By avenger-nerd-mom & devikafernando
AU Fan Fiction
In the sequel to Educating Thalia, the lovely Thalia Bareo is trying to grow up, making her own way in the world after losing both men she loved, Professors Chris Evans and Tom Hiddleston. The sassy full-figured Puerto Rican girl from Chicago holds down a job as she tries to deal with the real world. She continues her studies and freelances as a consultant for museums around the world. Being Thalia updates are posted on Wednesdays and Sundays.
Warning: As a whole, this work contains adult content. If you proceed you have agreed that you are willing to see such content. Each chapter will not be coded with individual warnings. The overall story contains no hidden triggers.
If you are new to the series and characters, click here to the beginning of Educating Thalia.
If you are looking for other stories in the sequel, click here for the beginning of Being Thalia
Summary: Chris spends a rainy afternoon with his two favorite women.
Previous Chapter, Warpath
Word Count 1539
2019, Fall Semester
The storm beats against the window but it’s not the tapping rain driving him crazy. Stretched out on the couch and wiggling his feet, Chris tosses his book down on the table, addressing the cause of his annoyance. “Avery, bring me that. You’re done. You’re gonna run down the battery, and then be mad later.” When his daughter chooses to ignore him, he turns to Thalia, leaning against the kitchen counter and silently appeals to her. She smirks at him, and he childishly answers by sticking out his tongue.
His curvy companion claps her hands together, getting the child’s attention. The little blonde head sways in her direction, barely taking her eyes from the gadget that’s held her enraptured for the last hour. “Hey, kiddo! Bring me the phone. I wanna show you something.” Thalia points to the array of goodies laid out on the counter. “You gotta have both hands free to help.”
Chris grimaces, watching the young girl comply and giving no grief when Thalia places the phone on top of the fridge. With the power out for nearly four hours, they’re all becoming a little squirrely. He pretends not to hear Thalia scold the young girl for ignoring him, and he tilts his head thoughtfully when Avery’s sweet voice offers a quiet apology. “It’s okay, ‘Ry, but you need to follow our house rules. No phones all day.”
He and his ex have debated the issue back and forth. Maura insisted the child needed a phone to stay in contact when they’re apart. All the woman does is send Snaps, interrupting his family time. In the habit of ignoring her stepfather, Avery has developed a bad practice of discounting him as well, and responds better to Thalia’s guidance. He sits back at the table, observing his pretty little girl climbing up on the stool next to his lovely girlfriend. The two put their heads together, eyeing the snack foods and whispering together.
Girlfriend? Is she though?
He can’t shake the thought. They’ve never made official proclamations about one another, simply falling back into their old ways. After a week or two of sneaking around last spring to keep their frantic lovemaking secret from his impressionable daughter, it just became an unspoken thing. Once Avery was in bed during her visits, they’d climb the stairs together, curl up under the covers, and spend hours reading, talking, watching late night TV… Or making love. Desperately. Madly. Wildly. Like he hadn’t done in ages. Something about her body, her spirit, fixing everything broken inside him… And over a course of a few weeks, her clothes made their way into his closet, her personal items into the bathroom. Just like that, they were a couple again.
Thalia had gained a small amount of notoriety on campus after Joanna Kent was asked to step down from her position. It was revealed that she had been hiding inappropriate relations with students for years, indiscriminate in her choices. Several prominent community leaders were having their old transcripts reviewed, including a well-known Congresswoman. The University was looking into the possibility that grades were traded for sexual favors and keeping quiet. In the wake of the investigation, several couples working on campus came forward, admitting they had begun dating under unsavory conditions. Although they never admitted their prior involvement, Chris and Thalia began dating openly, and no one questioned it.
Watching the scene in front of him, Chris sighs, not wanting to forget a single moment of their time together, but knowing it won’t last. Thalia’s too much of a free will. Chris has seen it, noticed her moods, the way she shuts down her email when he walks by or how she closely watches travel documentaries, hanging on every word.
It’s not another man calling her, but another place. Another stop on her adventure in life.
He tries not to take it personally that he and Avery can’t be her permanent home, but he knows they can love her and mend her as long as she gives them that chance.
