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What Are Little Boys Made Of?; Snips and snails; And puppy dogs' tails
Topic Started: Jul 18 2016, 10:41 PM (381 Views)
frogue
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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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frogue
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Well, he was chatty.

That was, in all probability, a very good sign. With any luck he was simply too busy spewing drivel in class to pay attention, rather than actually moronic. There was potential here. She could work with that.

"It's Georgia Lee, actually. Not Georgia. Georgia Lee." She took the proffered hand and shook it. His grip was firm.

She could see, standing in front of him, why people called him Beaks. His nose was certainly... prominent.

The nickname seemed more fitting the more she looked. He was nearly half a foot shorter than she, and there was a definite birdlike quality to him, with his narrow, delicate limbs.

"Beaks it is then. Shall we get started?"

Georgia Lee looked past Beaks into the Slattery house. Everything inside confirmed what she'd thought outside, albeit more so. It was clean, uncluttered. Thought had obviously gone into every piece of furniture, rather than just what had been cheap, or passed on by relatives. There was actual art on the walls that looked like it had been painted by people who weren't high schoolers, unlike in the Day household. There wasn't just decoration, there was decor.

This was the sort of house she'd live in one day, Georgia Lee resolved.

One step at a time, though. She knew exactly how momentous her goals were, and the only way one could reasonably approach them was piece by tiny piece.

The first step then was to tutor the Slatterys' idiot son.

"Whereabouts are we doing this?"
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frogue
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Georgia Lee turned sharply when Aiden mentioned his bedroom, scanning his face for a hint of lasciviousness. All that her eyes found was the same vacant grin that had greeted her earlier.

Was that his game? Lure Juniors to his bedroom, pretending to need tutoring? Perhaps he was a completely different kind of desperate than what she'd first expected. With the height and the nose, perhaps this was his only option.

Or perhaps it was her, specifically. She knew how some of her peers thought of her, had been told it to her face on more than one occasion. Prude. Bitch. Frigid. Like there was something wrong with her, that she didn't find the combination of acne and Axe body spray appealing. He certainly wouldn't have been the first to try his luck with her. Was that what was going on here? Some idiotic bet with his idiot friends? See if I can melt the Ice Queen?

Well, she certainly wouldn't be having any part of it. The couch was out too, of course. The plushiest thing she would ever sit would certainly not do. Georgia Lee didn't even want to know what he intended to do there.

"The kitchen should be fine, I think. And it's Georgia Lee, thanks."

It wasn't unreasonable, she thought, to want to be addressed by one's name. Georgia Lee didn't even particularly like her name - named for a slave state and a slaver general - but it was her name, and she deserved the respect of being addressed by it. Just because Beaks was content letting people address him by some ridiculous nickname didn't mean that everyone else was so eager to abandon their dignity. To be addressed by one's name was the most basic of common courtesies, but it was amazing how often Georgia Lee had to fight even for that.

And Lee Lee? Really and truly. It sounded like a panda, for goodness' sake.
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frogue
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"Water's fine, thanks. Oh, with ice, please!" She'd noticed the ice maker on the front of the fridge.

The kitchen matched the rest of the house in opulence. Black and white chessboard tile covered the floor and the walls, and all the cupboards were matching dark wood. They were also all enormous. The kitchen itself was vast, easily the size of the Days' living room. Georgia Lee tried not to let it awe her.

She paused for a moment beside the kitchen island, and when it became clear that the smaller boy wasn't going to go ahead and invite her to sit, she went ahead and did so anyway. Those born into a lot of wealth, Georgia Lee had noticed, tended to be underdeveloped in terms of common courtesy. It came, she supposed, from never having to impress anyone. When everyone you know worked for you, why would you bother to be polite? They'd do whatever you wanted, no matter how you treat them.

And wasn't that why she was here, after all? Well no, it was not. She was here to tutor the boy, not to do whatever he wanted. Especially, she thought grimly, if he wanted what she thought he wanted.

Georgia Lee looked toward Beaks, and noticed he was staring at her. She turned away.

