Politely clasping both hands around hers, I introduce myself in what I hope is a calm voice.

“It’s nice to meet you Tilly, although I’m sorry it has to be under these circumstances.” Her hand is soft and inviting. I decide to be upfront. “There is no excuse for the way my daughter treated you, and I apologize for her actions.”

Her eyes grow wide, and the rest of the room seems to fade away.

“Thank you, Mr. Nelson,” Tilly replies in a soft and vulnerable voice. “I appreciate your concern. Thank you for coming today.”

We sit down, but the way she’s looking up at me rattles me to my core, and I realize this meeting is going to be more than what I planned for.

5

Tilly

This meeting seems to be going on forever. Wasn’t it scheduled to be thirty minutes? Has time begun to stand still?

I hate the feeling of being the victim in the room. The way people tip-toe around their words, the sorrow in their eyes when they look at me. I knew this meeting was going to be horribly uncomfortable! That’s why I refused to come in the first place. I don’t want to talk about how being called a pig makes me feel. I don’t want to accept an apology from Sam. I want to hit her! I want to hurt her back the way she did me.

But that isn’t who I am. I am a good person and I don’t fight fire with fire. I will just accept that I’m going to have to be the bigger person in this case. I am just going to have to let this humiliation go somehow. But for now, I’m stuck in this room.

There is one thing that’s taken me by surprise, however. I’m watching Principal Hartman talk about the incident with Sam two days prior but I’m only watching, and not listening. I see him pacing back and forth behind his desk, periodically gesturing to Sam or me with his hands, but the room is on mute in my mind. Everything feels just a little out of focus. Everything, except for Mr. Nelson. I see him as clear as day because he’s gorgeous.

I realize it’s majorly weird that I am attracted to my bully’s father. But how could I not be? He’s far better looking than the male models on the covers of my romance books because he’s real. He’s got jet black hair and piercing blue eyes. And don’t even get me started on his picture-perfect physique… Michael Nelson has the body of a warrior, with broad shoulders, a wide chest, and long legs. I felt like I was going to melt into a puddle at his feet when he introduced himself to me. Chills raced up my spine when he took my hand in his, and was it just me, or did he look at me in that way?

Tilly, that’s insane. He’s just a concerned parent.

Of course, I’m dreaming, but I desperately wish I could meet someone like Michael Nelson in real life. I would fall head over heels for a guy like this.

Plus, he’s kind. Mr. Nelson apologized to me first thing when he came into the room, and I notice how strict he is being with Sam. He’s really taking this truth and reconciliation meeting seriously. It’s touching, and in a way, it makes me feel good, like he cares for me. That’s just another silly thought of course. He’s just a good dad who’s had the unfortunate luck to father Sam. God bless his poor soul.

“So, Ms. Nelson,” I hear Principal Hartman begin as I force myself back into the conversation. “What do you have to say about all of this?” He peers at her from behind his desk.

Samantha looks slightly awkward sitting slouched over in her chair. Her head is down and her shoulders slumped. Someone off the street would probably think she feels sorrow and guilt regarding the situation, but I know better. The bitch is acting. She’s an awful person, but also an intelligent one. And she knows how to get out of the holes she digs herself into. It is like a dog that flattens its ears and pulls its tail between its legs after peeing on the floor, only to run into the next room and do it again one hour later. That’s Samantha.

“I’m sorry, I don’t know what got into me. It wasn’t a nice thing to do,” she says in a quiet voice without lifting her gaze from the floor.

Nope. I don’t believe it for one second. While the apple didn’t fall far from the tree looks-wise, Sam just doesn’t exude the same sincerity as her father does.

“And what about you Ms. Mortensen, do you have anything else you’d like to say on the matter?” Principal Hartman asks while turning towards me.


Tags: Winter Renshaw Romance
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