Okay, study food was all set. Brownies? Check.
Gotta amp up the study molecules swirling in my brain. The delicious chocolatey goodness of the brownies melted in my mouth. Mmm…I needed sustinence. I had an all nighter in my future. Dr. Day’s dreaded midterm was upon me, and I was DETERMINED to make not only an A but I wanted to blow it out of the ancient black sea.
I went over different things I’d found online about the subjects we’d studied all semester. I wanted to pull out some things maybe even Dr. Day didn’t know about. I was sure I could wow him on the essay part of the test.
Next was memorizing the text. I mean, I had a photographic memory and knew this stuff backwards and forwards, but it didn’t hurt to go over everything again. I was leaving NOTHING to chance.
I really got into the Selvadoradan part of the book. My mind whirred to what it was going to be like on our expedition. I already had my research part basically done. The only thing left for me to do was find the stinking archway. I knew it had to be buried deep in the jungle. Unfortunately, it was like trying to find a needle in a haystack.
But I hoped differently. I came upon a study on the thermodynamics of the area and the ancient temples all had paths that led to each find. The temperatures of the soils were usually ten degrees hotter than the rest. They surmised there must have been an old hot springs underground and the ancients believed this to be a sign of great religious significance and built their structures accordingly. All I had to do was test the grounds or find a new hot springs in the area and voila!
Of course the mainstream archaeologists didn’t believe in the archway’s existence at all. They thought it was an ancient fairytale. Sort of like mermaids or witches.
As the hours ticked on, my eyes drooped until I decided just to take a little nap. Resting couldn’t hurt. I’d be back at it in no time.
Honestly, it was like five minutes passed when a bright light woke me up.
Drowsily, I moved my head, wondering how the middle of the night could be so light!
And then I realized what had happened. I’d fallen asleep ALL NIGHT!
Scrambling, I noticed the clock on the wall said 9:00 am. My class was at 8! Dang! If I hurried, I’d make it with just enough time to spare–hopefully, twenty minutes at least. But I had to get my ass in gear.
I couldn’t believe it. This was the most important test I was going to give all semester. The only thing left was the expedition and their following research report. No final.
What the fuck was she doing?
“Is it okay to start now, Dr. Day?” Zane Smith asked.
That brought me back to the class. “Yes,” I said curtly. “You may proceed.”
Charlene’s friend, Susan Sabatini looked worried.
I shook my head. And Charlene had written the most brilliant report I’d ever gotten from any student on The Temple of Queen Twosweat. The girl was a genius. So gifted. But if she wasn’t going to take the midterm, what could I do? She would fail and get kicked out.
Time ticked by as the students furiously scribbled their answers.
I kept watching the door, hoping Charlene would rush in, red faced, with tons of excuses on her lips. I would give her whatever time was left to finish the test.
I wasn’t a monster. Sure I was angry at Charlene for getting me in trouble with the dean, but after she’d left, I smoothed it over with him, saying she was very talented, that I’d hand picked her to help me with a carbon dating project.
He bought it.
But she was running out of time.
Even after every student had handed in their tests, I allowed fifteen more minutes. But she didn’t show. Her friend, Susan, was stalling. I finally walked up to her. “Times up, Miss Sabatini. I need your test booklet.”
“Um, okay, but if you must know, I’m worried about her. Charlie told me she was going to study all night and she isn’t answering her phone. Maybe something happened to her.”
I arched an eyebrow. “She probably overslept.” The girl would often fall asleep in my lectures. I attributed it to boredom since she had a handle of the material at a level well beyond all her peers. Or she stayed up too late. Probably the latter.
Susan sighed. “Yeah…maybe.”
Turning toward me, Susan said, “Would you go easy on her, doc? I’m sure she has a good reason.”
But I couldn’t answer. A part of me was as worried as Charlene’s friend.
My God. What did I ever do to make me cursed like this? It was like I couldn’t catch a break. Throwing on some sweats at lightspeed, I raced to my car but then discovered the keys were locked inside. I guessed I had a lot on my mind. So NO JOKE, I literally ran the whole way there. I didn’t have enough money to catch a Suber and my phone had died, so I couldn’t ask a friend to take me. I was so screwed.
Well, I figured Dr. Day might take pity on me. The truth would be written all over me in sweat beads and pit rings.
Thankfully, my test packet was waiting for me on my desk. Good old Dr. Day came through after all!
I wrote out the answers as fast as I could. The test was fairly easy, but the long answer part was going to take time.
“Miss Darby, where have you been?”
Dr. Day’s presence jolted me.
“You don’t look sick and you definitely aren’t dead, so what’s your excuse? And it better not be that you overslept.”
I was about to go to my hands and knees but there wasn’t room. “I…locked my keys in the car so I couldn’t get here in time. S-Sorry!”
“Why didn’t you call a suber or a taxi? One of your friends maybe. Even ride the bus! These excuses are ridiculous.”
“I know but I only have five dollars in my account right now and my phone died. I didn’t have time to charge it. I didn’t know about the bus system and I panicked. So I just busted my ass and ran all the way from my apartment to get here, but I was too slow. Come on, Dr. Day. Please let me finish the test.”
He crossed his arms, jaw clenching, thinking it over. He finally said, “You’re not going on the expedition. But I will allow you to finish the test. And then you may do two research papers instead. Punctuality is a redeeming quality. You need to grow up if you want to succeed.”
All of my dreams of finding the archway were dashed, but it was my own damned fault. “Thank you,” I whispered. “I’ll get right to work.”
I slipped straight through and rocked out all the answers, nailing the essay. Then I gave him the test and said, “I’m really sorry. For what it’s worth, you’re a great teacher, and I’ve enjoyed your class.”
I hated that he thought I was such a goof up. Just a mess walking around aimlessly. I was so disappointed in myself. And what’s worse, I hated that he thought of me as some irresponsible kid.
But I was grateful, too. He didn’t kick me out like he could have. I just didn’t know how to get my act together. I was such a loser.
A part of me wanted Charlene to succeed. And to be honest, I was really looking forward to observing what she came up with on our expedition. But…it wasn’t a real dig. She wouldn’t be discovering anything we didn’t already plant ahead of time. But why did I have a gnawing feeling that I was making a mistake?