The Presence of Grace (Love and Loss #2)(6)

By: Anie Michaels



“You were there,” she continued, “and I felt so helpless because there wasn’t anything to say or do.”

Embarrassed, I ran my hand through my hair, trying to find the words. Any words. “Wow,” I finally managed. “This is awkward.” I gave a small laugh, trying to cover the fact that I felt very uncomfortable.

“No, no, no,” she insisted. “I’m really glad to see you. I think about you all the time.”

“You do?”

“Yeah. I think often about how you’re doing. You were so upset that night.”

“It wasn’t my best moment.”

Her eyebrows shot up as if she’d just came to another realization. “You’re Jax’s dad.”

“Devon Roberts. Nice to meet you.”

“Wow,” she whispered. “It really is a small world.”

“Yeah,” I agreed with a laugh, unsure of where to go from there.

“Okay, so your son, Jax,” she said, moving the conversation along. “He’s a wonderful kid.” She led me to a long table at the front of her room. She took a seat on one side and motioned for me to sit across from her. “He’s a pleasure to have in class. Super attentive. Always eager to learn. Just a great kid. A great student.”

“Uh, thanks. That’s good to hear.”

She smiled and it caught my attention. It wasn’t the polite smile she’d forced when I’d first arrived, and it wasn’t the worried smile she’d given me when we’d realized how we’d previously met. It was a genuine smile. Soft and warm. It lit up her entire face, all the way to her eyes. I wasn’t sure if I’d ever noticed a brunette with blue eyes before—I must have known at least one—but her eyes were almost the color of the sky on a clear summer day. Deeply blue. She was radiant and the smile was reflective of that.

She pulled some papers from a folder and spread them out in front of me.

“These are the tests Jax took at the beginning of the year. We give these tests to gauge a baseline for all the students, so we can measure progress. As you can see, he scored high, well above his classmates.” She pulled out even more papers and laid them out the same way. “These are his test scores from earlier this month. As you can see,” she said, using her hands to delicately point out his scores, “his scores are now leaps and bounds above his grade level.”

“That’s great,” I replied. I was out of my element.

“It is great. But he’s not just smart. You see, the difference between a bright student and a talented and gifted student is very clear. Jax doesn’t just like learning, he isn’t doing his work because we ask him to, he loves learning. He seeks out knowledge and asks questions the other students, even the best of students, don’t think about asking.”

“He’s always been very inquisitive.”

“Yes!” she exclaimed, her face brightening even more—something I wouldn’t have thought possible if I hadn’t witnessed it myself. “He’s constantly asking questions, always wanting to know more. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to pull out my phone to look up the answers to questions he has. It’s incredible.” She took a breath, still smiling, and then pulled out another paper. “So, here’s the information on TAG. Right now, our school is offering a TAG class once a week after school on Fridays. We’re also planning for a field trip closer to the end of the year—somewhere educational like the zoo or the aquarium. There’s no cost to you. We’re required by law to offer specialized education to all students who demonstrate a need.”

“And the class is taught by a teacher at this school?”

“Oh, gosh, I should have mentioned—I am the TAG director here. So it’s taught by me.”

“So, basically, what you’re saying is that Jaxy gets to stay after school on Fridays and take an extra class with other high-performing students?”

“That’s exactly what I’m saying.” She smiled again, and this time it was contagious. I smiled back.

“Sounds like a no-brainer. Oh, except for transportation. Jaxy and his sister ride the bus to day care after school on Fridays.”

“Oh, yes, Ruby. Jax talks about her a lot. He thinks she’s the best.” A little bit of warmth spread through me at her words. “Transportation isn’t an issue. We’re required to provide that as well. A bus will just take him to day care when we’re done, or the bus can take him home, or you can even pick him up. Whatever works for you.” She pulled another stack of papers from her folder and slid it over to me. “This is the admission form, and it spells everything out for you. You just fill it out and send it back to school with Jax, and he’ll be all set to go.”

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