Gone Ten Years Ch. 02byJoseki Ko©
"Principal, Mr. Hugh Robertson." The possibility had never crossed her mind.
"Wow!" she gasped, "you're actually in charge of the whole school now."
"That's right," he pulled the keys from his pocket and unlocked the door.
"Jimmy Sullivan is teaching English now."
"Little Jimmy Sullivan is teaching English?" she laughed. "He could hardly put a sentence together when we were in your class, that's funny!"
"Like I said some things have changed."
Sally Mae followed Mr. Robertson into the huge expanse of his office. There were bookshelves on three of the four walls. The fourth wall had a large couch pushed up against it and a fake tree standing in the corner. There were a couple chairs in the middle of the room, but the huge desk seemed to fill most of the space.
"I moved in here last year when Dr. Turner retired,"
He spoke as he moved behind the desk and picked through some old phone messages. He sat down in the huge chair behind the desk and gazed at Sally's fine female figure. She had definitely blossomed into a woman.
"Oh, yes," Sally Mae said, giggling sarcastically.
"Old Man Turner, that's what we used to call him."
Sally examined some of the book titles on the bookshelves. She also noticed the large diploma hanging squarely on the wall above the couch.
"And what did you used to call me?" he asked, with just a hint of light-hearted curiosity.
She felt just a little awkward having to answer questions like this from Mr. Robertson, but she figured the truth might as well be known now.
"Most of the kids were scared of you," she answered. "I can remember that some of them called you Grade Robber probably because you were so tough."
"What did you used to call me?"
Sally Mae's faced blushed.
"Come on, you can tell me." he teased her.
"I didn't have any names for you, Mr. Robertson," Sally Mae stared at the face of her beloved adviser.
"You know I couldn't have come up with any names for you. I had a crush on you." She couldn't believe she actually admitted that to him. No one else had ever known.
"I know," he smiled wryly.
"You knew I had a crush on you?"
"It was written all over your face every time we met in the hallway, every time you sat in the front row of my classroom, every time you handed in an assignment . . ."
"You knew I had a crush on you?" she repeated again, still trying to believe the words.
"It was fairly obvious, at least to me."
A excess of emotions flooded Sally Mae's head. For ten years, she'd believed that her crush had been a secret. Finding out that he knew was almost unbelievable. Her mind was reeling now. She was flustered.
"Well, did you know it was me that crippled your car on the last day of school?" she blurted out.
"You're the one who let the air out of my tires?" They were staring at each other now, neither one prepared to back down.
"Now that surprises me," he moved slowly around the desk toward her. "All this time, I thought it was Jimmy."
"I felt really guilty about it for a while," Sally Mae admitted, regaining some semblance of seriousness.
"Well," Mr. Robertson paused for a moment, obviously contemplating a response, "I think we should remedy the situation."
"What do you mean?" Sally Mae asked hesitantly.
"Do you know what went on in this office during after-school detention?"
Sally Mae shook her head. As a model student, she'd heard about the strictness of 'Old Man Turner' but thought nothing of it. What could have gone on in the principal's office? She was spellbound by the images running light speed through her imagination. Mr. Robertson had her full attention.
"Mr. Turner took more than an active interest in a few of the students," Mr. Robertson continued. "He would summon particular students into his chamber, this very room and give them a very stern lecture about their behavior." He paused for only a minute, then continued the thought. "It was immediately after the lecture that the actual punishment would begin."
"What punishment?" she inquired nervously.
"On many of these occasions, I was called upon to witness the punishment. When I took over this office last year, I inherited Mr. Turner's responsibilities, the first of which is the welfare of the students."
Mr. Robertson produced a small, leather paddle from one of the desk drawers.
"You're not really going to use that on me, are you?" Sally May squirmed.
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