Warnings: None, Fluff
“Ms. Thomas got a boyfriend?! When did this happen? Is there something about your summer vacation you forgot to tell us?” Stephen asks.
If Stephen wasn’t her favorite student, she would be killing him right now. “Stephen, I’ll tell you what, for every problem you solve correctly, I will share a piece of information with you,” she tells him, as she tosses a box of granola bars on the table. Rachel grabs the box and tears it open, and a few other students have drifted in, knowing Ms. Thomas will give them snacks and a place to work. One student connects his phone to the computer on her desk, and music fills the room.
This is Emery’s favorite part of teaching; the end of the day, when she and the kids can become real again. She thinks that might be something she and Chris would have in common, if that really was him on the phone. Being a teacher and being an actor might be similar. She knows each day; she plays a role, acts out a script. Whatever it takes to get the kids to learn and pay attention in class. But this, the after school hours? This is when she knows real learning takes place. She just adores these kids, as she looks around the room. She knows many of them stay for a snack and extra help, but many of them just don’t want to go home. Here, in this community, home may not be a safe place. She’s young, and single, and she has the time. These are the important hours to her, and she isn’t even paid for this time. But this is when she gets to know her kids, what they fear, and what they dream. And they give her advice and watch out for her and make sure she is up on the current school gossip and news. Thanks to them, she knows to be careful of “watch Netflix and chill!” It sounds innocent enough… but no. It’s not, she thinks to herself with a smile. It’s been a long while since she’s had a night like that, which was why she was resorting to online dating anyway. Now is not the time to be thinking about men and her failed love life, or the fact that once again, she’s getting screwed over in the love department. Seriously? Chris Evans? It can’t be him. What is that guy playing at?
So she looks at her watch, and realizes she has another hour and half to give to these kids before she has to pack up and head home. The kids start tossing out math problems at one another, eating granola bars, singing along to the music, and asking her for help. She does stand true to her promise to Stephen. She shares with the small group, and reminds them that “what happens in Ms. Thomas’s room stays in Ms. Thomas’s room.” Emery is careful not to give away too much personal information, but part of connecting with these kids is by setting the example of how to properly “adult.” Many of them don’t see that at home. So if that means sometimes she has to share a little too much, she makes sure to guard what she says, but works to set up an atmosphere of trust among her “crew.” These kids know they can come to her with all things, big and small.
She knows most of them will remember how devastated she was last fall when she found out her boyfriend had cheated on her, and Emery knew many of them wanted to see her happy. She appreciated them wanting to set her up with their single fathers or uncles, and she told them so, but she told them a friend had convinced her to sign up for a dating site. Emery admits to her students she had a few dates over the summer. She and the students laugh as they share “worst date ever” stories, and she admits she has been writing to one person over a few weeks, but they have not met and tonight was their first conversation on the phone.
“How did that go, Ms. T?” Rachel asks.
“I don’t know. Stephen interrupted, just as it was getting good!” They all laughed. But Emery said, with a wistful tone, “I think he maybe isn’t who he led me to believe, and I don’t know if that works for me…”
“No guy is gonna be honest and true all the time, like Steve Rogers,” one of the boys in the group said. “Our brains don’t work that way.”
“Be a Steve Rogers. That is a life goal, gentlemen, that’s what girls want. Really, Tony Stark seems all fun, and flash, but at the end of the day, we wanna cuddle and eat ice cream, with a guy like Captain America,” says Rachel, addressing the group and giving her teenage girl dating advice.
Emery blushes and wonders what it would be like to cuddle and eat ice cream with Captain America… “All right, all right, back to math. We don’t have much time left.”
Chris’s heart is pounding a million miles an hour; he still can’t believe he is doing this. He hopes it doesn’t blow up in his face. With his hat tipped low, he hides behind the flowers, and addresses the girls on the front steps of the school. “Do you girls know where Ms. Thomas’s classroom is? I have a delivery for her.”
The girls giggle and admire the flowers, as well as the cute butt of the “delivery boy,” as they walk him down the hall to Ms. Thomas’s classroom. As they walk along, a few more students join in the walk and enter the math room ahead of them. Ms. Thomas? Getting flowers? Who are they from? The students want to know about Ms. Thomas’s mystery man.
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