After 3 months of waiting for my orientation interview, I was finally here.
Two years of college. Two years of the right classes. 7 months of applying, getting rejection letters and now I was sitting in the office of the place where my dream was one step closer to being a reality.
It seemed so surreal, but with all the work, extra classes, internships, and whatever else I've done, I knew I was more than ready for this job.
"Dr. Jackson will be in with you soon Miss Black." I nodded and sent a smile to the kind secretary who led me in.
The room was entirely intimidating. Certificates, plaques, trophies all with Andrew Jackson's name on them. Andrew Jackson, Ph.D. holder, headmaster of North Washington Preparatory and the key into the world of Education. When people think of school or the education system as a whole, they see the surface.
They see underpaid teachers, working at crappy underfunded schools, and the majority of the time, that's the case but there is a whole other side to this world. The side I've dreamt about being on for as long as I could remember. I hated all my teachers growing up. They were either too strict and didn't care enough about their students and only the work or they were too carefree and didn't push their students towards some kind of greatness.
Then, during my senior year while everyone was already sure of the path they wanted to take with their lives and I was sitting home watching tv because I'd already given up; two things happened. The first was I got early admissions into all six of the universities I applied to and the second was my mother dragging me out of bed to volunteer at the boys and girls club a block away from our house to help her with her volunteer ship.
I always liked kids so helping out wasn't the worst thing but it wasn't what I wanted to be doing at the time. I mean, how could it be when I was completely engrossed with Fran Fine. But then I met this man and he was telling the kids stories of his time out of the country; Kenya, to be exact. Anyway, he was telling the kids how important going to school was and how they were better off because they lived in a country where education was of primary importance for everyone.
He told them that when he was out there, he watched as kids would walk 10 miles just to go to school, how they'd get infections from walking on cut feet just to get some kind of learning experience. I didn't know when or how but I found myself talking to him for a long time that day. So much so that we ended up at a coffee shop down the street and I asked what must've been a thousand questions about what it was like down there when it came to teaching, learning, and the importance of it.
That night, I rushed my dad off of our family's joint desktop and I googled; teachers without borders.
So for the last 3, almost 4 years of my life, all I've ever seen regarding my future was teaching kids in third world countries how to learn. Now, there are several ways to get into teachers without borders. The original, most done way is to just apply. With the right degrees, right time, and the right amount of luck, your name will be chosen and you'll be off to whatever country they send you to.
I was all for that but if you knew the right places to look, and I did, you could get through simpler and with much higher assurances. Those assurances for me was my degrees and the endorsements from four of the most respected people in the education world.
Dr. Jackson is one of them and that's why I applied to work at his school. Apart from it being a well-respected school, and it comes with ridiculous benefits, it's also a great place to work from what I've heard. After a few years of working with teachers without borders, I'd like to come back and work here, make a difference; be someone my teachers never were for me.
"Hello, sorry to keep you waiting Miss Black." A deep voice pulled me from my never-ending thoughts. I watched as he turned the corner of his desk and took his seat in his expensive leather seat across from me. A smile gracing his lips as he intertwined his fingers on his wooden desk.
"Oh," I waved off. "It's no problem, I've waited months for this, what was a few extra minutes." I would've waited hours, this was way too important.
He chuckles, "Alright. Let's get started."
"So, I've gone through your application. I know you were an excellent student in high school, I know you're an excellent student now and you are getting your BA in Child Development in hopes of becoming an educator." I nod in agreement with everything he's saying. "But what wasn't in your application was why."
"Why do I want to be a teacher?" I asked for confirmation.
He shakes his head, "Almost everyone can become a teacher, Miss Black. Just a few of the right classes and you can be standing in front of a group of kids teaching. But the why is always what I'm looking for when I hire new teachers; even if you are here for a position as a teacher's aid. Why do you want to teach kids, why do you think you'd be great at it?"
