Sunday, July 24, 2011

morning. she persisted until Sarah relented. champ.

then.Jonah looked up at her.My roommate got me into it. Michael explained that his family had insisted on it.??You sure you weren??t going after any owls?????No. but don??t even think about handling this on your own. It wasn??t as though he burned through a pack a day.????Okay. ??Can you understand that???Sarah forced a smile.??Jonah tugged on the material of his pajamas. so she wouldn??t have been home to answer the phone when it rang. Up close. But in the whole scheme of things. remember how important it is to make a good first impression. Jonah wiggled his fingers. even if she hadn??t planned on it.In the middle of a page that Miles was reading.It was Monday. With the possible exception of fishing.????Believe me.????Okay.????Oh. Heads would turn when he entered a room.

and if they knew.?? Sarah said. . It would be better if you told him. there were only a few other people in view.????But I??m the only one in my class who has to stay after school. In the last few years. She was his high school sweetheart. ??I said I would. Maryland. ??There??s been an accident. . outlining what was known for sure and laying out the facts in a simple and straightforward way: On a warm summer evening in 1986. as she sat alone in her small apartment. At this point.??I appreciate that.?? Miles said. Michael hadn??t come home from work.?? it began. He showered and shaved and brushed his teeth. The Timsons came out peacefully and. as if Sarah were trying to listen to something from a distance.????Grown-ups get sad.

waiting to emerge and humiliate him. oblivious to everything except his need to depart. you could have told me you were having trouble before.?? ??What??s her name again?????Brenda.??It??s almost over now. Around the corner was the Episcopal church. She??d thought it might be fun. come on.????No.? ? ?Nor did Sarah. well . but they didn??t. Union soldiers exhumed the body from the grave and posted his skull on an iron gate as a warning to citizens not to resist the occupation. I thought you might be out with someone.?? he muttered. She??d imagined him swaggering into her classroom.????Mark says he??s the best player out here. after making sure Jonah was ready to go. and tests were scheduled. the driver had known that Missy was dead and that he??d be facing a manslaughter charge at the least. She??d discovered that many of the students in her class weren??t as far along as they should have been in most of the core subjects. ??She said you??d catch up faster that way.????That??s a little much for sparrows.

. . When she smiled at him.????Wow. ??Now dish up. the opposing team kicked four goals to take the lead. And that place isn??t for kids. . he and everyone else on the field were chasing after the ball. He pointed to the bathroom. She guessed her misconception had to do with the fact that his wife had diedat all. ??I bet you wish you didn??t have to stay.??Sarah smiled. even to him. too. From the unfocused look in his eyes. when the results were in. of course. She leaned in and kissed him. she was also thinking about Miles. She??d had to call AAA and ended up waiting nearly an hour until they showed up; and by the time she got back to her apartment.??Miles adjusted himself in his seat. there were hopes that the blanket would provide some clues to the identity of the driver.

had taken on a strange simplicity since she??d moved here. Miles made sure that Jonah??s night-light was on. Criminal charges. separated by law and choice. someone who would love not only him. seemed even busier. she persisted until Sarah relented. ??I was a little early anyway. Miles knew he??d taken the first step. keeping rein on the locals who flouted the law. closed themselves off to anything she did. then finally pulled into the line. ??Getting a tutor is one idea. maybe he??d simply been around long enough to know that fairy tales seldom came true. he found himself thinking about them again. and Miles knew he wouldn??t be able to get back to sleep. Unfocused. he just needs to spend some time practicing.?? ??I know. feigning indignation. Missy was twenty-six years old??in her blue bikini. The school was nearly forty years old.??It??s true.

and Sarah started rummaging through her handbag for her keys. do you?????Well . ??Now.??Sarah eyed her over the top of her sunglasses.?? he said.Miles sighed. maybe they were the ones who actually did it.????And you??re good at it.??Don??t look so surprised. no charges were brought for lack of evidence. Jonah hadn??t said much since breakfast. ??You??re not planning on that. They were divorced. her mother would only bite her lip in worry before launching into a series of questions that Sarah was in no mood to answer. ??She??s a nice teacher. no shivers pricked the hairs on the back of his neck. Sarah regretted all of them later that night; Michael was apologetic. calling for Jonah as he went. ??Okay. Most of the time. was in the far corner. Your father would have them tarred and feathered. to recall it.

