The sky was, of course, overcast. That wasn't unusual. In Waterbee, it seemed as if the sun was always being blotted out by angry gray clouds that seemed to want to trap the sun behind them where the people below could not see it and think on it as not but a memory. New babies were brought out of the small hospital and spent their first few weeks of life with a sunless sky most of the time. Cosmos thought it was lucky, though. An old wives tale. He'd been married on a day that it was raining...People said that was supposed to be lucky.
But...well...he didn't feel very lucky. Ever. Cosmos Bryce was the school nurse at Waterbee Central School. He knew every single kid and their parents. They knew him, and he usually ran into them all outside of school, no matter where he went. There was always a student catching him out in a store, sometimes with his wife.
Marguerite Anne was tall and slim, surprisingly taller than her husband, who was an inch short of six feet tall. She had short pin straight hair, cut like a bob with a waterfall effect, the front longer than the back. She had big bright green eyes that looked out of place on her oddly shaped face. Her's was oval with a long pointed chin, her nose crooked like Professor Snape's in Harry Potter. It was almost a wonder why Cosmos had even married her. But then again, looking at the average man that Cosmos was, it became less of a mystery.
But it was October now. Halloween was just around the bend and at the end of the previous month, the school had done adopt -a-senior, a program that involved the staff symbolically adopting students in the graduating class. Cosmos had been working with the school for many years and had started doing adopt-a-senior a few years ago, giving him about three years experience with the program. This year, he'd adopted a girl who frequented his office. One Roman. He always thought her a sweet girl, so he had absolutely no problem with that. Besides, Halloween was his favorite holiday, and it seemed to fit her as well so they could "bond" with that.
Roman tottered into the nurse's office, blood dripping down her nose. It slipped down her lip, like some grunge photo looking for a vogue effect. She didn't seem to really mind, she got nose bleeds quite often. Roman had ridiculous allergies, and Autumn was her worst enemy. She limped over towards desk, her palms sliding onto the wooden surface. She motioned a finger towards the blood, not needing to say much. He knew the drill, and sometimes she became embarrassed by how much she pestered him with her medical problems.
Roman's thicket of wild crazy light hair was pinned back to keep the blood from speckling her locks. A few other students were filtering in and out of the office, but many of them were quite aware Roman was an every day thing. She was usually either in need of her allergy medicine or was simply in need of ibuprofen. Her lip twitched the slightest as blood poured down her face, she looked like a vampire roaming around among the humans. Her voice whimpered as a cry for help from him, her eyes glued to him like a cat watching her prey. She needed his assistance as soon as possible simply because blood began dripping on his family photo, and on her shoes.
Her face was turning bright red as she realized the mess she was making for both of them. "Sorry.." she barely muttered, trying to avoid getting irony blood in her mouth. One girl was watching in horror, as if shocked that Roman wasn't losing her mind. This was standard procedure for her, and most likely Cosmos. Her hand moved quickly now, cupping under neath her chin to catch a puddle of blood. "Bryce, help." she always said something along those lines.
Cosmos had been checking the temperature of a little Kindergartener when Roman arrived. He glanced over quickly and then set the tool aside, telling the little one to go lay down and he’d call her parents.
“Christ, Roman. Just allergies today or have you been socked in the nose?” he asked, giving a soft laugh as he approached her. He pulled out a box of tissues and handed her one.
“Go on and sit down in the chair. I’ll get some saline and clean this all up.” He said, and saw the girl who’d been staring at Roman.
“…Go on back to class, dear. I’ll call down for you when I’m done with this.” He said, giving a soft laugh. She looked pale, as if the blood made her sick. He couldn’t blame her. At first, blood had always made him sick as well. But he got used to it.
As he adjusted his glasses, Cosmos pulled on the rubber gloves (as he was supposed to) and cleaned up the mess on his desk before going into the back room for some Saline. Most likely, her nasal passages had dried out from the autumn weather. He swore he’d told her hundreds of times to go buy some saline and keep it with her! Perhaps he’d get some for her for Christmas. Seemed like a good enough idea. That, some Tylenol, a couple packs of band aids….He laughed to himself, shaking his head a little.
