"This is such a bad idea." Z said as he and Lucy made their way through the woods.
"No one forced you to come." she replied.
"Like I would let you go off into the woods at almost one a.m. by yourself."
She gave him a dubious expression. "I've been to this pond a million times. I could find it in my sleep."
When he didn't say anything else, she decided to have a little fun with him. "It's alright you know. I get it."
"Get what?" he asked, confusion written clearly across his face.
"Why you didn't want to come."
When he continued to look at her expectantly she finally said, "You're shy. It's so cute."
"I'm not shy." he said stubbornly.
"Oh. Then you're just a prude." she grinned at him broadly and laughed in delight when his mouth dropped open in shock.
"I am not a prude." he declared hotly.
"You never know. The tweed, the bowties… and you did blush at those poems." she continued.
She could see e anger starting to flare up in his eyes, so she put her hand on his arm consolingly. "I'm just kidding."
He looked ahead on the path. "How much further?"
"About twenty feet."
Silently, they made their way through the trees until they finally reached the pond. He surveyed it appraisingly. "Are you sure it's safe?"
"Are there any bacteria in it? Animals? Pollution?" he clarified.
"How should I know?" she asked.
"You never tried to find out?"
"No. This may come as a bit of a surprise, but not everyone looks for the bad in life first. It kind of takes the fun out of things."
"I don't look for the bad in life," he told her, "I'm just cautious."
"Where's the fun in being cautious?" she asked, more to herself than to him. She kicked off her shoes and hung her towel on a nearby tree limb. She turned away from him, as if by afterthought, and took off her denim shorts. It was obvious now that the tank top she'd been wearing was actually the top to her bathing suit, and came all the way to the top of the matching boy shorts. Only the tiny sliver of skin exposed when she moved revealed that it wasn't a one piece.
"Your turn." she turned back to him, and crossed her arms over her chest. A smirk was playing over her lips. It was obvious she was enjoying this. "Unless you're too embarrassed."
Swallowing his nerves, Z took hold of his tee shirt and quickly pulled it off over his head. He then toed off his shoes and tossed his towel over hers.
She smirked at him. "Impressive." Her face broke into a huge grin as she watched him blush furiously.
While he tried to think of something to say, she jumped into the water. Resurfacing, she waved her arms, floating aimlessly across the surface. "Heaven."
Shaking his head in amusement, he dove in. He broke through the top and caught her smiling at him. "This is perfect."
"Told you." she said smugly. He splashed her in retaliation, leading to an all out water fight, that only ended when she dunked him for the third time.
Once they settled down, they were both content to just wade around. But the comfortable silence didn't last long. "How long have you been at Blake Holsey?"
Z looked over at Lucy. He should have known she wouldn't let it be quiet for long. "Almost three years."
"Do you like it?"
"Well aren't you the chatterbox."
"What made you decide to go into teaching?" he asked.
Momentarily caught off guard by his turning the tables, she blinked repeatedly before replying. "I love kids."
"Do you want kids?" she asked after a beat.
He flailed slightly in the water. Regaining his balance, he took a deep breath. "I've never really thought about it."
He sighed in exasperation. "I just haven't."
"It's not like your too old or anything. You're what-thirty?" she flipped over onto her back and floated by him.
"Thirty-one." he replied.
"You're straight, right?"
He plunged his hands in the water, sending a huge spray at her. "Yes."
"Do you want kids?"
Lucy shook her head, once ore unnerved by his tendency to turn her own questions back on her. "Definitely."
"You'd be a good mom." he said sincerely.
She stopped swimming and looked at him. "You really think so?"
"Of course. I've seen how you look out for Lucas, and the students adore you." His smile was so warm and genuine, she couldn't help but return it.
"We better get back before Durst realizes we're gone."
"She's asleep." he said.
"With Ms. Durst," she told him as she hopped out and grabbed her towel, "you can never be too sure."
On their way back to campus Lucy looked at him and said "You'd be a good dad you know."
He shook his head. "I doubt it."
She stopped and looked at him as if he were crazy. "Have you not seen the way the kids respond to you? And you actually care about them, you don't pretend. You'd be a wonderful father."
"I didn't exactly have the best role model for fatherhood." he said softly.
"I didn't have the world's greatest mom either, but you seem to think that doesn't matter. It's the same thing."
She bumped her shoulder against his. "Just don't rule it out. Okay?" he nodded.
By this point they were back at the school. It was eerily quiet with all the students and faculty asleep. He held the door open for her and they crept quietly down the hall to their rooms.
This was difficult due to Lucy's giggling at the leaves Professor Z had found tangled in his hair.
"If you'd just hold still I could get them out." she hissed.
She rolled her eyes. "Don't be such a baby." She tugged as gently as she could to extract a particularly stubborn leaf, and he jerked, nearly colliding with a vase. This prompted even more giggles.
"I'm sorry." she choked out between her laughter.
"We can't all be lucky enough to have the ability to put our hair up." he said, nodding his head toward the braid she'd done on the way to the pond.
She plucked at his hair. "Oh, I bet we could get a couple braids in here if we tried." He waved her hands away.
They had reached their rooms so they said goodnight. Z went into his room and Lucy continued on down the hallway.
He had just changed his clothes when here was a knock at his door. He opened it, hoping not to find Ms. Durst, but instead saw Lucy, still in her bathing suit.
"I'm locked out." she told him simply.
"How did you get locked out?"
"When I was changing I left my keys on the nightstand with my poetry book." she said sheepishly.
He sighed. Grabbing his own keys, he stepped out into the hallway and shut his door quietly behind him.
"What are you doing?"
"I'm going to go get the janitor to let you into your room." he explained.
She grabbed his arm. "It's after two o'clock. We can't wake him up, that would be so rude."
"Well then, we'll get Ms. Durst and she can wake him up."
"And who's going to tell her what we're doing out in the middle of the night?" Lucy asked, crossing her arms over her chest. "Because I'm not. I spent enough time getting lectured by her when I was a student."
"We have to tell her." he said.
"But wouldn't you get into trouble?"
"For what?" he asked, mystified.
"She might jump to the wrong conclusions about us being together at," she checked the hall clock, "two thirty and ask why I was out of my room."
It dawned on him what she was implying and he paled. "I could get fired."
"And I don't want that. I like working with you, and Lucas would never forgive me."
"So, if we can't wake the janitor and we can't get Ms. Durst, what do you want me to do? Pick your lock?" he demanded.
"You can do that?"
"No." he admitted.
"I can't very well sleep on the hall floor." Lucy said.
"Well I'm open to suggestions."
Lucy chewed her bottom lip in concentration for a moment, then brightened as if a light bulb had been turned on. "I can stay with you."
A/N: Boring, I know. It was a filler chapter. I promise more science club in the next one.