Slammed, p.10
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       Slammed, p.10

         Part #1 of Slammed series by Colleen Hoover

  pouch, bringing it to his mouth. “Did you see they delivered the rest of our stuff yesterday? Mom’s van finally got here. We had to unpack the whole thing by ourselves, you know,” he says, obviously trying to guilt me.

  “Go get dressed,” I say. “We’re leaving in half an hour.”


  It begins to snow again just as I drop Kel off at school. I hope Will is right about it being gone soon. I hate the snow. I hate Michigan.

  When I arrive at the school, I go straight to the administration office. Mrs. Alex is powering on her computer when she notices me and shakes her head.

  “Let me guess, you want 'C' lunch now?”

  I should have brought her Kel’s coffee.

  “Actually, I need a list of third period electives. I want to switch classes.”

  She shoots me a questioning glance. “Aren’t you in the Poetry elective with Mr. Cooper? That’s one of the more popular electives.”

  “That’s the one,” I confirm. “I’d like to withdraw.”

  “Well, you have until the end of the week before I submit your final schedule,” she says as she grabs a sheet and hands it to me. “Which class do you prefer?”

  I look over the short list of available electives.


  Russian Literature

  My options are limited.

  “I’ll take Russian Literature for two hundred, Alex.”

  She rolls her eyes as she turns and enters the information into the computer. I guess she’s heard that one before. She hands me yet another ‘new’ new schedule, and a yellow form.

  “Have Mr. Cooper sign this and bring it back to me before third period and you’ll be all set.”

  “Great,” I mumble as I exit the office.

  When I successfully navigate my way to Will's classroom, I’m relieved to find the door locked and the lights turned out. Seeing him again was not on my to-do list for the day, so I decide to take matters into my own hands. I reach into my backpack and retrieve a pen, press the yellow form up against the door to the classroom, and begin to forge Wills name.

  "That's not a good idea.”

  I spin around and see Will standing behind me with a black satchel slung across his shoulder, keys in hand. My stomach flips when I look at him. He’s wearing khaki slacks and a black shirt, tucked in at the waist. The color of his tie matches his green eyes perfectly, making them hard to look away from. He looks so, professional.

  I step back as he moves past me and puts his key in the door. He enters the room and flips the light switch on as he places his satchel on the desk. I'm still standing in the doorway when he motions for me to come in.

  I smack the form face up on his desk. "Well, you weren't here yet, I thought I’d spare you the trouble,” I say, defending my actions with a defensive tone.

  Will picks up the form and grimaces.

  “Russian Lit? That’s what you chose?”

  “It was either that or Botany,” I reply evenly.

  Will pulls his chair out and sits. He grabs a pen and lays the paper flat, pressing the tip of the pen on the line. He hesitates, though, and lays the pen down on the paper without signing his name.

  “I thought a lot last night…about what you said yesterday,” he says. “It’s not fair of me to ask you to transfer just because it makes me uneasy. We live a hundred yards apart; our brothers are becoming best friends. If anything, this class will be good for us, help us figure out how to navigate when we’re around each other. Besides,” he says this as he pulls a paper from his satchel and shoves it forward on the desk. “You’ll obviously breeze through.”

  I look at the test I had completed the day before, and it’s marked with a ‘100.'

  “I don’t mind switching,” I say. “I understand where you’re coming from.”

  “Thanks, but it can only get easier from here, right?”

  “Right,” I lie. He’s completely wrong. Being around him every day is definitely not going to be easier. I could move back to Texas today and I’d still feel too close to him. However, I still can't come up with a good enough argument for my conscience to convince me to switch classes.

  He crumples up my transfer form and chucks it toward the trash can. It misses by about two feet. I pick it up as I walk to the door and toss it in.

  “I guess I’ll see you third period, Mr. Cooper.”

  I see him frown out of my peripheral vision as I exit.