“How’s class been so far today, Ro?” he asked, shuffling around, “we’re…what? Two periods into the day?” he could help the laughter in his voice. So early in the day and she was already there. Then again, days were weird and foreign to him when she WASN’T there.
She shrugged. "Probably quite educational but it's not like I have been able to pay any attention with blood pouring out of my face." she admitted, the tissue held to her nose. Her eyes moved over the picture and back to him. "Sorry about the picture, red is in the season." she sighed, knowing how much trouble she caused him.
Roman tucked some hair behind her ear, dabbing more blood from her lip. She then spoke "I heard you adopted me." she said, laughing at the sentence. It would make sense that he was the one to claim her, all of the other teachers found her to be a pest. She was always having to go on trips to the nurse's office and some were convinced she gave herself these nose bleeds on purpose to get out of class. She knew this from the attitude and reluctance to sign her planner sending her down. But she knew Cosmos understood, and she didn't feel as bad as she used to. She had known him for quite a long time now, and she could remember the first time she came in with seven or eight tissues catching about a cup of blood streaming from her nose. He was so shocked he flailed his arms for a moment trying to grasp as many tissues as possible. She assured him it happened often, and she just needed a box of tissues and something to sooth the itch of her nose. It always came after the rain stopped, the humidity would vanish and her mind would go berserk.
"I will just call you dad." she joked, tossing a wad of bloodied up tissues into the waste basket next to them.
Cosmos gave a smile and nodded a little.
“I never liked school when I was your age.” He admitted, “Got through by staying after every day in May the year I graduated.” He laughed, shaking her head, once more pushing his thin rimmed glasses back up his nose. They were always slipping down.
Cosmos had a bad habit of losing his glasses whenever he took them off, which was quite a bother since he needed them to see…well, anything. He was very near sighted and would squinted his eyes when he wasn’t wearing his glasses, resembling a mole when his face scrunched up like that. But now, he had them sitting on the bridge of his nose. He crouched in front of Roman and pulled her hand from her nose, looking at her face.
“I can always get more picture of me and my wife.” He said, “You can’t get a new nose.” Well, he was TRYING to be funny. Maybe that wasn’t his best idea, honestly. It seemed like being funny was something that caused him trouble. But now, he was more worried about her nose, not his horrible sense of humor.
“Your face might need a good washing.” He mumbled, grabbing a washy wipe and starting to wipe at her face gently as she spoke. He nodded. Of course he adopted her. She was in here so often, it seemed silly not to. Besides, he knew how some teachers felt about her.
“You can if you want, I suppose. Other students call their adopted parents that. But, I’m not officially your adopted parents unless you agree.” He smiled.
Roman nodded, closing her eyes as she sighed. She looked back up at him, a goofy helpless look on her face.
"I will just call you Bryce." she nodded once. Her hand moved to his, without even thinking she helped him wipe the caked on blood from her face. It was just a habit she had formed, she bleeds, he wipes, she helps.
"My mom wanted to have me ask you where your new place was, she needs to send you a Christmas card down the line. " thus revealing how much time she spent in the nurse's office. Her mother knew him so well, she had picked Roman up from school so many times or dropped off a fresh pair of blood free clothes. It was almost funny to her, and she really didn't mind. The two got along quite well, but she had never been comfortable enough to really talk about her social life. She was afraid if she openly admitted her past times she would bother him, or maybe make him think she was a no good hooligan. They had a nice little thing going, a routine that she grew to like and if she started to seem childish to him she was afraid he would become cold like the other teachers.
Roman tilted her head up towards their hands more, helping him smear the blood off.
"I think you have seen me bleed more than any of the other students combined." she admitted, laughing softly. Her face got red when she thought of it, and she shook her foot a bit as a nervous habit. She had to admit, she had always had this weird crush on him. It didn't effect how she treated him, she acted like he was an old geezer that she could hang out with, but in reality she always thought he was quite handsome. He had this almost british charm to him that she would sometimes lose herself in. It was lessening these days as he would speak about his wife more and more, and she would sink back into the atmosphere of reality.
