She knew she had to be dreaming. Even so it was a very nice dream and she had no complaints about it. Normally getting two new pupils in her class -- out of the blue, without a word from anyone, would've been aggravating to say the least, but these two were very special new pupils.
Right at the back of the class, side by side, but sitting up very straight in their chairs, bright and alert, pens at the ready wide-spaced piercing green and large, deep, intense blue eyes rooted on her face, presumably waiting agog for pearls of wisdom to fall from her lips.
Well if that was what they wanted they were in for a surprise. It was a Monday morning three quarters of the way through the Autumn term and she was flagging a bit in any case. It was always the same about mid-November -- with half-term somewhere in the distant past and Christmas still five weeks away.
One top of that she had a particularly virulent dose of 'that Monday morning feeling;, and after a very late night with some other hatstanders, so she wasn't exactly in sparkling form. But in the way of dreams she accepted their presence with only minimal surprise. Well, you had to be prepared for all kinds of weird things happening in dreams, didn't you? And nice as it was, there was no way it could possibly be real ... in which case ... she tried to act normally and opened her register.
But when she'd finished checking the attendance she took another look at her two new charges, who were now deep in animated conversation at the back of the room. She was just steeling herself to ask their names, feeling she should at least go through the motions, when a hand in the front row shot up.
"Yes, Trudi?" The recipient of her question was normally a real little troublemaker, so she waited with bated breath to hear what Trudi had in store for her this morning.
"Please, miss, Bodie and Doyle are sitting at the back of the class ... and they're gorgeous ..."
It was no less than she'd expected, but at least she had an ally, pleased to have discovered another discerning Professionals fan in the room. Probably the only one too because no one else seemed to be showing any interest.
"Yes, Trudi, I am aware of that fact," she replied as calmly as she could.
"What they doin' here then, Miss?" That was George -- the kind of freckled, bespectacled know-all it seemed every classroom could boast.
"I've no idea," she replied, almost angry at her two heroes for causing so many problems to her normally peaceful slumbers. Monday mornings were bad enough without this...
"Why don't you ask them?" she added.
"All right, I will," George said cockily, turning round in his seat. "Oi, you two, what you doin' here?"
"Where's Cowley?" Trudi chipped in excitedly for good measure, "is he comin' later?"
Bodie and Doyle, still deep in conversation, turned their heads simultaneously, giving both speakers a withering look, obviously annoyed at being interrupted. The effect was instantaneous. George lowered his gaze submissively, all his cockiness gone, and turned to the front again without another word, and Trudi ... well. Trudi was in a bit of a state, flushing and looking awkwardly away as Doyle flashed her an appealing, crooked grin and gave her a wink.
By this time the rest of the class was sitting up and taking note of the two 'strangers' too, and she had an enlightening view of the backs of 31 adolescent heads.
She steeled herself yet again to take some positive action. Apart from anything else she had to get the lesson started, and she'd already wasted twenty minutes.
"You two at the back," she said as commandingly as she could though she knew her voice was trembling, "you're new to my class. Who sent you here?"
"Who? Us?" Bodie asked innocently, glancing round and then fixing her with his best Bodie-like 'aren't I well-behaved' grin, making her insides feel somewhat strange and jumpy.
"Yes ... you," she said, role-playing the stern teacher for all she was worth, just as they'd told her to on teaching practice.
"Oh, the Headmaster sent us to you." Doyle went on brightly with an even more appealing crooked grin than the one he'd given Trudi, "said he couldn't think of a better class for us, all things considered."
This time her insides felt extremely, not just slightly, strange, (well she'd always preferred Doyle anyway), but she was worried too. Doyle's words making her instantly suspicious as she wondered if it was at all possible the Head had happened to see the hatstand she'd been working on in her free period yesterday, and which she'd foolishly left behind in the staffroom ...
"And why did he do that?" she asked guardedly, trying not to flush at the soft expression in those limped green eyes which were staring at her so candidly, "you're much too old to still be at school."
There were several random scattered giggles from various parts of the room as she said that, and she overheard Janice on the front row, who'd always been over-developed for her age, whisper to her nearest neighbour, "who cares, when they're so gorgeous? Even better looking in real life than they are on the telly. I could eat that Bodie up he's so beautiful."
Trying to control her flush of embarrassed agreement, she was nevertheless just working herself up to going on the offensive again when Bodie suddenly said, "we're not as old as we look you know, and we're late developers anyway. And I failed me Maths 'O' level three times, so we thought you might be able to help us out a bit."
