Shelley needn’t have spoken; her legs were twitching, her face was flushed with pinkish hues. Her fingers, with their perfectly manicured nails, trembled.
‘Yeah, I can see that,’ said Beth, suppressing a chuckle.
Shelley smiled. ‘You’re the best.’
‘Because you always know what to say. Especially in times like this.’
Beth moved towards her oldest friend. Squeezed her upper arm, then pulled her in tight for a hug. ‘Shell, you’re going to be fine.’
Shelley erupted into tears. ‘But I’m not though. Don’t you think my nerves, my tears mean something? Don’t you think the universe is whispering that…’ her voice broke. She cleared her throat, wiped her tears with the back of her hand and continued, ‘I dunno…maybe it doesn’t give its consent to this next step.’
Beth had never heard anything more ridiculous, but she held her friend tighter. ‘Shelley. Seriously. I don’t think the universe is that invested in your decisions.’
‘What do you mean?’
‘The world’ll keep spinning, regardless of whether you take this step or not.’ She gently pushed Shelley back, releasing the hug, and stared her into her eyes. ‘And if it’s the wrong decision, if it turns out to be disastrous, then the sun will still rise and set each day, and you’ll find a way to fix yourself.’
Shelley blinked. When she opened her eyes, there was a new light behind the pale blue irises. ‘You’re right.’
‘Course I am,’ Beth said, good-naturedly. ‘Now let’s get you into that classroom.’ She opened the door to reveal twenty prep students, sitting quietly on the floor.
‘Well done, everyone,’ said Beth to her class. ‘I’d like to introduce you to Miss Roberts. She’s going to be helping us in the classroom for six weeks.’
Beth grinned at Shelley as the children chanted their greeting.