1. • FATHER •

      'Ok little ones, make sure you pack up all your toys before leaving.' I announced to my clan of first graders. It didn't take long for them to pile out from the classroom in heaps. Most had already packed up in advance to a five minute notification. Ready to go home to finish their day. Watching cartoons at home possibly, or just nap after a hot and tiring Wednesday.

I raked my slim fingers through my short, brown hair. Sighing in frustration as I felt a headache beginning to cinch through my forehead. I shook the feeling away as I gathered my clutter of papers. Placing back my folders into a neat accord, to pack back neatly into my Timbuk messenger bag. A loud rustling sounded in my ears and I looked up from my Desk to see Timothy, a bouncy 4 year old boy with a knack for English Literature. Reading what seemed to be a Book that wasn't apart of the issues in the cupboards.

His small freckled face was held down into the thin Book. His eyes darting between the words as fast as his brain could allow. I smiled in adoration at the small boy, taking notice of his little feet shaking and dangling below the desk. The ductile sunlight that poured through the large windows to the left of the Class Room, illuminating his brown-blonde hair. His uniform was slightly crumpled, but he wore it well with his neat little black shoes.

The boys in Costa Kindergarten wore thickly striped, cotton Trousers that reached down to just above their shoes, all of which were cardinal colored. Paired with short, checkered Socks. A cream short sleeved Shirt roughly tucked into their trousers and covered with a clear-cut Jacket.

A slim Tie divided the middle of Timothy's buttoned up Jacket and thinly checkered in cardinal. A much different design from what the Girls wore, only the color schemes were quite the same. The Girls wore layered Skirts in cardinal that reached down well below their knees. Paired with knee high Socks and plimsolls colored in black respectively. Like the Boys, the Girls wore short sleeved Shirts. Which was usually barely tucked into their Skirts, covered by a lavish Jacket. They too wore a Tie, tucked in the middle of their often buttoned up Jackets. Checkered in the exact same colors.

All Jackets adorned with the small school logo and, although slightly disapproved, many students wore all sorts of accessories. Some did it simply to avoid being confused for somebody else.

      'Timothy? Class is over buddy you can go now.' The Boy peered out at me from behind his Book, a small grin brightening his face.

       'Daddy said I should stay here until he comes to get me.' He added boldly and I rose an eyebrow, speculating his words.

On any regular day Timothy would leave the Classroom, so he could be picked up at the front of the compound by a Parent. I suddenly wondered why he had to stay today, although parents had mysterious ways.

         'Ok, come and show me what you got there.' I smiled and the boy beamed at me. He quickly shuffled off his seat and came skipping up to me. His brown-blonde hair bouncing as he ambled forward. I sat in my chair, pushing it away from the desk to offer him space to hop up on my lap.

This was our usual routine. Sometimes after class I would let him sit, and read what he had learned to me. I loved listening to his small voice pronounce the words in odd ways as he learned. It was so intriguing to watch, and I've come to appreciate his company. Timothy was a smart, patient boy who was willing to learn and able to please.

        'Ok, what are you reading?' I asked wrapping one arm around his small waist, to balance him atop my lap. His freckled face looked up at me, and his blue eyes twinkled in pride.

         'Tom Sawyer. My Dad got if for me.' I smiled warmly at the boy, a newfound attachment blooming for the him.

Full of light and promise, was what I thought of him.

         'Impressive, very lovely book. Although I wouldn't suggest you to try anything that he did.' I advised and the boy grinned.

          'I can't even if I wanted to,' the boy scratched his chin and I chuckled.

          'That's right,' a deep voice spoke, startling me so efficiently. That my look of horror seemed to have even surprised the Stranger, that stood in the doorway.

I hadn't noticed that the man had been there for the past fifteen seconds, watching from a distance as I communicated with Timothy. I began to ponder who he was but the man could only be the his Father. For the look of a Mechanical Engineer stood out on him like a sore. I remembered Timothy saying, that his Father was some sort of Engineer. He wore straight Jeans over large work Boots, and a simple Shirt below a black leather Jacket. Typical dress code of a simple Man, with a slight five o'clock shadow.

           'Oh my god,' I breathed out heavily as my Heart's erratic beating slowed, making me feel slightly befuddled as I clutched onto my large, wooden Desk. 'You startled me.' I added gripping my chest, but the man didn't seem all too interested in my presence.

            'Dad,' Timothy shouted quickly hopping from my lap, book in hand as he ran up to his father.

The man scooped up Timothy effortlessly and the boy giggled. 'Hey sport. Have you been good today?' He asked and I found myself gazing at them from where I stood. Timothy was the smaller version of his Father, with the exact same pair of astonishing blue Eyes. The older Man's hair was cut low, but styled neatly. Their similarities quite obvious, even to the blind.

