Title: Always Proofread Your Child's Homework
Alternative Title: Riley Hunter Matthews-Lawrence's ingenious plan to get rid of her English teacher who keeps hitting on her father (even before the divorce) and is nasty to her BFF Maya.
Summary: 13-year-old Riley Hunter Matthews-Lawrence decided to be completely honest with her biography homework assignment most likely for nefarious purposes only known to her and her BFF Maya. In Cory's opinion, she was too honest forcing him to have a very uncomfortable parent-teacher conference with the woman who has been stocking him since the divorce (or before according to Topanga). On the bright side, she probably won't be doing that anymore now that he's been outed by his 13-year-old daughter, if said teacher will come out of her denial.
In other words this is how I would do Girl Meets World with the freedom to do whatever I want and include any character I want in a way that would make One Million Moms apoplectic or breakout pitchforks. Let's just say even if this is K +, this would never end up on Disney.
Spoiler Alert for Girl Meets World: I have used some of the things mentioned in the press about the new show including the names for Cory's daughter and her BFF because I couldn't come up with anything better. I developed Maya beyond the character description provided in the casting sheet. Cory will be her seventh grade history teacher. Everything else is going to be left up to my creative and twisted imagination. However, there will be no biological big brother. He just did not work with my vision.
I usually tried to stay close to Canon but that's a little hard with a show that has inconsistencies. Some things I had to disregard just for everything to make sense.
Pairings: Post Cory/Topanga, past Shawn/OCs, and Cory/Shawn in a way that really can't be defined. The question is not whether Cory and Shawn are in love with each other because that's obvious, the question is are they sleeping together. Because I'm trying to keep the rating on this low, you won't be seeing that any way.
Rating: K + or a mild T
Note: This story takes place in December 2013 because I don't like fudging the numbers and I needed a certain piece of legislation to already be in play. Also the events of episode 7/17 had to happen around February 2000 for everything to make sense.
Disclaimer: I own nothing. I just thought this would be more productive than posting comments on message boards.
Warning: Story written by dyslexic person using voice recognition software. May contain homonyms and strange voice recognition mistakes that can easily get past the most well-meaning beta. Constructive criticism welcome, nastiness is not.
Thank you to Unforgiven1290 for being the beta on this chapter.
Story warnings: Past character death
Part one: My English teacher is crazy, help!
Riley Hunter Matthews-Lawrence was your typical 13-year-old from a loving home with parents that cared about her very much even if they had separate apartments now. Unfortunately, she went to a junior high school where most people weren't typical and the majority of her classmates had parents with BMWs or who were Senators. The rest were super geniuses at the school on academic scholarship. Her mom was not a Senator (yet) and although she had decent grades, she was not a super genius. The only reason why she was at Friendship Academy was her father was, unfortunately, her history teacher.
Her father ended up with his job at Friendship Academy because her mother's boss was on the Board of Trustees and they really wanted her at their firm. Fortunately, because Riley has three last names not everyone has figured out that they are related. A lot of her classmates are complete airheads. Those that were smart enough to know were also smart enough to know that you don't want to make your history teacher mad and teasing his kid would do that. These were typically the scholarship students so they tended to be nicer usually.
She didn't have that many friends in school because who wants to be friends with the daughter of your history teacher? However, she did have Maya. They have been the best of friends since Maya was six. They always have each other's back no matter what. Right now, she needed to protect her best friend from their evil and/or crazy English teacher, Ms. Ryan.
Riley has never liked Ms. Ryan, even before she actually had her in class. The first time they met, she treated Riley like a toddler. She also touched her father in an inappropriate way, even though he was still married to Riley's mom Topanga at the time, not that he noticed. Riley has always been very good at telling when somebody had a crush on her father and Ms. Ryan has a crush on her dad. (Now if only Riley could tell if Jorge Cruz actually liked her.)
Despite blatantly telling her that he's not interested and her mom and Uncle Shawn threatening her with bodily harm (repeatedly), Ms. Ryan has not backed off. Despite her dad bringing a date to every single teacher function since the divorce, Ms. Ryan still thinks that she has a chance with Riley's father. Even if her father was interested there was no way Riley would let that woman become her stepmom. Ms. Ryan is not a nice person and slightly deranged.
However, now that she has had to deal with Ms. Ryan on a daily basis it was worse. First, she let other students call Maya offensive names. Actually she tolerated bullying in general. None of the other teachers at Friendship Academy tolerated teasing of other students for any reason including being there on scholarship or having a disability. Ms. Ryan just didn't care.
Her best friend Maya was really smart but she had a disability where she couldn't express herself in writing. Therefore, she typed everything out or used voice recognition software. Other teachers were okay with that but Ms. Ryan saw it as cheating and was convinced that someone else was doing all of Maya's assignments for her. She actually implied that Maya was too stupid to write anything as good as she had for the last assignment. Her best friend spent half of lunch that day crying in the bathroom but she refused to tell her foster father about it. Also, Maya would not let Riley tell anybody else what was happening.
Riley really is not surprise considering how Ms. Ryan treated Josh two years ago when he was in her class. She even tolerated students teasing Josh because he's an orphan being raised by his brother, Riley's father Cory. Riley remembered what happened after the great biography assignment when Josh was in seventh grade. Let's just say she wasn't very nice to Riley's surrogate big brother and her mom Topanga was tempted to knock her out.
