Remember Me(7)

By: Ashlee Mallory

“Sounds intriguing,” Sam said.

Jeremy rose from the window ledge and returned to his desk, pushing through papers in search of something as he glanced at Allie. “Unfortunately, I haven’t had time to start the project. Some of the stuff down in our archives is quite old and valuable, and I don’t think I could trust the kids to go through it on their own. Now that your schedule has opened up, maybe you could take over the project?”

She hesitated, and Sam could have sworn she was eying the gold-plated bookend on Jeremy’s desk like she was going to strike him with it. She smiled instead. “I’d be happy to help.”

“I knew you’d come through, Allie.” Jeremy pulled a sheet from the pile and studied it. “The deadline to get the final cut to the distributor is…June.”

Two months away. Sounded like a lot of work and aggravation. If it were up to Sam, he’d tell Jeremy where to shove it, but the petite blonde only nodded. Another memory rushed to him of a younger Allie agreeing to spend a Saturday finishing the layout for Monday’s Crimson Press since most of the newspaper staff was too busy attending homecoming events to help out. She always had been a people pleaser.

“Oh, and when you have a moment, would you get Carter’s lesson plans over to Sam? I thought he could use Carter’s old classroom for the duration of his visit.” Jeremy smacked his hands together. “I have to say I’m really excited for this final quarter. I think with you on board, Sam, even temporarily, we’ll be able to use the publicity to gain substantial donations.”

The morning bell rang and Allie rose to her feet. “That’s my cue. My senior lit class awaits. It was good to see you again, Sam.”

He somehow doubted that, but he smiled and watched her go.

Yep. She was still the same, and yet…different. Grown up. And with that maturity, more confident. He couldn’t deny he took almost as much pleasure watching those pretty blue eyes of hers light up with annoyance as seeing her mouth turned up in a smile.

Good thing, because he had a feeling he’d be provoking a lot of both those reactions in her over the coming months.

“Now, as you read the first three chapters of A Room With A View,” Allie explained to her senior class, whose furtive glances at the clock warned her their time was coming to a close, “pay attention to the contrasting personalities, particularly between Lucy and Charlotte.” The bell rang, but Allie, not yet finished, raised her hand to stop their instinct to flee. “We’ll be talking about them tomorrow. Be prepared.”

The students scattered into the hallway, but she remained at her desk, deep in thought. Despite the turmoil of seeing Sam back after so long, she’d somehow managed to stay on task during class. She’d even savored a moment of victory when the class had gathered at the back window to watch the activity commence outside on the peace garden construction site. But she had remained aware that Sam was on the other side of the classroom wall the entire time.

Not that she cared. After seeing what a jerk he could be last night at the airport, she could safely say she had no interest in him. She was almost thirty and would treat him like any other man in her life—without a trace of romantic interest. As she’d been telling her family for the four years since her divorce, she was focused on raising her daughter and molding the impressionable minds of her wonderful students. Nothing else.

Sam Fratto wouldn’t be interested in her, anyhow. As she recalled, he usually dated the prettiest, most popular girls in high school—girls who oozed sexuality with a swish of their long, silky hair. Allie had come a long way since high school, gaining confidence and losing most of the extra weight she’d carried so miserably, but she’d never be one of those girls. The naturally skinny girls who could wear a Hefty garbage bag and still look good. Girls like her sister Laney.

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