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The Impossible Equation
Her name was Dallas Onyx, and she was the most beautiful girl he’d ever seen. She had amazingly, impossibly red hair, with a slight wave to it, and blazing green eyes. In elementary school, she was covered in freckles, but now they disappeared, and only showed up on her arms when she wore short sleeves.
She wore the same ratty pair of All-Stars for three months straight, and they were ripped and stained all over, to the point of not even being black anymore, just a dingy gray color. She was basically perfect, and Dallas knew he knew it.
Looking at her across the table, Dean felt his cheeks turn red, even though she wasn’t even looking at him. She was looking at the board, covered in Geometry problems that were impossible to solve.
Dean van der Waals was in love. Hopelessly, madly, undeniably in love. And he really wanted Dallas to know it. But at the same time, he didn’t want her to know. He wanted to keep it in his heart, in between the spot for his parents and his dogs.
“Dean,” his teacher, Ms. Kaplowski snapped, lowering her glasses on her beak nose and glaring at him through the thick lenses.
“Yes, ma’am?” He asked, straightening his spine and pasting a smile on his face.
“Please come up and complete number fourteen.” Dean gulped and glanced up at it. When he spoke, his Brooklyn accent became more and more noticeable. It always did when he felt uncomfortable.
“Um, okay.” He said, attempting to keep his voice from shaking. He felt Dallas turn her traffic light eyes on him and out of the corner of his own brown eye; he saw her wink at him.
Dean slowly made his way up to the board, hoping that he wouldn’t embarrass himself. He adjusted his vintage light blue bowling shirt and ran both his hands through the wave in his dark brown hair.
“Dean, this is only a fifty-five minute class.” Ms. Kaplowski’s voice cut into his thoughts, a loud and unwelcome addition.
“Sorry, ma’am.” He said, picking up the chalk and drawing a faint line next to the equal sign. He heard her Converse scuff on the ground and a cough from another student in the small classroom. “I’m just a little confused,” he glanced over to Dallas, who nodded encouragingly.
His heart started pounding and then relocated in his stomach. “Um, which of these numbers needs to be switched around?”
“Neither.” Ms. K perched on the edge of her desk, taping her perfectly white tennis shoes on the newly waxed floor. Dean winced at the sound, and then clenched his eyes shut.
In fifth grade, when they were playing Around the World: Division Edition, the same thing had happened to him. He was up against Alex Wheeler, who had earned the nickname the Human Calculator, and was sweating out of every pore he had.
When the teacher held up the question card, Dean had known the answer immediately, and opened his mouth to talk.
His Brooklyn accent had flared up, and made the answer, which was right, sound like mumbo-jumbo. Alex had gotten the candy and the king-sized Snickers bar as a prize.
“I don’t really understand-” He started, before Ms. K snapped her feet down and strode over to him, yanking the chalk from his hands.
“Who can help Mr. van der Waals to solve this impossible problem?” She asked, adding extra sarcasm on the world impossible, so the class got that she was calling him stupid. The class was silent, and Dean thought he could hear the sound of crickets outside, singing a tragedy chorus.
His cheeks turned bright red.
“I will.” Dallas had an alto tone to her voice, and she popped up from behind her desk. “Step aside Dean. The big girl came to play.” She said, taking the chalk and cracking her knuckles. His cheeks burned.
He wondered if it was possible to love her any more than he already did. Then she grabbed Dean’s arm, pulling him to the board, and winked again, and he decided it was possible. “Just follow my lead.” She whispered to him, her voice hot and minty in his ear. Dean complied, because he was too stunned to do anything else. Dallas finally released his arm, but positioned Dean against her bony hip so there was no way to see in between them. She slid up the sleeve of her pink long sleeved thermal and exposed a fancy graphing calculator.
Dean gasped, the realization of what she was doing dawning on him.
“Um, lets see.” Her voice was smooth. She showed more of her calculator, and Dean typed in the problem, gaping at the fact that the calculator had all twenty-four letters of the alphabet on it.
Oh, I see now. Don’t you just add seventeen over ninety-four here,” Dean said, peering at the bright screen under her shirt.
“Yes, Dean. See, it’s not so hard after all.”
“And then,” Dean paused, like the way to solve the problem finally dawned on him. “Oh my goodness! Yes, and then you times the pi and the a together!”
“Mr. Van der Waals,” Ms. K placed her pale twisted fingers on his shoulder while Dallas tucked the calculator back under her sleeve. “That wasn’t so hard, now was it?”
“Not that bad.” Dean said, reaching across Ms. K and wrapping his arm around Dallas’s waist.
Ms. K glanced sharply up as the bell rang, indicating the end of class, and Dallas smirked and picked up the thick hair from the nape of her neck. Her skin was ivory white, and hauntingly beautiful.
“So, you want to go out with me?” Dean asked, his accent butchering the words horribly.
“Mr. Van der Waals,” Dallas said, circling around him in the empty room, her red hair forming a cape like shape around her body, “if you thought that math problem was hard, you’ll never be able to figure out the secret of women.”
“The secret of women?” Dean asked, confused.
“Yes. That, Dean, that is the real impossible equation, you know that right?”
“I’m not sure I understand.” He stuttered, his words tumbling over each other.
“Do I have to spell it out for you?” She sighed, exasperated.
“Fine.” Dallas yanked out the calculator from her sleeve and tilted it on the board. She began running her green finger nails over the surface, punching in numbers and surveying her work every couple strokes. “Here.” She finally said, blowing her bangs out of her eyes and exhaling sharply. She shoved the calculator into his chest, and Dean red the words blinking on the extended screen.
I L O V E Y O U. Dean glanced up, and saw that Dallas’s cheeks were turning red, just like his felt.
”Now I understand.”
“You’re a slow learner.” She said, grabbing the back of his neck, and letting her lips touch his once, before handing him a piece of chalk. “You better work on your math skills. Pop quiz tomorrow.” She said, sauntering out the door, leaving nothing of her but the scent of oranges behind.