Mrs. Sherill Carter-Barrett is wearing heels, a navy suit, and a frown that suggests I’m wasting valuable minutes of her life. I figure I have about 90 seconds to win her over.
“Thanks for being our new sponsor, Mrs. Carter-Barrett. I’m sure you’ll do a great job,” I say.
“Thank you.” She’s shifting notes around on the podium in front of the stage, and she doesn’t look up from her papers.
I glance at the other students filing into the auditorium. “Will we be voting on new officers today? Because I’m very interested.”
Mrs. Carter-Barrett stops shuffling pages and looks at me. Her eyes are a surprising light gray next to her brown skin. “What’s your name?”
I stand taller. “Hally Nunn. I’ll be a senior next year.”
She looks me over. “Well, Hally, thank you for your interest. I will announce plans for electing officers, as well as a new focus for the NHS, during the meeting.”
Gabe shifts next to me. He’s standing exactly according to our plan, with his skinny but well-dressed body strategically placed to block anyone who might try to interrupt my conversation. I look up at his calm face, and he gives me a tiny nod of encouragement. I try again. “But could you-”
She holds up a hand. “Hally, I’d prefer to explain everything once, to everyone who is interested. Please have a seat.” She points to the rows behind me.
Gabe tilts his head toward some open chairs. “Come on, it’s chill.”