EPISODE TWO: Stolen!
“Okay, that’s enough for today.”
Xavier closed his notebook. It had been a difficult hour and a half. They reviewed everything from Napoleon to chemical nomenclature. He wasn’t even sure if he would remember half of what Maurice taught him, but it didn’t matter. Every second he got to spend in Vicki’s presence made it worth it. As he gathered his things, he knew that this was going to be a wonderful semester.
“Hey, Vicki,” he said, glancing at her. “Do you have anything to do after this? I’m going to get something to eat with my father, and I thought it’d be nice if you came along.”
Vicki turned to him and smiled nervously. “I’m sorry, Xavier, but I’ve got other things to do. And, besides, my mother is coming to get me, and she had to drive almost an hour to get here.”
He knew she was lying, but her face shone brighter with every lie she told.
“It’s okay,” he said, standing up. “We’ll just plan for something tomorrow, all right?”
Vicki shook her head. “Xavier, I don’t want anything to do with you. We have to be in this club together, but that’s about it. We will never be friends or anything more than that.”
He felt his face turning red. He wanted to believe that she didn’t mean it, that she was just playing hard to get, or whatever that meant. He wanted to believe that he could come back to club tomorrow and she’d have changed her mind. But something in her face told him that he was wrong to hope.
Xavier watched as she turned her attention to Maurice, who was quietly packing up his stuff. So that was it. She was in love with Maurice. Xavier held back a laugh. Didn’t she know that he was their tutor? He wasn’t allowed to break the strict tutor/student relationship. Vicki was going to get her heart broken.
But as he walked out the classroom, backpack slung over his shoulder, he thought it would do her some good. Everyone needs to get their heart broken once in a while. She would survive.
Would he survive? Probably not.
Maurice quickly closed the door behind him. It was already 4:05, so that gave him fifteen minutes to get home on his bike. His sister would be back at 4:30, and he wanted to get home before her. He had heard some rumor about her that he wanted to confirm.
There’s no way I’m letting Jimmy take my sister. Not without my approval. And there’s no way he’s going to get it.
Maybe he was biased. He didn’t care. Jimmy was a bad dude, and he didn’t want his sister getting caught up in any of that.
He walked down the hall as quickly as he possibly could without running. Even though school had been over for almost two hours, the hall monitors never let up their posts. He didn’t need a detention to ruin his record.
“Hey, Maurice, how did your study club go?”
He didn’t want to stop, but he recognized the Principal’s voice and slowed down. He forced on a smile.
“It was great, Mr. Madison. We’ve got two great students who are really focused and want to bring their grades up.”
Mr. Madison smiled and clapped him on the shoulder. “Always good news to hear, Maurice. Keep up the good work.”
“Thank you, Mr. Madison,” he said, turning away. He needed to get moving. His sister was almost home and time was wasting.
It didn’t bother him to lie to Mr. Madison. The man didn’t understand anything going on in this school. For all he knew, every single student here was bound to Harvard or Stanford or whatever other Ivy League school that anyone who is anyone goes to. The reality was that no one was bound to go there, not even himself. Maurice didn’t want to break Mr. Madison’s heart with the truth of Vicki and Xavier’s lack of focus, dedication, or even brains. Mr. Madison wouldn’t be able to handle it.
But he wouldn’t have to lie for very long. By the end of the semester, he would have them fixed up. And maybe, just maybe, they’d leave with a diploma.
She watched as he closed the classroom door. Vicki tried not to swoon. He was even more handsome when carrying his leather briefcase. She had tried to pay attention to the things he taught them, but she couldn’t get over his perfect face. It didn’t matter what Maurice said about tutor/student relationships. She would win his heart before the semester was over.
So what do I do now?
He was already halfway down the hall. She ran to catch up with him, but slowed her run to a brisk walk when she remembered the hall monitors. She wouldn’t want them to catch her running and slap her with a detention.
“Hey, Maurice, how did your study club go?”
It was the principal. Vicki couldn’t remember his name, only that every morning he introduced himself to her and asked her how she was enjoying the ninth grade. She didn’t have the heart to tell him that she was already a junior.
“We’ve got two great students who are really focused and want to bring their grades up.”
He thinks I’m a great student? This time, Vicki was ready to swoon. She considered herself a mediocre student at best, but a great student? Maybe she didn’t have to work as hard as she thought to win his affection.
Maurice and the principal parted ways and she followed behind as closely and quietly as she could. It looked like Maurice was heading out the side of the school, where they kept the bicycle racks.
Suddenly, a idea came to her. If she stole his bike, he wouldn’t be able to get home. She could easily ask her mother to drop him off. She only lived five minutes away from the school, and her mother never had anything to do in the afternoons.
Vicki sent her mother a quick text message, asking to be picked up, then made a quick left. There were two ways to get to the bicycle racks in the back. If she hurried, she just might be able to get there before him.
Xavier tried to keep his head up as he walked down the hall to the front entrance of the school. His father was going to be there in about ten minutes, and the man didn’t like waiting. But with every step Xavier took, he realized that he was walking further and further away from Vicki.
Get over yourself, bro. She doesn’t want you. You’ll find someone else.
He felt a sob coming on. He knew there was no one else. He didn’t even have regular friends. How could he possibly expect to have a girlfriend?
