Freaked Out

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Book: Freaked Out by Annie Bryant Read Free Book Online
Authors: Annie Bryant
lumps of burning coal. Maeve wished—hoped, really—that he would just start melting like the Wicked Witch of the West. Then, the test would be cancelled. She could go to the cafeteria and socialize with her friends, maybe even get to say hello to Tim. Her dance partner had been very friendly lately, saying hi to her in the halls.
    â€œMs. Taylor-Kaplan, are you with us?” The Crow was standing over her desk. Was he smirking at her? Maeve’s palms began to sweat.
    Lisa Chen waved her hand. “But what if we do finish early, check over the test, and feel very satisfied that we’ve done our best?” Isabel gave Maeve a quick smile. Usually, Maeve loved The Lisa Show. Today, however, she could only manage a wan smile in return.
    â€œThen, by all means, Lisa, find something to read.” Mr. Sherman smiled his toothiest smile at Lisa, while his big black unibrow bounced up and down. She was probably his favorite student in the entire world.
    Everybody was so stressed about the test that even the class cutups—Dillon, the Yurtmeister, and Billy T.—couldn’t manage their favorite imitation of what they called “the Crow Brow Bounce.”
    Maeve had heard little past the word “eager” and then Lisa asking if they could leave early if they were finished. Peppermint saliva ran down her throat the wrong way and she choked. She coughed uncontrollably until Dillon reached over and pounded her on the back.
    â€œMaeve is so eager,” Joline said, only loud enough for those around them to hear.
    â€œEager to find a way to escape before she even looks at the test.” Anna laughed as did everyone around them.
    â€œMaeve will be taking her test in another room,” Mr. Sherman said, making a big show of handing her a sealed envelope that felt as if it weighed a thousand pounds. Great, Maeve winced. Not only was she singled out by the Queens of Mean, but now the Crow had just announcedthat she was the biggest math idiot in the class. Why didn’t he just tell everyone that she was “special” and had to take her test somewhere else. So much for just walking quietly out of the room.
    â€œThe rest of you, time to get to work.” Mr. Sherman cruised the room, watching people. He was getting ready to swoop down on anyone he thought was cheating.
    â€œHe lives for stuff like that,” Dillon had once said.
    â€œBetter get started, Maeve.” Maeve almost jumped out of her seat. Mr. Sherman’s voice was so deep and scary. Why couldn’t he sound like one of those chipmunks that sing holiday songs? Maybe that would lighten everything up and she could relax.
    He handed her the test, which looked like it had been kidnapped by packing tape fanatics. The Crow had wrapped so much tape around the envelope that Maeve would need ten pairs of scissors to free the test. Did he actually think she was going to cheat on her way to the study room? She was suddenly furious. She might be math-impaired, but she was no cheater.
    Gathering up her notebook, Maeve felt as if she was crossing the Sahara Desert, her throat was so parched. She dug out a water bottle from her backpack, took a big swig, and hurried out of the room and down the hall to the library where someone would supervise her.
    She got to work and she tried, she really tried. Matt had told her not to spend too much time on one problem. Skip it and come back to it later. Go through and work all the easy problems, answer the easy questions, then start back and try the harder ones.
    The problem was there were no easy problems, no easy questions. She remembered to breathe like Matt told her, and she found a few she understood and worked those. She wasn’t even halfway finished, though, when the buzzer made her jump and drop her pencil.
    Ms. Curtis, the media librarian, walked over to where Maeve sat. “You have fifteen more minutes, Maeve, or even a half hour if you need it,” she said.

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