General Fiction posted September 21, 2020 Chapters:  ...20 21 -22- 23... 

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The twins go to law school.

A chapter in the book Par Angusta Ad Augusta

Chapter 22

by teols2016

A law professor gets a family and a bookstore owner offers advice.
Previously in "Par Anusta Ad Auusta":

After his brother and sister-in-law are killed in a car accident overseas, NYU law professor Jefferson Thomas brins his youn nieces and nephew to live with him in Manhattan. Meanwhile, local bookstore owner Monique Vasquez runs her family's business while recovering from a recent robbery.

"So he really laughed at that?" Jefferson asked incredulously.

"He did," Monique confirmed.

"And you left?"

"I did."

"Unbelievable. How can anyone be that stupid?"

"I honestly have no idea."

They were having lunch in a Subway restaurant on 8th Avenue, not far from Monique's bookstore. Throughout the meal, Monique recounted the details of her miserable date at the museum, leaving out what had happened in her apartment afterwards.

"So you're single again?" Jefferson asked, a smirk playing across his lips.

"Yeah," Monique said, chuckling slightly. "Why? Are you interested?"

"Me? No, I'm taken. I was just going to pass your name around to some guys over at the university."

"I don't think I'm that desperate yet," Monique said, picking at her sandwich.

"To date law professors?" Jefferson asked, taking a big bite of his own sandwich.

"No, to have my name passed around on a piece of paper with the phrase 'For good time, call'."

"Oh come on. I wouldn't portray you like that ... I would put 'For pleasant encounter, cell number:'. It's more classy."

"Ha-ha," Monique said while he laughed. "Maybe I should just give up with guys altogether. I mean, I haven't had any luck with them. Maybe lesbianism is the answer ... I mean, Joan's kind of cute and she's seen me naked, so that hurdle's overcome ..."

"She'd be lucky to have you," Jefferson remarked, taking another bite of his sandwich. "Any woman would be."

"Are you even listening to me?"

Jefferson swallowed before responding.

"I am listening," he said. "You wanna get it on with your nurse ... sounds like a great plot for a porn film."

He began laughing again.

"Hey," Monique said. "I'm being serious here. If we didn't know each other so well, I would have a good mind to just leave right now."

Jefferson took a moment to stop laughing.

"I'm sorry," he said. "You'll find someone. Don't worry about it. You're a great catch."

"I think I found your earlier comments more comforting," Monique remarked.

"You will find someone. Granted, I'm not the best person to be talking to you about this. I mean, I spent five years with the wrong one, but the right one is out there ... for the both of us. Trust me ... I believe that there's someone out there for everyone."

Monique studied him, turning his words over in her mind.

"You think Linda might be the one for you?" she queried.

"I don't know yet," Jefferson replied. "I'd like it if she was. It'd be nice to stop looking."

"Well, when you're married and happy, just promise to invite me over for Thanksgiving."

"Sure, but you'll be too busy with your own family. I'm willing to bet on that."

Monique groaned.

"I'm gonna die an old maid," she said.

* * *

The phone rang. Still mostly asleep, Jefferson reached over to the nightstand to check what time it was.

"5:30," the electronic voice of his apple-shaped clock recited.

5:30, Jefferson wondered with a groan, Who on Earth calls at 5:30 in the morning?

He picked up the receiver and almost immediately heard a voice recording that regarded the twins' school. The recording stated that, due to some vague maintenance reason, the school would be closed for the day.

"Okay," Jefferson said to himself when the recording had finished and was repeating itself. "what do I do now?"

He couldn't take off from work anymore. His vacation days were effectively gone for the semester. Matthew would still go to the day care center, but he'd have to find someone who could watch the girls.

But first, he needed coffee. Hanging up the phone, he decided to start his day a little earlier.

* * *

Abigail, Taylor, and Matthew came downstairs for breakfast to find Jefferson on the phone, learning the high school was open and running a normal school day, so Ellen O'Ryan and all her fellow baby-sitters were not available. Linda had to work for part of the day, so she was sending her kids over to her parents for the morning. Anya had a doctor's appointment in a few hours, followed by a mysterious lunch plan, so she couldn't watch the twins. Since Jefferson's parents lived in Virginia, that was not a possibility. There was quickly only one option left.

"Okay," Jefferson told the girls over breakfast. "You two are gonna come to work with me, all right?"

Both Taylor and Abigail seemed interested in this idea.

"Go get some stuff to keep yourselves busy," Jefferson instructed. "We're leaving at the same time as always."