Maybe you pushed too hard, he thought to himself. You should’ve toned it down and gone the friend route. Everyone knows that in movies, the girl always falls for her best friend, not the guy she’s been idolizing the whole time. Doesn’t that say something about love?
A few kids ran past him, nearly knocking him over. He hoped that the hall monitors would chase them down and give them a detention. He had heard crazy stories of hall monitors getting in to fights with students. But the craziest story was of this guy named Claudio. He went to a different school, but everyone knew that he was a crazy rebellious kid. He was known for beating up hall monitors and hanging them from the side of stairwells upside down. That’s how insane this guy was.
Xavier shivered. He was super glad this Claudio kid wasn’t in his school. He knew he’d be a quick target for any kind of bullying, and rebellious kids are always bullies. Xavier remembered the last bully he’d had in middle school.
No, don’t go there, bro. There are some things best left unremembered.
He pushed open the entrance doors and stepped into the light. The sun was still shining brightly in the sky, but a set of dark clouds loomed ominously in the distance. He hoped his father would get here before they did.
Maurice pushed open the doors to the back of the school. He’d parked his bike back here for the first time this morning because he was running late. He usually hid it in the bushes near the front of the school, but today there were too many people around and he couldn’t get to his hiding spot on time.
The sun was still bright despite it being almost 4:10. He glanced at his watch. Yep. He had time estimation down pat. Maurice looked up again and nearly had a heart attack.
His bike was gone. All the bikes were gone.
What am I going to do? I have to be home in twenty minutes. How am I going to walk that distance?
Maurice felt panic rising but willed it to stay down. There was no way he was going to panic because of a missing bike. He’d just have to go back to the principal and tell him that his bike was stolen. The school would have to replace it.
He turned around to enter the building, but rustling in the bushes caught his attention.
“Who is there?”
There was no answer, only more rustling.
“If you took my bike, I will have you know that it’s against school rules to do so.”
A snicker joined the rustling.
Maurice was getting angry. “Who is in the bush? I demand to know this instant!”
Vicki’s face appeared in the bushes.
“Really, Vicki?” He sighed. “Why are you hiding in the bushes?”
She climbed out and brushed a few leaves from her hair.
“I noticed that all the bikes were gone and I wondered if there was any way I could help.”
He eyed her suspiciously.
“Did you take them, Vicki? Because I need to get home.”
She shook her head. “I did not take them, Maurice. I don’t know anything about them. I didn’t even know there were bikes back here until I followed you out here.”
Maurice raised an eyebrow.
“Look, my mom is coming to get me in thirty seconds. I’ll ask her to take you home.” Vicki stepped closer to him. “Is that fine, Maurice?”
“Well,” he began, crossing his arms, “it is a violation of our tutor/student relationship.”
He frowned. He had no other choice. He needed to get home to talk to his sister about the terrible boy she was about to start dating. He cleared his throat.
“Since study club is over for the afternoon, we can revert to our student/student relationship and I will accept this ride from you.”
“Yay!” Vicki said, jumping up and rushing over to give him a hug.
“Pardon me, but hugging is not a feature of this relationship.”
Xavier made his way to an empty bench near the school’s front lawn. A few other kids sat on the grass, others huddled around the other bench. He recognized one of the boys from his chemistry class, but they never talked, so it would be weird to go over there and say hello. One girl sat alone by a pile of dirt, looking at the large group.
She isn’t as good looking as Vicki, he thought to himself, but she isn’t so bad.
He felt something tell him to get up and talk to her, but resisted it. He didn’t want to talk to any girls. He could barely talk to anyone, much less a girl. She made eye contact with him and smiled. He looked away, his face turning red. Now he had to go over there and talk to her, otherwise she’d think he was a creepy stalker.
“Hey,” he said, walking over to her. She stood up from the dirt and shook his hand.
“My name is Xavier. I just wanted you to know that I wasn’t a creepy stalker. I just wanted to know what you were doing in the dirt.” He felt the lie in his throat. He hoped that his face glowed brighter when he lied, but knew that was a trait reserved for Vicki.
“My name is Jenna,” she said. “And I’m taking care of my plants.”
“Your plants?” Xavier looked at the pile of dirt. He didn’t see any plants. “Did you just plant them?”
“Yep. They’re in there.” Jenna cleared her throat. “So, are you new around here?”
“Yeah, I just moved here at the start of the semester.”
“Ah, I see.” Jenna crossed her arms. “Which school did you transfer from?”
“I used to live in another state,” Xavier replied.
She smiled. “Okay. I was just making sure you weren’t from around here.”
“Why does that matter?”
Jenna rolled her eyes. “Don’t you know about that crazy kid, Claudio from Green High? They say that he was kicked out and is transferring to this school. I just wanted to make sure you weren’t him.”
“I’m not Claudio. My name is Xavier. And why does it matter if I’m him or not?” Xavier pretended to look offended.
Jenna laughed. “Well, I wouldn’t want my new friend to be a rebellious kid that ties up hall monitors and leaves them hanging upside down in stairwells. If you were him, I’d kick you to the curb.” She sat on the dirt again. “Will you join me in caring for my plants, Xavier?”
Xavier smiled and sat down.
“I’d love to.”
He hoped that, unlike the approaching rain clouds, his father would stay far away, giving him time to talk to Jenna. He had wanted a girlfriend, but he could settle for a friend.
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