People in the well to do town of Filton were always a little cautious of new comers. They were a close knit community and scrutinised those new to their town with wary eyes, especially those who would be close to their children.
“Have you met the new teacher yet?” Mrs Wan asked Mrs Jole.
Mrs Jole raised her eyebrows. She hadn’t been made aware there would be a new teacher at the Pettiwick school where her daughters attended. One was in the preschool and would be joining the prestigious classes after the summer. Pettiwick was the best education money could buy.
Mrs Wan could understand Mrs Jole’s concern. At Pettiwick the parents always came first. As such they were always kept in the loop.
“He’s a music teacher,” explained Mrs Wan.“He isn’t permanent. He’s just helping out with the fall concert. Vincent Baines is his name. He’s the son of Fredrick Baines. Do you remember the concert in the city?”
Mrs Jole nodded her head in agreement.
“That was his father. The only reason I know all about this is because he’s teaching Simon violin. It’s only been a few weeks but he’s come on leaps and bounds.”
Mrs Jole’s concerns seemed to be soothed.
“Maybe he can teach the girls. Elle could really use some extra help with piano.”
Elle was Mrs Jole’s eldest. The annual Pettiwick concert was a big occasion in the town. Parents became blood thirsty in their attempts to have their child in a starring position. Ten year old Elle hadn’t shown any interest in music but her mother’s encouragement never stopped.
Mrs Wan pushed her white ceramic cup aside. Half of her decaf soya macchiato still remained. She leaned in closer to her companion.
“I must admit though, there is something a little off about him.”
At first Mrs Jole assumed her coffee mate was fearmongering so her son Simon would have an advantage at the concert.
“How do you mean?” Mrs Jole pressed.
Mrs Wan raised her hand. “I can’t really tell exactly what. There is just something a little off.”
Mrs Jole pursed her lips. She wasn’t buying any of it. If Mrs Wan truly believed that Vincent was odd she would never have him in her home. She would especially not allow him near her precious Simon.
“He’s started teaching at the Beckingridge house, little George I believe. The daughter, Catherine, was been shipped off to boarding school in the city by that aunt,” Mrs Wan continued.
Mrs Jole nodded. She pushed her own cup away. Unlike her companion she had finished her skinny vanilla latte. She had also devoured the gluten free brownie she had ordered with it.
“The child murderer!?” she gasped.
This was a reference to the Beckingridge home. Some time before a body of a child had been found on the land. It was something the suspicious little town rarely spoke of but they would not easily forget.
The door of the coffee shop opened. A young man in his late twenties, carrying a violin case pushed his way in. Mrs Wan – who was facing the door – watched as he approached the barista for attention. He was fair of face and well groomed. His chin was clean shaven, his brown curls styled. He wore a dark purple cardigan that his youth made seem quite trendy.
Mrs Jole looked over her shoulder to see what caught the attention of her friend.
“That’s him,” Mrs Wan explained.
Vincent waited patiently for a black coffee which the barista fetched in record timing. He paid with cash. As he turned he pulled the lid from the takeaway cup and blew on the steaming hot coffee. His eye caught Mrs Wan. He smiled and straightened up. He approached the women. The barista watched the musician, wiping his hands on his black apron.
“Good to see you, Mrs Wan,” Vincent said politely. “How are you?”
Mrs Wan returned the smile. The same warm grin she used for all the Pettiwick faculty.
She gestured with her hand towards Mrs Jole.
“This is Mrs Jole. She’s another Pettiwick parent. You’ll find her eldest daughter in your concert.”
Vincent laid the violin case on the ground and took Mrs Jole’s hand in a firm shake.
“It’s a pleasure,” he said.
Mrs Jole retracted her hand after sufficient time passed. She folded her arms across her chest.
“I think most people are around here are Pettiwick parents. It’s really is the best school by far.”
Vincent lifted his violin again and nursed the coffee in his other hand.
“It’s been nice meeting you Mrs Jole. If you ladies will excuse me I have to rush off.”
He waved the women goodbye and headed to the door. As he reached it it was opened by a large man with a baby strapped to his chest who allowed the musician sufficient room to leave.
Music lessons would do the Elle the world off good Mrs Jole agreed. Vincent was charming and pleasant. Mrs Jole had suspected Mrs Wan was deliberately trying to put her off. She was right though, there was something a little off about the teacher.
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