My projections pointed toward Stephanie. She was younger, but females develop sooner. Some of the class had already made the leap. When summer ended girls returned full heads taller than the boys, and with discernible breasts.
Some of the boys developed too. Taller, with specters of deeper voices. These were the boys who took an interest in, or at least fared best with, the developing girls.
So Stephanie seemed feasible. I imagined us hitting puberty together. She was popular enough to warrant attention, yet not so popular as to utterly dismiss me. Academic enough that we might actually talk.
But she went and had a freak growth spurt. Over Thanksgiving she grew three inches and a figure. I honed my diet according to our Know Your Body textbook, but to no avail. Puberty still lingered on the distant horizon, while Kenny scooped Stephanie.
Then I developed The Master Plan: Miss Mandible.
Fact: I was already the “teacher’s pet.” Leverage that favoritism.
Fact: I was already the class pariah. No risk in falling further out of favor.
Fact: According to classmates, Miss Mandible was attractive (with “sweet tits”). Miss = single. No pictures of boyfriends on her desk.
Fact: I did not anticipate puberty until April. By June, as I passed into the next grade, any conflict of interest would disappear.
Fact: She told me, repeatedly, I was too mature for the class. Seemed like a veiled message. And with no one to compete against… Clearly reasonable. It was all there.