Warnings/Notes: Adult Language, Buffy/Other--temporary
Summary: Buffy and her rich and powerful husband Angel can't seem to agree on how to educate their young daughter. But they can agree on who--William Giles.
Chapter 8: School!
“Well, then, shall we talk about what we’re going to tell my husband you’re teaching our daughter?”
For the next ten minutes they talked about what William would be teaching Sam in the coming weeks and months—first just her general alphabet and numbers—through 20 and then through 50—then reading and writing. Buffy was glad that they’d gotten someone as dedicated and enthusiastic as William to teach her daughter…He was the kind of teacher she’d aspired to be while in college, someone that was teaching solely for the love of it—and who was good at it.
Once they’d decided to tell Angel that William would also be teaching Sam some “etiquette” they headed inside to find Sam.
The next few days of school went smoothly. Sam was still overly excited to be starting school and Buffy was becoming more and more comfortable with the idea of Sam having a tutor the more she saw how well Sam and William interacted.
Buffy left them to themselves on Thursday and Friday, only seeing them when the three of them ate lunch together on the back patio—ham sandwiches all around.
“Mommy?” Sam asked towards the end of lunch on Friday, “William said I should get folders,” she looked at William for a second, “To keep my school stuff um….”
“Organized,” he supplied.
“Yeah, oar-gah-nized. So, can I mommy, can I get some folders? Pretty ones?” Sam asked, a hopeful expression on her face.
“Sure, we can sweetie, but not until after school, okay?” Buffy was so glad her daughter was getting into school.
“Sam, why don’t you go back in,” William suggested once he’d seen that the girl had finished her lunch. “And work on that name thing, I need to talk to your mum about some stuff for a minute.”
“What name thing?” Buffy asked after her daughter had gone back into the house.
“Just teaching her how to write her name,” he explained. “Was just going to keep it at Samantha, but she wanted her last name too, so now it’s Samantha Summers-O’Connor.”
“Summers?” Buffy questioned in surprise.
“Yeah, I figured I’d compromise, Samantha instead of Sam and Summers-O’Connor instead of just O’Connor. Hope that’s alright with you.” Maybe he should have asked first?
“No, that’s fine, I was just surprised that you were having her include the Summers, is all. Now, what was it you wanted to talk to me about?”
“Well, see back home we do school a bit differently…at the age she is, Sam would have already done her reception year and already been in year one. And well what I wanted to ask you is, if I teach her, she’ll get more done than she would a regular school…and I guess what I want to know,” he actually blushed bit and avoided her eyes as he said the next part, “God, I have no idea why I’m embarrassed to ask you this, but can I teach Sam so that she’ll be ready to go into second grade next year instead of first?…I know it’ll make her one of the youngest kids in the class, but I don’t really think we’ll be able to do much if I’m just supposed to teach her the kindergarten stuff. And I know this really isn’t something that I should necessarily be bringing up so early in our schooling, but she seems like an extremely bright girl and I know from experience that if kids get bored in school it leads to them hating it…and I don’t want her to hate school.”
Buffy was touched by how much he seemed to already care for her daughter and by how much he respected her parenting—enough that he asked her about it, instead of asking Angel and just telling her. “I’ll have to check with Angel first of course, he’s gonna kind of notice if suddenly our daughter’s goes into second grade instead of first.” She smiled at him before continuing, “But don’t worry, I can play it up so that he’ll see it as some kind of status thing….as long as you don’t think it’ll push her too hard, I don’t want things to be too stressful?”
“I promise, luv, I’m going to make sure she’s doing okay with it all…if she’s not I can always just stick to kindergarten stuff, no one’ll know if we do since it’s just us, so it won’t hurt her at all.” He assured Buffy carefully.
“Well, then, Mr. Giles, that sounds like an excellent idea.” Buffy couldn’t keep the smile off her face when William broke into a huge grin.
“Right then,” he tried to act at least slightly indifferent, “Guess, I should probably get back inside and check on Sam.”
“William?” Buffy questioned just as he was about to make his way back inside, “Thank you for doing this.” When he only looked at her perplexed, she elaborated, “For taking this job, for not being intimidated by Angel, for letting me have a part in my little girls life…something I honestly thought I was on the edge of losing. Thank you.”
He could tell from the way she turned her back towards him that, that was something that was hard for her to say and not something she wanted to discuss, so he simply said, “You’re welcome,” before making his way inside to find out what kind of progress Sam had made.
“William!” Apparently he didn’t have to find out, after all. “Look what I did! It looks just like the one you did,” Sam exclaimed thrusting the piece of paper towards him, all the while wearing a face splitting grin.
“Let’s see how you did, poppet,” William said bending down and taking the proffered piece of paper. After looking at it for a second, William was sporting a huge grin as well, “Well, pet, looks like you’ve got this one covered… how about we try doing it a few more times, just to make sure…then you can work on writing it all by yourself.”
“You mean not looking at yours?” She asked in awe.
“That’s exactly what I mean, we’ll work on this for maybe the rest of today…and you can practice this weekend if you want. Then next week, we’ll work on writing Samantha all by yourself, then once we get that done, we’ll move on to Summers and O’Connor. That sound like a good idea to you, princess?”
All Sam did was smile before she took his hand and pulled him back into the library that was their school room.
Buffy watched with a sad smile on her face as William told her daughter to slow down. It wasn’t that she didn’t love how well her daughter and William got along, quite the contrary, she could hardly love it more. It was just…well…and she knew this sounded horrible, but she couldn’t understand how William, a man with no children who’d just met her daughter around a week ago could interact with her so well; yet how her own husband, who’d been Sam’s father for more than six years, could hardly spend a few minutes a day with her—and never had much fun with her when he did spend time with her.
She knew it made her a bad wife and possibly a bad mother to think so, but William was definitely better with Sam than Angel was.
But then again maybe William was just doing so well since it wasn’t his kid. The same way some people were excellent babysitters, but couldn’t do it long term. Maybe it was like that.