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 Start of the Line, Vance/Cassie
Frostbone
 Posted: Mar 3 2018, 04:39 AM
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Spring 12, Year 03
10 a.m.
Mood:
Happy
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Friday morning. An amazing day, at least in the life of one Vance Crofton. It had been a week or so since he had made his return to Ioana, and despite the sorry state of some parts of the town from a mixture folks moving away and father time working his magic on the abandoned structures, it was still nice to be back home after a quarter century or so. Of particular amusement to the man was the reactions from some of the old timers that remembered him as a child. The reactions were usually that of amazement, both from the fact that he apparently was a dead ringer for his grandfather at his age, as well as the fact that to people's pleasant surprise, his personality was closer to his uncle's instead of his parents. Given their demeanor as he grew up, Vance was always a little curious if it was just him. Some of the takes on his parents that he got from folks around town....well, it was kind of comforting to know that his folks were asses to more people than just him.

But there was of course, the main reason that the day was amazing for Mr. Crofton. A delivery from the passenger train today. Over the years, thanks to his trade of being a freelance repairman and craftsman, Vance had managed to acquire a rather large collection of tools. It was a trade that he had planned to continue in Ioana, even being fortunate enough to have a large shed at his uncle's home to base his operations out of. But in order to do that, he needed the rest of his tools. With all the other things that him and Eden needed to take with them for their move, Vance had to rely on a friend to send them down the line a little later. Thankfully he had come through it seemed as Vance had gotten word that he should have something waiting for him this morning.

”Now, if I was freight on a passenger train, where would they unload me...”

Lips pursed in thought, Vance sat down on a bench on the train platform to have a good look. People coming and going on the train, though it didn't seem like anything was being unloaded yet. No matter. Vance figured he'd wait for a few minutes before asking questions. As for now, it was nice to relax and just take in the scenery. From what his uncle told him before he set out, he had done quite a bit of bragging Vance's skills up and as such, he had already had quite a few jobs lined up. Best to enjoy his last couple of off days before putting his nose to the grindstone.
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Tanuki
 Posted: Mar 3 2018, 07:16 AM
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CASSIDY VEGA

Date: Spring 12th, Year 3


"Mom, do you really think we can trust cows?" It was a bit of an odd question as they sat on the train to Ioana, it wasn't the first time, but Cassie had decided since they would be visiting the valley weekly soon enough that she should start to get an idea about where everything was. That would include Robin's new Clinic, and the rest of the town just so she didn't get lost on her way to the train station.

"What makes you ask that Theo?" She asked, looking over the rim of the newspaper, an eyebrow raised as her son seemed rather serious. "I mean, have you ever really looked at a cow, mom? They have such a blank stare! Who know what they're looking at, or what they're thinking about!" she felt his small hands on her knees as he observed her closely, and she chuckled softly.

"I could say the same thing about you when you're watching an episode of Bonanza." She responded, and Theo pouted at her. "But that's easy mom, I'm just thinking about Bonanza!" Cassie nodded quietly. "I guess you're right, but- Oh hey look we're here!" Cassie said, standing up and folding up the newspaper before taking Theo's hand and leading him off the train.

"Mom I'm Hungry!" Theo chirped as soon as they were on the platform. Cassie nodded, she needed a coffee as well, but she wasn't too sure where to get one. "I think I see a map over there!" Without waiting, Theo took off to a nearby board and Cassie started after him. "Theo don't run off like-!" She was stopped as she bumped into someone, and she shook her head, deciding she had the time to apologize since Theo had stopped at the board and she could still see him.

"I'm so sorry, k-kids, sometimes you can't keep up with them." She said to the man she had managed to knock into.

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Frostbone
 Posted: Mar 4 2018, 03:33 AM
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Spring 12, Year 03
10 a.m.
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Lips pursed in thought as Vance continued to sit, the man could swear that he had heard some voices approaching from behind him. Though he wasn't paying too much attention as he had his eyes looking for his prize, so to speak, there was definitely a woman and what he would assume a child. Well, on a positive note, it seemed that there were people out enjoying the nice day. Although it didn't really do any favors for him finding what he was looking for. Child running into his field of view...nope. Not quite.

