Mathematics was something I've never been very good at. I hate admitting I'm ever bad at anything, seeing as I'm the Student Body President. I have quite a reputation to uphold. So I've always been grateful for my friend, Kiku. Every week we would work on my math homework. In exchange, I helped Kiku with his English. There was nothing worse to a Japanese man with more pride than me than having trouble saying L's and V's. Today, however, Kiku had come to me with bad news.
"What do you mean you can't help?" I asked. We were standing in the cafeteria and hadn't quite gotten to our seats just yet. I had stopped in the middle of the room, tray still in hand, when Kiku had broken the news to me.
Kiku looked down, fidgeting with his hands. He never bought food from school. "I'm sorry. My older brother is in town and I have to see him."
I raised an eyebrow. "Isn't he your half-brother?"
"Yes," Kiku replied with a nod. "But he lives in China. It's a big event he's visiting. Please understand, Arthur."
I sighed, running a hand through my hair. I hated to sound so desperate, but there was an important exam approaching. I had to keep up good marks in order to stay the president. "Can't you do something?"
Kiku looked around. He smiled slightly. "Maybe you can ask someone else for help."
I looked over to where Kiku was looking. A blonde boy with an infuriating cowlick was sitting at a nearby table. As always, his uniform was completely disrespectful and he was breaking rules. I counted three broken rules. He had a PSP in one hand, his headphones on, and a cell phone sitting out right on the table.
I turned back to Kiku, unimpressed. "That isn't help. That's a walking write-up."
"He's better at math than I am," Kiku started. He kept smiling at me as if I could be won over.
Instead, I shook my head. "I think I'll pass."
Kiku returned his attention to Alfred. It was a rather well-known fact that Alfred and I have never gotten along. He's far too rebellious and disrespectful for me. Just looking at him always set me off. Couldn't he have some sense of pride and respect for the school that taught him? Or even himself? To see his tie undone, his collar unbuttoned, and his pants constantly hanging low just proved he was a punk. He was even reclined in his chair with his shoes up on the chair opposite him. I could feel my hands itching to fix his attire. Either that or knock away that disgusting plate of greasy fries in front of him.
I, on the other hand, was the prime example of our school and uniform. Sure, my hair was always a little messy and my eyebrows were a little too big to be considered cute, but I had an image to uphold and couldn't possibly be seen with a hooligan like Alfred F. Jones.
"I can't be seen with a boy like that," I hissed at Kiku. "Surely there is someone else."
"Well…" Kiku looked over to another table nervously. "There is Ivan…"
"I'll pass," I replied flatly. Sighing, I had to accept my fate. Ivan may have been good at math, but he was torturous to be around for more than a few minutes. My tutoring lasted at least an hour. There was no way I'd be with that chilly Russian. "I guess I have no choice…"
"Alfred is my best friend, you know," Kiku said. I stared at him in shock. "We've been close since middle school. He's really nice once you get to know him."
"How did such a nice chap like you and that…that boy become friends?" I shot another glare Alfred's way. The American paid me no attention as he was completely absorbed in his game.
Kiku gave a small smile. "They say opposites attract…"
"That's preposterous." Nevertheless, I headed over to Alfred. Maybe we could get started today. I was a firm believer of preparing early. That and I didn't want these tutoring lessons to go on for longer than they had to. Just until Kiku was back.
I sat down across from Alfred, next to his feet. "Okay, here's the deal. I know we don't see exactly eye to eye, but I need your help. I have a math exam in a week. If you can tutor me until Kiku is free again, I will not enforce the dress code laws on you…often. Sound good to you?" Alfred was nodding his head. I smiled slightly. "Good. Shall we plan out times to meet now?"
Again, Alfred nodded his head. I guess I was a bit too harsh on the lad. He was awfully cooperative with me and hadn't questioned my reasons. Usually the junior would make some harsh comments about my unsightly eyebrows. I plucked them daily and yet I still get picked on for them.
"Right then. What days and times work best for you?" Alfred said nothing. He merely continued to keep nodding. I furrowed my brow. I waved my hand in front of his face causing him to snap his head up in surprise
He pulled off his headphones, looking around with his eyes slowly. "Can I help you?"
"Did you hear a word of what I've been saying?" I asked, my voice slightly rose in anger.
Alfred rolled his eyes. "Yeah. It was about my clothes again, wasn't it? Look I'll-"
"It wasn't about that!" I snapped. My face heated up in embarrassment. Did I always do that?
Alfred's blue eyes widened in surprise. He even sat up, removing his shoes from the chair. "Whoa, what? What's up?"
"What's that supposed to mean?" I crossed my arms, looking at him accusingly.
"Dude, we haven't talked about normal things in years. It's always my clothes or my eating habits or you just want to bitch me out." Alfred looked disinterested. He returned to playing his game, but he still had his headphones off. Quickly, he pushed his glasses back up the bridge of his nose.
I narrowed my eyes. I could feel the anger in me swelling, but I had to control myself. Was my grade really worth it? Yes, I told myself. Yes it was. "I…need your help."
