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Four - Desperate Tutor

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Haley

I wait outside the classroom after I have handed over my test. Xavier still hasn't come out yet as Mrs. Johnson asked him to stay over for a few words. I wonder ... does Xavier even answer teachers or does he keep his lips sealed at all times?

"Hey, let's go!" Nancy taps her foot impatiently, arms folded across the chest. "I'm starving and I have class in ten minutes."

"Yeah, just ... give me a minute." I peek through the door when it opens, but it closes before I can see anything. I frown at the back of the student who hurried out before I could see Xavier.

"What are you waiting for anyway?" Nancy asks.

Before I can answer, the door opens again, and this time Xavier steps out. I open my mouth to speak, but he glances at me, then at Nancy, and turns away like he doesn't know me at all. Standing there, I stare after him in disbelief as he walks away through the bustling corridor without looking back.

"Haley?" Nancy nearly shouts beside me, jerking me out of my trance. "Can we go, please?"

"Uh, yeah," I answer, trying not to feel so disappointed. 

"Thank you!" 

As Nancy leads me towards the café, I can't help but be annoyed at myself. What was I expecting? That after one study-night Xavier and I would end up as best friends and hang out together? That he would treat me differently than others because I treat him differently? What was I even thinking?

The rest of the day passes by between classes and aimless chatter of friends. At one point, Dray and his football buddies join us, flirting openly and making themselves look stupider than they already seem to me. Pretending to have fun, I put Xavier out of my mind, hoping -- not really -- that I'd just forget yesterday's interaction and life would go on as it was. That's exactly what Xavier did -- pretend like nothing changed. Or maybe nothing did change and I just assumed it did. 

As for Xavier, I don't see him the rest of the day, or even the next couple of days. The chair to my right stays empty throughout calculus and literature, and after a while, I've taught myself not to glance at it every few minutes in the hope that he would somehow materialize through thin air.

What I can't resist, though, is simply reading and rereading the thank you note -- or sentence, actually -- he left for me that morning. There's not much written there, but somehow the simple words seem genuine. Or maybe I'm just perceiving them that way and in reality he was just trying to be polite.

Three days later, in an overly excited calculus class, Mrs. Johnson decides to hand out the quiz results. Students complain that she could have waited for next week to burst everyone's bubble. Today being Friday, the entire student population just wants to get to the weekend without being assigned something to do in the luxurious two days. 

"Quiet!" Mrs. Johnson calls, fixing her black-rimmed spectacles as she strolls through the rows of students to hand them their results.

Suddenly someone flops down on the empty chair to my right, and I almost jump. Looking up hopefully, I'm oddly disappointed when I see Dray taking the seat, giving me a smirk and an awkward wiggle of the eyebrows which he obviously considers attractive.

"Hey," he says.

"Mr. Carter, go back to your seat," Mrs. Johnson says to him as she hands me my result.

I look down at my grade, A+ as usual.

"Oh, come on, Mrs. J.," he insists sweetly. "The seat's been empty all day and class is almost over. It's not like anyone is coming in now."

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