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Chapter 27

Ginny stood in the principal’s doorway. “Doug, did you want to see me?”

He waved her into his office. “Thanks for stopping by. I’m realize that you need to get home to Molly, so I won’t keep you long.” He held up a sheet of paper. “Your students test scores.”

Ginny had been apprehensive when Belinda, the principal’s administrative assistant, sent a message that she was to stop by the principal’s office before she left for the day. Her apprehension melted away when she knew the reason for his summons. She was confident that most of the students aced the test. “I hope the scores are as good as I think they are. Anita will never forgive me if they aren’t.”

“You don’t have to worry about her forgiveness, your students’ scores are quite remarkable. Some of your students have struggled in the past, and now their scores are right up there with the scores of the brightest students. Congratulations.”

“Oh, I think the credit should go to Anita. Her teaching style is commendable and shows results.”

“You’ve been their teacher for five months, Ginny. Over the years, Anita has created a unique style of teaching. She might have developed a style that worked, but you were able to come in and pick up where she left off without missing a beat. It’s been my observation that one teacher’s style doesn’t necessarily translate into success for another teacher. I suspect that you came up with a combination of your style and hers. Whatever technique you used, your students benefitted. So, some of the credit definitely goes to you.”

“Thank you. It’s been a joy to work with Anita’s students, and the job couldn’t have come at a better time for me. I’ve been concerned about Anita. I haven’t heard from her in a while. Do you know how her mother is?”

“We spoke last evening, and the news is good and bad. Her mother had a stroke last week. She’s back in the hospital.” His next words were dismaying. “Anita has decided not to return to Regan next fall.”

“I’m sorry to hear about her mom but isn’t it a little early to be deciding to give up here position here.”

“I said as much to her, but Anita was adamant that writing a children’s book was a dream that she’d put off because of lack of time. The past five months have provided that time. To her delight, a publisher has shown an interest in the first draft of her manuscript.”

“Who would have thought? In that case, good for Anita, but Reagan has suffered a loss. Anita is an excellent teacher.”

“She is, but so are you. Are you interested in filling the position?”

Ginny was stunned. Delightfully so. “Absolutely. I’m honored. Thank you for your confidence in my ability to fill her position.”

She had a spring in her step when she exited Doug Sanders’ office. After reaching her car, she took a moment before starting it to send text messages to several friends and family members who were anxiously waiting to hear about her plans for the fall. The past year had been a challenging one. Friends and family had been supportive, but at times they had hovered. Hopefully, her message would relieve some of their anxiety.

When she arrived home, she hustled into the house eager to share her exciting news. Brian was sitting at the kitchen bar staring into space. Her elation turned to concern when she saw his forlorn expression.

She put her hand on his shoulder. “Brian, honey, what’s wrong?”

Startled, he glanced up. “Hi, Mom. I didn’t hear you come in. I’m okay. Just worried about Molly. When she got home, she went straight to her room, shut the door, and hasn’t been out since.”

Ginny slid onto a barstool beside him. “No idea what’s wrong?”

“She had the same lost look she had when she first came to live with us. I could be wrong, but I suspect that one of her friends said something negative about her mom, Christine or Ruth.”

“I hope you’re wrong. There’s been very little negative press about Ruth or Christine. But, if there is a hint of scandal, it is human nature to start speculating. I guess it was too much to hope that her friends would remain uninformed.

“Maybe I should cancel my plans with Nick now before he makes an unnecessary trip to Archdale.”

Brian frowned. “Why? You deserve a night out. Molly’s unhappy, but she’ll be okay. Sooner or later she’ll talk to one of us. If she doesn’t, she’ll talk to Mac.”

“It will probably be Mac if she’s unhappy. As for Nick, it’s not like this evening is a real date, Brian.”

“What do you mean by that? If you’re going out to dinner, it’s a date.”

“I haven’t been on a date in almost twenty-five years. I don’t know how I feel about being seen with a man other than your dad.”

“Then, why did tell Nick that you would go?”

“He needs a date for a social event in June. I told him that if I could get through an evening without freaking out, that I’d be his date.”

“Of course, you can. You and Nick communicate well. But about tonight, are you saying that it’s a business deal?”

“No. A friend doing a favor for a friend. I’ll never be able to pay him for all that he’s done for Molly and the two of us. Normally, he’s easy to talk to. It’s the idea of a date that terrifies me.”

Brian laughed. “Mom. You’re chicken.”

“Yep. That’s me. I never was good at the dating thing. Your dad asked me out three times before I said yes.”

Brian just shook his head.

“I have some good news. Principal Sanders asked me to teach fulltime next year.”

“Reagan is lucky to have you. Same grade?”

“Same classroom. Anita isn’t coming back next fall.”

“I hope that doesn’t mean that her Mom is worse.”

“She had a stroke, but Anita’s decision wasn’t based entirely on her mom’s health. She wants to write.

“Now . . . wish me luck. I’m going to see if Molly will talk to me.”

“If she doesn’t want to talk, Mom, give her some space.”

Molly opened the door when Ginny knocked, but she didn’t invite Ginny in.

“May I come in?”

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