Admittedly she had little ideas where she would come in when school was over, with a scratch on her chest or something and they would get hot and heavy but she would run away before things got intense, only making him want more. But she was a teenager, everyone had those ideas about one adult figure, and she just assumed they would slowly fade away with time.
"How is the Mrs?" she asked, as if she was actually interested. She just wanted to see if he would open up to her, maybe even complain about his wife..or maybe brag..she was nervous about his answer. She rarely asked him about his personal life.
Cosmos smiled. Her mother was a sweet woman. She always thought of sending him a card.
“Remind me before you leave and I’ll write it down for you.” He told her, cleaning her face carefully before checking her clothes over. This system of their’s was like clockwork, and he liked it. Cosmos was quite the creature of habit.
When the student asked him about his wife, Cosmos ignored the question and instead asked her how her classes were going so far this year. His wife was not someone he wanted to talk about. Especially not right now.
Cosmos and his wife were not on good terms. They had been trying for kids for a couple years now, and had finally gone to the doctor to find out why nothing was working. When it was revealed to be all Comsos’ fault, his wife had just…brushed him off and now left him alone. No sex, no kisses, no intimate moments…no warmth. No warmth at all…Cosmos found himself occupying himself with fantasies sometimes, and had fantasized about this young woman in particular several times the past week, feeling ashamed of himself each time. It wasn’t like he did it on purpose…it was just that she was so pretty…and Cosmos was just so fucking lonely anymore.
Roman nodded, but when she noticed her question pushed aside she sighed softly. She should have known it was too soon to get into personal life.
After all, she had this silly fantasy he would open up to her, but she was sure he was far too professional to even consider that sort of behavior.
He eyes connected with his own now
"So how does this adopting thing go? I'm all yours now?" her voice sounded a bit tricky. She could have said that in a seductive way, or she could have simply been curious. She herself wasn't sure, lately she had just been..well,..considering her habits. She was almost eighteen and still hadn't done anything extremely naughty or teenlike. This sudden urge to be instinctual and primal was starting to rule over her actions for some time now. Yesterday she told a girl her sweater looked like an animal that had gotten run over, and then she skipped class. But that was the most extreme thing she had done, it was starting to simmer down. She figured nothing could get rid of the urge to defy everything, but when she looked up at him,..hm..
Visions of movies on lifetime she had watched, erotic fan fictions, books, television shows..then she would stare at him.
It was a silly teenager thing for her to do, a funny little habit she got to indulge in which she sized down to nothing more than a fun thing to do. It was when she noticed herself getting jealous of his wife that she was starting to consider it could have been becoming a problem. She bit her tongue, he was a professional. If she tried anything she would get reported, maybe even sent to some teenager crisis counseling. Oh god, she didn't need that.
Cosmos had stood by now, going to fill out a pass for her to go back to class, though he didn’t fill out the time. After all, she was his “daughter” and he didn’t mind keeping her for a few minutes more so they could talk, if she wanted.
When their eyes connected, he quickly pulled off his glasses, cleaning them on his scrubs.
“You’re…well, my kid, I guess. It just means you can come here and hang out and get away with a couple things in THIS room and…you get presents from me when the occasion is called for.” He laughed a little, trying to ignore the “Am I all yours now?” part of the question. He wasn’t going to answer that, because it could go one of several ways, all of which he didn’t WANT it to go, because he didn’t wanna lose his job. But his cheeks turned a soft shade of rose red.
She stood up, seeing the pass being filled out now. She grabbed her bundled up sweater in her arm, walking over towards him.
She gasped, remembering something.
"I need that address or my mom will throw a pretty gnarly fit because I forgot." she reminded him, smiling when he mentioned gifts. Her curiosity was peaked and she looked up at him gently smiling. "I get gifts from you? Aw Bryce you don't need to get me anything." she assured him politely. If he was going to get something for her, then she would be sure to compete for getting him sillier and nicer gifts. She was quite the competitor.
Spirit snatched a sticky note from his little orange pad of notes, and leaned down now. She was looking up at him as her pen was in her hand, awaiting an address to scribble down.