Riley decided to use this assignment for her own purposes. At best Ms. Ryan would do something silly and their new Principal, Ms. Jones, will realize they need a decent English teacher who treats all students with respect. At worst, Ms. Ryan will realize that her father is not available or interested in any one of her gender and she will stop hitting on him. Really all she had to do was tell the complete truth which is what Riley was intending to do anyway. As far as Riley was concerned it was a win-win situation. Therefore, when she turned in her paper two days after her 13th birthday she couldn't stop smiling. This was going to be fun.
Two Days Later
As Cory Matthews sat in the teacher's lounge of Friendship Academy, grading another less than wonderful seventh-grade history essay he seriously wondered why he decided to be a teacher. The grammar was horrible and the student most likely got some of his information from Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Slayer. Seriously, how did Feeny deal with this for decades?
Then he remembered how it all began, how many things do, with a broken condom and the need to take care of his family. During their move to New York they stopped three times because Topanga got sick. Shawn was the one who made her get a pregnancy test not wanting a repeat of what happened in February. He was also the one who found Cory when he started hyperventilating and calm him down enough to go back to Topanga when the test came back positive. They both wanted children someday but this wasn't the right time.
You would think after the scare a few months earlier he would be more vigilant but it didn't happen. There wasn't anything that could be done about it at that point in his mind. Once he calmed down or rather Shawn smacked him upside the head to get him to calm down he realized that he needed to choose a career that would help him provide for his growing family. After a panicked conversation with Mr. Feeny he decided on teaching. The pay was ok but the hours were regular and he would have summers off to spend with his daughter. He even convince Shawn to do education as well, as a backup plan, if writing doesn't work. Fortunately Shawn has a job he loves as a writer and doesn't need to stand in front of a room full of students that often. He does volunteer at an afterschool program in Anacostia, which is how his daughter Riley met her best friend Maya.
The first time he held his little girl Riley, Cory knew he would do anything to keep her happy and safe even if it meant having to deal with unruly junior high students. After graduation. Cory and Shawn taught at various schools throughout New York City as substitute teachers. Shawn was good at it because he understood the students in a way Cory couldn't, even if Shawn was spending his lunch hour writing poetry. Cory was just glad he was good at it enough to get a permanent job at a charter school. During the substitute teaching days, he would have to keep looking at a picture of Riley to help him get through the day. It did eventually get better and he loved it.
He only stayed there for two years until Topanga graduated from law school and accepted a job in Washington DC. She was essentially a lobbyist but she lobbied for good things like clean air and marriage equality. She also may have sued the DC public school system once or twice to help students with disabilities receive the accommodations that they needed and are legally entitled to. It allows her to reconcile the two parts of herself.
Cory originally did not want to move to another state again but he knew Topanga really wanted this job and by this point his brother Eric had already relocated to California. He was also convinced that the Maryland suburbs would be better for his five-year-old daughter then New York City. The firm in DC wanted Topanga so much that they made sure that he wouldn't have to revisit the joys of substitute teaching. One of the partners at the new firm happened to be on the Board of Trustees for a very exclusive Maryland prep school called Friendship Academy. He was able to get Cory a job there teaching seventh and eighth grade history. The best part of the job was his children were entitled to free tuition.
Of course he became more okay with the idea of relocating to Maryland when he found out Shawn got a job with Politics Daily in DC and would be moving there as well. Cory almost wondered if Topanga and Shawn planned it that way but neither would answer.
Shawn said it was because he wanted to get away from his ex-boyfriend Zachary, that Cory absolutely despised, and that's why he started applying for jobs in DC. Topanga argued that it was more complicated than that but wouldn't say anything else, at least not to him. He may have listened in on one of her many conversations with Angela where she spilled everything. Angela and Topanga theorized that Shawn came to DC because he couldn't bear to be away from Cory. They also believed that Shawn's two-year relationship with Zachary fell apart because he was jealous of the closeness between Cory and Shawn. At the time, he didn't believe that but he knew better now. Of course, a few weeks later his parents died in a car accident and he really didn't have time to figure out why his best friend moved for him again.
Sometime after that Topanga and Cory began couples therapy. She initially said it was to help them deal with losing his parents and the fact that they now had custody of his eight-year-old brother. Oddly enough, most of these therapy sessions focused on the fact that he was closer to his best friend then his wife.
It was a few more years before he came to the conclusion that he loves Topanga, he just doesn't like having sex with her. It takes a few more weeks before he realizes that he doesn't want to have sex with anyone of the female gender. It only takes one more night after that for Cory to realize who he does want to have sex with and apparently he was already completely in love with that person. Topanga is not surprise she just hugged him as they both cried.
Cory wanted to stay together for Riley, despite this revelation. He remembered seeing how hurt Topanga was after her parents got divorced and he couldn't do that to Riley. Being who she was, Topanga couldn't let that happen. She said that she loved him too much to make him miserable.
According to their lawyer it was the most amicable divorce that she has ever worked on. There were no fights about money or custody of the kids. They live in the same apartment complex just across the hall from each other. Cory now lives with Shawn and his foster daughter Maya. Josh and Riley live with Topanga because she refused to separate the kids. They saw each other more as brother and sister, then uncle and niece. He takes the children to school in the morning and home every night. He makes dinner and 90% of the time Topanga eats with him, Shawn and the children before they go to their apartment for the night. It's a good arrangement; they are just one big modern family.
