“Oh, fuck me,” Dahlia groaned, the piece of paper wilting in her hand.
“What happened, sweetheart?” her wife called from the kitchen.
“I’ve got the last Laufreyson kid this year,” she put the heel of her hand to her head. “I thought for sure after Jormungand that he’d request James instead of me.”
Her wife walked in and handed her a glass of red wine with three ice cubes. She sat down next to her and put an arm around her shoulder,
“Just promise me that you won’t let him ruin your year. What about the rest of the class?”
“They all seem alright. The class should split so at least they’ll only be seventeen of them instead of twenty-four,” she took a sip of her wine. “I can’t believe I have to have conferences with him again.”
“This is the last one though right?”
“For now,” she muttered darkly.
On the first day of school, she prepared herself with a fortifying Xanex and triple checking the spelling on all of the children’s name tags. Her classroom was set and her lesson plan ready. The first week would mostly be getting them all used to the routine of school.
They formed a ragged line outside her door and when she opened it, she smiled brightly, her eyes darting down the line trying to figure out which one was the youngest Laufreyson. The last time she’d seen him, he’d only been two and napping through Jormungand’s graduation.
“Good morning class, I’m Mrs. Travis. You can call me Mrs. T. Let’s come inside, hang up our bookbags.”
Her indominatble T.A. Blaize stepped in and introduced himself. They did the initial scramble to locate cubbies and comfort a few teary faces. One little boy hugged the little girl crying the most,
“It’s okay. Mrs. T is really nice,” he assured her. “She sings and plays guitar after lunch!”
“She does?” The girl sniffed.
“Uh huh, and she gives out really good stickers on Fridays.”
She smiled to herself, one of the younger siblings then. It was lovely to see kids already willing to pitch in.
The class gathered on the carpet. They each said their name and got a name tag. The weepy girl was Thrud, who was already maintaining a death grip on the comforting boy’s hand.
“And you?” Mrs. T prodded him.
“Oh! I’m Sleipner,” he smiled broadly, showing off two missing teeth. Her head spun. “But everyone calls me Sleepy cause I like to nap a lot.”
“Sleepy,” she repeated dully. How was it possible? He was so....sunny! He had the same dark hair and light eyes as his siblings, she could see that now. “Do you want us to call you that or do you prefer Sleipner.”
“Either is good,” he said agreeably. “I like my name, but I do like to sleep too.”
He had an infectious giggle. In all her years with the Laufrysons, none of them had ever done anything so undignified as giggle. Even though she’d had them all as kindergarteners. They had laughed, certainly, but usually it was a dark chuckle or a sarcastic chortle. All of them had seemed like small adults.
“All right, Sleepy,” she smiled at him, “you tell us if you ever want to be called something else. Now, who’s next?”
Maybe this year wouldn't be ruined after all.