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Cully, Appetency, or Espousal

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It was a week into the new school year. Everything was as it seems, well, until halfway through first period. Nat sat in the front row closest to the teacher, Mr. Kogane. All in all, Mr.Kogane’s class was fun. He knew how to teach English, and he always answered questions no matter how stupid they were. Nat liked Mr. Kogane. He wasn’t overly friendly but would converse with students. Everything was fine, until it wasn’t.

 

Halfway through class the world history teacher, Mr. McClain, walked in. Now, Nat thought he just needed to drop something off or say something, but, that's not what happened. Mr.Kogane didn’t even blink. He continued his reading of the textbook as Mr. McClain waltzed in and sat in his chair. He started rifling through his drawers a little while later. The class was giving both teachers odd looks. They both ignored them, continuing in their separate activities. The rest of class continued like that. Mr. Kogane continued to teach, working his way around the brunet. While Mr. McClain doodled on a piece of paper. Five minutes before the bell rang Mr.McClain got up, squeezed Mr. Kogane’s arm and left.

 

“Alright class. I’ll let you all pack up. Does anyone have any questions? And before you ask there is no homework tonight. Enjoy that.”

 

The class seemed to fidget. Everyone was packed and half the class seemed like they wanted to say something. A girl in a red shirt and a septum piercing raised her hand.

 

“Yes Emilia?”

 

“Who was that, that came in here?” Bless her soul. Bless Emilia. The whole class couldn’t help but agree. Mr. Kogane shifted on his desk. He wore the brightest smile Nat had ever seen. It looked good on him.

 

“Oh. That was Mr. McClain. He teaches world history. Get used to him. He usually comes in on his break periods to annoy me, but if he ever distracts you tell me. I’ll kick him out.”

 

“Are you too d-”, the bell rang cutting off Emilia’s last comment.

 

++++++++++++++++++++++

 

Mr. McClain came in two days later. He wore a red button down rolled up to his elbows and dark khaki pants. It was the first time she’s seen him in glasses. She couldn’t help but ogle the teacher, Mr. Kogane must have shared her sentiment as he eyed him up and down. Both men wore small blushes. Mr.Kogane stood up from his chair, only to be replaced by the history teacher.

 

Besides the odd bit in the beginning, Nat noted that the rest of class went smoothly without any interruptions from the history teacher. It all went down hill when the english teacher was done with class. They stood in the corner of the room chatting. The class caught notice and quieted down, enough to hear them talking.

 

“You look good in anything Keith. Remember the meeting before school started? You were wearing-”

 

“Oh my god!” Keith cut him off. “I was wearing that awful shirt Shiro gave me! It had paint on it! Why didn’t you say anything?” he dipped his head hiding his face in his hand.

 

“I told you, you look good in anything. You pulled that off nicely.” He reached out to pull Keith’s hand off of his face, smiling the whole time.

 

“Hmm. Whatever. I guess then-” the bell rang drowning out their conversation. The two men glanced at the clock, noting the time. They separated as the class started to make its way to the door.

 

Nat walked out vowing to find out what was going on between the two (between learning, of course).

 

++++++++++++++++++++++

 

The next Monday rolled around and threw the class for a loop. At this point, the whole class had their own theories on Mr. McClain and Mr. Kogane. Most thought they were good friends, while a select few though they were dating, and another portion thought they were just flirting with each other. Whatever their relationship was, Nat just wanted to learn today. Of course that didn’t happen.

 

They were halfway through a discussion on Shakespeare before disaster walked in.

 

“All I’m saying is Shakespeare was gay as hell. I mean, have you seen the things he wrote? Not to mention a lot of his works were changed to female pronouns!”

Another student jumped into the discussion, “That all but proves he was bisexual.”

 

“That doesn’t prove anything!” another person shouted. Mr. McClain took that time to walk into the room. He slid across Mr. Kogane’s desk bumping right into him. A grunt was heard from the English teacher.

 

“Woah, woah, woah! There will be no bi-erasure while I’m around! Come on, have you even read Shakespeare's stuff? He was bi as hell. He does me proud.” Mr. McClain wiped a fake tear from his face. “But besides that, what are you all talking about?”

