I have rewritten this story to make it longer and better. I hope you like the changes!
Many thanks to my Beta, Twimarti.
"Bella, I am cutting you off." Dad called really early on a Saturday morning, and that was the first thing he said.
"What the fuck?"
"Watch your language."
"Why are you ringing so early?"
"It isn't early. It's eleven o'clock." He sounded exasperated.
I cracked my eyes open slightly and peered at the clock. He was right, but so was I. Eleven on a Saturday morning was early – especially after drinking too much at an awesome party the night before.
"What do you mean 'cutting me off'?" I asked, even though I knew what it meant.
"No more allowance. I will pay your rent and living expenses for the rest of the year, but no more allowance, unless you start studying."
"Dad, I study all the time. That's why I'm so tired." I felt bad for lying, but I was desperate. I couldn't last for much longer than a week without the money Dad gave me. It was just enough to cover a couple of bottles of alcohol, some new clothes, food, and taxis.
"If you studied that much, I think you would be at least passing your courses. I got your mock exam results today."
"Shit," I muttered under my breath. The university had just started offering practice exams. They were meant to help students prepare for the routines and show it wasn't too overwhelming. It was for all the nerds with anxiety problems who would hyperventilate at just the thought of anything less than an A grade. I had dragged myself to them just because I would be credited with ten percent of my final grade for turning up. "How did you get them?"
"They were sent to your postal address, which is my house, so I opened them. What are you doing, Bella?"
"You opened my mail? You can't do that."
Dad sighed heavily as I tried to distract him.
"What did I get?" I asked after some silence.
I wasn't surprised I was failing. I went to an average of one class each week. One class total. If I was particularly bored, I sometimes went to one each day. It should have surprised me that I was able to achieve Ds, but I just didn't care enough. "Well, that's good. They always say the mock exam mark is a good starting point. Everyone does better in their exams."
"Bella, if you don't pass, I will stop paying for everything. No allowance, no rent, no phone bill, no living expenses, no tuition fees..."
"Oh, but, Dad..." I tried turning on the tone that usually got me my way. Dad always backed down and gave me what I wanted. I just needed to use a few of my manipulation techniques, and he would forget his silly protest.
"No, that is final. No allowance now, and nothing if you don't pass. Good bye, Bella."
He hung up on me just as I was about to call him "Daddy." Pity I couldn't use my eyes to sway him over the phone. I would have to consider the long drive home if I wanted to play him properly.
I spent the rest of the day feeling sorry for myself and getting ready for a night out. Just as I was about to leave, I got another phone call.
"Bella," Dad said when I answered. He already had his "this is serious" voice going.
"Daddy!" I made myself sound as happy as I could.
"I have found you a tutor. He will help you with your studies"
He was backing down already. If he'd been truly mad at me and fully committed to his plan, he would not be organizing help to get me to pass. It all came down to his pride that his daughter was at university–I could easily use that to my advantage. "Aww, but Daddy..."
"He will text you to organize your first session. His name is Edward."
"Okay, Daddy." I needed to stay on his good side if I wanted my allowance back, and whining too much would just piss him off.
The next day, I received a text.
Hi, Bella. Could we meet in the central library at 2pm for our first session? Edward.
I snorted at all the punctuation. He must be a nerd. I replied–mainly to see if he was cool enough to understand.
Thts gd w me. Wnt me 2 brng ne thng? Ttyl B
Just as I was about to claim a victory over the nerd, he replied.
Just bring your textbooks and notes. See you at the library. Edward
I turned up at the library after I had breakfast, just out of curiosity. I didn't have any plans to use a tutor, or to study. I had already decided to live off Dad for the rest of the year then find something else. I didn't want to get a job, and I didn't want to give up the university party lifestyle, but I was sure something would come up. I would have put money, if I had any, on Dad giving in–especially if I begged for a second chance.
A tall, strange-looking guy stepped up to me as I passed him on the steps. "Bella?"
"Yeah, who's asking?"
I looked him up and down and he was not very impressive. He was wearing neatly pressed slacks and a shirt and tie under a vest. Before he led me inside the library, he picked up a tattered black duffel bag and swung it over his shoulder. It looked like Dad had found me the king of the losers.
After he offered me a seat at one of the tables, I took the opportunity to look around. I had never been in the library before. I saw no use for it unless it hosted a party, which it never had. The librarians were probably scared someone might spill their drink on the precious books. We were sitting in the middle of an open space filled with tables and a few nerds studying. Behind Edward was the issuing desk, and the rest of the space was framed with bookshelves.
Edward interrupted my sneer at the tie-dyed t-shirt two tables over. "Can you get out your textbooks and notes?"
