A woman in her late 30's stepped out of her car out the front of Gateway High School. She had long brown hair strung up in a neat ponytail, soft blue eyes sweeping to entrance of the San Franciscan school. Kathy Rionie always loved the start of term. Watching all the kids come in to the school gates, run to their friends, laugh, smile, fresh faced and clear minded. So at ease, not worried about homework or assessments, it was easily the most enjoyable part of the year, the first day.
Kathy had grown up in a big family and always knew she wanted to work with kids. She was the second oldest of five children with an older brother and three younger sisters. Her parents were always so obbsessed with education and making sure their children were brought up right so that when it was time to leave they would be prepared. Kathy always admired them for that, they were good parents, not too harsh or too easy but they were fair. So she descided that she would be a teacher so that she could do the same.
Kathy has been teaching at Gateway High School for 13 years now, coming straight out of college so all her teaching skills had come from this school. It was an understatement to say she felt very attached to the place. At 37, and with two kids of her own she felt that she was in a very comfortable place and her life was perfect. No comlications, no stress, lots of family and friends; she was happy, and nothing was going to change that. Right?
"Okay, you all good dears? Alex, honey did you remember your lunch?"
"Yeah lizz, I got it."
"We'll be fine mum, I'll look after him." said Sabina, ruffling Alex's hair.
"Okay, well, have a good day. Make some friends Alex." replied Elizabeth Pleasure, with a wink.
It was the start of the school year and Alex's first day, needless to say he was nervous. He had finally been given the chance at a normal life and he did not want to mess it up. He wanted to make friends and get a social life, get some good grades so that he would be able to attend a good uni, land a job that doesn't involve lunatics and terrorists. It was a lot to aim for and considering all that he had been through, he knew that he would struggle if not from the pressure he put himself under than from the demons of his past haunting every decision he ever made. Yeah, it was going to be hard but he just thanked God he didn't have to do it all alone and that the Pleasures had filled a slot in his heart that had been missing for far too long. He finally had a family.
"Now Al, I know that you have dealt with terrorist, raging psychopaths and idiots brandishing guns, BUT.. Nothing can compare to the battlefield that is this school" exclaimed Sabina in a whisper to add dramatic effect while approaching the front office. "So, prepare yourself" she ordered grasping the door handle, closing her eyes and taking a deep steady breath. Sighing and opening her eyes she twisted the door handle and let Alex through. Much to his amusement, the office was just like any other. Turning to Sabina with his eyebrows raised in a questioning way as if to say "battlefield ay?" She just flashed him with one of her charming smiles and strutted to the front desk.
The day was going splendidly for Kathy. She taught english and had a class in almost every year level so meeting all the little "newbies" as the older students called them, was an absolute pleasure while also getting to catch up with some old faces. Her last class of the day was year 10 and most of them she had taught before she noted as they filed into the classroom, smiling and greeting her. She started writing a summary of the terms work as she did at the start of every term just as the last of the stragglers drifted in.
"So, welcome back everyone. It's great to see you all again! Now all the kids that I've had before will remember this but for the new faces, at the start of the year I always go round the room and everyone introduces themselves to the class just so I can get to know you and you can get to know each other a little more so we will go down the role and start with Grace!"
As the kids take it in turns introducing themselves Kathys concentration wandered to the back of the room. There sat a kid she had never taught or seen around the school for that matter but she knew him from….Somewhere. That sandy blonde hair that hung past his ears and piercing brown eyes. Looking directly into her own as if he was staring into her mind. Shaking herself from the trace as Matt sat down she called the next person on the role.
And thats when it clicked. Those eyes, that hair… Rider.
Stunningly good looking, troublemaker. I didn't blame her. Rider. He caught my little sister in his trap with that cocky smile and witty sarcasm. Rider. Older, foreign, cute accent. His sheer charm put her under his spell. My little sister had fallen and he had kept her from my reach. Rider. She wouldn't see reason "I love him" she would say. Oh my little sister, she was brainwashed. My parents didn't understand. "Oh Helen, why?" Rider. He convinced her he loved her. She was too young to understand. 17 years old and she ran off with him. A 19 year old British boy. Rider. Taken. To live "Happily ever after" never to be heard from again. Rider.
That was it. John Rider.