"Hey, Lanie, did you finish your math homework?" Alley called out.
Lanie looked up from the torn page that she was furiously writing on, and gave her best friend a blank look. As Alley made her way to the latter's desk, as a reflex, Lanie folded the paper she was writing on and stuffed it into the notebook in her desk. "What homework?"
"You know, the exercise on limits and continuity...I thing exercise 1-b was for homework." Alley sat down on the seat in front of Lanie, "And by the way, I saw you talking to Johan in English. What's up?"
"You know how some people gt on my nerves even when they are trying to show off to others? I can't stand their self-important attitude" Lanie said matter-of-factly "And that's what happened. I simply couldn't stand his I-know-it-all stare and that arrogant tone."
"No matter. Don't pay too much attention to jerks like him."Alley smiled conspiratorially to herself, "They're not worth it."
* * *
Johan's face burned with humiliation as he walked back from the staffroom. The English teacher, Monaghan, had blasted him in front of all teachers, and blasted him well. He was new on the job and was his Homeroom teacher to boot, and had shouted at him on every other teacher's behalf. In the middle of the castigation, Johan had sneaked a look at the Chemistry teacher, Elena Meirhofer, but she was looking out of thewindow, her lips pursed, constricted into a thin stubborn line. She knew, as well as he did, that she would hear no end of this.
What pricked him most was that Monaghan had literally orderedhim to take Lanie Asher's notebook - Lanie, of all people - and copy down all the grammar work and literature notes.
Why her? he cursed in his mind all the way along, Of all people in the class, why did he have to pick out that stuck-up little possum?
He saw her sitting with that nerdy Allison when he entered the classroom close to the end of lunch-time. It goaded him to no end to see her all happy-and-laughing without an apparent care or concern in the world.He marched up to her desk, fuming, and saw the smile on her face fade as she looked up at him with a question.
"I need your English notes." he said abruptly, "Monaghan wants me to copy them." He wanted to add a sarcastic comment about her being the teacher's pet, but refrained. After all, he was the one literally begging her for a favour, and didn't want to spoil his already low chances.
She stared at him for a few seconds and he could read her thoughts in the meantime like a book. What the hell? he could hear her think,This guy just lands up out of nowhere and expects me to help him? Without a word, she reached into the recess below her deskand extracted a notebook and handed it to him.
"I want it back by tomorow." she stood up, drawing herself to her full height. He still towered over her by seven whole inches.
Before he could thank her, she strode out of the class with a hard, grim look on her face. She had obviously ben put off by him. Shrugging, he turned the notebook in his hands. The name, imprinted in careful slanted handwriting, caught his eye.
The name read Lavanya Asher.