”Theo don't run off like-!”

Suddenly, any and all thoughts of parcel retrieval went out the window as he felt someone crash into him. As a surprised and slightly pained grunt escaped his lips, Vance did manage to keep himself on the bench. Which was a good thing for both him and the person that had quite literally bumped into him just now. Without him there to break the fall, there was a good chance that the low sitting bench would have cut the poor person off at the knees. All sorts of injuries to be had there. Taking a brief moment to collect the air that had been knocked from his lungs, Vance quickly stood up and pivoted about, raising an eyebrow at his unintentional assailant. A woman, probably the one from a few moments earlier that had apparently closed the gap. Middle twenties. Easy on the eyes. Slightly embarrassed expression on her face.

”I'm so sorry, k-kids, sometimes you can't keep up with them.”

Any annoyance that Vance may have felt at being plowed into faded rather quickly, with him nodding his head in agreement as he could most certainly relate. Taking a glance over to the child, Vance noted that he seemed to be looking for something on a board. Newcomers, possibly?

“Hey, it's no problem, miss.” Vance finally offered up, a pleasant enough smile forming on his face. “I've got one of my own and she was quite a handful at that age too.”

Giving a glance over to make sure that the boy was still at the board and hadn't moved on, Vance turned back to the mystery woman.

“Where are my manners? Vance Crofton.” Vance extended his hand. “You alright? You aren't wincing, so I'm assuming that you didn't crack your legs into the bench, at least.”
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Tanuki
 Posted: Mar 4 2018, 07:42 AM
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CASSIDY VEGA

Date: Spring 12th, Year 3


It was actually pretty embarrassing, the way she had almost collided with a bench, but that often happened when she became concerned with her son. He was always running about this way and that, and it was sometimes hard to keep up with his boundless energy. So sometimes Cassidy's body reacted for her, no matter what or who was in the way. And this is why now she was sheepishly staring back at a stranger as she apologized for colliding with him in an almost impossible way.

But she was relieved to hear that he understood the struggles of keeping up with a young child like Theodore, and she felt the tension in her shoulders finally come to a rest. "Y-Yes, if you're not paying attention they're off like a shot. I uh...just became concerned about my son because he well...he has the tendency to wander if you aren't keeping an eye on him." She said, thankful to see that her son was still enamored with the board that sat just in front of him.

He introduced himself as Vance, and Cassidy smiled softly. "My name's Cassidy, and my son is.. Theo! Theodore come over here!" Hearing his name, Theo bounded back over to his mother, where Cassidy took him by the shoulders. "Theodore." She continued, "It's nice to meet you Vance. And uh, don't worry about me, I didn't manage any injury this time."

Was he a local? She wondered if it would be okay to ask him a question. "Uhm, Vance? We're not from around here, and I was wondering if you knew of a place I can get a coffee, and something for my son?"

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Frostbone
 Posted: Mar 7 2018, 02:35 AM
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The guy that does the stuff and the things.

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Spring 12, Year 03
10 a.m.
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A small smile formed on Vance's nodding face as the woman confessed that her son was a bit of a ball of energy. The man could certainly attest to that, as Eden had a bit of the wandering feet like that when she was the boy's age. Granted, that was years ago, but Vance couldn't help but smile thinking about it.

”My name's Cassidy, and my son is.. Theo! Theodore, come over here!”

And sure enough, he came, fast as his little feet would carry him. Well, he did certainly have one thing over Eden at that age. He listened. There were plenty of times where his daughter would find herself being interested by something much like Theo was with the bulletin board. And more often than not, Vance would get some variant of 'in a minute' as a reply. Ah, she turned out okay, at least Vance thought so. Her listening to him got a little better with age, at least.