It was rapidly dawning on her that this wasn't just a dream anymore, in fact, gorgeous as they were and wonderful as it was to have them here, the whole things was slowly turning into the worst kind of nightmare. And things got even worse when a small voice from the back of the room asked plaintively, "Please, Miss, can I ask them for their autographs..." and the random giggles expanded into fullscale laughter. She realised she could soon have a fullscale riot on her hands if she didn't handle the situation carefully, and so nodded blankly, watching as, like lightning, a long line immediately formed down the centre aisle between the desks, the whole class standing there, waiting their turn, pens and paper in hand.
That took about fifteen minutes, what with one thing and another, including the assorted questions her two guests where asked about their jobs and their cars and their weaponry ...
They seemed to take it all in their stride though, not looking overly perturbed, even when a couple of the bolder girls grabbed furtive kisses from one or the other of them.
When the first rush of excitement had died down she amazed herself by somehow getting everyone to sit down again, and even more amazingly to concentrate on the equations she put on the blackboard with a quavering hand.
Silence reigned at last, and she sat down at her desk, trying to concentrate on the huge mound of making she simply had to get out of the way before the end of the day. But it wasn't easy. Surprisingly, Bodie seemed to be behaving remarkably well, concentrating on his work, brow furrowed with effort, muttering to himself as he tried to work out the answers to the questions. Pretty much a model pupil in fact, but Doyle, well Doyle was a different matter altogether. Every time she looked up it seemed he was staring right back at her, and each time he caught her eye his face creased into that irresistible, appealing, crooked grin she knew so well, making it impossible for her to concentrate on what she was supposed to be doing.
After a time she decided there was nothing for it but to take a leisurely stroll round the room, on the pretext of seeing how the work was going, anything to get away from that wonderful, jellifying green-eyed gaze.
When she got to the back of the room she stayed behind Bodie and Doyle, trying to collect herself, looking down at them both, mesmerised by the shape and breadth of Bodie's beautiful shoulders, and by the clustering auburn mass of Doyle's hair, curling riotously in his collar.
She peeped furtively over their shoulders. Bodie, like the little treasure she'd always suspected he was, was working fast and furious, wanting to gain approval as ever, and had already completed two scrawled indecipherable pages of work, which she could see, even at this distance, made absolutely no sense whatsoever, and probably wouldn't even gain him a single tick, but Doyle obviously hadn't done a stroke of work, and seemed to have spent the whole of the lesson doodling. She leaned a little closer, flushing as she saw that his paper was covered in dozens of beautifully drawn little hearts with arrows through them saying "Bodie loves Doyle", or, occasionally, "Doyle loves Bodie." It seemed the hatstands they'd all been busy writing weren't so far off the mark after all ...
Mesmerised, she couldn't tear herself away, and so stayed right where she was, peering over Doyle's shoulder, while he finished yet another loving masterpiece, until he turned round and gave her another beatific, beaming, knowing grin ... at which point she made her way back to the sanctuary of her desk, finding his closeness, and his cheekiness, too much to take.
All too soon the bell rang for the end of the lesson and there was the usual noisy, mad dash for the door and freedom ...
As she'd half suspected, though, Bodie and Doyle took their time coming up to her desk first and proudly presenting her with his scrawled pages of totally useless equations with a nervous, hopeful little smile.
"Well done," she said, wanting to be hind, finding his behaviour touching and very endearing, "you've worked very hard."
"Yeah, well, I try, you know," he said, looking down and shuffling his feet.
But Doyle of course had nothing to offer in the way of work and hastily shoved his scrunched up doodles into his jacket pocket as he sauntered idly up to her desk.
"Got somethin' for you," he said as he arrived, standing much closer than he needed to, almost touching her, so close she could smell the sweet, tangy scent of him, "here ..." digging in his other pocket and producing a huge, luscious red apple, and holding it out to her.
"You little crawler," Bodie said scornfully, "might have known. How corny can you get? An apple, mate? Haven't you got more imagination than that?"
"You're only jealous," Doyle retorted, "cos you didn't think to bring one too."
It was a particularly outrageous form of bribery of course, because Doyle most definitely had no work to hand in, but she couldn't even begin to be angry with him. Well, he was just too gorgeous to be angry with, wasn't he?
"Thank you," she said, accepting the apple gratefully from Doyle's hot, rather sticky little hand.
"See you then," he said with a wink, on his way to the door, "same time tomorrow?" Bodie following in his wake.
"Same time tomorrow," she confirmed, going strange inside all over again.
She sighed deeply as the door closed behind them, sat down at her desk, viewing the still huge mound of marking with a baleful eye. Oh well, the sooner she got started, the sooner she'd finish it.
The strange thing was though, that when she woke up in the morning and reached out a hand to switch the alarm off, the dream immediately flooding back into her mind, making her feel nice and warm and happy inside, her hand brushed against a huge, luscious, red apple resting by the alarm clock, which certainly hadn't been there when she'd fallen asleep the night before.
-- THE END --