“Yessir. Thank you,” Lily said.
How will this end? Lily wondered. Does Beth know her sisters are in town? Mrs. Wilkins announced Friday that there was a peremptory faculty meeting at seven Monday morning. But what about between now and then? What happens when I enter Tim’s class?
Lily found herself looking down at her brown boots as she stepped forward on blue carpet and entered Tim’s class.
Tim sat on a silver swivel chair sipping coffee from a white Styrofoam cup, talking to class members.
“Hi Lily. Welcome back,” Tim said, rising from the chair, as Lily entered. “Some of us were just talking about the week we have had.”
“Hi, everyone,” Lily said. “Yes, it’s been rough, to be sure. How are you bearing up?”
“I have known the Aims family for years,” Tim said. “Though I grieve Fred’s death, I don’t grieve as one without hope. To the contrary.”
“I understand,” said Lily. “He was, I have learned, a wise and loved man.”
“Lily,” Tim said, “I would like to introduce you to one of the other Aims daughters, and Aaron, Fred and Ellen’s son-in-law. I think you already know Beth.”
Questions sounded in Lily’s skull about what her eyes would see when she looked up at Sarah, Aaron, and Nathanael. Will Sarah clang with gold bracelets and have fake fingernails? Will she talk endlessly about herself, Lily wondered.
“Ms. Rood. It is very nice to meet you. I’m Sarah and this is my husband Aaron. My father spoke very highly of you and your coming to Covenant.”
“It is nice to meet you, too,” said Lily. “I’m thankful to be at Covenant. But may I ask how you and your family are doing?”
Lily struggled with how to honor Mr. Aims without letting the questions degenerate into sentimentality.
“It’s been only a week, and you and your family have come in from out of town, and must have your sorrow to deal with, and…” Lily said.
“That’s true,” said Sarah, “but my family is with me. Speaking of whom, this is my husband Aaron, and our son Nathanael.”
Lily looked up at two of the handsomest men she’d ever seen. Aaron had on khaki slacks, a black blazer with a blue Oxford shirt underneath. He extended his right hand to Lily.
“As Sarah said, Ms. Rood, it is very nice to meet you. Welcome to Covenant, and we hope, to Beulah, too,” Aaron said.
As she shook his hand, Lily looked at his other hand. He wore only his wedding band. Lily noticed Sarah wore only her wedding ring, too, unlike Beth, who Lily heard approaching.
“Oh Lily, I see you’ve met some more of my family, Sarah and Aaron,” Beth interjected.
“Um yes, I’ve just met Sarah and Aaron. But I’ve not officially met their son yet,” Lily said, looking over at Nathanael where he stood next to Tim, who’d returned to his swivel chair.
“Hello, Ms. Rood. Pleasure,” said Nathanael, walking over. He is more handsome than his father Aaron, Lily thought. How can these people be related to Beth?
Nathanael shook Lily’s hand with the same gentlemanly demeanor as his father had. He smiled at Lily and welcomed her to Covenant, too, as if he knew Lily’s story. Lily liked him and his parents immediately.
“Well,” Beth interrupted, “it looks like we are ready to get started. Right, Tim?” Beth’s voice jangled across the blue carpeted floor and between the sheetrock walls of the classroom like a cymbal.
(To be continued)