“Well, it's very nice to meet you, Cassidy.” Vance replied, shaking her hand, before looking down to the young boy. “It's nice to meet you as well, Theodore. And I'm happy to hear you aren't hurt. Been a couple of years since I've had to do it, but believe me, I know all too well about having to chase your child down. It's been a few years, but memories stick with you.”

”Uhm, Vance? We're not from around here, and I was wondering if you knew of a place I can get a coffee, and something for my son.”

“New to town, huh?” Vance couldn't help but chuckle a bit. “I suppose I kind of am too, to be fair. Was born here and lived here until I was about six, and just moved back a little bit ago. But I think I can still help you out. Growing up, there were a lot of good eating places on Chestnut Street. And although it's changed a bit, just from walking around, it looks like there's plenty there still. There's a few cafes over there...”

Pursing his lips in thought as he glanced behind Cass, Vance smiled as he saw one of the workers waving at him.

“Was waiting for a delivery with the train. Although now that you mentioned it, I should probably grab something for my daughter. If you don't mind giving me a couple of minutes to sign off on my delivery, I could walk you two over there.”
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Tanuki
 Posted: Mar 7 2018, 10:07 AM
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CASSIDY VEGA

Date: Spring 12th, Year 3


It did put her at ease that this man she had met in the station was a father as well. It made her son's actions a lot easier to explain when she was speaking to someone who knew all too well what Parenthood was like. It was a lot of chasing after your children and making sure they weren't getting themselves or in Theo's case sometimes someone else into any sort of trouble. But for the most part Theodore was a good boy and usually listened to her the first time she told him something. By most accounts except for a bit of a mischievous side, he was just like her when she was younger, only given a lot more love.

"Mom trips over stuff a lot, I have to ask her if she's okay sometimes too." Theo piped up from in front of her, which caused her to go slightly pink. "Theodore Alan." She said sternly, and Theodore jumped. She was using the middle name, and he always hated when she used the middle name. It meant no late late show tonight! He quieted while his mother spoke, shifting back and forth on his heels. "Yeah, sometimes it's a now you see them now you don't situation. Unfortunately with Theodore it's usually a now you don't." She said with a sheepish chuckle.

When he asked if she was new to town, she nodded. "You could say that. We live in Westhaven but I have an appointment here on Fridays." He said he had lived here until he was six, so perhaps he knew some place to go. But these places all sounded foreign to her, and apparently it showed in her face, because Vance next offered to show her to a place she could grab something. "I-I mean if you don't mind, that would be nice." Theodore nodded as if to confirm this. They waited until Vance was finished, and when he returned, Cassie piped up a bit shyly. "So, you were saying you're a parent as well then?" She said, giving him the invitation to talk about his child as well.

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Frostbone
 Posted: Mar 18 2018, 01:47 AM
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Spring 12, Year 03
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”Mom trips over stuff a lot, I have to ask her if she's okay sometimes too.”

The innocence of a child. As Cassidy used his middle name and the boy jumped, Vance turned his head slightly as he quietly chuckled. Using the middle name. That certainly got their attention. Honestly, it had been something that Vance had done when Eden was growing up. Hell, it wasn't anywhere near as often, but he still did it from time to time. Face shifting back to a more friendly neutral expression, Vance turned his head back just in time to nod his head in understanding about Theodore's wanderlust.

“Hey, it's nice of you to ask if she's okay, Theodore.” Vance smiled down at the young boy. “And I'm sure that your mom does appreciate you being so thoughtful.”

Listening on again, Vance continued to nod his head as Cassidy explained their situation. Westhaveners. Eh, no big deal for Vance. He had gotten quite an earful from a few of his neighbors about how folks from the city had been encroaching on Ioana for quite some time, undoubtedly leading to some of the more run down features that the town was now sporting. Maybe it was because he was gone and away from the village's affairs for so long or a feeling of kinship towards a fellow parent, but Vance wasn't really concerned about it. If anything, it was a pleasant change of pace for a Westhavener to come to Ioana for a service when usually it seemed to be the other way around.

