It’s been a long time since I gave a morsel. I hope you enjoy it . . .
She spent most of the day babysitting Ami. It was more like using the time as a distraction while waiting to be picked up for her first tutoring session. As three-thirty p.m. approached and passed, she began feeling more nervous. Where is Tom?!? It’s now three-thirty-seven and he’s late. Then she felt relief, believing that if he was late enough then, maybe, just maybe she wouldn’t need to go to the tutor. The doorbell finally rang and, with resignation, she slipped into her flip-flops, gave Ami an extra-long goodbye, and then patted and scratched Roscoe longer than necessary.
Smiling at her stalling tactic, Jennifer said, “Have a good time at the tutor’s.” Then she hugged Jamie.
Returning the hug, she said, “Thanks.”
Jennifer patted her back so that Jamie would finally release her.
“Let’s get going.” Tom shifted his weight to the door.
After driving a few blocks away from Mike and Jennifer’s home, Tom turned down the radio. He quickly looked at Jamie and then returned to focusing on the traffic. She barely noticed the volume of the music was lowered because she was so distracted with her own thoughts.
“I don’t think you know anything about American history or any kind of world history.”
“What?” She lost interest in the passing scenery and now looked at him.
“And what about your reading comprehension?”
Images of reading English with her mother flashed through her mind. “My what?”
“What level do you think you can read?”
She shrugged her shoulders as an answer.
Tom smiled. “You’re starting to act like a teenaged girl. I guess watching all that TV is starting to pay off. I hope you won’t need as much help in math or science. I used to watch a lot of science fiction. I wonder if your world is more advanced than we are in math and science.” He suppressed a grin. “Men in silver suits and aliens.”
“Men in silver suits and aliens?” She had no idea what he was talking about. “We probably are.” Her statement was more matter-of-fact than bragging.
“Humh.” He parked the car in front of a small bungalow house with a porch that reminded her of the beach house. When Tom rang the doorbell, Jamie tried to peer through the door’s curtained window.
A woman with golden skin and pinned-up black hair opened the door. She smiled as she warmly said, “Tom and Jamie! Come in!” She unlatched the screen door and pushed it out.
Jamie’s mouth dropped. It was her Ly-Parz, her teacher from S’Renen. Only her eyes weren’t golden, they were now brown. She quickly swallowed her shock and began to respectfully greet her former teacher in S’Renen, “Chzw—” She didn’t finish saying ‘Good day, Teacher Ly-Parz,’ because a Thought slammed so hard into her mind she almost jumped.
No, Dahliea. Your brother mustn’t know who I am.
Even though Jamie saw that Tom had a fleeting quizzical look, she desperately wanted to ask about their mother. Was she found? What about her family and friends? Then she remembered the shimmer that she kept seeing that night at the beach house.
“Please sit down.” Mrs. Greenfield directed them to her living room sofa. “I have iced tea and cookies. Would either of you like something to drink or eat?”
“Thank you,” Tom said giving a polite smile.
Jamie was a little hesitant. “Yes, thanks.”
Mrs. Greenfield went to the kitchen that was in the next room and came back carrying three plates with small butter cookies, a pitcher of iced tea and three glass tumblers on a tray.
She placed a plate of three cookies and a napkin on the coffee table in front of each of them and began pouring the tea. “I’m so looking forward to helping you, Jamie,” and smiled at her as she handed her a glass of tea. “Tom tells me that you’ll be a very good student.”
Jamie looked at Tom and then at her tutor. “Uh, yes.”
“Thank you,” Tom said after he was handed his glass of iced tea. “Um. Jamie’s on the quiet side until she gets to know you.”
“Of course she is.” Mrs. Greenfield sat down in an armchair opposite them. “Don’t worry, there’s nothing to be nervous about,” she said, giving her a reassuring smile.
Jamie couldn’t stop thinking, Why are her eyes brown? Realizing that she never looked up from her plate of cookies, she tried to Block her tutor from Overhearing her.
Her head snapped up when her new tutor Thought while still smiling warmly, We’ll need to practice a lot on your Blocking, which made Jamie blush. At the same time she said out loud to Tom, “I have all the books and assignments for the school year. My goal is to get your sister ready for her first week of school. We have very little time. Yes? Once her classes begin, we can start on each homework assignment as they are assigned. I had suggested to your brother,” Mrs. Greenfield now looked at Jamie, “three tutoring sessions per week when school starts, Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays for one hour after school. Each session will be at four-thirty.”
Tom looked at his lap and inhaled audibly before looking at his half-sister, “I think you’re up to it even if it sounds like a lot.”
“Yes, I have to agree. It sounds like a lot to expect, but as we progress through the first few months, you’ll see how it’ll benefit you, Jamie, to be well prepared. A lot will be expected in eighth grade.”
“You’re going to start today.” Then looking at his sister’s tutor, Tom said, “Jamie and I agreed about her summer sessions with you until school starts.”
“Yes.” Mrs. Greenfield nodded. “Good.”
“Should I stay or can I come back?”
Jamie tried to hide the pleading look from Mrs. Greenfield knowing full well that her new tutor Overheard every poorly Blocked thought.
“You can finish your iced tea and cookies. Jamie and I will be in the kitchen getting better acquainted. I want to discuss the homework she’ll need to complete for our next session.”