Master and Apprentice
Chapter 1: LSU and UGA
Finally, the last semester of college has arrived. I made it through the all-nighters, the countless exams, and the ridiculous demands of my professors. I now have all of the skills I need to be the best high school math teacher in the state of Louisiana. My final task is the one I dread the most… the student teaching.
I am not shy, in the least. I paid my way through college working at Merlotte's, the local bar and grille in Bon Temps. My family is friends with the owner, Sam Merlotte, so I was able to start the minute I turned sixteen. Granted, I began as a hostess earning minimum wage, but as soon as I was able to serve alcohol, I was on the floor and quickly became the Sam's best server. My customers love me and I have quite a few regulars that I mingle with throughout my shifts.
So, needless to say, I have no trouble dealing with people. It's just this student teaching thing; standing up in front of a room full of high school students, with their judging eyes, and raging hormones. Ugh. I know my stuff; I know the material, in this I am confident. I have trained for four years to do this. I have suffered long and hard to get to this point in my life and I fully intend on being the best high school math teacher the little podunk town of Bon Temps, Louisiana has ever seen.
I decided to go back to my former high school to student teach. It just seemed like the natural thing to do. Most of the teachers haven't changed, so at least I will be comfortable with whoever LSU decides to pair me with. I am really hoping to be matched with my inspiration, Dr. Niall Brigant, math teacher extraordinaire. He is the reason I chose this profession. I'll never forget taking AP Calculus with him my senior year. I was completely in awe of his ability to explain the most difficult mathematical concepts with the greatest of ease. By the time my senior year came to a close, I knew that I had found my calling.
So, here I am, sitting in a classroom of my peers eagerly awaiting to hear who each of us will be paired with for the last leg of our college journey. As Dr. Amelia Broadway reaches the front of our classroom, we all take in a deep breath, sucking all of the air out of the room. We are all nervous about our student teaching assignments. This experience can truly make or break us; it can become all of our dreams realized or it can shatter them to pieces.
"Alright students, this is the moment you've all been waiting for. It's time to find out who your mentors will be… drum roll please," Dr. Broadway teases.
I know she'll go in alphabetical order, so of course the bane of my existence and former lover, Bill Compton will be the first of us to hear his fate.
"Bill Compton, you'll be paired with Dr. Brigant for the spring semester." Did she really just assign Bill to my dream mentor? Did she really just do that to me? I'm supposed to be her favorite. I am her protégé. Throughout my four years in the Math Ed program, I have spent countless hours in her office sharing everything from new mathematical teaching strategies to my horrible breakup with Bill. Two weeks into our freshman year I caught Bill in bed with Selah, Bon Temp High School's resident slut. Dr. Broadway called me into her office and held my hand while I cried. She quickly became my friend and my mentor.
I do my best to avoid Bill's antagonizing grin from across the room and fight the strong urge to give him the middle finger. After hearing Dr. Brigant's assignment, I zone out for the rest of the pairings. I really don't care anymore. Bill has taken everything from me already and now he has my mentor to add to his laundry list.
I come out of my head after Dr. Broadway has, apparently, said my name for the third time. "Sookie Stackhouse, are you even listening to me?"
I turn fifteen shades of red and finally respond, "Yes, sorry, Dr. Broadway, who did you say I was paired with?"
"Sookie you will be with Dr. Eric Northman. I know you were really hoping for Dr. Brigant, but I promise this pairing is much better. Dr. Northman is an award winning mathematics professor from The University of Georgia and this is his first year in the high school classroom. I think the two of you will have a lot to offer each other."
I try my best to smile, but really? She pairs me with some college math professor turned high school teacher. This screams disaster! College math professors have no business attempting to teach basic mathematical concepts to high school students. Math is already difficult to teach as is; throw in a snoody, 'I'm smarter than everyone else and therefore you should just get it' attitude and all is lost. Great, just fucking fantastic. Shoot me now, please.
We are finally dismissed from class and I do my best to avoid everyone as I sneak out of the classroom. Of course, my day would not be that easy though now would it? Just as I'm stepping into the elevator willing the doors to close so I can be left to my own misery, Mr. Bill 'the bastard' Compton catches the door with his foot. So, here I am, in an elevator with my ex who has my idol for his mentor. Way to end this day on a high note, Miss Stackhouse.
"So, Sookie, I was wondering if you wanted to go out for drinks to celebrate our student teaching assignments and the close of another semester?," Bill asks as he snakes one of his creepy hands around my waist, pulling me closer to him. Funny how his touch used to melt me and now I can't stop my body from shuddering under his palm.
"Umm, no thanks, Bill, I'm not really in the mood to celebrate," I respond, as I pry all five of his bony feminine fingers off of my hip. At that moment, thank the lord above, the elevator doors open and I'm free. I rush through the automatic doors and down the steps to the bus that will take me to my car. At least the right bus is waiting on me; one positive for the day. I rush onto the bus and thankfully, the driver closes the doors before Bill is able to catch me. I look out the window as the bus pulls away to see him waving frantically. Ha! I got away this time. Whew.
When I finally arrive to my car, a beat-up 1995 silver Honda Civic, I quickly turn on my CD player and let the music blare Zombie by The Cranberries. I begin singing, actually screaming, as loud as I possibly can. Something about this song always allows me to release my rage. I stop by the local Taco Bell for an order of soft taco supremes to continue my 'make myself feel better' mission.
A few short minutes later, I'm in my apartment with my tacos, my orange tabby, Trey and Oprah. I have never been so glad to live alone in my life. If my brother, Jason or my Gran saw me like this, they'd be ashamed of me. I must look pathetic wrapped up in Gran's old quilt, stuffing my face with my best buddy Trey curled up in my lap.
