Three is the magic number

by TreborNawoc

 Evan is nervous on his first day teaching at a new school, worried about how different he looks, until a handsome colleague sets him at ease.

Added: Nov 2022 2,998 words 555 views 4.9 stars (16 votes)


You know, it’s funny how your mind wanders when you least expect it. Here I am, getting ready for a date, and all I can think about is ‘why does nobody in Star Trek ever seem to need the toilet?’...

As I slide my silk boxers up, feeling the smooth material slide up my legs, I drift on to more relevant thoughts, like my hot date tonight. I met him a few days ago on my first day at work...

He had been in his classroom in the History department while I was completely lost trying to find my Music classroom. I stopped in my tracks when I spotted him—he was beautiful perfection. He was built, but not too big—you know, he filled his shirt and trousers but wasn’t yet bursting out of them—and his face was almost angelic. As he towered over me, he looked down and spoke.

“Hey, I’m Jack Templeton, History,” his deep voice rumbled. “Don’t think we’ve met yet...”

He stuck out a big hand and I shook it with one of my own. He twitched a little at the strange feeling but didn’t let on otherwise. I was used to it by now anyway.

“Hi, I’m, um, Evan Mikhailov,” I said, quietly. “I’m trying to find the Music Department.”

“Ah, you’re the new music teacher, then. Well, you’ve got a hard act to follow. Tony was quite the musical genius, although with those hands I reckon you must be quite the piano player.”

I blushed and looked down at my hands. They were something special all right, and although I wasn’t actually that great at the piano, they did have many other uses. I looked back up at Jack and he was smiling.

“Didn’t you get a tour when you came for your interview?” he asked.

“Not really,” I said back, still quiet. “I got my interview over Zoom and then just got pointed in a general direction from the School Reception staff.”

“That’ll be Janette,” Jack said, matter of factly. “She’s a bit of a cow to be honest. Nobody likes her, but you know how difficult it can be to get rid of some staff members.”

I nodded some sort of agreement, not really knowing myself.

“C’mon, I’ll show you around,” he said, as I found myself walking alongside like a little puppy.

And so, I followed him as he led me through the entire school, introducing me to the other teachers, letting me know the best place for lunch where the staff room was, and finally to my classroom, trying the whole time not to be too self-conscious.

Picking out a nice, tailored shirt, I slip it on over my arms. As I button it up, I take a look in the mirror. I wasn’t built, by any means of the imagination, but I wasn’t flabby either. I tried to keep myself fit, and my hard work was slowly starting to show—the outline of my abs was there, and my pecs were certainly starting to plump up. Making short work of the buttons, I pick out a nice set of slacks and slip them on, one leg at a time, pulling the zips up and doing up the buttons. You know, I don’t actually look that bad.

With my newfound confidence, I decide to style my dark brown hair into a fauxhawk rather than my usual style of covering one of my eyes with my fringe. With everything all set, I slip my contacts in and head out the door. Stepping into a puddle, I realise that I haven’t put my shoes on. Cursing, I stomp back into the house, thinking what an idiot I am. A lot sure has changed since that first day...

With the students not starting until the next day, I had a chance to get myself set up. As I had a packed lunch with me I didn’t join the rest of the teachers in the staff room, and just ate as I worked.

Near the end of the day, I had everything set out as I wanted it, and sat at my desk feeling pleased with my work. Suddenly, a panic set in. Oh my God, what am I doing? I can’t be a teacher! Don’t you remember what it was like growing up?

Thoughts of my childhood started flooding in. Fleeing from the Soviets, changing towns every few weeks, until the wall came down and we settled down in a nice little town. Attending school and getting called names, from the unimaginative ‘freak’ and ‘monster’ to getting nicknamed ‘threebie buffet’ by one of my two friends—hey, I’m smart, the letters after my name prove that, but I’m also blond, ditzy, and easily excitable. That didn’t change with attending university, nor did it help when trying to get a job.

Then came a little global pandemic and suddenly I was able to start doing a few things that I couldn’t before.

I became a minor TikTok celebrity with my unique musical escapades, as well as my ‘Daily Life with Evan’ series. Before I knew it, I had the confidence to chat with other people without them seeing me as something to be feared or pitied. But now that the world was getting back to normal, and I was no longer hiding behind a screen, my confidence was faltering again.

My thoughts were broken by a knock at the door. In stepped Jack, who gave me a warm smile.

