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Foxy

Simple Kind of Life

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oOo5rcG.gif And all I wanted was the simple things

✓ Treasure maps

✓ Hidden clues

✓ Treasure chest with prizes for everyone

✓ Camera

For the last two weeks, Melissa read and repeated those words to herself in order to have everything ready for the big day: her first day at a new school. Not only was it an important moment for Melisa, since she would be meeting the children and parents whom she would be working with for the rest of the year for the first time, but this first journey also was crucial to make a good impression on them. Even though she hadn't been teaching for that long, one of Melisa's biggest priorities always was to make children feel like home at school, and that wasn't an easy task. For this particular group, she planned a treasure hunt, so they could explore the school together, get comfortable around each other, have fun and get used to working as a group.

Working as a teacher in Olympia was very different to what she had experienced in Madrid. Here, in Olympia, Melisa felt free to develop her ideas, use more innovative teaching methods and, the most important thing, be herself. For years the pressure of having to please everyone made her job extremely difficult, specially when parents realized who she was... but she always had something, or better said, someone, who kept inspiring her through every difficulty she faced. Smiling, Melisa opened the bottom drawer of her desk, and took something from there, a photo of "her".

"It is going to be an amazing day." Melisa says taking one last glance to the photo. Natalia would have loved Olympia: the people, the night life, the landscape... God... not even moving to a different country was enough to turn the page. Knowing that this day she would need that "extra strength", instead of putting the photo in its place, Melisa kept it in the pocket of her blouse so they could be together through the whole journey.

It was almost time to start receiving the children and meet their parents, so Melisa took another five minutes to check if everything was ready and then stood in the entry way with the rest of the teachers, ready for the big moment. While waiting for them, she took a look at the list of students, their photos and then counted if she had a treasure map for all of them. From her previous experiences, she knew it was better to already know her students' names on her first day, not only it was useful for herself, but also helped make things easier to the parents concerned for leaving their child with an "unknown person".

And just like that families started arriving. Little Melisa knew that a strong bond would be created between her and some of the people she would meet that day. In some cases, probably stronger than they would like.
MONTY
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oOo5rcG.gif Now all those simple things are simply too complicated for my life
"Remember what mommy said..." Emma begins to recite in duet with her cherished, beautiful Lucas, who smiles gleefully back at her. "No cursing, no hitting, no being a smart ass unless asked and listen to the teacher. God," she titters, now solo. "You wouldn't even think I'm talking to a four year old."

"I'll almost five, mommy!"

"My mistake, sweetheart," Emma laughs in time with a twist of her eyes, then tightly wraps Lucas' tiny hand with her own to cross the street toward the new school. As the concrete knocks against Emma's heels, anxiety begins to cast its cloud upon her. The condemnatory stares of wealthy, middle aged women dice through her like serrated blades through ripe fruit, prepared for a medieval feast. A feast which was made abundantly clear she was not invited to attend as a guest, but rather as the meal to tear apart and devour. But being the sole provider for her one and only love, her feelings didn't matter. She had to give her son the best, including education wise. And by her research, this was the best primary school in the city, by a significant margin. Still, she worried not so much of how the other parents would perceive or take to her⁠—a plucky, college-aged, single parent⁠—but rather how they would react to her son and how it would affect him.

Stepping through the front doors and into the main office to complete registration, Emma is met with the visible discomfort of the principal, who she'd vaguely recognize as a patron at Sirens strip club; his specific green eyed, wide mouthed gawking at her fine physical form was particularly hard to forget from her first night. The sweat trickles off his forehead, down his neck, to his collar and tie which he loosened. Then, after a gulp of water, he triggers the intercom to call upon who would be Lucas' teacher for the next five months. "Would you like any refreshments? Coffee? Muffin?" he'd offer, stumbling through his words nervously.

"No. I'm fine, thanks."