I thought through it, but I didn't take too long because I already knew why I just needed to organize my thoughts. I nervously wiped my clammy hands against my black jeans then rubbed them together and adjusted my seating position. "I don't think I'll be great at it but I do think I can make a difference."
He smiles, "Why?"
"All the while I was in school, pre-university, I never had teachers who I felt were in it because they loved to learn. Now, that may have been because I barely paid attention to them but if I knew at least one of my teachers enjoyed teaching us I would've enjoyed learning earlier.
Also, the reason why I want to be a teacher is because I want to join teachers without borders and I know this job here, this opportunity would be greatly beneficial in my learning process." I finished off, strongly and with my goal in front view.
"Teachers without borders huh?"
"Yes, that's the dream," I replied.
After what seemed like eons of silence, he spoke up. "Ok." He said, getting up and buttoning his suit jacket.
"Ok," he said again, going to the door and opening it. "Time for the tour."
I squinted, slightly confused because he made it seem like... "Does that mean I—," he interrupts me with a chuckle, and his hand extends for me to shake.
"Welcome to North Washington Prep Miss Black."
. . .
I was running late.
The tour at NWP lasted a little longer than expected because Dr. Jackson introduced me to a few of the teachers and we went through a few things in my contract before I left with it. I had till Monday to sign and bring it which was when I was due to start working there. Monday through Wednesday, 9 to 5. I had a job now.
But I was running late. Today is Friday which means I have Cinema 201 from noon to 2:50 p.m. Now it was one minute to twelve and I was just now jogging up the steps of the Arts building after spending fifteen minutes looking for parking. It's times like this I miss living in the dorms.
Once I got indoors, the chattering of students who were lounging around, talking with friends, or studying aloud replaced the heavy sounds of wind and beeping cars. I immediately headed straight for the elevator that was just now closing and I held my hand out, signaling for one of the people to keep it open but none of them did.
"Fuck," I groaned. Quickly, I found the staircase nearby and rushed up them with calculated ease. But once I did, my eyes couldn't help but roll because, at the end of the hall; right in front of the door that led into my classroom, I watched the biggest idiot I knew flirt with another girl, yet again; who I'm sure he was trying to sleep with. "Move," I said while looking at my vintage wristwatch.
He ignored me but the girl he was flirting with said something. "Are you talking to us?" Her voice was snarky as she snickered with disbelief as if the thought of me talking to her was funny.
"Luckily for you, I wasn't looking in your direction." I quipped. "I was talking to your little friend here."
He turns around, Beckham's lips curled up, his hand raked through his irritatingly natural and silky hair as he chuckles; surely at my expense. "Gianni, you look like shit, what's that about?"
"Beckham, you're an ass, what's that about?" I quipped.
He laughed almost hysterically and it infuriated me so much but if I wanted to make it to class in time, he needed to move and I knew he lived to torture me.
"Careful G, you're letting the bitch in you come out. It really isn't a cute look." He teased, mercy unseen.
I rolled my eyes, completely and utterly irritated with that poor excuse of a human being standing in front of me. "Beckham, for the love of God, move."
"No," he says with a smile that I just itched to wipe off his face. "I think I'll stay here a bit longer, Janice and I were having a nice conversation." And he turns back to the red-headed girl, dismissing me like I was some piece of trash.
"Move the hell out of my way or I swear, I will strangle you." I glared the hell out of him until he finally turned to me again, tsking.
"You have so much anger inside you Gianni," he slowly moves out of my way and I reach for the doorknob and twist it. "You should get that in check," were the final taunting words I heard from Beckham before being met with the angry face of my professor.
I looked at my watch, 0 seconds. "I'm sor—." My words come to a sudden halt as his index finger raises up to shush me. I sighed.
