12 // Say Hello to the Ladies

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TO say the least, I didn't have a photographic memory.

Honestly, it was more goldfish-like than anything and I might stumble if asked what I ate the day before, but there were some things that left a permanent imprint on my mind. One of those things was when I knew in my weak little heart that I had a full-blown, terrible crush on Tyler McMaster.

It was amazing as it was soul-crushing and it wasn't something that ever really left me.

It wasn't even fair, because the crush had blossomed from the most embarrassing moment ever, and I'd basically taken any chance I had with him and shot it behind the shed before any hope of romance. Because my heart couldn't skip a beat for a totally realistic possibility- that would just be silly.

And as I stared at his beautiful face, a wistful sigh building in my throat, I remembered that day in full technicolour.

Eighth grade me, still more or less the same but a lot more acne and a lot more Fall Out Boy. That philosophical liminal space of what Britney Spears called not a girl, not yet a woman.

"Hey, less day dreaming, more physics-ing!" Reese interrupted my reverie, snapping his fingers in my face.

I shot him a deadpan look. "I was thinking. You know, that thing people with actual working brains tend to do."

He rolled his eyes and scoffed, clearly unimpressed with my excuse. "Some people are actually going to be tested on this," he reminded me.

Through my stupid glasses I cast him a glare.

Clearing my throat, I had to consciously remind myself that I really shouldn't mimic Reese, despite it almost being instinct to his stupidity. Mostly because we'd caught Tyler's attention, and suddenly I reverted back to the girl that would never mimic anyone ever  because that would be childish.

Instead I found myself slapping on a convincing, serene smile. "Of course, that's why I'm here," I said with all the calming notes of a Tibetan monk, reminding myself that punching Reese in the face was not the right response. No matter how good it would probably- definitely- feel.

Just once.

"So if the force is applied at an angle of the direction of motion- would do we do now?" Reese asked, a knowing smirk carved onto his face.

I narrowed my eyes at him, pointedly flipping through his notebook with more force than necessary as I meagrely tried to search for the answer. Most of what our study session consisted of was Wyatt or Tyler asking questions and me scrambling to find something to say from this big book of answers, because I had literally retained nothing from the year before. Thus was the joys of the public school system.

It still weirded me out that Wyatt was joining us with no ulterior motive, but answering all of his questions really did help my intelligent façade, so it was whatever. And despite the weirdness of the glasses, I was really starting to feel smart. If only this stupid book was with me last year, I might have actually scraped up more than a barely pass.

With searching eyes I finally found the answer, and looked up to a smirking Reese.

"You use the horizontal component of the applied force," I mumbled through gritted teeth, trying to keep the smile on my face.

"Oh, that's awesome," Tyler piped in genuinely, quickly scribbling in his notebook. "This is really helping, actually. I'm really surprised, Stella, your notes are awesome!"

Instantly all of the irritation trickled from my body as I caught his smile. "Yeah, well, I'm glad they could help!" I returned the grin, feeling a heat rise on my cheeks. 

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