She smirks at him, then turns to Lucas to fix his hair, beaming back down at her light. "Um, we'll just head back outside and wait by the playground with the rest of the parents," she'd then announce, taking her cub and escaping from the tense room to await the teacher's arrival outdoors.
MONTY
@Foxy
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oOo5rcG.gif And all I wanted was the simple things
As parents and children started arriving, Melisa checked the names (attached to photos) of those who already were there. Once every single name was checked, the teacher took a look at how many of them were new, just to realize that only one name made up that list: Lucas De Angelo.

That kid should be the first she met. A proper welcome, plus the fact that the teacher approached him before anyone else would probably make him feel more comfortable in such a nerve-racking day. It wasn't particularly difficult to find him, Lucas was on a swing next to a woman, whom probably was her mother. To be honest, that woman stood out from the rest of the parents, it's not like Melisa could explain why she had that feeling, but something about her was setting her apart from the others. Curious about that woman, the teacher checked her list... the only information she had about her was her name: Emma De Angelo. Wait... De Angelo? Checking again, the teacher noticed she hadn't any information about the father... a single mother maybe? No. That wasn't the moment to think or judge her life, it was about Lucas. So, with a warm smile on her face, she finally approached the kid and sat on the empty swing next to him.

"Hello! You are Lucas, right?" Confused by those words, Lucas nodded while staring at her. "Then... Welcome to your new school! I am Melisa, your new teacher." Said with a smile, which was answered with another smile from the kid. "Can you keep me a secret? I am new here too and... Well, I don't have many friends yet. What about you? Have you already met any of your classmates?" An increasingly confident Lucas shook her head as an answer, but this time looking at the other children playing outdoors. "Ummm... then... what if you and I become friends? Because I need someone to help later with the search of a treasure hidden in some place in this school, and you seem perfect for the job." Lucas, excited about the idea, nodded enthusiastically. That kid was one of those who could charm anyone without even talk, but after chatting for a few minutes, Melisa noticed that not only he was charm and kind, but also very smart. To end the conversation, the kid and the teacher high-fived; now it was time to meet Lucas' mother, who quietly watched the scene next to them.

"Hello. Emma De Angelo?" She asked to the stunning woman in front of her, staring directly to her eyes. "My name is Melisa Reyes, I will be Lucas' teacher for the rest of this academic year." After these words, Melisa kindly offered her hand to Emma for a handshake; if she was half as nice as her son, gaining over her wouldn't be difficult.
MONTY
@Mariah.
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oOo5rcG.gif Now all those simple things are simply too complicated for my life
Extremely protective by instinct, Emma becomes studious of this new somewhat maternal figure in Lucas' life, immediately struck with wariness and mistrust. Much like a wild feline surveying another amidst new surroundings, she attempts to absorb everything she can about 'Melisa Reyes' in an instant. Who was she? Where does she come from? What are her beliefs? What are her intentions, pure or otherwise? Even despite her cast role as a teacher, there was no guarantee it would be a role taken seriously. And despite how easily she seemed to take to little Lucas, left gnawing at the young mother's gut was a sense of doubt; perhaps Melisa was just a good actress. Unfortunately, none of her worries could be quelled, at least without engaging in conversation.

Taking hold of the hand before her to shake⁠—the teacher's palm soft as cotton and the breeze rushing from behind her blowing the melon scent from her dark hair⁠—Emma politely responds. "It's an absolute pleasure to meet you. And I think it's safe to say Lucas feels the same since I've never seen him be so comfortable with someone this fast. I'm impressed," she titters anxiously.
MONTY
@Foxy
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oOo5rcG.gif And all I wanted was the simple things
For some unknown reason, Melisa couldn't help but keep staring at Emma. There was something engaging about her, something that went far from her look or her appearance. "It's my pleasure Emma." The teacher answered back. Interestingly enough, something in Emma's voice changed when she started talking about her son, it was like she couldn't stop worrying about being away from him a this new environment, even if it was just for a few hours. "And thank you, it's always difficult to be the new kid at school, I just try to make it easier for him." Smiling, Melisa takes a quick look at Lucas again. "I'm sure we will be very good friends."