"It's like the concept of time is foreign to you Ms. Black. Three weeks into a class you've only got twice a week and you've been late 3 times." His arms were crossed and his foot tapped the way angry parents did. Except, nothing about Professor Wayne screamed parent
Him and I had a bit of history. The first day I had his class this semester, 3 weeks ago, I was at a cafe with my best friends and I was telling them how I knew I wasn't going to like him because he had this 'I'm better than all of you' attitude and it didn't sit well with me. What I hadn't realized was that his wife, who was also a professor, had been seated right behind us told him and that following Friday, he called me out in front of the whole class.
He definitely hated me so I tried to do everything right so as to not piss him off further. "I-I just..." By the look on Professor Wayne's face, he didn't want to hear it and honestly, I just didn't have the energy to prove myself anymore. I was in college and there was no acceptable time when I could just blame it on the miscreant that is Beckham. "Sorry," I muttered quickly and quietly.
"Take a seat, Miss Black. I have a lesson to teach." With my head hung low, I trudged up the lecture room to find a seat in the back of the large stadium-like room. The apologetic faces of my classmates didn't go unnoticed and I silently recognized them.
Finally finding an empty seat, I took a seat and immediately pulled out my notebook, pens, and highlighters then looked towards the front as Professor Wayne went on with what he'd been explaining the last few weeks about a certain semester project.
Ten minutes later, the all too apparent squeak of the door sounded and Beckham walked in, backpack in tow, and an assured smile plastered onto his lips. "My bad Gerard, I got caught up." Was all he said to the professor before taking a seat not too far from me.
This made me angry to no end. How is it that I was right on time, right on time, but got lectured like a child and when Beckham, who came in late, he just waved it off with a friendly smile.
School politics is what it was.
Beckham's dad is Ridge Wilde; hedge fund billionaire and CEO of a multi-billion dollar conglomerate. He's also was North Washington University's biggest and most important donor.
I didn't know which one I hated more. The fact that he got away with everything because of who he was or the fact that he was the most arrogant son of a bitch that I knew.
I leaned over to the girl who sat beside me and asked her about something but as I did, I could feel eyes on me. When I looked around, I found Beckham looking at me. He was smirking then he had the audacity to throw me a cocky self-serving wink.
Instead of feeding into it, I decide to be the bigger person.
It also may have been the fact that my professor, who already disliked me, was glaring at me with no remorse and I didn't want to piss him off any further.
Either way, for the rest of the class I put aside Beckham's childish behavior and paid attention because, at the end of the day, this was my future, not Beckham's.
Class hours went by quickly, and before I knew it, I found myself standing in front of Professor Wayne's desk listening to him go off about respect. "I don't know how you were with your other professors Miss Black but I do not and will not tolerate your blatant disrespect."
I wanted to argue, tell him that I was an adult and he had no right to speak to me as if I was a child but I know if I did, the rest of this year would go horribly. "Alright, sir." I headed straight for my car deciding that I wanted to cut this day short because my once amazing day turned out awful and I didn't want to deal with people anymore.
"Gianni." I heard a familiar voice call out from a distance. As I approached my car, I turned to match the voice to fa ace and when I did, I got in my car anyway and immediately started it. He jogged slightly, then knocked on my window trying to get me to put it down but instead I flipped him off.
A small pout met his lips, "Please." He asked, the sound muffled but audible nonetheless.
"What do you want Beckham?" Irritation laced in between every word that spilled from my lips and my facial expression held disdain for the person in front of me. "I'd like to go home now."
"I need a favor." He said simply, as if us asking each other for favors was the most regular thing ever.
"No." I began to put up my window but he put his hand on it.
"I don't like you, Beckham. You know that right?" He shrugs, casually. "So why exactly would I help you with anything?" He tilts his head slightly, and I realized if I didn't at least hear what he had to say, he'd never let me leave which meant I couldn't get home. "What do you want?'
"I need you to squeeze someone into your tutoring session tomorrow."
"I'm fully booked Beckham. There are other tutors on campus, I'm pretty sure you can find anyone else but me."
"Ok but Chelsea won't go out with me tomorrow nights unless she gets her English paper done and you are the only English tutor available tomorrow."