“Come here, Chris, you’re in on this too. If the power isn’t back on by dinner, we may have to call around and see if any restaurants are open, if they have power. But for now, we can have snacks for lunch today.” She points at the old metal pot in front of her. “I need your lighter.”
Standing from the couch, he faces away from her, hiding his ‘oh, shit’ face. He’d been doing his best to keep his clandestine smoking away from the house, usually when he and some of the professors would go for a drink after work. He should have known she’d figured it out. She always figures things out. Regaining his composure, he spins on his heels, and just shrugs. Thalia tilts her head with a lift of her eyebrow, not buying it, and he reaches into his pocket, pulling forth the lighter in question.
“Uh-huh,” she fusses, bumping his shoulder, her dark eyes reminding him she sees everything. “Avery, you pick two things you wanna taste dipped in chocolate while your dad fires up this burner. We’re gonna fondue!”
Chris’s quizzical eyebrow speaks for him. He answers her unspoken words, rolling his eyes. “Yes, I know what fondue is.” He feigns insult, much to the giggles of little Avery. Popping off the top of the sterno can, he looks over the spread. “Potato chips. Where are the potato chips?”
“Oooh,” Thalia stretches out the word, tapping Avery on the back. “Good call! Go get the chips from the drawer for Poppa.”
She follows orders, her pink glitter shoes tapping across the floor as she asks questions about how to fondue. “You mean we’re gonna stab the pineapple and stick it in?”
Thalia continues chopping the fruit Avery requested while Chris drops in the chocolate to melt. Avery returns to her perch atop the stool and reaches for the graham crackers and starts breaking them apart and laying them neatly on a platter. “Well, we don’t have to stab all of it. The cherries have a stem, so you can just dip them in, but careful, Avery, ‘cuz they have a pit.” She dangles a piece of the fruit in question over the little girl’s mouth and she stretches up from the seat to grasp it in her teeth. Cherry juice dribbles down her chin and she hops down to the floor again to run over to the sink to wash up.
Flame lit, Chris wraps one arm around Thalia’s hip, pulling her close and whispering in her ear, “Bet you can tie that stem with your tongue in no time flat.”
“I’ll show you later,” she says, turning to kiss his cheek and hiding her blush from Avery.
“Lia, how come you know this stuff?” the little girl asks, rooted on the stool once more as she lays out more potato chips on the tray.
Chris stirs the chocolate as Thalia tells about visits to her mom’s when she was younger. He’s heard them before, the sad stories of her visits to her mother’s dingy little apartment, with limited heat and scarce resources. She makes the experience sound more fun when she retells it to Avery, but he can read the pain behind her eyes. Giving her shoulder a squeeze, he nuzzles his nose in her hair. Wired from the humidity of the storm, it tickles his cheek as he kisses her shoulder. “I love you, Niña,” he whispers, holding her close. She tilts her head to his, collecting his compassion before Avery distracts her again. “Cheesecake. Do we still have the frozen cheesecake bites in the freezer from the block party?”
“You always know just how to make everything better, don’t you?”
“What was bad? How did Poppa fix anything?” Avery asks Thalia as Chris slides in his socks across the finished floor to the fridge.
His two favorite women continue to chatter on as he uses the flashlight on his phone, digging around in the freezer. “He knows sometimes that talking about my birth mom makes me sad, but you’re a lucky girl! Because your father believes cheesecake fixes everything.”
Avery giggles, the sound reaching across the room.
“It does,” Chris bellows, still searching through labeled packages of frozen items. “Everyone knows that.”
“This fun-do stuff? Will Miss Stacey know how to fix it if the ‘lectricity goes out when she comes to stay with me for a week?”
“When we’re gone for the conference to Toronto next month, I’ll make sure she knows how to fix all your favorite foods,” says Thalia. “And what to do if the power goes out.”
“Will you bring me postcards and a t-shirt too?”
“Canada? We’ll bring back some maple syrup,” Chris calls out, finding the bag he’s been searching for, waving it over his head in victory, just as the overhead lights flicker back on.
“He fixed the power!” Avery cheers. “Oh!” She whines, her bottom lip already starting to quiver. “Does that mean we can’t have our chocolate lunch?”
Chris laughs, humored by their shared love of sweets. Reaching over, he flicks off the lights, returning the room to candlelight and the afternoon gloom of a rainstorm with the people he loves most in the world.
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