"Your five minutes reading time starts now." People rustle their papers in an attempt to read as much as possible of this stupid, pointless biology test. I slowly open the front page and stare at the first question.
But I can't read it. My mind is too busy to process the jumble of black letters on the white page. The longer I stare at it the more I am convinced I can see a scorpion. Or maybe it's an elephant? It doesn't matter anyway because I'm not supposed to look for shapes.
I take a sideways glance at Lisa and she's reading furiously. I didn't even know it was possible to move your eyes that fast. I groan quietly but Mrs Humphrey shoots me a look anyway.
I don't even see the point in trying since I know I'm going to fail anyway. My brain is thinking about other things, like the Halloween party last Friday, and it has honestly pushed everything I've ever learnt in bio to the very back, packed it away in a little box and threw away the key.
I try to focus again, rubbing my temples but the only thing I can think of is a certain event that took place at the Halloween party, but if I let myself go into detail I'll end up zoning out, like I did for most of the weekend.
That's why I didn't get any study done.
"Okay, you can start your test now. You have forty-five minutes." The papers rustle again. I don't understand how they can be so eager. I decide I should at least give it a shot, so I take a deep breath and start.
1. Why do fish need a particularly efficient respiratory system?
Because they're large and very active so they need lots of oxygen, fast. They're oxygen stealers. Like Calvin Morris. Except he's gender selective and only steals the oxygen of girls, who end up fainting in his very tall presence and claiming that he took their breath away, like the corny girls they are. I have to say, I feel the same, but I'd never tell him that so don't mention it to him, Mrs Humphrey. Please.
I'm feeling a little better that I can at least get something written down, and I try not to be distracted by Lisa's furious writing, or the stupid clock, or stupid, stupid Calvin.
2. Why do dogs have particularly large canines?
All the better to eat you with my dear: to rip and tear apart your flesh with. That's what Calvin said to me on Halloween when I asked him why is teeth were especially large and brown that night. They look like they're about to drop out, I said. And they did. Later that night, when I tripped him over.
3. Why is the classification system important?
The labels we give people, like 'popular' and 'piece of dirt not worth anyone's time', are stupid and pointless, because you never really get to see who the person actually is. For instance, I don't think Calvin knew it was me when I turned up in an angel costume. You look like an angel, he whispered in my ear. It's good to know you're not completely stupid, I shot in return. If he hadn't known before, he sure knew it was me then. But he just smiled and asked me to dance. Then he asked me why I hadn't dressed up and I rolled my eyes because that was corny and because it made me blush and I didn't want him to know that.
4. Describe the process of diffusion, using a frog as an example.
Well, Mrs Humphrey, basically the oxygen gets under its skin the way Calvin gets under mine. I don't know what it is about him, but he just pisses me off so easily. Either that or he makes me squirm. I think it has something to do with his arrogant I'm-so-good-at-everything-especially-soccer attitude and the way he orders me around, expecting me to obey his every command.
Diffusion is when particles go from a low to high concentration, the way my heart goes from slow to fast in the span of one second, the moment I realise he's anywhere near me. I blame it on the fact that my adrenaline is pumping for another one of our silly fights, where he tells me to do something and I don't and he smirks and I get frustrated and usually end up kicking him and getting a detention. But lately, I'm not so sure.
5. What purpose do root hairs on a plant serve?
I don't really know but I'm guessing they're supposed to support the plant, the way Calvin supported me that time I sprained my ankle at training and he carried me all the way to the nurse and sat there holding my hand the whole time I was complaining about the pain. What's more, he didn't even tell me to suck it up, like he normally would have, never mind that it was his fault I sprained it in the first place. Just like it was his fault I got hurt at the Halloween party because he had the champagne bottle pointed at my head and standing less than five metres away when he decided to show us his silly party trick.
6. Compare the digestive systems of a herbivore and a human.
Teeth: Very large molars
Simple or complex: Complex – they have to regurgitate stuff
Brief description: They have a caecum and four stomach chambers and they are constantly chewing and re-chewing regurgitated stuff to get as much nutrition as possible. Calvin's always chewing stuff because he eats a lot. I told him once he was a pig and he said, 'At least I'm not fat." I emptied my chocolate milk on his head and stamped on his foot. He had the grace to look guilty but he didn't say sorry. I don't care though, because I know I'm not fat. Actually, I'm practically anorexic, but not really, if you know what I mean.
