Sweat rolled down the side of my face. It was hot outside today and the kids were running around the dirt soccer field.
"Senorita Kyler?" an accented voice asked. Not that accents were strange to me. No, I had heard quite a few in my life. This one however was one I hadn't heard in a while.
I turned around to see a light tanned woman. "¿Sí?"
"It's good to see you again, Mi-Mi," she smiled at me.
"Sha-Sha?" I asked wide eyed.
"Who else would call you Mi-Mi?"
"My sister," I laughed with her. "What are you doing here?"
"I need your help," she looked towards the kids on the field.
I turned to the game as well. "With what?"
"Revenge," she growled.
I stared at her. "And who against?"
"Max," she growled. My eyes widened at the name. A light growl left my lips.
If that man didn't exist, I wouldn't be a teacher in the middle of Bolivia. I would be in America, probably cuddled with my lover on a couch or visiting my sister, Ci-Ci, in Montana or even finishing the book I'd always wanted to write.
"¡Senorita! ¡Senorita Kyler!" a woman yelled as she ran to me. I closed my mouth and got control of my growl. When I opened my eyes, Aisha was smirking at me. She knew I was in whatever it was she was doing.
"¿Si, Senora Flores?" I asked when the older woman stopped in front of me.
"¿Usted no fumar realmente eres? Los niños se mucho molesta1," she wept. She looked truly worried.
"Quitting?" I asked aloud. Aisha whistled behind me. I resisted the urge to glare at her. Only she would tell my employer that I was quitting. And only Senora Flores would worry about how the children would feel. "Señora Flores, lo siento. Algo ocurrió. Estoy seguro de que comprenderán los niños.2"
When Senora Flores left, I turned to glare at Aisha. My old friend had the nerve to look innocent.
"What? Like I said," she held up her hands in defense, "I need your help."
"So you decide to turn in my resignation?" I huffed. Even if I was in, I could still give her crap about her methods.
"I couldn't think of another way to get you out of here," she shrugged. "I also didn't know you would cave so easily." I could see laughter in her eyes.
"Well, I might as well go with you since I no longer work here. When did it say I was quitting?"
"Today. Want to go for drinks afterwards?"
"I hate you, but I might as well." The children were called back into the school. Recess was over. "You're paying," I called to her as I left.
The rest of the day was a blur of tear streaked faced teachers and sad, upset kids. I explained to them that an old friend of mine needed my help. I didn't give them any details of what I was going to do. Hell, I didn't even know what that was.
When everyone left, I went to meet Sha-Sha outside the building. A few of the kids still in the yard were glaring at her. I came up behind the group and watched them for a moment.
"Now why are you doing that?" I asked them in English, my newly acquired accent coming through nicely. I had each of them in one of my English classes. I knew they understood me.
"Profesora, she make you go," a small girl around eight answered for the other four boys. She was the only girl with a family of three men including her father. Her mother had died two years after her baby brother was born.
I bent down to look her in the eye. "Mi amiga no es3," I told her. "She needs my help. I'm not sure what she needs me for, but I want to help her."
"But, Profesora, you promised you'd come to mi graduación 4," one of the boys sobbed. He was the girl's older brother. He was the oldest boy in the school at the age of seventeen.
"Rico, I know I promised," I pulled him into a hug, "and I never thought I'd break that promise." They all started to hug me. "Do you all remember what I told you about Shami?"
"Si, Profesora," they chorused.
"Ella a reunirse con él. Estoy seguro de," I smiled at them. "A reunirse con él desea que no5?"
"Si, Profesora," they sobbed again.
After I sent them home, Aisha walked over to me. She had that guilty look on her face. The only reason I saw it was because I knew how she thought.
"They'll be fine," I told her. "It might take a few months, but they'll be fine."
She nodded and we started for the bar. Creves' Center. It was the only bar I went to. I knew the owner well. Whenever a traveler tried something with me, he would kick them out. It was nice to have someone to look out for me. I was always looking out for others, but Senior Creves was always looking out for me.
Creves had three girls and two boys aged from six to twenty-two. The oldest girl and boy worked at the bar. He was eighteen. She was twenty-two. The youngest was a little girl in my math class. The other two were twin sixteen year olds. The girl lived with her mom and didn't go to school. The boy was going to graduate next year if he stayed out of trouble like I told him. I wasn't so sure now that I was leaving. The only reason Creves lets the two go to school is because I worked there.
I couldn't help but wonder if Aisha had been watching me. She had the money. I knew that for a fact. Knowing her, she might have known I was in Bolivia all along. Whatever she wants, I thought, I have nowhere else to go.
1 You aren't really quitting are you? The children will be very upset
2 I'm sorry. Something came up. I'm sure the children will understand
3 My friend is not.
4 My graduation
5 She'll meet him. I'm sure of it. You want her to meet him don't you?