Lily glimpsed her reflection in the glass of the wrestling trophy cabinets in the hallway as she walked the tile hallway towards the counselors’ offices after class. As she entered the offices, Nathanael was straight in front of her. Beth stood to the left within the office; Sarah and Ruth stood to the right side.
“As the counselor of many years, and one who knows Covenant best, she must go. She does not fit here,” Beth said. “Dad brought her here, yes, but now he is gone. As a counselor of many years, the one who has Covenant’s students’ best interests at heart, I know that Ms. Rood is not a good fit for Covenant. She’s not from here, and she seems too friendly with her students, at any rate.”
Stepping forward in the office, Lily spoke. “Is that so, Beth? I don’t fit, you say? What do you mean by that exactly? According to whom? Have I done something unethical or underhanded? If so, I would love to hear about it.”
“You’ve done nothing underhanded, Ms. Rood,” Sarah said. “Once again, our baby sister implies malfeasance by others, never herself.”
The office air erupted with clanging from Beth’s bracelets. “How dare you speak that way of me?” Beth growled. “I will have you know that Donald has talked to Ms. Rood already; I am sure she may know all about your taking leave of this town as soon as you could after graduating. Now you return, Sarah, as if nothing has happened, as if you can legislate us to do your bidding.”
“Ms. Rood, I have no idea whether Donald has spoken to you of our growing up here, or of why I left after graduating high school. Yes, this town witnessed our growing up, our development, and our lives since. Covenant is an outgrowth of Dad’s life after we had been raised,” Sarah said. “Dad was changed after we were gone. Ruth and I left, yes, and we were changed, too.”
“But I remained,” Beth shouted. “I, the youngest of the sisters, remained. I stayed with Mom and Dad through Dad’s struggles. It was not easy being the ba … the youngest. I know you think you both bore the brunt of Dad’s anger, but you have no idea what I went through as the youngest!”
“This is not about you, Beth. Don’t you ever see that?” Ruth spoke for the first time.
“Oh, you! Always Miss Quiet, but I see you!” Beth shouted at Ruth. “I know what you’re up to.”
“She’s up to nothing, Beth. Nor am I,” Sarah said. “We are assembled here for Covenant, and to honor our father’s wishes in bringing in, among others, Ms. Rood, from Rook, and Nathanael, to lead Covenant in keeping with the design.”
“Well, I’ll have you know that Covenant’s design is sullied with the likes of Lily Rood here,” Beth shouted. “I made a few calls to her former employer in Rook. Did you all know that she was accused of having students in her classroom after school hours? Is that the kind of teacher Covenant wants?”
Lily’s pride burned. She had tutored struggling students in writing after school for free. She had kept her room open for students to drop by on their own.
“Ms. Rood,” Nathanael said, “please do not respond now. Nothing good will likely come of indulging her.”
“Please excuse me, I’m returning to class,” Lily said, turning quickly.
“Ms. Rood, please let us talk more later, okay?” Nathanael said. But Lily was gone.
(To be continued)