 

Both teachers looked at each other. They were both sitting right next to each other. Their thighs and shoulders touching. Mr. Kogane wore a small blush while the History teacher beamed at him. The moment was broken when Mr. Kogane scooted away. Interesting, Nat thought. Something is definitely going on between them.

 

“Some of us were discussing if we would have dated Shakespeare and his work relating to his sexuality.” Josh said from the back of the class.

 

“Who wouldn’t want to  date him? The man wrote poems and plays. He was in simple truth; an artist. He was probably hot too. I’d date him. You’d be crazy not too!” His hands waved wildly in the air, still wearing a constant smile. Mr. Kogane snorted.

 

“Don’t let your husband hear you, he might get jealous.” All conversation in the room stopped. Attention was on the two figures on the desk.

 

Nat squinted and sure enough, a red band, a wedding ring sat on Mr. McClain’s ring finger. It was a deep scarlet with tiny, tiny diamonds etched into it like stars. Mr. Kogane got up and sat behind his desk crossing his arms. Mr. McClain just wore a smile.

 

“If he gets jealous of a dude that’s dead then we seriously need to have a talk.” He rose an eyebrow but his tone was nothing but amused.

 

“Wait?” Adam said. “You’re married? I-  I thought…” He didn’t finish the sentence. Mr. McClain stood up while tapping his wedding band.

 

“Yep! Going on five years now. He’s a pain but I love him. He constantly wants to correct my use on language-” he shot a sideways glance, “but he’s the best thing that’s ever happened to me!” He strode to the door, six minutes left of class.

 

“Maybe you should stop swearing and he’d stop correcting you?” came the snide remark from Mr. Kogane. McClain waved him off on his way out the door.

 

“A pleasure as always Keith. See you later!” and with that he disappeared around the threshold.

 

A soft “See ya” was heard from the English teacher. Now, Nat never wanted to assume anything. She felt bad even thinking about it, but, well…

 

Things started to add up. The flirting, the blushing, physical touches. She hated to assume. Oh . This wasn’t good , thought Nat. Mr. McClain was married! Either the two teachers were oblivious to the flirting -or- or they were purposely flirting with each other. Both scenarios weren’t good. She hated to think that Mr. Kogane would do something like that, or Mr. McClain would cheat! She’d have to continue to observe the situation further, but either way, she didn’t like it. Her thoughts kept roaming to the soft smiles and touches. “You look good in anything Keith” . She just wished they wouldn’t do it so openly in front of everyone. It was cute before, but now? Not so much. She collected her things as the bell rang.

 

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

 

It had been two weeks since the revelation of Mr. McClain being married. However, that didn’t stop the teacher from coming in to pester the class and the teacher. Sometimes he sat still and read, doodled, or just ate. Other times, he would touch, or talk to Mr. Kogane. Those times were the worst. It didn’t help that Mr. Kogane would respond in  kind. It wasn’t anything big per say. Little touches. On the arm, or the small of the back. They didn’t help Nat’s anxiety on the subject though. It was only further cementing what she didn’t want to believe. What was worse than the touches though? The flirting . The cheating. One time the history teacher used a straight up pick-up line on the other. The class felt even more uncomfortable after that. All Mr. Kogane did was laugh and smile, continuing to teach.

 

Any time it was getting bad a student coughed or interjected with small comments. Comments such as; how is your husband doing? Or, how is home life? Some students just straight up changed the subject. No one had the audacity to confront the two, yet. Two weeks went by and today was a tame class.Mr. McClain didn’t always come in, but when he did the class held their breath to see what would happen. Today, everything was quiet. He sat down at the desk and quietly ate his breakfast while Mr. Kogane ignored him and continued to teach. The bell rang. Everyone collected their things and left. Nat was halfway down the hallway when she couldn’t find her keys. She turned around and went back.

 

She was about to enter the room when she heard voices.

 

“You should tell him. I can’t keep doing this. I can’t keep looking him in the face and lying to him every time I see him. He’s your family Lance. It feels wrong.” Nat poked her head into the room. The two teachers stood in front of each other. Mr. Kogane had his hand on Mr. McClain’s, Lance’s, face. Lance had his arms wrapped around the others waist.

