At the end of chemistry class on my second week of school Mrs. Unger stopped me before I could leave. "Miss McAllister, can you come over here for a minute?" Uh oh. I know it has to do with the pop quiz yesterday.
I was proven correct when she held up my latest pop quiz that had a big red F written in the top right corner. My lips pursed and I remained silent waiting for her to speak.
"I'm assuming you know what I want to talk about." Mrs. Unger said and she looked at me expectantly. I rolled my eyes and sighed.
"Ok, so maybe I lied about knowing the material." She leaned back in her seat and crossed her arms.
"I've looked at your transcript from your previous school. " I bit the inside of my cheek expecting her to just scold me. "If you continue to do poorly then you won't pass the semester, let alone the school year. So your other teachers and I thought it would be beneficial if you were assigned a tutor. " My eyes widened. A tutor? I quickly shook my head.
"Nononono I do NOT need a tutor." I protested firmly.
"Your grades say otherwise. " she countered. I ran my finger through my hair anxiously as I tried to think of a way out of this.
"Look, what if I promise to study harder. Or give me some extra credit!" All I got was a head shake. "Well... I don't want a tutor so I guess you'll have to fail me." I said with defiance with a half shrug before going to collect my things. Mrs. Unger sighed and I heard the chair scrape as she stood up.
"I can't let that happen. Whether you want it or not, you're getting the help you need. If not then you will spend every lunch hour studying with me and I will give you detention every time you get anything less than a C+. "
"You wouldn't." I said while narrowing my eyes at her and she raised her eyebrow in return.
"Do you want to find out?" I stared at her and let out a harsh sigh knowing she was serious.
"Fine. I'll do it but I'll tell you now it's not going to help. "
"We'll see. I have one student in mind. Your lab partner, Chase Davenport. " If I had just taken a drink of water it would have been spit out.
"What? No. No no no, I can't have him as my tutor. "
"And why not? "
"Because… " I couldn't think of a single reason other than the fact that he was insanely smart which wouldn't help my case. "Fine. But don't expect much out of this. " This seemed to be enough of an answer for Ms. Unger and she dismissed me so I wouldn't be late to math.
I made the effort to show how upset I was by slamming the door on my way out which caused the few students who were waiting outside to jump and stare at me as I stalked past them. I didn't care, I was furious. The teachers at my old school never thought to assign me to a tutor, they just shrugged, not caring about me or my grades. That's what happens when you're a foster kid and considered a 'problem' student and not worth the effort.
Shaking my head I made my way to math class, though I doubt I'll be paying much attention.
My first tutor session was on Saturday at Chase's place.
As if getting lost three times wasn't bad enough, the house- ahem mansion- was located on the tallest hill in Mission Creek where other rich people lived. The road leading up the hill was literally called Billionaire Butte.
I ended up going to the wrong house at first, and the woman was kind enough to point me in the right direction saying Donald Davenport's mansion was the biggest one at the top of the hill and rested on a cliff.
And it definitely was an eye catcher. Very modern and sleek on the outside and there were gigantic windows that let you see inside from a mile away. To say I felt out of place was an understatement.
Finally getting to the door I take a breather before ringing the doorbell.
It was about a full two minutes before anyone answered, and I chalked it up to the fact this place was huge and it took that long for someone to get to the door.
A middle aged woman answered the door and she looked confused when seeing me.
"Hello? Can I help you? "
"Uh, is this where Chase Davenport lives? " U asked, "Please don't tell me I got the wrong address again. " By the way she brightened up I assumed I was at the right place.
"Oh! You're here to see Chase? Really? Well, come on in. " She stepped aside and allowed me to walk in. Once again I'm awed at the huge living room we walked living room area was right as you walked in with a red sectional and huge plasma screen tv. Humongous windows made up the left wall of the place and there was a small desk in the back corner. A kitchen was to the right with an island that had four red seats and to the left of that was a fancy dining room table.
"Wow. Nice place. " I complimented even though I was uncomfortable being here. The woman said thank you and she wore an excited grin for some reason.