“Well, I do hope that you two enjoy your trips here.” Vance offered up with a smile as he began to lead the way into the town proper. “Granted I've been away for a while so my opinion might not hold as much weight as some others here, but this place does have some charm to it, however small it may be.”

”So, you were saying you're a parent as well then?”

“Oh! Yeah.” Vance chuckled as Cassidy asked. “I've got a daughter. She's just a tad older than Theodore is though. She's sixteen. Really into art and music. Smart, mostly polite, although being a teenager, there's plenty of times when she can be moody. But given the fact that I've raised her by myself since she was about four, I'm just happy that she's turned out to be as good of a kid as she is.”
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Tanuki
 Posted: Mar 18 2018, 06:41 AM
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CASSIDY VEGA

Date: Spring 12th, Year 3


Theodore straightened proudly when Vance mentioned it being a good thing that he asked his mother if she was alright. Cassidy let her expression soften as she smoothed out Theo's hair. Of course her son was good, for all of his little quirky outbursts, he usually meant the best for those involved, especially when it came to her. And he always seemed happier when someone noticed how well he looked after his mother, no matter how much she insisted that she should be looking out for him. She had a weak soul, so despite whatever she said, Theodore still seemed to feel it. It didn't mean Cassie was defenseless however, and if it really came down to it, Mother Bear instinct came into play and Cassie would do whatever it took to protect her cub.

"I'm gonna get really strong too, so then I can really look after her!" Cassie laughed as Theo proclaimed it, knowing he was about 100% serious when it came to actually implementing that one day. "He really likes to dream about what he'll be like when he's older." She mentioned to Vance as Theodore seemed to get lost in his own world again.

When Vance began to lead the way, Cassie took Theo's hand again, leading him after them while he still seemed to be thinking about getting older. At least she knew that he still had that childhood vigor and imagination. "Thank you, I really hope so too. Theo says sometime he wants to go to the farms and see some of the animals. What was the one you really wanted to see?" She asked, turning to look at her son. "Goats!" He exclaimed as he let go of his mothers hand to round Vance's front and walk backwards. "Goats have these really cool rectangle eyes, I wanna see one!" he said, trying to make rectangles over his eyes with his fingers.

Cassie smiled when he said his opinion didn't matter as much. "Well I wouldn't say that. You know more than me, so your opinion is already better than mine is." She mentioned, shaking her head. "I wish I knew more about this town than I did. It's very quaint, much quieter compared to the city. I've grown up there all my life, too much noise pollution." She said with a soft shrug.

She quieted when he spoke of his daughter. She couldn't imagine how it would be like to deal with Theodore as a Teenager, but she'd cross that bridge when she came to it. She had been a single parent herself for seven years now, but she couldn't imagine what it was like for 16. "Wow, that's pretty amazing that you've been able to raise her by yourself for all that time. Some people can't imagine raising a child alone." She mentioned, smiling slightly when he said she could be a little moody. "I wouldn't worry too much about that, all teenage girls are a little moody. I would know, I was one." she chuckled.

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Frostbone
 Posted: Mar 25 2018, 03:30 AM
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Spring 12, Year 03
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Vance couldn't help but chuckle a little bit at Theo's proclamation. He was protective of his mother and loved her dearly. That much was plain to see. With the love and devotion he was showing now, Vance hoped that maybe the whole rebellious teenage phase wouldn't be too bad when he got older. It wasn't too bad in Vance's experience, partially because of Vance and Eden practically the only family that the other had. Partially because Eden was frustrated with the constant moves to really have a chance to act out.

Still smiling, Vance listened on as Cass explained how Theo was looking forward to seeing some of the farms and their animals. Goats in particular according to the young boy. Nodding his head in understanding, the handyman realized that wish would be one that would be rather easy for his mother to grant. It was a small village, after all, and a lot of folks still made their living through livestock and agriculture. Vance was still getting acclimated to the valley again, but he was fairly certain that he did see some goats, so surely Theo would as well.

”I wish I knew more about this town than I did. It's very quaint, much quieter compared to the city. I've grown up there all my life, too much noise pollution.”

