When Wenda his boss had stepped out of her office for a meeting, George tensed a bit. He had been waiting to ask her a something very important for 7 long months. He walked to her as fast as possible.
“Ma’am, I personally interviewed a few home tutor candidates.” said George. He opened up his tablet to show his excel sheet of all the candidates responses.
“Just give the number of anyone who is interested enough.”
Wenda started tapping her left foot, giving George the cue to speed up his briefing.
“Harry is bad at integrals, Siya doesn’t like Quantum Physics and Kip well thus guy just unnecessarily bragged on his resume.”
“It’s just one or two topics. Just pick one!” She looked directly into George’s eyes.
“But Ma’am, we can’t have someone who just teaches him concepts. That’s why you send him to school right.”
“Oh, don’t tell me you are one of those people who are against home tutors.”
“I need a name by tomorrow. Thank you.” said Wenda as she got into the lift.
George went back to his desk. Now all he had to do was wait and watch as everything started turning in his favor.
An educators article about good personal teaching techniques started popping up on Wenda’s email. She had subscribed to School Weekly for exam updates as she was a ‘trendy’ mother, who knew the exam dates and syllabus before Aayan did. She wasn’t surprised to see this mail in her inbox but she couldn’t believe she had read it without a second thought.
Then came the call of Jenna Mortan, mother of Wenda’s son’s friend and they had discussed the idea of their children studying together. And she needed someone she could trust to be alone with their kids, acting as a responsible adult.
Last, was a fake call from a certain almost famous coaching institute which had added George as a certified teacher in their online forum, which he had Wenda ‘accidentally’ listen to.
The plan was fool proof and needless to say George got the part time job. He made sure Wenda knew he needed this money for his grandfather’s treatment and would work hard for it.
George went to his apartment that day, opened door to his guest bedroom or rather his thinking-room. A white board covered the wall opposite to a large window which let in orange twilight. He wrote as big as possible “MISSION : MILES” and went on to draft an intricate plan on how to convince her to trust him.
THE STORY OF THE MIRACLE BIRTH
On June 15th, Jenna and Pete Mortan become one happy couple as they welcomed Miles, their newborn daughter into their lives. Which wouldn’t have been possible without Doctor Varil, who even though being in shock about an accident, his wife had encountered a few minutes before had calmly done the needful in time to save the baby. This birth is now regarded as the miracle birth story of the decade for the small city of Lywen County.
Doctor Varil himself confirmed that the falling of the hospital cart, the burnt halfway-lamp and seemingly suspicious electricity shortage had turned out to be a sign from God to save the little girl’s life.
More on page 14.
Miles remembered quite well enough what was written on that page. It explained how complicated her mother’s pregnancy had been and how not going through the whole surgery had in fact saved both her mother and herself.
This was the one time Miles had ever been in a newspaper’s front page. She had once gotten a spot on the newspaper, the city section by coming third in the District Spelling Bee tournament in 5th grade. And she often looked at this frame for hours in her father’s office as a kid, reading it again and again, to make sure she understood the story of her birth well enough. Back then, she was just an eleven year old kid realizing her true potential of doing something grand in her future.
Now, after 5 years she was just like any average high school student, who hated Chemistry, loved Sherlock Holmes and was still figuring out life. But life was harder than she had realized, not because becoming an adult was challenging for her, rather she had skipped the whole “career path” and landed directly in the mid-life crisis stage. The time in people’s life where they re-evaluate their pasts and do something more crazy in the present with the money they have gathered doing their shitty jobs for 15-20 years.
Yeah, so there was Miles at 16 years reevaluating her life and what holds meaning and what doesn’t with breaking a few glass windows occasionally.
Today, Miles was going to Aayan’s house for her study sessions. Her parents had not liked the idea of her staying at home reading fiction novels all day during the vacations just after her disastrous result of 63% in her 11th grade exams. Miles had tried to protest but even she knew she had been wasting time reading fanfiction on her phone as new books (even the school library ones) were banned and she only believed them to be cannon if they came in paperback. And maybe Aayan was the break she needed from her crazy philosophical journey into the meaninglessness of life.