* * *

Thankfully, Matthew had no problem with still going to the day care center, so Jefferson only had the responsibility of keeping track of two kids in a university setting.

"You guys are gonna be law students for the day," he told the girls as they waited for the Uber that would take them from the day care center to the law school.

* * *

With Abigail trying to greet every person they passed, Jefferson, Presley, and the twins made their way into one of the law school's buildings. As they headed up to his office, Taylor remarked it looked a lot like the buildings where her parents had worked.

"I guess they're not too different," Jefferson commented, having no idea about the validity of this statement.

They reached his office and both girls were eager to explore the room. However, they quickly sounded disappointed.

"What's wrong?" Jefferson asked.

"This isn't a classroom," Taylor observed.

"It's not."

"You said you're a teacher."

Jefferson nodded, understanding.

"I am," he said. "It works a little differently here. Every teacher has their own office and they borrow the classrooms when they want to teach."

"Don't you teach all day?" Abigail asked.

"I do, but here, you teach a class for a little while and then you take a break."

"Okay," Abigail said, seemingly accepting this explanation. "Who do the classrooms belong to?"

"The school owns the classrooms," Jefferson said, going around his desk and sitting down at his computer. "Hang out for a minute. I just have to check something and then we're going over to one of the classrooms."

As he waited for his computer to boot up, he felt one of the girls brush against his leg as she came around the desk and seemed to be trying to look at something on it. She was having trouble due to her height and was trying to stand on tip-toes to accomplish the task.

"Is there something I can help you with?" Jefferson queried.

"There's no pictures," Abigail observed, no longer trying to look at the top of the desk. "Our parents had pictures in their offices. Ms. Turner has pictures on her desk at school. Why don't you have any pictures?"

"He can't see them," Taylor pointed out.

"That is true," Jefferson said. "But that doesn't mean I can't have some pictures in here to show other people. I've always wanted to do that but I keep forgetting to get some."

His computer was then ready to go and he set to work. The twins amused themselves by looking out the window behind him, having heard his screen reading software so often before, it no longer interested them. After updating some grades for papers he had looked over at home, Jefferson announced they were now going to a classroom.

* * *

"Sorry to hear it didn't go so well with your accountant guy," Frank said as he swept up dirt which someone had tracked into the store. "If you'd like, I know some single guys ..."

"I'm okay," Monique said. "Thanks though. I'm just gonna tough it out on my own for a little while before I try dating again."

She was sure she probably would pursue a sexual relationship with Joan before she ever took Frank's dating advice.

"Well," Frank said, "we're all here for you."

"Thanks," Monique said.

* * *

"Okay," Jefferson said, pulling two spare chairs over to small table he'd gotten a custodian to set up on the side of the lecture hall, "you two can have these seats. Play with what you have, but just do it quietly while I teach, all right?"

Both girls seemed okay with this arrangement.

"You need anything else before class starts?" Jefferson asked. "Water? Bathroom break? Anything?"

"No," the twins chorused.

"Good," Jefferson said, pointing out the nearby lectern. "I'll be right over there."

He allowed himself to believe this might actually go well.

Students soon began pouring into the classroom. One downside of the twins' location was that some students had to walk right past them to get to their own seats, prompting Abigail to begin greeting them. A few students acknowledged the greeting with some, mainly women, actually stopping to greet her back. Taylor also said, "hello", but it was at a much less frequent pace.

"Okay," Jefferson said. "Let's sit down now. Remember, I'm not above the idea of failing you for the semester right now."

The students took their seats and pulled out their laptops and notebooks, somewhat ready for his lecture.

"Good morning," Jefferson said when the official starting time for the class arrived. "As you have noticed, my nieces are visiting us today. Their elementary school officials finally realized that some old pipes need to be replaced ... after they broke and caused some considerable flooding in the building. Better late than never."

Some students snickered at this.

"So we'll be running class pretty much as usual," Jefferson continued. "Just keep your comments G-rated please ... Mr. Willis."

There was considerably more laughter to this comment as several people looked over at the student named Claude Willis, who wore a proud grin on his face.

"We left off last time with New York Times Co. v. United States ..." Jefferson began.

* * *

The door chimed, signaling the arrival or departure of a customer. Monique ignored it as usual as she continued working behind the register, once again strapped into her standing frame. As it turned out, a woman had come in with a little boy and girl in tow. They came directly up to the counter.

"Excuse me," the woman said. "Do you carry the new Maggie Wheeler book?"

"Yeah," Monique said, "it's in our children's section that way."

She pointed towards a nearby aisle.