“There you are,” he boomed. “We had been wondering where you were.” He looked around the classroom. “Love what you’ve done with the class. Tony might have been a genius musician, but he was a disorganised mess of a teacher!”

I gave a little laugh. Jack spotted that something was wrong. “Hey, what’s wrong, big guy?”

I snorted. ‘Big guy’! I was 5 foot 8 and he was at least a foot taller than me.

“Oh, just wondering if I’ve made a huge mistake…” I replied airily.

“Why would you think like that? From what I’ve heard you were head and shoulders above the other candidates for the job. Not only that, but the Rector is actually singing about having you as a teacher here, and the last time that guy was happy was when he got the news that rationing was ending.”

I chuckled a little at that, starting to smile. Who is this guy that can make me feel so at ease? “I’m just wondering what the pupils will think of having someone like me as a teacher.”

“Ha,” he laughed. “I’ve watched your TikToks and believe me, the kids were already talking about it before they broke up for the holidays. They can’t wait to meet their new teacher.”

“Really? That sounds a bit farfetched.”

“It’s true. And even if it wasn’t, what does it matter? Just by being their teacher you’ll be teaching them acceptance of others, letting every one of them know that each of us is unique, and that nothing is a barrier as long as you put your mind to it. Anyway, enough preaching, you need to head home. Believe me, you’ll have plenty of late nights in this place in the years to come, so when you have the chance to get away on time, take it!”

With a fresh set of socks and my custom-made shoes now firmly on all my feet, I jump in the car. The restaurant that Jack recommended isn’t far, but with the rain starting to fall, I decide against walking. With my hands on the steering wheel, and my feet covering the pedals, I shift into gear and head on the road.

Switching my iTunes on in the car, I sing along to some of my favourites, including a cheeky rendition of ‘Three little maids’ from The Mikado. I remember getting the chance to sing all three parts at school but getting stage fright on the rehearsals and pulling out. Thinking back, I now start to laugh at how shy I was, even just at the start of this week. But something about this amazing man just makes me feel so confident...

The first school day came and went in a blur. It had been exactly as Jack had predicted. The students were more interested in how I did some of my TikToks and getting some live demonstrations rather than being freaked out by their new, unique teacher. It had felt so uplifting to not be stared at for hours and sit in complete silence whist others were judging you.

And so, at lunchtime I joined my colleagues in the staff room, feeling like the world was full of joy. I didn’t spot Jack but was invited to join a table with some of the older teachers.

“Ah, pleased to meet you Evan. I’m Jane Marigold, Maths, and this is John Fairgrieve from English, Frank Thomas from Geography, and Tabitha Crombie from RMPS.”

I shook their hands, two at a time, as we all sat down together.

“Must be a great timesaver when you end up in conferences,” John quipped, after shaking hands.

“So how goes your first morning?” Tabitha asked.

“It’s been great actually,” I replied. “Better than I thought it would be.”

“See, that’s the great joy with teaching a class where the kids want to be,” Jane said. “John and I have to put up with all the kids in the compulsory classes. And some of them are a real joy to teach, eh John?”

“Oh yes,” John laughed, “nothing like having some of the little, ahem, cherubs who would rather spend their time vandalising their desks. But, for every pupil who doesn’t want to be there, there are a few who shine through.”

And so the conversation went, until the bell rang, signalling a return to classes. The others said their goodbyes and passed on best wishes for my afternoon, before heading back to their classes. I had a free period before my next class, so I lingered in the staff room, hoping I might catch a glimpse of Jack.

Jane, who also had a free period, spotted this and sat down beside me. “Looking for someone, dear?” she asked, almost motherly in her tone.

“To be honest, I had hoped to catch Jack,” I replied. “I wanted to thank him for looking out for me yesterday.”

“Ah, young Jack,” she sighed. “He’ll have been caught up with helping some pupils as usual. He’s a lovely boy, but he needs to remember that his life doesn’t revolve around this school.”

I sat listening intently. “I’ve seen it all before,” she continued. “You know, I’ve been teaching here for nearly forty years and Jack is typical of a few teachers I’ve seen. He has the enthusiasm for life, for teaching young people, but he forgets his own needs. Sad thing is they all end up burning themselves out after a few years and having the joy of teaching sucked out of them.”

“Oh really?” I ask.

“Yes, dear,” she replies. “Almost happened to me. I reckon if I hadn’t met my husband when I did, I would either be a bitter old battle-axe of a teacher—which I’m not, despite what the third years will tell you—or I’d have given it all up and gone back to working on the cruise liners...”

