Chapter Fifteen

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“Nathan!”

            When the familiar blonde guy enters the five meter radius around our table, I take the opportunity to pounce on him.

            “Whoa,” he says, laughing as I come to a sharp halt in front of him. “Excited to see me?”

            “I have a test in, like, half an hour’s time,” I explain with a despairing expression etched across my face. “And I need help. Last minute study session?”

            The algebra test next period will be the first we’ve sat since Mr. Moore first paired up Nathan and I as study partners. Usually, they didn’t concern me much – I always know I’m going to flunk, so preparation for seeing that F grade scrawled on the front is usually the best option – but today’s is my one chance to prove that I’ve actually learned something from Nathan’s tutoring.

            And that I’m not a complete idiot.

            “Okay,” he agrees with a nod. In a matter of seconds, we’ve navigated our way around the nearby tables and seated ourselves at the one where Ava’s dissecting her lunch. Then he turns to me with an encouraging smile. “So, what do you want to go over?”

            “Everything.”

            He raises his eyebrows for a moment, but instead of commenting (or asking whether I’ve listened to a word he’s said since he started tutoring me), he delves into his bag and retrieves the algebra textbook. The textbook which, following how many times I’ve seen it this past week, kind of makes me want to throw it at the nearest wall every time I catch sight of it.

            However, I’m able to control my textbook-throwing urges and tune into the explanation Nathan begins giving me.

            Because, quite frankly, if I fail this test, I’m dead.

            And I quite like living. Some of the time.

            Surprisingly, a lot of the explanations he’s giving are actually making sense – something that’s never happened with math before. Usually, the numbers (or letters, in this stupid class) end up rearranging and jumbling themselves up on the page, leaving me with no hope of ever figuring out what’s actually needed.

            But this time, I kind of understand why there’s a random y slapped in the middle of the sum.

            Which kind of makes me want to stand up on the table and scream hallelujah! at the top of my voice.  You know, if that wasn’t so weird.

            “So the answer’s three?” I say, cutting off the end of Nathan’s explanation.

            “Yeah,” he responds, a wide smile gracing his features. “That’s it! You understand now?”

            “I think so.” To be honest, I’m completely dumbfounded that anyone could actually succeed in teaching me a subject I’ve sucked at ever since it was first introduced to me. All it’s taken is a few after school study sessions with a guy who actually knows what he’s talking about, and voila! I’m a math genius.

            Not really, but you get the picture.

            My eyes flicker randomly across the cafeteria, momentarily searching for anything interesting that might be occurring. Cheerleader bitch fights, hot transfer students... anything out of the ordinary, really. However, instead of witnessing some of Charlotte’s cronies clawing at each other with manicured nails, my gaze lands on something else over at the A-list table.

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