Chapter 27:

Troublesome Assignment

Would You Paint My Dunk

My life goes as it was. I spent my weekdays studying at my university, practicing basketball in my club, escorting her home before myself, back to sleep, and repeat. Well, sometimes basketball practice was substituted by the preliminary games that I have to attend, but that’s about it.

How did it go, you asked? What do you think? They obliterated every team as we went into the qualifiers. Well, we didn’t face any other Division One team, so that’s a given.

Over the days I escorted Jessica back home, I started to become less nervous and thought of it as a daily routine. As time went by, we started talking more and more when we walked side by side.

Wednesday, September 20th, 2023. I walked her home as usual. Unlike the usual days when we just walk without caring about anything else, the air was heavy. That’s because today, my historical instructor gave us a troublesome assignment.

He told us to analyze a historical event of our choice and write an essay about it within three thousand to five thousand words. Not to mention it has to be printed. It’s such a hassle!

But before I started my rant, she started hers.

“Keith, Professor Jensen is such an ass! He made such a ridiculous assignment. Giving us a three-thousand-word essay that’s due in one week, in the middle of his students’ other classes' tasks and activities, is he a demon? He could at least extend the deadline, or make the requirement lower. But three thousand words, in one week no less!”

I was surprised to hear that she has the same assignment and professor with me, and we are on the same boat. With the same sentiment, I also vented my frustration.

“Yeah, I got it too. Professor Jensen’s assignments are such a pain in the ass…”

“Keith, you too? Well, I guess it makes both of us. Sigh, we will get busy. At this point, it would be a miracle if I could continue honing my painting skill.”

“Oh, speaking of which, can I look at your latest piece? It’s been weeks since I last saw yours.”

However, I was misspoken. Looking at her face, she seemed to be bothered by my question. Her tone was a little high, showing signs of her being a little angry with me.

“Keith, I don’t even have time to paint anymore. And even if I do, those assignments won’t let me focus, they distract me so much that my work goes from garbage to grotesque.”

She exudes a heavy breath before continuing.

“Sigh… Not to mention I have to attend basketball clubs and matches to maintain my front. As you see, I won’t be able to draw again anytime soon.”

Speaking of time, I wonder if I could finish my homework in the midst of my basketball life. As a person that attended this university to play basketball, I didn’t focus on my studies too much. My lack of knowledge will slow me down even more.

This made me think: If I won’t finish it anyway, then why not skip it altogether? Instead of making a futile effort, I could use my precious time to hone my basketball skills. Besides, Academics isn’t my forte.

With this in mind, I responded back to her.

“Ha-ha, right. I’m even considering skipping the entire assignment at the moment. I neither have the time nor the skill to finish the assignment anyway.”

“What?” She looked surprised. “Keith, you shouldn’t skip your homework.”

“Jessica, I know I have to finish my homework, but what can I do? I’m just a person that only knows basketball for my life. I can’t do shit on history, you know?”

“But still, you shouldn’t skip it entirely. At the very least, you have to try to get a passing grade.”

“Jessica, did you hear what I said? I said I don’t have the time and skill to do it.”

Facepalming, she shook her head and exhaled her breath.

“Ha-ah… Fine, I'll help you. Spare me some time during the lunch break, we will do the homework together.”

I stopped walking. I was shocked to hear her suggestion. As much as she wanted to help me, I didn't want to trouble her. And so, I decided to subtly refuse her help.

“Wait… Jessica, you didn't need to trouble yourself helping me out. You should focus on your assignment instead.”

Hearing my response, shook her head.

“Keith, you helped me with my problems, I felt bad that you were always helping me all the time. So, this time, I’ll help you with your studies. Just spare me some time during your lunch breaks and at night.”

She pointed her finger upward as she continued.

“Besides, I don’t want to get those girls to talk about us, saying that I dated a 'brainless' basketball player. You don’t want to be called that, do you?”

She got me, I couldn’t do anything to refuse her kindness now.

“No, of course I don't. Well...”

I offered my hand to shake her hand.

“I’ll be in your care, Jess.” I smiled at her.

She took my handshake and smiled back.

“Likewise. Prepare yourself, Keith. I’m not patient enough to teach you from ground zero.”

Oof, why does it seem like I will experience hell later? Ah, whatever, she is helping me out of kindness, I must not think bad about it.

As we kept walking, we finally arrived at her home. She turned around and looked at me. At first, I thought she would wave me goodbye, but I was surprised at what was coming up next.

“Keith, I hope you don’t mind if I call you tonight to discuss this. Let’s not waste any time and start working on this. Don’t give up, my… fake… boy…friend...”

Feeling like her last sentence was a sneer toward me, I snorted. After all, I didn’t expect her to joke like that.

After she went in, I started to dash home to work on my assignment.

Arriving home, I took a quick shower and dinner. After talking with my parents for a little while, I headed to my room, booting my old computer to work on the assignment. The dual-core tower beeped and the black LCD screen flashes white, shortly rendering a series of colorful pixels in 1366x768 resolution.

With the system up and running, I opened the document application and the browser at the same time. Even though I clicked the orange fox icon first, the document application is the one who popped out of my screen. It took me like 5 seconds before the internet browser finally opened, burying the document application behind.

Just before I could do anything else, my phone rang with a notification. I grabbed my phone to check, only to see that it was her message.

“Keith, are you free? Do you mind if I call you right now?”

“Yep, I'm free. Go ahead.” I replied quickly.

And sure enough, my phone was ringing in a few seconds. I swiped the green button up to accept her call.

“Hi, Keith!” She started first.

“Hey, Jessica. Thank you in advance for helping me like this.”

“Oh, come on Keith. I told you that I have to do this at least, don’t worry about it.”

“Anyway,” She continued. “I’d suggest you search the Battle of Pulo Aura on the web.”

“Battle of… what now?” I asked in confusion. I couldn’t hear it properly.

“Battle of Pulo Aura. Agh! I’ll just type it for you.”

She sent me a message with ‘Battle of Pulo Aura’ on it.

“Let’s see… Battle… Of… Pulo… Aura…”

I typed that in the search bar and pressed enter. And behold, there was a wiki about it, I swiftly clicked on the link and took a read.

“Hmm… Interesting…” I mumbled.

“Yeah, that battle is an interesting part of history. It’s when a convoy of British traders could bluff and scare off a France battle squadron. It should be an interesting piece for you.”

“Wait, how about you, Jess? I hope I don’t snatch your topic from you…”

“Oh, come on, I wouldn’t tell you if I can’t get myself another topic. I’m good with mine.”

And so, we talked about the assignment until ten, then we said goodbyes to each other.

“Keith, let’s continue tomorrow. I’m sleepy.” She yawned.

Well, she had a point. It’s getting late, we should get some rest.

“Sure. Good night, Jess.”

“Night, Keith.”

She hung up the call. I pressed the save button on the computer and took a USB out of my drawer. I copied the file to it before ejecting the USB from the slot.

With everything set, I shut down my computer, throwing myself to the bed to sleep.

What a tiring night!

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