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Brennan was right (she usually is, in Hannah's experience). Hannah can tell Mr. Wu would like a more thorough explanation of her C+ physics test effort, but he lets it go at "personal issues," and tells her she can make up the test if she's prepared to do so after school that afternoon.

Hannah is, and Hannah does, and Hannah's 78 is now a 96.

And that just leaves the problem of Sam.

Hannah still has no idea how she's gonna fix that one, but she's tired of waiting and worrying over things, and she should be able to find him after soccer practice.

She's pretty sure he's seen her when he picks up his pace, heading away from her and back to the school.

"Hey," she calls, and when he doesn't stop, "Hey, Sam," more loudly, so that other people are turning to look.

He stops, though he doesn't turn around, and waits for her to catch up. "Hannah," he says, shortly, when she does.

"You avoiding me?"

"Pretty much," he says.

"I guess that's fair," says Hannah. "Sort of."

"Thank you," he says, sharp and sarcastic, and starts to leave.

"Sam," she says, stopping him. "Can we talk, please?"

"Sure. Maybe I can say something else to upset you for no reason. Or maybe you can say something to explain why the hell I am so hung up on you, Hannah."

Hannah shakes her head. "I wish I knew. I seriously cannot imagine what I said or did that convinced you I was worth this kind of . . . effort. Patience. Whatever."

As far as she call tell, she's been distracted, worried, secretive, and borderline insane most of the time he's known her.

He looks at for an uncomfortably long moment, and Hannah has the impression she's being evaluated. "It wasn't any one thing," he says, finally. "Just tell me what I did wrong. Because I have no clue."

"You didn't . . . you didn't do anything wrong, Sam. You just said something my ex-boyfriend used to say. A lot. And it wasn't expecting it."

"Logan Echolls?"

She shakes her head again. "No. Henry."

"I thought he wasn't so much 'ex' as 'current.'"

"He was," says Hannah. "That changed."

"So things are different now?"

Hannah takes a very deep breath. "They are, but not in the way you're referring to. I'm not . . . you're an incredible guy, Sam. You may even be the right guy. But it's definitely the wrong time. And if there's one thing I've figured out, it's that 'wrong time' beats 'right guy.'"

Whether you're talking at the wrong time, or from the wrong time.

"And is there any time that's gonna be the right time?" he asks her, and it's so very very neutral.

"I don't know," Hannah tells him. "I really don't. Maybe, but maybe not."

There's a long pause. "So where does leave me?"

"Friends?" she offers. "I'd really like to be friends, but I'll understand if that doesn't work for you."

"You're still the nicest person I've met here, but you are also definitely the most confusing. I'll think about it."

"That's all I can ask," Hannah says. "Thanks for talking to me."

"Sure." She starts to go, and this time he stops her. "Hannah?"

"Yeah?"

"Am I right about you? Are you worth waiting for?"

Hannah gives him a shrug and a half-smile. "You're the only person who can answer that, Sam. All I can tell you is that it may be a very, very, very long wait."

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Hannah Griffith

June 2009

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