A soft chuckle escaped Vance's lips as he nodded to the woman. She certainly did have a point there. Westhaven had a tendency to be fairly noisy at any given hour. Despite spending a decade or so of his life there, he never did get used to it. Nor did he get used to any other larger town that him and Eden had lived in throughout the years. Smaller was definitely better in Vance's opinion. Quiter. Close knit. It gave him a feeling of security, really.

Vance couldn't help but smile again as Cassie seemed impressed with how long he had been flying solo with Eden. It wasn't something he took pride in so much as it was a necessity. It was hard at times. Vance would definitely be the first one to admit that, but it had plenty of rewarding moments. And while the lack of Eden having a mother didn't make Vance all that happy, at the same time, it had forged a strong bond between father and daughter. Better ways that could have happened, sure, but the fact remained that was their past and that was what happened.

”I wouldn't worry too much about that, all teenage girls are a little moody. I would know, I was one.”

“I suppose you're right, Cassie.” Vance replied. “To be fair, I can't really blame her for it either. We've had to do our fair share of moving throughout the years. I wish I could have given her more stability, but when work would dry up someplace, there wasn't much of a choice for me but to move to keep providing for her. Reason why we're back here actually is because my uncle was kind enough to invite us to live in his home and watch over it while he travels the world.”

As they continued to walk along, Vance turned around and kneeled down in front of Theo to ask the little fella a question, looking up to Cassie with a reassuring smile.

“So buddy, what are you hungry for? I bet if you ask your mom nicely, we can find something really good.”
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 Posted: Mar 26 2018, 09:53 AM
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CASSIDY VEGA

Date: Spring 12th, Year 3


Cassie knew how younger girls worked, it wasn't really long ago she had been one, even if it seemed like it because she was a mother, she had gotten pregnant at a young age, not a mistake she'd want Eden to make, even if it had produced the best thing to come out of her life in such a long time. Eden had something going for her that Cassie didn't, a father whose love showed even through just talking about her.

"That doesn't sound like something anyone can blame her for," She admitted when he gave her the exact reason Eden was so moody. "I had to move around with Theodore a lot when he was a baby too. That's not much considering it was always in the city but..." she shook her head. "I'm sure the Valley will offer her something to do, and the City is also a train ride away on the weekends if you want to take her to see it. There's a lot to do even though its so busy." She explained with a soft smile, trying to assure Vance he would be okay here with Eden. "Your Uncle is traveling the world? I'll need to put that on my list of things to do when I'm older." She said with a chuckle. Of course, once Theodore had been raised into a young man.

"I want cake!" Theodore said when Vance asked him what he was hungry for, and Cassie frowned slightly. "Isn't it a little too early for sweets?" Theodore shot her puppy dog eyes. "Okay, a small piece of cake....know where we can grab that?" She asked Vance.

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 Posted: Mar 29 2018, 08:08 PM
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Spring 12, Year 03
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Talking with Cassie was...well, it was kind of a relief, to be frank. The way that she spoke, the kindness, the patience, it kind of reminded Vance of...well, himself in a small way. With her demeanor and the lack of a male around, the man couldn't help but wonder if she was a solo parent as well. Not that he was going to flat out ask Cassie that. Not on a first meeting and certainly not in front of Theo. But it was something that Vance had found himself mulling over.

”I want cake!”

Theo's declaration made Vance chuckle. A sweet tooth for the young boy. Fair enough. Vance figured if his parents would have allowed him sweets, he probably would have had one at that age too. Looking up to Cassie for her reaction, the man couldn't help but smile as the woman crumbled under the pressure of the ole' puppy dog eyes. He couldn't really say much or judge about it though, having fallen into that trap with Eden a few times during her upbringing. And hey, after all, it was only cake. It was definitely a lot more reasonable than ten year old Eden's request for a go-kart a few years ago.

“Yeah, I think I can take care of that.” Vance reassured Cassie as he dragged his toolbox behind him. “Like I said, Chestnut Street has a lot of that, and they even have a bakery.”

