"Stop being so grumpy! It's ruining my good vibes over here."
"I'm not being grumpy, Core. Grumpy and stressed are two different emotions. Also, you aren't very helpful when you're hanging off your bed like a bat. What happened to wanting to study for the midterm tomorrow? You know, the one that is worth half our grade?" Laney was seated in an office chair, while Corey was slowly having his blood rush to his head. "You're the one who invited me over to study in the first place."
"Yeah, yeah, I know. It's just…chemistry isn't my thing! Like why should I care about atoms and electrons and all that stuff? Both of us aren't going to need it when we're both famous rockstars anyways, Lanes." Corey threw his arms into the air. "I'd rather just chill, ya know?" Laney let out a sigh and started flipping through her flashcards.
"You have a point, and I get that this is the worst subject known to man BUT I know if we don't study for this we're both going to fail. And it's not getting graded on a curve this time. Now get up and let me quiz you." She lifted her cards up for Corey to see. "I'll even add a rewards system to this, if that motivates you." This instantly grabbed the attention of the upside-down boy. "For every right answer you get, I'll give you…uh…" She shifted around, scurrying for her bag. After a bit of digging, she pulled out a bag of gummy dolphins. "…one gummy dolphin that may or may not have been stolen from Kin."
As if on cue, Corey rolled off the bed. "You stole Kin and Kon's gummy dolphins? How are you not fearing for your life right now?" He made his way to the chair across from Laney. "And it's a deal. You know I can't pass up an offer at free gummy dolphins, even if they were illegally obtained. Alright. Hit me with the first question." With one more shuffle, she finally pulled out a flashcard.
"Who discovered the radioactive element polonium?" Laney read off the card then redirected her eyes to Corey. "You got this."
"It's…It's the lady right? What was her name… Maggie? Maddie? Something with an M?"
"You're on the right track." Laney nodded, encouraging Corey to piece together the information.
"You're so so close. What's her last name? Think spicy." She cringed at herself, realizing that wasn't going to help him whatsoever.
"Spicy? How is that supposed to help?" Corey furrowed his brows. "Marie? Marie Spicy? Marie Jalapeño? Marie Habanero?"
"I don't know! Do you give up yet?"
"I don't get a dolphin, do I?" He let out a disappointed sigh as Laney shook her head.
"Better luck next time. It's Marie Curie."
"How was I supposed to guess Curie from spicy? I should get half a dolphin for at least getting her first name." Corey batted his eyelashes as a desperate attempt to convince her. "Pleeeeease?"
"Curie? Curry? Curry is spicy, right? At least I think so. The spelling is kind of close." Laney shrugged. "Fine. But this is it until you get a full question right." She tore apart one of the dolphin and tossed it to Corey, before taking the other half for herself. "Alright. Next question. Who first identified the neutron?"
"Oh, I remember that one! James Chadwick." He closed his eyes and opened his mouth. "Dolphin me."
"I'm impressed!" Laney tossed the dolphin directly into Corey's mouth. "Next. Who-"
"Can we take a break now? I'm soooo bored."
"You've literally answered two questions, Core." Laney let out a sigh, slightly disappointed that bribing him with sugar didn't work like she planned.
"Yeah? So? You don't understand the mental stress I just went through trying to figure out what 'spicy' meant." Corey slid his chair uncomfortably close to Laney's and opened his laptop. "Have you seen that new video that Nick Mallory posted yesterday? It's super cool, he-"
"- basically just gave a house tour, but that boy is LOADED! Like-"
"-have you seen his room? Here, watch this!" He began to type in Nick's channel name. "It's so cool and-"
"COREY." Laney nearly slammed Corey's fingers in the laptop. The sternness in her voice caused him to jump up. "Why did you invite me over to study if you obviously don't want to?" He shrugged and pushed his chair back.
"I don't know, I just wanted to hang out with you, okay? I knew you'd want to study for that stupid midterm and knew you wouldn't come over otherwise." Suddenly, all of the annoyance disappeared from Laney's eyes. She couldn't help but smile at the comment.
As much as she wants to pass her chemistry midterm tomorrow, the thought of Corey trying so hard to get her to hang out with him made her giddy with excitement. To be completely honest, Laney probably wasn't even going to study if she wasn't invited over. She usually just wings it on test day, just like Corey does, but after getting a text saying 'Hey Lanes, wanna study for the chem midterm at my house?' she changed her mind. Any opportunity to hang out with Corey Riffin was an opportunity she took. However, he did say they were going to study for the exam, and she wasn't about to let him get away with tricking her.
"That's somehow the nicest yet stupidest thing that's ever been said to me. You know if you would have just asked to hang out, I would have said yes." She paused. "Except, now, I was expecting to study, so we're gonna study." Corey slammed his head into the desk and Laney reluctantly placed a hand on his shoulder. "Not for long, I promise. Just a short review of the scientists, okay? None of the dumb math stuff. After, we can go do whatever it is you want to do. The gummy dolphin offer still stands." Corey slid onto the floor from the chair he was seated in.