Opening her bag, she pulled out the textbooks that she'd gotten together the previous day, as well as a pad of refill and a ziplock bag containing pencils, and placed them on the counter in front of her. It should really be incumbent on the person hosting the tutoring, she thought, to supply the necessary materiel, but clearly Beaks thought differently. Still, she had anticipated this, and it didn't particularly trouble her. Of course someone needing tutoring wasn't going to be remotely organized, that was why she was here in the first place.
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frogue
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Beaks' relentless patter had not let up. It was like talking to a carnival barker.

There was almost hypnotic quality to it. The words came so fast and so constantly that it was very hard to pay attention to any of them, individually. It all became white noise.

Georgia Lee followed him over to the table, watching as he carried all of her supplies. He carried them gingerly, like he was afraid they'd wriggle out of his hands. Aiden was, she suspected, not too used to carrying books. She sat down at the kitchen table in front of where he'd set them out and opened what she thought to be the most pertinent textbook to what she thought to be the most pertinent page.

Already they'd wasted more time than she'd've liked. It set a bad tone, all this procrastinating: if they wasted time now, he'd get the impression that they could waste time later, and then where'd they be? Plus, any level of socializing just perpetuated the impression he seemed to have that she'd open for anything other than tutoring, which was certainly not the case.

Aiden asked if she'd done karaoke. Georgia Lee hadn't, though one of Carolina's friends had brought round an ancient version of singstar a couple of times, and Georgia Lee's mother had forced the older girls to give Georgia Lee a turn. Maria Day, presumably, had thought she was being nice, but the parental interference had brought Georgia Lee no end of strife later than night, after her parents were abed. Still, it had almost been worth it: in those few, magical minutes that Georgia Lee had belted out some pop song or other - she couldn't even remember what it was - she'd felt incredible. She hadn't been worrying about what her sister would do to her later, or about school, about grades, about anything. She'd just been... singing.

Georgia Lee had never done karaoke though, not proper karaoke, not in a bar. Still, she suspected that answering that would bring about calls to try it some time with Beaks, and that was the last thing she wanted, so instead Georgia simply gave him a curt nod.

"Yeah, I've tried karaoke. Are you ready to start?"
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frogue
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The nonstop torrent of enthusiasm was beginning to grate on Georgia Lee. How could anyone be this excited about... anything, let alone having your deficiencies pointed out by someone a year behind you.

It was incredibly off-putting.

She had to get this under control. No more indulging him. No more "Beaks". It was well past time that they actually started working.

"I don't really go to bars, Aiden. I'm 17."

Georgia Lee's voice was heavy with reproach, and her face, she hoped, conveyed just how absolutely unimpressed she was.

"We can absolutely talk about this thing later on, but I really think it's time that we start working, so why don't you take a look at this page here," she pushed the open book towards him, "and try your hand at these exercises."

It was like dealing with a little child, or a particularly irritating puppy. She wondered if he had some kind of attention disorder, or perhaps was even somewhat handicapped. He was still grinning, seeming utterly oblivious to just how tired of him she was becoming.

Patience, of course, was a virtue, but Georgia Lee failed to see how any good would be done by indulging this overgrown child any longer. It certainly wouldn't benefit him, to let him chat the lesson away, and she strongly suspected that people allowing Aiden to do whatever he wanted because he was friendly and seemed harmless was probably why he was so useless in the first place.

The money he'd offered had seemed generous, when he'd offered it. Now Georgia Lee was regretting not asking for more.
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frogue
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All the joy seemed to drain out of Aiden's face, all at once. It was like he aged 10 years before Georgia Lee's eyes, and all that little-boy exuberance seemed to vanish.

She felt like she'd kicked a puppy, and had to turn away for a momen, so as not to let him see the guilt that she could feel all over her face. He was an absolute pain of course, but had he really deserved that level of harshness?

Yes, of course he had. Georgia Lee banished the thought. Aiden couldn't make his way through life by making puppy-dog eyes at every hurdle he came across. Being annoyingly, cloyingly happy was no substitute for being able to pass maths. Tough love, that was what was required here. Any degree of lenience would be doing a disservice to him, not to mention a disservice to herself.

Georgia Lee turned back to Aiden, and had to suppress a smile at the look of utter determination on his little bird-face.

This was more like it.

[Georgia Lee Day continued elsewhere]
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