A/N: So, I'm trying things a little different with this story. Although I have a general sense of where I want this fic to end up, I have nothing planned or outlined. I'm letting the chips fall where they may along with the prompts. This is SO not my normal process, so it very well could be a disaster. Together, we'll just have to see what happens. As always, thanks for reading and enjoy! ~Charlynn~
An Olicity Flash Fic Story
Flash Fic Prompt #29: Up Close and Personal
Like a book you never wanted to end, the school day drew to a close, and the bell rang. Was it just Felicity, or did time seem to go by faster with every 'x' to the calendar?
To a smattering of chuckles, she moved out from around her podium, realizing – too late – that she might have offered that exclamation up to the classroom a little louder than intended. However, if that was the worst thing she said to her students, then it had been a good day. Really, it was amazing that, fifteen years going strong, she still had a job, considering the things that came out of her mouth. Apparently, either her students didn't take her serious enough to actually listen to her, or she was deemed amusing enough to be spared their wicked vindictive streaks. Because, though Felicity enjoyed her job and still managed to teach high school without hating all teenagers, she was all too aware of their flaws. After all, it wasn't too long along that she had been one herself, and, even if she forgot her own less than sterling behavior (not that Donna Smoak would ever allow that to happen), then Mia would remind her.
Shaking away her thoughts, Felicity refocused upon the fact that her students were hastily packing up and leaving for the day, and she still needed to reiterate their assignment. "Don't forget that your final project proposals are due tomorrow. With parent-teacher night rapidly approaching, we need to get moving on this assignment. And try to make them spectacular, because they'll go a long way towards impressing your Luddite guardians and proving to them that I am the cat's pajamas of technology teachers." It wouldn't hurt her side business either as a software developer, considering the fact that nearly all of her students were the heir or heiress to some amazing family business. Felicity made a lot of connections (and business deals) because of parent-teacher night. "Even if you don't care about impressing the 'rents, impress me, because I'll be getting all up in their grills, and, trust me, my flattery will get you everywhere."
"Nobody says that anymore, Ms. S.," a student called out with a roll of his eyes.
"I know that." And she did. Totally. Didn't they realize that she was just mocking the older generations with them, making it retro-funny? Eh. Whatever.
Yet the teasing continued. "Just what exactly does up in their grills mean, Ms. S.," another student asked her.
While Felicity was pretty sure that they understood her point, that her references weren't that old – oh, god, were they; was she turning into her mother?, she answered the question anyway just to be on the safe side. Plus, that was one of her rules as a teacher: no inquiry was too great, or too small, or too embarrassing for her to answer. "Um... personal?"
"Oh, so you mean intimate?"
"Well, sure, I guess." And then she realized what the little shits were implying, and she glared at her students, shooting them with the least impressed look she could manage. "No! No, that's not what I meant, and you know it." Some were still lingering, laughing. Oh, the idyll rich whose Porsches and Jeeves-es waited indefinitely for their pampered behinds. "Now, leave. Skedaddle. Get out of my hair."
"That you dye," an oh-so-helpful brat of a natural blonde cheerleader offered up in response.
Seriously? Why did Felicity put herself through this? Why?
"Out," she yelled. And, yep, that was her loud voice. "Out, you hooligans, one and all."
By the time the last millionaire degenerate skipped out of her classroom in their designer dress shoes, Felicity realized that she had defensively crossed her arms over her chest. Letting them fall to her sides, she blew out a deep breath – her cheeks puffing out accordingly – and rolled back her shoulders, her neck cracking in the process. The sad thing was that, despite the mostly good natured harassment she suffered at her students' hands, she'd still rather be there than at home... which made her a great teacher (if she did say so herself) but an awful mother.
Whirling around on her panda flats – hey, at least Starling Prep had a kickass janitorial staff, so the tiled floors were always spotless and tired, old, scuffed panda flats spin-able, Felicity came face to face with the reason why she was a teacher: that brilliant student who you just... connect with, who you know will change your life just as much as you'll hopefully change theirs for the better. Though he had initially startled her, Felicity's jumpiness was immediately forgotten, and the corners of her pink painted mouth lifted into a warm, genuine, bright smile. "Connor. What are you still doing here? Did you fall asleep and miss me scaring away all your classmates?"
"You know I'd never sleep during your class, Ms. Smoak. It's the only one I like here."
Yeah. She did know that, but she had been hoping that maybe Connor was adjusting better to Starling Prep, that he was starting to fit in, that things for the seventeen year old were beginning to improve. Apparently, not. Although Connor was new to the private school – having just started his junior year in the isolated world that was an elite, prep academy, he had been quickly accepted by his peers. It wasn't a question of not belonging in Connor's case as it sometimes was for scholarship students. No, Connor wasn't there as a charity case – the unfortunate outlook of many of Starling Prep's more privileged in regards to their less wealthy peers. He was just new to the city itself, and he made it very clear that he was not in Starling by choice.
