'So tell me the truth Karen,' he hissed impatiently, totally out of character, 'are you angry at what I've done or are you just mad at every man in the world after what Charlie did to you?'
He knew how to pull her strings, how to make her respond. He knew which questions would tug and play in her mind and conscience, and which would provoke reactions. He smiled ruefully at her, resisting the temptation to push her up against the locker she stood next to and kiss her and wrap his fingers in her ravishing locks of blonde-brown hair…
The bell rang brashly, deflecting against the white walls of the hallway, snapping Rob out of his temporary trance.
Karen glared furiously at the sheer impertinence of his question. After all that he had done to her, how dare he ask her such a personal and subjective question? Taking a sharp intake of breath to calm her slightly, Karen replied, in as much of a neutral tone as possible,
'What makes you think my private life is anything to do with you Rob? And how do you know about Charlie?'
He sighed out awkwardly, not having anticipated this kind of reaction from her. She was normally stone cold, she didn't reflect her emotions and she certainly didn't talk to anyone about how she felt. But he had struck a nerve with that question, and was regretting it quite sincerely. Rob leant slightly on the locker next to him. He stared intently at her, not angrily but impartially, but she did not look away or quiver under his gaze. She was so beautiful, so strong. But why did he have to hurt her like this? He should have known it would be a sensitive subject for her.
'You seem to forget that my partner left me as well Karen, for another person. I also have a family that was ripped apart. And I'm not saying your private life is any of my business, but you don't have to take it out on me because you're still mad at Charlie.'
Rob saw Karen's left eye twitch slightly, and, before she quickly wiped it away, he swore he saw a small tear run down her cheek. Oh crap, he thought, he didn't want to make her cry,
'Why did you kiss me when you were married then?' Karen continued, ignoring the last few moments of speech in their argument. She too leant against the lockers, a small sarcastic smile appearing on her face. She tilted her head slightly in a kind of questioning way.
Rob snapped from his almost regressive state and he replied coolly, but now his voice was gaining new levels of volume, reciprocating her words, 'What makes you think my private life is any of your business?'
A flicker of annoyance and disbelief splashed across her face before almost snarling, almost shouting, 'You were the one who kissed me. You made it my business.'
Karen turned and began to stride purposely down the corridor, amidst many pupils staring at the two in bewilderment. She had almost reached the door when a voice came from very close behind her.
'Stop being so angry because of what one person did to you. This kind of thing happens to lots of people, crap happens all the time. I understand what it's like, I really do, but you need to stop making such a big fuss about it Karen,' he whispered soothingly in her ear, sending shivers spiralling through her system. She stared hard at the floor, trying to suppress her emotion. Karen turned around and found herself face to face with Rob, who was looking ever so slightly weary. She herself had utterly failed to notice that half the school (teachers and a very excited Janeece included) had packed themselves into this one corridor just to see what was happening.
She honestly didn't know she was going to do what she did next. Without replying to his dastardly, obviously false statement about her, Karen raised her right hand and slapped Rob hard around the face, causing a red handprint to appear on his unusually pale cheeks.
A loud ooooooh erupted from the crowd and Karen turned red when she saw students in the corridor taking pictures and videos on their mobiles, but then they all fell into an utter chasm of silence.
Too upset to say anything else, Karen shot an almost apologetic glance towards Rob who wasn't injured (well not physically, loss of pride hurts a lot more than slapped flesh) and turned on her heel and walked back down the corridor. She almost ran, wanting to be alone. She wanted to be at home, in bed, just having a hellish nightmare. But this kind of stuff and situation was too mild for nightmares, but just so sincerely perfect for real life; the humiliation, the pain, the raw emotion, and then the defeat. She had lost. She had lost the moment that she started contemplating slapping him.
Karen took a small sideways glance to the right and saw tens upon hundreds of faces just staring blankly at her, their mouths wide open like goldfish, the rest of their expressions utterly shell shocked.
'Karen,' someone called out unexpectedly. Halfway down the corridor, right in the middle of the little arena that had been formed around them. Karen turned, and before she could even register his figure moving towards her, his hands were thrice upon her cheeks and he gently pulled her face forwards slightly and kissed her.