I scoff, completely offended. "I'm sorry," I laugh. One of those laughs that you know is just filled with sarcasm. "You're asking me to help some girl so you can what, hook up with her? After the crap you pulled earlier?"
"Help a brother out G." He's delusional, I'm convinced.
"Fuck you, Beckham."
. . .
"I hate him, Gigi," Kathleen cried over her fourth cup of vodka cranberry; hold the cranberry. "I hate him so much I might just-- just kill him." Her jaw was clenched which caused these prominent lines to form in between her perfectly shaped brows. "H-He's just such a fucker, a-and I don't know why I dated him in the first place." He sobs, her words stuttered her nose flared and her jaw tensing with every second.
"I'm so sorry honey," I coo, my hand rubbing softly against her back trying to calm her. "He never deserved you bubs, you're too good for him." It was a bad combination; tears and alcohol. It always ended up one of two ways; with someone getting escorted to the local police station or a number of not so subtle tweets directed at the object of the present anger.
The former had happened to Kathleen twice and if it happened a third time, the police officers would be sure to actually lock her up instead of allowing her to cool down then sending her home with a box of stale donuts which she'd scarf down. "Why didn't you stop me from going back to him?" She slurs, her index finger pointing directly in front of me with anger seeping from her pores.
But didn't I??
"You probably wouldn't have listened, Kat." I reasoned truthfully. Kathleen has this tendency to attract assholes and the asshole that managed to get her attention was the worst of all. He cheated on her, manipulated her, and made her think she was crazy for even suggesting he was doing something he shouldn't have been.
We all talked to her but Kathleen's other tendency is to do whatever the hell she wants because she thinks she can handle it. "True," she agrees with another sob. I pull her in and kiss the top of her head. "I hate myself."
"You are better off without that piece of shit bubs, I promise you." I felt the slightest nod of her head under my chin and I sighed and leaned back into the couch before turning on the tv and putting on her favorite show on Netflix. Soon enough, especially with all the alcohol she drank in the past two hours, she'd knock out and I'll be able to take her to her room.
Right as I was getting comfortable, I heard the vibration of my phone against the coffee table so I carefully maneuvered my movements and grabbed it with a slight stretch.
Mamma: Gianni, puoi guardare Juni domani? Papa e Vincent sono impegnati.
It was a text from my mom asking if I could watch my little sister tomorrow since my dad and brother were too busy. I thought about what I had scheduled for tomorrow and the only things were four hours at the tutoring center and meeting a few of my classmates from my English writing class.
My day would end around 3 in the afternoon but after that, I'd be good to go.
: Yes. Stai arrivando dalla mia parte?
Mamma: Sí. Sono nel mezzo di qualcosa adesso ma ti chiamo stasera? Ti amo.
: Love you too.
And with that, I put my phone away and focused on the large screen in front of me. An hour later, after I'd managed to lift Kathleen's petite body in bed, making sure to tuck her in and turn on her humidifier, I took a much-needed shower.
Hot droplets of water, soothing my tense and aching body was exactly what I needed. I got dressed in my silk pajama shorts and top before making dinner and sitting down at the table with my contract from NWP.
It was all pretty straightforward. I wasn't being hired to be an actual teacher but a teacher's aid so my contract was much different. I read through terms and requirements, rules that I needed to abide by. I also got benefits, like health, dental, a 401K, and a lot more of which I had no clue about. Once I felt satisfied with everything, I signed it and put it away in my room. While I was here, I decided to just clean up a bit because it was a mess from this morning and my indecisive nature when it came to choosing clothes to wear.
I turned my speaker on and began to play music from one of my favorite playlists. Sometime during, I heard the front door open and Beatrice's loud voice letting me know she was home. I didn't go out immediately because I wanted to get what I was doing done so I let her know I'd be out soon.
