The Avoidance Games
The school year started off with a nice sweet solid start. Everyone seemed prepared and there were no usual mixed up anything. It was as if someone had worked out all the kinks and handed the perfect student body and faculty combination of all times. Within hours of starting, the pace was found and the excitement of learning was fully engaged.
In one of the staff meetings, a timid hand in the middle of the pack asked if Steve was back with the school. Everyone clapped and cheered when the principal announced that not only was Steve back, but he was taking on more work around the school’s busy agenda to help the students have more activities in line with the school’s objectives.
What was most curious however, Steve was not present. He must have had work to do in the shop area of the school, based on the information the principal quickly and hastily shared before returning to the agenda of the day.
That as interesting, Sarah thought. He’s back but has not stopped by her classroom to wish her luck or check in. She had not noticed his jovial swagger in any of the hallways as she usually did. And she didn’t pick up the scent of his cologne that she knew way more than she’d ever admit.
Steve from his side of the school was just happy that the principal had agreed to let him sit out the first few staff meetings. All in the name of keeping order and not draw unnecessary attention to himself. People still wanted to know how this superhero had done his moves. The photos of his jump over the hood of the car were still circulating as people were speculating where he might be and who he might saving.
Steve was not superman and didn’t want to fuel that. That was the excuse he was going to stick with. His heart however was angry with him for being denied. He loved seeing Sarah walk about the halls and he loved seeing her inspire others to be their very best as students and professionals. The world needed more people like Sarah. He needed her in his life, as unworthy as he may feel about it.
What no one could have seen or anticipated or prepared for was what would happen when Mackenzie, the new substitute teacher, had planned for Steve. She had her sights set on him and wanted to make sure she had him all to herself. Sensing there was no communication between Sarah and Steve, she concluded that the runway was clear. She had him all for herself. And, confident in her seduction skills, she was prepared to unleash on the man before anyone else made a successful bid.
As far as Mackenzie was concerned, having enough coverage hours to appear like a full time teacher was a bonus. A huge well negotiated bonus. Her classroom would be situated across from Sarah’s but in better view of the corner from which Steve would have to pass if he was to come by Sarah’s. Mackenzie knew she had to act fast, the lady she was covering from would be back from maternity in a few months. Once that assignment was done, who knew where Mackenzie would be positioned.
The school’s most popular jock was also a useful piece of the puzzle. He had taken a shining to Sarah and was a sharp witted comic in the making. Most single male teachers, which there were only two, felt intimidated by this kid’s potential. Whenever he hung about Sarah, they fell back and watched at a distance. Not that this kid had a prayer of getting Sarah’s affection, but the egos couldn’t handle the wit and jokes at their expense whenever they tried to get close to Sarah.
Mackenzie found that to be total gold. She strategically took interest in this young man and helped encourage his academic goals by offering valuable tips and tricks to study with. Everything was aboveboard. Everything was legit. However, the timing of these tips always managed to coincide with whenever it was likely Steve would walk by Sarah’s classroom.
The other fellas picked up on this and were quick to find Steve to warn him of the blockade going one. They didn’t want him to have his superman status ruined if he made any attempts to reconnect with Sarah. Not to mention, if they allowed Steve to reconnect, there was a good chance they would have no luck getting her to go on a date with them. So, as they worked to convince Steve to stay away, they encouraged Mackenzie to share wisdom with the rising academic star of a jock. Little did everyone know that this cover was helping Steve lay low as he worked on his inner game.
If he was to have any chance at reconnecting with Sarah, Steve would need to make sure his comeback lines were strong. The only risk he was nervously and painfully aware of, with each passing week that he remained off Sarah’s radar, the venom of hate was growing and would require him to step up his game all the more. There was a tipping point he couldn’t identify or quantify that was rapidly approaching. That day would come when Sarah decided to talk to one of the single guys at work. Then, his chances would completely be gone. Thanks to that jock, he had a little more time. But what of the guys she knew outside of work?