After the divorce, for reasons known only to her, Topanga's new cause became achieving Marriage equality in Maryland. Honestly, Cory believed she was a little obsessed about it. She was ecstatic when question six went through last year. They actually threw a party. As he played with the ring around his neck he remembered that party quite fondly.
Of course, he was brought out of his happy thoughts when Ms. Ryan walked into the room. She's not exactly the most well-liked among his fellow occupants of the teacher's lounge. Most were hoping that the new principle would get rid of her this year. Ever since the divorce four years ago, she has been hitting on him mercilessly under the assumption that he was single. According to Topanga, it was long before that but he was too oblivious to realize it and even if she knew that Cory was not single she would still keep doing it.
He decided it was best to keep his personal life out of the classroom and therefore most assume that he was unattached. Principal Jones knew as well as his teacher friends and that was all that mattered. Besides he felt it was best not to say anything to Ms. Ryan considering the no on question 6 bumper sticker that was still on her car and the snide things she said about one of the students that has two mothers. He assumed that she would eventually figure it out without him having to be specific. The majority of the other teachers and a few of the students have. Seriously, he has brought Shawn to the last three faculty 'winter season' parties and end of the school year barbecues. It should be obvious.
"Mr. Matthews, do you have a moment to talk about Riley's last English assignment?" She asked in a way that makes him sure he had no choice but to talk to her and he really didn't want to. Usually by this point she would be trying to pinch his backside or use the type of pickup lines Shawn use before he realized why he could never keep a girlfriend very long.
She seemed a little worried. He just hoped Maya did not talk his daughter into doing anything that could get her suspended, although, it could be the other way around. Maya was a bright kid despite having a difficult childhood filled with a mother who was never there because of her own demons, an unknown father, a hard-working but sick grandmother, and a learning disability that made most school work 10 times harder. Things were rough for her until Shawn became her foster father. She was even at the school on scholarship. The girls tended to stick together at school since they weren't as wealthy as their fellow classmates. Unfortunately, the scholarship kids were not always treated the best by their wealthier peers.
When the two girls were together mischief usually happened. When they were seven the girls thought it would be funny to dye all his white shirts pink. When they were 8 they somehow managed to skip school and go to the zoo for the day without adult supervision. At 11 there was an incident with various pyrotechnics and his sister's mailbox when they went to Philadelphia for the Fourth of July. Considering Ms. Ryan was high strung to begin with, this could be bad.
"Sure, I can finish grading these papers tonight." He said slightly annoyed. It was Friday and Topanga was leaving early so she could spend the night with the kids which meant he was going to have one of those rare Cory/Shawn nights. This was repayment for last Friday when he and Shawn took care of the kids so Topanga could go out with some random friend that Angela set her up with.
"Riley is my first priority." He said more to himself than to her. "So what did she do and how is Maya involved? Do I need to call Shawn for this? Was it bad enough that I need to call Topanga?" He said feeling a headache coming on. He really hoped he didn't need to call Topanga because she despised Ms. Ryan and Topanga rarely hates anyone.
"I'm not sure how Maya is involved; although, I'm sure she is. I just don't think she's bright enough to be the ringleader in this." Ms. Ryan mumbled under breath showing her very evident disdain for his daughter's best friend. Shawn is convinced that Ms. Ryan doesn't like Maya because she doesn't like having to read her test to the girl or let her use a computer in class. Cory was worried it was deeper than that but Maya never said anything to him about unfair treatment in the class.
"I already left Mr. Hunter a voicemail regarding his charge. You may still need to call Mr. Hunter after we talk. The situation involves him regardless." She said quickly. She really did not like Shawn. It was obvious by the way she said his name. He didn't like her either mostly because of how she treats Maya. If he had any proof he would take it to Principal Jones but right now he only had his suspicions.
"So what happened?" He asked again.
"In the seventh grade English curriculum each student is to prepare a biography of his/her life. This counts as 15% of their grade." She explained.
"I remember when Josh had the assignment two years ago when he was in your class." Cory was also dragged into Ms. Ryan's classroom after that assignment because she felt Josh focused too much on his parents dying and having to move to another state to live with his big brother and sister-in-law. She was also concerned that he glossed over the divorce. She was expecting more trauma. She wanted Josh to see the school psychologist. Topanga thought that it was a good idea but refused to say that in front of Ms. Ryan. Shawn agreed, to his surprise. According to the therapist, for a child who lost his parents a few years earlier, Josh was surprisingly well-adjusted.
"You're not going to suggest Riley see the school psychologist? I know you think otherwise but really the divorce wasn't that traumatic. We are still best friends and love each other very much. More importantly, we love Riley very much and she knows that." Cory said with a sigh.
"I may make that recommendation but not for that reason. It's obvious that Riley embellished or made things up for her essay. Maya's essay collaborated these untruths. This assignment requires complete honesty. For example, I seriously doubt she was happy that you and your wife divorced, yet that's what she said in her paper. I even wonder if she wrote Maya's essay because it seemed too good for someone with her limited abilities. Because of this, I'm going to have to give Riley a zero for the assignment. I will discuss the situation regarding his foster daughter's obvious cheating when Mr. Hunter returns my calls."
