Emma had not attended University. She had done reasonably well at the local high school, and with a little more diligence could have gained much better exam results. Emma, however, was too occupied with other interest to bother much about her studies, although she always intended to work harder, particularly after George Knightley had managed to make her feel rather guilty, and definitely light weight, during one of his lectures. Emma always took his interference in good part. She had after all known him all her life and she had never had reason to believe that he scolded her for anything other than her own good.
Emma was undoubtedly bright, yet she was of a pragmatic nature. It seemed to Emma pointless to work hard to pass exams that would enable her to do what? To go to University, yet Emma knew in her heart that she could never go away, and leave her father. The very few times that she had ever spent a night away from home had sent him into a tailspin. His anxiety attacks would worsen, and his asthma required much higher levels of medication to control. Emma had vowed that she would never leave home while her father still needed her.
No, not University, Emma had decided. Her talents lay in a totally different direction. Emma fancied that she had more than a little business acumen. She had therefor persuaded Miss Taylor to allow her to drop her high school education in favour of the local technical college. Emma wanted to study business and information technology, with a view of setting up her own business. In quite what she had not decided, but it had come to her notice that amongst the portfolio of assets that the Woodhouse’s owned were a handful of high street properties in Highbury. Were one to become available, Emma would be poised and ready to establish her very own shop.
Not that her father or Anne Taylor were privy to the working of Emma’s mind. All that occupied their concerns was that Emma was happy and engaged in a way that gave her pleasure, and, of course, that she was close to home; all of which aspects Emma had considered for her own part. Emma could not foresee a fault in the plan, excepting that it may be years before one of the leases fell vacant. Meanwhile she could justify her newly gained skills of business planning and management to prepare draft plans, and spreadsheets, and in drawing up endless to do lists.
Emma loved a good list. As a little girl she had spent hours doodling and dreaming as she bit the end of her pen in preparation for making the perfect wish list for her birthday, or for Santa Claus. As a teenager Emma had graduated to party planning, she had always planned all the details for Isabella’s birthdays as well as for her own, and for her father’s, and Miss Taylor’s. Emma had a collection of special notebooks that she had filled over the years with lists formed in her best handwriting using a proper ink pen which made ones writing look so much nicer, and more important.
Nowadays Emma was rather torn between writing in her Smythson leather bound notebooks, or using her iPad, for Emma had taken to IT like a duck to water. She could while away many a happy hour preparing spreadsheets, and profit and loss accounts. Emma had rather surprised everyone, particularly George Knightley, with her application, and her College grades had been excellent.
But for now Emma’s business plans were to be suspended. News that Frank Churchill was to visit Randalls for a fortnight, and was to arrive the following week, had Emma’s thoughts distracted. Emma had often wondered about Frank Churchill, and, in her mind, from an early age, she had linked his fate with her own, and with that of Jane Fairfax. All three infants had lost their mothers within a year of each other. Frank and Jane had both been sent away from Highbury but Emma alone had been kept by her own father, a circumstance for which she was eternally grateful.
Imagine Emma’s surprise when the next piece of news that she received, from her father, having heard it from Miss Bates not half an hour since, was that Jane Fairfax was due for a visit with her grandmother and aunt.