"If it's not there, let me know," She continued. "There are definitely more copies in our storeroom. It's been quite popular."

"Thank you," the woman said and headed off with her children still in tow.

They seemed to have found what they were looking for and were back about ten minutes later with the newest book by children's author Maggie Wheeler, along with a copy of "The Teacher" by Sasha Copeland, a work too advanced for the kids. Monique didn't comment as she began ringing up the items.

"No school today?" she instead queried.

"School's closed," the boy said. "The pipes broke."

"Did they now? That's $23.11."

The woman pulled a credit card out of her wallet and hesitated, clearly unsure if she ought to just hand it to Monique. Monique solved the problem by holding her hand out for it. As she ran the card through the card reader, she noticed the card holder's name was "Linda Carrows". She recognized it immediately. This was Jefferson's girl.

Linda Carrows had meanwhile taken the opportunity to glance around the store with apparent interest. Monique got her attention again by sliding over the card and the accompanying receipt.

"This is a nice place," Linda commented as she signed the slip of paper. "I've lived in New York for many years and I've never been in here."

"We're not that well-known," Monique said, taking back the receipt and storing away the copy she would keep. "We mainly serve the immediate neighborhood and the occasional passerby."

Linda nodded.

"A friend of mine told me about this place," she commented. "He said it was a good place for kids. I finally got the opportunity to see for myself."

"Come back on a weekend," Monique encouraged as she put the books and Linda's receipt into a bag. "It's more exciting around here then."

"I might just do that," Linda said, taking the bag. "Thank you."

She corralled her children and they took their leave. Monique remained where she was, amused by the fact Jefferson was this woman's source of information about her store.

"Word of mouth," she muttered, chuckling. "You gotta love it."

* * *

Eric entered the restaurant and quickly located Jefferson. He came over to the table and was surprised to find Abigail and Taylor already sitting there.

"law students are getting younger every day," he remarked.

Abigail giggled.

"Shouldn't you two be in school?" Eric queried.

"School's closed," Abigail reported and Jefferson explained the situation more fully.

"Wish I'd had that kind of luck back in the day. You guys mind if I join you for lunch?"

No one objected and he slid into the booth next to Taylor.

"Has your uncle been reading you the menu?" he asked.

"He's blind," Abigail said, giggling again. "He can't read it."

Eric looked at Jefferson.

"They've lost track of their Braille copy of the menu," Jefferson explained, answering the unasked question.

Eric chuckled.

"Really?" he asked. "I would think that you're here so often that they wouldn't have a chance to lose it."

He cracked open the menu and began reading off the items. Since the restaurant mainly served a college crowd, there were no specific children's items. Eric and Jefferson instead came up with the solution to have the twins share a cheese pizza, thus also satisfying Abigail's list of food items she would not touch.

The waitress, who looked no older than 19, soon came over to take their orders and was very surprised to see the twins, again a sign that the restaurant was not used to serving children. It took a little while for Jefferson to get through to her that she should please bring out two plates with the pizza so the twins could share it. She finally got it and wrote everything down before leaving.

"Clearly a freshmen," Eric muttered and Jefferson smirked. "how's it going on your first day of law school?"

The girls began telling him about how they were allowed to go to Jefferson's class. Jefferson added the fact that, at one point during his lecture, they had started squabbling about something regarding the drawings they were working on and he had to stop teaching to settle the matter, subsequently jokingly referring to the interruption as an example of an early version of family court.

As the waitress brought them their drinks, Eric's cell phone rang. He had to control himself before he could answer it in order to sound halfway sane.

"Hello ..." he said, still chuckling. "Oh hey ... you are? ... I'm at Mindy's, having lunch with Jefferson. Come on over ... No, it's fine. He'd be more insulted if you didn't ... yes, you know Mindy's ... it's the pizza and pasta place where I always seem to wind up for lunch. ... Yes, that place ... come on over ... all right, a Coke and ... Got it ... not too much cheese ... I promise. ... See you soon."

He hung up.

"Amy's on her way," he reported. "She decided to try to meet me for lunch."

He got the waitress's attention and ordered a Coke and a plate of spaghetti with marinara sauce, explaining that a fifth person would be coming for lunch. He then took a chair from a nearby table and placed it at the end of their own since there was no room for his wife in the booth itself.

Thankfully, he didn't seem to notice Jefferson looking slightly less comfortable. This was the first time Jefferson would be seeing both Eric and Amy together since his one-night-stand with the latter. He had no idea how this would go, despite Eric's apparent continuing obliviousness o the incident.

