Red Crisis: Chapter Two
Lisa stared at the steps that lead into the school building. All around her, kids her age streamed from the yellow school buses and into the red brick schoolhouse. The last time she’d been in a group this big was when she’d gone with the a church group to the zoo in Portland.
This was just as exciting, perhaps even more so, than that event.
Except there was the new development in the teacher problem. Apparently she had a “Mr. Dover” to be worried about.
“What should I say to him when he asks what school I’m from?” Lisa asked. “If I tell him I’m the home educated girl, then he’s going to get mad!”
“Well…” Cecelia scratched her head. They continued to stare at the front door to the schoolhouse. “How about… oh, I know! Tell him you go to a private school!”
“It’s true!” Cecelia insisted. “You go to a private school. Because you’re home educated, that’s private. And it is school, so therefore--”
“I’m private schooled!” Lisa finished. “It’s perfect. Gosh, you’re smart. Well, let’s get this show on the road!”
The school was even bigger than she’d imagined once they got inside. The hallways were lined with doors to classrooms and closets. A grey-haired janitor nodded a greeting to Cecilia and sent a wink in Lisa’s direction.
“So glad you’re here, Lisa,” he said as he walked by them. “Can’t wait to hear about Oregon.”
Lisa stopped in her tracks and glanced over her shoulder. “Okay, that’s creepy. How on earth does he know who I am?”
“Hmm? Oh, that’s Timothy. He’s the janitor. I’m friends with him and I showed him a picture of you a while ago. I tell him all about the letters you send to me! He’s kinda lonely, his kids are all grown up and in college. So I try to cheer him up.”
Lisa laughed and poked Cecelia. “I hope you didn’t tell him everything I wrote in those letters!”
“Naw, I knew better than to tell him the story you told me about how Rylee scraped you off his back.”
Lisa had been so embarrassed that her horse had pulled such a stunt on her. She’d been riding since she was two, and Rylee was well-known for his dumping methods. To think he’d been able to lose her after six years of riding him!
“Yeah, that was kinda annoying,” Lisa muttered.
Cecilia giggled. She opened her mouth to reply when the bell rang, announcing that they had two minutes to get to the classroom.
“Okay, we’ll talk later.” She ushered Lisa in the direction of the first classroom, where government economics and social studies started off the day. And it just so happened to be taught by the infamous Mr. Dover.
They filed into the classroom with the rest of the kids, Cecilia greeting friends right and left. “Hi Levi, hey there Roger, how are you Mia? Oh, that’s a cool new blouse, Kyra!” Every kid she greeted was then introduced to Lisa, Cecilia gesturing to her proudly. “This is my friend Lisa! She came all the way from Oregon!”
There were several other exchange students from various states. Cecelia pointed to where they stood apart from the rest of the class. “Go stand over there with the other kids. Once Mr. Dover gets your name and checks it off the list you can come sit down with me. He’ll probably have all of you stand up and tell a little bit about yourself at the beginning of class.”
Lisa managed a nod and let herself be directed by her friend’s gentle pats to the line of exchange students. Her heart began to beat hard against her chest. She swallowed. Don’t be nervous, you’ll be fine. You can do this, it’s going to be fun! She glanced at the doorway as an adult walked in and she caught her breath. This must be Mr. Dover.
He had dark brown hair and hazel eyes. He was tall, and Lisa guessed he was at least in his mid-thirties. A pair of reading classes rested on the brim of his nose, giving him a sharp and alert look, like that of a hawk. He wore a semi-casual suit, but it was pressed in such a way that Lisa could tell he cared a lot about his appearance.
Overall he didn’t look too menacing, but there was a look about him that Lisa didn’t like. A look of superiority, of importance. Like no one but him had the right answers. Stop jumping to conclusions, Lisa, she chided herself. Give the man a chance.
Mr. Dover came and sat at his desk. All of the regular students sat down also, but the exchange students remained standing. He nodded towards the boy in the front of the line and asked him his name, then had him stand on the other side of his desk.