"Fine… I'm not going to like it though." He rested his head on Laney's lap, sparking a flustered expression from her. "Quiz me."
"R-right. Quizzing. Studying, yes." She scrambled to shuffle her cards. "Uh…How about the guy who discovered-"
"I've never noticed how many freckles you have on your arms." Corey seemed to be now fixated on Laney's arms. "Have you ever counted them?"
"…radioactivity…" She trailed off. She didn't know how to feel. It was an odd question and an odd observation. Nevertheless, she thought it was sweet that he noticed something so small and insignificant. "Uh…N-no, no I haven't. I haven't really felt the need to, I guess?" She looked down at the boy who's head was planted on her lap. "Why?"
"I don't know, I think they look cute? It's like a bunch of stars, but, like, on your face. That's cool!" Corey immediately regretted his word choice. Is it weird to tell your best friend you think her freckles are cute? No, it's not, right? You've told her that she was cute before, at the one pageant thing. And besides, they're just freckles. Arm freckles. Does she have them on her face? Why do I care? Study, Corey, study. Laney's face was starting to heat up at this point, which was concerning. Why is she getting flustered over a comment over such a small detail?
"Heh…thanks? I don't know, it's a part of being a redhead, I guess." She let out a nervous laugh. "Um, so…" Laney was interrupted by Corey sitting back up, much to her disappointment. He sat back in his chair, squinting at her. She quickly looked down at her flashcards again. "…who discovered radioactivity?"
Laney glanced up at Corey, who resumed to stare at her while muttering numbers under his breath. She felt her face heat up as she noticed that his eyes were fixated on her face. "Uh…Core?"
"Shhh, I'm counting."
With a raised eyebrow, Laney tilted her head. Counting? Is he…seriously counting my freckles? This boy is going to be here for hours. After not receiving a follow up explanation, she started to fidget with her flashcards. "Earth to Corey." Corey shook out of his trance and seemed mildly embarrassed.
"What was the question again?"
"Who discovered radioactivity?"
"Pretty sure it's Rutherford."
"That's not what's on the flashcard. Flashcards don't lie, Core." Corey grabbed the card out of her hand and read it, promptly shoving it back into the pile of cards.
"I don't remember reading about that guy. Who are your sources?"
"The textbook. You should pick it up sometime instead of leaving it under your bed." Laney gestured at the book that was peeking out from under his bed foundation. "How are you passing this class if you don't use the textbook?"
"It's all about epic academic skills, Lanes. Instead of working for the system, get the system to work for you." Corey leaned back in his chair, throwing his legs onto his desk. Laney sighed, pinching the bridge of her nose.
"Are you getting the answers from Kin?"
"No. Okay, maybe on, like, the second assignment, but only because he offered! Also, that one chapter three assignment was pretty tough. And the last one that was assigned, the last one was awful. And-"
"Cheating isn't necessarily considered to be an epic academic skill, Core. You can steal lyrics from Trina's diary all you want, but this kind of plagiarism can get you into some serious trouble down the road." Setting the flashcards down onto the desk, she leaned forward in her chair. "How 'bout this? I will sign myself up to be your designated homework buddy for the rest of the semester as long as you stop asking Kin for answers. Or, I guess, accepting answers that Kin gives you." Laney got out of the chair and grabbed Corey's book from underneath the bed. After blowing the dust off of it, the book was shoved into Corey's arms. "Deal?"
"Sure! What exactly does a 'designated homework buddy' do?" Corey started flipping through the textbook, occasionally reading bits and pieces of all of the information that he missed.
"Hang out. Homework. Keep you on track. Besides, doing homework by yourself is never fun." Laney was then again seated in the chair. "I promise that it'll be more exciting than studying for this midterm. We can even go to Bean Barn or Belchees something." Her face drops almost instantly. Did that sound like I was asking him out? No, Laney, that's stupid. Friends go out and study all the time! Stop overthinking this. You've done way more romantic things with this boy than studying. Remember the whole cake thing? We've kissed. This is nothing. "That is, if you'd be interested in that sort of thing."
"Why, is the Laney Penn asking me, Corey Riffin, out on a study date?" Almost immediately, the girl's face went beet red, sparking a roar of laughter from Corey. Laney was filled with panic. Maybe studying with your friend alone isn't as platonic as I thought. Oh no, what have I done? He's going to turn me down because he think's it's a romantic gesture and then things are going to get awkward and then Grojband is going to break up and he's going to hate me forever and then Kin and Kon— "Dude, I'm just kidding! You should see your face! Yeah, I'd like being your 'homework buddy!' Sounds like fun!" A huge wave of relief washed over her.
The flashcards were once again in Laney's hands as a smile spread across her face. "Awesome! We'll start next week, okay? We can set up details later. Besides, we both know science is Kin's thing and not ours. It'll be useful." She glanced at the cards then at Corey, before placing them in his hands. "How about you quiz me this time?"
"Quiz you? No problem!" He shuffled the cards a few times before pulling one out. "Okay, what type of bond—"
"Yeah, you're right. This is boring. Do you want to go get fries or something?"
"You had me at 'this is boring.' Let's get out of here."