Alfred paused his game, looking up in surprise again. Then he looked around the cafeteria quickly. "Okay!" he shouted. I jumped slightly. "Who's pulling a prank on me? Ivan, is it you? Commie bastard!"
I held up my hands as my face heated up again. "Sh! Alfred! No one's pranking you! Please be quiet you moron!"
Alfred looked back to me, his eyes narrowed. "What's going on? Really. Why do you need my help? Don't you hate me?"
"Hate is a rather strong word, Alfred," I started. I fixed my uniform, pretending to not notice the other students staring at our table now. I could only imagine the gossip going around at this very second. But no matter. "I may strongly dislike you as well as find myself on the other end of the spectrum with your habits, but that does not mean I hate you."
"Whatever." Alfred waved his hand. He pulled a soda from his book bag. For some reason, he stuck a straw in it and began to slurp it.
I looked at the straw, confused. "How old are you? 5?"
"For your information, soda is bad for your teeth. As long as you don't get it on your teeth, they won't rot." Alfred smiled to show off teeth I was, regrettably, impressed by. I could feel my own lips curving around my teeth in envy. I didn't have the stereotypical British teeth, but they weren't as shiny as Alfred's were.
"Soda is bad for you in general, no matter how you drink it." I held up a hand. "We're getting off topic. I'm asking for your help in math. I am…not terribly good at it."
A long egotistical smirk slid across the blonde's face. Oh boy, I bet his head was growing ten times its size. Oh to hear his enemy praise him. It probably brought him the most joy. "What do I get in return?"
"I won't write you up for your dress code malfunctions." Alfred raised an eyebrow. "Well, not often."
Alfred let his head fall back, letting out the loudest laugh he could muster. I blushed again as more people looked over. Suddenly, the junior sat forward in his chair. "You know what? You're all right. I'll help ya if you don't write me up. Maybe this ain't so bad.
I twitched slightly. "Isn't."
"There is no such word as 'ain't'. The correct word is 'isn't," I said. I hated when people abused the English language. It was well known for its rules. Rules are meant to be followed.
Alfred rolled his eyes again. "Whatever. So when do ya wanna get this show started?"
I quickly pulled out my schedule book, opening the pages to today. "I was hoping after school today. I want to get this over with as quickly as I can. I have a lot of important matters to attend do during the week."
"Like cross-stitch and calligraphy?" Alfred joked.
"Cross-stitching and calligraphy are considered art forms," I started. I wrote on a spare piece of paper, ripping it out from the back. I handed it over to Alfred. "This is the time and place where we shall meet today."
The bell rang. I looked down at my food, slightly sad I hadn't had the chance to eat it. But my grades were far more important. Alfred looked up at me, a slight frown on his face. "Are you sure you want to do this? I mean, once we start, I won't let you quit."
Ah, is that a challenge? I smiled haughtily. "I assure you, I never back down and I never quit."
Alfred smiled brightly back at me. He stood and I followed suit. Suddenly, he stuck his hand out to me. I shook his hand gingerly. He had a firm grip. I tried to match his, but he shook so vigorously I was nearly caught off guard.
"I'll see you after school," Alfred said. I could only nod back at his enthusiasm.
I looked up at the clock anxiously. It was two minutes past the time I had arranged for Alfred and me to meet. The student body meeting room was rather eerie when empty. The glow from the setting sun behind me bathed the room in orange and red colors. But I could care less for the beauty from the sunset. That blasted boy was late.
The door slammed open suddenly. Alfred was standing with his back straight and his bright smile on his face. "Hey there eyebrows!"
I barked, "Sit down you dolt! You're two minutes late!"
"Geez, forgive me for saying good-bye to my brother." Alfred tossed his book bag on the table, making a loud clatter, and then sat in the chair across from me. He leaned back so the front legs were off the ground. I watched warily. "So where do we start?"
Shaking my head, I looked to Alfred. "Well, I'm sure my math is a little hard for you as I am a grade higher than you, but perhaps you'll understand it faster than I do."
I pulled my math book from my bag, placing it neatly on the table. Alfred leaned forward and smiled. "Oh, I remember this book! I took this class last year."
My jaw dropped open. "What do you mean? This is senior math."
"Yeah, but I'm in AP Math," Alfred replied, looking at me over the rim of his glasses. His eyes looked so much bluer without the glass covering them. I stopped myself in mid thought when I looked down at his jaw. It was moving furiously. And he wasn't talking.
"Are you…chewing gum…?" I asked slowly.
"Yeah? What of it? You said you weren't going to write me up."
"Not in your attire, yes, but that did not include any other misconduct you've committed." I scowled at him. Could he really be so bold as to chew gum in front of me and think he could get away with it?
"My God, you know a lot of big words." Alfred took the gum out of his mouth. I scrunched up my face in disgust. The red blob sat on the tip of his finger with a bit of his saliva still on it. "Want me to get rid of it?"
"Yes, that would be nice." Alfred proceeded to stick it under the table. My eyes bugged out. "What was that?"
