Friday, 14th February 2041
“Thanks for the ride, Sam!” Chloe smiled at her friend and got out of the car.
“Anytime!” Samuel winked at her. “It was nice to meet you, Mr. Thomas.”
“I wouldn’t say it began nicely but I’m glad I got the chance to get to know you better, Samuel,” Benjamin said to him and closed the door of the car.
“So, I guess I’ll see you on Monday?” Sam asked Chloe.
“If I’m still alive by then,” Chloe said jokingly, “I guess you will,” she added.
Sam looked at his friend one last time before he drove away. Chloe suddenly looked so different in his eyes. She wasn’t the carefree girl he once knew anymore. Chloe Thomas was a grown-up woman and who knew if their friendship was going to last once she left the DSA…
Chloe and Benjamin headed towards the Preston Dormitory and as they walked across the campus they saw Leslie Strange sitting on the bench and talking to a pigeon.
“… my mother told me that it was a gift to see the angel of death in front of people’s houses, to know that he’d be collecting someone there soon. I thought it was a gift too, up until the day I began to see it in front of every house…”
“Who was that strange man?” Ben asked his daughter.
“The janitor,” informed him Chloe. “Nobody usually speaks to him so he speaks to his alter ego… or to the pigeons. He’s a weirdo.”
As they walked up the stairs leading to the porch, Chloe recognized Mrs. Keaton’s voice. She was discussing Chloe’s individual plan with Principal Goodwell.
“Looks like we’re just on time,” Chloe told her father and sneaked closer to the door to eavesdrop on their conversation.
“What are you doing, Chloe?! Let’s just knock on the door!” Benjamin called at her in a very low voice.
“First I wanna hear what’s her opinion…”
“Why? Who is she?”
“The academic adviser.”
“Well, I believe she can tell us face to face what her opinion is,” he said and knocked on the door.
“What did you do!” Chloe said to her father and frowned.
“I believe someone knocked on the door, Hank,” Chloe heard Mrs. Keaton say to the Principal.
“Are you expecting someone?”
“Oh, no, of course not, Michelle,” he said nervously. When Chloe heard his steps approaching closer, she stepped away from the door just on time. “Ms. Thomas?” Mr. Goodwell looked at her, surprised by the unexpected late night visitors. “What are you doing here at this hour? And who is this man?”
“Benjamin Thomas, Chloe’s dad,” Ben smiled at the Principal and held out his hand.
“Harold Goodwell. Pleasure to finally meet you, Mr. Thomas,” said Mr. Goodwell and suspiciously looked at Chloe. “If your daughter had informed me about your arrival we could have scheduled an appointment in my office,” he added.
“I didn’t know until this afternoon that my dad was coming to Twinbrook,” Chloe defended herself.
“It’s true. When you told me the news yesterday, I… well… I was shocked,” Benjamin said honestly to the Principal. “It was only this morning that I decided to get on the plane.”
“Well, as a father myself, I can understand that,” he smiled at Benjamin. “You should understand, however, that it’s Friday night and I don’t have time for you right now, Mr. Thomas,” explained Mr. Goodwell politely.
“Of course, Mr. Goodwell. I wanted to wait until Monday morning but my daughter insisted on signing the letter of consent today so-”
“Why can’t we just get over with it now?” Chloe interjected. “You’re anyway talking about me with Mrs. Keaton so I don’t see any reason why-”
“What I do and who I meet in my personal time off is none of your concerns, Ms. Thomas. But since you already know the subject of our conversation, I’ll make an exception this time,” said the Principal and stepped aside. “Please, come in.”
“Thank you, sir,” Chloe smiled at him as she walked inside.
“Mr. Goodwell, we can really do this on Monday.”
“It’s alright, Mr. Thomas. You’re already here,” said the Principal and when also Benjamin walked inside, he closed the door behind him.
“Good evening,” Mrs. Keaton said to the visitors.
“Mr. Thomas, this is Michelle Keaton, the adviser of our Academy,” the Principal introduced them and the two shook hands. “Would you like something to drink?” Mr. Goodwell asked Chloe and Benjamin.
“No, thank you. We’re fine,” Ben said to Mr. Goodwell and sat down on the sofa.
“I’d actually love a glass of water, please,” said Chloe and sat down next to her father.
“Alright, I’ll be right back,” nodded the Principal and walked to the kitchen.
“We were just discussing Chloe’s personal academic plan,” Mrs. Keaton began. “In my opinion, it wouldn’t be wise if your daughter decided to interrupt the studies in the course of the last semester due to her low GPA. She has a much higher chance to improve her grades and pass the finals now than she would have, let’s say, two years from now.”
“Yes, my daughter told me she would like to finish the semester and do the theoretical part of the final exams,” Benjamin said to the academic adviser and looked at the Principal who came back in the living room and placed a tall glass of water on the coffee table.
“Thank you,” Chloe said politely.
“You’re welcome,” said the Principal and sat down in his armchair.
“I had no idea Chloe’s GPA worsened so dramatically,” said Benjamin and looked at Chloe. The Principal took out Chloe’s student sheet from his leather briefcase and handed it over to Ben.
“You’ve always been a perfect student. Why haven’t you told us about this, Chloe?”
“I just didn’t want to spend endless hours on the phone with grandma…,” Chloe said honestly to her father. “As if you wouldn’t know her,” she added. Benjamin sighed.
“I don’t want to defend my daughter in this matter but she’s right. Her grandmother is overly concerned about Chloe’s academic results.”
“So, I believe you will agree with our suggestion to Ms. Thomas to seriously focus on improving her grades because in case her GPA drops even lower than this, she could be expelled from the Academy before the end of the academic year,” said the Principal. “And that’s something none of us wants to happen, am I right?” he added and looked at Chloe who just silently nodded her head in agreement.
“Mrs. Keaton has already selected the version of the personal academic plan to best suit your situation, Ms. Thomas. She will assist you in achieving your highest academic performance.”
“This personal academic plan is a means for you to share your reflections about what has influenced your past performance and what you might do to improve your results. You should complete this plan and bring it to your required meeting with your class teacher during the first two weeks of classes of the next semester,” the academic adviser informed Chloe. “If you will have any questions, you are welcomed in my office anytime,” Mrs. Keaton smiled at her.
“Thank you,” said Chloe and took the academic plan from Michelle’s hand.
“So, Mr. Thomas, do I understand well that you agree with your daughter’s decision?” the Principal asked Ben.
“Well, I won’t hide that I am very concerned about her decision but I am sure that this is the better solution of the two,” told him Benjamin and looked at Chloe. “So, to answer your question, Mr. Goodwell – yes, I agree.”
“Very well, then,” he smiled at Ben and placed two signed copies of the letter of consent on the coffee table. “Only your signature is missing now, Mr. Thomas,” said the Principal and handed a pen to Benjamin.
“Thank you, dad,” Chloe gratefully looked at her father and stood up from the sofa.
“Thank you, Mr. Goodwell.” said Benjamin and shook his hand with the Principal.
“Good luck to the both of you,” Mr. Goodwell smiled at Ben and walked to Chloe who was already waiting by the door.
“I sincerely hope you will take your decision very seriously, Ms. Thomas. You are one of the best talents the Dribbledine Sports Academy has seen in the past decade. It would be a big shame to throw away those years of academic excellence and dedication,” the Principal said and placed his hand on Chloe’s shoulder.
“Think of your future not only as a mother but also as a superstar athlete. Everyone can reach for the stars, Ms. Thomas. Don’t miss your special moment.”