          'Yes, I'm still reading the Book you gave me. I showed it to my Teacher.' The boy exclaimed and for a few short seconds, the Man's ocean blue gaze lingered on me. My cheeks burned slightly as his narrowed gaze sent a wave of angst, flowing through me heavily. I turned away and walked to Timothy's desk, picking up his already packed Bag-pack. I spun around walking up to them, feeling my knees turning to butter. I handed the man the bag-pack avoiding his eyes.

          'Your son is anything but troublesome.' I added with a smile, but he only grunted marginally. Returning his attention to the beaming boy. He took the bag from my hand, and I was surprised that he was even gentle about it.

         'Good to know,' he added in a bored voice and I was taken aback by his gruff tone. I surely didn't expect too much respect from any Parent, but I would at least expect them not to be this impudent. Especially him, but I've constantly learned that the characteristics of the Student doesn't always match up to the Parents'. Maybe this was the case, concerning Russell and Timothy Adams.

The awkwardness between us only made the tension in the room thicken. He could at least offer a good afternoon. I don't necessarily get paid enough to be treated like I'm intangible. 'Ready to go buddy?' The man asked and the Timothy shook his head up and down eagerly, lips parted in a happy grin.

I simply turned my attention back to my messenger bag, but my head flew up as the boy spoke. 'Bye Mr. James,' I looked up to see Timothy waving as he and his Father began retreating. My gaze met with the man's steely gaze and I swallowed heavily, pushing down the bitter lump that formed in my throat.

I picked up my messenger bag and made my way out of the Classroom. Costa Daycare and Kinder Prep was quite large, and Parents from all over Boston sent their Children to the well-known School. I loved working here, and looking after the Children. One day I would love to have kids of my own, and hopefully I still work here at that time. My son or daughter could always be in my eyes, but that wasn't ever going to be possible.

            'Mr. James.' My lips curled up into a smile as the familiar voice reached my ears.

'You know you can call me Kai when we're off duty right?' I spun around raising an eyebrow at the handsome man that stood before me.

'But it's so unprofessional, and we can't have that now can we?' He spoke huskily and my cheeks burned.

Calum Craven gazed down at me, I would have shivered at his sight. But unfortunately not Everyone in this institute shook at the sight of him. The blonde haired suave devil was a cruiser all around the School amongst the Teachers, but he took a distinct liking to me. He stood dressed in his usual gym outfit of white, loose Shorts, with a light-blue polo Shirt tucked into his waist. He stood at least six feet, two inches tall. I was a mere five feet, nine inches so he towered over me effortlessly.

'Are you flirting again?' I asked teasingly and he chuckled lightly, his green eyes boring down into my boring browns.

I had gotten used to his beguilement and it didn't bother me, for I liked the amorous banter with him as well. It was one of the most fun parts of my day, and I would miss it terribly if my application to The Chicago Institute came through. It was a promising High School and I applied for the role of teaching English Literature to seventh and eighth graders. It was a great opportunity, and it's what I wanted since nothing else in this place mattered to me more than my Job.

'Have dinner with me Kai,' he pleaded in a whisper and I sighed heavily.

Of course there was Calum, but it honestly wasn't worth it. Pursuing a relationship with him, was just not on my agenda. And neither was I planning with anybody else either, but I didn't see it as reason enough to stay. I thought about my obsession with running away, and not looking back. Ever since my Friends abandoned me, I think it was safe to say I went on a quest. Leaving England was the best decision I've ever made in my life, and I don't think I've ever lived to regret it. My Mother however had settled in a different State in the U.S after she and my Father split. And I expected her to visit me in a few days while she passed through.

Not yet at least, I was still young. All my twenty four years on this earth, was a time of enlightenment for me and everybody who came in contact with me. I didn't let my personal problems, and deep secrets keep me from pursuing friendships with people. Maybe it was my irrefutable ability to forgive very easily.

And I have forgiven everybody that has done me wrong.

I just hoped that everybody would have at least, offered me the same courtesy. But who was I to even wonder? Human beings were Human beings, nothing to change amongst them. I shifted my gaze away from Calum, dreading the look he would have on his face. But I was leaving soon, and I haven't had the chance to go out with a friend.

'Here's the deal, we'll have dinner together. But not as a date,' I pointed up at him and he pouted slightly, but his lips curled up into a smile. Still pleased that I'd accepted his invite.

'Fine,' he smiled down at me, playfully nudging my shoulder. 'I'll text you. How about Sunday?'

'I have Classes the next day,' I spoke apologetically and he looked away, as if deep in thought.

'Ok, I'll get you home before 10:30.' He offered and I smiled, thinking it wouldn't be so bad anyway. Calum would have to understand that we can't ever be more than friends. He was a sweet a Guy, and I'm sure he would make a great Partner. But I couldn't break his heart, nor was I even ready for all that he wanted to offer me.


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