After my breakup with Bill, I have pretty much resolved myself to the fact that I will be single for the rest of my life. Bill and I began dating the minute our freshman year in high school started. He was a popular, smooth talking, soccer playing, scholar of BTHS and I was a geeky math team, flute toting, band member. We were polar opposites with a common love for all things math related. We grew up next door to each other and we did our homework together every afternoon at Gran's kitchen table. Gran would fix us homemade chocolate chip cookies and refill our milk glasses as we worked together to solve any and every problem we came across.
Our relationship remained platonic, until eighth grade hormones and 34 D boobs threatened to ruin everything. By the time freshman year started, Bill and I were comfortable with second base, rounding third and our friendship had transformed into a very complicated relationship I couldn't quite wrap my head around.
We made ourselves wait for home plate until our junior prom night, when Bill took me in the bed of his brand new, black Ford F-150, purchased by William Thomas Compton Senior as a 16th Birthday present. It was not how I imagined my first time, and even though it felt good, yeah, just good, it really didn't do anything for me. I thought it was because it was our first time, but as our high school careers came to a close, our sex life was still mediocre and I had yet to have my first orgasm. Of course, I took care of myself after each one of our monotonous bouts of missionary sex, but I longed to know what it was like to get off under the strong body of a man. A girl can dream, can't she?
I dated random guys here and there throughout my college career, but I wouldn't allow myself to get to close to anyone. Bill ruined for all men and not in a good way. At one point, I began dating one of LSU's star linebackers, John Quinn, but he was way too much of a party animal for me and that ended as soon as it began.
So, here I am, hold up in my apartment with Ben, Jerry and Trey to comfort me. I spent the remainder of the day on the sofa only to get up to toss a Hot Pocket in the microwave for dinner, grab my favorite Ben and Jerry's: Chunky Monkey, and then later to go to bed. 'This is the life,' was my last thought before my eyelids grew heavy with sleep and took me away to my dreams and out of my boring, lonely life.
At 28, I have finally established myself as one of the up and comings in the field of mathematics. I graduated at the top of my class from The University of Georgia at the age of 22 with a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics. I took the GRE upon graduation and applied for the doctoral program at UGA. Of course I was accepted immediately; who wouldn't want me in their program? My undergraduate GPA was a 4.0 and my score on the GRE was perfect.
I began working under the incomparable Dr. Malcolm Adams. I was teaching undergraduate upper level mathematics courses and thoroughly enjoying enthralling the vermin, as one of the other graduate students, Pamela Ravenscroft, put it.
Pam was the only friend I had at UGA and she was also my roommate. She and I were both extremely confident in our mathematical abilities and spent a lot of time at the local bars sparring over the latest theories in combinatorics. Yes, we were geeky, but we were not your typical looking math geeks. Pam is a leggy, long-haired dirty blonde, with beautiful almond shaped blue eyes and a beautiful smile. I am a tall, muscular, shoulder length-haired blonde with blue eyes. Needless to say, we are quite the cocky, formidable pair.
Despite the dedication to our careers, Pam and I had our fair share of one-night-stands, and often times they included each other. But, not like you're thinking. Pam and I both enjoy our women and oddly enough we have the same taste. More times than I can count, we ended up drunk in our apartment having our way some random college student. Neither one of us ever dated anyone seriously. We thoroughly enjoyed our one nighters and we'd always end up at Waffle House the next morning discussing all the gory details. Yes, this was the life!
After four years in the doctoral program, Dr. Adams came to me with an offer, more like a demand. He told me that one of his former colleagues, Dr. Niall Brigant, was looking for a young, highly qualified, doctor of mathematics to teach under him at this tiny high school in Bon Temps, Louisiana. Now, don't get me wrong, I was flattered, but why would I, Dr. Eric Northman, want to travel to a no-name town and teach high school students?
Dr. Adams told me to trust him, that this experience would be worth my while, and I would get more out of it than he could ever offer me within the confines of UGA. The main problem I had with this demand was that I am not a high school math teacher. I don't like high school students. I have nothing to offer them and they most certainly have nothing to offer me.
My degree is in mathematics not in math education. I was well aware of the Brigant name, but I was still not confident in this career move. Pam thought the entire thing was hideous. She's a big city girl, spending every weekend at her penthouse in Buckhead overlooking the beautiful skyline of Atlanta. The thought of me moving to a town whose biggest store is a Wal-Mart terrified her. If she's not five minutes from Phipps Plaza or Lenox Square Mall her heart stops beating.
I was never one to tell Dr. Adams no though, so I packed up my apartment, kissed Pam goodbye and took the first flight out to Bon Temps. Dr. Brigant arranged everything for me. I had a fully furnished apartment upon my arrival and the small town feel was not as bad as I thought it would be. I wish I could say the same thing about the students though. Luckily, my course load was a mixture of upper level and lower level classes, so I got to see the best and the worse of BTHS. My favorite class of the day was my AP Calculus course. Those kids knew their stuff and they were actually interested in discussing my college career, which flattered me to no end. My Algebra students challenged more than any of the other classes. They required my constant attention and explanation, but I found myself growing quite fond of them too.
One day in late November right before Thanksgiving break, Dr. Brigant informed me that I would have one of his brightest former students as my student teacher; a young lady by the name of Sookie Stackhouse. I hoped she was smarter than her name made her sound. Dr. Brigant said the student teachers would be arriving in early December to meet us. He told me he would also have a student teacher by the name of Bill Compton, but he would have preferred to have Sookie.
So, here I sit at 2:00 pm on a Friday, with Dr. Brigant, waiting for our student teachers to arrive. Little did I know how much my life would change in a matter of minutes...
A/N: This is un-betaed, but I have recruited a beta for later chapters. All mistakes are my own. PLEASE let me know what you think! If you like it, I'll continue!