His Outback Nanny(8)

By: Annie Seaton

Fancy running into Ned. Obviously married, with a daughter, and living in Spring Downs. He’d been a looker when he was in high school, but he’d grown into a fine-looking man. Tall and broad shouldered, and still with those gorgeous eyes and cheekbones. She wondered which local girl he’d married.

Jemima had brought a change of clothes to town and called in to Angie’s house to get changed. She and Liam had come back into town last night, and Angie hadn’t gone to work yet. She held up a coffee mug as Jemima came into the kitchen in her jeans and checked shirt.

“Yes, please. Love one.”

“How did it go, Jemmy?”

“Good, I think. The questions were easy, but it’s a long time since I’ve done a job interview. The principal was friendly enough, and she told me all about the school and let me ask a lot of questions.” She squeezed her hands in front of her. “Anyway, I’ll know later today. I’m going to stay in town until I hear. If I’m successful, I can go to the school and get organised. Fingers crossed, anyway.”

“Make yourself at home here. There’s not many places to fill in a day in Spring Downs.”

Jemima took the coffee that Angie passed over and cupped her hands around the mug. “Thank you. Gosh, I’m so nervous. Would you believe I was more nervous about this interview than I was before any of the big fashion shows in New York? After I came out, still shaking, I bumped into one of the school dads—an old friend of Liam’s—and I was so worked up after the interview I could barely string a sentence together. He probably thought I was rude.”

“I’m sure he didn’t.” Angie laughed. “I can understand why you were nervous. It’s because you want it so badly.” She shook her head. “Are you sure you really want to be a teacher? It’s such a different life to what you’re used to.”

“I’m sure. It’s wonderful to be back home.” Jemima grinned at Angie. “Except for having to live with my brother until you marry him. Are you really sure that’s what you want?” she teased.

“Point taken.” Angie grinned back at her. “We all know what we want out of life. Or we think we do.”

Jemima stood and rinsed her coffee cup in the sink. “While I think of it, do you know if there’s a connection between Mrs. Sykes in the library and the school principal?”

Angie nodded. “Yes. They’re sisters-in-law. And there’s another Mrs. Sykes, too. She works at the bank. The three brothers apparently moved to town a few years ago and bought up a lot of land around the district.”

“Oh gosh. I do hope the library one hasn’t gossiped to the principal about my past career. I didn’t mention it. I didn’t think it was relevant.”

“It’s nothing to be ashamed of, Jemmy, and it has nothing to do with whether you are suitable for the job. You made a success of what you did and studied at the same time, and that’s pretty impressive.”

“Thanks, Ange. Anyway, fingers crossed. And fingers crossed that she hasn’t read the paper yet.”

“Let me know when you hear.”

The call came at two-thirty when Jemima was sitting in the milk bar, having her third coffee. She’d already toured the museum, learned all about the local bushrangers—it would be a good place to bring a class to learn about Australian history—called in at the library, done the grocery shopping, and had snagged a table at the milk bar while she waited. She sat and stared at the main street; not much had changed since she’d left home. The shop fronts still needed a coat of paint, and a couple of the smaller stores had for lease signs in their windows. It was sad to see Spring Downs losing its vibrancy.

She jumped and grabbed for her phone as it buzzed on the table.

Disappointment settled in her chest like a stone as Mrs. Sykes advised she hadn’t gotten the job. The successful applicant was a new graduate from the same university where Jemima had completed her course.

“Thank you for letting me know.” Jemima stared across the road as she held the phone to her ear. She’d remain professional, even though the let-down cut like a knife.

“Mrs Sykes, is there any feedback you can give me? About my interview technique. How I could improve my answers?”

“You answers were fine. The teacher the panel chose was from a small town, and we felt that her background aligned more closely with our school goals. Don’t be too disappointed. With your background, I’m sure there’ll be plenty of other opportunities for you.”

“My background?”

“Working internationally. Your skill set will open up many jobs for you.”