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Monday 7th September 2015

Bonnibel pushed her glasses up the bridge of her nose, staring back down at the ever-growing stack of papers on her desk. She had absolutely no motivation to mark them, and in hindsight it was probably a bad idea setting a test on the first day back for her classes. She flicked through the papers – most were from the aforementioned test, but there were a few essays that she'd set as optional summer homework.

(If Bonnie had known that there would be so much paperwork, maybe she'd have changed her mind about teaching back in college.)

She pulled the stack of test papers towards her, letting a heavy breath out through her nose. She glanced over at the clock; she only had ten minutes left of her lunch break until her next class – ninth grade physics. It wasn't as bad as it sounded; it was still only the first week of school so the freshmen were still settling in and mostly stayed quiet in class. In a few weeks, that'd definitely have changed. She tried not to take their good behaviour for granted.

She quickly marked her way through a few test papers – she was just glad that she'd made them multiple choice rather than essay questions – before taking a sip from her mug, cringing as the cold coffee met her lips. She put the mug down, shaking her head. She'd need to venture into the staff room to make another, and Bonnibel hated the staff room.

It's not that she didn't like her fellow teachers – she did – but she could only talk to a select few without wanting to rip her hair out after five minutes. There were a couple that she couldn't talk to at all; those were the ones that wrote her off on her first day, thinking she was too young to be a teacher. There was another one that she didn't talk to, but Bonnie didn't want to get into that.

In fact, it'd been a year since Bonnibel had started teaching. Her first day was terrifying – Bonnie had never been good at meeting new people, so it goes without saying that her first impressions on people weren't very good. Most of the other teachers in the science department were in at least their forties, and Bonnie was only twenty-three. There were a couple of other teachers around her age, and one or two slightly older – who she managed to make horrible first impressions on too – but since then she'd made a few close friends and her students preferred her teaching methods to the others in her department, so she couldn't complain too much.

She made her way to the staff room, a few greetings sent her way by a couple of students in her earlier classes, and pushed open the door, sending her co-workers an awkward smile as she walked over to the coffee maker.

Her first time in this room was probably the most awkward. She still felt uncomfortable whenever she made her few appearances in the teacher's lounge, but nothing could compare to her first day. One of the other science teachers had shown her the way, and she'd hovered in the doorway for a few moments before making herself a cup of chamomile tea, avoiding the gazes of the rest of the staff. Then, she'd scurried back to the safety of her classroom without talking to anyone else.

"Hey, Bonnibel."

Bonnie nearly knocked over an empty mug as she jumped at the unexpected voice, relaxing when she turned to face Lady.

Lady Rayner was the head of the art department and Bonnibel's best friend at work. The bubbly blonde woman had been Bonnie's only friend for a while, before she was introduced to Jake; Lady's boyfriend and head of P.E. She was young, only a few years older than Bonnie at twenty-six. She'd been working at the school for three years and she was known for her more relaxed teaching methods – for her older classes, she took on more of a supervising role, letting them work on tasks independently. Bonnie had tried that out a few times, but the hands-on approach suited her the best.

"Hi, Lady. How's your day so far?" Bonnibel politely smiled as she stirred her coffee. She hardly got to see Lady outside of classes – this year, there had been significant clashes in their schedules. Sometimes Lady would stop by Bonnie's classroom, but only once in a while.

Lady let out a huff, "I just had a freshman class. Half of them spent the lesson flicking paint around, so as a punishment they've been cleaning up their mess over lunchtime."

Bonnie felt a knot in her throat. Maybe her next class wouldn't be as easy as she'd initially thought. "Great. I have the ninth graders next. Any advice?"

Lady's eyes narrowed, and she muttered in a rather sinister voice, "Don't turn your back on them." Bonnibel laughed, taking a sip of her coffee as Lady's demeanour significantly lightened, "You'll gain control of them. Eventually."

"I hope so," Bonnie's gaze drifted over the door and she twisted her wrist upwards to check the time on her pink watch. Her class started in six minutes. Great. "I should probably head back to my classroom."

She turned towards the door again, her breath catching in her throat as red crept up her neck, staining her cheeks. Oh no. Leave, Bonnibel. Now.

Her face flushed even more when Lady followed her gaze and laughed, "Oh, wow. Still crushing, huh?"

"What do you think?" Bonnie sent Lady her best attempt at a glare, but it wasn't really very effective due to her flushed cheeks and that nervous tremor in her voice. "God, it's been an entire summer. That's three months. I should've stopped caring about her by now, right?"

Bonnie's gaze flicked back over to the doorway, staring over at the school's impossibly attractive music teacher, who was checking her phone and making her way over to the refrigerator.

"Maybe," Lady murmured, her hand coming to rest on Bonnie's shoulder, "but that's how I used to react every time Jake walked in here."

Bonnibel kept staring as the other woman opened the refrigerator door, grabbing a water bottle and closing it again – all without looking up from her phone. The pink blush didn't leave her cheeks and the room had suddenly become horrifically humid, like someone had just dropped her in the middle of a desert. She had to open her lab coat a little to give herself some air.

"Hey, just go over and talk to her," Lady's hand had moved to Bonnie's upper arm, and she gave it a reassuring squeeze, "Marceline's harmless. She won't bite."

Bonnie finally tore her gaze from Marceline and sent Lady an incredulous look. The last time Bonnie just talked to her didn't go so well; she ended up spilling her cup of boiling hot coffee down Marceline's shirt.

That was on her second day working at the school. She hadn't made an attempt to talk to Marceline since.

(The excruciating embarrassment she'd felt was kind of a deterrent.)

Bonnie just waved Lady off and spared her crush one last glance before slipping out of the teacher's lounge and making her way back to her classroom. She used the fact that class was about to start as her excuse.

She was fine with just staring at Marceline from across the teacher's lounge. She was fine with just pining after her. Perfectly fine.

It's not like music teachers and science teachers had any business being near one another, anyways.