Chapter 35: Adjustment

The next morning came all too quickly. I didn’t want to get up. I reluctantly trod into the shower and downed two more cups of coffee than usual. I scribbled the last minute answers on my homework assignment and walked with Thomas to our first class.

I plopped down in my usual seat and struggled massively to keep my eyes open and to stay awake. I had to at least pretend to pay attention. I could get the notes and the important information from Thomas. Aside from that, I didn’t really care.

I had a weird feeling that this professor was a little afraid of me. He called on everyone around me for answers, but didn’t choose me.

And I was just fine with that.

When class let out I moved quickly through the halls toward my next class. People moved out of my way quickly on the stairs. I tried not to smirk at that. I plopped down in my usual seat in my next class.

I was eager to see Olivia.

I folded my arms in front of me, waiting.

The professor called the class to order, just as the last few students filtered in. Olivia wasn’t among them.

A folded piece of paper dropped in front of me, falling directly in front of my elbows.

I frowned and glanced over my shoulder to see who had dropped it.

Gabby was plopping down at her own seat several rows back.

Her eyes met mine and she slowly, but surely mouthed “Olivia.”

I nodded and turned back in my seat. It took some careful manoeuvring, but I managed to open the letter without tearing it.

I hid the note below my notebook, trying to subtlety glance down at Olivia’s prim and perfect handwriting.

Isaac:

I’m sorry, but I couldn’t face the humiliation of coming into school today.
I know it’s probably not the noblest thing to do, but I just need a few days to let this all blow over before I come back… If you could find some time, could you stop by tonight? I would still like to see you…
Olivia.

I glanced back at Gabby, who shrugged lightly.

I loosely folded the note back up and tucked it into the pocket of my pants.

I sat through the class, hardly listening to the professor talking. I was bored out of my mind as usual.

When class let out, I gathered my books and tried to stop Gabby before she left, but by the time I glanced around the room, she was gone.

“Shit.” I cursed quietly.

I hurried out into the hallway just as Thomas was walking past. “Hey, Thomas.” I quickly caught up with his stride.

“Hey, man.” He slowed, balancing his books under his arm. “No Olivia today?”

“No, I’ll probably go over and see her later though… Got plans for lunch?”

“I was just going to eat in the caf… you?”

“I was just going to join you.” I shrugged.

We walked into the cafeteria and ordered our food. I stuck with a hamburger, fries and a coke, while Thomas ordered a complicated chicken wrap thing.

We found our usual table, and sat down. Thomas opened his Earth Science text book.

“Dude!” I rolled my eyes. “Don’t you ever do anything other than study? Come on man, it’s lunch break!”

Thomas shrugged. “I’m just getting it done now so I don’t have to do it later.”

I rolled my eyes. “Dude, I’m going to have to teach you to have some fun.” I told him, taking a bite of my burger. “Better yet, I’m going to get you laid.”

Thomas’ eyes widened, again looking huge in the thick panes of his glasses. “Do you have to say that so loud?”

I shrugged. “It’s true.” I downed a mouthful of my coke. “So have you heard from Gabby yet?”

Thomas shrugged. “No.”

“Did you call her?”

“…No.” He answered hesitantly.

I rolled my eyes. “Well that’s why! Jeeze!”

“I just… I can’t talk to girls, man. I suck at it. I mean, she’s probably just way out of my league anyway. I’m lucky if she even gives me the time of day…”

“Well, lets just see about that…” I mused. “Gabby!” I stood up from my chair, catching her eye as she walked past with a plastic container of salad and a can of diet coke.

“Oh, hey.” She smiled sweetly at the both of us.

“Hey, I know Olivia is kind of sick, so I thought maybe you’d like to sit with us for lunch today… I mean, if you want.” I began, glancing at Thomas. I could swear his face was turning an odd shade of green.

“Oh, that sounds great.” She answered.

I moved from my chair and subtly sat down across the table from Thomas so that Gabby was sitting between us. She was much closer to Thomas than she was to me. Thomas seemed stiff and awkward.

I felt sorry for the kid.

She sighed hugely. “So have you started on that huge paper for our environmental sciences class?” She asked flippantly. “Oh my gosh, I am so lost in that class. I think I’m going to have to repeat it or something.” She sighed.

“Really? Your environmental sciences class? That’s actually kind of funny, because Thomas was just saying how he’s acing that class and he thinks the paper is going to be a breeze…”

Thomas’ eyes widened again and his jaw dropped open.

I waited for him to say something after my careful prompt. I kicked him under the table.

“Ow!” He winced, “Oh, uhh… yeah. Yeah, I’m doing pretty well in that class…” He said slowly.

I nodded quickly, trying to prompt him again.

“Oh, uh… I could maybe help you. I mean, I don’t know how much of a help I’ll be…” He dragged his hand across the back of his neck awkwardly. “I could give it a shot.”

“Oh, that would be great.” Gabby sighed. “Really, I’m in over my head with this class. I should have dropped it, but now its too far in the year. I can’t drop it without taking a failure.”

“Yeah, umm… maybe we could meet at the library? The paper isn’t due until next week.”

I kicked Thomas under the table again.

“Actually,” He stuttered. “If you need it, I’m available most of this week, I could tutor you, then you’d be extra prepared for both the paper and the exam. I could just help you catch up…”

I glanced away at a table of loud people.

“That would be really great.” Gabby agreed. “Thursday night? Is that okay?”

“No, that works. I have chess club tonight, so…”

I rolled my eyes.

“Oh, there’s Ava. I’ve got to go, she has my notes from Organic Chemistry. I’ll call you?”

Thomas nodded.

Once Gabby was out of ear shot, I turned on Thomas. “Dude, can you have a conversation without bringing up the chess club? Saying you’re in the chess club is like telling everyone you’re president of the creepy virgin club.” I rolled my eyes.

Thomas blushed and glanced down at his lunch.

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