Home > Dragon Dad's Mate (Dragon Dads Love Chronicles)

Dragon Dad's Mate (Dragon Dads Love Chronicles)
Author: Amelia Wilson

Chapter 1 – Nora

 

 

Her hands shook as she reached into the cubby hole that held her mail. There was the familiar scrawl of sinister letters, addressed to Nora Otwell. When she opened it, she no longer believed it could be a joke; this was the fourth note containing a threat to her life and to the school.

There was a loud shriek of laughter, as kids ran past the open door to the administrator’s office. She jumped and moved off toward the principal’s office. As she set the letter down on his desk in front of him, she planted her hands on her hips, sure he would listen this time.

Principal Morrison leaned back with a heavy sigh. “It’s just a joke, Nora. I don’t know why you’re still bringing them to me.”

“Perhaps the first one was a joke, but this is the fourth, and I can’t take it lightly any more.” Her head was spinning. Which of her students, present or past, felt this way?

She considered herself a good teacher. She cared for her students. She always spotted the quiet ones or the troubled ones and made it her mission to help them. This created a good rapport with the students, some of whom she was still in contact with, long into their college years.

“There is nothing you or the school can do about it, Nora. Take it away and get to class. I believe the bell rings in five minutes.” She was dismissed with a wave of his hand.

As loved as she was by the students, she was very nearly equally unloved by the other teachers and administrators in the school. This didn’t make for the best work experience, but she stayed because she loved the kids. They were her purpose to work, to live.

The bell rang in ten and she sat at her desk for five minutes running name after name through her head. As the students streamed through the door, she studied each face wondering with horror if the letter had come from one of them. One face in particular caught her attention: Ashton Hollis.

An eager swell of compassion jolted through her. Ashton used to be such a sweet boy. She remembered him from kindergarten and now he was in fourth grade. Nora shook her head at the amazement of time’s passing.

That’s just the thing though. Passage of time. Used to.

Most days Ashton was caught fighting other students or he was sent to the principal’s office for smart mouthing another teacher. Nora had asked why his father hadn’t been called, and every teacher had said it wasn’t worth it. Mr. Hollis never answered the phone, and when he did, he defended his son and told the teachers to figure it out themselves.

Ashton’s behavior and falling grades could be evidence of the person behind the letter, but it could also be the signs of parental neglect. Nora set her mind. She would get a hold of Mr. Hollis and force him to participate in a conversation and in deciding how best to take care of his son.

Whether she solved the mystery behind the letter or not, she firmly believed a better student today creates a better school tomorrow. She let Ashton go at the end of the day, but she decided she would hold a meeting with him and his father tomorrow.

Once all the students had left and Nora was alone in the classroom, she called Mr. Hollis. Her hands started to sweat, and she wiped them down the front of her skirt. When she heard the familiar click of someone answering the phone, she straightened up to talk.

“Hello? Is this Mr. Hollis?” Nora asked.

Nerves began to build in her as she remembered the stories from the other teachers. She had heard that he was curt and rude. He never held a conversation for longer than two minutes, and he always hung up first.

She would keep him on the phone for as long as she needed him.

“Yes, and who is this?” The deep baritone of his voice came through as a growl, harsh and catching Nora off guard. She could only imagine the kind of person it belonged to.

Her body was shaking, either from nerves or how low his voice was. She quickly composed herself to reply. “Nora Otwell. I’m your son’s teacher.”

“I’ve already told his other teachers; send him to the guidance counselor.”

“Yes, I am aware, but it’s not helping.” She rolled her eyes at how abrupt and curt he was.

“I’m sorry, I’m busy right now and do not have time for this.”

The brusqueness with which he left the conversation and the dull buzz of the dial tone should have been enough of a hint, but it made Nora more determined to get him to listen. She called him back. There was no way she was going to let a parent be so detached from their child’s life.

Before he could say anything, she charged ahead. “He’s fighting with students, talking back in classes, and his grades are falling. I would like it if you came in tomorrow, so we could talk about steps we can take to help Ashton improve.”

There was a moment of silence where Nora thought Mr. Hollis would agree. But no. He said, “I’m sorry, but I don’t have time.”

“Mr. Hollis, this is important. Can we focus on one thing, such as grades? Maybe get him a tutor?”

Nora was willing to take baby steps, to do whatever she could to help Ashton.

“Find him a tutor then.” and he hung up, again.

A slight smile slipped across her face thinking of this as a small success, but it fell away. She had to find a tutor and the sooner the better. She made a list of names with the pros and cons to mull over, but she didn’t think any of the candidates would be able to handle Ashton.

By the end of the next day Nora had made up her mind.

“Ashton, can you stay after, for a minute, please?”

The young boy rolled his eyes, and fell back into his desk. When all of the students had left, Nora packed her things into her messenger bag and walked over to Ashton’s desk. “Okay, we can leave now.”

Ashton looked at her in disbelief. “We?” he asked.

He was only ten, but there was such a strong defensive look on his face. He was willing to protect himself at any cost. This might be harder than Nora had expected, but she was willing to do whatever it took to connect with Ashton, and to help him.

“Yes. I’m your new tutor, so I’ll take you home and stay with you to help with your homework.”

Ashton shook his head. “Dad said I’d be getting a tutor, but he didn’t say it would be you.”

Nora smiled, already beginning to soften towards Ashton. “Yes, well,” Nora began, “He didn’t know. He asked me to pick the tutor, and I thought who would be better than me?”

“Everyone,” was Ashton’s one word answer.

She would not let herself be hurt by his comment. “Well, nonetheless, I am here, and I am tutoring, so let’s go.”

The GPS led Nora through an upper class suburban neighborhood. The houses grew more expensive the deeper she drove into the neighborhood. She craned her head to look up at the houses and to take them in.

She came upon a cul-de-sac with three of the largest houses that Nora had ever seen and stared open-mouthed in disbelief that Ashton lived there. She pulled up to a blue-trimmed house that had a blue-painted door with a cute little flower wreath hanging from it, slightly lopsided.

“Did your mom make this wreath?” Nora asked.

“No,” Ashton ripped his seatbelt off and hurled himself out of the car. “Dad bought it at Hobby Lobby in an attempt to make it look as if he lives here.”

“He doesn’t live here?” Worry plopped like a failed skipping stone, down to the bottom of her stomach.

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