Tutoring [Michaela, Konrad]

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Tutoring [Michaela, Konrad]

Postby EtB » Thu Feb 19, 2015 9:18 am

Michaela Carter (Eric the Bard)
(1/30/2015 11:33:52 AM) (2016395)

Coach had taken me aside today and "expressed concern" over my grades. I suppose I couldn't blame her. My grades were slipping, but considering the stress I'd been under lately....

Well. Nothing to do but do something about it, and I had gone to the bulletin board and hunted down a math tutor. I didn't expect this to be a whole lot of fun. Math wasn't a subject I was really great in to start with, and having to go to a sophomore -- even if he was like a prodigy or something -- was embarrassing. But it had to be done, so I did it. I didn't like having to fork over money, either.

So I meet Konrad in one of the study halls in the school, and my step is a bit stiff, I'll admit, my dishwater hair pulled back in a ponytail, amber eyes scanning the room. No one else in here but us. That's .....something, at least. I'd showered and changed after practice, and wore shorts with a Tshirt bearing the school's lettering and mascot. My backpack got slung into a chair nearby, I slung myself into a chair across from him, and dropped his fee on the table as I dug my books out.

I can't believe I am paying to spend the next hour being made to feel like an idiot.

Finally, because it's polite, I extend a hand over the table. "Hi. I'm Michaela." As if he didn't know. He'll probably call me "Mikey" like everyone except Coach does. It's not that I mind the nickname so much? I just don't like sharing it with boys. There's enough around here who doubt I'm female.

Konrad Kendel (Dead Elf Mage)
(1/30/2015 11:48:44 AM) (2016403)

I've got a student who needs help with math. It's not glamorous, but it's a bit of extra money, and let's face it, I can always use the cash to keep my computer up to speed. Low performance means low performance, and that means second-rate results. I'm not gonna have any of that crap. So I want to make sure the word gets out that I can help kids who need it. Even... you know... the morons.

When she arrives, I stand up to greet her, shaking her hand as she offers it. So far, so good. I have to admit, I'm not expecting much from a jock, much less the school's oh-so-important track star, but...

"Konrad." Not 'Conner', not 'K-rad', nothing fucking idiotic like that. "Good to meet you, Michaela." As we sit, I rest a hand lightly on the stack of textbooks on the table next to me. "So, Michaela. Tell me what exactly you need help with... trig? Algebra?"

Michaela Carter (Eric the Bard)
(1/30/2015 12:01:01 PM) (2016417)

The fact that he actually uses my full name gets a smile from me. It isn't a big smile, but it's more than I usually manage. "My pleasure, Konrad," I return, squeezing his hand once lightly before I let go. I don't know why they call it "shaking hands" I've never seen anyone actually shake hands, just kind of grasp and let go.

Focus, Mikey.

"Algebra," I admit, breaking out the book. "There's all those formulas. It's just not getting through. I bombed the last test, and I can't afford to bomb another, so I thought any help I can get is help I can use." I open the book, flipping through it to our latest homework assignment. Then I dig out my notebook, and flip it to the same place. "I don't know if I can afford your rates regularly, but I'd be grateful for whatever you can manage." Maybe not gracious, but grateful, at least.

The truth is, if I were in my head, where it should be, I could probably do it on my own. But I'm not, and I have to find some way to compensate for that. I look tired; exhausted even, and I am. I'm not looking for pity, though, I am actually unaware of how bad I look.

"So...." I ask. "Where....how do we start?"

Konrad Kendel (Dead Elf Mage)
(1/30/2015 12:12:34 PM) (2016422)

I nod slowly, "Fair enough. The thing to remember about algebra is that it's not really about the formulas." It's a common misconception, and one that the school system doesn't do anything to overcome. Really, it's very lazy of them, but the math teachers only know so much, so I suppose I can forgive their shameful failure to actually teach their discipline, instead of simply teaching the tests.

"As for the money, for the moment, let's just focus on the material. We can worry about the rest later." Moving around the table, I come to look at the textbook and her notebook. Sure, she's got some problems here, but you know, you can't expect a jock to actually get more than just maybe multiplication tables without help, right? It's just not fair to try to make them think. I mean, look at her. She probably runs herself ragged - literally.

