Chapter 19

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Chapter 19

"Come on, Ember! I don't want to be late!" 

Preston, sitting in the backseat of my borrowed BMW sedan (my car is still at Garret and Addy's), said as I drove through the streets of DC. His class was going on a field trip today to the Smithsonian. As usual, this side of DC was full of tourists and other people. His school, St. John's Elementary Academy, was a five minute drive from the White House. Situated in the heart of everything, it was always being admired for it's architecture and the fact that the President's son was attending it. My uniform had changed when Barnaby took Jonathan's place.  Now, instead of all black, I have to wear black slacks, a white blouse, and a black blazer. No jewelry allowed (unless you count my comms unit as jewelry.) It's different from being in all black. Personally, I liked the all black better but I don't hold the power to change it. 

"It's okay, Preston. We don't leave for another hour. We have plenty of time." I answered, meeting his gaze in the rear view mirror. 

He nodded, smiling and bouncing up and down excitedly in his booster seat. I smiled as St. John's Academy came into view. I turned into the parking lot, met by the long line of expensive cars and midnight blue buses dropping off kids for their school day. I swear, you would never see more BMW's, Mercedes, or Cadillac's anywhere else. You want to see fancy cars, go find a rich academy. Even the teachers have fancy sports cars and SUV's. I parked in a parking spot near the door. At spotting President McGallen's BMW, the principal and secretary came rushing out to greet Preston and me. I cut the engine, putting the keys into the pocket of my blazer with my phone, CIA ID, and Secret Service ID they'd manufactured for me to use. I can't go around using my CIA ID all the time, now can I?

"Good morning, Preston. Are you excited?" the principal, an older woman wearing a floral print blouse and tan skirt, asked him as he closed the car door behind him.

Preston nodded frantically, his red curls bobbing up and down as he did. I locked the car and smiled, holding out my hand to the principal. She shook it, smiling back.

"You must be Ember. It's a pleasure to meet you. My name is Mrs. Applegate, but you can call me Nancy."

I nodded, pulling my hand away to greet the slightly younger (but not by much) secretary. 

"It's very nice to meet you both. Preston hasn't stopped talking about this field trip." I said, clasping my hands behind my back as we walked through the front doors of the school and into Preston's second grade hallway. 

All around me, children laughed and ran. As I passed, walking behind Preston, they watched me. I smiled at them, waving. Being so young and seeing the principal, they seemed unsure of what to do. That is, until another boy came running up to Preston. I recognized the blonde haired kid instantly.

"Hi Preston! Hi Ember!" Nicholas exclaimed, waving and flashing a toothy smile.

I smiled as we turned into Preston's classroom. 

"Hello Nick. How are you?" I asked.

"Good. My mommy is having another baby today!"

Mrs. Abernathy is having a baby? Good for her. Nicholas's father left her when she was pregnant with Nick. Before I could talk to Nick anymore, him and Preston ran off into the crowd of second graders sitting on a carpet in front of a white board. Posters were everywhere in the room, covered with bright colors and happy, smiling cartoon characters. The desks were set up in little circles, with buckets of broken crayons, safety scissors, and glue sticks in the middle on an empty desk. Principal Applegate walked over to the teacher. 

"Miss Star, this is Ember Rhinehart. She works for the Secret Service and will be accompanying your class today." Principal Applegate introduced me.

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