Mental note, there’s more to that that I want to find out, but now isn’t the time, I thought to myself.

“I actually think young Jack might have a soft spot for you, dear,” she added. “He was really concerned about you yesterday, not showing up for lunch and still in your class so late at night. He deliberately held back at the end of the day so he could check on you.”


“Anyway, time to head back to class,” Jane said, standing up. “With your legs, it won’t take you that long getting anywhere, but these old things take forever and a day...”

I pull up in the car park, with the rain starting to fall. I open the glove compartment and find my pocket umbrella. Gingerly opening the car door, I put the umbrella up and dash inside, locking the car as I go.

I’m shown to my table by the host, and I sit, waiting on my handsome date to arrive...

It was my fourth day at school and I’ve still not bumped into Jack. So, at the end of the day I went hunting for him to see what was wrong. Wait a minute where did this confidence come from? All of a sudden I’m the one who is looking to find someone rather than trying to hide away from everyone?

I eventually found him in his classroom. The end of day bell had gone 40 minutes ago, but he was still chatting over some work with two of his students. I listened at the door.

“So, by setting up a false army in Dover, the Allies were hoping to convince the Germans that they would invade at Calais?” the student asked.

“Bingo,” Jack replied, enthusiastically. “You’re starting to get it now. Now, you hop along to the office and get a late bus pass and we’ll pick this all up again tomorrow.”

“Sure, Mr Templeman. See you tomorrow.”

I slipped in after the student had left, my confidence evaporating with every step.

“Hey,” I said, startling Jack.

“Oh hi,” he said back, an almost guilty tone in his voice.

“I just wanted to say...” I started speaking, but Jack jumps in.

“I’m really sorry that I’ve been avoiding you these past few days,” he said. “It’s... just that... well... there’s something about you. I can’t put my finger on it, but I just can’t stop thinking about you.”

Taken aback, I lean back on one of the desks. I released a breath I didn’t know I was holding in.

“I mean,” he continued, “I was just so worried that I’d end up doing something stupid, and I didn’t want to ruin a friendship before it even started, so I, stupidly, decided it would be best to try to avoid you for a few days to see if these feelings went away.” He took a step closer, holding my gaze, his eyes still uncertain.

“But here’s the thing... they didn’t. They just grew and grew, and now I’m stood here rambling in front of you and I don’t really know where we go from now that I’ve told you.”

“Well, we could go on a date?” a voice asked—who was that? Oh shit, it’s me asking! Where did that come from?...

“A date?” Jack repeated.

“Well, if you don’t want to, I completely understand and all that, but you know—”

I fell completely silent as I felt his lips touch mine. I had never kissed anyone in my life except my babushka, and her lips definitely didn’t feel like this. With his lips still firmly pressed against mine, I wrapped my arms around him. My god, how big are those shoulders!

“Do I take that as a yes?” I asked, still kissing the man-mountain held in my arms.

And so, it has come to this. I’m sitting in a restaurant, waiting on the man of my dreams arriving, feeling butterflies in my stomachs...

I hear his voice speaking to the host, my pulses start to race as he steps closer. I stand up as he approaches the table, giving him a quick kiss and cuddle before we both sit down. I gaze into his eyes, our hands still holding each other’s as I take the menus from the waiter.

“I love what you’ve done with your hair,” he says, his voice silky smooth. “It really sets off your eyes perfectly...”

“Thank you,” I blush. “I love your outfit.”

He smiled, as underneath the skin-tight shirt I see his muscles flex, like a nervous tick.

“You know, ever since I first saw you,” he purrs, “I felt that you were the one I had to be with. I just can’t believe how beautiful you are. Your eyes, your mouths, everything about you is just perfect.”

“I’ve felt the same about you. Since I saw you that day, I’ve thought about nothing else but you. Your kindness, your beauty, your warmth. I just felt like I had to be yours.”

For the first time (but not the last) I see him blush. As a kind soul he’s used to giving the compliments, but unaccustomed or at least uncomfortable with receiving them.

“There is one thing that I’ve really wanted to ask though, and it’s kind of embarrassing,” he adds as he continues to blush.

“Go on,” I smile.

“Is everything about you in threes?” he asks, nervously. “I mean, the eyes, the mouths, the arms, the fingers, the legs are all in threes or multiples of three...”

“Well, you know,” I tease, “three is the magic number!”


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