Chap. 50

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*trigger warning*

"Hey, you're going to do great," McKenna encouraged, her fingers intertwined through mine.

I nodded, unable to swallow the lump in my throat.

"You've studied more than I've ever seen you study in my entire life. You're overprepared for this."

I nodded again.

"Get in there and knock out this essay. And I'll be waiting for you when you're done, and we can watch the finale of Breaking Bad. I'll even bring popcorn."

I nodded for the third time.

She reached up and kissed my cheek as we came to a stop outside of Mrs. Willow's classroom. "It's just a Midterm. You've taken 4 others, you're going to knock this one out of the park too."

I let out a long, slow breath.

I can do this. It's just a Midterm; it's just an essay. I've written plenty of those.

McKenna squeezed my hand before releasing it, reaching out and opening the classroom door for me.

I took the door handle from her, striding inside.

Mrs. Willow was seated at her desk, grading papers. She didn't even glance up when I walked in.

"Take a seat Mr. Adams."

I did as I was told, my right knee already bouncing.

Just a test. Simple enough.

I pulled my pencil out of my pocket, twirling it around in my hands while I waited for Mrs. Willow.

Her heels clicked against the linoleum floor as she made her way over to me, placing a packet in front of me.

"Just like last time," she informed me. "Take the quote and break it down."

"How much time do I have?" I asked, my voice sounding raspy even to my own ears.

Breathe Lee, fucking breathe.

"Just complete the essay."

And then she turned and walked back to her desk.

I took in a deep breath, letting it out slowly. Complete the essay. And then I was free of Midterms.

I opened the packet, the quote staring back at me.

"It is easy to live after the world's opinion; it is easy to live in solitude to live after our own; but the great man is he who in the midst of the crowd keeps with the perfect sweetness the independence of his solitude." – Ralph Waldo Emerson

I blinked a few times, the words swimming around on the page.

First step, break down the quote.

Tick. Tock. Tick. Tock. Tick. Tock.

I wanted to take the clock and smash it against the fucking wall.

I pressed my eyes shut for a few moments, trying to regain control over my anxiety.

I'm in control.

My right knee was still bouncing as I gripped my pencil, rereading the quote for the fourth time.

Break it down.

The words were staring to sound like a foreign language as I reread the quote again.

Eighty. Four. Eighty. Four. Eighty. Four.

I began hyperventilating, and I closed my eyes.

I can fucking do this. It's just a Midterm, what the hell is wrong with me?

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