 

“Hmm. I know you don’t like lying to him, but it gets easier after a while. I haven’t told him. We’ve kept it a secret for six months. Just a little longer. He wouldn’t want to know what we are doing. Don’t worry about it love.” He leaned down and captured the English teachers lips in his. Nat expertly extracted herself from the doorway and sprinted to class. Forget the keys! Nothing was worth that. Her brain was firing a million things per second. Oh god, oh god, oh god, they were kissing! They openly admitted to cheating! OH MY GOD! Mr. McClain’s poor husband!

 

The rest of the day Nat was out of it. Flirting and touching were one thing (either way it was wrong), but kissing, kissing was different. Especially when they admitted it. Nat couldn’t sleep that night. Come the next day, she couldn’t look the two teachers in the eye.

 

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

 

Another month went by. Nat still couldn’t look them in the eye or talk to them without blushing. The whole class had nervous energy whenever the two were in the same room. The only saving grace was when Lance didn’t come into the room. The whole class seemed to breathe when this happened, and on the days when he did? The class shifted their eyes. Nat hadn’t told anyone what she saw, but they seemed even more close as the month rolled along. First period English class was getting progressively more uncomfortable. They were waiting for the shoe to drop, or some brave soul to finally tell the two men off for their behavior. But like good little high school students, they sat and kept their mouths shut.

 

The class was reading their books as Mr. McClain walked in. Twenty five pairs of eyes looked up, trying not to make themselves obvious. Lance walked over and draped himself over the English teacher. A small intake of breath was heard in the middle of the room. Mr. McClain started to whisper into Kogane’s ear. He playfully nudges the blue eyed man and blushes. Lance pulls up a chair and continues to quietly talk to him as the entire class strains their ears and pretends to read.

“So I was thinking since we’re both free on Friday we could go out? I know how much you like that Korean place downtown. We haven’t gone out in a while. What do you say red? Want to go on a date with me?” The class froze. Please . Please , Nat thought, don’t say yes! DON'T SAY YES. To the classes upmost horror, he did not in fact, say no.

 

“Sure, I’d love to. The last time I had Korean we were back home. You know how my mother is, she’d probably disown me if she found out that's the last time I had it-” A quiet voice interrupted him, “That’s not the only thing she’d disown you for.” Nat couldn’t help but agree. Mr. Kogane continued, not hearing what was said, “-hmm. Maybe we should tell him after Friday? Hasn’t this gone on long enough. It would be a relief to get it off my chest  -our- chests. Not telling him has made me feel bad. It’s been six months, we have to tell him sooner or later. I know you love him Lance, but he needs to know.”

 

“Okay, fine. I have been feeling guilty.”

 

The two men gazed into each others eyes. Neither knowing that their volume picked up. Or the fact that the class was having a mental breakdown. Fuck , was Nat’s first thought. Were they finally going to confess to Lance's husband?  Before the class could go into a riot or call the men out, a small figure walked into class. She had auburn hair and always wore an article of green. Ms. Holt the resident tech expert in the building strolled up in front of them.

 

“Oh gross. Can you keep your lovey-dovey stuff at home, or at least where my eyes can’t see you. You two have gotten periodically worse. Wasn’t the honeymoon faze supposed to last only a couple of months. It’s been five years, let it go.” She fake gagged. Both men dramatically clung to each other.

 

“Pidge! How dare you deny me and my sweets love for each other! For shame woman! For Shame!” He dramatically flung an arm across his face, melting into Keith. Keith just giggled.

 

“Come on Pidge. You know you love us! We saw you crying at our wedding. You secretly find it endearing.” Pidge rolled her eyes as Keith tried and failed to move Lance off of him.

 

“Whatever,” she smiled. “I finally got the project done. Sorry it took the last six months. This one was a long one. At least Luis will have the info now. It was hard keeping it a secret from him. Can’t even imagine what you two felt like.” she dropped a thick envelope on the desk with a flash drive on top.

 

“We were actually thinking of just telling him on Saturday. For how much shit Ke-”

 

“Language.”

 

“-Crap Keith has been giving me, it has felt weird lying to Luis. Thanks Pidge. I’ll be sure to tell him. You’ve been a great help.” he got up and hugged the small woman as she pushed him away, her cheeks darkened.