Cory rubbed his temple sincerely wishing that he would have proofread the assignment just so he could easily refute the obviously false claims but Riley wouldn't let him. She said it was cheating to have another teacher read her assignments first (she also remembered the heavy editing that he did to Josh's essay). Usually Topanga or Shawn were in charge of homework help. Although in this case, she wouldn't let those two help either. However, the person she did have help her wouldn't allow what Ms. Ryan was accusing her of. As for the accusations against, Maya they were just plain ridiculous. He listened to her dictate half the essay.
"First of all, just because Maya has a disability, that does not mean she's stupid. I don't believe in nepotism and I can tell you that Maya has earned every single A she has received in my class. There is a reason why she is in my honor seventh grade history class." Cory said defending his daughter's friend. Although, at least now he had something that he could give to Principal Jones.
"As I keep telling you the divorce wasn't that traumatic for Riley and she probably did feel that way. Riley would not allow Topanga nor me see her paper because she didn't want us to influence the paper, so I don't know specifically what it said. However, she did send it to Mr. Feeny. I doubt that he would let her turn in something that was false. Besides how can you know what my daughter, or Maya for that matter, have lived through? You don't know either girl." Cory was annoyed at this point but he tried to stay professional. He knows that he hates it when parents start screaming at him because he didn't give their little darling an A when she/he didn't deserve it.
"She mentioned a Mr. Feeny, that she referred to as her surrogate grandfather in the paper, but I find it hard to believe that your college professor also taught you in junior high and was your next-door neighbor." Cory actually laughed at that. Riley did see Mr. Feeny as her grandfather. His parents died when Riley was in kindergarten and Topanga hasn't been on speaking terms with her parents since the divorce. They never wanted the two to get married and they went a little too 'I told you so' after the divorce. She occasionally still spoke to Nebula but her Peace Corps sister was not happy that Topanga grew up to be part of the system even if she was an environmental lobbyist.
"That is actually true. We still see him all the time when we are in Philadelphia to see my sister and her son." Ms. Ryan seemed upset at his confirmation.
"Did she actually spend an entire summer Angola once?" Ms. Ryan asked suspiciously.
"Yes, Shawn's brother lives there with his wife Jumoke. He's a doctor at a clinic there. Shawn took the girls there for his wedding." Eventually Jack's stepfather talked him into going to med school although he got the last laugh by deciding to start a free clinic in Angola.
"What about trips to Tokyo and Oman?" She asked quickly. Again, he wanted to laugh.
"Her godmother, Angela, is a foreign service officer with the US Department of State. She's currently stationed in DC. She has been stationed all over the world and we have visited her in a few strange places. If Riley has claimed to have met President Obama, that's not true. However, she has met Hillary Clinton. She is shorter in person." Cory joked.
"She did not include that." Ms. Ryan said quickly. "Given that this is the DC area and a few of our students do have senators for fathers, I would find that plausible." Cory was trying not to roll his eyes again at that.
"She's 13. Stuff like that doesn't matter that much to her. I'm sure getting to meet Justin Bieber last spring is in there." Riley was currently in love with him. If only she would stick with celebrity crushes. Unfortunately, she was in love with half the boys in the eighth grade and all of Josh's basketball friends. He really didn't want his little girl doing half the stuff he did at that age.
"That's actually true?" The teacher asked in shock.
"Yeah. My brother is a big voiceover star. He's currently doing the Naked Mole Rat Chronicles on the Mouse Ears channel. Riley and Maya were his escort to the Kids Choice Awards last year. I think it might be better if you just let me read my daughter's paper." He said at that point.
"I think you may be right." She said handing over a yellow folder with smiley faces on it. "You can keep that copy, I made a PDF."
Inside was the cover page with the title: The life and times of Riley by Riley Hunter Matthews-Lawrence. Underneath, was a picture of him, Shawn, and Topanga holding baby Riley. You couldn't see her hair because of the pink hat covering her head. She was such a cute baby. He's going to have to find a copy of that picture for his cell phone. He quickly looked inside to see other pictures of Riley. There were several of Shawn or Eric babysitting her when he and Topanga were busy with school. There was also a picture of a four-year-old Riley with his parents. That made him want to cry. He wished they were still around. Would they be happy with the life he had now?
There were not any pictures of Topanga's family in there because they never made a real effort to meet their granddaughter. There were also more recent pictures of Maya, Riley and Josh altogether. There was also a wonderful picture of Mr. Feeny lecturing Maya and Riley after the firecracker incident a year and a half ago. He laughed when he saw that.
Of course the picture that caught his attention the most was of him and Shawn wearing tuxedos on the Maryland shore with Riley and Maya in their bridesmaids outfits. Why does he have a feeling that this was what Ms. Ryan was most concerned about?
Riley was a very artistically minded person, so he's not surprised that she included a photo collage. She was really good with Photoshop and publisher. He laughed when he saw the Justin Bieber picture in the center of everything. Yes she was definitely his daughter.
"There's a picture of her and Maya in here with Justin Bieber and you still didn't believe it?" He asked using that picture instead of mentioning the one from Ocean City. Thank god she didn't include anything with the justice of peace or Topanga acting as best person.
