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04:32 pm: Cutie Pie part three

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.



Chapter three


        At the final bell, students all throughout the school filed out of their classrooms, elated to be able to head home for the day. Lockers slammed and cheering voices rang through the hallways as the students started leaving. A few stragglers remained in the hallways, slowly making their way to various after school activities. Cutie Pie, being one of these stragglers, stopped by her locker for a moment before heading down to the teacher’s lounge.


        When she got there, Gabe stood by the door waiting for her. He opened the door, stepping aside for her to enter the room first. She walked over to the round table and sat her book bag on top of it. Sitting down, she looked at the teacher, suddenly getting a nervous feeling in her stomach.


        “So… Mr. Kotter… where are the other students?”


        He shook his head “They’re not coming.” He walked over to the small couch and sat down. “Come here, I need to talk to you.”


        Looking at him in disbelief, she stood up ready to grab her bag. “Mr. Kotter, what’s going on?”


        “Look, Cutie Pie,” He paused with a slight grimace. “Hold on.  I don’t feel right calling you Cutie Pie. Is there some other name I could call you?”


        “You can call me Q if ya want.”


        He nodded. “Q. That works I guess.”


        “What did you want to talk to me about?”


        He waved her over to the couch, causing her to approach him nervously. “First of all, I’m really sorry that I lied to you earlier. But I had to come up with a believable reason to get you to come talk to me in private.”


        “About… what?” She sat down on the couch, leaving plenty of space between her and the teacher.


        “Q relax.” He snickered “It’s ok. I didn’t mean to worry you like that.”


        She let out a sigh and relaxed her shoulders as she inched a little closer to him. “You have to understand, Mr. Kotter, I’m not used to situations like this… that don’t end badly.”


        “That’s what I wanted to talk to you about.” He paused, catching her expression. “Q, I found out about your home life, how rough it is for you. I heard that your father is violent towards you and your mother.”


        Her eyes widened “Who told you that?”


        Right then, a sneeze was heard from the other side of the closed door. Gabe stood up, motioned for her to stay seated, and walked over to the door. Placing his hand on the knob, he opened the door to four male students falling into the room. Quickly coming to their feet, they smiled bashfully towards their teacher and fellow student.


        “Hi Mr. Kotter.” Vinnie spoke through his dimples. “We were in the neighborhood and thought we’d drop in.”


        Gabe nodded, un-amused. “Yes, Vinnie, I see that. What are you all doing here?”


        “Well Mr. Kotter,” Epstein replied. “We just wanted to see how things were going here with Cutie Pie, y’know?”


        “Yeah we wanted to be sure everything went smoooothly.” Freddie smiled slickly at the end of his statement.


        “How could you guys tell him about this?” Cutie Pie asked, upset. “You had no business telling him! Thanks a lot guys!” She got up, grabbed her book bag and stormed out of the room.


        “I may not be an expert but,” Horshack said, looking towards the door.“It doesn’t look like things went too smooth.”


        Then, with Vinnie leading the way, the boys left the room to catch up with Cutie Pie. Vinnie reached her first, stopping her in her place.


        “Hey.” He said, putting an arm around her. “Don’t go. Listen, Cutie Pie, we’re sorry about this. We just care about ya ‘cause you’re our friend.”


        “Yeah we didn’t mean no harm. We just wanted to help.” Added Epstein


        “You wanted to help me, so you sent me to talk to your teacher?”


        Gabe stood in the doorway, looking at all the students seriously. “Actually, they wanted to help so they got me to talk to you.”


        “Alright.” She nodded, speaking with a tone of irritation. “Well whatever. Either way, you all decided to butt in a problem neither of you could possibly understand.”


        Gabe stepped into the hallway and went over to the students. Placing a hand on her shoulder, he pulled Cutie Pie away from the boys.


        “You’re right. We don’t understand this situation you’re in. But we honestly do want to help. Sure, we have no idear how to really help or even if we really could.”


        “Then what’s the point of talking to me about it?”


        There was silence amongst the group for a moment. Epstein looked at Gabe, with a hint of a smirk on his lips.


        “She got you there, Kotter.”


        Waving off Epstein’s comment, Gabe looked at Cutie Pie. “The point I would like to make is, Q you don’t have anything to be ashamed of, here.” He paused long enough to see her confused look. “I mean, you have plenty of friends here in school that you can turn to. I’m also here any time you feel you need to talk to somebody. And if there is ever anything beyond that, we could help you with, don’t hesitate to ask.”


        Cutie Pie looked down for a second, taking in what was said to her. Then, as she lifted her head, she looked at them with a soft smile.


“Thank you, Mr. Kotter. That actually means a lot to me.”


