A/N: Thanks again for the comments.
“Richard,” the principal greeted as she stepped into his classroom with a click of high heels.
“Pam,“ he returned, neutrally. He did have a fairly good idea why she was there after all.
She smiled at him and leaned her hip against his desk, arms crossed in front of her. “Two of your colleagues stormed my office twenty minutes ago.”
“They did?” So maybe he had picked up a few things from Jean-Claude, not that he would ever admit it even under the threat of death.
“Yes. They informed me that you had…offered them some encouragement to bring their worries over a student to me.”
That was one way of phrasing it. “I did.”
“They also said you had a pair of lungs on you like I wouldn’t believe.” Her words were serious but there was a glint of amusement in her eye. Richard had always gotten along well with his boss.
So he saw no harm in admitting, “I might have over reacted a bit. But the only thing they weren’t doing was betting on her.”
She laughed outright this time. “They admitted as much.”
“Is that why you’re here?”
The laugh dropped from her face as she turned serious, arms falling to her side. “No. I came here to check on the student in question myself. You two seem…close.”
The Ulfric snorted. “I spent months trying to get through to her. Today was the first time she actually relaxed around me.”
He wondered what he could give away without breaking Elisabeth’s trust. Then he decided that the basics would have to do. “She was an emancipated minor before she turned eighteen. She never mentioned any parents. She lives with friends and works as a waitress. School bores her, she’s a loner. That’s pretty much it.”
The werewolf pulled a face. “You caught that, huh?”
“We found we know some of the same people. Asher is one of them.”
Pam’s eyebrows hit her hairline. “You know her outside of school.”
He knew where this was going and quickly shook his head. “We met once off school grounds and that was by accident. As I said, we know the same people. They invited both of us.”
“You don’t seem like they two of you would run in the same circles.” Uh-oh, Richard thought. The ice had suddenly gotten very thin. One wrong word now and everything might come down around his ears. Even if Pam didn’t realize what he was, connecting himself to the people Elisabeth knew could pull him down with her if anyone ever noticed the…less human aspects of his student.
In the end he shrugged, refusing to answer either way. Pam nodded as if she’d expected the reaction.
“You know I have to ask this, so don’t be mad at me. Do you have any relationship with Elisabeth Summers?”
This time he shook his head without hesitation. “No. None. She’s my student and a kid that needs help. Nothing else.”
“Alright then. I expected nothing else.” With a last friendly smile she turned before suddenly stopping and turning back to him. She opened her mouth, but no sound came out.
As Richard watched she seemed to contemplate something, shake her head internally and then come to a decision. “I don’t know what has changed over the last few months, but you seem happier than I’ve seen you since you broke up with your last girlfriend. Whatever the reason, it’s good to have the old Richard back.”
Then she was out the door, leaving Richard to wonder what she meant. He hadn’t really changed, had he? He’d just been too busy with Elisabeth and other things to mope about Anita and the way she’d gone. But, he had to admit, not moping around was something he could get used to again.
With a slow grin he tucked the collected papers into a drawer and took a sip of his cold tea just as the first students of his next class started trickling in.
Random question for all people with a cold: Why do noses run but feet smell?