Miles started to get ready, she turned the music on, danced a bit as she changed from cotton shorts to jean capris, a blue polo t-shirt and her new blue cap. You guessed it right blue was her favorite colour and she wasn’t ashamed of looking a bit sporty in her outfit.The main motive of dressing up was convenience and she could definitely play soccer in Aayan’s garden after their tuition.
[Aayan]: Hey idiot!
Buzzed Miles’ phone.
[Aayan]: The new tutor is your best chance to meet a guy irl.
[Aayan]: Please come as a girl. 😆
[Miles]: Shut up, A**.
[Aayan]:But honestly, this IS your best shot. Ha!
[Miles]:Yeah, and worse one being you….
[Aayan]: I prefer girls. Not you. Didn’t you get the memo?
[Miles]: Whatever. See you soon, freak.
“Come on Miles, let’s go!” called her mother from the door. Miles took a random notebook and the first pen that she saw around her wreck of a room and ran to her mother. Jenna was a sales manager at Mr. Freck’s Pharmacy company (yes, that’s a real surname). Mr. Freck was Aayan’s father by the way and at newly established Pharmacy’s launch party was when Miles and Aayan had met at age seven, and fallen in love. Just kidding, they are just good friends.
“Yes, Mum, coming” replied Miles as she put on her grey and orange sports shoes then entered the car. Jenna knew her daughter wasn’t particularly feminine and didn’t really care about her appearance and choices but she wasn’t happy about the sport shoes, ’cause they meant trouble.
Miles noticed her mother staring at her feet as she adjusted her seat belt.
“Mom, I won’t play soccer today or hurt anyone and you can pick me up whenever you want.” Miles defended herself in one breath, she had been saying this lie for years now, it had become a habit. And she had kept saying it after breaking two windows at Aayan’s house, one at school and one more across the balcony in the apartment complex she lived in.
Jenna dropped her daughter off at the gate and left for her office which was like a 10 minute drive from the Freck Residence, yep, they lived in a giant house. Aayan’s parents were damn rich, but he couldn’t care less except for maybe the gaming consoles he kept getting every now and then.
I entered the new study room,a guest room they had specifically converted to best summer study environment. which had a nice white board, a projector and three desks like one’s in school (that was really what Miles’ really needed to trigger her study motivation, mind the sarcasm) and a cupboard with brand new books for 11th and 12th grade. Aayan had gotten 70% in his 11th grade but his parents wanted a 75% in 12 th grade to help him get a management quota admission in a economics and computer science course.
Miles sat in the middle seat, nearer to the door and on the right of Aayan who was at present busy playing Mili-Militia on his phone.
Aayan’s mother entered the room just after Miles had settled down.
“George Hitch is a 27-year old gentleman who has now been appointed as my assistant”, explained Aayan’s mother. She worked for a technical writers startup or something, Miles couldn’t remember exactly.
“He would now be teaching you mathematics and physics in the holidays to prep you up for board exams next year. He would be arriving shortly.” Mrs. Freck was quite happy with this arrangement and clearly Aayan and Miles were not.
“Yes Mum”, that’s all Aayan could say. “Yes, Mrs Freck” Miles chimed in too, her husband was her mother’s boss and it would help her mother a lot if Aayan’s parents saw her more as a study partner for him than his gaming buddy. But Miles knew trying to kill two birds with one stone wasn’t going to be easy, given her great track record as a troublemaker.
After Aayan’s mother had left his room, Miles nudged him.
“What!” he was irritated. “I wasn’t the one who gets bored sitting at home everyday. Its not my problem you don’t like video games. And this assistant guy would definitely be a total bore, like you!” Then he smirked.
