Miss Camilla Smith, the history teacher walked into class with a rather diabolical smile on her face.
“Aw, no, no, no!” Joey mumbled, “Raich, you know that look”
“We’re doomed.” Conner whispered
“She’s gonna quiz us isn’t she?” Rachel frowned
“Or give us a wonderfully boring project.” Dana groaned
“I have a feeling that these next forty minutes won’t exactly be a walk in the park.”
“Feel free to jump, darling”
“Children!” she chirped in a high pitched voice that made Rachel want to cover her ears, “You all have an assignment that I want by the end of the week! It counts for 30% of your grade too” she sounded way too happy. She liked talking to her students like they were four.
“Aaand Dana gets the prize!” Connor whispered
“Awesome.” Rachel muttered.
“Indeed it is, Miss Fayne!”
“She just doesn’t get sarcasm does she?” Joey rolled her eyes
“Now, the assignment is,” she paused for dramatic effect, “that you all have to submit a 1000-1500 word report about your family history!”
The students all exchanged looks of disbelief.
“Cruel.” Max, a girl from the Green cabin sighed
“She does realize we’re orphans, right?” Joey asked.
Rachel shook her head as Miss Camilla began her lecture on World War 2. She smiled a little when she noticed her best friend dozing off in the corner.
Mercifully, the bell finally rang and the woman finally left, the class emptied out within seconds. Rachel was still gathering up her notes. Joey stretched her arms above her head, noting her slow movements and distant eyes.
“Yo! Genius? You there?”
“Yeah, yeah. I’m right here”
“What’s bugging you?” Joey asked as they headed out of class
“Oh for the love of all that is holy and pure on this polluted planet, RACHEL, COME ON!”
“How long will it take you to look me in the eyes and give me a straight answer when I ask you what’s wrong!?”
Rachel gave in with a small smile, “I was just thinking about the report. It’s just… my dad - there is nothing anywhere about him so what am I going to give her? I don’t even remember what he looks like. Nor do I wanna know … I hate him. ” She finished. Her voice wavered as the last three words escaped her mouth
“I’m pretty sure she just gave us this project for her own kicks… cruel b-”
“Well, in an institute where the children of the world’s most famous dead people live, their family history would be pretty entertaining for some people. Like our dear, annoying, Miss Camilla.” Joey sounded furious, “I mean, all of our parents are dead and they all contributed to this institute for their children’s future. It’s like they all knew they were going to die untimely deaths! So we end up here!”
“Okay, Jo, Calm down!” Rachel tried as her friend’s voice grew higher.
Joey paused mid stride and raised an eyebrow, “Jo?”
Rachel smirked, “You call me Raich, don’t you? So I came up with a nickname for you”
“Joey is a nickname!” She stated, “What, you wanna give my nickname a nickname?”
Rachel laughed, “I had to calm you down, didn’t I?”
“Idiot” she laughed, “So, I suppose we’re all gonna hand her Wikipedia articles then, eh?”
“You know, Raich, you could research your mom’s side of the family”
“Well, it’s not like I have much of a choice.”
She was walking down the steps of her school when Wesson stepped out of his office. Their eyes locked and Rachel huffed in annoyance as he turned and walked back into the staff block.
Wesson wanted to see her. Again.
Maybe Joey was right about being his favorite. She pushed the idea out of her mind and walked into the office.
“Ah, Rachel, have a seat.”
Rachel sat down and shifted uncomfortably.
“It’s about your result.”
Rachel looked confused.
“You did exceptionally well in these tests.” Rachel was about to say thank you when he continued, “But I’m not satisfied.”
She waited patiently for him to continue, “You aced everything except my subject. Wanna tell me what happened there?”
She shrugged, “Chemistry isn’t my strong suit.”
“So you’re okay with a B+?” he questioned
“Yeah. I think I did well.” She admitted
“So, you gave it your all?”
No, I was watching Avengers, “Yes sir”
“Alright – I think you can do better.”
Of course you do
“So, I’m gonna start tutoring you, Jessica and Max from the green cabin on Tuesdays, okay?”
“Yes, but -”
“I promise it won’t interfere with basketball practice.”
Rachel walked out of his office.
Rachel banged her fist on the table in frustration, earning a series of shushing noises from the kids in the library, glaring at her and giving her looks of disgust like she just picked her nose in public. She smiled apologetically and leaned back in her chair, staring at the blank screen.
“You okay, there?” Connor whispered from the neighboring table.
“Yeah, I’m fine … Just trying to find out about my dad for the history project. Only thing is,” she paused, smiling sarcastically, “The rest of the world refuses to acknowledge his existence…” Rachel laughed, “No biggie.”
He gave her a sympathetic smile, “So, you don’t have anything?”
“Nah, not nothing; got a couple of paragraphs about my mom. Nothing else, no pictures, no -” she sighed, twirling the pencil between her fingers, “Never mind, Connor.” She shook her head and flexed her fingers, typing another string of words into the box.
“Connie! Come on, get up.” Joey announced, hitting him in the back, earning a series of glares from everyone. “Sorry!” she whispered, shrugging.
“Connie?” Rachel smirked.
“I … I don’t know. Why should I get up?” he looked up at Joey
“Because I said so, dweeb. Come on – no other PC’s free and I need a print. Gimme five minutes, man.”
Connor gave her a tired look and got up, bowing low and motioning her to the chair, “Your Majesty.”
Joey sat down and entered something into the search bar, leaning over to grab a look at Rachel’s note pad that was scribbled with a list of different strings of words that she had used in order to find something on her family, “Wow” her eyes widened.
“You’ve literally tried everything?”
“Yeah” she nodded as Joey’s lips moved silently reading the words written and crossed over repeatedly.
“It’s been how long?”
“What about your mom?”
“Got a couple of paragraphs – nothing big.”
“Can’t believe it … ” she bit her lip, “Google’s let me down”
Joey laughed a little and got up, hitting her on the head as she did, “Come on, grumpy, you need a break.”
The thing about Rachel’s friendship with Joey was that Rachel didn’t want it, didn’t ask for it – Joey just barged right in and took over the ‘best friend’ position, one that hadn’t been empty before – but Rachel was lonely here, and Joey made it her number one priority [or so it seemed]to just look out for her.
It puzzled her all the time, but she was grateful for the friend that she was never supposed to have and enjoyed her company. Joey was laid back and fun and knew when to drag her out to have a good time because she needed, as Joey had put it, ‘some time as a human’
Rachel didn’t protest, she left the notebook there and followed her friend back into the noisy environment of the Rec centre.