The Jimogen Journal Collection 004: Who has time for drama with all this homework? part 2
“I hope she’ll be a fool—that’s the best thing a girl can be in this world, a beautiful little fool.”– Daisy from The Great Gatsby
It was the day they would have their first real conversation.
Imogen hurriedly gathered the books from her locker as she spotted a familiar mop of black hair on the other end of the hall. She fumbled with her lock and called out to get his attention: “Eli!” The boy paused and turned to see Imogen skipping over.
Eli gave her a kind smile as she stopped in front of him with an awkward hop. “What’s up?”
Imogen couldn’t stop the goofy grin from spreading across her face. “Are you free today? I’m reading Gatsby and wanted your input for my paper…” She trailed off when she saw Eli’s expression change to one filled with hesitation.
“Sorry Imogen. I already made plans with Adam. But I’m sure you’ll do just fine even without my brilliant editing skills.” He gave her a wink and a sheepish grin before walking down the hall to where Adam Torres was standing impatiently with a stack of graphic novels and DVDs. Imogen tried to shrug off her disappointment as she made her way to the library. Even if she didn’t have Eli’s help she might as well work on her paper.
Jake Martin yawned and rubbed his forehead reflexively. He had spent the last hour attempting to get through The Great Gatsby. It wasn’t as bad as he had feared but he was still having trouble staying focused. Jake had reread the same paragraph four times and still had no idea what it said. This assignment was becoming more troublesome by the minute. He put the book down on the round table in front of him and stretched his arms toward the ceiling with another yawn. When he opened his eyes, she was in front of him. He watched as Imogen scanned the room taking in the tables crowed with polo-clad students eagerly studying in groups. Her eyes finally made their way to Jake’s table and she paused, an apprehensive veil washing over her features. A tiny smile spread across Jake’s lips. He gave her a slight nod happy to have a distraction and - if he was being honest- Imogen’s attention.
The pigtailed girl shuffled over to him and dropped her bag on the table. Her hand rested cautiously on the chair across from Jake. “You’re still reading?” she said with judgmental surprise.
Jake’s grin faltered. He slowly picked his book up keeping his eyes focused on the table. “It’s not really my thing.”
Imogen rolled her eyes and pulled the seat back settling into the work space. Jake was impressed by how fast her tentative facade had faded into an air of superiority. He watched as she pulled her own copy of Gatsby and an overstuffed purple notebook out of her bag. A small piece of yellow legal paper fluttered down to the floor as she did so. Imogen didn’t seem to notice but Jake did. He pushed his seat back and reached under the table for it. Imogen cocked a crooked eyebrow his way as he disappeared from her view. Imogen followed him watching as he stretched his hand out brushing the abandoned paper with his fingertips. Her eyes grew wide and she dived under the table with a thud. Jake jolted back from shock and his head made contact with the underside of the table. “Shit!” The resounding thud brought all the hushed whispers of the room to a silence. All eyes turned to the commotion under the table where Jake was doubled over in pain and Imogen sat wide eyed, clutching the yellow paper scrap to her chest with such force her knuckles were white- a scared deer in their headlight stares. Her eyes darted around avoiding their eyes. After a moment she relaxed and shrugged as if she spent all her days crawling under tables with Jake Martin. Jake on the hand was completely baffled.
Imogen reached out and brushed the back of Jake’s hair. He recoiled from her touch and backed out from under the table. She followed him from her side watching as he tried to shake away the pain. From personal experience she knew that was not a very effective way of treating head injuries. “Do you need to go to the nurse?” Jake’s eyes flickered over to her in confusion. He sat still with his eyes fixed on Imogen like he wasn’t sure what to make of her. Imogen watched his eyes drift to the paper in her hand. “I’m sorry about that. This is private.”
“Maybe you shouldn’t be so careless with your private things.” Jake snapped back. He glanced at the table next to them where several tenth graders were giving the pair dirty looks.
Imogen’s gaze softened as she choked back a laugh. “That sounds weird.”
Jake wanted to be mad. He wanted to be annoyed but for some reason he wasn’t. Imogen was kinda crazy but that just made her exciting. He torn his eyes from her and sighed picking up Gatsby. “I’m fine. Well my head’s fine. But I could use a little help with this.” Imogen watched as he shook the tome carelessly.
She didn’t like Jake’s sudden interest in her. It made her feel self conscious. Especially since moments before Jake had come far too close to learning her secret. She relaxed and looked the taller boy straight in the eye. She could easily get out of this. “I was actually hoping Eli would help me with my own paper.”
Jake laughed. She was taken aback by his expression. He seemed amused and hurt at the same time. “Some people might say I’m a poor man’s substitute for that guy.” Jake was looking at her but all at once she realized he wasn’t. His mind was somewhere else now. She had always thought of Jake as an open book. Just another sheep in the halls of Degrassi, but in this moment he was guarded as if there was something under the surface that he didn’t want her to see. “Wanna give me a quick summary at least?”
Imogen pulled back from her thoughts. For some reason his words weren’t making sense to her. Maybe she was the one who hit her head. “Of the book?”
“Not really.” She started packing up her bag. It would be easier to work at home anyway. “I’m sure you’ll manage.”
“You’re leaving? After you nearly gave me a concussion?”
Imogen looked up at him as she pushed in the chair. She was surprised to see his eyes filled with disappointment. “You’ll live.”
“Wait! Imogen!” Jake jumped up from his seat and stepped toward her. “Look, I need some help with this. I just don’t know what I’m supposed to be getting from this book.” He leaned down so their faces were a breath apart. “And well… you owe me.”
Imogen’s nose scrunched up as she looked up at him. “I owe you? For what?!”
“Nearly giving me a concussion?” His smile took Imogen by surprise. She had no idea what Jake was thinking. No idea at all.
//Entry #04. Toronto.
Finally have some help with this paper. Imogen’s coming over on Saturday. This should be interesting.
Remnants of the Journal Collection of one, Imogen Moreno!
Never will I underestimate Jake Martin again! Suddenly stuck “helping” Jake with his homework whatever that means. If he thinks I’m going to write his paper for him he has another thing coming.