Chapter Two

Jo sat at the desk in her husband's old study and looked at the letters she had received in the mail. Two of them were from Mr. McBride, who was always asking her to sell Plumfield. One was from her sister, Meg, who was visiting with an old friend in New York. And the last one was from Franz. Jo read Franz's letter through twice before she went downstairs to gather the children and tell them the news. Halfway down the stairs she thought it might be a better idea to wait until dinner to tell them the news. When her foot touched the bottom step, she decided she was going to keep the news a secret and let the children figure out the news as a surprise.

Asia was in the kitchen, arguing with Tommy about the cost of a good straw hat. Jo walked in and was immediately pounced upon by the two parties.

"Asia thinks I shouldn't spend more than fifty cents on a new hat." Tommy said. "But I want to buy one that will last so I think I should be able to spend at least seventy five cents, if not a dollar. What do you think Mrs. Jo?" Mrs. Jo shook her head.

"I don't know if I'm qualified to answer your question Tommy." She said. "I don't really know much about hats." Tommy sighed.

"But suppose you did." He said. "How much would you be willing to spend?" Jo was saved from his question by Bess entering the kitchen.

"Aunt Jo." She said. "Have you seen Nan? She was talking to Dan only ten minutes ago and now we can't find her."

"Did you check your room?" Jo asked. Bess shook her head.

"Dan doesn't think she would come inside on a beautiful day like this." She said. Jo sighed.

"I'll help you look for her." She said. "You go back outside and help Dan look there and I'll check the house." And with that speech Jo left the kitchen argument to be settled between the student and the housekeeper.

Mrs. Jo let out a sigh of relief as she climbed the stairs to the girls' room. She made a mental note to thank Bess later for getting her out of that scrape. She finally reached the door and was surprised to hear sobs coming from the other side. She opened the door gently and saw Nan sitting on her bed with tears streaming down her face. Mrs. Jo was next to her in an instant.

"What is the matter, my dear?" She asked. Nan wiped her eyes and looked at Mrs. Jo.

"Nothing." She said, but her voice betrayed her true answer.

"It's okay." Mrs. Jo said. "You can tell me anything." Nan nodded.

"I know Mrs. Jo" She said. "But I don't think I can talk about it right now. Maybe when I'm calmed down." Mrs. Jo nodded.

"I'll stay right here and wait." She said. Nan nodded and took deep breaths in an effort to calm down.

Dan climbed up the stairs softly and slowly. He didn't want to fall prey to another one of Nan's pranks. He made it down the hallway safely and was about to peer into Nan's room when he heard voices coming from the other side.

"I think I can talk to you now." He heard Nan say. She sounded like she had been crying. Dan furrowed his eyebrows. Nan was the stoic leader of many of the boys, she couldn't have been crying. Dan leaned closer to the door so he could hear the conversation better.

"That's good." Said Mrs. Jo, "You just tell me what your problem is and how I can solve it." Nan sighed.

"I don't think you can fix this one Mrs. Jo." Nan said. Jo laughed.

"Well let me be the judge of that." She said.

"It started this morning." Nan said. "Well actually it started a couple of days ago. I've been noticing certain things about Bess and Dan."

"What kind of things?" Mrs. Jo asked. Yes, Dan thought, what kind of things?

"When they look at each other," Nan began, "They forget everything and everyone around them. For instance, this morning Dan asked me a question on how to cure his sleeping problem. We got into a water fight and then I told him to ask Bess to the dance, well to go with her as a friend really. But when Bess walked out of the house, Dan completely forgot about me and he only had eyes for the 'Princess'. We didn't even get to finish our conversation." Dan was confused. What was Nan saying?

"Sounds like you're jealous of Bess." Mrs. Jo said. Nan scoffed.

"Me, jealous of Bess?" She asked, "I am not jealous of Bess."

"I think you're jealous of Bess because of the way that Dan looks at her." Jo said. Dan's eyes widened. "I think you like Dan as much as Bess does."

"Sometimes," Nan said, "I think I love Dan…" Dan pulled his ear away from the door and he scrambled down the stairs. Nan was in love with him. I need to talk to Nick. He thought.