"Considering the other lies in her biography, it was hard to believe one of the more sensational truths. I thought she just used Photoshop." Cory just rolled his eyes. It was moments like these that he was sure he only stayed here for the free tuition. He would seriously consider finding another job so he wouldn't have to deal with Ms. Ryan if it wasn't for that. He was just glad that after next year none of the children he is responsible for will have to deal with her as an instructor.
"Let me be the judge of that." Cory said as he began to read.
My name is Riley Hunter Matthews-Lawrence. I am the only biological child of Cory Matthews and Topanga Lawrence-Matthews. I also have an Uncle Shawn; although, he's not really my uncle even if my mother sees him as more of a sibling then my Aunt Nebula. She did not even come to my parents wedding. Contrary to what everybody thought, my dad doesn't see Uncle Shawn in a brotherly way at all, even if they have been in love with each other sense way before I was born.
I have two aunts and two biological uncles. Aunt Nebula currently lives in Guyana and I haven't seen her since I was four years old. I really don't remember her. My youngest aunt, Morgan, still lives in Philadelphia and runs my grandfather's old company. She took over after he died. She also has a son, named Alan, that we all call Al, who is four years old but she's not married and doesn't plan to get married anytime soon.
My Uncle Eric lives in California and is a really big star but you've probably never seen him. He's the voice of the naked mole rat on the Naked Mole Rat Chronicles. He also starred in Happily Ever After, Death of a Princess, Justice 2050, and voiced a bunch of characters in the I was a Teenage Wizard movie series. Last year when he won a Kids Choice Award, he invited me and my best friend to the show. We got to actually meet Justin Bieber.
For his own sanity Cory decides not to read over the two paragraphs solely dedicated to Justin Bieber. It was all she could talk about for the two weeks after it happened. At least Maya was obsessed with Bruno Mars. That he could deal with.
Finally there is Josh but I do not consider him an uncle. He is not even two years older than me. We also grew up together.
Riley doesn't explain why she and Josh grew up together. She also leaves out any mention of grandparents. That probably says more than anything else. Instead, she goes into an entire paragraph about Angela and all the cool places that her godmother has lived. Riley does mention Mister Feeny as her grandfather figure.
I also have Mister Feeny. He's the closest thing I have to a grandfather. He was my dad's next-door neighbor and professor in college. He was also his high school principal and junior high history teacher. My father told me that he's the reason why he decided to become a teacher.
My father is a history teacher here at Friendship Academy. He likes teaching except when he has to grade papers that give him migraines. It's not necessarily a great thing to have your father teach at your school. It's difficult to even get away with the most basic things. Also at 13, riding to school with your father every day is not cool.
Technically, my mother is a lawyer. However, she describes her job as making the world a better place by convincing people to do things they normally would not. Currently she is lobbying for lower greenhouse emissions in the United States. Last year she worked on marriage equality in Maryland and question six.
Finally, there is my Uncle Shawn who is a writer and occasional English substitute teacher. Currently he is working at Politics Daily but they're going digital only at the end of the year and he's not sure that he's being kept on staff. Of course, he hasn't told dad anything about that.
That was true. Cory knew that the magazine was going digital but Shawn mentioned nothing about possibly losing his job. This shouldn't surprise him. Although he would love to know how Riley just knew. Maybe this is the real reason why Shawn asked Topanga to take the kids out for an evening. It looks like fun Cory Shawn time was not happening tonight regardless.
There is a really interesting story about how I got my name. According to Uncle Shawn, my father was really worried about what my name should be. He said names are very important because he didn't want me to run off to change my name the minute I turn 18 because I had something that I absolutely hated. Uncle Eric told me that my dad's name used to be Cornelius but he changed it before he married my mom.
According to my godmother Angela, I have the name I do because my mom was a really big fan of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and she refused to have a daughter named Shawn. My father refused to have a daughter with a very girly name and still wanted to name me after Uncle Shawn even if I am a girl. The compromise with my first name as Riley and my middle name was Uncle Shawn's old last name. Aunt Morgan said that alone should have told everyone that things are going to end up the way they did.
At this point, Cory was ready to go to his desk to find the giant bottle of Tylenol he keeps there for emergencies like grading Jorge Cruz's latest pop quiz (or over hearing him say what he would like to do to his daughter). Actually, he wished he wasn't at school so he could get something harder. Contrary to what her teacher believed, Riley was too honest in this paper. He was going to be having a long conversation with his sister later.
I'm 13 years old or will be by the time I turn in this paper. My birthday is December 15. My parents were not planning to have me. When I was five years old, Uncle Eric told me that I'm here because the condom broke, uncle Shawn responded by punching him in the nose. I didn't understand what uncle Eric meant until a very uncomfortable sex talk after I had my first period.
He remembered that talk too well. He was the one who had to give it because his ex-wife was at some big conference overseas. She actually asked him to explain that phrase. He will so be sending his brother a text message during his next class about things that you should not tell small children. Cory seriously hoped that he didn't say anything like that to Morgan's son. He was only four but who knew with Eric.
I was born during the middle of my mom's internship at some big law firm in New York city. She still worked there when I was little until she graduated law school and we moved to Maryland. I really don't remember New York that much except for the pizza and uncle Shawn taking me to the Statue of Liberty. Also I remember this really sweet lady who always gave me candy.
According to my godmother Angela, my mom had a really hard time having me and therefore that is why I am an only child even if I wanted a playmate when I was little. I was actually a month early.
