"Ok, remember the "sum of the series" is the actual result when all the terms of the series are summed."
"Right, so than the sum of n=0?"
"Rght, you got it! And it only took you two weeks." He smiled.
"I'm just not gifted in math like you are. I can't thank you enough for tutoring me, even if Jane put you up to this." She half smiled.
"It's no problem at all. I wish I had an ounce of the talent you have. I can't draw even if my life depended on it."
Just then one of the cell phones on the library table began to vibrate and catch the attention of the surrounding students. The young man grabbed it briskly and proceeded to see who it was; although he already knew.
"It's Jane, I guess her practice is over. Right on time too! So do you feel ready for the exam on Friday?"
"I think so. I'll just review the problems I had the most trouble with."
"I have faith that you'll do well this time Karen. If you get stuck again just call me okay?"
"Hey missy, you going to ace that test or what?"
"I hope so Jane, I feel horrible for tormenting Liam for two whole weeks." Karen confessed.
"Oh you know he likes to help anyone any chance he gets. Plus you're like a sister to him."
"You mean like a sister in law? Atleast that's more what it feels like. So how was practice, did you spike Maggie in the face or what?" She laughed.
"No not this time, but come this weekend and I will! Oh which reminds me, Greg asked about you again. I'm telling you, we should all go out."
"I don't know, he's nice and all but I'm just not interested. You know I can't fake it!"
"We can just go to your typical fast food and a movie deal. C'mon, he keeps bugging Liam about it. Just as friends?"
"Fine Jane, besides I can use a little fun after such a stressful week."
"Great, I'm telling Liam ASAP."
After school Karen drove home pondering how well she would do on her test and more so, how well she would do on the date. She thought there would be so much pressure from Jane and Liam, since they were the couple and it was a given that they'd be kissing and holding hands. She hoped that Greg wouldn't assume anything more than a good conversation, if that.
Meanwhile Liam was driving Jane home, talking about their weekend plans. Clearly Jane was a little too excited about Greg and Karen hooking up.
"Are you sure she agreed to it because she was interested or because you made her?" Liam questioned.
"What difference does it make? Greg deserves this chance to sweep Karen off her feet. I know they'll end up together soon." Jane persuaded.
"I don't know, Greg just doesn't seem like her type."
"If anyone knows Karen's type, it's me. She likes that tall, dark and handsome kind of guy. Why wouldn't it work out?"
"Because they are completely different; I'm talking polar opposites." Liam pointed out.
"So are we, but we're together. Let's just see what happens okay?"
Liam nodded still unsure. He had been dating Jane for almost 2 years now, and had also known Karen for the same amount of time. Still within these past few weeks he'd been spending with Karen, helping her out with her Calculus, he was inevitably getting to know her more. Not that their conversations strayed down many rabbit holes, but it was still an opportunity to see Karen's personality shine without the distraction of Jane lingering around. He would admit to seeing her like a sister, after all she was Jane's best friend since elementary school, only now he was glad she really wasn't.
The scent of another fabulous Friday filled the high school halls. And in case you would happen to forget, the intoxicating aroma of fried foods coming from the cafeteria was a sure reminder; as they served it faithfully every Friday.
Karen stepped out of the classroom in a better mood than when she walked in. She didn't die after all. She felt her pulse as she walked over to her locker; yes she survived the exam and was confident of the grade.
"Hey, so how did you do?"
"Oh gosh, I owe you one big time! It went great!"
"See, that's awesome! I'm very proud of you!"
"Thanks Liam, I just hope I understand everything else and then I should be good for the rest of the semester."
"I have no doubt, and if you ever need any help you have my number and my services."
"You are too kind." Karen said as she bowed her head.
"So are you sure about this date with Greg tonight?" Liam asked curiously.
"Yeah, why not? I'm glad you guys are going though, I wouldn't agree to it if I was going alone."
Liam gave a sympathetic smile and just then Jane joined them. She wrapped her arms around the both of them and they continued to walk down the hall.
Karen stood looking at herself in the mirror; squinting her eyes at the shirt she'd selected. Then she placed another on top to see if it convinced her more. Instead, she ended up grabbing her favorite long sleeve striped shirt to go along with her jeans and brown boots. She brushed her fingers through her hair, grabbed the rest of her accessories and shoved her ID and money in her back pocket.
Down the road Liam was driving with Jane and Greg about to pick Karen up. Greg looked very anxious and excited, so much so, that he wouldn't stop twirling the single rose he had in his hand. Jane jumped out of the car once they had pulled up to the house. When Karen heard the knock she immediately jolted out the door.
Refusing not to make a big deal and show neutral emotions, Karen gave a friendly smile to Greg and sat beside him in the back. The next stop was the Blue Moon Diner, right next to the movie theater. This was the place to be at on Friday nights.
"So I heard that you did well on your Calculus test?" Greg spoke.
