"Quite a few of you seemed to struggle with this. As far as first exams go, well, those of you that didn't do as well as you'd have liked have three more to work toward." Pat was impressive as ever in his yellow cardigan, the stack of papers on the table at the front daunting and innocent. "Right, I'll just hand them back. The answer key is posted in the hall, and any questions - or if I added wrong - come see me after or in office hours." With that, he started handing back exams.
I left mine face down as long as I dared before finally flipping it when I was sure I wasn't going to lose my breakfast.
Could've been better, could have been worse. Not great, but it wasn't an F. Bottom line for me? I'll take it and run. Preferably without looking back.
I filed it in my folder with my other papers and cracked open my notebook, red and black pens at the ready. Bright side of life, bright side of life, bright side -
Holy hell, Pat, is that even English?
Problem sets are an absolute joy. Stuff that makes perfect sense when the man is at the front of the room but gets absolutely ridiculous when figuring it out alone in the confines of a dorm building.
Hence the books and papers over the entire table yet again. Thankfully I worked in pencil with stuff like this. And had one of those big erasers.
Mostly though, it was to double check things. Some of the old stuff from last semester and a little of the new. A nice respite before plunging into the unknown and being totally confused.
Reminds me of doing my calculus II homework in the second floor lounge, papers all over the place and swearing under my breath. Which I used to do in algebra in eighth grade. The swearing part. Very quietly. And I hated graphing with a passion.
Resonance forms haven't reached that level, but give it time.
There was a thump on the other side of the wall; Jo came around the corner a moment later. "Hey."
"Hi." I ruffled through some papers. Couldn't find the one I wanted.
"Orgo givin' you hell?" She flopped in the beat-to-shit armchair.
"When does it not?"
"True." She rested her elbows on her knees. "Did you find out the physics?"
"C plus." Found the paper and held it up. "See? This is what you get to look forward to next semester." Jo was a year behind me in terms of of her chem courses. This was my second semester of organic and she was in intro. We'd already agreed she'd use my books (she currently had my copy of Molecules That Matter) and would also inherit my physics brick. The only that sort of annoyed her was that I used highlighter when I read. It helped me hang onto the important parts better.
"Goody." She sighed. "You parents coming up for this weekend?"
"Yeah. We have a game Saturday." Honestly, I was tryin' not to think about that too much. Mostly because Murph and I hadn't talked about how we were going to handle that. My dad didn't know about my boyfriend, my mom was probably going to want details, and Murph hadn't told his mom yet. It was, really, best left alone for the moment in terms of having our parents meet.
Course, I had yet to talk to Murph about it.
"You and Murph gonna do the whole meet the parents thing?"
Damn her. "I dunno. Probably not, but I need to talk to him about it."
Eloquent as ever, Jo. No wonder neither of us were into public speaking as a pseudo-elective. Maybe that was the reason we were both scientists. Would explain a lot, too.
"Yeah." I fished for my phone. This whole Parents Weekend thing needed to be crossed off the To-Do List. Preferably yesterday.
And yes, I had a legit To-Do List to cross things off of. Made me feel like I'd accomplished something, even when I'd most likely done nothing remotely close to productive.
Of all the ways college students had thought to lie to themselves, this was possibly the best.
"You should talk to him."
Thank you, again, Jo. I know. "Preferably before the weekend, yeah, I know." Checked the time on the phone when I found it - early enough by collegiate standards and late enough for him to be home.
She waited while I typed and then said, "He gonna come up?"
"Don't even know if he's back." I checked my problem set against my notebook, was satisfied it was correct, and shuffled every paper into a pile and stuffed it back in the folder. Should really do some reading for T-S Britain.
Could, should, probably wouldn't.
On that note -
I stacked the folder on the ottoman to my right and then swiveled to look at Murph, lounging carelessly against the wall. "You should know me well enough to know I'm no lady."
Murph pushed off from the wall, moved my folders from the ottoman, and straddled it. "That's right." We were damn close to lookin' each other in the eye. "You're a heathen, aren't you?"
"Filthy little," I smirked, looking at Jo.
"Savages, savages, demons to the core," she said, rolling her eyes with a grin.
How we'd gone from saying hello to a half-assed Pocahontas sing-along, I'd never know. Nor would I care to. It was damn obvious Murph had a movie-lover for a girlfriend.
"What are you doing for Parents Weekend, Jo?" Murph asked.
"Going home." She shifted in the chair, drawing her legs up. "I'm leaving Friday."
As she had a six-hour drive, yeah, I can see why she'd leave on Friday.
Murph nudged my leg with is foot. "And what are you doin' this weekend?"
"Playing U of R on Saturday."
He winced. "Bloodbath?"
"You betcha." University of Rochester was always good, so it was always a close game. They were a team that if we didn't win, we tied. "Do do you play on Sunday?"
"Carnegie-Mellon." He looked at the folders he was still hanging onto.
"What are we doing about our parents?"
Murph literally growled at himself. "I still haven't told Ma. Haven't found a way to bring it up yet."
Which was the current status of the conversation with my dad. "Yup. I know the feeling."
"This is why I'm single," Jo added.
I turned and stared. "I thought you were single because you're a scientist and there's just no time for a man?"
She mumbled something that sounded vaguely like stuff it. I grinned.
"Do you want us to stop by and check it out on Saturday?" he asked.
I turned in the chair, hooking an ankle under his. "I don't want to - I just." How I'd ever passed English in high school I'll never know. "It wouldn't be fair to you if you guys came on Saturday and we didn't on Sunday."
He moved his right leg to the same side of the ottoman as the other, caging my striped-clad feet between his beat Pumas. Jo was still very much there, though, she wasn't. She was there but we weren't very much aware of her at the moment.
"You know that doesn't matter to me," he said, flopping the folders on the table.
"It matters to me." I didn't want him to give more than I could. For us to be uneven in any way.
He wrapped a hand around my calf. "It's not a competition, Ol." He shrugged. "If it happens, it happens. If it doesn't, it's okay."
Good God, how did I find this boy? And how did he end up with me?
"I - "
"I know." His thumb stroked my shin through a layer of denim. "Remember, though, I'm gonna do what I wanna do. And what's possible."
That he was. I couldn't ask him not to, and to ask him to not come if he wanted to would hurt him. And the last thing I wanted to do was hurt Murph.
"Yeah," I whispered.
It was going to be an interesting weekend.