A/N: Again, I want to apologize for the delay of the last chapter. As an apology gift As you can see the next chapter has come early. Also, I have written a prequel for "In English, Please" called "Jump High" s/9703527/1/Jump-High. It is not a Raven and Robin centred fan-fiction but because it is a prologue there are definite sightings of this ship.
I was painfully aware of Robin's tardiness and only hoped that it would turn into an absence. If he could just skip school until I get my act together which I am guessing is in three months, give or take that would be great.
"Now, class for your upcoming history report, I've already spoken to Ms. Farr and I'm sure you know that this is a collaboration of both your history and your English classes" Mr. Pierce reminded us.
I could feel my classmates looking to each other to share a grin. One project for two grades, less work, more rewards boded well with all of us.
"The assignment requires you to choose a literary piece set in a point in history. Research on the time period of which your piece was set. Elaborate on how the circumstances of that time affected how the piece has been written and how it turned out. Now, I'm giving you the option of working individually or in pairs. I'll let the class vote on—" Mr. Pierce was cut off at the class began chanting, "pair work, Mr. Pierce!, pair work!"
I grit my teeth. Pair work, oh, how I loathe you. I realize it is our teachers intentions to train us to become more flexible and sociable when working with peers and hopefully it will translate into the work place but all it has taught me is that I am surrounded by lazy morons who seem eager to work with me so they can ride on my work to A on their report card.
Garfield makes a move to work with me but I narrow my eyes at him as a warning. Garfield, being Garfield ignores it.
"Hey, Raven. I couldn't help but notice that you have a book with you"
"I always have a book with me, Garfield. Where else can I seek intelligent conversations."
"That's cool. So like those people on the cover they look like they're from history"
"Those people are representations of Mark Anthony and Cleopatra...I should hope so..."
"Neat! So I was thinking..."
"Oh, Garfield, look, Lorraine Reilly doesn't have a partner. I know she's a science wiz but she has trouble with history sometimes. I'd be great if she could get some help, wouldn't it?"
Garfield looks to where Lorraine was looking about with someone to pair with.
"Hey, yeah! Is it cool if I work with her? I mean you seem like you'd be okay on your own"
"Yes, Garfield go ahead"
He gave me a toothy grin before offering to work with Lorraine. I have to hand it to Garfield he can be a slacker and his table manners leave a lot to be desired but he was always eager to help someone out even if it did cost him an easy A.
I looked about the class and realized with everyone safely paired up I was free to work on my project individually.
"Working alone as usual, Ms. Roth?" Mr. Pierce asks giving me a knowing smile.
"I'll manage" I smirk
"I'm sure you will, Ms. Roth but I'm concerned you are not overcoming the challenges you should be."
"Sir, I've skipped to grades. I'd like to think I've overcome quite enough challenges and am allowed to relax and work on my own" I retort
Mr. Pierce shrugs, because he's cool that way.
"All right, I can accept that but I still think..."
The door opens and Robin enters the room.
"I'm sorry I'm late, Mr. Pierce. I don't have an excuse I'm just an irresponsible adolescent. So, what'd I miss?" Robin asks
Mr. Pierce grin is so wide, it infuriates me. When he speaks, he speaks to Robin but his eyes are on me when he says, "Mr. Grayson. I was just assigning pair work"
It was a relief to get a partnerwho I could trust would not slack off. Raven never procrastinated and neither did I. We would work well together. I see she already had chosen Mark Anthony and Cleopatra. The Shakespeare version of course was more dramatic that the history of what actually occurred so it would just be a matter of looking up the parts Shakespeare embellished and bringing that to into the light.
Raven looks pretty tense I wonder if she'd afraid I'm going to ask about Wally. I'm curious to know but I'm guessing everyone is. When Barbara and I split up everyone had turned into aspiring journalist suddenly. Everyone wanted to know what had happened, every single detail. All I wanted to do was forget.
She looks to me out of the corner of her eye, peaking out through the curtain of her hair.
"What little I know about Mark Anthony and Cleopatra is this, I know that Cleopatra wasn't his girl. I mean she had this thing going on with Julius Caesar even though he had a wife. Mark Anthony was suppose to be Caesar's best friend and he loved him but he moves in on his girlfriend? Doesn't sound very honourable to me and Cleopatra, she's often portrayed as this seductive woman. Maybe we can talk about women at that time too and about how sexuality seemed to be their foothold to power"
Raven had gotten strangely flushed the longer I spoke and I was afraid she was going to have a post-break up meltdown in class.
"Raven, Are you—" I make a move to comfort her but before I knew it she was ranting in my face about...I couldn't really follow.
"Everyone says that about Cleopatra?! I heard that too! Do you know TS Eliot implied that she was under the illusion she had power? I mean, really! What if it wasn't about power? You do realize Caesar at that time was one of the most influential and powerful men there. What was Cleopatra suppose to do, turn him down? Maybe he didn't force her into anything, maybe he was a perfect gentleman but would that really have mattered. Nobody expected Cleopatra to turn him down so of course if she did they might all think she was insane.
And Mark Anthony! Honour, honour, honour, men don't just seek honour. They seek love too. Is it so wrong that he was attractive to Cleopatra? His best friend was dead! I mean it was heartbreaking but what if he loved Cleopatra was Mark Anthony just suppose to deny himself the chance to be with her because of some weird sense of guilt? Thriving in heaven, rotting in hell, do you think Caesar would really care at that point if Mark Anthony was dating Cleopatra. You'd think he'd have something else going on other than that!
Why can't Mark Anthony just be with Cleopatra? I mean if he really wants her why no? If he doesn't then okay, fine whatev..."
Raven trails off noticing me stare.
"Raven...I'm not sure where you're going with this...I can see you're very passionate about the subject but we might lose the class. We should just focus on our main idea."
I say gently not wanting to shut her down. I mean she did get higher grades than me maybe a little passion wasn't such a bad thing.
"Main idea, right...which is?" she asks calming down slightly
"I'll do some research tonight on them and we can meet up tomorrow. You give me a summary of Shakespeare's version and we can compare notes to see how much of what he said, really happened" The class all moves to leave. Raven hangs back as she gathers all her things. She always had this habit of bringing out her planner, her notebook, her pencil case, text book and a book she reads for pleasure out of her bag during every class. I wait with her, helping her gather her things. Mr. Pierce heads out and it's just Raven and me in the room. I let her know I know about Wally.
"Hey, Raven. Hang in there" I whisper to her touching my knuckle to her chin. I give her, a quick peck to the lips like I use to do when we were little but it lasts longer than usual on account of Raven's hand is on the base of my neck holding me there.
She pulls back and her eyes are filling with tears.
"Raven, what?" I begin to ask but she' off her seat and through the door.
I remember Wally's words from the other night, "Raven's in love with someone else"
I draw my hand across my face, "Oh, no. Shit, no."