Teeth: Big, whitish grin. It's not crooked but it is amazing.
Simple or complex: Both – he makes everything seem so simple but he himself is so complex because he's so much of everything. It makes him unpredictable which confuses and frustrates me to no end.
Brief description: Tall, athletic, toned, brunette, god-like, amazing at soccer, even though I will never tell him. I thought he hated me. He though I hated him. Then there was Halloween last Friday night.
7. Who introduced the term 'cells' and how did they come up with it?
Robert Hooke. Haha! I got one Mrs Humphrey! Aren't you proud of me? I only remember this because Calvin got up in front of the class and did an impersonation of Captain Hook, and I almost died laughing, but I was supposed to hate him so I hid my face in my arms, pretending to sleep. In your face, Mrs Humphrey! I told you I didn't deserve that lunch detention. I think he came up with the term when he was looking at cork under a microscope… Like the cork from the champagne bottle that hit me on the head that night and he took me to the kitchen to find ice even though I told him I was fine.
8. Identify what plants use photosynthesis for and write the equation.
To make their own energy so they don't have to be running purely on adrenaline sparked from having him stare you in the eyes while he holds an ice pack to your head, propping you up to sit on the bench top so that you can be level because you're so small and he never fails to remind you. It's like he lives to make fun of me. And you wonder why I get pissed at him all the time. I can't remember the equation but here's my guess:
Calvin + Close = Me + not breathing + pissed off
Me + Pissed off = Him + Pushed halfway across the room
But he just came right back, placing a hand on either side of my legs and smirking. You're hot when you're angry, he said. I couldn't believe I was still alive.
9. Identify the test for starch and the positive result.
Test for heartbeat: listen to it drumming in your ears. Result: definitely there but working overtime and likely to stop from exhaustion any moment. I can't tell if this is a positive result or not but I'm starting to feel a bit claustrophobic because he's all up in my space and his breath is tickling my nose, but all I can do is glare at him because I'm still trying to hold the icepack to my bruised head.
10. Assess the impact improvement in technology has had on our knowledge and understanding of cells and the cell theory.
The invention of technology has shown people that there is more than one way to interrupt a situation. The invention of reality has told me that you can never really trust your feelings. I though I hated him, but I hated my phone with such passion just then, that I had to wonder if I'd truly known what hate was. But do you know what he did? He smirked and whispered, even though the party was loud enough to hear on the other side of the world, 'don't answer it', quickly placing his large warm hand over my own small one before I could grab my phone.
I have to, I said uncertainly. But I didn't have to, and I didn't want to. Move back, Calvin, I said. You're stealing my oxygen. I was being serious, but he just laughed. Normally I would have gotten angry, screamed at him and kicked him in the balls since I was in prime position to do so. But for some reason, when he started to lean in, slowly, as though he thought I might snap and do just that, I closed the gap faster than you can say fail. And we kissed. And it was great. And I didn't even care that I was supposed to hate him. And I never wanted to stop, even when he had one hand on my bare thigh, pushing up my skirt and the other tangling itself in my hair.
All I wanted to do was get closer to him and never leave. But I had to leave, soon after that, because Lisa walked in to tell me my mum was out the front waiting and she was angry because I hadn't answered her call. Oops.
I jumped off the bench and walked straight out, in a slight daze, unsure if it really happened or if I'd just imagined it or if maybe Calvin was just mucking around.
I close my poor excuse for a test and glance behind me at Calvin, but his head is down and he's still writing. I hate him more than ever right now, because his study over the weekend probably wasn't interrupted with thoughts of me, like mine was of him. And he is probably going to get 100%, which will make me really angry.
"Alright, pens down everyone." Mrs Humphrey calls out in her raspy voice. Then she collects the papers and tells us we can leave while I'm still sitting at my desk wondering about Halloween.
"Are you coming?" Lisa asks, and I nod, heading out the door. But before I can go through I'm spun around and kissed sweetly.
"Hey Em. You never said good morning." My God, dreams really do come true.