"Hello, Nancy." Samuel sat behind her desk, one arm folded over his stomach and his open Bible in the other.
Nancy's pulse quickened and a sick acrid feeling churned inside. Why was he here and had the nerve to stalk her like this? Hadn't yesterday been bad enough? She didn't want to speak to him at all, so she didn't. Instead, she kept her eyes forward and plopped her satchel down on the chair across from her desk and turned to go check the supply closet in the hall for lack of anything better to do. She wanted to put some space between them.
"Wait." Samuel rose from the chair and walked around the desk, blocking her from leaving.
"I want to do my work so I can go."
Samuel stepped closer. "Please."
Nancy turned around and headed back toward her desk, her eyes gazing at the wooden floor. "Leave me alone."
He leapt out in front of her, forcing her to stop walking. "I wanted to apologize about yesterday."
Eyes diverted, she pushed his arm and continued past him to her desk. "Please leave."
He held a small bouquet of wildflowers to her face, cleared his throat. "These are for you."
Wasn't he being a bit presumptuous? How did he know she overheard him talking to Mrs. Thurston? The moment she had the thought, she recalled the feeling of horror that must have crossed her face and the way she ran kicking and screaming from the school building with Mrs. Thurston trying, unsuccessfully, to chase her down. How dare he put her in a position to make such an utter fool of herself? And how dare he come here now demanding forgiveness? And with flowers too? She hadn't had a bouquet of flowers since Thomas and never under such hostile circumstances. She propped herself against her desk and sighed.
Samuel pushed the flowers toward her. When she didn't answer, his hands began trembling. "Aren't you going to say anything?"
She glanced up at him, never taking the flowers from his hands. She tried to look through him, into his soul, see what made the man tick. Her first impression of him was all wrong. She thought he was kind and a caring teacher to young children, but in reality, behind those dark brown eyes was nothing but a heartless phony that was no more pious than a board in the wall.
His big eyes blinked. "Nancy?"
"What are you doing at my desk? I have work to do, so if you'll excuse me..." She pushed past and walked behind the desk, taking a seat.
"I don't want to bother you, Nancy. I wanted to say I'm sorry. I feel horrible. I never meant to hurt you." He placed the bouquet on the one free spot on the corner of her desk. "Please say you'll forgive me."
Nancy drew a deep breath and clutched the bottom of the desk. She bit the inside of her mouth to keep her facial expression calm. "I forgive you, now go."