Find Your Date
The second class wasn’t different.
Although only a third of the class initially didn’t stay, this class had begun to leave in troves as well. I tried to be confident, I tried to stand my ground, but my voice still wavered. I still looked inexperienced to them.
Why shouldn’t I? I was inexperienced.
As this class went by, I was left with only ten of the thirty students left in the last hour. Most of these had listened to me, had followed my instructions. It felt good, and I wished I had only had them to start with.
It was great, until the exact moment that it wasn’t.
“You should add that in smaller amounts,” I said, trying to help a student with the last leg of the lab.
“I don’t need your help with this,” the student said firmly.
“If you add too much, it’s going to react too quickly,” I responded, nervous but wanting to help.
“Get out of my goddamn face,” she replied, frowning at me with a sour expression.
“She’s right, you should listen to her, if you add too much too quickly it’s going to blow up in your face,” I heard Rick’s voice behind me and my heart sped a little. “You need to listen to her, she knows what she’s talking about,” he added. His voice was stern, deep, hearing him boss someone around excited me a little, and I wasn’t sure why.
“Yes sir,” the student said slowly, looking away. She looked embarrassed now.
“You don’t need to give her trouble for trying to do her job,” he added. He sounded almost disappointed.
“It’s alright,” I said, turning to him. I didn’t want the students to hate him because of my lack of confidence.
“After your class lets out, come over to my classroom. I’ll have a few aids there, we can go over some notes on handling students together,” he said briskly, his eyes darting over the students.
“Okay, thank you,” I’m touched. It seems like he really does want me to do well.
The rest of the class goes by easily, and I can’t fight the feeling that it’s because they don’t want to get on his bad side.
I can’t say I blame them, Rick seems like the kind of man you don’t question.
The students helped me clean up their lab equipment, and then filed out of the room quietly just on time for class to end.
Gathering my belongings, and my courage, I shut off the light of the classroom, and ended my first day of teaching. It wasn’t what I expected it to be, and frankly it terrified me. Something about how the students treated me, how I needed Rick’s help, made me feel hopeless about this as a career.
I wanted to be a teacher.
I wanted to change lives.
It was starting to look like I’d taken the wrong path, and I was going to need to start looking for something else to do. The thought broke my heart.
Closing the door behind me, I headed over to Rick’s classroom.
His room was smaller, more intimate. Winter was making the days draw shorter and shorter, and although it was only five in the afternoon, the sun was setting quickly. The tall windows that lined one of his walls cast in an orange hue over the room. Rick was leaning against his desk, looking out at the classroom where two boys my age were sitting. Stepping in, quietly, I shut the door behind myself.
“Have a seat,” Rick motioned to me. I followed his instructions and sat in a desk between the two boys. “The three of you started working as teacher’s aids today, and I’m just going to run over a few things with you on ways you can improve,” he explained. Even though he was talking to all of us, his eyes were primarily on me.
“Ashley here, had a trial by fire kind of day, her trainer was out so I stepped in for a lot of it,” he explained to the boys. “Ashley, these are Brian and Greg, they trained together under an English professor on the other side of my room,” he motioned to the wall behind me. I nodded, not sure what to say. “Now, what I noticed with Ashley, which may also be a problem you too are experiencing, is that she’s lacking in confidence. These students are mostly just out of high school, mostly bigheaded and excited to realize that they don’t have to follow the same strict rules they did for the last twelve years,” he explained. “Ashley got pushed around, her students left her class early, they refused to listen and talked back, some confidence is important,” he explained. Standing up from leaning on his desk, he walked forward to the three of us.
“Ashley, tell me to do something, direct me,” he said simply.
My ears went hot from the request, and I tried not to let it show on my face.
What a loaded request!
Instead, I tried to think of something simple.
“Please, pick up that pencil,” I say softly, testing the waters. The pencil is on his desk, just a couple feet behind him. It’s not an out-of-the-ordinary request.
“Try that again, you’re not convincing. Sit up straight, talk with your chest, not your head,” he explained. I tried to figure out what he meant by that, watching my breathing pattern.
Gathering my nerve, I tried again.
“Pick up that pencil,” I said. My tone was more severe, surprising even myself.
Rick raised his eyebrows, and I swear I saw a tinge of a smile at the corners of his lips. “Yes ma’am,” he said, his voice velvety smooth. Turning from me, he picked up the pencil and held it aloft. “Now what?” he teased.
“Bring it here,” I said, trying to keep the same tone. I held out my hand, and he brought it to me. I could see how this tone would grab students attention. Rick set the pencil in my hand, his fingers brushed against my palm and gave me goosebumps from the sensation.
What is this?
Why did he thrill me so much?
“Kiss me,” I said before I could catch the words. I didn’t even plan on saying it, but I couldn’t keep myself from demanding it. My face turned pink, and I felt like shrinking under the desk and dying. “I’m sorry- I didn’t mean- I-”
“Yes ma’am,” Rick said. His voice was coy, and he smirked as he leaned in over my desk and kissed me.
It felt like the whole world froze around us.
The kiss was surprisingly soft.
His mouth was hot, firm against mine as he kissed me. His lips parted for just a moment, as though he wanted to deepen the kiss, but he slowly pulled back away from me.
His green eyes were lit up like jewels as he smiled knowingly at me, my heart felt like it was beating out of my chest.
“Sorry, I just got caught up in it,” I admitted. The embarrassment was palpable.
“That’s alright, you used your voice, that’s what’s important,” he explained. He didn’t move back to his desk, didn’t step away. Rick stayed right where he was, and turned to the redheaded boy to my left. “Brian, why don’t you give it a try. Use a confident tone,” he explained.
Brian turned to look at me, not even glancing at the idea of bossing Rick around.
“Kiss me,” he said.
His voice was full of confidence, of self-assured charisma. I blushed, shocked at this turn of events, but I knew I couldn’t deny him after I’d made Rick kiss me.
Leaning over to him, so that we could reach between the isle of desks, I kissed Brian. His kiss was a little less firm, a little less practiced, but I could tell he was desperate for whatever he could get.
“And, Greg?” Rick said to the other boy.
Looking over, I could tell Greg was envious.
“Well I don’t want to be left out,” he grinned. “Kiss me with tongue,” he said firmly.
I could feel my face go completely red at this point. I’d never tried open mouth kissing, at least not on purposed, this would be something entirely new. It was my fault for making Rick kiss me, I deserved this karma. I nodded, and Greg stood up, closing the space between us. His hands cupped my face, and he tilted his head so the kiss was deep almost immediately. His lips tasted like cherry soda, and his tongue was warm and hot against mine. It felt like he was devouring me, like he was getting anything he could.
As we started to pull apart, I thought all of this was over.
I thought I learned my lesson in how important words could be.
Until I realized we were nowhere near done yet.
“Brian, unbutton Ashley’s shirt.”