Well, would you look at that. Another Monday, another drowsy day spent amongst future degenerates and our own world leaders. Exciting! Frankly, I didn’t even realize it was Monday. I spent the weekend shackled up at the library preparing for the English pop quiz, phone off and party favors denied. Probably a bad idea since as soon as I reconnected with the outside world, Brandon flipped and demanded compensation for ignoring my “best-est bosom buddy” with a string of irritated smileys. Compensation coming in the form of today’s tests answers, obviously.
How did I know Mr. Trent was having a pop quiz? Elementary, really. He gets extra annoyed during the class before and he does a little eyebrow twitch at every incorrect reply. One of the ways Brandon gets detention, by the way, but me? Oh, I’m a stellar student. Of the charitable kind apparently, since I text him an incomplete cheat sheet on my way to class. Brandon was a slacker, sure, but I did actually want him to try once in a while.
I was almost late that day, skidding through the halls, most people avoiding me. As I put my phone away, I feel a harsh jerk against my shoulder and I nearly let out a yelp. Some girl with brown hair, I notice.
“Sorry,” I half mutter under my breath, trying to move past.
She whips back at me with a glare, and says, “Just watch where you're headed, 'kay blind-boy?”
I’m kind of agape in the door way. Like, what the hell dude?
Her friend giggles at my expression, both of them practically skipping down the hall afterwards.
Brandon punches my shoulder, instead of greeting me like a normal human being. I wince, rubbing my shoulder. He’s so much bigger than me, tall and with an underappreciated left hook.
He grins at my pain. “You studied for the test, right?” I objectively ignore the subtext.
Instead, I nod my head up the hall, at the girls, almost gone in the crowd of students. “Who’s that?”
“Who? Oh, that’s Stephanie Corona. I asked her to prom once.”
“No, not the Asian chick, the other one?”
“Oh! Um…” He pauses, brow crunching up his face. He bites his lip and shrugs. “We have AP with her. I think she’s Lynn-something. Hell of a grouch.”
I didn’t know a Lynn-anything. To be fair, I didn’t know a lot of people. Besides, Brandon and Ashley, his sister, I wasn’t really on a first name basis – much less a texting basis – with anyone. Hell, Brandon was probably the only person I conversed during class willingly. Admittedly I’m not the most social creature, but our high school was reaching its apex of dumb rich kids, so can you really blame me?
He taps my shoulder then. “Dude, stop staring at her butt and give me the goods.”
I snort a little, being dragged to our seats by him. “Texted it, idiot,” I said.
He grumbles a quick thanks, pulling out a pen and eagerly begins writing down everything onto the inside of his arm. About a third of everything I wrote was probably wrong, but Brandon wasn’t a complete dunce. He actually had an excellent choice in literature that did not include naked girls and moving pictures, which is saying something. Thus, the association.
The teacher arrives with the final bell and I notice, just before he hands out the text papers, that there are two desks empty. I wonder which belongs to the rude girl. Then after a moment, and a translation of some French idiot, I realize that I don’t really care.
The bell finally rings and I hear Brandon breathe out an exaggerated sigh to the left of me, followed by a few more. Mr. Trent swings up his hands in false prayer, probably thoroughly disappointed in the collective of test answers. Brandon packs up and leaves before the teacher even gets a chance to comment on his surprising ‘B’, with a quick wave and a kiss blown at me. I grin at the idiot.
“Oh, Ethan wait a moment!” the teacher calls just as I’m about to leave.
I repress a grimace and turn back.
“I’ve been meaning to ask,” he begins and I internally panic. Teachers always did this; trying to hook me into some after school activity to boost academic performance or something. Like I needed it. It was just to further their own careers.
“Would you consider signing up for the student-by-student tutoring exercise?”
That’s a first. “What?”
“We’re starting a new program, where we pair up our brightest with any student who’s failing, barely passing, or requesting help. The principal started it last semester. ”
Oh, now that’s rich. “Why don’t the teachers just do it then?”
“You think the kids actually like me?” He laughs.
I hold back every snarky retort that comes to mind. Incredibly true, though, I think. “Look,” he says and thrusts papers into my hands. “You’ve done terrible in creative collaborations in my class and others. You do the work well, but group opinion actually factions into the assignment grade, significantly. This will remedy some of it and boost your grade to an ‘A’.”
I’m shocked to say the least. It’s barely half way through the year and my grade is below my average? I’m one of the best and somehow, in AP English of all things, I don’t rank to my usual? That…that is just…that is simply blasphemous, is what it is.
“Look, Ethan, just think about it. We have only a few volunteers and I can honestly tolerate you. Now, hurry up and get to class.”
He pats my shoulder and sends me off opened mouth and in a state of shock. What’s a synonym for bull crap?