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Head Over Heels
an SAT/ACT vocabulary novel

February 10: Opposite Day (aka, Antithesis Day)

So I don’t know why I made the decision right then, while Jeremy and I were kissing in our usual spot in his basement, wedged in between square-shaped sofa stools, listening to Les Nubians. But suddenly it hit me that I’d be repeating history if I kept the tutoring thing from Jeremy again. This time, I had to tell him the truth and find a way to make him understand.

The next time we took a break for air, I pulled back and cleared my throat. “Listen, Jeremy, there’s something I have to tell you,” I said. Great—why’d I have to phrase it like that? Way to make it sound much worse than it was.

Jeremy’s brow furrowed. “What’s up?”

I took a deep breath. “The thing is,” I began, “I had a long talk with my mom last night about college and stuff, and we’ve decided I should start up more tutorials with Luke . . .”

Jeremy pulled away from me, all ruffled. Flustrated. It’s a word my soccer coach used all season long—one that, incidentally, doesn’t exist. But the word captured his response perfectly. He cocked his fist back and punched the sofa pillow.

“Easy, killer,” I said.

“You and your mom came to this decision together?” he asked, incredulous. “Women are so crazy.”

I knew Jeremy. He could hold his ground. I was going to have to hold mine—even if it wasn’t absolutely, exactly, the whole truth. “Listen, Jeremy. I’m gonna do it whether you agree with it or not. And you watch, I’ll get a seven forty on my SAT and then I’ll get into Harvard and Stanford, all the Ivys.”

“Big deal. Save your parents the hundred grand and get a full ride to IU. It’s a great school.”

“I love IU,” I said. “It’s just that . . . whatever, maybe I’m just a superficial glory-hound. I’m competitive. Deal with it. Anyway, that’s why I’m gonna continue to work on my vocabulary . . . with Luke.”

Jeremy hunched his shoulders and didn’t speak. He was pleading the fifth, which meant he wasn’t going to take a stand. I put a hand on his shoulder and backed myself onto his lap. I craned my lips to the right and kissed the side of his mouth. “Don’t worry. You’re the only guy I want,” I said, hoping a good dose of cheeseball sentiment would do the trick.

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