I wrote this scene out, hoping to get a sense of the changing dynamic with the twins. It’s generally solid. BUT– my editor took one look at it and said. Nope. She wasn’t sure why, so we chatted about it. She said, this is the kind of plan they would have come up with together… the twins fight terribly, but become a united front when a third person enters into the equation. So- while this scene isn’t terrible, it probably won’t get used in the story. Enjoy this little sneak peek:)
Diya dashed down the hall towards the escalating argument.
In her hurry to stem the argument before their father heard, she barged into the room, the door crashing against the wall as it opened. The sudden noise caught her off guard and she flinched slightly, but it had the same effect on Esha and Pasha, who froze, looking towards the door.
“What in the nine hells is going on here?” she asked, storming into the room, marching right up to the table that was strewn with books and papers. Looking around, she realized it had been a while since she had done any cleaning, but at the moment, she was more concerned with the ruckus. The twins had been behaving wonderfully since their father had returned home. She had expected that to last.
She looked at the two of them. Pasha’s eyes narrowed, arms folded tightly across his chest. He wouldn’t make eye contact with her. She turned to Esha, hands on hips, looking indignant. This was a reversal, usually it was Pasha accusing his sister of doing something. She shifted her head, forcing Esha to make eye contact, and waited. It didn’t take long.
“He stole my homework and copied it. Put his name on it. Yesterday when TUTOR was here, I couldn’t find my assignment. I looked everywhere. Now, I just found his work. MY work!”
Pasha had never been as good a student as his sister. It had never seemed to bother him before. She looked at Pasha, his fingers gripped his arms tighter. “Pasha?” she asked, and waited.
“Go on! Tell her! Tell her what you did!” Esha started.
Diya held up her hand, waving Esha to silence. “I want to hear what he has to say,” she said, looking sharply at the girl. Then she turned back to Pasha. “Is this true?” she said, keeping her voice soft.
She waited. His fingers clenched and unclenched several times. Then his shoulders drooped and he nodded, looking down at the floor.
“Shhhh!” Diya cut her off. “Pasha? That’s not like you. What’s going on?”
“He always grades me harder,” Pasha said, his voice low, mumbling the words.
“You. Stop,” Diya said, looking sharply at Esha.
Esha grumbled, but she broke eye contact and clenched her jaw.
“I wanted to prove that TUTOR doesn’t treat us the same. He always treats me like I’m stupid and I wanted to see what would happen.” He rubbed his face with the back of his hand, watching Diya out of the corner of his eye.
“So you copied Esha’s work and put your name on it?”
Pasha nodded silently, hanging his head. Then he straightened up, squaring his shoulders. “And I was right,” he said, looking her right in the eye. “If Esha had handed this in with her name on it, it would have gotten a perfect scoring,” he said. “But I didn’t!”
“Let me see it,” Diya said, holding out her hand. She looked over at Esha, who didn’t seem as angry now, but she didn’t look like she had forgiven her brother, either.
Diya and TUTOR had an uneasy truce, having come to the unspoken agreement that they would just avoid each other, and ignore the other person when they came into contact. That didn’t change the fact that she loathed the man as arrogant and narrow-minded. They had clashed over his assessment of Tilly’s intellectual abilities. But she had never had reason to doubt his credentials as a teacher and had no argument with the level of work the twins were accomplishing under his direction.
Pasha handed over the paper, biting his lip. Diya looked it over. It was WHAT ASSIGNMENT. She noticed a few spelling errors. On a close examination, she could tell it sounded more like Esha, than her brother, with the exception of a few places. What surprised her, was that the TUTOR hadn’t figured it out. She looked at Pasha. “You changed a few places?”
He gave a half-shrug. “I didn’t want to make it too obvious,” he said.
Diya nodded, considering the situation. Esha generally finished her work quickly and got perfect scores on all her assignments, while Pasha struggled, needing more time to figure things out. Given that, she would have thought that Pasha would have gotten a commendable score and a note about his improvement. The tutor had pounded into Pasha, that the boy just needed to work harder.
Okay,” she said, addressing both of them. “Esha, I don’t think your brother intended to steal your work. I think he wanted to prove his point. Let me think about this for a little while, okay? Maybe we can take this to your father and you,” she said, nodding towards Pasha, “can present your case.” Then she turned to Esha. “How much of an impact does one assignment make? And can you turn it in the next time he comes here?”
Esha’s jaw worked from side to side, still unhappy about her hard work being stolen, but she looked a little sympathetic now. She just shrugged, shoving her hands into her pockets. She let out a huff, and headed out of the room.