Disability: Amputee / Genre: Romantic Fiction
The August Dash
August was always the most busy time of the year, quite hectic, bordering on insane at times for all teachers, and for Marisol Llaves, this was no exception.
She was beginning to put the finishing touches on her classroom, placing the labels with the names above the coat hooks in the hallway and putting a welcome sign on the door, all the while wondering just what this new year would bring her. As a teacher, she was often quite busy and didn’t have much time for a social life and work was generally not the place to meet anyone, so she certainly didn’t have any expectations for things changing in her life. Little did she know that eventually, things might take a turn in a different direction than she might expect.
Marisol was going over the files from her class of 3 year olds, getting to know them as best as she could, well as best as you could from a set of papers in a file folder anyway. One thing you could count on for all the files is that every parent thought their child was a genius and that they hoped you wouldn’t bore them and that you would be able to meet their advanced academic needs. That’s right, first step 2 year old preschool, reciting your ABCs, next step MIT and Harvard! Marisol thought as she chuckled to herself and continued on.
Some students, she knew, because they had previously attended the school as 2 year olds, others were brand new. These students were a mystery, or at least a mystery until the “Meet the Teacher” tomorrow. She reviewed the info from the files which included parent names, names of authorized people who could also pick up the child, allergy information and other important things, so that all this info would be fresh in her brain for the next day. Marisol then reflected on her class list in her empty classroom, Matteo, Anika, Maddie, Hayley, Bailey, Kaley…Oh goodie, she thought, it’s a tongue twister year! Finn, Jax, Neil and Tyson. Hmm, an even split of genders and a nice size of 10 kids. She put the final touches on the room, fed Moriarty, the class fish, and shut the lights. Ready or not… here we go! she thought, as she locked the door and mentally continued to prepare for the next day.
The next morning began with a few “Oh my gosh, I’m not ready!” jitters and a nice cup of coffee from Starbucks. Coffee was a must-have on this particular morning and non-negotiable for Marisol. Without her cup of coffee, her brain would go on strike! Her orange polka dotted, venti-sized cup of coffee was her ever present companion throughout the morning and frankly, any morning she wished to get anything done.
Marisol added labels to the cubbies and finished putting names on the carpet as students and families rolled in throughout the morning. Matteo, Anika, Maddie, Hayley, Bailey, Kaley, Neil and Tyson were at the school previously, so meeting them and their families wasn’t too big a deal, as some rapport had already been established throughout the previous year. Jax and Finn were still a bit of an unknown to Marisol. She happened to see Jax when his family came to tour the school, but she had not yet met Finn.
After a steady stream of students had come and gone, Marisol started sorting the supplies. As she was doing so, it suddenly occurred to her that she had met everyone except Finn Dash. It wasn’t unusual for one or two students not to show, but she was really hoping that she’d be able to meet the Dash family before the big day!
Marisol continued to work, blasting her music, dancing around as she organized. There were things in her life Mari was afraid of, but being silly was not one of them! She figured, If dancing around gets me through the day, than doggone it, I’m going to dance! As she was dancing around carrying a stack of tissue boxes, she nearly missed a gentle rapping on the door.
“Oh my gosh!” she blurted out, “I’m so sorry, I was sorting, and … Oh my goodness! I apologize …” Marisol was quite, well, embarrased? This was not the first time something like this had ever happened, so after a moment of verbal diarrhea, she pulled herself together and fashioned something that she hoped at least vaguely resembled a reasonably professional introduction.
“Hello, I’m Ms. Llaves and welcome to the three year old classroom, Mr. Finn!” Mari reached out to shake Finn’s hand as he giggled at being called “Mr.Finn”. She then told Finn, “You are welcome to check out the centers while I talk to your family, as long as you put everything back, thanks, honey bun!” Mari then turned to Finn’s family and introduced herself, “Hi, I’m Marisol Llaves, nice to meet y’all. I’ve been teaching the three year olds here at the Callaghan Preschool for four years and I’m looking forward to a brand new year with Finn. Please let me know if you have any questions and I’ll be happy to answer them for you!” Marisol briefly glanced at each family member. She then spoke to them, finding out pickup routines, and other bits of information on Finn that would be good to know.
As Mr. and Mrs.Dash finished up their conversation about Finn, she noticed a third family member standing before her. Not to be unprofessional, but this guy was kinda cute. As she was starting to wander off into a daydream she was pulled back into reality when she was introduced to Locke Glasgow. Marisol had been daydreaming, but she couldn’t shake the feeling that something about him really sparked something in her. There was something about him that struck her fancy.
As she observed him, she thought she noticed something a bit off about the silhouette of his left ankle, not anything anyone else would noticed. But Mari had a “thing” for certain types. That is, certain types with certain kinds of hardware, and she suspected, perhaps, that this Locke may fit that certain predilection.
She continued to converse with family. They mentioned that on Wednesdays, Uncle Locke would be picking up Finn from school. Marisol decided, right then and there, that she was going to have a very good reason to look forward to Wednesdays and very quickly adopted an It’s almost Wednesday attitude for Monday mornings.
Monday was a good first day, there was some crying, separation anxiety stuff very expected with a 3 year old class, but overall things went pretty well. The beginning of the year could be rough, but very quickly she and her students fell into an established routine.
Circle time was a time Marisol enjoyed with her class, as they sang about the days of the week. During that time they discussed what events were happening each day. On Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays they had Music, Tuesdays were Art, Wednesday was PE and Thursday was Library. Occasionally, there were some extra special things that popped up in the kids’ world and she let them share during this time.