Although according to Josh, I am an only child because my dad thinks that vaginas are icky but that's not the word he used. I do not think I'm allowed to use the P word in this paper.
"I really should have read this paper." Cory mumbled out loud. At this point he's pretty sure that Mr. Feeny did not proofread this like she said. It was probably Angela or Eric. Probably Eric. He would think this was funny. There was no way Cory would have allowed this to go forward without reading it. Also, he was going to have to have a very long talk with his younger brother when he got home.
When I was really little I was kind of lonely. I really only had Uncle Eric to play with. He was fun but crazy. I remember him making crazy voices for all my toys. I tried to make friends with the other kids in my playgroup but it never went well. I spent a lot of time in the sandbox by myself unless Josh was visiting. Unfortunately he lived in Philadelphia with grandpa and grandma Matthews. I loved spending time with my grandparents mostly because that meant I got to be with Josh and Grandma Matthews made the best cookies.
Unfortunately, Grandma and Grandpa Matthews died when I was six and Uncle Josh came to live with us (although I never call him uncle, because it's weird).
My grandparents died in a car accident. I don't like talking about that. Josh was really sad because he missed Nana and grandpa. He cried a lot at first, even though I gave him my favorite teddy bear. My Dad cried a lot too but only when he was with mom or Uncle Shawn.
At first, Josh hated being in Maryland and was mean to me. I was too young to understand how hard it was to lose both your parents like that. I understand now how painful it was for him. Things are better now. Because Josh is only two years older than me he is like a big brother. He's very bossy and he tries to control my life. He also spends way too much time in the bathroom and tried to scare me with various stories about Friendship Academy before I actually started school here. Apparently, Uncle Eric did the same thing to my father.
For example, just last week he threatened the cutest boy in the eighth grade, Jorge Cruz, with decapitation if he thought about kissing me. I'm 13 years old, I think I should be able to have a boyfriend but my dad and Shawn say no and Josh is there enforcer. This is highly hypocritical because they all dated when they were my age. I know that Josh is just doing it out of love. I know he sees me as his little sister and sees his actual brother and sister like uncles and aunts. The age thing is weird.
Corey agreed with his daughter. Even if it wasn't for the fact that he has raised Josh sense he was 8 years old, Cory would probably see him more as a nephew or son, then a brother. Sometimes he would love to ask his parents why they decided to have a midlife crisis child but he never got around to it. He wasn't expecting the two to be killed by a drunk driver seven years ago but that's life.
I have a sister sort of now or I will as soon as the adoption paperwork goes through on my best friend Maya. We met almost at the same time Josh came to live with us in Maryland. My Mom and dad didn't want me to deal with all the things related to grandma and grandpa dying. While they were staying in Philadelphia for a few weeks because Aunt Morgan couldn't deal with everything on her own, I got to stay with Uncle Shawn. I was used to Uncle Shawn babysitting me because he did that a lot before we moved to Maryland. This was the first time that it was for so long. It was fun. We took the train back to DC and went to all my favorite museums. He also let me watch all sorts of movies I'm usually not allowed to see and we ate pizza a lot.
After I would go to bed (after staying up way past my bedtime) I would hear him cry. He told me that he missed my grandma and grandpa. He said they were the mother and father that he wished he had. That was the night that he first told me about his parents. His mom abandoned him when he was my age and his father died just before Josh was born. He has a half-brother on his mother's side that he pretends doesn't exist. I think he's in jail for something that no one will tell me about. He claims his brother Jack but is still mad about him moving halfway across the world to Angola. I actually got to meet him a few years later when we went for his wedding. He also came to visit last summer for Uncle Shawn's wedding.
Because Uncle Shawn had such a bad childhood, he likes to help other kids. Sometimes in addition to writing he's a substitute teacher. Everybody loves him when he fills in for Ms. Ryan.
If she is trying to flunk his daughter for that comment, he is taking her straight to the principal. Part of him thinks that's the main reason, although it was probably for her mention of Shawn's wedding.
He also volunteers at an afterschool program in Anacostia called Katie's Kids. He took me with him the summer that I lived with him. That's when I met Maya. She's really bright and can remember stories from memory. But she had a horrible time reading and writing things down. Because of that, she had terrible grades in school. It turns out she had a learning disability and she was actually a genius but nobody realized that but me and Uncle Shawn.
Maya's mom didn't care about her. She had a drug problem and Maya is not even sure if she still alive. Also, she is aunt Morgan's age. I don't know about Maya's biological father. We don't talk about him and that's okay because she can share mine. She did have a grandmother that loved her very much but it was hard to work with a special child when you had to work two jobs just to put food on the table.
Despite our very different backgrounds Maya just got me. We have been friends ever since I shared my toys with her in the sandbox that first summer. Uncle Shawn made sure to bring Maya over whenever possible. My Mom even invited her to stay the night a lot, especially when her grandma had to work really long hours. She started staying for weeks at a time when Maya's grandmother got really sick. It was cancer but nobody told us that at the time. Apparently they think seven-year-old children cannot deal with that sort of stuff. We know more than you think we do.
Despite Maya being worried about her grandmother, it was great having her stay over all the time. It was like having the sister I always wanted. It was good for Maya to because she had help with her homework and her grades got a lot better. Although that may have something to do with my mom threatening to sue the DC public school system if they did not provide proper testing and accommodations for Maya's disability.
