Genevieve led Hope back into the common room where the others greeted her warmly.  She was glad to see them as each embraced her in turn, and smiled and said hello.  Though she was happy to see her friends, she noticed this with only the top of her mind.  Her guts were churning with feelings of apprehension and even fear, as she was more afraid of seeing Ethan now than ever.  Genevieve’s quiet warning chilled her. 

            Hope had kept in touch with Eve and the others through e-mail and phone calls, and had often heard of how much Ethan had matured in the last year of high school and his ensuing years attending university.  He had apparently found the self-confidence he had lacked before she left. 

            The new and improved Ethan that they had described sounded like one she could talk to rationally and apologize to.  The Ethan Genevieve now described sounded like a throwback to his grade school days, where he brooded and feared contact with others.  She didn’t know how to talk to him, because that was the Ethan that had once been obsessed with her.  That was the Ethan she had been afraid of once, so now she was again as she waited for him to appear.

            She listened to the others chatter about how excited they all were that she and Zoë were there, and how thrilled they were about the opportunity in front of them, their dreams made real because of the generosity of Mr. Lamb.  She smiled as they talked and agreed that it was very exciting, but she was only half listening.  That’s why she had to ask Mr. Lamb to repeat himself.

            “What was that?”  She said, snapping herself out of her reverie.

            “I said that there’s room for you and Zoë in our little enterprise as well.”  Lamb said.

            “How’s that?”  Zoë asked, curious.

            “Well, Neal has told me of your studies to become a teacher, Zoë, and Hope, they’ve all talked about your volunteer work in the community.  You’re both very interested in helping people, changing their lives for the better.  In our new church we could use your skills to start the church school, and also community outreach programs.  I’ve been meaning to talk to Genevieve about this idea, but once I heard that the two of you were coming, I guessed that it was best to wait until all three of you were here.  What do you say?”

            Zoë beamed, “We’d all be working together, Hope!  Wouldn’t that be exciting?  We could design the programs ourselves.  How many people get a chance like that, to be in on the ground floor at the start of something big?”

            She implored Hope and Eve with her eyes, looking from one to the other expectantly.  They could both see that Zoë really welcomed this opportunity.

            “I don’t know,” Genevieve said, her voice thoughtful.  “I want to be a teacher, too, but we still have school to attend.  I don’t graduate for at least two more years, and I’d still want to get my education degree.”

            “Oh, you needn’t rush into anything.”  Lamb said amiably, “I understand that school is important, and the planning stages may take awhile, so that’s no problem.  I just think that it would work perfectly.  You all have skills and interest in this field, and it would help the boys running the other aspects of the church, because they’d know that someone they trusted was handling the other parts.  You’re already friends and an excellent team, so I think it would be a shame to break that up.” 

            He spoke persuasively, and even Genevieve and Hope could see his point, no matter their reservations.  Lamb’s charisma was compelling, and Hope found herself being convinced.  Lamb and the others began discussing plans for how to begin the church, both the musical aspect with Evan’s band, but also locations, costuming, and funding.  Genevieve and Zoë began asking questions about the school and the role it would take, and how to implement their own ideas. 

            The only question Hope had now was the one she’d been asking herself since she got here: Where was Ethan?

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