As the duo walked along, a thought entered Vance's mind. More of a curiosity, really, but considering how well they had gotten along so far, he didn't see the harm in carrying on the conversation.

“So, if you don't mind me asking you Cassie, are you a Westhaven native then? My parents and I actually moved there from here. Lived there for about a decade or so and it was actually where Eden was born.”

He wasn't entirely sure if his parents still lived there or not, but Vance figured there was no point to dredging that up in front of Cassie and Theo. In all honesty, with the kind of people that his parents were, he probably turned out for the better being shunned by them than he would have if they had taken him under their wing.
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 Posted: Mar 30 2018, 07:17 AM
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CASSIDY VEGA

Date: Spring 12th, Year 3


Theo seemed more than excited when Vance confirmed there was a bakery. "We have those too, but they aren't really good cakes!" Theo chirped. Cassie sighed. It wasn't very good cake because she couldn't really afford to go to the bakeries that actually put effort into their work. She got what she could and it was what Theo had grown up with for most of his life now. Just her, and a Grandparent who was more bothered by him than anything. He had never even met his Grandmother, though Cassie was assured on her own that it was probably a good thing, anyway.

When Vance asked her if she had been a native, she nodded. "Oh yes, I was born and raised there all my life, so I know the city like the back of my hand." She said with a smile. "In High school I mapped out all of the best places to go, and I still have that list, though a few things have been crossed out and replaced, it's got a lot of its old charms." She explained as Theo hopped just a little bit ahead of them.

"I'm surprised I never ran into you," She confessed after a moment. "After all, we likely went to the same school...most Westhaven kids did." It brought old memories of Ender, her old friends, it was all things she missed, but now she had Theo, so it certainly wasn't that bad. "I'm currently studying at the University though, I want to be a math teacher."

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 Posted: Apr 15 2018, 01:41 AM
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Spring 12, Year 03
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”I'm surprised I never ran into you. After all, we likely went to the same school...most Westhaven kids did.”

Well she did have a decent point. Westhaven was huge by Ioana standards, but at the same time, the same could not be said for the number of schools in the city. Although to be fair, with only one school, it could be crowded a little bit at times. That probably helped lead to their lack of interaction. The other thing though...

“Well, I'm going to take that as a compliment of sorts as far as my age goes.” Vance offered up with a chuckle. “I'm going to venture a guess that you would be...hmm...mid twenties or so? If that's the case, I've got a few years on you as I'm thirty-two. And I did kind of keep to myself for the most part in school.”

Quieting up, Vance continued to listen on as Cass spoke, giving her a smile as she told him of her college aspirations.

“Math teacher, huh?” Vance repeated. “Certainly a noble profession to go into. Especially a subject that tends to give kids grief. Not me, thankfully. For whatever reason, I caught on with math pretty easily. Which, given my job and having to make precise measurements and the like, is probably a really good thing for me. If you don't mind me asking, what led you down the teaching path?”
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 Posted: Apr 16 2018, 06:46 AM
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CASSIDY VEGA

Date: Spring 12th, Year 3


He told her he was 32, and suddenly it made sense. "I see...I'm 26, so I certainly would have been in middle school or otherwise." she said with a laugh. "I don't think you would have seen much of me either, I was captain of our debate team so it's likely we would have missed each other anyway." she said with a chuckle. He didn't look much older than her, and when you thought about it, it wasn't that much of a stretch.

"Oh yeah, I know all those horror stories about how kids treat math and their teachers. It doesn't care me half as much as you'd think, either." She said with a smile. "Truth is, Theodore doesn't really like math either, but he's only just started."

"I don't like subtracting!" Cassie rolled her eyes softly, but smiled. Vance asked what made her decide to be a teacher, and she sighed softly. "I just...love to teach people new things, especially kids. I've wanted to be a math teacher for years, but with Theo, i've been so busy it just...hasn't happened." she said, a bit sadly. "But, It's all going to be worth it when I get my degree." She assured him with a smile. "What do you do, if I may ask?"
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