Once I finished, I walked out of my bedroom into the living room to find Beatrice and her boyfriend Hayes sitting on the couch, limbs entangled while Beatrice kissed all upon him. "Hi," I greeted them while taking a seat on the single couch across from them.
"Hey Gigi," Hayes said. His arm tightly wrapped around his girlfriend but his attention solely on the basketball game; Knicks vs. Rockets.
"Hey bitch," Beatrice greets as she normally does. A gigantic smile on her face as she untangles herself from her boyfriend and jumps to sit on me.
"Why'd you move?" Hayes pouts, finally looking away from the game because his girl's attention was elsewhere.
"I'm sorry baby," she says, her eyes glazed and a small pout on her lips. "I'll be back."
"You guys make me sick," I teased.
"Enough about us, did you get the job?" Excitement etched on her face, her smile reaching her eyes.
I closed my eyes, took a breath, and sighed. "Why is he here?" I looked at none other than Hayes because that was his best friend.
"He's a leech, sorry," he said with a sheepish smile then turns back to the game.
"Why is he here?" I asked Beatrice. "I've seen enough of him today and I'd rather not be irritated in my own home."
She pursed her lips, chewing on them cautiously.
"You know I'm in the room right?" Beckham said coming into view as he sat beside Hayes with a bowl in his hand. "Thanks for the food by the way."
"Just ignore him, Gigi," Beatrice said knowingly. Everyone who knew us knew my undying hatred for Beckham. The fact that his best friend was mine's boyfriend was unfortunate luck. I was happy for Beatrice though, I just didn't like the association to him.
"Whatever," I said after a while choosing to do as my friend instructed. "As I was going to respond before I was so rudely interrupted." Beckham chuckles. "I did get the job and I start on Monday," I said excitedly.
"Ahhhhh!" Beatrice yelled a little too loudly into my ear. Suddenly her arms wrap around me and she shakes me. "I'm so damn proud of you baby. They aren't going to know what hit them."
"Thank you. I appreciate that bubs." I placed a small kiss on her cheek and she snuggled into me.
"We have to go shopping."
"You need teacher clothes, don't you?"
"'Teacher clothes' are not a thing." I giggled, "But I could go for some more professional clothes."
"Good, we'll go Sunday." She responded and we soon fell into a conversation about what her day had been, which led to me telling her about a passed out Kathleen when Beckham got a call.
"What's up? Tonight, I don't know if I can make it. I'm with some friends, that's why." There was a small pause in which he did several things. His brows raised in surprise, he smirked then licked his lips and chuckled. "That sounds really interesting but can you make it worth my time Bethany?" I scoff, of course, it was some girl. And not that I was keeping track or anything but that was the third girl's name I'd heard him mention today. "Aight, then. Bet." And he hung up the phone and stood up. "Something's come up," he said. I scoff again, this time loud enough for him to hear. "Got a problem, Gianni?"
"Not really, you're just a pig."
"A pig you had sex with." He winked.
"Under the influence. That should say something, shouldn't it?" I bit back with a smirk, making Beatrice and Hayes snicker.
Beckham chuckles and moves closer to me. Both hands on either side of the armrest, he lowered himself down so he'd be right in front of my face. "What's your problem, Gianni? Jealous I wouldn't fuck you again?"
I pressed my lips together.
"Back off man," Hayes warned.
"Seriously Beck," Beatrice chimed in.
"What?" Beckham defended, "She can dish it but can't take it? I'm genuinely curious." He smirks, "Gianni, if you want to have sex again," he got a little closer making Beatrice move away completely back into her boyfriend's arms. I shifted in my seat slightly. "Just say so."
I looked up at him, "Fuck off." And he straightened his posture, chuckling. He winked at me before heading out the door throwing goodbyes at his best friend and Beatrice.
A few minutes later, I stood up and huffed, "I hate him." I spat before heading straight to my bedroom irritated.
a/n: hope you guys enjoyed the first chapter!! 🤍
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