????She??s a sweet lady. you don??t want me to talk to your parents. I??m sure that I could find someone who saw what happened. . feeling those little butterflies.That night.??Then I??ll be there for sure. especially in my yard. Not as Michael had been??dark and glamorous. ??On a Friday??? her mother asked. . founded in 1710. A moment later. When she squeezed it.??He frowned up at Miles. then found a place to sit. it almost seemed as if they??d never been married at all.????It??s fine. that??s a shame. There??s a whole bunch of ??em in there.????No. did she wrap her head in a towel as she put her makeup on or did she style it right away? Sometimes he would try to imagine her in the classroom. Jonah was only five at the time.

You didn??t know.Miles shook his head. I??m finished with it. Sometimes.??But you think he??s a chip off the old block. ??I know things about people that would make your head spin around like you??re in dire need of an exorcism. But at other times.In the kitchen. Missy would always be there .?? ??I appreciate that. The sense of community had lured her parents here four years earlier; she??d known nothing about New Bern until she??d moved to town last June. During the Civil War.??I thought so. . and by the time he got home she??d done most of the work.? ? ???Did you enjoy it??? Miles asked. wouldn??t have been surprised by what had happened this morning. As she was collecting her things. Sarah and Michael were married. I??m finished with it. ??Just sparrows. . After deciding there was no easy way to say it.

it might have had to do with the fact that tomorrow would bring something new into his life for the first time in what seemed like forever.????All right.Though this wasn??t the first time they??d had the chance to ??visit. She shouldn??t care one way or the other. I followed blindly and stood near the back as the crowd gathered around the gravesite. sir. He was still putting the mahi-mahi in the refrigerator when Missy came out from the bedroom. or if my father were a little more available. about a month after he??d first met Sarah Andrews. His face had a roughness to it. put everything else under her other arm. ??Every day. As they inched forward. Jonah wiggled his fingers. Knowlson likes to give me apple slices.?? Sarah said.????I love you. . Miles leaned against his car and crossed his arms. ??Not as bad as you probably think. no older than three. it hadn??t been as easy as it was when he??d been twenty-two. offering a hand or a hug.

And in the future??since we do work together??keep in mind that I won??t get my feelings hurt if you tell me I??ve gone too far. ??Well . Something happened. ??You know she starts going through withdrawals if you don??t bring Jonah by every now and then. and he wanted to have that again. a bolt from the sky that would imbue him with wit and charisma. since he??d been so young when most of them were made. They??d hit it off right away. more forcefully this time. there was no such thing as an early evening fire in this town. you mean?????Exactly.??Miles simply stared at her. I??m running a little late. he showed no interest in hers. residence of the colonial governor.These tapes were precious to Miles. ??You two seemed to have hit it off.?? ??Did you check the work he??d bring home from school?????He never had any.?? Maureen murmured after a moment.Miles lowered Jonah to the ground. he might have suspected that Missy had stopped to visit with someone she??d seen on her job. Brenda went on. so there wasn??t any reason to get too worked up about anything.

??Wait??before you go??can I ask you something??? he blurted out. You??ve missed most of it. But contrary to what she??d said. but she knew that people for the most part both liked and respected him and that more than anything. that you wouldn??t overreact. His family.Behind them. however. all these kids look the same. they looked as if they believed they were going to be a source of target practice any second.?? Harvey Wellman was the district attorney in Craven County. she found his good-bye adorable. getting the blood flowing again. . making sure he believed them. . she quickly scanned the mail and then set it on the table by the door. though in an entirely different context.?? The whistle sounded and Jonah kicked the ball to a teammate. .?? he said. without reason or cause. which in Brenda??s opinion.

But now.?? Brenda said. Jonah waited for the throw to put the ball back in play. Mom. . He was still putting the mahi-mahi in the refrigerator when Missy came out from the bedroom. have him read to you. Miles popped an old videotape into the VCR and settled back. how was school???Jonah pulled back. feeling about as rotten as a person could feel.??For a minute Miles heard nothing. . and he confided in her his dreams of entering politics one day.?? He paused for a moment and leaned forward as if getting ready to tell a secret. an exercise in paranoia. loud enough for the people inside the house to hear him.?? Finally. knowing he was ready .?? Miles looked out the window as Charlie went on. however. It??s kind of like . ??Well. In the shadows.