"I believe I did. I don't know what it is with numbers and I, we just don't mix." Karen smirked.
"Well, I took that class last semester so if you need any help…"
"Thanks, I'll keep that in mind." Karen answered.
When Greg mentioned that, Liam couldn't help but look back through the rear view mirror. Tryng to read and observe Karen's reaction; wondering if she would say something like "No thanks, Liam's helping me." But then he caught himself. Why was he wondering that in the first place? It would be better for him, more time for Jane. Though he couldn't help realize that he actually liked hanging out with Karen, even with math equations involved. Karen had something refreshing about her that Jane didn't.
Almost convicted for admitting that to himself, he shook his head and focused on the road; looking over at Jane and smiling. Knowing she wasn't aware of the thoughts in his head. Maybe he was just really hungry and his appetite was affecting his thought process. That must be it, he thought.
Jane was still giddy and hopeful for her best friend. She held on to Liam's hand and squeezed it every time she saw Karen or Greg smile. Jane was never the match maker type, but throughout the entire time that she'd been with Liam, Karen had only been on one or two dates. And Jane dreamed of having double dates instead of just odd number hangouts.
Karen scooted into one of the booths, Greg followed after. On the other side sat Jane and Liam. Karen's opinion of how the night was turning out began to change. Greg was so far a perfect gentleman and apparently very interested. He asked a lot of questions; not just your ordinary ones. And he did it in a way that wasn't annoying or bothersome. Still she sensed and witnessed Jane nudging Liam, and that did make her a little uncomfortable.
The group ordered shakes with burgers and fries, keeping it as casual as possible. Unfortunately, Jane's persistence was growing more obvious as she would randomly blurt out things she thought Greg should know. Thinking she was helping the situation; Greg appreciated it but Liam thought it was a bit much. And he could tell by Karen's fake smiles.
"Would you excuse me a minute, I need to use the restroom." Karen said.
Although it seemed clear that Karen wanted to go alone, Jane thought it would be a great chance to see what she thought so far. Back at the table, Liam and Greg began to talk about irrelevant things. Liam didn't want to ask about Karen, he wasn't sure why he didn't want to know.
"So I think I really like Karen!" Greg finally exploded.
"Yeah? That's great man. She's a great girl."
"Do you think she likes me just as much?"
"Well… it's the first date you know. Some girls don't like to feel rushed." Liam commented.
"So you don't think she likes me?" Greg asked confused.
"Oh no, I mean yeah. How could she not? From what I heard, you're just her type."
"Nice. We can't all be blonde and blue eyed like you bro." Greg smirked.
Liam didn't have a response to that; he just gave a shy smile. Then of course his thoughts began to wander off again. Does she really like his type? What , does she not like blonde guys at all? Liam felt like he busted himself again. Why was he even thinking this?
Whilst Karen used the bathroom, taking her sweet time avoiding the questions she knew that Jane wanted to launch at her. When she finally came out, she found Jane standing there and starrng at her, eyes almost bulging out of her head waiting for answer.
"Well? I asked you what you thought of Greg?"
"Oh you did, I must not have heard you. Well he's great. I mean he's good looking and smart; the whole package." Karen admitted.
"So why don't you look more excited?"
"I don't know…maybe because I don't feel a spark."
"Okay, well promise to not brush him off just yet. Give him a chance; maybe you'll feel the spark later. Who knows?" Jane winked.
Karen nodded and smiled with her lips pressed together. I almost rather go see the movie by myself, Ugh.
The girls joined the table decorated with their orders; the guys had already begun to pick at the fries. And for the next half hour the group indulged in their platters and shared few comments and silly one-liners.
Later on, the two couples were standing in line waiting to be let in to the theater room. Jane had her arms around Liam, but he tried to keep their affections to a minimum to not make the others feel awkward. Karen was walking back towards the line, from the concession stand, and quickly spotted Liam. He was pretty tall; no matter the amount of people, even at school, he was hard to miss.
"You had to get those sugar babies huh?" Liam smiled.
"Yup, no movie is complete without them." Karen assured.
"She always gets them. I used to think that Karen would get tired of them, but clearly thats never going to happen." Jane further explained.
Greg just smiled; then again he hadn't stopped since he got out of the car. Everyone finally went on their way to their seats. But once the previews had started, Jane whined that she now had a craving for popcorn.
"Why didn't you say that earlier when we were in the line sweetie?" Liam asked.
"I didn't have the craving back then, sorry." She shrugged.
Liam calmly walked out and it wasn't till he was out of sight that Jane realized that she had his wallet in her hand bag.
"Oh, I'm such an idiot! I sent him without his wallet." Jane exclaimed.
Before Greg could offer to take it, Karen stood up and snatched it.
"I wanted to get a drink anyway." Karen added.
Jane was pleased to know that now she would have a moment to ask Greg some questions, especially regarding Karen.
