Chapter One: The Tunnel

Those brooding eyes zeroed in on Kasey like a laser beam; or maybe they were laser beams. They had a piercing existence that Kasey--or anybody, for that matter--couldn't ignore. Her heart would react like a ticking time bomb every time he looked at her like that; it was as if those gorgeous blue lasers were boring holes right into her soul.

This gorgeous man with the laser beam eyes was her teacher, and he seemed to know how to get to her. Every day in class, those eyes would look directly into Kasey's, making her heart leap. It was as if he wanted her to feel those deep, recurring feelings of longing that tugged and gnawed at her soul like a hungry wolf chewing on flesh. It was almost as if he knew, and he was using those laser beams to draw it out of her; to make her nervous and afraid.

Kasey never meant to have a crush on her teacher, but she couldn't help it. Not with those two gorgeous sapphires that stared into her frightened soul every day. And especially not with the way he asked her to solve a problem on the board. The way he said her name, it made her heart jump within her chest cavity even more.

But when they were in class, they were amongst 20 other students, so they would ignore each other for the most part. Heaven forbid Kasey and Mr. Williams should ever be alone together because she wasn't sure she'd be able to control her feelings, and the way her heart beat in her chest like a wild animal.

But today they were alone; and it was the most frightening thing Kasey had ever been through. She could feel the dampness under her arms beginning to grow, and her mouth began to become dry and parched. Her hands were sweaty, and her knees were not able to support her weight, as if they had been rendered weak simply because he was standing there.

Kasey and Mr. Williams found themselves near the river that day; they were both standing inside the tunnel which ran underneath the Cumberland Road above them. She had stopped midway through the tunnel to inspect something shiny. She had thought it was something valuable, like a coin or perhaps an earring; but alas, she had mistaken it for a piece of broken glass.

Kasey had leaned over to look at it, and then dropped it once she realized what it was. When she did realize what it was, she stood up and looked around. In front of her stood a talll, dark, male figure. She noticed that whoever it was was coming towards her, and she froze. When the person came into the light, there he was; standing there in his same clothes he had worn that day to school, with those two beautiful sapphires that stared two huge holes into her fragile soul.

Kasey's heart nearly leaped out of her chest through her mouth right then; her mouth was open enough to allow something in or out, she knew; gaping like the tunnel that she was standing in. She couldn't speak; her whole body was shaking. It took her five minutes to get up the courage to say something to him.

"Um, hi....." she said. It was the best she could come up with.

"Kasey," Mr. Williams said. "What are you doing in here? Shouldn't you be studying for tomorrow's quiz?" Kasey smiled in spite of herself. Even though he was the most beautiful man on the planet, he was still her teacher.

"Yes, Mr. Williams," she said almost in a whisper. He looked at her then with a softness in his eyes, and spoke with a softness in his voice. "Good, and I hope you do as well tomorrow as you did last week. That was an impressive paper you turned in. I was very pleased." He smiled then, a friendly, gentle smile that put Kasey at ease.

"Um, thanks. I worked hard on that."

"I'm glad," said Mr. Williams with a nod. "If you keep it up, you'll have straight A's in my class. Not many students can attest to that."

Kasey smiled again, and knew that it was true. She nodded, then turned to go home again. She'd been out for a walk for two hours, and didn't see one eagle that day; not a one, so she knew it was time to go home.

As soon as Kasey turned to walk home, she felt Mr. Williams lightly touch her back. It made her shiver, and her heart went wild for the hundredth time that day. She suppressed a little gasp, and continued walking. Mr. Williams fell into step with her, and continued chatting with her about school. His voice echoed and bounced off the metallic walls of the tunnel, creating an eerie sound that she liked.

"I wish I could get Trystan Michaels to do the kind of work that you do," Mr. Williams said, shaking his head slightly. "He has so much potential. I see him drawing or writing stories all the time, yet he doesn't apply himself in class." Kasey nodded; she knew it was true, but she didn't like talking about her friend behind his back. Yet, she couldn't help but notice that he did doodle on his notebook a lot, and he also wrote stories inside that notebook about love, science fiction, dragons, and folklore. And yet, he couldn't bring himself to do his Biology homework or do simple math homework and chapter quizzes.

"I think he has so much potential that he is bored," Kasey pointed out. "He would rather be reading books at the college level, but he's the only one who would understand them," Kasey said with a giggle.

Mr. Williams let out a chuckle as well, and nodded again. "Yes, I think our grade 12 material is a little too outdated for him. So 'yesterday,' as you kids say these days." With that, they both laughed as they approached the end of the tunnel.

When they stepped out into the daylight, Mr. Williams squinted his eyes then looked down at Kasey. "Well, I guess I will see you tomorrow," he said, then bent over to give Kasey a hug. She froze, her eyes as big as saucers and her mouth agape with total shock and surprise. She wrapped her arms around him when he embraced her, standing perfectly still, hoping he wouldn't hear the thundering of her heart inside her chest. When he stood up once again, he smiled and went on his way.

As Kasey watched him go, her whole body shook and throbbed from the embrace, and she could still smell his cologne on her clothes from when he hugged her. It was a magical moment, and one she would never forget.

Kasey continued walking down the trail parallel to the river, kicking at the auburn-colored leaves that had fallen from the maple trees above. She continued looking for eagles, but all she saw were hawks and crows; there wasn't even a nest nearby.

As she walked, Kasey listened to the sound of the rushing river and replayed the last ten minutes in her mind over and over again; from the moment she ran into Mr. Williams in the tunnel, to the moment that he embraced her before he turned to walk home on the trail. It was the most amazing ten minutes of her life, and she didn't want to ever forget them.