Chapter 50 The German test

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Alan was just generally pissed because we were meeting at his house, and he couldn't figure out why he still didn't have a Carmen in his life.

The real wake-up call came one night when I accompanied Flora to a Lanvin runway show. Her mom was one of the VIP guests, and Flora gladly took her place. She was very agitated about a night out. The thing took longer than expected and when we got back to her house it was already late, and I indistinctively remembered there was something I needed to do. We made out for a while--that was the amazing part, that no matter how tired I was as soon as we started the adrenaline rush kept me going-then I held her hand while she snuggled under the covers. I sat on the edge of her bed watching her face.

"I love having you beside me," she said groggily. "You're so wonderful to me."

The sexy sleepiness in her voice and the love on her face was exactly what kept me doing this. In bed she was innocent and sweet, completely without makeup, and the feeling of being needed was overpowering.

"Good night, baby," I said, and she rested her face on my hand.

The next thing I knew was being jolted awake in the middle of the night due to the cold. It was three am and I was freezing, my phone had died of power and every muscle in my body hurt. I scribbled a quick "the king has left the building" on a post-it and stuck it on her headboard, then I rushed out. By the time I got to my car I had a monster migraine and stars were whizzing by my eyes, and all the way home I prayed about not getting into an accident.

I overslept the next day and only had time for a very quick shower. There was no room for breakfast and no catching Flora before class, and when I sat down in AP chemistry at second period, that was when it hit me. The thing I forgot to do.

Mr. Miles asked us to hand in our assignment after class, and I stared at my blank answer sheet in a daze. This couldn't happen to me. I was the person whose homework people passed around in order to check their answers. I never forgot to write it and it was always done impeccably.

Am I going to get detention? Detention was a word as foreign to me as Lanvin.

When Mr. Miles turned around to scribble formulas on the blackboard, I willed myself to pull it together. I can do this, now, in class. Chemistry was one of my stronger subjects, although the words kept dissolving before my eyes like salt in an under-saturated solution. I was literally too tired to think and I cursed under my breath.

Nicholas silently laid his homework on my desk. I turned to him with bloodshot eyes. I thought I knew what it meant but it didn't register at once.

"Don't worry, my answers are correct," he said quickly.

I nodded. "Thanks."

My back burned up with mortification. I couldn't believe I had to stoop to copying answers, but I had no time for repentance. For the rest of the period I scribbled furiously and missed the whole lecture in front of me.

"Are you okay?" Nick asked after the class was over. He was one of the rare friends in my life who didn't speak fluent sarcasm, and I knew when he asked the question he really meant it instead of waiting to ambush me with something mean.

"Yeah, I'm fine," I said, because that's what I always said, but then I shook my head and let out a long breath. "No, not really."

"You seem tired. Basketball season is exhausting, right?"

"Yeah, but it's not that. Mostly it's Flora," I admitted. "I want to be with her all the time and it's blowing my life out of proportion. I feel really out of control."

"Feeling out of control once in a while is not necessarily bad," he said, maybe because he never had a girlfriend as far as I knew of, let alone one as demanding as Flora. "I think it's a phase and it'll pass, so maybe just enjoy the moment?"

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