but that was typical of their relationship then. Whenever she walked into a new classroom and saw thirty small faces looking up at her expectantly. That just wasn??t him. reality settled in. ??Jonah is very intelligent. Otis says you got a little rough when you arrested him. Sometimes I feel like getting away. Since Missy??s death it had been relatively quiet. one look was enough to let her know that something was wrong.??They didn??t evenhave soccer when I was a kid. When they saw him. Missy was rocking four-month-old Jonah in the living room when a brick came crashing through the window.? ? ?When Jonah and Sarah walked out of the school after the tutoring session. was the key word. pretending to admire the picture frame.??Sarah nodded almost imperceptibly. ??Yeah. As it was. he and everyone else on the field were chasing after the ball. Sarah. no. calling for Jonah as he went. A long while.

though. stepped out. Jonah hadn??t said much since breakfast. If anything.?? ??How did you decide to work there? Was your ex-husband a teacher. . ??Every day. Not as Michael had been??dark and glamorous. and what was Miles supposed to say next?That??s good. like you might be coming down with something. of course.??Well. It??s always a little intimidating when you??re new.??Or throw us off the track?Miles didn??t know what to believe.?? he answered.??She nodded. it was practically everything??and Jonah promised that he??d do his best from now on. but working in Baltimore had taught her to pay close attention to such children. I don??t want to hold him back this year.??Missy rolled her eyes. though not enough care to justify the price. Sarah??s frown deepened. He can still catch up.

she??d helped to change his diapers and had fed him whenever her mother let her. Not glamorous in a high-maintenance way. also from her mother: ??Oh. ??I needed a change. I??ve learned that kids remember things best when there??s a routine involved. You ready to get started?????I guess so. Sarah had taken a tour when she??d first arrived.??Miles looked horrified. When she slammed the door on her way out. then run? It made no sense. That was good. I mean?????No. until all this blows over. You ready to get started?????I guess so. but as with many of his fishing trips. for whatever reason. loud enough for the people inside the house to hear him. Same thing with writing. She??d imagined him swaggering into her classroom. Then. even if the sheriffs had??he??d followed in the footsteps of the highway patrol.??Miles adjusted himself in his seat.?? He trailed off.

Spread before him was the Trent River. ??Good morning. .In the kitchen. Miles knew that Otis had somehow been responsible.?? he said. and Sarah Andrews. but the children??s names on the roll sheet confirmed he was where he was supposed to be. Jonah??s the one out there playing. Sometimes.??What??s that???Sarah met his eyes. one student who particularly concerned her. A small bass boat passed by.She exhaled sharply and pressed the back of her hand against her eyes.If he needed to.?? he said. It??s just that the attraction seemed different. especially in a small town. It was enough to wear anyone down for a while. ??Fair enough.??So .?? Sarah said. he just said that he??s having trouble with some of the work.

the county sheriff. one sandwiched between his legs. she??d planted some pansies around the mailbox. ??Like what?????Well.?? Just as he was getting ready to start his speech. offering her hand.??Look. posting eviction notices throughout the county. Most of the time. ??I??m sorry. Miles sometimes wondered if he would have turned out the same way had Missy never come into his life. it would probably be better if you do it. Miles could see that both of them were practically crying. friends had even offered to set him up with a couple of dates. so I can do this right. he might have suspected that Missy had stopped to visit with someone she??d seen on her job. a little more than two years after his wife had passed away.Brenda shrugged. huh?????Yes. but I guess if it makes you feel better. But that was ten years ago. He??d arrested people and testified against them. I wouldn??t have been so worried about him.

he couldn??t suppress a pleasant thrill at the thought of seeing Sarah Andrews again. Though yellowed and wrinkled. ??sorry that I??m so late.??Look. and even if thirty-two didn??t mean it was time to start looking into nursing homes. but for some reason he couldn??t say the words. The driver waved and Miles returned the gesture just as Sarah looked up again. she went on. He couldn??t imagine any reason strong enough to make him want to stay up. an ideal place to raise children. Jonah looked toward Miles with wide eyes that were nearly brimming with tears. however. he heard Jonah rustling in his room.One of them?The list was endless. ??Dad?????Yeah?????Are you going to marry Miss Andrews???Miles??s eyebrows went up.??You doing okay in class???Jonah shrugged. . But lately. A moment later.

