Young Adult Fiction posted April 24, 2011 Chapters:  ...4 5 -6- 7... 


Exceptional
This work has reached the exceptional level
Tanisha has a crush on a boy in the study group

A chapter in the book Tanisha's Way

J-E-R-O-M-E

by Deejharrington



Background
Tanisha is a young black girl living with her grandmother, called Big Momma. This book begins with Tanisha's first day of school. The first book is Ms N.O.R.T., which introduces the characters.
The study group went by in a blur of green eyes and an angel's smile. Or it belonged to a devil, Tanisha mused as she watched Jerome. Before she knew it, kids were stuffing their backpacks and saying good-byes. Looking at the clock on the wall, she realized forty-five minutes had passed. It struck Tanisha that she understood no more about Geometry than she had when the group started. She had been too busy staring at Jerome and trying not to get caught. Tanisha had a sneaking suspicion she had failed miserably.

She quickly gathered her stuff. Spooky was saying something, but it didn't penetrate the fog that had taken up residence in her brain. Tanisha thought she'd promised to call Spooky later. The girl with the blue streaks in her hair and a butterfly tattoo just shook her head and handed Tanisha a note with her number. Tanisha began walking out of the library while putting the note in her pocket. That's when it happened. She looked up just in time to see Jerome smiling at her. She quickly looked around to see who he was lookin' at. There was nobody there but her. Jerome was smiling at her!

He casually strolled out the door, joking with his buddies. Tanisha's feet were stuck to the floor. Her brain kept repeating; he smiled at me, he smiled at me.

That dang fog swallowed her whole body as she made her way home.

She blindly walked down the streets. The chant, he smiled at me, matched her foot steps and up the walk to Big Momma's house. She opened the front door and dropped her backpack and jacket on the floor. The smack of a straw broom made contact with her backside. That brought her out of her daydream.

Big Momma stood there, one hand on her ample hip and the other held said broom. Tanisha knew that look. "Hi, Big Momma. I made it home on time, just like I promised."

"Huh, all that Geeomtree must have scrambled your brains. Take off them dirty shoes, I just done finished cleaning these floors. Did you just drop your'n book bag and coat? Girrrl, have you lost your manners, too? I may look like somebody's' maid, but I ain't yours. Pick them up and put them where they belong. Which is not on the floor!" With another "Huh", Big Momma went into the kitchen.

"Dang, back to reality," Tanisha mumbled to herself as she kicked off her shoes and put her jacket in the closet. She grabbed her backpack and shoes, making her way upstairs to her room. She put it by her desk and not on her bed. Big Momma would have another fit if she did that. Tanisha washed her hands and walked back down stairs.

"So, how did the studin' go? You made some new friends, too?" Big Momma asked as she stirred a big pot on the stove.

Tanisha breathed a quiet sigh of relief. Big Momma wasn't gonna fuss with her any more. "It went fine. I learned a lot," She answered, but was thinking just not about Geometry. " I met an eighth grader named Spooky who was really nice to me. She said she'd tutor me if I wanted."

"Spooky? What kind of name is that? Whose momma name their baby Spooky?" Big Momma looked at Tanisha with wariness in her eyes.

" I...ah...I think it's a nickname. Like Walter use to call me Tanny. I'm sure it's not her real name," Tanisha stammered.

"Speak'n of the devil. You gots a letter from Walter today. I put in on top of the television." Big Momma smiled, remembering Tanisha's best friend who had moved to California last summer.

Tanisha started to get up to fetch the letter. "Sit your'n behind back down. Supper's 'bout ready. That letter ain't goin' no where." Big Momma told her without even turning away from the stove. Tanisha swore the woman had eyes in the back of her head or maybe she was psychic. Either way, the letter would have to wait till supper was done and the dishes washed. Tanisha remembered she had promised to do that chore. She wondered if Big Momma would.

As Big Momma set chops and greens on the table, she did it again. "And don't you try to get outa doin' them dishes."

Tanisha did an invisible eye roll and reached out to hold Big Momma's hands.
"Dear Lord Jesus, we thanks you for the food on this table and the roof over our heads. And please sweet Lord make sure these new friends of my granddaughter's are the Christian-like. Amen." Big Momma finished with a one eyed look at Tanisha.

"Amen," Tanisha added quickly.

Big Momma was one of the best cooks so Tanisha concentrated on the meal. Peach cobbler topped off the meal. Tanisha began clearing the table while Big Momma got settled in to watch "Wheel of Fortune" and "Jeopardy". They were her favorites. Every few minutes Tanisha would hear her shout out the answers.
She giggled to herself when she heard Big Momma call a contestant a "dumb bunny" or "smart as a whip" depending on how well they were doing. Big Momma never, ever used cuss words. "Dumb bunny" was 'bout as bad as it got.

Tanisha wiped the table and swept the floor. Finally done with the chore, she came into the living room. She grabbed up Walter's letter. Losing herself in Walter's description of life in California, she was startled when Big Momma asked if she had any homework. And if'n she did, she had better get to it.

"Yes, ma'am. I'll get right to it," Tanisha felt a little guilty because she knew she had a Geometry assignment. Well, she could always call Spooky if she got really lost. Thinking of Spooky, thoughts of Jerome quickly followed. She sat at her desk and pulled out her notebook. For the next half hour, she found herself doodling Jerome plus Tanisha with hearts and T.F.E.

The downstairs phone rang and Big Momma hollered up the stairs, "It's that Snoopy girl for you."

Tanisha squirmed as she answered the call. All Tanisha heard on the other end was loud laughing, " Tanisha, it's Snoopy. Your grandmother is a hoot!" Spooky settled down with a couple of snorts and asked if she needed any help with the assignment.

Greatly relieved that Spooky wasn't mad at Big Momma, Tanisha told her to wait while she got her worksheet. Tanisha ran back upstairs. As she grabbed what she needed, Tanisha crumbled up the Jerome doodles and threw them away.








Recognized


Tanisha has just started a new school as a seventh grader. She made friends with a girl named Spooky who invites her to a study group that meets after school to study Geometry. At the first meeting, all Tanisha has eyes for is a handsome eighth grader named Jerome.
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