Title: Cutie Pie
Fandom: Welcome Back, Kotter
Summary: A girl in school, only known as Cutie Pie, is in trouble and the Sweathogs decide to try helping her.
It was nearing the end of the lunch hour and Gabe was enjoying the last moments of quiet he had before the next class. He had spent this precious time eating his lunch while grading disappointing homework assignments. Just as he thought to himself things were going a little too smoothly for him, the entrance of six familiar students interrupted him. He looked up at all of them and saw that they stood in a row in front of his desk.
“So what is this?” Gabe asked, cracking a smile. “Some sort of chorus line?” He caught their somber expressions. “You kids can’t dance looking so down like that. So what’s going on?”
“Mr. Kotter,” Vinnie said, speaking for the group “we have a problem. Well it ain’t our problem. It’s somebody else’s problem. See we all felt bad about it.”
“And you’ve decided to make it your problem.” Gabe nodded his head and stood up. “And not only that but you’ve decided to bring the problem to me to solve for you.”
Epstein pointed at him with a small smile. “Yeah, yeah something like that.” His smile faded as he looked at the other students.
Vernajean stepped forward. “Mr. Kotter we were talking to Cutie Pie at lunch. And she was telling us about some pretty heavy stuff going on at home.”
“We didn’t mean to make it our business.” Rosalie added “But she started telling us all about what she’s been going through. And we felt so bad for her.”
Gabe came out from behind his desk and sat on the edge of it. He crossed his arms over his chest and looked at his students, preparing himself for whatever issue they were going to tell to him.
“Ok so what is this problem plaguing Cutie Pie, that may not be any of our business?” Gabe asked
“We didn’t even mean to make her bring it up.” said Horshack cutting the awkward tention. “It was accidental. We wouldn’t have known about none of it if I wasn’t under the table to notice the bruises on her leg.”
“Mr. Kah-tare you know how we talk about our home lives and how rough things can be for us? Especially with how our folks can be with us when they’re mad.”
“Yes I believe there have been mentions of getting hit and having the occasional piece of furniture thrown. What’s that have to do with Cutie Pie?”
“Well, most of what we say about that stuff is talk, y’know?” Epstein started “But it turns out, it ain’t just talk for Cutie Pie.”
“She was tellin’ us that her father is a pretty violent guy. Not just towards her, but with her mother too. It’s been going on for a while without anyone knowing ‘bout it.” Vinnie added.
Gabe sighed, taking in what was said to him. He knew right then that this subject was a matter better for them to leave alone. That was what his head was telling him. However, his heart was telling him something different. He was not sure which one was telling him to ask the next question.
“So what made you guys bring this issue to me?”
This time Epstein was first to speak up. “You’ve let us all know that we can come to you any time we have a problem. And right from the start you have proven to be the only teacher around who we consider a friend.” He paused. “But don’t let nobody know about that.” To this remark, Gabe grinned, nearly breaking into a laugh.
“Yeah.” Vinnie said. “And we know Cutie Pie ain’t one of your students, Mr. Kotter, but she’s one of our friends, and she has a problem.”
“An’ since we don’t think she’ll come to you on her own, we thought you should go to her instead.” Freddie added
“You guys want me to talk to Cutie Pie about her problem?”
“You’re just so good at it, Mr. Kotter.” Rosalie said
“Yeah just look at how often you’ve helped us.” Vernajean added with a slight grin.
The teacher could not help grinning to himself as he looked at his students. Again, his previous conflict inside of him came at play. Even though he did not want to disappoint his students, he knew there most likely was nothing he could really do in this situation.
“This is a pretty bad situation she’s in. I would like to be able to help her out of it. But I wouldn’t even know where to begin if I did decide to help her. I don’t think there’s anything I really can do about it.” The look of disappointment fell on each student’s face. Trying not to fall for this, he kept going with his point. “It’s really not any of our business any way. This is something for her and her family to deal with on their own.”
When everyone else remained silent, Horshack threw himself to the floor, and wrapped himself around Gabe’s legs.
“Please Mr. Kotter!” he cried. “You’ve got to help her! You’re the only one who can!” He looked up at him. “If you don’t who will?”
Gabe looked down at him. “Arnold, if I promise to talk to her then will you stop crying on my leg? I kind of would like to use it in case I need to walk somewhere.”
Horshack looked up at him, no trace of tears. “You really mean it, Mr. Kotter?”