"Well, the first thing to remember is that algebra's actually about relationships. That's what the formulas are trying to express: relationships between the numbers on one side of the equation, and the numbers on the other side. What you do to one side, you do to the other side. With me so far?"

Michaela Carter (Eric the Bard)
(1/30/2015 12:24:09 PM) (2016426)

I'm....really not that comfortable with him standing on this side of the table, but I force that back, turning my eyes to the notebook, following what he's telling me. I nod, slowly. "Okay. That seems simple enough. So it's like...balances. It's got to..." I make a weighing motion with my hands. "....you know. Balance."

God, I sound like an idiot. The flush in my cheeks shows I'm aware of it.

"So focus on the raw numbers, instead of the formulas, is that it?" I ask, trying to reach to the heart of it. I turn my head to look at his face, and that's a mistake. I'm sitting, he's standing, and although he isn't crowding close or moving in on me or anything, I have to fight back the sudden impression that he's looming over me, and for a second, I'm remembering the muggers in the alleyway, and being stabbed, and not dying. I quickly turn my face back to the notebook because I don't know what is on it and I don't want him to see.

Jesus. This was the wrong time to do this. I should have gotten some sleep first. But I'm here, and I already paid. Make the best of it.

"I'm with you," I say, after a moment of forcing my voice to actually function. "Go ahead."

Konrad Kendel (Dead Elf Mage)
(1/30/2015 12:34:05 PM) (2016434)

Hey, look at that! The jock can understand basic concepts! Really, that's the key to jocks: just make everything simple enough for your average goldfish.

Well, ok, maybe a little simpler than that.

"Right, balance. That's all it is. Trying to simplify things. Like, when solving for 'x'? The first thing you want to do is to get all the 'x's on the left side of the equation, and then get everything that's not 'x' on the right side."

I notice the way she looks up, then suddenly looks away, but totally misread it. The jock's thinking with her hormones again. Joy.

"You know... you'll probably have an easier time with all of this when you're wide awake. You look exhausted."

Michaela Carter (Eric the Bard)
(1/30/2015 12:42:02 PM) (2016436)

Just for fun. int. Let's call it 6.

Die Roll: 2d10: 1, 7, for a total of 8

Michaela Carter (Eric the Bard)
(1/30/2015 12:49:17 PM) (2016440)

"I am exhausted," I admit, rubbing my forehead. "I've been....having a little trouble sleeping. But teacher's don't give a damn, and tests don't wait, and there's other crap in between."

The truth is, I would sleep....if I could. If it isn't getting stabbed in an alleyway, it's Lilly throwing fire at me. Unconsciously, I flex my left hand. It had healed clean by the time I'd woken up the next day, but the skin still felt tight sometimes. All in my head. Besides. It's an excuse. I don't like excuses. I don't allow myself excuses.

I stare down at the paper, and try to figure out how to do what he just said, and it just....doesn't parse. It's like staring at a foreign language. And I sit there, feeling dumber and dumber, and my embarrassment mounts until my cheeks are flushing again, and I have to do something to break this moment, and I have no idea what.

Suddenly, I stand up, nearly knocking my chair over. "You know what? You're right. I apologize for wasting your time. I need to go, to get some sleep...." And I start trying to gather everything, and manage, with my preternatural grace and poise, to dump everything on the floor.

You know, at this point, if I can get out the door without bursting into tears? I'll take that. I'll take that gladly.

Konrad Kendel (Dead Elf Mage)
(1/30/2015 1:05:56 PM) (2016447)

"Hey..." I shake my head a little. "You're not wasting my time. God, stop being such a jock for a moment, huh?"

"You all do this, you know. You run into a little difficulty and you think you have to push on through on guts and pigheadedness. Stamina, you call it, like it's some kind of virtue..." Sighing, I force myself to calm down a little. God, these people are gonna give me an ulcer before I'm eighteen. "Michaela... seriously, c'mon. It's a little thing. It's a tiny, little thing. But you're here. That's the right move. You need help, you ask for it. Same thing with the sleeping. You need help, go see a doctor, get them to give you Valium or something. Then you bring in the note, and the teachers have to give you a make-up."

