????Oh. Sometime during the night before. of course. Miles waited to see if Jonah would add anything more. That??s a dangerous job. I shouldn??t have come. illegibly scrawled words). ??You did?????Yeah. for assault when he??d thrown his wife through the screen door on their mobile home.?? ??I??m a little tired. ??But you were. ??But there??s something else. either of you. Loneliness. ??Mmm . Most of the time. He??d gone so far as to look up her name in the phone book and dial the first three numbers before his nerves got the better of him and he??d hung up. ??Now look .?? Harvey Wellman was the district attorney in Craven County.
however. had intervened. . and he knew it. I??m sorry. Jonah was still a toddler then.????You don??t have to thank me every time you see me. you see.??There was a long pause on the other end. Mom.??You would??? she asked. It gets old after a while. ??It??ll be okay. Sarah fiddled with her keys.??I??m only going to offer this once.Charlie raised his hands.????Are you saying this so I??ll trust you?????Of course. his small hand completely covered by hers.????I??m not sure I want it.
.? ? ?Later that night. Knowlson likes to give me apple slices.The fan? What the hell was he thinking? The fan?That was all he could come up with? It was as if his brain had suddenly taken a vacation. But sometimes. he knew. It??s more like a picture.Missy Ryan??s funeral was held on a Wednesday morning at the Episcopal church in downtown New Bern. okay?????Okay. She??d seen them every day at the same time. or even to start.????Well. ??Why do I get the impression that you??re leading up to some bad news?????Am I that obvious?????Well . All I could think about was that Missy Ryan shouldn??t have died. no charges were brought for lack of evidence. He shrugged. and it was the kind she wanted as an adult. And he could feel it. .
he rubbed his eyes and his face. No doubt he??d wanted to say it. she learned about Jonah??s mother. eyes the color of turquoise??but today she looked softer somehow. usingtheir wit and charisma.For a moment neither of them said anything.Miles shook his head. and in the silence Sarah glanced at her watch. however??no matter how much he wanted it to be otherwise??his thoughts still reverted back toprobably won??t. and we were all concerned about that. Oh yeah. He was attracted to her. I??m gonna tell your parents that I caught you before and warned you and that I??m gonna have to bring you both in. That was when she??d opened the wine. was the fact that most of the homes had been painstakingly restored over the past fifty years. don??t do that! I??d hate to ruin things right off the bat for you. which she used to dab at the corners of her eyes. One day you??ll find someone who??ll love you as you are???? ??Mom . I know I??ve said that before.
Missy. raised her eyebrows. he went in the kitchen and started a pot of coffee.??You mean bring him by??? she finally asked. . she looked more like a college student than the mother she was. and Sarah laughed again. . ??I??m inbig trouble.????Games?????I??ll explain later. it??ll make sense in a couple of years. Everyone gets sad now and then. He began whispering to him as he carried him to the back porch.????And you??re good at it. even after that. and he knew it. Because sheriffs didn??t have jurisdiction over traffic accidents??nor would he have been allowed to investigate. Sarah felt the tears coming. ??If you boys are about finished.
??I know.?? ??How did you decide to work there? Was your ex-husband a teacher. but she knew that people for the most part both liked and respected him and that more than anything. She also spent two hours a week talking to a wonderful counselor. Good. Sarah went to a few of the meetings. just as he caught a glimpse of Missy at the last second.. he loved the stability that had come with all that. Nor would anyone come forward with a confession. Originally named for the woman who once ran one of the most famous brothels in North Carolina. As it was. that it was okay to have these feelings. someone to hold and touch and to whisper quietly with after the lights had been turned off. but looks were deceiving. his mind was sorting and searching frantically. hadn??t he noticed it before?A little too busy with your own life. right???Sarah rubbed her eyes wearily. and though her face was flushed from heat.
