Chapter 12 - One thing

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April vacation marked exactly a year since Joe left to see his mother. He had promised her that he would be back by the end of the vacation week to spend time with her. She had no idea that she was truly saying goodbye to him that morning. Ella couldn't think about it.

The night that Owen saw her sing, Tony waited for her friends to leave before he said, "I didn't know you were going away."

It had just come out in a panic, but it actually seemed like a good idea. She replied, "I haven't even mentioned it to Ava yet, but I'd like to start my summer off by going to see her in Boston."

Tony not understanding the reason for her lie said, "If you go, I'll go too unless you don't want me..."

"No, the three of us taking on Boston sounds great!" She conjured up more excitement then she felt.

The following day she called her sister to make plans even though it was still two months away. The difference was that she told her sister the real reason she wanted to visit. Ava instantly understood and was as excited as Ella had pretended to be about their visit.

Although Ella kept to herself at school she did hear rumors. After seeing her with Tony, Owen started asking questions so most everyone started saying she had a new boyfriend. When she did venture to the teacher's room to check her mailbox, she received smiles from staff as if they were saying, "Good for you." Her closest work friend was Freddie, contrary to what his name suggested, he wasn't an old man. Freddie was twelve years older than her and had a wife and two kids, Bridget and Jack's ages. His responsibilities were managing the auditorium including the sound and lighting techs. He taught classes on those skills as well as video production and cinemology. His classes were known to be easy, but he had a few kids every year that graduated and went on to be production or tech majors.

She worked closely with him on her theater productions and choral concerts. Their friendship blossomed because neither wanted to venture away from their hallway for lunch. Freddie never mentioned Joe, but she knew he was well aware of the whole sad story.

Out of the blue, Freddie accused, "What the hell Ella? I thought we were friends."

"What did I do?" she asked baffled.

"When were you going to tell me about your boyfriend?"

"Boyfriend?" She suddenly thought he wanted to talk about Joe almost a year later.

"I heard that he's hot and was gaga for you."

She couldn't help, but laugh and said, "Gaga huh? Good to know since we're just friends, but truthfully I don't give a shit what Owen thinks."

"I didn't hear it from Owen," he said.

"Well he saw us together, so I'm sure the rumor started with him." Since her family thought she and Tony were more than friends she might as well let everyone at work think that too. "Whatever, I really don't care what people are saying about me."

Ella went to visit Sara over vacation. She and Nick were splitting the week since the kids were on vacation too. Sara complained, "I'm spoiled seeing him at work, I missed him yesterday when he was the one home." She paused and said, "Oh Ella, I'm sorry. That was insensitive."

Ella tried to laugh and said, "No, it's okay, but for what it's worth I understand. I haven't ruled out applying for jobs in other districts. It's hard because sometimes I hate being in the building that I used to love."

"Maybe if things get serious with Tony," Sara suggested.

Ella wanted to lie, but couldn't. "Things will never get serious with Tony..."

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