A smile spread across her face and she stepped toward my desk. “You’ll be ahead of this bunch.” She handed me some papers and turned, her paisley printed maxi-skirt swirling around her legs. “Let’s begin.”
She started asking questions, but the syllabus distracted me. My old school had always been more of a straight out of the textbook kind of thing. But this was different. I flipped through the pages and couldn’t find anything about when the standardized tests were. Instead there were descriptions after each piece of literature—two essay question exams, blue books provided.
What the hell was a blue book?
I tried not to stress, unsuccessfully. I flipped open my notebook, furiously writing down everything that Mrs. Ramirez said.
Meredith hadn’t been kidding about the classes being hard. At my old school, you could get by on the Cliff’s Notes version. Not here, apparently. By the time the bell rang, my hands were sweating. I should’ve worn a thinner pair of gloves.
I scribbled the last few points in my notebook and shoved it in my backpack. By the time I got up, everyone was gone except the teacher.
Mrs. Ramirez eyed me carefully with a small smile. “You’re going to do fine, Tessa,” Mrs. Ramirez said.
I forced a smile. “Sure.” Honestly, I wasn’t at all sure that she knew what she was talking about. I rushed to my locker and grabbed the books for my next class, where Meredith stood waiting by the door.
It wasn’t just werewolf stuff I was behind on—it was everything. The new workload made it easier to ignore the wave of silence that followed me into every classroom.
By the time the bell chimed for lunch, I wanted to run back to my room and suck my thumb, but Meredith wrapped her arm around my shoulders. “Come on. It’s not that bad.”
“Totally not bad at all.” The whine in my voice was pretty thick.
She quirked an eyebrow. “You put claw marks in the lab table.”
“Oh. Um. Ooops?” That wasn’t good. “Should I tell someone? Do I need to pay for it to get fixed?”
Meredith shook her head. “No way. Stuff like that happens all the time here. It’s part of life. But maybe next time eat the sandwiches?”
I’d completely forgotten about them, but now that she said something, I realized that my stomach was trying to eat itself.
Shannon waited in the hall. “How was chemistry?” Her smooth Irish lilt made me smile, even though I wasn’t sure that she liked me.
“It was fantastic,” I said. “I think I’ll go shoot myself in the face now, and avoid the pain and humiliation of flunking. How am I so far behind?”
Shannon laughed. The sound of it lessened the tension in my shoulders a little bit as we walked to the cafeteria. I didn’t know how I was going to face the next round of classes after lunch.
I piled my tray high when we got there. I needed a plan, fast. In a mere forty minutes, my classes were going to take a turn for the strange and I was already at my stress limit.
Chris smiled when I took the seat across from him. “How’s it going?”
“As well as can be expected, I guess.”
“She’s got Were classes after lunch,” Meredith said.
Adrian laughed. “Be prepared to hear some funky shit.”
“Don’t scare the girl, Adrian. She’s already panicking,” Shannon said. “You should try to be open to what Mr. Dawson has to say in Were history.”
“I’ll do my best.” But I still didn’t know what Were history meant.
“Hell, I wouldn’t buy any of it if I were you,” Chris said. “But I know what I know.” Chris’ easy smile comforted me. I wasn’t threatened or intimidated by him like I was with other guys.
Chris relaxed, reclining in his chair a little, muscles at ease.
“We all have martial arts and yoga class together,” Meredith said. “It’s fun, promise. So keep that in mind while you’re in the more wolfy classes.”
“Wouldn’t picture you as a yoga kind of a guy,” I said to Chris.
“Hey. You don’t know me that well. Plus, I’m an artist. It’s hip and arty to do yoga.”
“Whatever, dude. You like it so you can check out all the girls’ butts in downward dog,” Adrian said, shoving Chris.
“Hey!” Chris shoved Adrian. “You’re doing the same thing!”
“I’m a dude, dude. It’s what I do.”
I couldn’t help but laugh at the boys. The tension in my shoulders eased some more and I smiled.