"Have a seat." I did and she glanced at me one more time before walking towards a hallway next to the dining area. "Chase! There's a girl here to see you! " She exclaimed happily and the corners of my lips turned up when I realized why she was acting this way. She must think I was here to hang out with him, not study.
The lady, who I assume is Mr. Davenport's wife, came back a minute later. She seemed to be worried but tried to hide it. "He'll be up in a second. Can I get you anything? Water? A snack?" Normally I'd refuse, but after two hours of walking, I was pretty hungry.
"Both would be good actually. Thank you Mrs. Davenport. "
"You can call me Tasha." She said with a kind smile and I found myself smiling in return. Even though we just met, I could tell that Tasha was someone who would be pleasant to be around. Which was refreshing. She must be Leo's mother and Adam, Bree, and Chase's step mom. "So are you a friend of Chase's?" She asked while looking in the fridge.
"Uh, if you use the word friend loosely. He's just tutoring me. " Tasha sounded disappointed when she replied.
"Oh. " She brought a bottle of water over to me and continued. "I just thought you and him were-" Tasha stopped as she tried to find the right words and I spoke up quickly.
"Uh no. Not even close. Sorry to disappoint. " I unscrewed the cap and downed half the bottle, sighing in content as it went down my parched throat. Tasha went back to the kitchen to prepare a snack while I did this.
I pulled out my phone while I waited but had barely turned it on when Leo decided to make an appearance.
"Hey Jade. " he greeted in his normal flirty way. Since day one Leo has clung to me like a wet bathing suit, taking every opportunity possible to talk to me. I couldn't get rid of him no matter how hard I tried and have resorted to barely acknowledging the kid. He technically was a year younger than me but could easily be mistaken for an 11 year old by his tiny frame and voice that hasn't matured.
It was about five minutes of waiting until Chase decided to show up while Leo was in the middle of a story about how he stopped a runaway train last night using his smarts. Like I was going to believe him.
"Hey Jade. " Chase
"Finally decided to show up? "I asked looking up from my phone and noticing that his cheeks were flushed.
"Sorry, I was finishing up some uh homework. " he hesitated when saying homework, which makes me think he was lying. But I didn't think twice about it.
"Can we get started, I have other plans later today. "
"What kind of plans? " Leo asked interestedly.
"Literally anything else. " I deadpanned. Both were a little taken aback at my bluntness but I didn't care. I just wanted to get this tutor session over with.
Leo at first didn't want to leave us alone, but his mom came to the rescue and dragged him off.
There was an awkward silence between us until Chase finally spoke up. "I think we should start with Chemistry. " He decided and I internally groaned. The equations and graphs made zero sense to me. But I complied and reached for my Chem book.
"And get your notes out too. " I grimaced.
"I don't have any. " I admitted suppressing the embarrassment that grew when he blinked and wondered if he heard right. I busied myself with getting the small notebook out despite its lack of information that would probably help me do better if I cared enough to do so.
"Why don't you take notes? That's probably a part of the reason you're failing your classes. " I immediately grew defensive when he plainly stated this, not because he was right but because that meant Mrs. Unger showed him my grades. I was pitiful compared to Chase, who had a 4.0 grade average while I was barely holding a 2.0, maybe even slightly below that.
"Wow, I never made the connection. I think I'm getting smarter already thanks to your ability to point out the obvious. " I slammed my book on the coffee table and waited for him to say something because I was barely keeping my frustration that came from feeling inferior to the genius sitting next to me.
"I'm going to ignore your annoying comments because the sooner we start the sooner this is over. Open to page 60. " My first thought was to not let him order me around, as I hate being told what to do. But like he said, if I cooperate then this will be over.
Once I'm on the correct page he starts talking.
"So, we're currently studying chemical bonds. It's very simple. " To him it was. I mean, I know what atoms and molecules are - sort of. It's the equations and stuff that mess me up. "What do you know about the topic?" He asked and I pursed my lips as I thought.
"Uh, that chemicals are capable of bonding? " I answered. I heard him mutter "Oh boy." Under his breath. Hey, he asked.