“Oh, come on, dumbo. Your mother set this up! And there is no way I am anything like this Hitch guy, he would definitely we one of those jerks who thinks he’s too smart to teach and would yell at us for making mistakes. I would take a bore one any-day over a jerk” Miles poked him again as she took out the only notebook from her backpack.
“Yeah, but what if he’s totally awesome and teaches like those guys on Youtube” he said, and they both started laughing, they knew their luck wasn’t gonna be this good like ever. And then he snorted and Miles laughed harder.
Aayan had being her bestfriend since seventh standard. His family was new to the town then. And at the Pharmacy launch party when Aayan’s mother had found out Miles was her son’s age, she had taken her to Aayan ,”Oh, he’s in his room upstairs. He doesn’t like to mingle with people. Aayan’s shy that way.” she had said on the way up, “Come dear, meet Aayan.” and they had shook hands. Miles had been teased about this a lot as she had been wearing a flowery dress forced on her to make her look pretty for the party.
Miles then later went into the room of a 13-year old boy filled with cards and guns and video games and she hasn’t left since. Needless to say it was the end of her social life in school.
Aayan had perfectly functioning eyes, mostly, he had this one spot over his left eye which always got a gigantic pimple and he hid it by wearing an eye patch. He used to pretend to be a pirate during the phase when both of them were into the Pirates of the Caribbean movie series. Now, he played Nick Fury, except he has a head full of curly hair. There was also one time in ninth grade when he had his hair straightened and Miles had just gotten a pixie cut, he had teased her the whole week of how he grown longer hair than a girl.
“Hey!” a sweet voice interrupted Miles’ daydream about her memories at this house while Aayan was still playing Mili Militia. “Let’s start, shall we?” It was Mr. George Hitch the 27-year old assistant of Mrs.Freck and from now on their tutor.
Miles looked up from her notebook which she was religiously doodling on and suddenly into the pale eyes of George. A small “yes” was all she could get out and “Let’s get this over with”, was Aayan’s response as he kept his phone in his pocket.
Miles felt like she recognized him, she knew him, she had somehow seen him before. Her heart started throbbing faster and faster. George was also taken aback. He had now stationed himself near Aayan’s part of the desk, this was the furthest he could get from her, physically.
Miles could sense that George was astonished as well. Aayan hadn’t given much attention to Miles’ and George’s definitely weird interaction, as he himself was kind of impressed by George.
George started of with basics about maths, and asked if they knew how to do differentiation. Then went on to give them a 20 minute quiz on the same.
This Hitch guys was a brilliant teacher but Miles still wasn’t fully convinced that he was genuinely interested in teaching them, he looked like he had a secret. Firstly because he was definitely afraid of her. And secondly, he was just too smart to be doing this kind of job. While Aayan was busy idolizing this man, Miles kept on wondering who this George guy really was.
After the test, which turned out quite well, Miles had solved 5 out of 7 questions and the only mistake in one of them was a + c. Even though she wasn’t being fully attentive, Miles could easily get what was being taught. And when she answered correctly to the questions her tutor asked her she became more confident. And slowly as the hour progressed the tension between Mr. Hitch and his new student loosened.
George had been looking forward to meeting Miles. She had been the sole purpose of his life for about a year now. He had waited about 8 months to make contact with Miles, being trusted by the people close to her was a crucial step. But for now, all he needed to was gain her trust.
Both Aayan and Miles were smart kids but not really built for the classroom schools were best known for. Aayan needed a sense of achievement every time he tried and succeeded, even if it was quite small. These small victories was what would eventually build him to defeat the main boss in the end. George gave this to him by letting him do a single problem as many times as he wanted and gave him a sense of completion after each one. There was nothing stopping this kid anymore. And as for Miles, she was wanted to read the whole story that was presented, she wanted to know the why behind what she was asked to do. Little stories and connecting similar problems via using similar characters/variables worked best for her. This similarity between her and him was magnetic. George wanted to come clean to her then and there when she had asked, “You are too smart for these jobs, Sir.”