 

“Whatever, just don’t let it happen again. You two owe me. See you at the staff meeting!” she left, not knowing the impact of what she caused to the class of room 109.

 

At first, the class was silent. Still digesting what they heard. Then, like the proverbial shoe dropping, all hell broke loose.

 

“Thank god!”

 

“What a relief.”

 

“What?”

 

The students all spoke at once as the teachers looked at the class in confusion. Mr. Kogane got up placing his hands in the air.

 

“Hey!” The class didn’t quiet down. “HEY! What are all of you going on about? Be quiet!”

 

And just like that everyone took their seats, mouths shut. A brave soul spoke from the back.

 

“So, you two are married?”

 

Keith’s brows furrowed while Lance just snickered. The class stayed silent.

 

“Yes? I thought that was obvious? Why- what?” the look of confusion didn’t go away.

 

“Why don’t you wear a wedding ring then? We thought, well, never mind.” The student lowered in his seat.

 

“I have a wedding ring,” he pulled a thing cord from his neck, “I keep it around my neck at school so it doesn’t get lost.”

 

A dark blue wedding band hung from the cord. It had tiny diamonds encrusted in it like Lance’s. It looked like the night sky.

 

A collective “oh” was spoken through half the class. Mr. McClain's face went from confusion to straight up amusement. His laugh was so loud and sudden, Keith whipped around to see his husband bending over on the verge of tears.

 

“Oh my god!” he laughed. “Did- Did you all think we weren’t married? In all my years teaching here and being married to him no one, and I mean no one , didn’t know or think we weren’t dating or married!” Keith joined in on the laughter, sending out quiet giggles.

 

“You two didn’t act married, and, well, when we heard that Mr. McClain was married and Mr. Kogane wasn’t wearing a ring, or even say he was your husband we all thought, assumed…” the student trailed off. The men’s laughter tapered off.

 

“This is honestly one of the best moments of my life. At least top ten. Right under the time you slipped and fell face first into that snow pile babe.” Keith’s face darkened in color, huffing and crossing his arms.

 

“Wait,” Mr. Kogane’s attention was directed at the class, “did you think we were cheating?” he asked incredulously.

 

All heads faced downward while half the class wore ruddy cheeks.

 

“Wow. Okay, okay.” Mr. Kogane started to clean up his desk.

“Well now I’m incredibly embarrassed. Just- let’s pretend this didn’t happen. Lance your banned from my classroom for a week.”

 

“What!” he squawked. “I didn’t even do anything!”

 

Keith wore a small smile, “No, but I’m embarrassed and awkward so let's just wrap up class. Please leave Lance. It’s not like I won’t see you at home.” The brunet simply got up, kissed his husbands cheek and left, leaving a very flustered Keith and an embarrassed class.

 

“Yeah,” Nat spoke, “this situation didn’t happen. And on the note of everyone being embarrassed and assuming things, I’m guessing class is dismissed and we’ll see you on Friday?” she was hopeful.

 

Keith nodded his head, continuing to collect his stuff.

 

“Um, yeah. I’ll see you guys on Friday.” and with that he almost sprinted out the room.

 

It took approximately thirty seconds after the teacher left for the whole class to go wild. Discussions were had between the students. Most were in utter shock while others were completely dumbfounded as to how they missed it, then there were the people who “shipped it”. In the months of questioning what the two were, no one thought to ask upperclassmen or the teachers. truly an over site on room 109's part. The last ten minutes of class was not used as a study hall but as a class discussion. People brought their phones out to share the news, receiving texts from older students laughing at them. Nat just sat there quietly contemplating her existence.

 

Friday was going to be weird.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Two men sit on a couch. One has longer black hair, bags under his eyes, and a thin but muscular build. The other has brown hair, a smile that could outshine the sun, and stretchmarks on his thighs. They both sat, wrapped in each others warm embrace. A comment was made and both men laughed, moving ever closer to each other. There was a small downpour of rain out the window. The bathroom tap dripped, and the red coffee mug had a chip in it. Everything was perfect. Everything was calm.

 

Two men sit on a couch. Hands clasped tight. A wedding band sits on both of their fingers. One as red as lava, the other as blue as the ocean. Sitting in utter bliss. Waiting for the day to end, so they can sleep in each others arms.

 

Warm, happy, and content.