“I need you to fill out this form,” Kim declared, as multiple sheets of paper were thrust onto my desk, settling on top of my notebook.
I looked up to see her standing over me, her petite stature a whole lot more intimidating when I was confined to my seat. She stared down with the same determined expression she wore while considering herself on an important mission – which, in Kim’s case, was most of the time.
“What is it?”
On closer inspection, it was not a single page, but several of them stapled together in a makeshift booklet that was unmistakably her working.
“Oh, just a feedback questionnaire,” she replied, sliding into the adjacent seat. “I put it together last night. You already agreed to be my guinea pig for the Welcoming Committee, so there’s no getting out of this one.”
“Kim,” I groaned, “this is like four pages long.”
“Condensed!” she insisted. Pulling a notebook from her bag, she set it down neatly on the desk, as if her table was about to be put through a rigorous inspection by our English teacher. The same teacher who, I had to add, often did nothing more than tell us to read on from the latest point of the Shakespeare play we were studying, while she nursed a lingering hangover from the front of the room. “I could’ve had four more if we were really getting into things.”
“Is this really necessary?”
“Totally. If I want to instigate this system as official school policy, I’ve got to prove to the principal that I’m serious.”
“I honestly don’t think anybody’s going to have any trouble believing you’re serious about this.”
But she didn’t seem to hear me, already working through her mental calendar. “If you could have that filled out for me by… what? Third period? Or do you think you could have it done by second?”
“Tell you what,” I said, “how about tomorrow?”
She looked like she was about to dispute this, but swiftly decided against it, shaking her head instead. It looked like she’d resigned herself to the fact that she was not about to get her questionnaire back that day.
At the front of the room, Ms. Taylor rose to her feet, trying to settle the class to begin her spiel on what today’s lesson was to cover. It was at this point that most of the class usually tuned out; she wasn’t the world’s greatest teacher, and we were used to being left to our own devices. Provided you kept your voice at a volume lower than yelling across the room, it was possible to hold a conversation at the back of the class and escape her notice.
“So how did it go last night?”
I knew straight away what she was talking about; I’d thought of little else since arriving back home yesterday, but she didn’t have to know that. “What happened last night?” I asked, but my indifference was fooling no one.
“Don’t give me that,” she said, as Ms. Taylor began writing the page numbers on the board. I flicked absently to the instructed page, though it seemed likely that little reading would be done that morning. “You know exactly what happened last night. Your tutoring session with Luke.”
“Oh,” I said. “That.”
“Any major breakthroughs? Did you have a stroke of genius and realize you’re suddenly a calculus prodigy?”
YOU ARE READING
For seventeen-year-old Corey Ryder, life on the road is all she’s ever known. A trainee trapeze artist in her aunt’s circus, she’s never found herself in one place for more than a few weeks at a time. For her, it’s a way of life. But when a tragic a...