[002] another reason to lose sleep

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another reason to lose sleep
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┌─────── •✧• ───────┐CHAPTER TWOanother reason to lose sleep└─────── •✧• ───────┘

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( the weirdo on maple street, pt. i )

• °:.☆ . ₊°• ☆ . ° .• °:. *₊ ° . ☆

LAURA THINKS WHOEVER DECIDED that the school day should start at eight in the morning deserves a swift kick in the ass. She hadn't gotten much sleep once again — though this time, it's because she'd spent the night tossing and turning, her mind reeling about Will's disappearance and how Mike must feel — and it shows in the shadows under her eyes. She rubs at them, the skin underneath thin and sensitive.

Nancy's main concern this morning is their looming Chemistry test. Barb has been running through vocabulary flashcards with her all day, but Laura isn't listening. She's already accepted the fact that she won't get higher than a C on the exam.

While Barb and Nancy are academic achievers, their grades always at the top of the class, Laura is just... there. She floats in the middle of the ranks; not stellar enough to stand out, but not low enough to warrant intervention, either. Her teachers often forget she exists. When her parents attend conferences, they'll struggle to place a face to her name and make some vague comment about how she's "a nice girl".

Even to her own teachers, Laura is forgettable.

She wishes she had the same drive as her friends. Both girls are the most determined and ambitious people she's ever met — there's nothing Nancy can't do once she puts her mind to it, and Barb is better at math than Laura's own father — but Laura isn't. She sometimes hopes she could motivate herself to dig out of the hole of being average. But every time she tries, she hits a wall and comes sliding back down to where she started.

Maybe the worst part is that she's disappointing her family. To her dad, she's a superstar no matter what she does. To her mom ... well, though she never admits it, she thinks of Laura as a disappointment. Her Japanese culture prioritizes academics. Laura's grandparents, who had immigrated from Japan, always ask if she's gotten straight A's yet. And every time she shakes her head, her Jiji just smiles and assures her she can do it.

Laura hugs her Chemistry textbook tightly to her chest as she trudges behind Barb and Nancy, who are reviewing the cue cards for the trillionth time on their way to class. She feels a headache beginning to throb at her temples at the idea of cramming so hurriedly before their test. Does she want that sense of urgency that's eating away at their stomachs, pushing them to revise the same material over and over in an endless loop? Or is she content with accepting her average grade as her inevitable fate?

"When alpha particles go through gold foil, they become...?"

"Unoccupied space," Nancy answers without missing a beat. It's clear she could probably recite these questions from memory.

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