Then I nod down toward her notebook. "And that stuff? It's all one step at a time. Like, if there's an 'x' in the bottom half on the right side? Multiply both sides by 'x' to cancel it. If there's one on the top half? Divide by 'x' to cancel that out. Little steps. Break it down as much as you can. You can do it. I promise...."

There's a moment, where I could just totally turn this into me ripping on her again, but... the kid's clearly at the end of her rope. So instead, I wind up just shaking my head a little, and trying for a smile. "And if you have any trouble, you've got my number. Call me. We'll get together somewhere and I'll help you with it, ok? Someplace that isn't as..." I look around and shrug, "annoying. Maybe McBurgerQueen or something?"

Michaela Carter (Eric the Bard)
(1/30/2015 1:18:05 PM) (2016450)

That first comment is like a slap to the face, and I react sharply, standing up straight, opening my mouth, but then he goes on. And he's clearly choking down his own impatience. Christ. He's trying.

Why can't I?

I look down at the floor, and slowly bring my eyes up to his. I'm a tallish girl, five-seven or eight. And I give him a long, weighing look, thinking about all the things he could have said, and didn't. All the things I might have said. I take a deep breath, and let it out, slow.

"You're right. I mean, even us dumb jocks need to know when to quit, I guess." I try to force a smile, to try to be nice to this guy who's only trying to help. I can appreciate that, especially since I came to him. I shake my head on the valium, though. I work through what he's saying in my head. It sounds so basic and so childish that I feel embarrassed I needed someone else to tell me. "I guess I'm just...frustrated." I might consider that doctor's note.

Except I'm terrified to go to the doctor's now. What happens when they try to draw blood?

"You know what, that sounds good. Somewhere else. These rooms always feel so....confining," I confess. Probably not a surprising observation from a girl who spends most of her day running. "I'm sorry I freaked out on you. It's....been a week."

Now there's an understatement.

"Should I sit down and try again, or do you just want to call this a botch and try again later?"

Konrad Kendel (Dead Elf Mage)
(1/30/2015 1:20:40 PM) (2016452)

Well. She's trying, at least. That's to be encouraged.

"You tell me: you think you can focus, or should we try again after school with some burgers or pizza or something to help you relax?"

Michaela Carter (Eric the Bard)
(1/30/2015 1:30:06 PM) (2016457)

Oh good. More decisions. Because I obviously need to be making more of those.

And that thought, in itself, decides me.

"After school," I say, firmly. "I have practice, and then I have to run home, but after that I can meet with you. Greasy burgers and salty fries sounds good. I have your number, I'll give you a call." I have no idea if he's aware that when I say run home, I actually mean that literally; three miles between home and school. And I don't own a car. Neither does Mom. I regularly do between six and ten miles a day. I extend my hand to him again. "Thanks a lot, Konrad. You're....pretty cool."

Great. Now he probably thinks I want to date him or something. Well, deal with that if it comes up. With what he said about jocks, I kinda doubt I'm his type. I hope not, at least. And because I believe in you know, giving where you get -- I may have paid him, but you know, the money didn't cover being a decent human being.

"I dunno what I can do for you, but if you think of something....let me know."

Konrad Kendel (Dead Elf Mage)
(1/30/2015 1:34:39 PM) (2016460)

For a moment, I give her a long, evaluating look. "You want to know what you can do for me? What's your next class?" Then I wave the question off. "Whatever it is? Sleep through it."

"Heck, put your head down now, sleep through the rest of the period. I'll make sure nobody bothers you. You could use it."

I mean, obviously, I'm not going to hit on her - let's face it, I wouldn't be able to handle dating a jock. They'd drive me insane. But that doesn't mean I can't be nice to her. Dad always taught me to be nice to the girls. Even the ones who don't deserve it. Especially them. Not that she seems like that kind of little bitch, but... yeah. Always be nice to the girls.
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