Feeling more secure about herself than she was at the beginning of the conversation, Melisa takes advantage of the moment Lucas left to play in a different place to switch conversations. "And I also hope we can work together on providing Lucas the best education possible." Right after this, the teacher opened her folder and checked her notes to ask whatever was neccesary to know the kid better, even though she already knew what she wanted to ask first. "Sorry in advance for what I am about to ask but... I don't have any information about Lucas' father... is there something I should know in case this conversation happens with him at some point?" The question was finally out, both women kept staring at each other, which made Melisa notice how Emma, just like herself, had no problem on not looking away while having a conversation.

"Once again, sorry for the question, but it is important for me to knows this since kids are always talking about their families. I just want to avoid an awkward situation in case this become a topic of conversation at some point; and kids can be difficult trying to understand things they can't realte to. It wasn't easy, but from her experience, it would be better for Lucas to have this conversation from now, and not wait until it took them by surprise.
MONTY
@Mariah.
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oOo5rcG.gif Now all those simple things are simply too complicated for my life
The muscles pulsing through Emma's body tense the moment she's faced with Melisa's interrogation regarding Lucas' dad. Of course the teacher couldn't have known, but the single mom wasn't able to resist the raw emotion the question sifted from the gravel, buried with the late father. "Uh, he's not in the picture," she coos, drawing back a stray tear drop. "He's never really been." She takes a brief pause while maintaining her steely guard, then continues to confess the situation dealt, allowing the barrier to break away, if for a moment. "He actually died while Lucas was still a baby, so he's never known him. A drug overdose, in case you're wondering."

Emma could feel the air become frigid and thick following the heavy revelation, her thereafter wondering if she regret the confession. As she feared, it could bring about harsh judgement from her adult peers. But at this moment, it felt better to have the weight lifted and someone else to confide in. She cuts the tension with a soft, polite smile, and turns to look back over at Lucas who was quickly making friends.
MONTY
@Foxy
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oOo5rcG.gif And all I wanted was the simple things
"That is...." Mixed feelings started growing on the teacher once her question was answered. On one hand, she felt sorry for Emma's tragic loss, but on the other... How could she be so unconscious to bring a child to thw world with a man like "him"? In fact, Emma being a single mom started looking slightly better for Melisa when she compared it to being in a relationship with a drug addict, or even married. Finally, Melisa got to react and get away from the situation they had going on. "Really unfortunate." In that moment, Melisa tried her best to empathize with Emma, but it was becoming increasingly difficult. The life of her best friend being taken away by terrorists when she was so young made it impossible to understand how someone could ruin his life like that. And even worse, she couldn't understand how someone in her right mind would want to start a family or having a baby with that kind of person. "I think that's enough. Thank you."

While both adults continued talking, Lucas got to meet some of his new classmates, and it really looked like he was liked by most of them but... apparently, it wasn't the same for Emma. The parents were divided in small groups, talking to each other, and introducing themselves; and none of them tried to approach Emma. "Are you familiar with any of the parents?" Melisa asked politely, trying to make her forget the unfortunate subject of Lucas' defunct father. "As I said to Lucas, I am here to help, and that includes you if you need it." Even the own Melisa was surprised with her words; because even though she was having a hard time understanding Emma, she felt the urge to protect or help her in some way. Maybe bringing her to a more traditional lifestyle, or changing her habits, or whatever she needed to get on the right track.
MONTY
@Mariah.
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oOo5rcG.gif Now all those simple things are simply too complicated for my life
Emma's eyes pan across the playground once more, scouring the surrounding adults who appear to still be scrutinizing her right back. Scowls and scoffs emanate from the mothers, while from the fathers came ogling, ardor and what one would imagine were obscene thoughts, by the looks of things. Thoughts which drew the ire of those with their wives by their side, causing those wide eye glances to shift into eyes of embarrassment. But the young mom refused to waver or show discomfort. The scent of blood—so they say—would immediately unleash the carnage of a pool of sharks. Now, for her and Lucas, it was about survival.