“Mondays are for Milkshakes after school! Anika cheerfully shared with the class and this of course led to a discussion about who liked what flavors of milkshake and what certain family members liked.
Finn piped up with, “My Uncle Locke likes a coffee milkshake. He calls it a mocha frappachino and sometimes when my Mommy isn’t looking, he lets me have some of his!” which of course was met with a some cries of, “Eww!” but surprisingly enough for a 3 year old crowd, there were a few shouts of “Yum!”
Each day continued, following the usual routine, and on Wednesday morning, during circle time, Finn shared that “Wednesday is when Uncle Locke picks me up!” The kids talked about who was picking them up and Finn went on to say how super awesome his uncle was and that he was like “An awesome robot Iron Man because he gives me piggy back rides!”
Hmm… A robot Iron Man you say?? Mari thought to herself and tucked in that bit of conversation for later, because sometimes with kids, they say things that are more literal than what most adults would imagine. Wednesday afternoon rolled around and Finn was the last one to be picked up.
Locke bounced in and said, “I’m so sorry, I got caught up with something that held me up a bit at the office and next thing I knew it was 2:25! I had to fly in to get here before you booted Finn on the street! His mother would never forgive me if that happened, she would fire me, even if I am her brother and Finn’s favorite Uncle!”
Marisol listened, and was tickled by the way he expressed himself. She responded, “Oh, no big deal, you really weren’t that late, and you know how it is being a teacher.”
Locke replied, with a glimmer in his eye,” No, tell me, how is it being a teacher?”
Marisol paused for a moment, wondering if things were clicking here, or if it was just her imagination. She then replied, “Oh, you know, teachers practically live in their classroom! I wasn’t in a rush and it was no big deal to let him wait a bit longer. Just so you know, if you were really late, I wouldn’t have kicked Finn to the street, we do have after-school care, however they do charge for that!”
Locke then sighed and said, “Yeah, my sister would be glad to hear that he wouldn’t have been tossed on the street, but she’d have been a bit miffed that she had been charged when I was supposed to be on time!”
As Locke and Finn walked out the door, Marisol realized that, in a classic uncle move, they forgot Finn’s lunch box. Marisol dashed out the door hoping to catch them before they drove off. As she sprinted across the parking lot she shouted, “Finn, Mr. Glasgow, You forgot Finn’s lunch box!!”
Locke stopped, turned around, and smiled. “Oh Ms. Llave, you have saved me again, you have no idea how much grief I would have gotten over that! Total. D-U-M-B. Uncle. Move. Thanks!”
Marisol handed Locke Finn’s lunch box and said, “No problem Mr.Glasgow, it’s the first week of school, these things happen until you get in the groove, glad to have saved you from getting raked over the coals with your sister!”
Locke opened the door of his retro blue Fiat 500c and helped Finn get all buckled up. As he went to open the front door, he said to Marisol, “Oh, Ms. Llave, please don’t call me Mr.Glasgow, I feel like either you are — A. Talking to my father or B. I’m in trouble! Call me Locke, please. See you next Wednesday, and hopefully I won’t forget that lunch box again!”
As Marisol walked back to the building, she kind hoped that he would forget that lunch box again, because she did not mind running out to have just a few more words with the handsome Mr. Locke Glasgow.
As she was walking back, she turned for a moment and saw Locke pulling out of the parking lot. She noticed a curious little round sticker with the initials ABR and an odd little thingy on it, but she couldn’t quite get a good look, for he turned out of the lot far too quickly. Also, she had to keep moving to avoid becoming a speed bump in the parking lot and, well, it would be a bit odd for her to keep staring at the back of Locke’s vehicle for no apparent reason. With that little observation, it seemed that Ms. Marisol Llaves had a little google hunt in her future.
Marisol arrived home after a typically hectic, but good day of school. Today was a particularly good day of school because Wednesdays always went fast when the kiddos had music and PE, but much to Mari’s surprise, there was one more added good reason Wednesday went so well.
Finn’s uncle, Locke Glasgow seemed to be a charming friendly guy that she could get along well with. “Oh, FRAK!” Mari exclaimed. She suddenly realized a few things. Marisol turned to her cat, Truly, and began to talk to her. “OMGeee, Truly, I just realized something. I think I kinda like Finn’s Uncle, but I didn’t even look to see if there was a ring on his finger!” Yup, Marisol realized that she had been so distracted by the whole lunch box, small talk thing that even though the small talk seemed to have gone swimmingly well, she neglected to prioritize her thinking and figure out the most basic things when one is attracted to another person. Was there a wedding band? Was there a someone in his life already?!
Well, first things first, Mari realized that she may be blowing things waaay out of proportion here. I mean come on! she thought to herself, Child pick-up conversation does not equal insta-crush. Pull yourself together chica! However, she couldn’t stop that little flip-floppy butterfly dancing situation in her stomach that seemed to happen when she thought of Mr.Locke.
GAH! He’s probably married and here you are deciding that you are smitten with Mr.Locke. What is wrong with you? Mari continued to chastise herself. Would that even be ethical, I mean he’s related to Finn, surely there is something about not dating a student’s uncle or something?
This should have stopped Ms.Marisol from going any further with her thought, but, it didn’t. She now knew that she would be looking forward to Wednesdays more than ever. She just knew that she had better pay closer attention to Locke’s hands the next time Wednesday rolled around, and maybe, just maybe one of the kids would ask her if she was married, as that sort of thing always happens in this age group, curious little monkeys they are.
Perhaps, if that opportunity popped up she could parlay that question into another question to Finn about Locke. To an adult, it would totally be obvious what she was angling at, but to a 3 year old, not so easily figured out.