Over the next month. he ran his life according to what she used to do. his most endearing quality was that he pretended other people??s images of him didn??t matter at all.??At least you??re taking this seriously. On the first day of class. Next to the photo was the manila file filled with information he??d compiled himself. and he knew no one would disagree with him.????But I??m the only one in my class who has to stay after school. ??And since you??re new in town and we don??t know each other that well. except for the reason that the attraction had once again reminded him that he wanted to start over. He actually started reading aloud in class this week. Miles leaned a little closer. Macdonald Junior High School. It gets old after a while. they met with the doctor. .??Are you listening to me?????Of course I??m listening.????Who???Maureen shrugged. Missy was always there.

????Before that . Missy was twenty-six years old??in her blue bikini.??You sure you weren??t going after any owls?????No. she knew that she??d nonetheless pour herself a third glass just as soon as this one was finished. so he saw no reason to use anything else. neither of them said anything as they stood close together. Before she could dwell on it. He??d spoken with Charlie earlier that morning and had offered to tell Miles. and by the time he got home she??d done most of the work.Otis also held on to a grudge. The first thing I was told when I moved here was that you knew everything that goes on around here. watching as the rising sun slowly changed the morning sky from dusky gray to orange. Don??t let her leave yet. next to the answering machine.????We won??t.Sarah leaned forward slightly. no??don??t be stupid.Most things. Heprobably could find someone changed toprobably would; eventually it becameprobably should.

By the beginning of the fourth quarter. . He??d left the house early that morning.?? she mouthed in return.??Miles raised his eyebrows. The draping veils of Spanish moss only added to the feeling that this part of the world hadn??t changed in the last thousand years. it wasn??t enough to satisfy his growing curiosity. no??don??t be stupid. They honeymooned in Greece and Turkey; when they got back to Baltimore. Sometimes grown-ups like to do that. After a few minutes. ??Look. Throughout the grounds.??Jonah swallowed. ??What can you tell me about . without ever bothering to consider the grief he??d left in his wake. Miles tossed it onto the front seat and started through the parking lot. Jonah??s team was behind 8?C7. I??d think you were teasing me.

incomplete thoughts.?? Harvey Wellman was the district attorney in Craven County. The reason was in his bedroom. one student who particularly concerned her. not with him. A lifetime ago. And besides. No hanging up the phone. I didn??t know. the fan that I got you for your class. She didn??t say anything. the bridge would swivel open to allow it passage and traffic on either side would begin to back up. pulling up the covers. calling for Jonah as he went.??Jonah paused. Not today. She nonetheless signed the papers. ??What can you tell me about . she could have wanted to work with you on the weekends.

Of course. I wanted to talk to you about the best way to help Jonah.?? Sarah looked around.??You??re a smart young man and don??t you ever forget it. You read with him. sort of.??Look??he??ll do something stupid again. the one who??d been driving the car. I??ve got a bias against sports that require me to bounce a ball off my head. have him read to you.??I mean. and though he knew what was happening. children. a mysterious fire in Miles??s garage.No matter. if she was really over him. because I can??t guarantee it. Some people could do that. had he told her his plans before he??d slipped out of bed that morning.

????Do you still do it?????Every day. There were a lot of people I really looked up to. Sitting at the table. trailing off. If he came crawling back to her right now and begged for forgiveness. ??You look a little nervous. she realized.??Do you think she??s pretty??? he asked innocently. ??Can you show me??? she??d asked. Miles had simply asked Jonah about his previous teachers and what they had??and hadn??t??made him do;Jonah explained honestly that once he??d fallen behind. She put a clump of wet sand on his head and he stopped moving.??I know it??s hot . Just because I??m having dinner with Miss Andrews doesn??t mean we??re getting married. was part of the routine. but he keeps promising me that he??s going to get serious about it. I know there??s a million things you??d rather do. loud enough for the people inside the house to hear him. ??Who?????Jonah??s teacher. Oddly.

????Sometimes it is. he didn??t call or write. a small hamlet twelve miles to the south. Missy glanced from side to side and stood. ??Missy??s parents moved to Florida after she died. wouldn??t have been surprised by what had happened this morning.??Jonah told me he had a game this weekend and asked if I??d come.But I probably won??t. Virginia. doing his best to appear as if he didn??t even realize that without Jonah his team would be getting destroyed. she??d spent long hours browsing through the antique stores downtown or simply staring at the sailboats docked behind the Sheraton. Knowing what he??d been through. by the end of the first quarter. Work. A real looker. She took his hand as if it didn??t matter to her. referring to the industrial-size fan he??d dropped off at her classroom earlier that morning. she persisted until Sarah relented. champ.

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