A year later Maya's grandmother died and I was afraid that she was going to move really far away. The only stable family she had left was an aunt that was in the Army. I was afraid I was going to lose the only real friend I ever had. I asked my parents if Maya could live with us like Josh. They said that they wish she could but it wasn't possible. Back then, they were arguing a lot and visiting Dr. Schneider at least twice a week.
I knew my parent's marriage was in trouble. They were not happy. At that point, I don't think my dad had been happy since my grandparents died. It would be worse every time Uncle Shawn would bring over a new girlfriend or boyfriend. Actually, he would only be happy on what he referred to as 'Shawn and Cory fun nights'. Whenever he was out with Uncle Shawn I would hear my mom crying a lot in her bedroom.
Corey drops his head on the table at that. Again, everything so far has been 100% true, he just really wished that his daughter wasn't this honest. He didn't know about Topanga crying so much back then. He thought he and Topanga were keeping the extent of the problems from Riley. Yet, she knew more of what was going on then he did. Even if he didn't think it at the time, his and Topanga's arguing was affecting Riley. He owes Topanga flowers for being braver than he was. If they just stayed together for Riley, he doubted she would be the well-adjusted happy 13-year-old she is now.
However, I didn't have to worry because Uncle Shawn became her foster father. Because he had such a bad childhood, he wanted to make sure no other child went through that, he became a certified foster parent. I loved it because that meant my best friend would only live across the hall and we would get to go to the same elementary school. It was nice to actually have a friend at school.
Dad was shocked about this because Uncle Shawn never told him that he wanted to become a foster parent. They were fighting a lot than too but I'm not really sure about what. Usually as soon as I walked into the room they would stop arguing. My mom and dad did the same thing.
Cory remembers exactly what they were arguing about and it had nothing to do with Maya. Actually, he liked Maya because she was the reason why Richard moved out. That was Shawn's live-in boyfriend at the time. Cory was happy because he hated Richard.
Actually he never liked any of Shawn's boyfriends and the only girlfriend he liked was Angela. There was a reason why the woman was Riley's godmother. Okay, he may have had a minor panic attack when his best friend started dating guys (openly) because he just didn't see it as a possibility. He saw Shawn as the paradigm of heterosexuality and when it turned out it wasn't that way it took him a while to get used to it.
According to Topanga and their therapist, he had trouble with this because he was secretly in love with Shawn and hated all his boyfriends because he was jealous. If he wasn't so good at denial, he probably would have figured out what they were saying was true before Riley's eighth birthday. Actually, he didn't figure it out until Shawn disappeared that summer with Maya and Riley and Josh decided to live with his other brother for a few months. He and Topanga couldn't hide what was happening once they were actually alone. The fact that he trusted Shawn to take the person he loves the most in the universe to another country really should've showed him his true feelings.
That summer Maya and I got to meet Uncle Shawn's brother and his future wife Jumoke. They're both doctors. Josh did not come with us because he wanted to spend time with Uncle Eric. My mom and dad had other things to do. Although according to a phone call I overheard between Uncle Shawn and Angela he was taking me with him to help my mom and dad fix their marriage. That was when Maya and I ran away to the zoo. Looking at the panda bears always makes me happy.
I thought they were arguing because of me. When I called Mister Feeny in tears, he told me it wasn't my fault. I didn't really believe him.
Cory was crying at this point. He also sincerely wished that Ms. Ryan would just go away. She didn't want to read something this private in front of the woman.
This trip was the first time that Maya ever left the country or even flew on an airplane. This was the second time for me. Two years earlier we visited my godmother Angela when she was stationed in Japan. Also, I have visited my uncle Eric in California a lot. He has a really big house with a pool and a water slide. I love the trip, even though I missed my mom and dad a lot.
There were two paragraphs dedicated to everything she and Maya did in Angola. There was also a recounting of the argument that Jack had with his stepfather during the actual ceremony. Riley's version of what happened was better than what he saw in the wedding video. What he read next made him stop breathing for a moment.
However, what I will remember the most from that summer was when I found out Uncle Shawn was in love with my dad and not in the way I love Maya. I overheard him telling his brother about it and from what he was saying I knew he didn't love my father as a brother. He may have said certain things that he wished he could do to my father that I am currently repressing. I wasn't very sneaky at the time and he caught me listening in. He reassured me that he wasn't going to do anything to break up my parent's marriage because he loves my dad and mom too much to hurt him like that. Just like me, he blames himself for all the fighting.
That's when Cory dropped the essay and started coughing profusely. Okay, how did his then eight-year-old daughter figure out that Shawn was in love with him when he was still completely clueless at the time? Actually, Cory was still oblivious to his own feelings by that point or maybe not. He was absolutely miserable that summer. It was also when he finally came to terms with that despite the fact that he really did love Topanga it wasn't a sexual type of love. Not really.
"I see you got to the point of the essay where your daughter claims that your best friend is in love with you. That was the most absurd thing in the essay other than the fact that she claimed that you two were married" She said snidely. Cory felt like laughing or screaming.
"It's not a claim." Cory said taking the ring that he wore around his neck and placing it on his finger realizing that this woman would need some sort of visual aid to comprehend the truth.
"Shawn loves me and I love him. Topanga and I got divorced because somewhere along the line I started loving her as my best friend and my best friend as the love of my life." He said trying not to cry. Reading Riley's words made him go back to that place.