"No, no, hun, I'm more than okay," she retorts succinctly. "I'll leave the get to know you exercises to Lucas. I already have plenty of friends to worry about making at school, myself, anyway. And besides... I doubt I'd fit the bill for the PTA."

It's from the lingering question regarding her lost love, alongside her overwhelming anxieties, that Emma could sense sorrow beginning to blanket her like snow from a blizzard—cold and overbearing. It was moments like these that the lack of support from a father to Lucas left her feeling somewhat empty; desolate. Lucas' first day of school, and there was no one to give him a ride on their shoulders to the classroom. No one to laugh at Emma when she dramatically shed a tear and weeps that "her little boy is growing up too fast." No one to assure her that the day will fly by and Lucas will be home in no time. No one to boast about how great a mom she is, in front of all the other parents. No one. It wasn't that Emma was traditional and craved the American dream of a white picket fence, and a husband to run home to. She was far from it, in fact. But as strong as she was, it was often difficult to do this all alone.

"Look mommy and Miss Melisa, this is my friend Bobby," suddenly reports a gleeful Lucas at the hip of his mother and his teacher, with a fellow exuberant child by his side. The name 'Bobby' draws upon certain memories that place Emma in a momentary daze, just before her delighted response. "Oh wow. Hi Bobby! Nice to meet you, sweetie."
MONTY
@Foxy
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oOo5rcG.gif And all I wanted was the simple things
"I totally understand it. But if you ever change your mind, just let me know." Don't judge, don't judge, don't judge... That's the thought she had to repeat to herself over and over again. It was a constant fight, no matter what happened, something inside her was telling that the simple fact of approaching that woman was wrong. "Don't worry about them. They are just like with children; give them some time and I am sure you will end up fitting just fine..." Taking a look at all thechildren playing, she smiled and finished what she was saying. "Because at the end all of you are doing exactly the same, trying to raise a happy child."

Just in time to avoid another awkward silence, Lucas arrived with her newest friend, Bobby.It wasobvious that he already was having a good time, so both women instantly turned their attention to them. "Hi Bobby! How are you?" Bobby and Lucas seemed happy, in fact the started talking about something Melisa couldn't pay attention to thanks to something strange happening behind Emma. A few feet away, a group made up by three mothers and two fathers were chating just like the rest; with the difference that both men seemed to be very distracted looking at something, which ended up being someone... Emma. It wasn't a distracted look, or even some checking out of curiosity; no, they were literally devouring her with their eyes. Surprised for such a shameless behaviour, Melisa coughed so she could have their attention for a second and make it clear that she knew what was happening. When they noticed, both came back to the conversation they were originally part of, while Melisa once again focused on Bobby and Lucas. "As I said to Lucas, I am here to help, and that includes you if you need it." Even the own Melisa was surprised with her words; because even though she was having a hard time understanding Emma, she felt the urge to protect or help her in some way. Maybe bringing her to a more traditional lifestyle, or changing her habits, or whatever she needed to get on the right track.

From there, Melisa couldn't pay attention to what the children were talking about. She told Emma that she could fit with those people a few minutes ago, but... was it really neccesary? What would she benefit from being around people like them? Who were probably judging Emma, just like Melisa was doing not too long ago. Maybeshe wasn't better than they were,maybe the one who needed to change in order to make things different wasn't Emma, but Melisa herself. Finally, she decided to take the risk and confess Emma what was going through her mind in that exact moment. "You know what? Forget what I said, you don't need to fit with them; most ofthem aren't even worth a minute of your time." She said low enough so the kids, still standing in front of them couldn'thear those words. Emma would probably not understand why she was saying that, and Melisa would probably regret it, but what she had just seen was Olympia at its finest; a bunch of common people trying to hide their darkest desires behind a mask of fake perfection.
MONTY
@Mariah.
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