He’s late. It’s his first day teaching at William McKinley High School in Lima, Ohio. He should have been there over 45 minutes ago, to set up his classroom and to make sure everything was prepared for the day. But Wes and David had come over the night before to try and reassure him that he could actually do the job. He had only earned his teaching certificate a couple years ago, even though he was already 30 years old. This was his first time back in Ohio after leaving high school. It was also his first time teaching students who weren’t too eager to learn. His previous teaching position had been at a private school in New York; however circumstances led to his quitting and having to search for employment elsewhere.
It took a while for him to find decent work. He was already 30 years old, and only had two years of experience under his belt. That’s what happens when halfway through your junior year of college you have a nervous breakdown, and don’t think you’ll be able to make a decent teacher. He was afraid that he might repeat the mistakes that were made against him. It was a reasonable fear, but one that took a long time for him to let go of.
He vowed to himself that he wouldn’t hurt any of his students the way he was hurt. He couldn’t do that to any innocent student left in his care, he wouldn’t – he couldn’t. He would do his best to protect his students from anyone who intended to harm them, which is why when he saw a bunch of what looked to be seniors standing around the dumpsters wearing letterman jackets, with a scrawny kid who looked incredibly uncomfortable, he stopped to ask them what they were doing. It brought him back to his days at Westerville High and he didn’t like the feeling that accompanied it.
“What’s it to you?” One of them asks, and Blaine arches an eyebrow. This kid was gutsy, that was for sure. Blaine had never seen a student backtalk a teacher like that, then again this large African-American boy probably didn’t realize Blaine was a teacher, what with him being shorter than the boy in question and having never taught at the school before.
“Just want to make sure none of my students are doing anything.... inappropriate.” They all shook their head in unison, a sure sign that something was wrong.
“Nope, we were just talking to the new kid.” The new kid looked incredibly frightened, as if he knew what was about to happen, even though Blaine had no clue.
“Okay then, carry on.” Blaine continues to walk towards the building, but has an uneasy feeling and turns around just as he heard a scream. The guys in the letterman jackets were tossing the ‘new kid’ into the dumpster. Once he was in, they all started to laugh and high five each other. Blaine wouldn’t take this lying down. He stormed over to them once again.
“Okay, all five of you. Figgins’ office, right now.” He points to the building. “Don’t think about ditching, I have a very good memory. If any of you aren’t there when I arrive, I’ll personally give you detention for the rest of the year.”
“Dude Blaine, what are you doing?” Wes shouted at his friend who had started running along the grounds of Dalton and started jumping on every piece of cement furniture that he could find. Benches, tables… if there were any teachers around he’d probably get in trouble. But it was fourth period and they all had a free one, so they could do anything they wanted.
“It’s the first day of school Wes, live a little.” Blaine laughed and both Wes and David just rolled their eyes. They were used to this kind of behavior from Blaine. He was really an easy going, free spirit. He could easily be the center of attention and at the flip of a switch change and be a quiet bookworm in the corner that avoided crowds at all costs. It all depended on his mood of the day. Wes and David had gotten pretty adept at gauging his moods pretty quickly over the past year and a half; they had to or else it would have given them too many headaches trying to work out how to be around him.
“I do live Blaine, very well might I add.” Wes retorted. “I just don’t have to announce it to the world at every opportunity.”
“Your loss.” Blaine quips back and Wes and David just keep walking. “Hey wait up!” He yells for them and runs to catch up to them.
“C’mon. Let’s head to the cafeteria. The lunch ladies should probably be putting the food out by now, and we can get first in line.” David suggested, and all of them, being teenage boys are completely amenable to that idea.
He quickly climbed up the side of the dumpster, to help the smaller boy out. “Are you okay?” The kid shrugged.
“It’s not like this is the first time this has ever happened. I’m not exactly new here.” This confused Blaine for a moment, since those boys had described him as a new kid, but shook it off.
“Here, give me your hand. I’ll pull you out.”
Once Blaine got him out, they walked inside and headed towards Figgins’ office. Luckily it was the first day of school. Mostly what was in the dumpster was bags full of old papers and shredded files. No food. So it wasn’t hard to clean the boy off of whatever stray pieces of garbage had stuck to him. When they got to the office, Blaine was glad to see that all five boys were indeed waiting for him to get there.
“Figgins, I found these boys tossing this young man into the dumpster.” He placed his hand on the teenager’s shoulder. Figgins looked at the five hooligans and narrowed his eyes.
“Is that so?” Four out of the five of them all looked down at the floor, not daring to speak a word. The last one however, wasn’t so wise.
“He asked for it!” The heavy set African American from earlier defended him and his buddies.
“Are you telling me, this young man,” Blaine looked at him, raising his eyebrow and the boy took the hint.
“Right, Rory. Are you telling me, that Rory asked for you to toss him in the dumpster?”
“He was making fun of us, using that weird accent of his!”
