"Guess what?" Bess Marvin gasped. "We're getting a new teacher! A man!"
Eight-year-old Nancy Drew frowned. "How do you know?" she asked.
"That's him, " Bess said. She pointed to a man in the school playground. He was standing beside their third-grade teacher, Ms. Spencer. The man had curly black hair and a dimple in his chin.
Bess pushed her long blond hair out of her face. "I don't want a new teacher. Not now -- not ever! Ms. Spencer is the best."
Nancy was about to agree. But just then George Fayne ran up to join them. George's curly dark hair bounced as she ran. She was Bess's cousin and Nancy's other best friend.
"What's wrong with you two?" George asked. "You look upset."
"We're getting a new teacher," Bess repeated. "A man."
George put her hands on her hips. "Who told you?" she asked Bess.
"Well," Bess said slowly. "It's just a rumor. I guess it might not be true. . . ."
George pointed a finger at her cousin. "Who told you?" she asked again.
Bess's cheeks turned a little pink. "It was Brenda Carlton," she admitted.
"Brenda Carlton?" Nancy asked. Her eyes opened wide. Brenda was the most gossipy girl in the third grade.
"I wouldn't believe anything Brenda says," George said with a laugh. "She makes up stories all the time."
"I know," Bess said. "But Brenda promises it's true. She heard Ms. Spencer talking to him. Ms. Spencer said, 'I haven't told the class yet.' And then she said something about leaving."
Nancy turned to watch her teacher carefully. Ms. Spencer and the man were looking at a piece of paper. Nancy wasn't sure what the paper was. She thought it might be a list.
"She has been acting weird lately," George said. "She whispers to the other teachers all the time."
"And she's been writing something secret," Bess said.
"You're right," Nancy said. "Something is going on. I'm going to see if I can find out what."
Nancy straightened her bright blue sweatshirt. Then she tightened the matching blue scrunchie in her hair. It held her reddish blond hair in a ponytail.
I don't want my new teacher to see me looking sloppy, Nancy thought.
"Should we come with you?" George asked.
Nancy shook her head. "Wait here."
As soon as she neared Ms. Spencer and the man, Nancy slowed down.
I can't just walk right up to them, Nancy thought. Maybe I can see what's on that paper if I stand on something.
Nancy looked around. There was a tire swing nearby. She walked toward the swing. But just as she reached for it, Mike Minelli ran up and grabbed it by the chain.
"Ha, ha. Got here first," Mike called as he climbed on the tire.
He started swinging as hard as he could. He came much too close to Nancy. She jumped out of the way.
Nancy crossed her arms and turned around. She marched back toward George and Bess. They ran to meet her.
"I saw that," Bess said. "What a creep!"
"I don't care," Nancy said. "I couldn't see the paper from there anyway. It was too far away. "
Just then the bell rang. Everyone started running toward the door.
"Come on," Nancy said, smiling. "Let's go in. We have a mystery to solve."
"A mystery?" a voice near Nancy said. Nancy looked over and saw Rebecca Ramirez. She was walking right behind Nancy, Bess, and George. "What mystery?"
"We're getting a new teacher," Bess answered .
Instantly, Rebecca put her hands up to her face. "Oh, no!" Rebecca cried. "How awful for you."
Nancy smiled. Rebecca wanted to be an actress when she grew up. She always acted very dramatic.
Very happy. Very sad. Very upset. About everything.
"How can you stand it?" Rebecca said, grabbing Nancy's arm.
"We don't know if it's true," Nancy said. "It's just a rumor. But we're going to find out."
"Well, let me know after school," Rebecca said. Then she hurried to her own third-grade class.
Nancy and her friends moved quickly through the hallway.
"I'm going to stand at the pencil sharpener by Ms. Spencer's desk," Bess announced. "Maybe I can get a look at that paper when she puts it on her desk."
"Okay," Nancy agreed. "George and I will try to get Ms. Spencer's attention."
But as soon as Nancy took her seat, Ms. Spencer walked in. The paper was in her hand. Bess didn't have time to go to the pencil sharpener.
"Class, take your seats please," Ms. Spencer said. "I have something to tell you all."
Uh-oh, Nancy thought. Here it comes. Nancy felt her throat get tight. She didn't want a new teacher. Ms. Spencer was the best teacher Nancy had ever had.
"Please quiet down, everyone," Ms. Spencer said. She walked around to sit on the edge of her desk.
The class got quiet very quickly. I know what you're going to say, Nancy thought .
"I have something very important to tell you, " Ms. Spencer said, smiling. "Something very nice. In a few weeks, I'm getting married. And you're all invited to the wedding! "