Beneath Her Heart – Ch 12
Brody walked into El Cerito High School and headed straight for the office.
“Good afternoon, Claire!” She smiled at the office assistant. The middle age woman smiled back and reached under the counter, extracting a few pink notes.
“Hello, Brody, here are your phone messages. Your ESL books have arrived, too. I had the boxes moved to your office.”
“Thank you very much. I will chat with you later.” With a final wave, Brody headed back out to cross the quad to her office. It was too nice outside to walk through all the buildings that made up the sprawling campus.
Once she got to her wing, she quickly unlocked her door and headed straight for the boxes on the floor.
“They made it!” She patted the top of one of the boxes before walking to her desk to get her box cutter. A few moments later, the flaps folded back to review colorful book covers. The front read “Living Language”. Since the classes were now a mixture of online and classroom time, these were perfect for a multimedia experience.
Once all the boxes were open, Brody arranged them on one of her big bookcases, each grade together. Once the four shelves were filled, she sat back in satisfaction.
Tucking her hair back, she opened her laptop to check on the online assignments of her 7th grade students.
Almost all reports were in, but one. Rosina was one of the poorest students in her class, and sometimes missed classroom time because of family issues. But she was enthusiastic about learning English, and her online work was always turned in.
She sighed and pulled out her student info. After calling the School Resource Officer and giving him the information, she continued to check the other students’ assignments. Part of the SRO’s duties was to follow up on students, particularly truant ones, to check their circumstances and assist if needed.
Many of her kids were from migrant and immigrant families. It was a struggle for the parents to accept help when their status in America was murky. And with the current pandemic, more people chose to stay inside and avoid all interaction. But Brody was determined to do what was best for her students.
She was halfway through her lesson plans when her cell phone chimed. Looking at the screen, it was Collin. She hesitated for a moment before answering.
“Brody here.” There was a long pause, but she could hear breathing on the other end and knew he was there. “Collin?”
“Can we meet for a meal? I would like to talk to you about…things.” His voice was low with a sound of distress. It melted her heart a little. Instinctively, she knew it had something to do with her best friend.
“Okay, I’m at work right now. I will be done around 6pm. Where would you like to meet?”
“Can you come to my place? I don’t really want to be out in public. My sister may not have told you but I’m a pretty good cook. Are you willing?”
She could tell he was weighed down by something. “Of course, just send me the address. I’ll call when I’m on my way.”
“That’s great, thank you.” She could hear his voice warm a little. “Is there anything you can’t eat?”
“Nothing oily or too spicy. Even though that chorizo was delicious, it kind of sat like a stone in my stomach.”
He chuckled, sending a tingle up her spice at his low voice. “Okay, I come up with something you will enjoy. And thanks again for doing this.”
“No problem. I will see you soon.” Oh boy, was it going to be a problem. She felt like that teenager again, watching him from afar. And probably doomed to the same ending.