“It’s not weird! I’m Irish, not making fun of you.” Rory tried to defend, but it wasn’t working. The burly brute was just getting angrier at Rory’s brogue.
“Whatever man, you need to speak normal for a change.” Blaine just shook his head and looked over at Figgins who was rubbing his temples.
“Figgins, a little input here would be nice.”
“All right. Mr. Adams, Mr. Karofsky, Mr. Smith, Mr. Murphy and Mr. Thomas you all know that we don’t allow bullying here. Therefore, I have no choice but to suspend you. You will each serve one week in-school suspension. Report to homeroom, and then head to ISS. Your teachers will be informed.” They all grumbled as they left the office, Rory holding back not wanting to leave with them.
Blaine could understand. He had been bullied when he was in high school, and the last thing any person who was bullied wanted to do, was be alone with a bully, let alone 5 of them who had just gotten suspended for a full week.
“Do you honestly believe placing all five of them in one room for the next week, for 8 hours a day is going to do any good?” Blaine asked, and Figgins shrugged.
“We’ll see, won’t we?”
Once they get to the lunchroom, get their food and sit down, they start discussing what classes they have for the rest of the day, hoping that they at least have some in the same class. “I have AP Psych, AP Calc, and Honors English.” Wes told his two best friends, and Blaine perked up.
“Well we’ve got AP Psych together at least.” He pulls out his schedule. He knew he had AP Psych since middle of April last year when he had to go through registration for Junior year. AP Psych was a junior/senior level class and he had been dying to take it ever since he transferred in Freshman year. He had to wait and he hadn’t been happy about it. He loved psychology and couldn’t wait to get started, though he probably knew more than any of the students in his class with the amount of self-study research he had done over the years on it. He probably knew more about Freud than their instructor. “I’ve also got Trigonometry and AP English Language.” Blaine made a face once he mentioned Trig. He absolutely hated math and the only reason that he was taking the class at all was because he needed another to graduate and he didn’t want to go for Pre-Calculus, because that was sure to destroy him, and he heard Statistics was akin to murder.
“I’ve got Psych too.” David said as he took out his schedule to look at, and they all high fived each other, grateful that they had one class they could be together in. Considering they didn’t have any in the morning. “But I’ve got Statistics and Physics.” They all groaned. Only one class together; this would not be a year they were looking forward to.
Luckily for Blaine, Psychology was at the end of the day. He got his favorite class and his best friends all in one fell swoop, something he was ecstatic about. He got to the classroom first, and sat down of the front row, eager to see and hear everything their teacher told them. When David and Wes walked in they simultaneously groaned seeing where Blaine was sitting. “Suck up.” They mocked him as they sat down in the row behind him, also eager not to look like a teacher’s pet. It’s a known fact that only the boys who got the class last had to sit in the front row. Except Blaine of course, he was always known as a weirdo, even amongst the Dalton Boys.
In walked their teacher. Blaine had seen Jeremiah Walton around campus before. But last year, his hair had been slicked back with too much product, and while Blaine did the same thing- black hair could pull it off, gingers not so much. Last year he also had a strange “Look at me, I’m a rapist” goatee, but he had shaved it off sometime over the summer, and had let his hair loose. Now Blaine had to admit, he looked hot. Like seriously hot, especially dressed up in the black, tailored suit he was currently sporting.
“Welcome to AP Psychology. Psychology is the study of behavior, and the brain that stipulates said behavior. Our goals are to understand individuals and groups by both establishing general principles and researching specific cases…” He continued with his introduction lecture and Blaine zoned in, latching on to every word. He couldn’t help it he was caught, hook, line and sinker. Not just on what his teacher was saying, but the sound of his voice, the quirk of his lips as he spoke, and his facial expressions as he talked about topics that interested him.
If Blaine believed in love at first sight, he probably would have called it this, but he doesn’t so he didn’t. Instead he just called it intriguing. He didn’t know much about Jeremiah Walton, but he wanted to. It showed in his eyes how much he was falling for his teacher in a matter of moments, hanging onto his every word. Anyone who was looking at Blaine could see it. It was lucky he was in the first row, so no one could see his face, except Jeremiah. But when Jeremiah did see it, he grinned.
By the time Blaine walked Rory to class, and got to his own class, he was 10 minutes late. What a way to introduce yourself to your students. Luckily homeroom was 15 minutes long, so he still had 5 minutes to take attendance and pass out all the papers he needed to pass out. Anything leftover would have to wait until the next day. Once homeroom was over, he started his day. He was the English teacher, and luckily none of the English teachers currently at McKinley had any desire to teach AP and Honors English. Apparently they had enough on their plates trying to teach regular English to the students who couldn’t stand the class that they couldn’t come up with an Honors and AP curriculum on such a short notice. Blaine on the other hand, had been working in New York for the past couple of years as an Honors and AP English Teacher and could easily transfer his syllabus and curriculum over to McKinley for those who were interested in the upper level classes.