“Yeah, you should be like a professional high-grade tutor or something. It better strategy.” Chimed in Aayan. Everything was a game for this boy, even life.
“Well, I – I like teaching, my mother is a teacher.” That didn’t convince either Aayan or Miles, so, George tried to explain further. “There’s this person who lives in this city, I wanted to find her. She has changed my life and I wanted to thank her for the same.” Now, they belived him. Pop culture has planted lot of seeds for romantic interests of hero flourishing in minds of other people. George knew they thought of him as someone they could look up to.
After the first class was over, this being the class to judge how much the 12th graders knew about their past year, Aayan asked George if he would like to play football with them. George was taken aback but said yes.
So, the three of them started passing the ball around in the circle. Miles had advised warm-up before playing to ensure safer play but it really was to make sure George wasn’t too bad a player to be included. She later concluded that he was good enough and they played 2on1 offense-defence by changing positions one after the next.
Then after about half an hour, Aayan got a call and he excused himself and went inside the house. The aura around Miles and George changed. Both of them were unable to handle this sudden loss of air in each other’s lungs. They kept on playing one-on-one, some invisible force maintaining distance between them. No one spoke a single word and yet the understood when it was a goal or an outside.
Aayan came back running, Miles’ mom had came to get her. She fled into the bathroom, cleaned herself up and left. Aayan then invited George for playing FIFA on his console but George excused himself as it had already been double the him he had wanted to invest in these evening classes.
“Maybe we can play some other time, Aayan.” George added looking hopeful.
“Yeah, sure, Sir. You must go looking for your ‘friend’ right”, said Aayan a laugh just waiting to escape his lips.
“Maybe…yes.” George smiled. “Do your homework before the next class on Friday.”He waved his hand as he went out the door.
He took is helmet from the watch men’s room and then got up on his sports bike. George knew Aayan was looking at him, so he acted cooler than usual and went on to his apartment without looking back.
Aayan figured that this Hitch guy was definitely upto something. No assistant or home-tutor could afford a sports bike, unless his parents were rich. But which rich kid would get a job as an assistant?
Miles’s mother had told her that her childhood friend Laura was now back from her school for the summers and her parents were looking forward to their hanging out like the good old days.
“Mom, you know that I am still that girl who gets ‘good kids'” she added the hand quotes “in trouble.”
“It’s nothing like that, sweetie!” her mother replied. She was definitely upto something.”Maybe it’s good for you to spend some time with her, smart girls like her. It will help you realize what you have been missing out by not studying.”
Miles had already begun scrolling down her Instagram feed. She had been looking forward to telling her Mother about how she had solved many difficult Differentiation problems and how she would be looking forward to learning more Maths in the future. But it was all useless. She would never become as good as Laura had always been and she knew her mother would never really be satisfied by what she would ever accomplish in the future.
“And why to Laura’s parents want her near me again? As far as I remember they don’t like me….at all.” Even Miles’s knew her mother wasn’t doing this only to get her daughter to change, Laura’s parents always wanted what was best for Laura, according to them.
“Hmm…” Jenna was definitely hiding something. “Well…Laura deserves a break from her hectic school schedule, she believes you can help her with that.”
Miles scoffed. It was definitely Laura’s parents, Laura didn’t need a break, she was too perfect to want her. Maybe her parents wanted her to open up more to help her with University interviews, thought Miles.
“Yeah, whatever.” Miles went back to scrolling through her phone.
Jenna didn’t speak much until they got home, where she dropped Miles off and went to pick up her dad from the busstop.
Miles texted Aayan.
[Miles]:Mom wants me to meet and catch up with Laura…..why are parents so crazy? I can’t just catch up with someone after three years.
[Aayan]: Laura was your bestfriend for 3 years right?
[Miles]:But we stopped talking in eight grade and then she left before 9th started.
