See previous school sessions HERE.
The high school added a new gym a few months ago, however this was only the tip of the iceberg of all the renovations that were planned for CPS. Workers came in to paint and renovate several classrooms due to the latest budget increase from the Board of Education (BoE). There are new students registered that are going to need the extra desks and chairs.
The crew started working in the early morning hours on the weekend. The trusty janitor, Frank Mulner, pulled up in his light blue hatchback, just before sunrise, to unlock the doors.
As you can see, several desks and chairs were added to the main classroom. There's also a new computer room and garden storage area (located behind the cafeteria). The next set of renovations will possibly be to add a second-level auditorium. It's not been approved, yet. We'll see if the BoE deems an auditorium necessary.
The last sessions of school, before senior graduation and summer break, are always kind of informal and relaxed. The kids get half-days due to teacher in-service meetings. So, when notice was sent out to each family that year-end class pictures were due, everyone was happy that classroom time would be interrupted and the day would end earlier than usual.
No one had even thought about Erline Valdes. She was a senior, so why wouldn't she come and take pictures with the rest of her classmates?
She had missed so much of the schoolyear because of her pregnancy...she had basically become 'out of thought/out of mind' to a lot of her so-called friends and fellow classmates.
Yes, they were all surprised to see Erline show up on the last day of school. Most of the kids thought she had moved out of state until her baby was due. Kind of like a family 'hush-hush' thing. But now they see that rumor wasn't true. She must've been hanging at home; keeping to herself, all this time.
"Did you see the dark circles under eyes?! Geez, she looks old!" Gavin Newson whispered loudly to Tyisha Masters and Melody Tinker; within earshot of Erline.
"What is SHE doing here?!" Tyisha rolled her eyes.
Sounds of the students' snickering and whispering bounced off the walls because of the deep echo in the hallway. Their words and jokes could no longer hurt her. She was facing something they knew nothing about...childbirth. She was carrying a real baby inside of her and it was coming, despite herself and despite them all. No, there's no turning back. Motherhood for Erline is truly at the horizon.
She silently cursed them as she made her way up to the one true person she came to see in the first place.
"Hey Rashid, how you doing?" She smiled as she went in to hug him tightly. She wanted him to feel the roundness of her belly in his gut...then she saw Tyisha standing there. No need for drama that she can't back up, well at least not in her present condition...heh...so she backed off.
"I'm ok, the question is how are YOU doing?" Rashid looked down at her massive round belly and instantly felt dread. He had not seen her pregnant until now. Now it was very real to him.
"I'm hanging in there. Only a month or so to go!" She said rubbing her tummy, trying to hide the fear and anxiety she was really feeling. "I just wanted to tell you 'thank you' for doing the DNA test so quickly. I can imagine how hard that was for you. Is the Mayor upset with you? Or with me, I should say."
With a look of sheer twistedness, Rashid replied sarcastically, "It's not the 'May-ah', I'm worried about...it's my Mom. She's the Enforcer in our house. People always think it's my Dad they should worry about." Rashid chuckled. "But, yeah...everything has cooled down since we saw Dr. Trinity. We all agreed to keep it cool until the results come back. No need to go off the deep end until then, right?
-I've been thinking about you, though. And if this is really my kid, I been thinkin' about what we might have to do, ya know?"
"Wooaah, wait a minute there, big guy...just what are you saying?" Erline fake pushed him away, and paused to take in what she thought she heard him say...she couldn't wipe the smile off her face.
Tyisha overheard him and is about to have a fit! "Whaaat the....??" Because just a second ago, Rashid was all up in her grill. <---This means he kissed her. For those that don't know...:P
"I'm not sayin nothin' yet...we'll talk after the results get back." Rashid looked Tyisha squarely in the eyes, to try and see what she was thinking.
"What the heck are you talking about, Rashid?" Tyisha said in the lowest voice he's ever heard her speak in. Are her teeth clenched? He wondered to himself. Oh shit, he remembered the last time she did that.
"Uhhh, I think I'll let you guys talk it out." Erline turned to step away, out of the line of fire.
"UUmmpffPH!!" Tyisha put a fierce liplock on Rashid before Erline could even get away from them!
"Dang girl! Would you chill!?!" When Rashid wiped his mouth off like she had a disease, Tyisha literally felt steam coming out of her ears. That was the ultimate disrespect and raised her arm like she was gonna backhand smack him.
"If you can hit me with Mr. VanHouten standing right there, then you got more balls than I do." Rashid said. "That's it. I'm done. I'm not breaking up with you, Ty, but I'm not gonna stand here while you start tripping. I done told you how I feel about you. You need to stop acting like a little girl...oh but wait - you are one." He walked away not sure why he just did that. He knew that was the one thing Tyisha hated more than anything, was to be called 'a little girl'.
Tyisha was so hurt and angry, she couldn't speak. Tears welled up in her eyes as Melody asked her not to be so overdramatic about the situation and to calm down.
Meanwhile, Erline asked Rashid if he still had feelings for her.
"Like I said, let's just take things slow until the results come back. I don't know what I feel right now."
Despite their tension, the kids were able to smile brightly for the camera.
Later that afternoon
"Oooh, I might be getting my late night booty calls again..." Erline said happily in that sing-song voice she uses sometimes.
If Erline was not pregnant, and if she wasn't Cameron Masters' daughter...Tyisha would be all over that witch like peanut butter and jelly. That hamburger would be shoved so far up her face, she would still be eating that same sandwich next week!
From the other side of the room, Rashid saw Erline taunting Tyisha and he had to go over there. He had hurt her real bad, and he didn't mean to.
"Hey...(long pause). You finished?" Rashid looked down at Tyisha.
"Yeah, I don't have no appetite."
Keva Michels and Elmer Valdes gather around in case there's a fight. Keva did not want to be involved, and slowly walked over there to grab Tyisha, just in case...and Elmer was there to protect his twin sister.
But, they needn't have bothered...Rashid was just being a gentleman. He swooped in to take Tyisha's plate up to the counter for her.
"Awww, thank you, baby." Tyisha gushed with extra sweetness.
"You're welcome, Ty." Rashid smiled with sincerity behind his eyes.
While holding a note in his hand...
He dropped it so quickly into Erline's plate, no one had even noticed the tiny little balled up piece of paper had left his hand.
Please call me tonight. We need to talk. --Rashid