"What?" Alfred opened the math book, not really paying me any attention.
I pointed at where he had stuck the gum. "THAT! WHAT YOU DID JUST THEN! You get that off of there and dispose of it properly!"
Alfred looked up from the book with his eyes. A slow smile crept on his face. "Man, I bet you're a great drunk."
"H-huh?" Where had that come from?
"Come on, dude. I wanna go home as badly as you do. Let's get to work already." Alfred stretched back in his chair. His messy shirt moved up to reveal his tan skin under the belt of where his pants should properly be. I looked away quickly, flushing slightly.
"Yes. But first, there are a few rules. I want us to finish this tutoring session as quickly as possible, with no rap or flash dancing. Understand?" I moved to grab my notes.
Alfred pulled out his own. "Luckily, I still had my old notes. We can use these to go over the shit you don't know."
I looked at his notes, slightly touched that Alfred had actually brought notes to help me. Then I saw his atrocious handwriting. No matter. As long as they were eligible then- "What is this?"
Alfred leaned over to look at his notes. "What? You mean a Unit Circle?"
"No! This sorry excuse of English! You cannot spell and my God, what is this? Do you not know the difference between to, too, and two?" I squawked, waving my hand over the notes. "I can't read this mess."
"Dude, chill out. What are you, Monk or something?" Alfred leaned back in his chair. "Who the hell cares? They're my notes."
"What's your grade in English?" I asked sternly.
Alfred couldn't meet my gaze. "Er…"
I smiled knowingly. "It seems we've come upon a new dilemma. Instead of the previous agreement, I propose we make a new one."
"No," Alfred said quickly. He held up a finger. "Nuh uh. I like our first one. You will not tutor me in English."
"But it works out so brilliantly this way." I smiled. Alfred looked at me. It almost looked as if he was trying to not look at my smile, but that was ridiculous. "This way, I can still keep doing my duty, your dressing habits will improve, and we can both advance in our studies."
"I like how I dress," Alfred whined.
"Alfred," I started slowly. I looked at him seriously, but a smile was on my face. "Colleges don't just look at the good grades in your math and science classes. They look at your English grades too. Even those math and science specialty colleges."
It was more than an hour later that I stood up to stretch. Alfred was cracking his neck as he yawned loudly. "Well, that went better than I thought it would."
"Yeah," Alfred said with a smile. He stood up, grabbing his notes. "And you're not that bad at math. You catch on quick enough. Just take some patience."
"Yes, well. Kiku has been helping me for quite some time now." I tidied up my side of the table as well.
"It's surprising you're not good at math. You love rules and that's basically all this stuff is about."
I looked over at Alfred, again, slightly touched. I wasn't sure why, but I smiled a little bit more. "Yes well, the same could be said for you with English. You are rather talented at math. I must admit I have underestimated you."
"Aw, thanks dude!" Alfred slung his book bag around his shoulder. He stopped and looked at me. "You know, you're kinda cute. Are you and that French dude dating?"
My face heated up worse than I'd ever felt before. But not from being called cute. Oh hell no, I'd never admit to that. It was for Alfred even thinking I was dating Francis. "H-HOW DARE YOU THINK I'M DATING THAT FROG! HONESTLY! I hate that bloody moron! He's horrific!"
Alfred laughed. The one where his head rolled back and his voice echoed off the wall. "Ah, so it's true! You really are gay!"
"I beg your pardon!" I stumbled away from the table. I certainly had told no one of my sexuality, even if Alfred was only half right.
"It's been a little rumor going around. I thought it was just because people were mad you're such a tight-ass or something, but I guess it's true." Alfred held up his finger. "I could tell because you never denied that it was a man, just that it was Francis."
I looked down at my feet. Damn he was cunning. With him knowing my sexuality, that could possibly mean he had blackmail on me. That meant he had the upper hand. I hated that. He was a year younger than me and I was the Student Body President. If he told anyone of my sexuality, I would never win another election, not to mention ever get a date with a man or a female.
I was such a nervous wreck that I didn't notice him approach me. He was standing next to me when he kissed me lightly on the cheek. I jumped back, my hand on my red hot face. I couldn't even talk correctly. Alfred just chuckled.
"Yup. Definitely cute. See ya tomorrow."
I watched as he left, still unable to say anything. After Alfred was far gone, I sunk to the floor. That bastard had just given me my first cheek kiss, if there was such a title. I wasn't sure what to do next. Oh wait, I was scheduled to have an English tutoring session with Alfred tomorrow. And I never did turn down a challenge and I couldn't quit.
So tomorrow would have to come.
Hoshiko2's cents: MERRY CHRISTMAS KANTA! I WUV YOU!
Ah, this was so much fun to write, actually. I was bored shitless at work and had a new notebook I got for Christmas and the thing is half filled with this fanfic. Haha. I can't believe how fast it came out.
Show of hands at how many of you have corrected someone in their sentence mid-way through. *Raises my own.* :3
Expect chapter 2 in a few days! Please leave me a nice review too! :3