Chapter 5 - "This won't hurt you one bit."

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"Is this normal for you?" Link asked Carter. "Finishing the project half way through the period?"

The classroom was alive with the sound of student's mutterings and hushed arguments. Carter was slumped on her stool, leaning against the table. She nodded.

"Pretty much," she said.

She looked around, taking in the frustrated scowls, glazed eyes and lost expressions.

"What do you do then?" Link asked.

He sat beside her, bouncing a pencil against the table's edge.

"Sometimes, I do other homework assignments. Mostly, I just watch everyone else and laugh."

Link gave her an odd look.

"Why?" he asked.

Carter pointed to a set of partners two tables over.

"See those two?" she asked.

Link glanced over and nodded.

"She is taking this class to bump up her college application," she said. "He is taking it because his parents signed him up for it. They have the best interactions. Watch."

They watched silently as the boy and girl worked. A few minutes later the boy knocked something over and the girl rounded on him.

"Randy!" the girl shouted. "For once in your pathetic existence can you please try and care about doing something right?!"

"If I did, would you make out with me?" Randy asked.

The girl glared at him and turned back to the experiment.

"You are so immature. I can't believe I got stuck with you," she said.

Randy shrugged and examined the inside of a beaker. Link looked back to Carter and smiled.

"I see what you mean," he said.

"One time, she told him he should apologize to the world for being alive."

"Do you know something about everyone?" Link asked.

Carter shrugged.

"Mostly. Yeah."

"Even the teachers?"

"Sure. They are even easier to read than the students sometimes." Carter nodded her head to the front of the class. "Mr. Miller has taken up running in the last three weeks."

Link gave her a skeptical look.

"How can you possibly know that," he said.

"He's lost about 7 lbs and he has running shoes hidden under his desk. Those were not there three weeks ago."

"Okay what else? What about our PE teacher, Mr. Danes?"

"He is recently divorced and sees his children on Wednesday nights."

"How do-"

"He still has a tan line from his wedding ring. We have a James in our class that every Thursday he calls Jamie, his son's name."

"Mr. Philips?"

"He used to be in politics and studied it in college." Carter shook her head and made a face. "Something happened though. I think he was black balled or something."

"Why do you think that?"

"You don't study politics and then not go into it. I know he studied it because there are times when he has gone into depth about certain administrations. Also, he assigns a lot of essays on the topic."

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