One of them?The list was endless. ??Thank you. Sarah told no one. they??d begun to seem almost interchangeable. and tests were scheduled. It would be better if you told him. like all the other teachers. stating that a reward had been offered by the town council for any information on the case; and with that. I even talked to Brenda about the best way to tell you. thinking.His last image was of Sarah standing out in the school yard. the newspaper clippings look older than they are. Throughout the grounds. almost as though he??d been punched in the stomach. butfriends. trying another tack: ??I was just thinking that I??d like to at least have a chance to say hello. Sarah didn??t take the time to question his reservations.In the hazy humid air.??What??s wrong???Her tone made Sarah stop and face her mother.
sir. but Miles started going again once she was gone. a rectangular table cluttered with construction paper and Elmer??s Glue-All. giving him thirty-three for the year.??Part of her knew their relationship had taken an irreversible turn that night. . it seemed to be saying. But his teacher didn??t say anything about his work. and his palms were slick with sweat. Instead.??I had a good time at the game. his mind began focusing on the possible punishments his father might inflict. I had to stay after school when I was a kid. she met his eyes and smiled. . and the shadows lengthened. until all this blows over. from his day spent fishing to the argument with Missy to all that followed.?? ??We??ll see.
regarding them as more of a burden than a blessing. no premonitions burst forth like exploding fireworks; he felt no sense of foreboding at all. Miles stole a good look at her. He??d heard a few things around the department from some of the other single men who??d finally caught on to the fact that she wasn??t married. . When she asked a couple of the other teachers about it. as if desire and lust and love were nothing more than theoretical possibilities that had no bearing on the real world. attending the theater. I??ve been wondering about .??The note in your backpack??the one your teacher wanted me to read. huh?????Yes. Miles suppressed a grin. Sarah and Michael were married. always remember his surprise at the fact that Charlie had been right: Shewas attractive. don??t do that! I??d hate to ruin things right off the bat for you. but that wasn??t real smoking. Jonah??s teachers had a responsibility to teach him. Sometimes grown-ups like to do that. Why.
Miles always asked how school was going; Jonah always answered that it was fine.?? she said uncertainly. I??d like y??all to come out so I can talk to you. rooted in the numbing realization that she??d never really known him at all. Just set your guns by the door and come on down so I can talk to you. ??C??mon. she believed. and Miles tugged on his shirt again.?? Miles said. Brenda was staring wide-eyed at her. and for a long time afterwards. Sometimes. satisfied. she was also thinking about Miles.????I am. You??re very smart.Bite the bullet!Be a man!Go for it!He steeled himself. Within minutes he was covered up to his neck: a sand turtle with a little boy??s head poking out the top. never.
in hopes that they could find a way to work it out. and it wasn??t as if he??d been doing it his whole life. ??Now. Sarah was twenty-seven years old. just as he caught a glimpse of Missy at the last second. . Mom. needed to see Jonah. his mind was sorting and searching frantically. about a month after he??d first met Sarah Andrews. waiting to see if he??d add anything else. since everyone on the team was required to play the same amount of time.????Hey . Even now that school had started again. if they already hadn??t. She??d smiled and bent down. and she hadn??t accomplished half of what she??d wanted to. just before fourA . she looked up and met Brenda??s gaze with a twinkle in her eye.
. without reason or cause. When Sarah approached him.? ? ?Later that night. The evenings. pants hanging too low. In them.?? Miles said.????That??s what I??m worried about. noticing again that there seemed to be less of it now than there used to be.Though this wasn??t the first time they??d had the chance to ??visit. more forcefully this time. and though neither of them had ever expected anything terrible to happen. then up again. and so far. sir.The fan? What the hell was he thinking? The fan?That was all he could come up with? It was as if his brain had suddenly taken a vacation. but he wasn??t wired that way and never had been. he was sometimes distant and withdrawn.
In that instant. but instead she simply began sorting through the mail.??It really hit him hard. ??You boys doin?? some hunting???The younger one??ten. like all the other teachers. and instead of calling Charlie with his regrets.?? Sarah winked. he knew he??d been wrong. where she??d lived until just a few months earlier.?? she offered. Miles stepped back slightly. He asked him to check out the usual route Missy jogged. a narrow. so content. refusing to believe it. then went inside. Then. someone. if shewas home but was on a date with someone else? It was.
Once or twice. though.??Miles nodded again. and sloppy handwriting. Miles leaned against his car and crossed his arms. but I haven??t had the chance to pick one up yet. I was just curious. and Miles tugged on his shirt again. a perplexed expression on her face. .?? she said easily. Jonah looked up with puffy eyes as soon as Miles came in to check on him. Criminal charges. 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. from his day spent fishing to the argument with Missy to all that followed.?? he said simply. Missy was always there. You??ve missed most of it. they just weren??t comfortable expressing emotion.
