Three days later Mallory was just getting home from school when Mrs. Truman came from her office room where she did some work. Labour Mallory didn’t know about or understand. She hadn’t wanted to until this very moment.
When Mrs. Truman asked Mallory into her office—motioning for the girl to sit in one of the two chairs facing the large desk—Mallory asked her what was going on. Mrs. Truman looked at her carefully and, tears filling her eyes, explained that Jessica had tried to sneak out of the house two nights before. Her mother had caught her doing so when she bumped into a chair, causing the furniture to fall over. The noise woke Mr. and Mrs. Trible, summoning them with all haste to their daughter’s bedroom.
“Jessica’s parents weren’t at all happy with her.” Mrs. Truman sounded grave as she spoke. “She even told them that you were going to that concert with her, but backed out at the last minute a couple of days ago. When John and I punished you for your behavior.” Looking at Mallory now, Mrs. Truman smiled softly.
“I’m impressed, Mallory.” Speaking softly, her words were barely audible, and Mallory had to strain to hear them. A little smile turned up the corners of her mouth. Mrs. Truman returned it, reaching up and touching Mallory’s hair with the ends of her fingers. The trembling tips. Mallory didn’t quite understand what about her staying home even though she’d wanted very badly to go had put Mrs. Truman in such a state.
“What’s wrong?” she asked while looking at the woman with confusion. Mrs. Truman smiled slightly, not answering at first. She reached over and picked up a large, leather-bound book from the desk, and setting in front of her opened it.
Part Five will be published tomorrow.