Four students stood between her and Mr. Dover. She tried not to fidget, not to show any signs of nervousness or fear. It was hard. What if he said something nasty to her if he found out who she was? What if it said right on his paper she was home educated? Would he make some derogatory comment? She usually didn’t care what others thought about her, but for some reason this was different. Perhaps it was because she was in a new environment with people she didn’t know. She wanted them to like her, but what if Cecelia’s classmates made fun of her if the teacher made fun of her? Oh God, please take away this fear, Lisa prayed.
It was her turn to come forward. She stepped towards his desk and took a deep breath.
“And what’s your name?” he asked, his brown eyes staring straight into Lisa’s.
“Lisa Irving, sir,” she replied. Lisa was amazed at how calm her voice was, and she thanked God that she didn’t sound as nervous as she felt.
“Lisa…Irving…Ah, here you are, all the way from Orego--” he stopped and glanced at his paper, then looked up at Lisa with narrowed eyes. Oh no, he knows. “And what school do you go to in Oregon, Miss Irving?”
The way he used “Miss” was not a compliment, Lisa could tell. But she had to go through with this and show that she was not going to shy away from her beliefs.
“I’m private schooled,” Lisa told him.
His look became even colder. “What’s the name of your private school?”
Lisa hadn’t thought he'd ask anymore questions. She’d thought he’d be satisfied with her answer. Should I make a name up? She wondered. No, then she’d be lying. That wasn’t right.
“I go to the school of Irving, sir.”
Mr. Dover was not expecting a reply like that. He dropped his pencil and stared at her. At that second the tardy bell rang, and he waved her on to stand with the other students he’d already questioned. “Go stand with the others.”
Lisa tried not to sigh with relief. She scooted past Mr. Dover’s desk. Glancing at him one last time, she caught him glaring at her. It was obvious he was not pleased with her reply. Uh oh, I think I got on his bad side.
This wasn’t how she’d planned to start her first school day. Oh well, she’d have to deal with it.
Cecelia sat on the curb next to Lisa as they waited for the school bus to arrive.
“I’m so sorry Lisa,” she sighed. “I had no idea they felt that way.”
“It’s okay Cecelia,” Lisa replied. She shrugged and continued to stare down the line of buses, trying to catch sight of bus 22. “It’s not your fault. You didn’t know.”
It bothered Cecelia how rude Mr. Dover had been to Lisa. Two other teachers also were quite curt and cold to her; Mr. Lysine the history teacher and Mr. Ross the music instructor. For some reason it seemed like they all had it in for her, just because she was home educated. Mr. Ross hadn’t been too bad, but Mr. Lysine and Mr. Dover went over the top to ask Lisa hard questions to see if she could answer them. She’d done well and kept up with everyone else, which had made the situation even worse. By the end of the day both girls were glad to be out of school.
“Gosh, I wonder why Mr. Dover acted the way he did,” Cecilia mused. “I mean, he’s not an easy teacher, but he’s never been downright mean before.”
“Really Cecilia, it’s okay,” Lisa assured her. “You warned me Mr. Dover didn’t like de-schooled kids. It seems your warning was accurate.”
“Funny he questioned you so. As far as I know he’s never asked questions like that before.”
Lisa grimaced and stretched her arms. “Let’s just forget about school and concentrate on what horses we’ll ride this afternoon.” She patted Cecelia on the back.
“Good idea,” she agreed. “I don’t want to think about it anymore. So who do you want to ride? Winston? Sadie? Yeager? Bow?”
“Is Bow that big sorrel Quarter Horse that we fed apples to yesterday?”
Cecelia nodded. “That’s the one.”
“I want to ride that one. I liked him a lot. He reminds me of Rylee.”
“Sure! You can ride him! Maybe we can convince Miss Trudy to let you ride in a Western saddle, since you’re not used to riding English. You could show me how to do some barrel racing.”
“Ooo, fun!” Lisa clapped her hands, causing Cecilia to smile. “Maybe you can show me how to jump a bit!”
“It’s a deal.”
Bus 22 pulled up to the curb and the two girls got into line for the ride home. Their day forgotten, they were ready to do something serious. Having fun!