Q positioned himself behind and—
Whoa, whoa—long division? I think you’re getting ahead of yourself, ma’am. You still haven’t conquered your double-digit multiplying.I watched him hop out of the minivan, a flare of annoyance shooting up from my core. All of this would have been so much easier if he wasn’t the only one of us who looked old enough to pass for twenty—at least I’d feel a lot better knowing one of us could be out there watching his back. Liam must have felt my gaze burning through the back of his jacket, because he stopped and turned to wave before disappearing around the corner.
You really have to stop encouraging him, Chubs was saying to Zu. I glanced back, watching as he used the blunt end of her pencil to follow lines of numbers on the page. He needs to accept reality at some point.Zu’s face scrunched up, twisting like a piece of hard lemon candy was stuck on her tongue. She punched him in the shoulder.I’m sorry, he said, but clearly wasn’t. It’s just a waste of time and energy to teach you this stuff when you’re never going to get the chance to use it.
You don’t know that, I said. Flashing Zu a reassuring smile, I added, You’ll be ahead of everyone else your age by the time things go back to normal.When had I started believing in normal, anyway? Everything I had been through up to that point could only be used as support for Chubs’s argument. He was right, even if I didn’t want to admit it.
You know what I’d be doing if things were normal? Chubs said. I’d be picking which college I was going to attend later this fall. I’d have taken my SATs, gone to football games and prom, taken chemistry…
His voice trailed off, but I picked up the frayed ends of his thought all the same—how could I not? These were the exact things I thought about when I let myself get to that dark place of should-be and could-have-been. My mom said once that education was a privilege not afforded to everyone, but she was wrong—it wasn’t a privilege. It was our right. We had the right to a future.I couldn’t tear myself from his crisp blue eyes. That was why I loved him, despite not being completely satisfied. Brax suffered the same insecurities. He didn’t have anyone but me. His parents died in a car accident when he turned seventeen; he was an only child.
Brax owned the apartment we lived in, thanks to the life insurance pay out, and his dad’s husky, Blizzard, came with the bargain.Blizzard and I didn’t see eye to eye, but Brax loved the dog like a tatty teddy-bear. I tolerated the beast, and kept my handbags far from chewing height.
You’re the best. I captured his chin, planting a kiss, not caring he was uncomfortable. Hell, the couple beside us were practically dry humping; a peck on the mouth was PG stuff.The girl sighed across the counter. Is this your honeymoon? Cancun is amazing. My boyfriend and I went there a few years ago. So hot and fun. And the music is so sexy, we couldn’t keep our hands off each other.