"While I appreciate the love – platonically speaking, of course, I wish you'd spread it around a little more." Adding a warning to her next statement, Felicity prefaced, "I'm not trying to tell you how to feel, and I'm not good with heights, so this is not me standing on my soapbox, but your apathy towards... well, everything and everyone besides computers and the lady who gives you access to them is only hurting you, Connor. Nobody else here cares, to be frank. Right or wrong, that's how this place, how life, works." When he didn't respond yet didn't make up some excuse to run away, Felicity decided to push him a little further by asking, "what do your parents think of your little rebellion?"
"My mom's the reason I'm here. She said it's because she wants me to have every opportunity in the world, but really I know she shipped me off because she was sick and tired of dealing with a teenage son on her own. As for Oliver..." Well, that was interesting – Connor referring to his father by his first name – and illuminating. "He's oblivious. Apparently, when he was my age, he was getting arrested and getting suspended, so, as long as I don't pee on a cop car or show up to class wasted so many times that I get expelled, I'm golden. Besides," Connor added bitterly. And that's what let Felicity know that, despite his blasé attitude, her favorite student (And, yeah, teachers weren't supposed to have favorite students, but they all totally did.) really did care. He cared a lot, actually. "Oliver's too busy to notice anyone else's life but his own. He never wanted to be a father, and now he's stuck with me until I graduate."
"He's there now, Connor. That has to count for something." Because sometimes dad's weren't there... even when they could be.
If ever a parent-teacher night was needed! Felicity made it her practice not to involve herself in her students' personal lives. (Oh, who was she kidding? She was totally a meddler.) While she was a horrible mother, she gave great advice to parents... or so she believed. (Fifteen years and counting, and she'd had very few complaints so far. And, wow, that sounded kind of sexual, but, well, if only.) Apparently, that old saying was true: those who can't do, teach... except, she could totally do computers – not literally... like sexually, obviously – so, maybe not.
And, yeah, she was spending way too much time with hormonal teenagers. Why hadn't someone warned her that they were contagious?
Anyway, where were they...?
" … why the school doesn't have a technology club?"
Flats or not, Felicity had been standing in her shoes on her feet all day. With her dogs barking, she moved to sit down behind her desk before answering Connor's query, indicating for him to take a seat as well. The teen did as suggested, slinging his messenger bag over his shoulder and onto the floor first before sliding into the nearest desk. "I've tried in the past, but there was never any real interest. A few people would show up thinking that we'd just play Dungeons and Dragons for a few hours together, and, while I was okay with that – I mean, Dungeons and Dragons really isn't my thing personally, but to each their own, right?, they'd quickly get bored with my snack choices and go back to playing at home where their butlers and maids were handy for munchy runs."
Smiling at Connor's disappointment, at his interest, and at seeing her window of opportunity when it presented itself, Felicity suggested, "but that doesn't mean that we can't meet after school and geek out. While the board wouldn't officially approve a club of one with me as your advisor, technically, I do have office hours every night. We could... do things together. Tech things," she rushed to add. Because, while, objectively speaking, Connor was a cute kid, he was a kid. And she was a grown-ass woman who did not possess even a teeny-tiny cougar streak. (No, Donna Smoak had that corner covered in their family.) If anything, a part of Felicity would have wanted to set Connor up with her own kid, but she liked Connor too much to saddle him with Mia. While she loved her daughter unconditionally, Felicity was not blind to her faults. Of which there were many – too many for even a smart, attractive, compassionate boy like Connor Hawke to wrangle. "I'm not just a real-life Mavis Beacon; I freelance. At one point in my life, my plans did not included teaching pimply faced teenagers how to create spreadsheets, you know. No offense. So, if you're really interested in computers and technology, I could show you a few things. Legal things! All things legal! We will not hack! Hacking is whack."
Chuckling, Connor stood up. "No, you're whack, Ms. Smoak." As he wrapped his messenger bag back around his tall, lanky form once again, Felicity realized that he was her only student who actually called her by her name. She wasn't sure where the Ms. S. thing started from. While teenagers might be lazy, Smoak was not a difficult (or time consuming) name to pronounce. "But I'm in... if you're sure it won't be an imposition."
"Nah. No imposition. I'm totally downsies."
As he disappeared through the doorway, Connor said, "and... yeah, maybe we'll work on your street cred, too, Ms. Smoak."
Five minutes later, when Felicity pushed aside the papers she was supposed to be grading in favor of that line of code that had been giving her fits, she realized she was still pouting.
She didn't know what Connor was talking about; she was wicked pissah at slang.