Chapter 3: Bribery
I wonder what’s wrong. Alex has been quiet all day... She usually talks about everything and anything without thinking twice.
I nudged her and whispered, “Are you okay?”
She smiled faintly and nodded. Yeah right.
The teacher interrupted me. “Sam.”
I looked up at him wide-eyed. I could feel the temperature rising up to my head. He just stared at me.
“So...?” he raised an eyebrow.
“Huh?” I let out in an almost inaudible voice.
“Joel, do you want to help her?”
He smiled and said some long sentence I understood nothing of. Who the hell is happy to talk about history?
“Uh oh.” Chris and Brett snickered playfully at me. I laughed and shrugged.
As the bell rang for lunch, I kicked my chair back and jumped up, ready to leave.
The three of us walked towards the cafeteria and I kept thinking of ways to cheer Alex up. In the queue, a light bulb flashed above my head.
“Hey, Alex, what teacher am I?”
I twisted one of my eyes to look cross-eyed, pulled my jaw out, and held onto my curved back. Chris burst out laughing and Alex just shrugged.
“That’s definitely Mr. Fletcher!” Chris cried out.
I nodded and laughed with him. I looked back at Alex to see if I succeeded, but no. She was still staring off into the distance, unaware of the two of us. I pouted. She always laughs at my jokes.
“Hey.” I frowned and nudged her. “What’s wrong?”
“Nothing.” she insisted in a bad mood.
“Liar. What happened?”
“Nothing. I’m just stressed.” she breathed out deeply.
“Chemistry again?” I asked.
“Yeah.” she looked back into the distance.
“What happened this time? Tell me.” I insisted, not caring if I was being annoying.
She sighed. “He just keeps scheduling a bunch of things even though we told him we have other tests this week.” she paused. “Like, for tomorrow we have a quiz about something we didn’t learn and a stupid presentation we have no idea how to do. He doesn’t let us review for the test we have on Thursday, and that test is almost like a final exam.
“Oh.” I gave her an apologetic look, not knowing what to say.
“And we have that History test on Thursday too and another Math test on Friday. I don’t know how I am going to survive this week.” she complained rightfully.
I hugged her, noticing her eyes were starting to water. “It’s going to be okay. if needed, I’ll die together with you. Romeo and Juliet style.” She finally laughed and I smiled back.
After school, I sat at the usual desk in the hallway and ruffled my hair, trying to figure out a way to solve Alex’s problem. Should I talk to Mr. Wolff? No, that’s going to be awkward, and I’m sure Alex wouldn’t want me to mention her name to him.
“Hey, umm, Sam.” I looked up at him. I was surprised he remembered my name. “Can I talk to you for a second?”
I followed him into his classroom and sat on his desk. His face looked serious. I know he wants to tell me to stop kissing him, but I decided to take this opportunity to solve Alex’s chemistry problem. I sighed deeply, looking down.
“What’s wrong?” he asked, looking legitimately worried and distracting himself from what he wanted to talk about.
I looked up at him as if I hadn’t sighed purposefully. “Oh, nothing. I’m just stressed.” I sighed. “The teachers are just throwing a bunch of things at us and they set all due dates and test dates for the same day. It’s just hard to get any sleep.” I told him.
He pressed his lips together and twisted his mouth, nodding. “I wonder if I’m being too harsh on my students...” he thought out loud.
“Uhh...” My lips stretched and I looked awkwardly to the side.
“What?” he asked, suspecting me, “Did someone mention Chemistry?”
“More like complained...” I mumbled.
“Tell me, please. It’s my first year teaching at this school, and I want to know how I can get better.” he insisted.
“It’s just that having a quiz on the same day they have to do a presentation about something they don’t understand is quite stressful, especially when they have another chemistry test two days after...” I tried my best not to insult him with my statement. “I know we still need to complete a lot of stuff in our senior year for each class, but teachers need to understand that we have other classes besides theirs, so we can’t focus all our attention on one class.”
“Yeah... I guess you’re right...” he said, at the same time that he thought. He twisted his lips once again and bit them afterwards, looking to the sides. “Yeah, I guess I’ll cancel the presentation and move the test to next week. I’ll send my students an email.”
My eyes widened in delight. “Really?!” He nodded and I jumped onto him for a hug. This isn’t beneficial at all for me, but I’m glad that Alex will finally be able to sleep more than four hours per night. I squished his skeleton-like body and smiled my heart out. “Thank you so much, Mr. Wolff.” I pulled apart from him and kissed his cheek, making him blush. I then rushed out of his classroom, feeling my phone buzz, before he could say anything else.
“Hey, wait!” he called out to me. I laughed inside, that reminded me of Nirvana’s Heart Shaped Box.
“Sorry, Mr. Wolff.” I turned around, holding onto the door frame. “My mom’s here.”
I ran out before he could continue and headed home.