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((Joshua Bracewell continued from Extraordinary Machine))

A wide grin was plastered across Joshua’s face as he strode contentedly down the down the corridors of the ground floor, several hefty textbooks tucked under his left arm with the other lightly clasped around a half-eaten pear. With few classmates occupying the area to exchange pleasantries with, he instead opted to look to the variety of posters plastered across the walls to occupy his thoughts instead, taking note of as many upcoming events as possible as he passed them. One in particular stood out to him, though: a lime green sheet of paper with his smiling face pasted across it and the words ‘BRACE WELL WITH JOSHUA’ sandwiching it in a vibrant font. He thought he’d retrieved all of his propaganda from the election, but his campaign had been so heavy and intense he figured it would’ve been impossible for him to not miss at least one.

He was still riding the high of his win, though his pride over the achievement had been dampened somewhat by seeing the disappointed looks on his competitors faces once the victors had been announced. If there was a way for all of them to share in the role, then Joshua would have chosen that option in a heartbeat. The guilt had been gnawing at the back of his mind for several days, subdued only by the flurry of tasks that continued to crop up in orderly fashion, one after the other; like the one he was headed to now: tutoring.

Mathematics wasn’t his greatest subject, but he still did well enough at it to qualify as a tutor for those who struggled with all the formulae and equations. He couldn’t blame them, really – if it weren’t for the cocktail of energy drinks he took before a big test or the ever-present pressure to maintain his GPA then he figured it’d be just as likely for him to be in their position instead. His student for today was Kealani Salder, a Polynesian girl who was as sweet as honey and terrific company. Tutoring her made him feel connected to his own islander roots, though she seemed slightly resistant to discussing it in much detail. But he knew she probably had her reasons for it, and it wasn’t his position to pry.

Joshua paused for a moment once he reached his destination to place the core of his fully-eaten pear into his lunchbox, remembering to save it for the family’s burgeoning compost heap at home. It was his mother’s latest project, in an effort to use less chemicals on their garden and ‘give back to the earth’, as she called it. He was always amazed at how his mother could come up with so many schemes for the benefit of the environment and the people around them, and was even happier to be able to contribute, even in such a small way as saving his food scraps at school. Helping with his parents’ interests was always an assured way of interacting with them, and being able to help the world at the same time was even more of a blessing.

Having rebuckled his schoolbag and opened the doors of the Beale Library, Joshua cast his eyes over the area before settling on his target, who’d already acquired company in the time she’d been waiting. He always tried to get to his appointments early, dreading the idea of disappointing someone or making them wait, and so he was unaccustomed to his students already having taken their seat before he got there. Inwardly chastising himself, Joshua made a mental note to get there extra early next time the two of them had an appointment.

As he got closer, he realised he could put a name to Lani’s seating partner: Nate Turner, a fellow junior. He was an utter sweetheart, and in Joshua’s eyes had always performed admirably at the theatre shows and swimming comps he’d seen him participate in.

“Hey Lani! Hey Nate! How are you guys? I'm sorry for keeping you waiting.” He waved cheerfully as he closed the distance between them and took a vacant seat at the table where they were situated, the tassels of the dark blue sweater draped over his shoulders swaying gently as he grinned at the duo.
Version Seven:
Tristan O’Hara
Dorothea Rodriguez
Ariana Simpson


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Mad Dewey Dash · Beale Library