Amy arrived a few minutes later and was as surprised as her husband had been to see the twins there. Jefferson once again explained the situation as she sat down in the chair, effectively putting her right between him and Eric. The tone of voice she used told him she wasn't entirely comfortable with this arrangement either, something else Eric thankfully missed. Amy kept her head movements very controlled, looking mainly at her husband and the twins.

"So," she said as the waitress brought her Coke along with a placemat and silverware, "what was so funny earlier when I called?"

Eric forced Jefferson to repeat the story about the twins' squabbling. Amy laughed, finding this very funny while also being glad to have something to make her feel less awkward.

"So," she asked after calming down. "which do you like better ... elementary school or law school?"

"We get to draw more here," Abigail said. "That's fun."

"I think there are people who would disagree with you," Eric remarked as their food began to arrive.

Since Jefferson and Eric were in a better position to assist, they began working to separate the pizza slices from one another to get them on the girls' individual plates. Unfortunately, they hadn't been cut well and the men were having trouble with it. Amy just watched them with amusement. They finally managed to give each girl one slice to start with and Eric cut the rest completely through with his own knife.

"Hey," he said as he began with his own food. "Don't you have the Stevenson twins in class this afternoon?"

Jefferson thought for a moment and chuckled.

"Who are the Stevenson twins?" Amy asked.

"They're identical twins in their second year here," Eric explained. "They'll be in Jefferson's class this afternoon."

"And I assume they're female," Amy concluded, now chuckling as well as the irony sank in.

Eric nodded.

"People are gonna have a field day with this," he remarked.

"Looking forward to it," Jefferson muttered.

They ate in silence for a while, the only exception being when one or both of the girls asked for more pizza or when Amy apologized when hers and Jefferson's hands accidentally brushed against one another due to the confines of the table. Jefferson apologized as well. This exchange didn't go over Eric's head.

"If I didn't know any better, I'd say he just shocked you," he remarked. "I don't think I've ever seen you pull your hand back that quickly. Everything okay?"

"Yeah," Amy said. "It was static electricity, I guess."

"Yeah," Jefferson agreed, thankful for her quick response.

"All right," Eric said, deciding to leave it at that despite the fact both of them were acting strangely.

Jefferson and Amy were relieved that he didn't pursue anything further.

"So how's Linda?" Eric asked instead.

"Who's Linda?" Amy asked.

"Jefferson's new lady friend. She's a divorcee whose kids go to the same school as ... umph."

Jefferson successfully kicked his leg beneath the table, but the twins' attention was already captured.

"Linda's your friend?" Taylor asked.

"Yeah," Jefferson said, thinking quickly. "She comes by every so often and helps me with stuff when I need it."

"Kind of like I did," Amy added, scowling at Eric,.

"Yeah," Jefferson said, pouncing on this, "but Linda lives closer, so it's easier to ask her for help."

Thankfully, the twins seemed to accept this explanation.

* * *

Monique soon learned more about the local school closing as more parents and their children stopped by her store. Anya also came in with a friend of hers. Joan eventually let Monique out of the standing frame and back into the wheelchair, so she was then able to move around the store again. Unfortunately, this came along just in time for her to meet a little boy who desired nothing more than to play with her chair, being brazen enough to try and grab the joystick. His mother soon took control of him, apologizing profusely.

"No harm done," Monique assured the woman and moved on. She occasionally ran into children like that but didn't worry about it. After all, kids were kids, and some were just more interested in her chair than anything else. It didn't bother her except for the safety concerns reckless handling of her chair brought to the forefront.

I have rearranged this story a bit. It is now thirty-eight chapters (instead of the original forty-two.)

Cast of characters:

Jefferson Thomas: a blind NYU law professor.

Presley: Jefferson's guide dog.

Monique Vasquez: a bookstore owner in Manhattan

Abigail and Taylor Thomas: seven-year-old twin daughters of Stanley and Margaret Thomas. Nieces of Jefferson Thomas.

Matthew: four-year-old son of Stanley and Margaret Thomas. Nephew of Jefferson Thomas.

Anya Motkova: Jefferson's new live-in nanny.

Linda Carrows: mother of children at Abigail and Taylor's school.

Joan: Monique's nurse.

Eric Nelson: Jefferson's colleague and best friend
Amy Nelson: Eric's wife and Jefferson's friend

Paula Franks: a NYU law student who is interested in Jefferson.

Stanley "Stan" Thomas: Jefferson's brother. Killed in a car accident in Berlin.

Margaret "Maggie" Thomas: Stan's wife. Killed in a car accident in Berlin.

Feedback is always welcome. Enjoy.
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