FORT WORTH, TX—Filling the voids of loneliness present in their respective lives, Robert P. Hughes High School science teacher Lorraine Belmont, 33, and sophomore Matthew Clark, 16, have reportedly begun a sexual relationship that observers have described as being actually somewhat endearing.
"I guess I should be weirded out by the fact that my teacher is getting it on with one of my classmates, but I have to admit, it's kind of adorable," said sophomore Stephanie Elmore, who is in Belmont's honors chemistry class. "They both seemed so aimless and lonely that we were all, in a way, just really glad they found each other."
"They're a perfect match, frankly," Elmore added.
Faculty sources described Belmont as a sweet woman, if a bit high-strung and plain-looking, who in the past has dated sporadically at best. Clark, meanwhile, has been characterized by his peers as a deeply introverted student who, while rarely bullied, never had many friends and was "just sort of there."
But during the school's summer session, Belmont was spotted dropping Clark off a few blocks from campus a number of times, and Clark has reportedly skipped Spanish class on several occasions in order to see Belmont during her planning period, an occurrence that witnesses described as being "undeniably heartwarming to watch."
Despite the ethical problems Belmont and Clark's relationship may pose, members of the school community said the clandestine affair is probably the best thing for the both of them.
"We were all worried Lorraine would never find anyone," algebra teacher Willa Myers said. "My first impulse was to be upset about what she was doing, but the more I thought about it, the more the whole thing just made sense."
"She seems so much more upbeat these days," Myers added. "She's even wearing lipstick."
Clark's peers told reporters they have seen a notable shift in his personality since he began the relationship with his teacher.
"Matt really seems a lot more confident," junior Brian Marshall said. "He's got this glow about him I've never seen before. And, honestly, good for him. Maybe this will give him the validation he needs."
While unable to publicly congratulate Belmont and Clark on their relationship, students and faculty have privately been giddy with excitement about the couple, with even the school's administrators struggling to hide their smiles when they notice Belmont and Clark sneaking off during school assemblies.
"Every rule in the book says I should fire Ms. Belmont for abusing the teacher-student relationship, but it's honestly just too charming of a story," said the school's principal, Marcus Wallace. "Of course, there is a 17-year age difference, but I challenge anyone to watch the two of them stare at each other from across the gym during a pep rally and tell me that true love isn't real."
Students even found it "kind of great" when Clark accidentally called Belmont "baby" in class last week, a slip of the tongue they said would have been creepy under any other circumstances, but just felt really sweet in that moment.
At press time, students and faculty had cleared out of the school cafeteria to give the happy couple some privacy.