CHAPTER ONE

Marina opened her eyes. The world was blurry at first. Then it all came into focus. She'd had an eye transplant. She could see anything now. She'd traveled some to take in the sights. Now she was back in Elwood City. She already had a teaching degree. Now she used it at a school for the blind. She taught fifth graders. She even taught some advanced fourth graders. But she namely thought of her coworkers outside of school.

Marina had her eye on James. She knew him from her school days. He'd grown up to be handsome. She was grateful for her eye transplant to see guys like him. He was stunning to her. She wished he was more outgoing. But his personality suited his fourth graders. He was reserved. They all knew he was nervous. But he encouraged them by stepping up. They loved him for it. Marina loved him too.

They met when she took on the advanced students. They were eager to learn. James was eager to teach them. He could only do so much. Marina was going to help him. She could go ahead in the curriculum. She could teach them what they needed to know. James was eager to hear about the process. He asked a lot of questions-what are they covering? What do they love? What progress have they made? When they crossed paths, he asked them all. He asked even more questions. But all were about the students. None were personal.

Marina decided to push him. They met in the cafeteria. They sat down to lunch together. He asked about the students. She changed the subject, "So, what do you do on your weekends? Where do you like to go around town?" she questioned. James ignored her, "I just love how much Isabella has taken to reading. She's gotten so good, and I'm thinking of referring her to a colleague of mine across town."

Marina sighed. She cared about the students. She was eager for Isabella to read bigger books too. But she asked him a question. She wanted an answer to it, "So, your weekend plans?"

"Oh, I work on lesson plans and whatnot. And I volunteer at the children's museum," he said quickly. He wanted to get back to the students. He wanted to talk about them as much as possible. Marina wanted to talk about James. She wanted to know him, not the students. She knew them. She didn't know him.

She talked to a colleague after school. She was another fourth grade teacher. Her name was Colleen and she was married. She ranted about her husband. Marina knew she hated him. So she asked him what she thought of James. Colleen laughed, "What, as a teacher or as a man?" she asked. Marina picked the second option. Colleen shook her head, "Honestly they're the same question. He is a man who is a teacher, a teacher who is a man. There is no separation whatsoever, and honestly, the man needs to get out more. He engulfs himself in his work, and I think he's trying to cover up something."

Marina begged to know more. Colleen was happy to gossip, "Well, a few years ago, his older sister went into rehab for a major drug issue. Before that, he was just an average teacher. He worked with the kids just like everyone else. After she went into that program, he immersed himself in his teaching. He wants to forget that part of his life ever even happened."

"So he doesn't date?" Marina asked. Colleen shook her head, "When would he even have time? He's a teacher, plain and simple. I take you're interested in him?" she inquired. Marina admitted she was. Colleen laughed, "I hate to break it to you, but that'll never happen. Unless you don't mind him being married to his job, you're in for a long road ahead."

Marina knew Colleen was right. But she really liked James. She wanted to know if it could work. So she decided to pursue it. She wanted to be with him so she'd work for him.