"Come on, Elsa. Just one drink."
Elsa defeatedly puts her head down on the small wooden table, off in the corner of her favorite bar. However tempting an alcoholic beverage sounds right now, she knows that it probably wouldn't be a responsible decision. "No," she groans, "I told you my first day of work is tomorrow, and I don't want to mess this up."
Olaf, her best friend, lets out a loud chuckle as he slams his beer on the table with more force than he probably intended to. "Come on, Elsa. Don't tell me you're nervous," he says teasingly. "Are you afraid you're gonna get attached to these kids?"
Elsa lifts her head, squinting at Olaf. She knows that responding to him in this state is frivolous, but she still can't help but take every statement he makes to heart. "No," she replies, somewhat annoyed. "I'm only doing Teach For America for these two years so my med school application will look better," she says with a special sass she has reserved only for him. "I'm just nervous because... Well high school wasn't exactly the best the first time around." She lets out a resigned breath as she focuses her eyes on a name carved into the table.
Olaf leans over and places a hand on her shoulder. "There's that ice queen I know and love," he smiles.
Elsa can tell that the statement is supposed to be endearing but it falls a little short. Olaf seems to enjoy calling her the ice queen, but personally she harbors a deep resentment for the epithet. It started as a joke a while back, but for some reason it has stuck around.
Olaf continues to speak after a short pause. "High school wasn't all that bad. I thought you looked cute in braces. It was also cute how you were the only girl on the tennis team who wore that super thick polo shirt even though it was hot as all hell outside."
Elsa starts laughing, more out of convention because he made a joke, rather than actually thinking it was funny. High school had been a really hard time for her, and even though she just graduated from college, it still feels a little close to home.
Elsa's courteous laugh stops abruptly when she is suddenly reminded of a commitment she had made. "Crap!" she exclaims, "-I forgot I agreed to coach the girl's tennis team. We have a practice tomorrow..." she trails off as nerves start to creep up her skin at the thought of having to confront a team where, in a way, she'd be the newest member.
"And don't make fun of me," she whispers after a brief silence, feeling the sudden need to defend herself. "I only wore that shirt because I was self conscious about my body. That's perfectly normal for a teenage girl."
Olaf gives her a reassuring smile. "Your body is great Elsa... Also, practice on the first day? What is this? Don't be a Nazi, Elsa."
"I want to get to know the girls," she chirps, ignoring his Nazi comment. "It's actually the thing I've been the most excited about, albeit still a little nervous. I miss doing tennis."
She had picked the sport up her freshman year of high school, and for some reason it just came easy to her. Tennis had been her favorite part of high school, and the driving force that kept her moving forward during her otherwise not so great teen years.
Olaf nods understandingly, even though it's a bit unclear whether or not he's understanding anything with his current level of intoxication. "Just remember, they're just as afraid of you, as you are of them," he slurs, slightly swaying in his seat.
"Is that right? I think you've had a little too much to drink," Elsa laughs. "I'm pretty sure they'll be everything but afraid of me."
She sighs at the thought. It's not that she wants to have a necessarily intimidating presence, but she at least wants to command some form of respect from her students. One of the things she's most nervous about is that maybe she won't be able to control her classroom. Losing control isn't something she deals with well. "I need to go home so I can get a good night of sleep," she whispers. "Come on you big lump, I'll drive."
They both stand from the table, Elsa more easily than Olaf, and begin to make their way toward the car. Being able to manage the uneasy process of getting her large, swaying friend from point A to point B is a skill that Elsa isn't sure if she should be proud or ashamed of. Never-the-less, she finally gets him into the passenger seat of the car, and buckles him in.
"Not much has changed since college," he smiles up at her.
She lets out a soft laugh, staring down at her friend. "Maybe because we graduated just a few months ago," she says, before shutting his door. She then walks around to the other side and gets in the driver's seat, and starts the car to begin the drive back to their apartment complex.