“Yes. Now let go of my leg, Arnold.”
Backing away from Gabe, Horshack stood and joined his friends. The group of students then all let out a cheer for their teacher. Vinnie stepped forward and shook Gabe’s hand.
“Hey thanks, Mr. Kotter. This really means a lot to us.” He walked out the door, cueing the others to follow.
“Yeah,” said Epstein, patting Gabe on the shoulder. “We knew you wouldn’t let us down.” He stepped into the hallway.
Freddie stepped forward with Vernajean close in tow. “Hey, Mr. Kah-tare, we know if anyone can figure out how to help her, it’s you.”
“Yeah, we know you got this handled already.” Vernajean added before they left the room.
“And you just might like Cutie Pie.” said Rosalie, walking to the door. “She’s a real sweet girl. But she still fits in with the Sweathogs.”
When Rosalie was in the hallway with the others, Horshack walked over to Gabe. He looked at him with a smile before wrapping his arms around him in a tight hug. Then, pulling out of the hug, he left the room. Gabe was left standing there by the door, unsure of what just took place.
“There’s only one problem.” He said to the empty room. “What am I supposed to say to her? I don’t even know her.” He shook his head and then sat down at his desk to await the end of the lunch hour.
Two class periods later, Gabe took a short break to step into the hallway in front of his classroom. As he did this, he saw, not at all to his surprise, his four favorite male students standing around their lockers. Craving a moment of usual repartee of wisecracks and lighthearted ranking, Gabe walked over to the students. They got through the first few exchanged ranks when they were interrupted. The four boys turned their attention toward the approaching girl. Vinnie slapped Gabe on the chest and then motioned toward the girl.
“Check ‘er out Mr. Kotter. That’s her.”
“Cutie Pie.” Vinnie grinned, waving her over to them. “Hey was I right? Ain’t she just like her nickname or what?”
Although grinning over Vinnie’s ungrammatical question, Gabe had no time to really respond before Cutie Pie reached the group. She looked at all four boys with a dimpled smile while they greeted her with flirtatious comments and whistles. As she walked past the boys to the lockers, she glanced over at the teacher. Gabe walked over to the group of students and broke them apart, putting an end to the flirting. Although complaining, the boys walked away, leaving them alone.
A little startled, Cutie Pie looked up at the teacher before reaching into her locker. “Oh hi, um, Mr. Kotter is it?” Her voice came out sweetly, yet, slightly shy.
Gabe nodded “That’s right. We have not been formerly introduced. See I’m trying to get to know students outside of my class. Sort of my way of connecting with the whole school.”
“Ok.” She said, nodding. “Well everybody knows me as Cutie Pie. Nice to officially meet you, Mr. Kotter. I’ve heard a lot of good things about you from other students.” She smiled “Actually I wish I were in your class. But unfortunately I don’t have the grades.”
“Don’t have the grades?” he repeated, nearly laughing
“Yeah those pesky B’s and the occasional A keep getting in the way.” She did laugh. “Well Mr. Kotter I don’t gather you came over here just to make small talk.”
“Ah yes!” he laughed. “You caught on! How smart of you!”
She grinned “Of course! I’m not one of your students, after all.”
“Which sort of brings me to what I wanted to discuss with you. I’ve been trying hard to get my students to improve their grades. See, I feel they’re smart enough kids and could do much better if they’d only apply themselves. So here’s the idea I came up with to try to get them to do better. If they came together in after school study groups with their peers from other classes helping them out, they’d be able to do better.”
“So you came to me?” Cutie Pie pulled a book out of her locker. “Why?”
“You’re friends with some of my students and I thought you’d be able to encourage them to join the study group with you.”
“Alright, sounds good. When is this going to start?”
“Can you stay after school?”
“I suppose I could.”
“Great. Well then after school, come meet me and my students in the teacher’s lounge.”
“Ok I will.” The bell rang, interrupting them. “Well I better go. Nice talking to you Mr. Kotter!” she hurried down the hallway to her class.
As he watched her and the other students head for their classes, he slouched his shoulders and sighed. He hated lying to her but he felt as though it was the best way he could get her to meet with him without any suspicion. Keeping his promises to his students was important to him but he did not think he would have to stoop to something like this in order to keep it.
“Why do I always get involved?” Sighing again, he entered his classroom.
Tags: cutie pie series, welcome back kotter