"I'm guessing we need to start at the beginning." I shrugged but motioned for him to continue. "A chemical bond is a lasting attraction between atoms, ions or molecules that enables the formation of chemical compounds. The bond may result from the electrostatic force of attraction between oppositely charged ions as in ionic bonds or through the sharing of electrons as in covalent bonds." I just stared blankly at him as I try to process all the information he just dumped on me. "Uh, why don't you start reading the first page. " he said and I could tell he was already growing frustrated. This was going to be a long afternoon.
Somehow we made it through Chemistry, but it took almost an hour and I couldn't stay much longer but Chase wanted to do one more subject. Math.
It was the subject I was struggling with the most.
"Ok, I'll have to see your book since I'm in AP math and you're in basic." I slid the book over to him and twirled my pencil while he skimmed over the pages Mrs. Johnson has assigned for homework. There were 20 problems that we had to solve, and all of them were word problems. So it was doubly hard for me.
"Ok, problem number one. Linda was selling tickets for the school play. She sold 10 more adult tickets than children tickets and she sold twice as many senior tickets as children tickets.
Let x represent the number of children's tickets sold.
Write an expression to represent the number of adult tickets sold.
Write an expression to represent the number of senior tickets sold.
Adult tickets cost $5, children's tickets cost $2, and senior tickets cost $3.
Linda made $700.
Write an equation to represent the total ticket sales.
How many children's tickets were sold for the play? How many adult tickets were sold? How many senior tickets were sold?"
"Who cares how many tickets were sold? All that matters is the 700 she made. " I said matter of factly and Chase rolled his eyes.
"Can you please just write down the equation?" He snapped. "X is the number of tickets sold. " I thought for a moment.
"I think you should for the first one. These stupid word problems make no sense to me." Chase sighed but took my pencil and notebook.
He slowly guided me through each step, and when I was able to get the final answer he praised me and had a genuine smile that I had never seen before, directed at me that is. For a moment I was proud of myself even if it was just a small victory.
"Ok, how about you try the next one on your own?" The happy moment ended as he slid my book and pencil back to me.
"Uh, ok. " I said looking at the textbook, then my notebook. I saw where Chase had mapped out the first problem in his perfectly neat handwriting.
"You know.." I started, giving up before I could make a mistake, "I'm kinda wiped out and I think we should stop for today. "
"Are you serious? I did all the work!" Chase exclaimed.
"And it was very helpful believe me. " I began gathering my things and shoved them carelessly into my bag. "I learned quite a bit about Chemistry. I think it's enough for one day." I argued, zipping my backpack closed. Chase scoffed.
"It's called being lazy. " I temporarily stopped packing to cast him a glare.
"Hey, watch it before-" I was stopped from finishing my sentence when someone new rushed into the room.
"Chase! There's an emergency down at -" Chase cut him off by coughing and the middle aged man suddenly realized I was here. "who's that?" He asked Chase who seemed to now be as flustered as the stranger.
It took me two seconds to recognize him.
"Hey, aren't you that rich inventor dude, Donald Davenport? " I asked while pretending to be oblivious to the sudden tenseness in the room. It was obvious I was intruding on whatever this emergency was and no longer welcome.
"Uh. Yes, yes I am. Could you excuse us for a minute uh…"
"Jade. " I introduced but Donald barely acknowledged it and pulled Chase over to the kitchen where they began engaging in a hushed conversation. I think the tutor session was over since there was an apparent emergency that I guess couldn't be discussed around me. It is whether Chase wants it to be or not. My brain is hurting.
After packing up my stuff I walk a few steps closer to the pair who were still talking. Both wore worried expressions and jumped when I started talking.
"I'm gonna head out. I'm done for today. " Chase and Donald looked relieved and I did a half wave before heading to the door. The former joined me and held the door as I walked out. He didn't even say bye or anything and the door was slammed shut in my face. I had half a mind to eavesdrop through the door but one look at my watch stopped me from doing so.
It's getting late and I needed to beat my guardian home so I could make sure the apartment was clean. It wasn't when I left this morning.
Any questions I had about what just happened was pushed to the back of my mind. I sighed to myself and began the long trek home.