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An Altered View- Part 1

Judah watched me closely as I stumbled gracelessly from one car to the next; I was about to push my key into the lock of the wrong Chevy Suburban when he snatched the keyring from my grip, and dangled it just above me.
“I think it might be best if I drive,” he smirked and strode over to his Lancer just a few parking places away. “Did you snooze straight through class or something?”
I blinked fervently, attempting to bat away the drowsiness as I trailed after him. “Of course not. I was simply…fading in and out every once in a while.”
“Try half the class period!” Judah chuckled, turning the ignition. “Dr. Keller kept frowning at you during his lecture.”
Sighing, I shut the car door. “I think he would frown at me even if I wasn’t nodding off. I’m not exactly at the top of my game in his class. The material is really difficult to understand.”
Judah glanced over as he pulled out. “I don’t think you’re giving yourself enough credit. You’re kind of the reason why I got through Chemistry,” He poked my shoulder and dragged his words into a Bronx accent. “You gots smarts, kid.”
I laughed, rubbing my heavy eyes. “Yeah, “instant genius: just add coffee.”
His smile widened. “Seriously though, Averra, you’ll do great, you always have,” He reached over again, this time ruffling my hair playfully. “I’m here for you, sis.”
“Thanks,” I smiled, happy that I chose the same university that my brother attended, as crazy and unpredictable as he was, he was nice to have around. “But I’m still not doing your Stats homework for you.”
“Aw, come on!” He faked a frown, which made me giggle even harder.
We pulled into the parking lot of Starbucks, running our usual routine in the wrong order. We both stepped out of the Lancer with a new anticipation.
At least, Judah stepped out of his Lancer. I managed to get my foot tangled in the seatbelt somehow and promptly tumbled out. If you ask me, the entire fifteen minute adventure of struggling to break free really is not worth documenting. Once that ordeal was over, we sauntered into the establishment: Judah was keen to defend any innocent bystander from my unpredictable clumsiness (Judah says it’s natural, I say it’s induced by the absence of coffee or any form of caffeine). I was partly thankful, but mostly annoyed.
Upon crossing the threshold of the most blessed coffeehouse, it had naught been but a moment’s passing that I spotted a most undesirable acquaintance.
“Averra!” A hand emerged from the mass of caffeine-starved people and swiped at the air furiously. A tall guy with impossibly red hair came into view, his broad smile aimed directly at me. He distantly reminded me of a member of the three musketeers.
I groaned inwardly. It wasn’t that Aiden was a bad person or anything, only that he always sought me out at any social function that we were both present at, and always talked to me at church. It was irritating, and I usually did everything in my power to avoid him. I shot a pleading glance to Judah, who furtively shrugged back, as if to say I was on my own.
“Fancy catching you here!” Aiden strode up to me, his silly grin never leaving his face. “How are you, Averra?”
“Aiden…hi.” I glanced around for an easy escape. “I, uh, am actually in a bit of a hurry. I just needed a quick energy boost.”
“Oh, well I could…-”
His voice almost immediately faded to the dull hum of the crowd as I caught up on a few moments of unconsciousness. He would probably not even notice that I wasn’t responding. My mind hovered astray, thinking about my previous class, my paper due next Monday, movie night with the girls, and (I let out an audible sigh at this moment) my date with Trent tomorrow. He was such a nice guy, with killer copper-tinted eyes. I pretty much thought he was excellent, and I hoped he thought the same of me. We’d only been on two dates, but…-”
“Avvy…” Judah’s voice held a tone of warning in it, which made me wonder vaguely what kind of trouble I was about to get myself into. I turned to face him, with a nonchalant sound in my throat. Judah’s forehead was slightly crinkled in disapproval, and he flicked his eyes toward the poor man who had been attempting to engage me in conversation. We had perfected the art of sibling non-verbal cues, and I knew instantly that I had missed something. I turned back to Aiden quickly.

“So, can you help a guy out?” Aiden gave a sheepish smile, looking at me expectantly.

My mouth dropped open slightly, and my face blushed deeply. “Uh…”

I felt Judah’s agitation rise, and I visualized him rolling his eyes. “What exactly are you planning to do with the class for the kids in the church that Averra might be able to help out with?” I winced at every emphasis Judah made, knowing he was silently chastising me for not being more considerate; only he would have known that my zoning out while Aiden was speaking was not accidental.

Aiden looked at Judah in confusion. “Well, I was hoping we could develop a curriculum that highlights knowledge of basic subjects taken in high school so that we could eventually hold a class for underprivileged kids to help them do better, and eventually show them we care about them. Kids need that sort of trust base before they will listen to the Gospel,” He nodded towards me. “And since we both are working towards our teaching licenses, and because Averra has the sharpest understanding of math and science of anyone I know – not to mention she would care about the kids – I think it would be an excellent start to a program.”

All the blood that had rushed to my face earlier now drained, leaving me feeling slightly nauseous. Sure, I would love to be a part of a ministry like that, but with Aiden? I always went out of the way to avoid talking to him, much less teaching a class with him. I defiantly opened my mouth and before I had a chance to shoot a semi-polite excuse declining his invitation, Judah quickly stuck his hand out for Aiden to shake, nodding fervently.

“That sounds great, Aiden. Just give Avvy a call or an email, whatever works for you!” Judah grabbed my arm and started pulling me towards the door. “So sorry, man, but we gotta run!”

I glanced back over my shoulder long enough to see Aiden’s perplexed expression before the door slammed behind me. I whirled around to Judah and yanked my arm from his grip.

“What was that?” I demanded. “You know he drives me crazy!”

Judah glared at her as he opened the door to his car. “I think you need to watch your judgments of others, especially Aiden. He’s very much into serving God in whatever way he can, and I think you might just need to be exposed to his influence for a little while,” his gaze softened as he leaned on the car door. “Give him a chance, Avvy.”

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