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Going Under, Page 6

Georgia Cates

Page 6


  He had definitely started pressing me harder to go all the way with him since this whole quarterback thing started and he was quite clear about his growing impatience, but I wasn’t ready and I refused to give it up just because we had dated for a year and a half.

  The first bell rang and I was relieved when I was finally released without being discovered by Grisham. “What do you have second period, babe?”

  “I have Mrs. Tanner for my AP Humanities class in the building where the freshmen classes are. ”

  Forbes shook his head as he complained, “That’s just ridiculous. It’s an AP class stuck in the middle of the lower classmen building. Does it even make sense to put smarter, older students in with little punks that just left junior high school?”

  “It’s not a big deal because it’s the first room on the right as I walk in and it’s my favorite class. I’m excited about being in Mrs. Tanner’s class again. She lets us do some really cool stuff. ”

  He frowned and said, “Well, I don’t like it because it causes me to miss seeing you between first and second period. ”

  “You’re such a baby. I promise, you’ll get over not seeing me. ” I looked at my watch and said, “I gotta go learn some Spanish. Adios. ”

  I entered Mrs. Santiago’s Spanish II class and sat in front of Cooper.

  “Hey, Claire, I didn’t know we had Spanish together. You gonna let me cheat off you or what?” Coop laughed.

  “Spanish probably isn’t the class you want to choose to try cheating off of me because it’s my worst subject,” I warned.

  “Your worst grade beats my best on any given day. You know you’ll get an easy A in this class. I mean, you’re gonna be valedictorian. We all know you are, so don’t pretend like you aren’t going to ace this class. ”

  He made it sound like an A would handed to me and I wouldn’t have to work for it. “I have to work for my grades, too, and I’m not the only good student at East Franklin, Coop,” I argued.

  I hated assumptions about who I was and even the friends that knew me best didn’t know the real me. Everyone saw the perfect, untouchable Claire Deveraux because it’s what they wanted to see. They all thought my perfect grades and envied lifestyle came so easily for me, but it didn’t and no one gave me credit for the hard work I invested in earning those things on my own. Living up to the expectations of my parents and classmates was exhausting and some days I thought I would prefer to be faceless or invisible.

  When class began, Mrs. Santiago introduced herself in Spanish, then made us go around the room and introduce ourselves using our Spanish name. Some of the students got weird Latino names, but Claire is still Claire in Spanish so I lucked out.

  Cooper leaned over and said, “Don’t you think there’s something a little unfair about a Mexican dude being allowed to take a Spanish class?” He gestured toward the wall and I saw a Latino guy sitting on the row closest to the wall. “Maybe I’ll cheat off him instead of you,” he laughed.

  I rolled my eyes at Coop and shook my head. “You’re muy unbien, Cooper. ”

  “I’m gonna have to check with the teacher on that one, but I don’t think unbien is a Spanish word so I’m definitely cheating off him instead of you. ”

  When the long hour was over Cooper complained, “Damn. That was not interesting. I think I might have just had my first boregasm. ”

  I gathered my books and said, “I might be offended if I didn’t know you, but that was so classic for you to say something like that. ”

  We walked out the door and Cooper saw Payton standing outside the door waiting for me and said, “Catch you guys later. I’ve got some leg to chase on the other end of the hall. ”

  I knew Coop had a crush on Payton, but I had never mentioned it to either of them.

  “See you later, masturbator,” Payton said to him as he walked away.

  “It’s really too bad he’ll never get out of your friend zone because the two of you would be so perfect for each other,” I hinted.

  “Tell me that was a thought typo. I could never date him after the lame come on line he used when we met. ”

  There was no way I could forget, but I loved to hear Payton’s rendition of what Cooper said the first time they met. “I don’t think I can recall it at the moment. Remind me. ”

  In her best Cooper impersonation, she said, “Hey, gorgeous, is that a mirror in your back pocket cause I can see myself in your pants?”

  I starting laughing and she said, “You know you remembered. You just wanted to hear me do my impression. ”

  “I promise you it gets better every time you do it. ”

  “Well, do you want me to do my impression of what Jessie Boone said when I confronted him about what happened in the parking lot this morning?” she asked.

