Chapter Thirteen - Tutoring Cole Adams

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            "Something’s just come up, that’s all," he murmured.

            "Is everything okay?"

            He sighed and ran a hand through his hair, adorably mussing it up. "Nah, it’s fine. Just family matters is all."

            I was still aware that he was holding my hand, but he didn’t even seem to realise it. It was like he was doing it subconsciously, like an old habit, or something.

            "You didn’t have to come," I told him. "You could’ve cancelled. I wouldn’t mind, you know."

            "I know," he said. "You wouldn’t mind. You’re probably the only person who wouldn’t mind if I cancelled. Everyone else would be annoyed… but you…" he trailed off, deep in thought.

            What had come over him? Us? Were we really having a civil conversation right now? Was I really having a heart-to-heart with Alderidge High’s Bad Boy, the boy I had been trying to humiliate the last couple weeks? Was there something in the water supply?

            He realised he was holding my hand, and dropped it quickly. I masked the hurt that had flickered across my face. He had dropped it like it was a contagious poison.

            His face closed, like a book being shut, and he said, "Alright, let’s get this studying done. I wanna pass my SATs, and the way I see it, you’re the only help I can get."

            I swallowed and turned to the materials. "Alright, let’s begin."

~        *       ~           

           

            Two long, laborious hours later, I was lying across my couch, a cold cloth pressed to my head and the other hand squeezing the dear life out of a stress ball I had found in my mother’s study drawer.

            Cole had left about ten minutes ago, and I was still feeling the after-effects of tutoring him.

            That was an experience I never wanted to have ever again.

            Cole was intent on not actually studying or paying attention. Instead, he ridiculed all of my tutoring methods, questioning my antics and teasing me about almost anything I did.

            "Grace, what are you doing with those highlighters?"

 

            "Who taught you English? An illiterate four-year-old?"

 

            "What does that even say? You really need to work on your handwriting, Grace."

           

            "I don’t get it, Grace. Maybe you should explain it in a way that humans can actually understand."

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