attention being given to me. Fourth period English was my downfall for a pleasant day of my return.

Ms. Rocco could ruin an ice cream sundae but while I wasn't looking for sympathy from her, taking it easy wasn't much to ask for right? As she was handing back our latest paper on The Great Gatsby she decided to make a point of stopping at my desk longer than anyone else. I looked at the paper to see that she had given it a grade of 'No Credit.' I looked up at her dumbfounded and asked, "Why do I get no credit for this?"

"Well, while you were out and Mr. Bedford was bringing you your assignments I began to wonder if you were actually doing the work. So I pulled his paper on this assignment from his teacher and noticed they were similar and came to the conclusion that this paper was not original work from you." She turned and kept walking.

I sat there looking like a deer caught in the headlights for almost the whole class. I wasn't even paying attention to what she was talking about when she noticed and called on me, "Mr. Williams, can you tell me what I just told the class is your final assignment?"

"No Ms. Rocco, I cannot because I am still outraged at your assumption of this paper."

"Like I said before, your papers were too similar and therefore I concluded that Mr. Bedford wrote your paper and his. Since I am not his teacher, I cannot grade him down for it but I can to you."

"I will give you that we did discuss the book and the assignement but I wrote my own paper using my own original thought. Your conclusion is an assumption that has no merit or founding, nor can you prove anything more than what I have just told you. I demand a fair grade!"

"Your grade is fair. I was going to refrain from telling you how this is going to affect your overall grade in this class until the end of the period but since you insist on making this a matter of public spectacle then I will tell you now that by receiving no credit for this assignement and given your previous papers receiving a grade not exceeding a 'C' it is impossible for you to successfully complete this course as even an A+ will only make your grade a D."

There was still 15 minutes until class was over but I did not care to be in class anymore. I stood and gathered my things and walked to the door. Ms. Rocco told me to sit down, I didn't even turn or look and just flipped her off and walked out.

I was fuming as I left her class and since my next period was lunch I just headed for my truck. I know Jason would be caught off guard since I wouldn't be at lunch today but I needed to talk to get away. I found myself at my dad's school and walked into the office. His secretary saw me and gave me a crooked glance and motioned for me to go see my dad.

I walked into his office and closed the door behind me. He was on the phone so I waited for him to finish up before speaking. He hung up the phone and looked at me, "Does this have anything to do with you walking out of class and flipping off your teacher?"

"Absolutely! She treated me like crap. Accused me and Jason of cheating which she thinks justifies her in giving me no credit on my last paper then has the audacity of telling me that even if I turn in a perfect paper for the final that I will still only get a D which means I will still have to repeat the class. So what did I have to gain from staying in a class that she was going to fail me on?"

"The way she told Mr. D and he relayed to me was that you called her a bitch and threatened her with violence before walking out and flipping her off."

"Do you believe that? You know I can get a temper but do you think I could do that?"

"No. I know you too well. I had a feeling that story was too embellished. Was any part of that true?"

"Just the flipping her off as I walked out." I said.

"Come on. We're going back to school and talking to Mr. D." Dad said as he escorted me to my truck and got in his. I drove back and met dad outside the front office as we walked in together.

Mr. D saw us walk in and angrily pointed at his office. Dave, the campus cop was there waiting as I took my seat. He looked disappointed and sensing this I spoke softly, "She lied and I will prove it."

Mr. D and my father stepped inside and closed the door. Mr. D spoke first, "Steven, you know we have a very strict poilicy about violence whether it is against students or teachers, threatened or acted upon. Do you have anything to say for yourself?"

"Yes," I began. "At no time did I threaten any violence to Ms. Rocco or anyone else. When she told me that I was not going to pass her class I figured there was no point in my staying so I gathered my stuff, walked towards the door, ignored her command to sit down and flipped her off as I left."

"She tells a different story and has two students backing her up." Mr. D replied.

I gave him a list of 10 names of people in the class and asked him to select any number of them to question as to the actual sequence of events. The people were nothing more than acquaintances that had no ties to me or Jason and could be seen as neutral bystanders. Mr. D took down the names and asked me to wait in another office. He talked to my dad and said he could wait with me or return to his school and he would call him when he was ready to proceed with me. My dad nodded and looked at me telling me he would see me later as he walked out.

Mr. D called for a number of the students names I gave him and talked to them. I sat in that side office for over an hour before Dave came and got me. We walked back into Mr. D's office and sat down. My dad walked in a minute later and we got started again.

"I have spoken to a few of the people from your English class and they overwhelmingly supported your version of events. Two of them saw Ms. Rocco collaborate with the other two students she had as witnesses." Mr. D stated.

"So what does this mean for me and what is going to happen to her for lying?" I aggressively asked.

"I summoned her to be here immediately after class is over for the day which is in 20 minutes. I also have sent for her two witnesses who should be arriving shortly. Steven, did you eat lunch?"

"No sir." I replied as my stomach let out a little growl.

"Why don't you go grab some lunch and be back in 20 to 30 minutes?" Mr. D suggested.

"Dad?" I started.

"Actually, I would like your dad here as an observer in place of Dave who needs to get ready for school letting out." Mr. D explained.

Dad and I nodded at each other with him giving me a wink and a smirk like he had my back. I felt good as I walked out and went to grab a quick bite.

Thank you to my readers and stay tuned for the next chapter to appear shortly. All comments are welcome, please no flames. Send to