Chapter 11 - What You Know
On Monday, I go to school as ready as I will ever be for what was about to happen next. I tell myself that I’m ready for the principal to call me to his office and tell me I’m expelled.
I feel more mature now that I’m not a virgin anymore.
Okay, who am I kidding?
I feel the same as I always did.
In Creative Writing, Mr. Kleeman had rearranged our chairs so that we are sitting in a semicircle instead of in rows. Natalie grabs my arm and makes me sit next to her instead of my usual spot near Jake.
“I have crazy exciting news,” Natalie whispers in my ear. “Will tell you after class.”
“I have exciting news, too,” I reply with a weak smile. I did lose my virginity last Friday. Maybe that qualified me for at least one gossip session with my only female friend in my new school. As girls do when they’re sharing a secret (even though we hadn’t spilled ours yet), we smile at each other as Mr. Kleeman passes back our graded writing exercises from last week.
“Great work,” Mr. Kleeman says and bangs his knuckles on my desk. “You have a vivid imagination, Corrine. I can tell you have a rare and special talent. Though next time, maybe try writing about what you know.”
“About what I know?”
I didn’t understand. What did Mr. Kleeman mean? What did I know? I’m just a teenager. I know nothing.
“Yes, I know you’re good at dreaming up fantastic creatures, but next time I want to know more about Corrine Stone. For instance, maybe write about your first day of school here.”
I don’t know what Mr. Kleeman means, but I nod anyway.
Who wants to read about boring, stupid Corrine Stone and her boring, stupid life?
Do people want to read about how my flabby thighs rub against each other whenever I wear a skirt? Do they want to read about a girl who studies every second she’s awake for a Physics test that she later bombs? No, no one wants to read about me.
They want to read about Ava, the virgin she-wolf, who is sold into miserable slavery among the Cruel Killer Werewolf Pack. They want a girl whose life is made perfect with one true love’s kiss from Alpha Gerard.
Reality is not as much fun to read about. I was kissed last Friday, and I still can’t fit into size two jeans. I’m still wearing my faded Gap sweatshirt from middle school. I’m sure as heck not a Luna queen, ruling beside a vicious Alpha who would rip out a Beta’s pancreas for glancing at me the wrong way.
The only thing I’ve learned since then is that love is a temporary distraction, not a cure-all to every hurdle in life. Those are not the stories that get millions of hits online and for a good reason. Who wants to read about an imperfect love affair?
I sigh and sit back with my graded story in my clenched fist. I feel that even though I got a perfect 100 on the assignment, my performance didn’t completely satisfy Mr. Kleeman.
My phone beeps, and I jump. I whip it out and check my messages, half expecting it to be my mom texting to yell at me about my physics score. I didn’t tell her what I got, but I imagined Mr. Tyler might be calling her up soon. That is if the principal didn’t call her first. From outside our classroom window, I could hear the distant wail of sirens heading in the direction of One World Trade. Maybe the police were coming for me. Did they arrest girls for being bad at physics?
The message was from Jake. Only Jake. Not the NYPD.
Hey, wanna cut afternoon classes again? I brought my bike to school today.
I roll my eyes and shove the phone back into my pant pocket. For goodness sake, I already slept with him. What else did he want?
Mr. Kleeman slips Natalie her paper without saying anything to her. He just moves on to the next student.
“I can’t believe he called my work pretentious!” Natalie hisses at me as she stares down at her essay in disbelief. “He says I am trying too hard to use big words. Does he have any idea what he’s talking about?”
“Yeah. Mr. Kleeman is stupid,” I respond in cordial agreement. I didn’t read what Natalie wrote, but by looking at her outraged facial expression, I guess she does have a pretentious air about her.
“Wait till my dad hears about this,” Natalie grumbles. “He’s a lawyer, and he’ll rip that jerk apart at the next Parent-Teacher Conference.”
I nod along, although I’m sure with my physics grade, I’ll no longer be here in Piotr by the first Parent-Teacher Conference. It doesn’t matter. My parents never go to any Parent-Teacher Conferences anyway. My dad left when I was a kid, and my mother has her hands full, raising my little brother and me.
I was only granted acceptance here because my aunt agreed to let me use her address on UES, and she had some connections on the school board.
Natalie is so upset about her grade that she forgets to catch me after class to tell me her secret. It’s just as well; I decide that having sex with Jake Villin isn’t anything to brag about. A guy with tattoos like those probably sleeps with anyone with a pulse.
I avoid Nick in New York History. He’s busy socializing with his friends again, but he glances at me now and then. He doesn’t text me, though. I did ghost him Friday. He probably thinks I hate him.
As the bell rings, he waits for me by the door again.
“What happened last week?” He asks casually. Nick sounds concerned. I feel horrible. I wanted to go out with him; I wanted that more than anything else in the world. I just...just didn’t feel up to pretending to be happy.
“I was sick. Had to go home early.” I lie. “I still have a bit of a sore throat, so don’t get too close.”
“Okay, I’m sorry,” Nick replies. I doubt that he believes me. He could probably tell by the way I am staring at my feet that I’m hiding something.
“How about sometime this week?”
“I-I don’t know.” I run away before he can say anything else. At least I have an excuse; the warning bell rings to let us know we only have a minute left to get to our next class.
Ugh, it’s the one I’ve been dreading all day - Physics.
I want to run out of school and go to Coney Island again. Maybe I should just live there. But I can’t. Also, I forget how to get there without Jake to navigate the subway system.
I got to class and slide into my seat by the window. I swallow hard as Mr. Tyler arrives with an armful of graded quizzes.
I sink lower in my seat as he starts handing them out by slamming the papers down on desks. When he gets to me, I keep my eyes glued to the floor in shame. I hear him mutter a long, “hmmmmm.”
Oh God, he’s going to yell at me now.
I swallow with difficulty and nod.
“The scantron machine read your exam upside down. It’s a new machine, so it’s not unexpected. You got a 95. Good job.”
Did I get a 95?
I can’t believe my eyes as Mr. Tyler leaves my graded exam paper on my desk and moves on to the next student.
After everything I went through, after spending all weekend worrying about being thrown out of school, I got a pretty good score.
Also, Mr. Tyler is such a jerk! Not even an apology? Just it’s a new machine, that’s how it goes? Man, teachers are the worst!
As I glance down at my phone, I see a new message from Natalie.
My bad, I forgot to tell you, dearie, I have exciting news! My parents are out of town this weekend! House party in the Hamptons! You’re coming. Bring someone!
I smile as I look at my 95 on my physics test. Yes, I have someone in mind. I text Nick and ask him if he wants to go to a house party.