Everybody Loves Debra:Teacher's Petbydemurebutwild©
Six months. It had been six months since Debra's shameful but oh-so exciting affair with Marco, a 19 year old Italian exchange student with a summer job at the local A&P. Debra still flushed at the memory of that night, and how she'd given herself with such reckless abandon to the young man, doing things with him she'd never done before or even considered doing. He'd awoken a flame in her that she'd forgotten she had (if, indeed, she'd ever been aware of it at all), arousing her to such a fantastic degree that she'd even let him come in her, with no protection, even though she wasn't on the pill.
The next morning she'd read the letter he left her, explaining why he'd come to her the way he had and that he was leaving for school, never to see her again. At the time, she'd been glad; she appreciated what he'd done and would never forget that night, but didn't need the complications of a young lover. She'd re-committed herself to Ray, and had tried over the period since to get him to see in her what Marco had.
It hadn't worked.
Ray was still Ray. Oh, he was a good man, of course; a good father, a good provider, and she knew he loved her deeply. But he was still too much of a momma's boy to really "get" her the way Marco had. Part of the problem, she thought, was that he knew her (or thought he did) and would never dare try some of the things Marco had. And she wasn't about to ask him to. She'd given hints galore, but he still continued on with sex in the same old way, and she was tired of trying to get through to him. Sighing resignedly to herself, she figured this was just how it was going to have to be.
It was the end of a long, cold February in New York, and Ray had plans to take the kids off to visit some family of his in Pennsylvania. Everyone was going, even Robert, Frank and Marie. Debra wasn't particularly looking forward to it. It was tough enough living across the street from Ray's family, but traveling with them was a different story. Still, she had a few weeks before the trip to get used to the idea; maybe she'd even enjoy it. For now, though, there were the usual chores to be done. She had laundry piling up, cleaning to do, and errands for the kids. Grimacing to herself slightly, she remembered that she had a meeting with Allie's new teacher today, too. She didn't know what it was for; she'd just gotten one of those wretched school form letters one day saying she was requested to come and meet with Mrs. Thompson at noon today. That was the kids lunch period, which let the teacher meet the parent without interrupting class.
'Great for her,' Debra thought. 'I mess up my schedule so she doesn't have to mess up hers, the old bat.' Debra knew this was an unfair thought. She hadn't even met the new teacher yet, and had no reason to think ill of her. It was just frustrating; it always seemed like it was her job to be inconvenienced, and she was sick of it.
Debra arrived at the school on time, and walked into the front office.
"Hello, how can I help you?" asked the little grey haired lady at the front desk. Debra thought she must have worked there since George Washington went to school here; she looked like a permanent fixture.
"Hi, I'm Debra Barone, Allie's mother. I'm here to see her teacher, a Mrs. Thompson?"
"Actually, dear," the old lady piped up with a look of disapproval, "it's MISS Thompson. I'll call her and let her know you're here, if you'll just have a seat over there" she finished, pointing to the small collection of chairs and a couch that passed for the waiting room.
Holding back a sharp retort, Debra signed the visitor's log, stabbing the pen back into the holder rather more sharply than necessary before flouncing down on the couch, her arms crossed in angry defiance. God, what WAS it with people? Did the old bitch really need to correct her like that? Must just come naturally to people working in schools, she thought. They just have to correct everyone.
She flipped idly through the pages of a magazine, without even paying attention to what it was. Then a voice said from the door, "Mrs. Barone? Hi, I'm Stephanie Thompson, Allie's new teacher." Debra looked up in surprise at the young, sweet sounding voice in surprise. For some reason, she'd assumed Allie's new teacher would be of a more mature age, somewhere between sixty and oh, say, a hundred. Ms. Thompson, however, was young; younger than Debra, at any rate. She looked to be no more than 25 or so, and had dark black hair pulled back into a pony tail. She was about Debra's height, and very trim, with the body of an athlete. She was wearing a pair of khaki slacks that showed off her figure nicely, and a light blue sweater that went well with her eyes, which were a dark, dark blue.
Debra stood and shook Ms. Thompsons hand. She couldn't help but notice how smooth they were, and was slightly embarrassed to remember she hadn't used any of her traditional hand cream today. "Hi, I'm Debra. Nice to meet you finally! We really should have come down earlier, but it's been really busy," she said, feeling like the worst parent in the world. Why hadn't she and Ray come down to see Allie's new teacher? She couldn't remember why, but it had never really seemed important.