  I feel somewhat relieved. I hated how we had left things yesterday. Even though I would do whatever it took to rectify the awkward situation we’re in, he still somehow finds a way to put me at ease.

  “What happened to you yesterday?” Eddie says as we enter second period. “Get lost again?”

  “Yeah, sorry about that. Issues with admin.”

  “You should have texted,” she teases in a sarcastic tone. “I was worried about you.”

  “Oh, I’m sorry dear."

  “Dear? You tryin’ to steal my girl?” A guy I have yet to meet puts his arm around Eddie and kisses her on the cheek.

  “Layken, this is Gavin,” she says. “Gavin, this is Layken, your competition."

  Gavin has blonde hair almost identical to Eddies except in length. They could pass for brother and sister, although his eyes are a chestnut compared to her blues. He is wearing a black hoodie and jeans, and when he moves his arm from Eddie’s shoulder to shake my hand, I notice a tattoo of a heart on his wrist…the same as Eddie’s.

  “I’ve heard a lot about you,” he says as he extends his hand.

  I eye him curiously, wondering what he could have possibly heard.

  “Not really,” he admits, smiling. “I haven’t heard anything at all about you. That’s usually just what people say when they’re introduced.”

  He turns toward Eddie and gives her another peck on the cheek. “I’ll see you next period Babe. I’ve got to get to class.”

  I envy them.

  Mr. Hanushek enters the room and announces there's a chapter test. I don’t object when he hands me a test and we spend the rest of the class period in silence.


  As I follow Eddie through the crowd of students, my stomach is in knots. I’m already regretting not having switched to Russian Literature. How either of us thought this would help make things easier, I don’t know.

  We arrive in Will’s class and he's holding the door open, greeting the students as they arrive.

  “Mr. Cooper, you look a little better today. Need a mint?” Eddie says as she walks to her seat.

  Javi walks in and glares at Will as he slides into his seat.

  “Alright everyone,” Will says as he shuts the door behind him. “Good efforts on the test yesterday. Elements of Poetry is a pretty mundane section so I know you’re all glad to have it out of the way. I think you’ll find the performance section more interesting, which is what we'll focus on the rest of this semester.

  “Performance Poetry resembles traditional poetry, but with an added element; the actual performance.”

  “Performance?” Javi asks, disdained. “You mean like in that movie about the dead poets? Where they had to read crap in front of the whole class?”

  “Not exactly,” Will says. “That’s just poetry.”

  “He means slamming,” Gavin adds. “Like they do down at Club N9NE on Thursdays.”

  “What’s slamming?” a girl inquires from the back of the room.

  Gavin turns toward her, “It’s awesome! Eddie and I go sometimes. You have to see it to really get it,” he adds.

  “That’s one form of it,” Will says. “Has anyone else ever been to a slam?”

  A couple of other students raise their hand. I don’t.

  "Mr. Cooper, show them. Do one of yours," Gavin says.

  I can see the hesitation in Will's face. I know from experience he doesn’t like being put on the spot.

  "I'll tell you what. We'll make a deal. If I do one of my pieces, everyone has to agree to go to at least one
slam this semester at Club N9NE."

  No one objects. I'd like to object, but that would require raising my hand and speaking. So, I don't object.

  "No objections? Alright, then. I'll do a short one I wrote. Remember, slam poetry is about the poetry and the performance."

  Will stands in the front of the room and faces the students. He shakes his arms out and stretches his neck left and right in an attempt to relax himself. When he clears his throat, it's not the kind of throat clearing people do when they're nervous; it's the kind they do right before they yell.

  Expectations, evaluations, internal evasions

  Fly out of me like puddles of blood from a wound

  A fetus from the womb of a corpse in a tomb

  Withered and strewn like red sheets on the bed

  Of an immaculate room.

  I can't breathe,

  I can't win,

  From this indelible position I'm in

  It controls the only piece of my unfortunate soul

  Left to fend for itself in this hollowed out hole

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