Olaf is silent most of the ride, the dull vibrations lulling him off to sleep. It gives Elsa time to think about the exciting day she has ahead of her. Maybe exciting isn't the word for it, her thoughts insist, not wanting to be overly optimistic. After all, she had adopted the mentality of expecting the worst and hoping for the best.
She takes in a deep breath as she attempts to turn away from her negative thoughts. There's no point in getting herself worked up about tomorrow. She's already nervous, and she doesn't need the added stress of her mind pointing out everything that can possibly go wrong. The silence in the car no longer feels welcoming, so she turns on the music for the remainder of the drive.
When they make it to the apartment complex, Elsa helps Olaf out of the car, and into his apartment. She gives him a glass of water and makes sure he drinks it all. It had become a regular habit of hers, taking care of her drunk friend. He partied way too hard during college, and she was always there to make sure he didn't have a huge hangover... or alcohol poisoning.
Once she feels that he's good for the night, she goes across the hall to her own apartment, too tired to do anything but immediately head to sleep. She enters her bedroom and begins stripping out of her day clothes, trading them for pajamas. Tomorrow will be a great day, she thinks, willing herself believe it. Whether it is true or not, the thought makes her smile as her head hits the pillow and she drifts off to sleep.
She wakes the next day to her alarm that she had set thirty minutes earlier than she normally would. She sits up and immediately feels nervous now that the day has finally arrived.
What if they don't like me?
She tries to shake the thought away. First thought of the day and it's negative. This isn't the way she wants to start her day off, and it isn't the way she needs to start her day off. She takes in a deep breath, resetting her mind, before she gets out of bed and heads toward the bathroom.
Elsa turns the water on in the shower, feeling the bathroom get deliciously steamy before stepping in and letting the warmth consume her. She gently washes every inch of her body, kneading away her worries as she tries to fight off the urge to get back in bed and skip showing up to work all together.
When she finishes cleaning, she gets out and slowly dries herself with a newfound outlook for the day. She then walks back into the bedroom toward a chair where her neatly folded and ironed uniform sits.
Her clothing options for work are limited- she either has to wear a navy blue shirt and Khaki bottoms, or business casual. She decided on Khaki and navy blue for the first day.
Elsa grabs the khaki pants and slides into them, before pulling the navy blue shirt over her messy hair. Now that she's wearing the uniform, the situation seems a little more real. This is happening. She is actually going to be a teacher.
After she finishes getting dressed, she walks back into the bathroom, taking out her makeup bag. She normally isn't much of a makeup type person, but today she is nervous. She wants to make a good impression, and the makeup can boost her confidence. At least that's what the magazines say. She decides to go for a simple look- only focusing on her brows, lashes, and lips.
Elsa opens the bag and takes out a barely used tube of lip gloss. She then takes the top off the tube and carefully rubs the cherry-flavored gel onto her puckered lips. When she is finished she twists the top back on and sets the tube down on the sink. She looks at her reflection in the mirror, assessing her new and improved countenance. She doesn't really feel more confident.
Maybe the magazines lied.
Elsa takes in a deep breath, hoping to calm her nerves once again. She can see the worry growing in her icy blue eyes and she desperately tries to mentally will it away. Today is going to go fine, she tells herself. The thought has enough conviction to convince her brain that she can believe it. Her eyes glimmer with a flicker of hope, giving her enough confidence to continue getting ready.
Once Elsa finishes her makeup she twists her platinum blonde hair into a braid before wrapping it into a bun. She then looks down at her shirt, smoothing it as the gold lettering in the upper left corner catches her eye. It says staff.
She runs her finger across the word. How could one small word hold so much power and responsibility? Am I ready for this? Elsa shakes her head. Of course she's ready. She's just teaching a couple of science courses. How bad could it be?
Elsa drags the chalk across the board as she carefully tries to draw the inner membrane of a mitochondrion. The chalk makes a loud squeaking noise and Elsa cringes as she hears several snickers come from behind her. "So the inner membrane," she starts, realizing her voice is too low to be heard. She clears her throat and tries to speak again, but is interrupted by the bell.