I emptied my bagfull of books and paper I hadn't binned straight after class onto the desk, making sure it was all mixed up. He looked at it all, then at me. I sat back and waited to see his reaction. I was hoping he would give up, and that would mean Dad wouldn't get angry at me.
Unfortunately, he started organizing the mess–putting all the pieces of paper in one pile and the textbooks in another. His spidery fingers moved over the table, scuttling around my stuff and making me shiver.
"Okay," he said when he was satisfied. "Your dad gave me a list of courses you are doing, and I have planned our sessions around the ones I did because I have some background knowledge. We will also look at some basics about essay writing and exam skills to help with the others."
"Whatever," I said, agreeing for now but also searching for a way to never see his bushy eyebrows again.
"Did you leave some books at home?"
"No, I brought everything." I scanned the covers and pretended to recognize the books I had never opened. I had brought the whole pile and the one I used as a doorstop.
"You're missing some. I was going to start with Juvenal."
"Oh, yeah, I didn't buy all the textbooks. I used some of the money Dad gave me for clothes."
He stared judgmentally at me until I shifted uncomfortably. I could tell he valued books over clothes, and I could see he didn't care about looking good.
His eyes were an ugly, dirty green, reminding me of swamp water and damp moss.
He blinked slowly, like a frog watching his dinner buzz around his head. "You need the textbooks."
"Yeah, well... I need clothes too. Nakedness is frowned upon, although I'm sure some guys would disagree."
He shook his head and stared down at the table. A slight blush covered his cheeks as a sheen of sweat formed on his forehead. I almost sighed with relief that he was no longer looking at me with his slimy eyes. Unfortunately, I could then see more of his ginger hair, the sort of color that any normal person would dye or cover out of shame.
With a sigh, he took out a notebook and pen and started writing. "I will find you the books you need–someone will be selling them cheap, or we might be able to borrow them."
I kept shuddering every time he said "we." I didn't want to spend any more time than I had to being a "we" with this bibliophile. I shrugged anyway and put my feet up on the seat next to me. I wasn't going to read any of them, but I wasn't going to keep him from his book fetish.
"I can see you take good care of books, so I'm sure someone will be happy to lend theirs to you."
I looked at him in shock. I was sure it was obvious these books had never been opened. Only an idiot would think their condition was from care. He was sitting there and baring his teeth at me in some sort of grin. It took me a few seconds of staring at his teeth, which were unnaturally small, to realize he was making fun of me.
I stood up and started gathering everything into my bag. He protested weakly, saying he was only joking and trying to lighten the mood. I ignored him and stormed out of the building.
The anger carried me to the gym and through my workout. I couldn't believe that someone like Edward would laugh at someone like me. I was obviously his superior. Looks and social standing always trumped brains and book-loving. He couldn't afford to get off-side with me. I was probably the only girl he had ever spoken to. We could have been friends, and I could have helped him be a bit cooler. But, he had missed his chance.
By the time I got home, there was a message on my answering phone from Dad, telling me to ring him. I was happy to do so. I couldn't wait to tell Dad what Edward had done. Dad wouldn't make me spend time with someone who treated me like that. Hopefully Dad would demand his money back and humiliate Edward. I wondered if Dad had the power to ruin Edward's career. That would probably be doing him a favor. Who would actually enjoy teaching stinky little shits?
"Edward said you walked out on him."
Obviously, Edward hadn't told him why I walked out. I was going to enjoy enlightening Dad about his little savior. "Yeah. He laughed at me."
Dad sighed, and I could tell he wasn't going to take my side in this one. "He was trying to get through to you, and you were being a spoiled brat."
"Whatever, Dad." I wasn't in the mood to talk to Dad since I wasn't I wasn't getting my way. I wanted to be left alone for the rest of the year. Then, he could nag me and make me get a job and stop partying.
"I will make a deal with you."
"What?" I sighed, not caring about what he wanted. He had taken away my allowance and was going to take away everything else. He had no more leverage.
"I will give you your allowance if you go to tutoring."
I sat up and thought. I really wanted the money back. I could probably survive sitting in the library for a couple of hours for it, even if I had to interact with the slimy bookworm.
"How many sessions?" I asked before agreeing.
"An hour every day."
"Aww, Daddy, that's too much."
"Fine. You can have one day off each week."
"Bella... You don't have time. There are only two weeks before your exams."
"But, Daddy. You don't want me to burn out and have a break down. I don't want to have to go on anxiety medication..."
He sighed heavily, and I could imagine him rubbing his temple. "Fine. Two days..."
"Thank you, Daddy, I love you."
He huffed, said it back, and hung up. I hugged myself and rang Angela to invite her over for celebratory drinks.
Before she arrived, I started earning my allowance back by texting Edward.
Meet u 2moro? Whn? Wre? B
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