Karen did not hear the roars and shouts, claps and cheers, seemingly deafening wolf-whistles and the click of every single camera. She did not think about the consequences of the kiss, not about what people might say or do, she didn't even think about how angry she believed she was at this man. She didn't even know how to feel around him anymore.
But all she thought about was kissing him, how surreal everything was; how his lips moulded perfectly onto hers, how he made it feel so enchanting and enticing and how he made her never want to stop. Oh, how she wished she didn't have to breathe, just one more second of this total paradise…
Slowly and extraordinarily reluctantly, Rob removed his lips from hers, but kept his hands on her cheeks and wiped away the tears that rapidly fell from her wildly blinking eyes soon after. Letting their foreheads rest against one another, he clutched her as she cried into his shirt. Why was she crying? But he soon found the answer; prejudice. Everyone now knew that the headmistress was dating the janitor and she was going to get a rough time for it. He knew that she wasn't going to be able to cope with all this.
'You know Karen,' he whispered, 'I really shouldn't kiss you in public,'
She looked up at him sadly and disappointedly, and went to remove herself from his hold on her. Instead, he chuckled and pulled her in even closer, 'People might talk.' He finished, his lips sweeping over her ear and temple. Suddenly a thought collided into Karen's mind,
'I don't care. I don't care if people see us like this.' Before he could reply, Karen put her right hand on the back of his head, clutched his hair in her fingers and yanked him into another kiss. He was surprised, but kissed her back furiously, his lips burrowing deeper into hers with every passing second. Somehow her tongue found its way into his mouth and locked with his own. He tugged at her waist possessively, deepening the kiss ever further.
'Oi, oi, oi, what's going on here? Everyone get to class, the bell went seven minutes ago,' Chris Mead, deputy head and science teacher, called down the hallway, his view of what everyone was staring at blocked by around three hundred people.
'Nothing much is happenin Sir. Just, Mrs Fisher and Mister Scotcher are having a lovely time exchanging saliva!' someone yelled out bluntly, and the whole crowd cracked up laughing, like in the old sitcoms. Chris pondered for a second before the crowd parted and Chris walked through the front.
Chris shook his head at the pair, still kissing in the middle of the corridor, oblivious to anything else that was going on, 'Everyone get to class now, or I'll put you all in detention after school this evening!' Chris yelled, attempting to warden everyone off. After several minutes of hounding everyone and shouting at the top of his lungs, the majority of onlookers had dispersed, still muttering and chattering in disbelief about what had just happened.
When Chris was the only person left in the corridor (save the still kissing couple), he cleared his throat loudly and obviously. Karen and Rob let their lips part and they both breathed out heavily yet happily. Karen then realized what she had just done.
'Wasn't really the most professional way of telling everyone was it?' Chris called out cheekily, physically not able to stop himself. Karen shot him a steely glare before turning back to Rob,
'I'm so sorry Rob,' she whispered shakily, 'I'm so, so sorry. This is going to be so difficult now that everyone knows. And everyone is so damned prejudice now that…'
'You're worth it,' Rob interrupted callously and in a hushed tone, 'Karen let everyone talk. You're so worth any insults or rumours or whatever.'
Chris slipped away at some point during this conversation, chuckling slightly, not wanting to intrude. Although half the school already had, he thought the two should be left in private.
Well, it wasn't the ideal way for everyone to find out, but Rob and Karen would deal with the consequences and various pictures and videos uploaded on Facebook later, all they needed now was each other. And they were both willing to give themselves.
'You do realize what we've just done?' Rob asked seriously after another kiss. Karen nodded, still in a bit of shock from the whole event. But she knew that she didn't care. Deep down inside of her was the mad, insecure woman who questioned and probed everything, looking for a fault in every relationship. But this was who she truly was, and she wasn't going to let society dictate her emotions and how she felt about this amazing man in front of her. It would be a struggle and she wasn't sure how well it would go, but they would both try. She told him this and he pressed his lips to her forehead, before he picked her up bridal style (which caused a shout of mirth and delight to emit from Karen) and carried her to his office…