Pressure Chapter 2

Joe was sitting in Principal Ryan's office; he was in trouble. They had had to take Mr. Hayden to the hospital by ambulance with a possible concussion. The whole school was talking about it.

"You really handled it." He berated himself.

Mr. Ryan, a tall man with dark hair and glasses, sat at his desk. "Joe…" He started to say. He was interrupted by a knock at the door. To Joe's relief it was Frank coming into the room. Joe practically flew into his big brother's arms.

Holding his brother, Frank could feel Joe's whole body shaking. "I'm so scared." Joe whispered into his ear.

Chet Morton, one of the Hardys' closest friends had told Frank the news. "Joe is in Mr. Ryan's office. He's in trouble for hitting a teacher."

As Frank had hurried towards the principal's office, he'd heard conflicting stories from the other students. But, he told himself, what they told him didn't matter, his job was to make sure Joe was okay. Joe would tell him what had really happened.

Frank whispered back, "I'm here. Everything will be okay."

Hearing that, Joe immediately began to calm down. That his big brother was here was the only reassurance Joe needed.

"Are Mom and Dad here yet?" Joe asked releasing Frank.

Right on cue, Fenton Hardy walked in with Laura beside him. Joe took after her in blonde hair and blue eyes.

Are you okay?" Laura rushed over to her son wrapping him in a hug. Staying silent Joe just nodded.

When Fenton's turn to hug his son came, he could feel the tension in Joe's whole body. Fenton wasn't sure if it was Joe's emotions or his reaction to the situation that was causing it. "Are you sure you're okay?"

"I'm okay." Joe simply replied.

Principal Ryan stood to greet Fenton. "Mr. Hardy, thank you for coming. I'm sorry we had to meet under these circumstances."

Fenton shook the man's hand, "Yes, me too."

"Okay, if everyone will have a seat, we'll get right to it." Mr. Ryan said gesturing to the seats next to Joe. After everyone took their seats all eyes fell on Joe.

Mr. Ryan began by asking Joe, "Why don't you tell us your side?"

As he began to fidget nervously in his chair Joe asked after his teacher. "How is Mr. Hayden?"

"While he is unconscious, Mr. Hayden is, at least, stable".

Joe ran a hand nervously through his blond hair. Frank started rubbing Joe's back, "Tell us what happened."

Joe took a deep breath. "Last Friday, Mr. Hayden verbally abused a friend of mine from history class during a tutoring session." Joe heard a gasp from his mother. "You see my friend is kind of a slow learner. This morning he went to Mr. Hayden for help, because he didn't understand the assignment."

"After my friend left Mr. Hayden, he came to me, all upset. He said Mr. Hayden had yelled at him, called him stupid and then shoved him against the wall".

Principal Ryan raised an eyebrow at this and frowned. "Why didn't you just come to me after this happened?"

"My friend was afraid that nobody would believe him. It would be his word against Mr. Hayden's. I just needed proof before telling someone" Joe answered.

"Do you have proof?"

"No." Joe admitted, his disappointment written all over his face. "I thought Mr. Hayden would back off if someone was on to him."

"I was coming to see you, honest, but Mr. Hayden blocked the door so I could not leave. He got really angry with me…" Joe hesitated looking at Frank. "He shoved me to the floor."

"I didn't mean to hit him." Joe wiped his hand across his eyes to hide the tears that had formed. "I just reacted because he had threatened to hurt my brother if I told anyone."

Frank felt the rage building up inside of him. He suspected someone was messing with his brother. He never would've thought it'd be a teacher. Frank was furious that a teacher would do that to a student. Now that he'd hurt Frank's little brother, Mr. Hayden would definitely not be getting away with this.

Fenton was furious a teacher would abuse a student, and had threatened both of his sons. When I get through with this Mr. Hayden, there won't be anything left, Fenton silently promised himself.

"How long has Mr. Hayden been teaching here?" The detective asked, with an edge to his voice.

"Just under a year now," the principal answered.

"I'd like to see Mr. Hayden's file." Fenton insisted.

A look crossed Principal Ryan's face as if he'd just been majorly offended, before quickly disappearing. "I assure you Mr. Hardy we thoroughly screen our staff. We have never had any complaints about Mr. Hayden behaving inappropriately towards a student."

Why was he getting all defensive, Fenton wondered. Was it possible that he was lying about something?

"Have you seen Mr. Hayden?" Joe shot back incredulously. "He's a big man. He can intimidate anyone especially a student. Don't you even care that one of your staff members attacked a student?"

"Of course I care." Principal Ryan answered. "If you can get this friend of yours to come and talk to me, we can get this matter cleared up".

"I can't do that."

"Why is that?"

"I told you, he's afraid".

"Well, without hearing your friend's side of the story," the principal shook his head. "I'm sorry Joe, but right now it's your word against Mr. Hayden's".

"You think I'm making this up!" Joe said hotly.

"Joe would never make a false accusation like that". Frank spoke up in his brother's defense.

"My friend was right!" Joe stood up feeling his temper starting to rise. "You're already taking Mr. Hayden's side!" He stormed out of the office slamming the door with Frank right behind him.

"What's going to happen to Joe?" Laura demanded. She was just as angry as everyone else that someone'd hurt her baby.

"We have a strict policy against school violence." Principal Ryan began to explain. "The school board will have to decide if Joe's able to come back to school. Until then, Joe's suspended".

"What about Mr. Hayden?" Laura stood up feeling her own temper rising. "My son was just defending himself, his brother and his classmate against a bully!"

"Mrs. Hardy, that has yet to be proven..."

"I promise you Mr. Ryan it will be. Someone here is lying; I assure you it's not my son." Fenton stood up and taking his wife's hand, walked out of the office, his rage just barely contained. The door slammed shut behind them.