[Aayan]: Oh , come on…..you still miss her….and she was also kind of cool.
[Miles]:Cool? Did you also have a crush on her?
[Miles]: Oh…no…..Am I the only one who really knew her….*face palm*
[Aayan]: Its not like that. I didn’t talk to her after you stopped talking to her.
[Miles]: Yeah, and she also stopped talking to anyone because she got so competitive she stopped helping anyone.
[Aayan]: Don’t get mad…..but…..
[Aayan]:I still talk to her occasionally.
[Aayan]: Hey, don’t be mad…..she has changed….she got over the competitive phase…..
Miles put her phone on charging, buried her head in the pillow and tried to sleep. It would be more than a hour before her parents will come home for dinner at about 9:30pm. They both volunteered at the local diner which served bi-weekly free food for the poor people.
Sleeping was an appealing alternative to what was really going on in her mind. George had the vibe of a smart sociopath but the job he did was more of an extroverted guy who was looking for new opportunities. He was putting on a performance, but why? Who was this girl he had come looking for? She hated to admit it but she was jealous of the girl George had come here to search for. It felt like there was a secret mystery happening, and she was dying to be part of something worthwhile. The ban on reading novels and scarcity of sports had made her kind of dull, like on the inside, her very essence of self was being scrapped of piece by piece as the days were going by.
Suddenly she got on her feet and went to her study table. The light was flickering as it had been doing for almost a month now, but she had never cared for it. Her desk was her least favorite spot as it reminded her of the degrading education system which believed in letting students stare continuous at a white wall covered with almost gibberish for hours.
Miles switched off the inbuilt light, found a portable study lamp from the drawers beneath her single bed and went on to resolve some problems George had taught in the class today. She was amazed how focused she had been till dinner time. This guy was definetely working some wonders in her below-average math anxious brain.
Before going to bed Miles checked her phone. She had 6 messages from Aayan and surprisingly one from Laura.
[Aayan]:This is hella important
[Aayan]:I think this GH guy might be a spy
[Aayan]: And I have proof
[Aayan]: He has a sports bike…..
[Aayan]:This here, is tha game, Sherlock
He had gotten the Sherlock saying all wrong. Even thought Miles must have had said it a thousand time already to his face. Needless to say she was a huge fan of Sherlock Holmes.
[Miles]: I sense some mystery too. Let’s get our grey matter working.
Aayan was online. It was impossible for him to be offline.
[Aayan]: I have found a perfect plan to get him to talk to us.
[Miles]: Yeah, we will befriend him.
[Aayan]: I was more going for a Home Alone kind of appraoch.
[Aayan]: I guess, frienship might help.
[Miles]: Maybe he’s just a normal guy…..
[Aayan]:Nope….not at all
[Miles]: What if he leaves if we annoy him too much? I like him as a tutor.
[Aayan]: You like him…ha…ha…ha
[Miles]: That’s not what I said.
[Aayan]: But seriously we need something on him. Dirt.
[Miles]: Let’s search the girl he was talking about. Tomorrow.
[Aayan]:You are really going to sleep now?
[Miles]: Yes, I guess.
[Aayan]: Cool, bye. I just entered level 9
[Miles]: Yo. Bye.
Miles then opened Laura’s contact.
[Miles]: Hi, howz life?
Today was the day of trying new things. Maybe Laura really wanted to talk to her. And it’s not easy to forget all the history you have between you as best friends for three years, even though it was a long time ago.
George’s board kept filling everyday with more Miles related facts but the more he knew about her, the more terified he got.
This is the first chapter of a novel I am currently writing on a chapter a week basis. (Hopefully)
Do you believe in parallel universes or time travel?
How high are the stakes for every small decision you have been making without giving it a second thought?
What is that defining moment your life changed that you possibly can’t go back?
Would you change anything in your life if you could go back?
Get ready to experience the life changing stories of three almost human beings.
Read the novel in order: