As I reviewed the first few problems with Annabelle, I had to make a conscious effort not to accidentally check her out. Whenever she leaned over to get a closer look at something on the page, it resulted in her cleavage being painfully obvious in my peripherals. Her bare thighs were also on display the entire time, and it was impossible to ignore the fact that she was half dressed when I was stuck looking at the completed packet in front of us.
Just a few more minutes.
This was supposed to be a 90 minute session, and I had already been here for nearly two hours. Because I was being paid so much, I decided earlier that it wasn’t fair to count the time it took to pull around to the back of the house, or the introductions with Trixie and the redhead that was way too comfortable in her own space. Instead, I noted the time when Annabelle and I actually started talking mathematics and used that as the official begin to our session.
Now that I had spent a little over an hour cooking and cleaning in the kitchen downstairs, we had less than ten minutes left for what I was actually hired for. While I felt a little weird about taking so much money for such a mundane task, none of this was my fault. Annabelle was the one that sent me away, and she and Trixie were annoyingly persistent about keeping me down there. At this rate, I figured I should be paid in full simply to make up for all the trouble and the awkwardness.
Annabelle and I only made it to the end of the fourth issue. While her answers were correct, there were still a few things that I went over in terms of how she could have been more thorough with her work. And, in one instance, how a different method would have been better. She had the same attitude as before: when she knows that she’s right, the potential padding of partial credit doesn’t interest her. And I understood. I was also a bit of a human calculator in high college, but university taught me to slow down. Ultimately, there’s a lot more to learn during the journey of a issue than the destination.
Maybe I would have extended our session if it had just been the time problem caused by the dishes, but Annabelle’s state of undress was too much on top of that. Eighteen or not, her high college status complicated things. “Well, that’s all the time I have,” I said. Setting the packet down to add a visual cue to the end of our session, I realized a moment too late that no longer focusing on the issue set meant that I’d have to look more directly at her.
Annabelle let out a small sigh. “Already? I wanted to learn about those last few! I had, like, no idea what I was doing.”
‘Maybe we could keep going if you got dressed.’ I wondered about saying it, but there were too many unknowns with something like that. Either she’d once again make it sound like I’m the one being weird about it, or she’d take me up on the offer. This was also MY weekend, and I had a lot to get done for my own classes. “Sorry, Annabelle. Maybe-” My voice caught in my throat. Maybe next time? This was only supposed to be a trial session, and I had already mostly decided that it wasn’t worth the trouble. I was a busy girl, and not even a few hundred dollars could tempt me to tutor a topless girl week after week.
“Maybe what?” Annabelle asked.
Well, at least I had cut myself off. Thinking quickly, I turned towards her and focused on her eyes and only her eyes. She definitely wasn’t shy about eye contact, and had noticeably deep green eyes. “Maybe I can send you some materials?” I said, “Most of those problems revolve around the same formula.”
“That would be great, Meredith. You have to take that with you to review, right?” she asked, nodding towards the packet, “Could you send me a copy with those materials? I want to try to figure it out on my own before next Saturday.”
Damn. So much for slipping out without mentioning my hesitation about continuing these tutoring sessions. “Umm, like I told your parents,” I began, not entirely sure how much they shared with their daughter about the communication leading up to this, “I’m not sure if I can make this a regular commitment.”
“But, why not? I gave up my Saturday for you, Meredith. You’re going to quit on me after one day?”
“No, it’s not like that. It’s just- umm, I mean-”
“Here.” Annabelle reached over and grabbed her phone from the coffee table. Unlocking it in half a second with her face, she handed it to me. “Give me your number. If you’re not going to come back, at least let me message you to make sure I’m doing the last few problems right after you send me everything. Just while I look for a new tutor. Okay?”
“Oh. Well . . .” I trailed off. It wasn’t exactly the most unreasonable request. Although it was definitely her fault that most of my time was wasted, maybe she deserved a little closure on the kinds of problems I introduced to her in the first place. And, again, her parents were paying me enough that a little follow-up work on my end was tolerable. “Okay. But I’m really busy, Annabelle. I might not be able to get back to you right away,” I said. As I typed in my contact information, I figured it was essential to mention something like that to a teenager who may be used to more instant replies.
Taking the phone back when I was done, Annabelle just shrugged and brushed her hair back. “That’s fine. If it means learning new things, then it’s worth the wait.”
More mature than I expected, but should that be a surprise? Despite the surprises of the day and the low key presumptuous attitude of the girl, nothing about her was particularly immature save for the occasional teenage use of the word ‘like.’
While her enthusiasm for my chosen field made it more difficult to commit to my decision to make this our first and last session, I had still more or less made up my mind. She could be as passionate and mature as she wanted, but there were just too many difficult variables that I couldn’t deal with. So, after taking a minute to collect my things, I wished Annabelle luck moving forward, and bid her farewell. Letting out a quiet sigh of relief once I was able to turn my back and no longer face the scantily clad girl, I made my way down the hall and back downstairs. Now I just had to retrace my step to my shoes.
Trixie intercepted me fairly easily, as she was dusting nearby when I reached the base of the stairs. “Ms. Moore.” Pausing her cleaning, she picked up a nearby envelope and brought it over to me. “Thank you again for your help in the kitchen. Here’s everything for teaching and cleaning, plus a small tip. I hope cash is alright.”
“It’s fine,” I lied. Hundreds of dollars would be a lot easier to deposit with a check and an app. Sliding the envelope into my bag’s side pocket, I let Trixie escort me through the house and back to the side door.
Just like that, I was back in my car. Almost thirty minutes behind schedule, but I wouldn’t complain when I had earned a big stack of cash for my troubles. Even with my prep work, the commute, and whatever future Annabelle texts I had to deal with, I still ended up making more than $100/hour. I couldn’t help myself. In the solitude of my car, I opened the envelope to check out what I had made.
My eyes widened as I sifted through the bills. Rather than the $600 I expected to discover, there were NINE hundred dollar bills waiting for me. An extra $300, for what? Dishes and a tip? It was absolutely crazy. Especially since working with Trixie wasn’t in addition to the time I spent tutoring; it was in place of it.
The moral part of me wanted to knock on the door and give the extra money back. And yet, the broke university girl part of me was a little more tempted to come back next Saturday . . .
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