Later that night, Casey snuggled closer to Olivia under the covers, laying her head on the brunette's chest. She still had no idea what had come over her earlier to make her lash out the way she had. But, if she had to choose a reason, she would have factored in the jealousy that the new girl sparked in her. Still feeling the urge to vent, Casey sighed softly. "It's bad enough that she talks as if she's some irresistible sex goddess. That's not enough for her. So what does she do? She raises her hand to answer every question in the classes we have together. And everyone acknowledges her intelligence, like oh, she's soooo smart. Hello? I'm in four AP classes and have a 5.0 GPA, you know? Nobody is going to take the title of overachiever away from me."
"Casey, honey, there used to be a time when overachievers had a different nickname. Want to know what that was?" With a playful smile, Olivia leaned down and kissed Casey's neck. "They were called nerds."
Casey managed to crack a smile. "Some of us happen to like that title, you know," she pointed out. "The point is, she can't just waltz in, fall in love with you, AND decide to compete with me. I'm the know it all in class, I always have been."
Olivia smiled softly. "I know, honey. I'm sure it will die down soon, once she realizes that you love to compete, and when you compete, you don't stop until victory is yours. Personally, I find that very adorable." To reiterate her point, Olivia gently tapped Casey on the nose, a loving gesture she had done ever since they first became a couple.
"I hope so," Casey murmured, laying her head once more on Olivia's chest. Otherwise, it was going to be a very long school year for Alexandra Cabot.
The next morning in history, Casey's hand flew across her notebook as the teacher talked. They were finishing up the last bit of the lesson before the pre-announced review with penalty. Every Wednesday, Mr. Lawrence would give his AP students a number of questions they could get wrong, a sort of lifeline. If that number, which usually ranged from two to four, was reached by people missing the questions they were asked, the entire class was punished with double the work for the unit. It was open note review, but that didn't worry Casey. What worried her was that she had no idea if Alex was the kind of person who thought they never had to do the reading and could still get questions right. That was true in some classes, Casey admitted, but in Mr. Lawrence's AP US History class, reading was imperative. All she knew was she hoped the new girl did her reading. She shot a glance over at Alex, who sat three seats away from her, also taking notes. Casey rolled her eyes before turning back to her own writing.
"Alright, let's start the review," the teacher said, noting by his wrist watch that it was thirty minutes to the end of the day. Without skipping a beat, he consulted his lesson plan and began the questioning. "Identify, Miss Perez, three causes of the Mexican War?"
"Wait, what about our lifelines?" Alex asked, setting her pencil on the desk.
Mr. Lawrence looked over at her. Glared was more like it. "Miss Cabot, am I just supposed to stop my entire lesson for you? I know you're new, but be smart about that." Hearing the rest of the class snicker, he stood up and walked over to the white board. Grabbing his pen, he drew two tallies. "As a result of Miss Cabot's interruption, you have two lives. If you miss more than that, everyone will be outlining chapters sixteen and seventeen, due tomorrow."
Casey watched Alex slide down in her seat. She didn't like the girl, but she found herself feeling strangely sorry for her. Mr. Lawrence was one of those people who enjoyed kicking others when they were down, and he could be quite cruel at times. On the other hand, they had just lost lives, and it was because of Alex. Casey sighed inwardly. Please get things right, she thought to herself. I already have several hours of homework ahead, I don't need more.
"Perez!" the teacher barked. "Three reasons. Go before you get interrupted again."
"Uh." The girl swallowed and began nervously flipping through her notes. Several moments passed.
"Three causes of the war with Mexico were the debt they owed us, the annexation of Texas, and the border issues between the Nueces and Rio Grande Rivers," came Maria Perez's tentative answer.
"Correct answer. Novak, describe the hierarchy in the South in the antebellum period."
Without even looking at her notes, Casey answered. "The South was an oligarchy, a government run by the few. At the top were the one thousand, seven hundred and thirty three families who owned more than a hundred slaves. These families made up the wealthy planter class, and ran things. Below them were the families who owned ten or less slaves. Then came the families with one or no slaves. Below these families were the poor farmers, and the landless whites, who even the slaves mocked. Below them were the free blacks, who neither fit in in the North OR the South. Finally, below them, were the black slaves."
"Nice job," Mr. Lawrence remarked, shooting her a fleeting smile. He proceeded to ask a few more questions, before finally reaching Alex's desk. "Miss Cabot, in what ways could a black slave in the South earn their freedom?"
"They could buy it with money earned working after hours. Or, sometimes a slaveowner liked their slave so much that they set them free out of the kindness of their hearts. In addition, slave women could earn their freedom if they bore ten or more children from their masters," Alex responded.
The teacher awarded her answer with the same smile Casey had been given. "Good."
The next twenty questions or so varied in difficulty and subject matter. Two people missed their questions by the eleventh question, which made Casey cross her legs nervously. However, they managed to pull out of it alive. Finally, the bell rang. Taking a deep breath, Casey gathered her things and hurried over to Alex just as the blonde exited the room. "Hey. Alex, right?" she asked, attempting to strike up a conversation.
"Yeah?" the other girl asked.
Casey offered her a small smile. "Word of advice, he's like that to everyone. It gets better, I promise. Well, as long as you do your work, your reading, and don't answer every question wrong. There are some people who cram during fifth period, and they do that by getting answers from their friends who have Lawrence first period instead of paying attention in fifth period." Casey paused, realizing she had forgotten her point. However, she remembered after a moment. "The point is, he gets better. Maybe not easier, but don't get on his bad side and you'll be fine."
Casey nodded. "Sure. Have a good day." As they separated and Casey began to head towards the field for cheer practice, she reflected on what had made her be so nice. The girl had a thing for her girlfriend, after all! But at the same time, Casey liked to give everyone a chance. She would tell Alex tomorrow that Olivia was taken, and if that did no good, then she would make her judgments accordingly. But Casey had a feeling it merely came down to Alex not knowing Olivia was in a relationship. And that was easy to fix.
It was with that thought in mind that Casey reached the field. She placed her things on the bleachers, tied her hair back, and made her way over to the coach. It was time to enjoy the fresh air. While it lasted.