"Oh, that's no problem at all, Mrs. Barone," said Ms. Thompson, gesturing for Debra to come along with her to the class. "That's one reason I sent home a meeting request; I want to meet all the parents of my students, and it's hard to get everyone here. And, while we're at it, please just call me Stephanie."
"Okay, thanks, Stephanie, and you can call me Debra," she replied, feeling a little better. Some people were naturally good at putting a person at ease, and Stephanie Thompson seemed like one of them.
As they strolled down the hall, Debra asked "Is there anything in particular you wanted to discuss?"
Opening the door to her classroom, Stephanie ushered Debra in and gestured for her to sit by her desk in an adult-sized chair obviously carried in for that purpose. 'Thoughtful of her,' Debra said to herself. 'I like this lady.'
"Well, Debra," said Stephanie, "the biggest reason I've asked to see you has to do with Allie's socializing. Now, she's not misbehaving!" Stephanie said quickly as Debra started to speak in obvious surprise. "Far from it. No, the problem is that she's a little bit too passive for her own good. She won't tell me when she needs help, or ask for it. She won't stick up for herself, either; if someone does something to her she doesn't like, she just takes it. I'm a bit worried about that, because as you know she'll start middle school next year, and it's a lot tougher on kids who can't show some spirit."
"Well, Stehpanie, I'm glad you told me this" Debra said with real concern. "I never knew this was happening; why haven't we been told before? Is this something new?"
Looking slightly sheepish, Stephanie replied. "I don't wish to say anything discourteous about my predecessor, Debra," she started slowly. "But Mrs. Brown's idea of good behavior was basically not getting in trouble. As long as Allie didn't cause problems, that's all she really noticed. Me, I try to look after them a bit more and see ALL their behavior. I tried to talk to Allie about it, but she's not responding like I'd hoped."
"What can we do to help her?" Debra asked, again with obvious concern. She might have some disappointments of her own to deal with, but she always tried her best to help the kids when they really needed it, and this sounded serious ('and a bit familiar, too, doesn't it?') she thought dimly to herself.
"You can talk to her, and try a little roll-play. Put her in an imaginary situation, where you try to take something from her, or make her do something she doesn't want to. Then help her with good responses; firm, without being belligerent. Praise her when she gets it right, promise to be on her side, and just support her. With both of us telling her it's okay to say 'no,' she should come along a bit better."
Debra was really quite impressed. This Stephanie seemed like the kind of teacher who really cared for her charges, and that was something Debra valued in a teacher. "Is there anything else we can do?" she asked.
"Well, Debra, I'm curious if you can tell me if anyone else in the family, or perhaps a close friend, is like this. Do you know of anyone who always seems to subordinate their own needs to others? Maybe someone in the family?" she added, with a knowing look.
Debra blushed and said, "Well, maybe. I sometimes get wrapped up in doing so much for the family and my husband that I can't do the things I'd like to do."
"Well, Debra," Stephanie said with the strangest, most knowing look, "maybe that's where Allie gets it from. I'm not one to tell parents how to do things, and it's clear that Allie comes from a loving home and a good environment, but she's modeling her behavior from you, and like any child, she only models parts of it. One part she's obviously seeing is that it's not good to do what you want if it conflicts with what other's want. You might try changing that and letting her see it."
"You know, you might be right. In fact, I think that's a GREAT idea," Debra said forcefully and with growing anger. It was bad enough, she thought, that she'd let herself get in this slump yet again, but now it was affecting her only daughter. No more! She'd be damned if she was going on that trip. Ray could go, the kids could go if they wanted (but she'd ask if Allie wanted to and let her out of it if she didn't want to go), but not her. Not this time.
"Thanks for asking me to come down, Stephanie," she said. "This has really been helpful, and I'm glad you told me about this problem of Allie's. I'll get to work on it with Ray right away. Please, though, if you need anything, call me or drop by," she added, scribbling her number and address on a card. "I'm home most days, so if you need to tell me anything else, I'll be there."