Liam was standing in line when he saw Karen walking towards him. Tilting his head in question, he then sighed once he saw her waving his wallet.
"Jane must have took it off the table at the diner. Since I didn't see it, I completely forgot about it."
Karen smiled and shrugged.
"So, is the date turning out how you expected? Is there any chemistry?" Liam pried jokingly.
"Not really. I mean don't get me wrong, Greg is a great guy, with all these amazing qualities. But I need to feel a spark of attraction you know? That's not something that can be forced."
"Or faked." Liam added.
"Yeah. He's a cool friend and I wouldn't mind hanging out with him…just as friends." Karen clarified.
"What about taking him up on the tutoring offer?"
"Are you trying to get rid of me? I know it must have been torture so I don't blame you." She exaggerated.
"No no, I was just wondering if you were considering it."
"I don't think so. I think I'll be alright. Besides I'm already spoiled by your teaching methods, who can top that?" Karen laughed again.
Even if it was a light hearted compliment, Liam was still flattered. It wasn't till he felt a slight blush creep up his cheeks that he turned his head. And just in a nick of time someone shouted next.
The movie started and everyone was quickly engaged by the opening action scene. As entertaining as the movie was promising to be, Karen was still holding on to the ease and laughter of just a couple of minutes ago with Liam. Maybe because she knew him and all the good and bad things he possessed. She always felt a happy kind of jealousy over Jane and her relationship with him. But now that Karen thought about it, there were qualities in Liam she wished she could find in other guys, or even in Greg. Funny thing was, she'd never think twice about scoping a fair-haired guy over a dark one.
Karen continued down this trail and was soon left puzzled, doubting if these thoughts were at all appropriate. Could she talk about this freely with Jane, even if it meant a lot of compliments towards her boyfriend? She believed not.
The date ended fairly well. Although Greg got the hint that perhaps Karen wasn't as crazy about him as he was over her, but he was going to continue pursuing her anyway.
The parking lot was full, yet more cars poured in. It was Saturday in the afternoon and in a few minutes, the high school Volley Ball tournament was about to begin. Karen was already seated in the stands, her eyes continually on Jane as she practiced her spikes and serves.
Liam spotted her and decided to sit by her, even when he had done it so many times for Jane's past games. Somehow that was the immediate reaction, now it was something he wanted to do.
"Hey there, got an extra seat?" He hinted.
"Of course. Sit down." Karen smiled.
"How's the competition looking?"
"Well, they have a good reputation, but we have a good team. So it can be anyone's game…" Karen figured.
Within moments the game started and Jane served the ball first. The crowd's eyes went back and forth, following the bouncing ball all over the court. It started off pretty intense, leaving the fans on the edge of their seats.
Liam was indeed paying attention but he couldn't help fight the urge to want to talk to Karen; although this wasn't the best place given the extreme shouting and cheering. He wasn't even sure what to talk about. Liam then paid no mind, fearing he might act awkward and cause Karen to suspect something.
Too late; he was surprised that Karen did notice after all. He just nodded and tried to play it cool.
"It's an intense game." He quickly replied.
"Yeah it is. But you looked like something was troubling you." Karen observed.
"Nope; just watching the game."
Karen sensed the ease that she once felt with Liam…vanish. Ever since she acknowledged to herself the improper fondness she was beginning to have towards him; now growing worried that he might sense it too and want to push her away. After all he would have every right to. If admiration for him persisted it would lead down a heart broken road, but she felt helpless to shrug it off. Besides what harm could wishful thinking and daydreaming bring.
Karen imagined Liam accidentally brushing his hand over hers, and while leaving it on top of hers he then would turn to gaze at her and smile. Even if it wasn't real she couldn't help that her heart was beating faster and her hands getting a little sweaty.
"Are you blushing? Are you hot?" Liam asked wondering why she was so red yet grinning.
However, Karen's reaction wasn't as discreet. She felt as though he had read her mind and now was filled with shame.
"Is something troubling you now?" Liam continued.
"No…it's just an intense game." She agreed.
Unfortunately Jane's team lost, but it was a very close game. Karen and Liam eventually found Jane and congratulated her anyway for her amazing efforts. Jane was set on grabbing a bite to eat as usual but this time Karen didn't feel up to it. The three friends made it through the crowds to the parking lot.
"There's my car." Karen signaled.
"Are you sure you don't want to come, you always do. You're breaking our tradition." Jane insisted.
"Nah, I'm not feeling so good anyways. I think it was something I ate earlier."
"Are you okay to drive?" Liam asked concerned.
Karen was obviously lying and if it wasn't for Jane's hunger pains she would have realized it too. She shook her head and waved goodbye. Unlocking her door, she took a quick glance back and saw Liam and Jane holding hands walking in the other direction. She sighed and quickly got in the car. In a matter of seconds Liam had looked back barely missing her, but she was nowhere in sight.