        “I meant it.” Gabe grinned. “Any time you need to talk, I’m here for you.”


        “I’ll consider it.”


        “Now that this is settled,” Gabe started, looking at all the students. “I think it’s time for all of you to go home.”

        “Right Mr. Kah-tare.” Freddie grinned, taking Cutie Pie by the arm. “We’ll just escort Miss Cutie Pie home.”


        She looked at him and smiled. “Sure you will. Then you’ll face my father and his temper. His violent temper that comes with a short fuse.”


        He pulled away from her, holding his hands up in front of him. “On second thought, you can find yo’ own way home, right? I mean I ain’t facing nobody’s angry daddy. ‘Specially when I ain’t done nothin’ wrong.”


        “C’mon Washington,” Vinnie’s grin was full of dimples. “Forget about that. Let’s just go to Coney Island and hang out on the boardwalk.” He put an arm around Horshack. “Maybe we can scam some chicks into going out with Horshack.”


        Horshack responded with a smile and his infamous laugh. As the students started to walk down the hallway, Gabe shook his head in amusement before heading back into the teacher’s lounge. Cutie Pie slipped behind the boys, quietly holding her head down as she clutched her book bag close to her chest. Looking back, Epstein caught this, and stopped in his tracks. He hesitated, starting to follow the other boys again, before walking over to Cutie Pie. Then, while walking along side her, he gently lifted her chin so she would look at him.


        “Hey, honey, what’s the matter?”


        “Oh hi, Juan.” She let out a small sigh, briefly glancing up towards the ceiling. “I was just trying to think of what I’ll say once I get home. You know, to explain why I’m late. Something that will get my dad the least mad at me.”


        Epstein nodded in understanding. “I gotcha.” He reached into his pocket. “Hey listen, I think I may have a note for that.” He pulled out a folded piece of paper, offering it to her. “You can use it if you want.”


        She snickered as she waved the note away in decline. “No thanks, Juan. You keep your note.” She watched him slip the note back into his pocket. “But listen, I really want to thank you for this morning. You know, for carrying me to class like that.” She smiled with her eyes brightening. “It was the sweetest thing any guy has ever done for me.”


        “Hey.” He grinned “Anything for a cute girl.” To this statement, she blushed, causing him to smile even more.


        “Hey Epstein!” Vinnie’s voice rang out from further down the hall. “Come on, we’re gonna take Horshack to the boardwalk! Maybe we’ll push him off the pier this time!”


        “Hang on Barbarino! I’m a little busy here.”


        “Alright. You’ll catch up with us, right?”


        “Yeah, yeah. Later, later!” He waved him ahead of them. Waiting until the others were out of sight, he then turned to Cutie Pie. “Listen, Cutie Pie, if you’re worried about going home tonight, I could suggest a place for you to go and hang out for a while. Meet lots of nice people who will take great care of you and will even have your back once you do go home.”


        “That’s nice of you, Juan.” She said, nodding. “Where is this place?”


        “My house.” He caught her uncertain glance. “Now before you say anything about me just trying to take advantage of you and just wanting to get you alone somewhere, put that out of your head. I’m really lookin’ out for ya here.”


        “Oh you are?” She asked a little skeptically.


        “You can trust me. I won’t get you into trouble or nothin’. Just hang with my family for a while. I’ll make my brothers back off and not act as much like animals.” He said with a smile. “Hey maybe you could spend time with my sisters, getting to know them. I think you’ll like them. And you know what? I think my brother Pedro ain’t gonna be home tonight so you could have his share at dinner.”


        “That actually sounds… kinda nice.”


        “Yeah so, what do ya say? Hey I could call my ma and let her know I’m bringing home a friend.”


        She laughed, showing off a nearly perfect smile. “You’re real sweet, Juan. Let’s just keep walking a little bit.”


        “Whatever you want, honey. I ain’t gotta go home for a while anyway.”


        She smiled, looking him in the eyes, before walking a little ahead of him. Epstein stood back a little to watch the swing in her stride for a few seconds before catching up with her again. As they continued down the hall, walking side-by-side, he slipped her book bag from her arms and slung it over his shoulder. Then, when they reached the exit, he held it open for her. After stepping outside, she stopped and turned back to him, catching him in the eyes.


        “You know, Juan. The past few years I’ve had such a different image of you in my head. I always thought of you as this wild animal with little to no social skills beyond fighting or wise cracks. But after today I’ll think of you differently.”


        “Yeah, how’s that?”


        “A big sweetheart.” She smiled and then turned away from him.


        He grinned, taking a moment to watch her leave. Then, closing the door behind, he started walking to catch up with her.


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