Stephanie thanked Debra for her time, looking intently at the card as she led her to the door. As Debra left the room, they shook hands one last time and Stephanie said "Thanks, Debra. I'll be sure to contact you...soon" before turning back into the room. As she walked back to her desk, the bell rang and the kids started down the hall from the cafeteria. Before Debra could ask what 'soon' meant, she was lost in a hustle of kids...but didn't fail to catch how Stephanie turned and looked at her just before she was swept away from the door. The last look she'd seen like that was from Marco; surely, SURELY, this wasn't the same? She felt a rush of heat in her stomach at the thought as she made her way back to the office and mechanically signed up before heading to her car, and driving home.
Debra had never been with a woman, but she'd had a close call once in college. A friend of a friend, actually, at a party had come on to her and she hadn't quite gotten the signals. Finally the girl had kissed her, openly and with surprising force. Debra had rebuffed her in confusion, and the girl had left the party looking somewhat crushed and confused. She hadn't thought about that in years, and was certain she wasn't a lesbian in hiding; she liked men too much for that (especially when they were as gifted as Marco had been!) But, she had to admit this Stephanie was certainly very attractive, and in more ways than one. She'd put Debra at ease in a way no other person had in years, and she'd done it so quickly. Debra was a big believer in the notion that some people you either instantly liked or instantly disliked, and she was certain she liked Stephanie. That must have been why she'd given her their address. She'd never done that before, and still didn't quite get what impulse had led her to do it this time, but she had, and she really didn't regret it at all. And, Stephanie had told her something she'd needed to hear, not just about Allie, but about herself. Fuming again over the way she'd let herself be lately, she resolved again to not go on that trip. She'd tell Ray tonight, and fireworks be damned.
Two Weeks Later
It hadn't been pretty, but in the end, it had worked. True to her word, the night after meeting Allie's new teacher, Debra told Ray she wasn't going on the trip. He'd been upset about it, and done his usual whiny routine, but she'd stuck to her guns; she wasn't going. Of course, the minute she found out, Marie had come over and tried to guilt trip her about. Again, she stuck to her guns, and refused...and, in a fit of perverse pleasure, she'd really gotten Marie going when she said none of the kids had to go, either, if they didn't want to. Surprisingly, though, the did, which meant that Debra not only won the fight and hopefully gave a little encouragement to Allie, she also now had a full week alone to relax. Part of her, of course, was a little disappointed that Marco wasn't around, but in truth she was glad; she couldn't promise herself that she could resist him, and with a full week, the chances of her doing something truly stupid and getting caught were much higher. But it was fun to think about, and as she had many times since then, she WOULD think about tonight, after a nice hot bath. She'd light a few candles, get out her favorite toy, and make an evening of remembering her night with Marco as she pleasured herself, as many times as she wanted or needed.
After a light dinner (eaten in peace for a change), Debra was just on her way up to start her bath when the phone rang. "Damnit," she said, marching toward the phone. "Even when no one's here, I can't get a break!"
"Hello?" she asked rather sharply, picking up the phone.
"Debra? Mrs. Barone? Hi, this is Stephanie Thompson, Allie's teacher?"
"Oh, hi," said Debra, flustered. She hadn't meant to sound so sharp, and was a bit embarrassed by her tone. "How are you?"
"Fine, Debra, just fine," Stephanie said in that soothing voice of hers. "I was just on my way home and thought I'd give you an update on Allie, if you had the time. I still have your address, and it's not too out of the way. Would it be okay if I stop by?"
"Sure," said Debra, puzzled. "Is anything wrong?"
"No, no, not at all!" Stephanie said. "I just know you were concerned about Allie and I thought I'd stop by and tell you how she was doing. If it's not convenient, I understand."
"No, it's okay," Debra replied quickly. "I'm not busy, so drop by and I'll make some coffee."
"Great! I'll be there in about a half hour," Stephanie said. "See you then!"
"Okay, see you soon! Bye!" Debra said as she hung up.
Well, the she thought, it wasn't what she'd planned for the night, but hopefully it'd be a short visit and then she could get back to business. She put on a pot of coffee, and considered changing clothes. She was just wearing her favorite jeans, sneakers, and a simple button-down shirt un-tucked; maybe a bit too much of the home-maker look, she thought, but not worth changing. After all, it was just a teacher coming by, not the Pope.
