Alright, so here's the last chapter. Here I took some liberties, okay I took a lot. Now we see a different side of the school. Hope you all enjoy!
Helen was working silently in her office when her daughter threw the doors open and stormed inside. Helen raised her eyebrows in question and Ashley had the sense to look abashed.
"Ashley, to what do I owe this interruption?" Helen asked setting down the paper she had been reading.
"There's another letter." Ashley responded and threw the letter, still in its envelope, onto the desk and sat heavily in one of the chairs across from Helen. Helen sighed and reached for the envelope. It had only been two weeks since the incident with Ms. Mueller and now it was happening all over again.
"It seems as though you're literature teacher would like to have a conference with me." Helen said as she finished reading. Ashley was staring at her with wide eyes.
"What? But I love that class and that teacher is really cool." She chewed her lip and looked off into space, obviously thinking about what could have caused this.
"Well we'll only know once I've talked to her." Helen responded as she reached for the phone.
"Wait! Mom, please don't make this one cry. I like her and she's a good teacher."
Helen's hand stopped mid-air. "I don't intentionally go around making teachers cry Ashley, nor have I made it a habit."
"I didn't mean to sound like that. Although it is wicked when you do, but Ms. Heather's nice." Ashley hurriedly explained.
"Don't you have homework to do?"
Helen stood in the doorway of Ms. Boyd's classroom. It was lunch and this time no audience for her to make a spectacle in front of. Ms. Boyd was in the middle of finishing up her lunch when she caught sight of Helen standing in her door and had immediately called out for her. She stood and wiped her mouth with a napkin and brushed her hands on her pants. She was a young woman, maybe late twenties, with shoulder length curly blond hair and bright blue eyes. She had a very slight build, hidden under too loose of clothes, but she held herself with such confidence that one would be hard pressed to notice.
"Ms. Boyd." Helen reached to shake hands.
"Please call me Heather." Ms. Boyd responded. "And please do have a seat. Sorry about the mess," she said as she clumsily removed the stacks of papers lying on the chair and laid them on the ground. She shrugged at the sight and turned to face Helen.
"No rest for the weary and all that jazz right?" She laughed lightly and indicated the chair for Helen to sit down in.
For a fraction of a second there was confusion in Heather's eyes but soon comprehension dawned and her eyes crinkled in merriment.
"Ah, caught in the act. I let the kids call me Ms. Heather. I find it much more conducive to an open and honest relationship with them."
Helen looked at her speculatively and she chuckled.
"I know, a bit unorthodox. However, the result is that they feel much more comfortable, leaving them more susceptible to their creativity."
Helen nodded. "And does it work?"
"Mostly, but then again you always have those who are resistant. Please let's sit so we can talk more comfortably."
Helen sat and faced Heather, ready for the axe to fall. Heather sat down and cleared her lunch from the desk and brought out a folder full of papers.
"Here is all the work that Ashley has done in my class. I must say that she is quite a little spit fire."
"Am I to take it that she is causing problems in your class as well?" Helen asked, trying not to jump to conclusions.
"No you misunderstand me." Heather said sitting forward and appearing very excited. "I thoroughly enjoy having Ashley in my classroom. Her creativity is so inspiring and seemingly limitless. In fact I find it hard to keep up with her at times and even then I feel as though she's not reaching her full potential." Here she stopped to look at Helen and gauge her reaction. Helen sat patiently waiting for her to continue, mulling over this new information. Ashley had never really spoken of her literature class, the only time being when Heather's letter had arrived.
"I've asked you here to seek your advice. I read some time ago in Ashley's file that you had seen to her earlier education before she came to attend school here. You more than anyone would know how to challenge her. With that in mind I would very much like to ask your help in coming up with ways to do just that. Tap into her full potential and really explore the massive creativity that I know she has but just hasn't been given the chance to explore."
Helen couldn't help her surprise from showing. She was expecting an older, more stern woman to be teaching this class. This woman was exactly the kind of woman that Helen had always admired. A complete and utter difference between Ms. Mueller.
"You seem shocked. I know it's not conventional for a teacher to ask a parent's advice on matters such as these, but I'm afraid I've hit a brick wall concerning Ashley."
"Well as much as I'm flattered by the confidence in my abilities, I'm sure that you're perfectly capable of handling Ashley's continued education."
Heather leaned forward eagerly. "At one point I would have agreed with you, however Ashley has a huge capacity to learn and I'm just afraid that at the pace she's holding she'll quickly grow bored. And that is something I will not let happen, especially with someone like your daughter."
She stopped and pulled out a piece of paper from Ashley's file and held it out to Helen.
"Here, if you would read this."
Helen took it and began to read. Finishing it she realized that she had almost forgotten to breath. The writing was beautiful and Helen found herself amazed at the seemingly effortless way Ashley had managed to capture her life into one simple poem. It was haunting and caught the reader up into the emotions captured so elegantly in ink.
"Beautiful isn't it?" Heather asked and after receiving a nod from Helen she continued. "Ashley's ability to write like this shines through on all of her papers and I find myself hard pressed to find anything to critique. Most of the time I end up crying and just giving her full marks."
Helen didn't doubt that, seeing as how she herself was having trouble keeping the tears at bay.
"She's always shown a remarkable gift for writing, but this…this is way beyond anything I've ever read from her before."
"Dr. Magnus," again Heather leaned forward and Helen feared she would fall from her precarious perch on her chair. "I can't stress enough the importance of keeping Ashley from falling victim to boredom."
"Of course not. And please call me Helen." Helen smiled at the woman sitting so eagerly across from her.
Heather smiled mischievously. "Are you sure? Rumor going around is that you like to be called Dr."
"Well I'm sure Ms. Mueller would not object if I let you call me Helen."
Heather threw her head back and laughed. Helen couldn't help the smile that spread across her face.
"My goodness, and here I was expecting you to verbally abuse me. Of course, Mueller has been known to be a bit…"
"Offensive." Helen offered when Heather had trouble coming up with the right word; that or not wanting to appear rude. It was no secret there was animosity between Helen and the science teacher. Heather didn't respond but the gleam in her eyes was all Helen needed to know she had an ally.
"So can I count you in?"
Helen wasted no time. "Yes. Let the creativity begin."
Sitting on her bed jamming out to her music, Ashley looked up when her door opened and her mother stood in the door. She beckoned her in and shut the music off.
"How'd it go?" Ashley asked and the worry was evident in her voice.
"Very well." Helen responded and said no more.
"Well how? What did Ms. Heather want to talk to you about?"
"She just wanted to talk one on one about her star pupil. Ashley you are immensely gifted and I wish I had known about this earlier. Why haven't you let me read any of your writing?" Helen sat down on the bed and faced Ashley. Ashley took a moment to answer and Helen waited patiently, one of the perks of living for so long.
"I wanted to, but it all seems so unimportant compared to what you deal with everyday. And what does it matter really?"
"How can you say that?" Helen asked incredulously and stared intently at Ashley. "You are the single most important thing in my life and I care greatly for everything you do. And it matters because I'm your mother."
"Thanks mom, that's nice." Ashley muttered and slunk away.
"Ashley, stop this." Helen ordered sternly. "I've read all your papers and I've seen just how gifted you are. And as the leading authority on gifted people I say you're by far the best one I know." She purposefully spoke in terms that Ashley would comprehend in her current state.
This seemed to get through to Ashley and she looked at her mom, shock evident in her eyes. Suddenly she launched herself into Helen's arms and hugged her. Helen returned it and began to stroke her hair, letting the moment sink in. Emotions were not something either of them really gave into, however moments like these were so very precious to Helen and whether or not Ashley liked to admit it, they were to her as well.