Most of his morning classes were all Honors class of some level. First period was sophomore level, 2nd period was Senior. Third period was freshman, but 4th period was when he got to the class he was really interested in, always had been. AP English Literature. A class that required so much more concentration and dedication than any of the other English classes he taught. As he saw his students enter the room, he was surprised to see Rory enter, along with about 5 other people. There was an Asian girl who had just finished kissing another Asian boy who Blaine assumed to be her boyfriend. A girl with short blonde hair who looked like all the girls his parents had set him up with as a teenager. He let out an involuntary shiver when he made the connection. Next to her, was a handicapped student who Blaine could only assume was confined to his wheelchair. The last one, who was sitting next to Rory, was a young man who was absolutely stunning. He was wearing black dress pants, with a white long sleeve dress shirt, and a black vest that made every inch of the teen’s body pop.
Blaine had to take a deep breath and count to ten, because he knew that thinking that way about a student, was not going to be a smart idea. He couldn’t let himself become attracted to a student. He promised himself when he became a teacher, that he would never let anything like that happen to a student of his. He would never, ever do something so cruel, so heartless. He had experienced the pain of that particular type of heartbreak once before and he never wanted another living soul to experience it either.
He never quite got over what happened to him, never quite was able to look past all the emotional turmoil he put Blaine through. But through all of that, Blaine made a promise to himself that he wouldn’t let any of his students hurt the same way he hurt, the same way he was torn apart and pushed aside like yesterday’s garbage. He wouldn’t let that happen. He couldn’t.
He looked down at his class roll for the period, and saw that there were only 10 students in the entire class. That meant that there were only 4 more students that had to show up, a minute after the six sat down two girls walked in wearing cheerleading uniforms. ‘Huh, cheerleaders care about their academics… who knew?’ Blaine thought to himself. He had never seen any cheerleaders take an Advanced Placement course before, this should be interesting. Following those two, were two boys, members of the AV club, if their clothes and demeanor shed any light onto the situation. ‘This’ll be interesting.’
“Welcome to AP English Literature. If you’re in the wrong class, or you didn’t want to actually read books in this class please go down to student services and switch classes, because this is a reading intensive course. You will be reading over 20 novels between now and May, and I expect you to actually read them, and not use Sparknotes or Cliff Notes.” The two cheerleaders rolled their eyes. “I check those resources when I make the tests, and ensure that none of my questions can be answers with a quick perusal of them, so if you want to pass my class as well as the AP exam at the end of the year, you will actually read. If you leave right now, I will not fault you.” The two cheerleaders looked at each other and immediately without saying anything got up and walked out of the class. “Well now that we’ve got that settled. Today, we’re going to be going over the syllabus, and I’ll be handing out the first novel that we shall be reading.”
“Excuse me, Mr….” The stylish one from Rory’s group raised his hand. “We kind of, don’t know who you are? Our schedules still say TBA…”
“Oh…” Blaine was embarrassed. He had no clue that the school hadn’t changed the schedules yet, especially since he had been hired 3 weeks ago.
“Mr. Anderson will do fine, and you are?”
“Kurt, Kurt Hummel.” Blaine nodded.
“Well Kurt Hummel, would you mind passing out these syllabi?” Kurt got up and took the stack of papers out of Blaine’s hand, accidentally brushing their hands together as he did so. Kurt’s fingers were soft, and the touch was electric, at least it was for Blaine. He could write it off as static electricity, but he knew better. There was some sort of primal attractive that Blaine couldn’t hide from. Maybe Kurt felt it, maybe he didn’t. But Blaine had to at least pretend that he didn’t feel it.
“As you can see, this is the list of novels we’ll be reading. Fifty percent of these novels have been on the exam before. The rest are great American classics that any student should have read. If you’ve read them in your studies before, that’s great and we will be able to get through them quicker.” As Blaine let them read through the list, he heard a couple of snorts.
“Seriously, Mr. Anderson, My Antonia? I read that book in the 8th grade.” Kurt bemoaned.
“Well then you will only need to refresh yourself with it, now won’t you?” Blaine countered.
“It was the most boring book alive. I’ve never fallen asleep reading a book in the middle of the day, but I did with that one.”
“Tough.” Kurt frowned, but said nothing else.
“Good thing Berry isn’t in this class.” The blonde girl whispered, but Blaine heard it. “I’ve read The Jungle before when I was at Fairbrook, we’d never hear the end of her and her vegan ways.” She rolled her eyes. Blaine was confused, but said nothing.
“If there are no more questions about the book list we’ll continue. Everyone go to the back of the room and pick up a copy of The Scarlet Letter. I want you all to read the first 50 pages by tomorrow.” All eight of them groaned. “Get used to it. This is a reading intensive course, I’m easing you into the workload with only giving you 50 pages for tonight.” Blaine sits down at his desk, and they begin to go over the syllabus. He can’t wait to get into the thick of this class, because reading has always been a passion for him, it was a way of escaping, a way of coping with the tragedy that was his life. He hoped that he could show his students the same thing.