She put on the coffee and tidied up a bit, and when the door bell rang she went to answer it. Stephanie was on the stoop, and if Debra had been worried about her clothes, she immediately saw she needn't have been. Stephanie was wearing a workout suit and running shoes; clearly, she was heading to the gym.
"Hi, Stephanie, come in," Debra said. "Make yourself at home. Would you like some coffee?"
"No, thanks, Debra," Stephanie replied, moving toward the couch to sit. "I'm going to go work out after our meeting, and coffee always makes me a little queasy if I try to run after I drink it."
"Well, is there anything else I can get you?" Debra asked.
"No, thanks, Debra, I'm fine."
"Okay, well, tell me what brings you by," Debra said, sitting sideways on the couch, one leg tucked under her as she faced Stephanie. "Is Allie okay?"
"She's fine. In fact, she's much better, and that's why I wanted to come by," Stephanie said. "She's being a bit more assertive, and I wanted to let you know it's made a big change. I spoke to her about it the other day, and she told me she and your family were going on a big trip, but that you weren't. She also said you told her she didn't have to go if she didn't want to; that's good, and what she needs to hear."
"Yes, Ray and his family took the kids off to Pennsylvania to see some relatives," Debra said. "I really didn't want to go. I don't get much time for myself, you know, and decided not to. And, to be honest, one of the things I'd hoped to do was show Allie that it was okay to say 'no' like that. Plus, it's kind of like being on vacation myself," she added with a laugh. "A whole week off with no kids or family? I know it sounds just awful, but it's a real treat for me."
"I'll bet it is. I don't have any kids or family myself, but I imagine it can be...trying," Stephanie said. "So you're alone for a week? Don't you get a little bored?"
"Nope," Debra said firmly. "Not at all. Tonight I was going to drink some wine, read a good book, take a long bath while listening to some music, and go to bed early. Might be dull, but it sounds great to me right now."
"Just a book and a bath, huh?" Said Stephanie. "No other 'plans'?" she added, with a knowing glance in Debra's direction.
'What does she mean by that?' Debra thought to herself. 'Am I that transparent, or is it just that it's what you'd expect someone in my position to do?'
"What do you mean?" Debra asked aloud. "Is there something else I should be doing?"
"Come now, Debra," Stephanie said, turning to face her with her own leg tucked under her. "Let's not be coy. You know what I mean."
"No, I don't," said Debra, beginning to blush. Stephanie wasn't in school, and Debra hadn't noticed how perfect her complexion was, and how lovely she was. She was uncomfortable being so easily understood by a women 15 or more years younger than she, and felt off balance.
"Well, let me spell it out for you," Stephanie said, with skeptical look on her face. "I'm a good judge of character, Debra, and I think I know you, and why Allie has some problems being more assertive. She gets it from you, am I right? Which tells me you're probably not very satisfied at home most of the time, because you're always doing things for the family. Some time alone means you can take some time for yourself, and I'm betting a woman in your position needs some release. Am I wrong?" she added, challenging Debra with her eyes.
"No, not really," Debra said. "Is it that obvious?"
"Maybe not to everyone," Stephanie said. "But your face gives a lot away. Ever been told that before?"
Debra recalled Marco, and how he'd known how she was feeling after only a brief meeting at the A&P. 'My God,' she thought, 'am I really so easy to read? What are other people thinking about me? And, if it's so easy, why the hell doesn't Ray understand what I need?'
"Maybe," she responded cagily. "But really, what has this got to do with anything?"
"Maybe nothing," Stephanie replied. "But, maybe everything. Can I ask you a personal question, Debra?"
"Well, you've already done that," Debra said. "So I guess the answer is yes. But don't expect an answer if I don't want to give it," she warned.
"Very good! That's just what Allie needs," Stephanie said. "But what I want to ask is this; have you ever been with a woman before?"
Debra couldn't believe her ears. How brazen could you get? This lady was a teacher, for God's sake, and was coming on to the parent of one of her kids, and a married parent at that! Even worse, a same-sex married parent! Didn't she know it could cost her job and her license? That if she was reported she'd never teach again?
Debra had no doubt that Stephanie new it very well. Which meant she must have been very confident that her advances wouldn't be rebuffed, or that at least Debra wouldn't report her. Curious, though, she played along.