"You're gay?" She asked an open mouth shock.
"That's what you got from what I just said?" He asked equally surprised.
"But you were married and had a kid?" She asked in shock and Cory felt it was a good time to leave. It wouldn't be good for others to see him arguing in the teacher's lounge.
"I was 20 when I got married, I was 29 when I figured out I was gay. I have never been good at noticing the obvious according to my ex-wife." Cory explained as he gathered up his things.
"But you are a teacher?" She spat out.
"Your point? The fact that I have a husband now instead of a wife has nothing to do of my effectiveness in the classroom." He said quietly as he zipped up his bag.
"Did you not read my daughter's paper? Or Maya's for that matter because I'm sure that she included the wedding and the fact that Shawn and I are planning to adopt her together." He said sarcastically.
"I just thought that she was collaborating Riley or Riley wrote the paper for her. She's not that bright." She said repeating the same ignorant thing she said earlier.
"Did we not already have this conversation? Maya has a genius level IQ. She just can't read very well or write things down. Fortunately, she has software for that. However, I'm sure she's smarter than you." He spat back.
"God you are an idiot. How could you not know that those two were together? Did you not see how they were acting last summer at the end of the year barbecue?" The art teacher Karen asked mockingly. She was actually a friend of Shawn's and was at their wedding this summer before.
"So everything Riley said about the wedding was true?" She asked ignoring the snide comments from behind her. "Probably but I doubt you'll believe me. If you want to give my daughter, or Maya for that matter, a zero for this assignment for whatever reason, go ahead and I will deal with it with the principal. Actually, Topanga will and you remember how that went last time." He said sharply. "My free period is almost over and I need to get ready for my next class." Cory said leaving the teacher's lounge.
He had just enough time to scan the essay and email it to Topanga and Shawn with a note about the entire encounter with Ms. Ryan. He also decided to send an email to Principal Jones about the entire thing after Topanga wrote him back and told him that Ms. Ryan had already called her with the same accusations. She was scheduling a meeting after school.
He did read the rest of Riley's essay when his eighth grade students took their midterm. Unlike the seventh grade midterm, it was multiple-choice and therefore there was significantly less grading. At least the second part was less emotionally draining. As Ms. Ryan said, Riley was happy with the divorce. She also believed him and Topanga when they said it wasn't her fault. Riley and Maya's attempts at matchmaking made him smile. The part when she says how much she loved having Shawn as her stepfather made him ecstatic. He was worried about getting married again but he felt relieved to know that Riley really did love Shawn and wasn't just telling him that to make him happy.
He received a text message after that from his husband stating that they had a 4 o'clock with the principal and Ms. Ryan. Also included was a transcript of the inappropriate voicemail left. Visual voicemail is a truly wonderful thing and one would think that Ms. Ryan would know better than to leave that type of message on voicemail.
His final class of the day was seventh-grade honors history with Maya. Riley wasn't entirely happy about the fact that she and Maya did not have all the same classes. Despite having a disability, there were some areas Maya was just stronger in such as history and math. Unlike certain colleagues that he will not name, he's okay doing extra things to help students like Maya such as scanning the textbook so her computer can read it to her and reading her exams to her. He could give her the exam after school but Maya doesn't like being treated differently, so he usually does it in class after almost everyone else turns in their papers.
When he gives Maya her exam orally, he did ask her why she didn't warn him about the whole English assignment thing. At the very least, she could have let him read her paper instead of Shawn. Of course, Shawn was the laid-back parent and is a strong believer in artistic integrity.
"I think she sent it to Eric's new girlfriend. She's a screenwriter. Riley wanted someone objective to read it." Maya explained. Of course, she was smiling so Cory is sure that she and Riley were up to something.
"Why do I have a feeling that wasn't the only reason?" He said in a whisper.
"The assignment had to be totally honest. I don't want to lie about who my parents are and I doubt that Riley would. I did talk about the wedding. I was completely honest even including the fact that I went through drug withdrawal before I was even two days old. I now have to see the school psychologist tomorrow unless Shawn convinces her otherwise. Apparently Ms. Ryan thinks I'm a pathological liar and a cheater." Maya said with a frown.
"What exactly did she say to you?" He asked with worry.
"It's nothing." Maya said with a shrug. "The usual stuff. She's mad that I get to type up all my assignments and she is convinced that Shawn or someone else is helping me do everything. She's under the erroneous assumption that because I cannot read the textbook, I am completely unable to comprehend what we're learning. She called me stupid. How exactly did she become a teacher?" Maya asked with a frown.
"I'm not entirely sure." Cory said trying to hide his anger. He was furious. No teacher should ever call a student stupid. "We're meeting with her after school. Let us take care of it. Just concentrate on the test."
"You do realize that most of the other students are listening to my answers." Maya said smirking.
"That's why you have a slightly different exam." He said with a smile before reading the first question.
So this was supposed to be a one shot but if you have read any of my other stories you know I'm really bad at short stories that are truly short or that stay one shots. (The Daria story I just finished ballooned to 17 chapters and 120,000 words.) Is anybody interested in me continuing? I probably will anyway but if there's no interest I may just save the next chapter for a rainy day or when I have writer's block on other projects. Reviews give me an incentive to keep productive. I also accept PMs and story followers.