Elsa slaps the chalk down and turns to leave faster than most of the students, but then she remembers that she's the teacher. She patiently waits for the students to pile out of the room before shutting her class door and letting out a breath that she was sure she'd been holding since first period.
Elsa walks to her desk and takes a seat in the uncomfortable excuse for a desk chair. She then puts her head down and lets out a sigh. The day was hard. She was quickly learning that teaching wasn't just about knowing the subject.
Each student learns at a different pace, and some students only show up to disrupt the class. I need to read a book on classroom management. She takes in a deep breath as she shuts her eyes. She needed to focus on having positive thoughts. That was the only way she could get through this.
Her moment of relaxation is cut short by the sound of someone clearing their throat. Elsa lifts her head. She hadn't heard anyone enter the room, but there is a girl with strawberry blonde hair and freckles staring down at her. She didn't remember seeing the girl in any of the classes so she wonders why she's here.
The girl lifts her hand and presses her mouth into a smirk. "Hey.. uhm, I'm Anna. I'm on the tennis team. I figured I'd stop by and make sure you knew how to get to the courts.. but if I'm interrupting something, I could just leave."
Elsa stares at the girl longer than she intended to, before realizing she should probably respond. She clumsily stands from her desk and shakes her head. "N-no, you're not interrupting anything. I'm Els.. er Ms. Askeland." She extends a hand towards the girl. Get it together, Elsa.
"What kind of name is that? Where's it from," Anna asks, completely ignoring the hand extended in her direction.
Elsa looks around before dropping her arm back to her side. "It's Norwegian. I was actually born-"
"Nevermind," the younger girl interrupts. "We should get to practice, I need to get out of here as fast as possible. I have a date." She says the last sentence with a smile as she turns to leave the room.
Elsa watches her walk away, before realizing she should probably follow her. "Wait up, Anna. I have to get my stuff." She runs behind her desk and grabs her bag, before heading out of the door and locking it behind her.
Anna leads Elsa to the tennis courts where they find twelve girls dressed and ready for practice. They become silent as they see Elsa and Anna approaching.
Anna starts to laugh. "Oh my God, these try-hards," she says, disbelief in her voice. She turns to Elsa. "Guess I'm the only one not ready." She shrugs. "I'm the captain though, so I'm really the only one that matters." She rolls her eyes and turns to head towards the locker room.
"Actually-," Elsa blurts out, causing Anna to stop and turns around. "I was thinking we could do a sort of re-tryout of all the girls… just to get a clear ranking of where everyone stands. I haven't actually seen any of you play."
Anna walks back toward Elsa. "I've been captain for two years. I'm the best. I didn't show up to re-tryout."
"Well, if you're the best… you should have no problem beating everyone else," Elsa says, attempting to hold her ground.
Anna rolls her eyes and takes in an exasperated breath. "Look, I know you're new here, but you could at least act like you know what you're doing. You can't just show up and rearrange everything. We were the best school in tennis last year. Try not to fix what's not broken."
Elsa looks at the ground. She hates to admit it, but she's actually somewhat intimidated by the girl. She hadn't expected this much opposition to her idea. She raises her head. "Actually, I can rearrange everything. I'm the coach… and as I said, if you're the best, you'll keep your spot. That is of course, unless you want to leave early. In that case, you're free to go."
Anna scowls at Elsa before pulling out her phone. She dials a number and puts it to her ear. "Hey." She smiles and bites down on her lip. "I miss you, too… even though I just saw you... Uhm, practice might be a little long today, so I might have to cancel on our date. This new coach is.." She looks up at Elsa. "I just might not be able to make it. Please don't be angry." She nods her head. "Okay. I know. I'm sorry." She's silent for a moment. "Well, I have to go... I love you Hans." She waits a moment before looking down at her phone screen. Elsa can see the hurt in Anna's eyes. Anna looks up at Elsa. "You happy now? I'll do your dumb tryouts."