  “Jessie Boone?” I asked, confused about who she meant, then it registered with me. “No, you didn’t. Please, tell me you’re lying so I don’t have to kill you because I really like you not dead. ”

  “Oh, I did because I wanted to see his reaction and it was just as I suspected. Hope you believe in the hereafter because that boy is about to be here after you.

  7 Just Because You Know My Name Doesn’t Mean You Know Me


  Wow. That was my second warning of the day to not mess with Claire and it was only second period. These people definitely didn’t know me because to warn me was to dare me.

  I grabbed a seat in Humanities and felt regretful for agreeing to take it without finding out what it was all about first. I looked around the classroom and took in all the weird paraphernalia on the walls as I sat there with six others; five chicks and one dude, The person that would make the eighth person in this class must have wised up and dropped out. Not a good sign.

  I looked to the only other guy in the class and asked, “Hey, dude, what kind of class is this?”

  “It’s AP Humanities with Mrs. Tanner,” he replied dryly.

  “I know which class it is, I mean what is Humanities? Are we gonna be doing weird stuff in here or what?”

  By the look on the dude’s face, I realized too late that he and I were not kindred spirits just because we were the only males in the room. “Humanities doesn’t refer to one particular subject. It is the study of many things such as English, but including literature, grammar, writing and composition. It’s also includes history, art, culture and philosophy and the relationships between them all and how they contribute to our lives and society. Think of it as the total opposite of math and science. ”

  What have I gotten myself into? “That means this is one of those weird classes, right?” He shook his head and looked irritated by my lack of enthusiasm before he turned away from me.

  As I sat there contemplating how to tell the counselor I would be dropping this class, I looked up and saw Claire the Princess come through the door as the bell rang. She broke into a huge smile when she saw the teacher and walked over to give her a hug.

  Apparently, they weren’t strangers since it looked like they were catching up like old friends. When the Claire and Mrs. Tanner reunion show concluded, Claire took the seat in front of me, failing to recognize I was the person sitting behind her.

  Mrs. Tanner casually walked around to the front of her desk and plopped up on it as she said, “I believe everyone is acquainted with the exception of our new transfer student, Jessie Boone. ”

  I watched Claire’s back stiffen as she sat more upright in her desk and seeing her reaction to my name made me happy because it meant she knew who I was and I had successfully gotten under her skin this morning. Mission accomplished.

  “Since we’re a small class, I want everyone to introduce themselves to Jessie, but first we’re rearranging these desks because those I’ve taught before know forward facing doesn’t work for me. It’s crucial that you see each other during discussion time, so let’s start with a circle and if you don’t like that, we’ll
try facing pairs since we will be dividing into groups of two the majority of the time. ”

  We stood to began scooting our desks and I saw Claire steal a glance in my direction while we were forming the circle, so I gave her a big smile to let her know it didn’t go unnoticed. I liked this circle thing because it meant she had no where to hide.

  After everyone introduced themselves, Mrs. Tanner sat in the desk on the other side of Claire to address us. “Humanities isn’t like other classes you’ve taken and you can expand your vision and imagination by learning to recognize creativity when you see it. This means being able to recognize it in ourselves as well as in others because freeing our inner potential for creativity, self-criticism and self-condemnation is important. ”

  And there it is, ladies and gentlemen. The weirdness has begun.

  She continued, “All too often we reject our own creative impulses and actions, but today I have an exercise for you using key ingredients to contribute to creative thinking. I have six listed on the board. I want you to choose a partner, then the two of you will choose one element to creatively get to know one another better. ”

  I looked around as the others were splitting off into pairs and was pleased when I saw I would be paired with Claire without even trying.

  I felt like rattling her cage a little. “Princess, should I consider it a bad sign that no one wants to be your partner?”

  “I’ve already told you my name is Claire and who says they don’t want to be my partner? Maybe they don’t want to be yours. Ever thought of that?” she countered.

  “Nope,” I curtly replied.

  She huffed and looked at the board as she said, “Which element do you want? Recognizing Patterns?”

  “No and I don’t want Making Connections or Taking Advantage of Chance. ”

  “Good because I’m not making a connection with you or letting you take advantage of anything. What about Taking Risks?”

  Maybe I should have named her Viper instead of Princess because she had an awfully sharp tongue.