“So what do you need help with?”
“What can you help me with?”
“Well, I don’t know what you need help with, so that’s a bit of a useless question, isn’t it?”
C.C. glared. Fulbright Scholar or not, even if he’d been nice at the party and – not that she would ever openly admit it to anyone – kind of cute, right now as they sat in the library, Lelouch vi Britannia was coming off as an ass. So she told him so.
“You’re an ass.”
Bewildered, he blinked at her.
“I said,” she said, “that you are being an ass.”
She was surprised to see that he genuinely was. Frowning, he glanced at his watch. “I didn’t mean to be.”
She opened her mouth to accept his apology and also inform him that unfortunately, she had no use for his services, when he added, “But in my defense, you were late.”
She smiled. So he had some backbone to him, did he? Interesting.
“I would have told you, but I don’t have your number.”
“I haven’t got a cell-phone yet.”
She stared as he hurriedly told her how it hadn’t got anything to do with money but that he just didn’t know where to go. Sitting up, she asked him if he wanted to go now.
“Buy a phone.”
“What about your studies?”
“We can do it tomorrow. I don’t have anything to do tomorrow until the afternoon.”
He pursed his lips. Milly had said she’d gone through a variety of tutors, but he was only just starting to see why. Willful, she seemed determined to get out of studying and ready to resent whoever got in her way. It was sort of a wonder she’d managed to get into a university of this prestige, though, truth be told, maybe he should reserve his judgment for when he got to know her better. Who knew? She could be a genius in her own right. There had to have been a reason why admissions had accepted her, right? But until that moment of discovery, she would need someone firm to instruct her, and he mentally rolled up his sleeves. She might be stubborn, but so was he and he never went back on his word.
“I have to go to Mass tomorrow morning,” he said. “But why don’t we go on Monday? For now, we’ll start on derivatives. Do you know your theorems?”
He felt her eyes burning into him for some time, but he weathered ahead. Even if she hated him for it – which was quite sad if he were to be honest because he really, truly did think she was one of the most beautiful people he’d ever seen – at least he could say he had tried. All the same, he couldn’t help but feel the slightest flicker of reluctance at his choice to be the strict, stringent teacher.
That was the problem with pretty people; you didn’t want to disappoint them.
Oh, well. It was in God’s hands now whether they would have a second session or not. Not that he was really sure if God existed, but that was besides the point, wasn’t it?
It was, so he busied himself with calculus instead.
. . .
“How was it?”
C.C. looked up from the book she’d been reading as Milly flounced into her room. She sat on the corner of her bed and eagerly awaited all the juicy details. As the one who’d connected client with tutor, she believed herself the rightful owner of all the gossip between them. Lelouch had done his best to evade her questions, but even with all his years of experience, he couldn’t completely avoid revealing some truth. Even his silence had been chatty and told her just how utterly head-over-heels he was for her friend. Not that Milly would tell C.C. It was after all none of her business to take that upon herself. And she was a better friend than that. So she held off on telling her.
For now, anyway.
“Do you think there’s going to be a second time?”
“I don’t see why not.”
“So you like him.”
“Don’t put words in my mouth.”
“But you do. At least better than the others.”
Apparently turning the page was such a great and momentous task because it made talking impossible. Milly smiled to herself. It was still a bit too early to tell, but she already felt how good Lelouch would be for C.C. Way better than Alex would be anyway. Speaking of which.
“Alex dropped by while you were out by the way.”
The maternal instinct Milly felt for C.C. frowned when she saw her set her book down.
“What did he want?”
“He was going to ask if you were going to go to the game tomorrow.”
“Did he say he wanted me to?”
She stuck a bookmark between the pages of her book and sat up. Milly watched with dismay.
“Then I am. Did he say anything else?”
“No, but you know, C.C., Alex seems to really… He brings out a side of you that I didn’t know was there.”
“Isn’t that a good thing?”
Milly tried not to sigh. She was so young. Clever, but still young, which only made her want to protect her even more. But protecting her wouldn’t let her learn, which she would need to do on her own if the lessons were to stay with her. So she simply smiled.
“Do you mind if I go to the game with you? I don’t really have anything to do, and I hate staying in.”
C.C. shrugged. “Won’t that mean Rivalz is coming then?”
She laughed lightly. “Not this time. I was thinking about inviting Lelouch. Give him a good dose of American culture. I don’t think he’s aware yet of how intense it can get.”
“Do what you want. I’m still going with or without him.”
Milly nodded and left to put her plan into action. She wasn’t wrong when she said she couldn’t protect C.C. But she sure as hell was going to give her a nudge in the right direction. She owed her at least that much as her friend.