"We tried to be better, but we aren't. I don't think anyone could last more than a week here if they weren't willing to do bad things." - Alba Reyes

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It wasn't Georgia Lee's first tutoring job. She reminded herself of that, repeating it mantra-like as she made her way to the Slattery house. It wasn't her first tutoring job.

It was, however, her first time tutoring someone near her own age. Older than her, even. Georgia Lee was ahead in math, but a year ahead? She'd been through his textbook the night before and noting there seemed beyond her ability, but still, she admitted to herself that she was nervous. When she'd put the notice up on the board, she'd been expecting a freshman or a sophomore, maybe a junior at the very most, but a senior? She'd specified in the ad that she was in her penultimate year, so it wasn't like they could've not known her age.

What kind of senior accepts tutoring from a junior? How desperate did you need to be?

Most of the kids she'd tutored before were trying to get ahead of the curve - or their parents were trying to get them there, rather. It wasn't that she wasn't proud of what she'd done - Georgia Lee took pride in everything that she did - but if she was being completely honest, what she'd done was not all that much. Most of the children had had a pretty good handle on their subjects already, and she Georgia Lee had done little more than babysit while they worked. Occasionally she'd correct something, or clarify a question, but for the most part she just gave them an exercise book, pointed to a page and left them to it. Often she'd even bring her own reading along: her time was precious, after all, and there was no sense in wasting it.

This would be different. For one, as far as she could tell, Aiden was paying her out of his own pocket. She didn't know him socially, or by reputation for that matter - didn't know anything about him really, except a name and a hawkish face, topped with a shock of offensively nondescript brown hair. She anticipated, however, that he might not think his money was best spent, if she simply sat around his house and read for an hour.

Then there was the second problem, which was, not to beat around the bush, that the boy was almost certainly a halfwit.

Mathematics prodigies did not, as a general rule, pay for tutoring help from girls younger than them. Even middling maths students would probably be too proud. For him to have called her, she could only imagine the tragic state his studies were in.

On the other hand, he was smart enough at least to know that he needed help, which put him leagues past many of her own classmates. On that hand too was the element of challenge, which Georgia Lee was certainly not averse to. What better way to test herself, both mathematically and as a tutor generally, than to teach some poor idiot in the year ahead of herself. Thirdly there was the moral aspect, of course. This was a boy in need of help, for Heaven's sake, and what sort of Christian would Georgia Lee be if she were to deny him?

Lastly there was the money, which without being indelicate, was more than generous.

Well that made sense, Georgia Lee thought as she arrived outside the Slattery residence. The place was nice, much nicer than the Day household. Bigger by far, not to mention in a better neighbourhood. The grass looked mown, and none of the paint was peeling. As she pushed open the gate, it didn't even squeak! This was a kid who probably had his clothes picked up and his bed made by some 15 year old Mexican girl, so why would his tutor being a year younger be any source of shame to him?

Georgia Lee waited at the door, her eyes on her watch as it ticked closer to 3. Nobody, she had found, liked people who were early. The second hand went vertical, and she pressed the doorbell.

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What Are Little Boys Made Of? · The Neighborhood