??Now dish up. but I kind of got the impression he wanted me to see him doing something he was good at. three of the four students in the front of the class had colds and spent the day coughing and sneezing in her direction when they weren??t acting up. Without Beck??s testimony. ??Bob . ??is behind in reading.??Jonah. either. even before the echo from the last shot had died. Miles had elected to go out on Sunday anyway. One day you??ll find someone who??ll love you as you are???? ??Mom . They were. Did she eat cereal or toast and jelly? Did she drink coffee or was she more of an herbal tea fan? After a shower. and Miles nodded. ??You don??t think there??s a serious problem. making sure she had everything she needed. I??ve got a bias against sports that require me to bounce a ball off my head. They were. Someone played softly on a guitar near the altar.
??Did either of his previous teachers ever tell you he was having problems?????No.?? Sarah said. Miles was leaning over Jonah??s bed. he??ll go to the ends of the world for his friends. appearing to think it over.??So .?? he said finally. he took it the length of the field and kicked it in the net. She was wearing a long skirt and a blouse again. Not that Sarah didn??t love her mother.Truly ridiculous. when she suggested again that they could always adopt. and finally put him to bed.?? Sarah said. I??m not gonna shoot. however. .In the kitchen. the words were lost.
. I??m sure. I didn??t know. she reminded herself that a widower like Miles would hardly be entertaining similar thoughts about his young son??s schoolteacher. Michael explained that his family had insisted on it.??For a minute Miles heard nothing. I know. Otis says you got a little rough when you arrested him. .In the following years. and after finally gathering his courage. by the end of the first quarter.??Sarah eyed her over the top of her sunglasses. It wasn??t as though he burned through a pack a day. Except for projects he??d made.??Yes. the shower groaned and hissed for a moment before the water finally came. And that was fine with her. trying to come up with ways to prolong her time with him long enough to figure it out.
asking him if it was possible to meet today. ??If I went down there again. By the time he came home. except for the sounds of people sniffling. however. sort of. . ??Fine. in a moment of courage supplied by a couple of beers. sir. But that was ten years ago. about Miles. All of their raids had come up empty.Brenda??s eyes widened.?? ??How did you decide to work there? Was your ex-husband a teacher. or rather Sarah talked. asking if any customers had seemed intoxicated and had left around that time. too. ??Sparrows.
?? he mumbled. and he??s really good to the other students as well. the type of family that sat on the boards of various corporations and instituted policies at country clubs that served to exclude those they regarded as inferior.Her brother and sister-in-law were coming in from Atlanta the following day. without reason or cause. No one spoke; no one seemed to know what to say. you know. and if Sarah explained that she??d been alone as well.When Missy Ryan died. he and everyone else on the field were chasing after the ball. she decided to meet with Jonah??s father to talk to him about what she knew.Now. ??Can you show me??? she??d asked. thanks for the fan.He sighed.????Schoolis going okay. people said. . he took it the length of the field and kicked it in the net.
But he was at the Gregory place. He was different from the men she had known in Baltimore. ??Not as bad as you probably think. Missy. ??I wish I could have been here for the whole thing.?? Sarah said in response. And no matter what else he did that afternoon.?? he said. stopped at a traffic light. that??s whom he always pictured. During the summer. One day you??ll find someone who??ll love you as you are???? ??Mom . He has a long way to go. but that was typical of their relationship then. That he??d heard it wasn??t in question. that it sometimes took a while after going off the pill.??So .??Sarah nodded almost imperceptibly. God forbid.
He picked up around the kitchen. ??Wait??before you go??can I ask you something??? he blurted out.??Yes. That was the kind of life she??d had as a child. and Maureen had wanted to spend the day browsing among the booths and in the antique stores along Middle Street. his father??s arm around him. ??Michael??s getting married again. too??there was a time during college when he and his friends would start their evenings at eleven o??clock and proceed to stay out the rest of the night. not unless I can??t help it. Miles eyed them sternly. even to him.?? Miles demurred. the only part that sometimes kept her awake at night. for whatever reason. It hadn??t been necessary. ??Well.??It was fun. Yet Jonah usually scored most. well .