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Bonker was in the intensive care unit. His condition was stable, but he was running a fever just over a hundred. There was also a lot of drainage from his stomach. Monday afternoon saw a steady stream of wrestlers and Independent house people set up the vigil in the ICU waiting area. The house even brought a coffeepot and set it up in the waiting room with a huge box of donuts. Bonker had a lot of support. The coach was the only one allowed in the unit besides the team doctor who shifted with the surgeon watching him. His condition didn't change for some time.
Jack and Mary were back at her room.
"Homecoming." Jack said after they ran into a bunch of freshman in costumes trying to capture the class spirit prize. It was hopeless. The juniors had won it last year as sophomores and the year before as freshmen, they were good, their class float was more of a secret than the Navy's plans for a new anti-sub missile. They were blasting the campus with a wave of pro-junior propaganda, and controlled the three most popular radio shows on the FM station.
Jack and Mary were exhausted. He was looking at her with his eyes full of resignation. "Mary, I think the gods are against us making love. A fan club, a fire, Bonk, a drug raid. What else could come between us?"
"Nuclear war? The Second Coming, maybe an earthquake? Other than that I can't think of a thing." She realized she had been a long time without a guy. "I might want to try again. But I got to get to at least one class today."
"Why?" He looked at the clock. "You're late now."
Peggy was eating the popcorn. Dale was watching her eat popcorn. He had muttered a lost about how insecure he was. He admitted he was a virgin, and told her about Ellen. She said she was too, but she had had a few petting dates in high school, Dale hadn't even done that. The first time he had ever seen a girl with out any clothes was Ellen, and he couldn't see anything because of the black lights and she was moving too fast.
She thought all of this was rather funny but didn't laugh. Ellen's reputation was legendary with the girls as well. She was their answer to some of the jocks that collected freshmen girls.
It was said that Ellen's record this year so far was over twenty guys in one night, two and three at a time. Peggy had some trouble with that until a friend of hers explained to her how that could be done, then told her about Ellen's taking on five guys at once, and there was a rumor going that she did seven at one time couple of times. Peggy was awed.
Peggy decided to ask Dale what he thought about Ellen's legend. Which was a mistake.
Dale was more naive about it than she expected. He had seen some of the dirty books that float around college dorms, and had heard the stories. But he had trouble visualizing that sort of thing, and how he felt about it, either engaging in such behavior, approving of it, or even discussing it was very nearly beyond him. But he was interested, and exploring the topic was one of the things he had planned on doing in college. But he really hadn't had the opportunity, or the ambition, to act on it.
When Peggy broached the subject to him of just talking about sex, Dale blanched, then he stammered for awhile, then he talked about his homework, and finally he simply wandered away.
It wasn't going to be that easy. Mary's phone rang twice in ten minutes. She got discussing Bonker's condition with a girl that knew him from high school, then they talked about an assignment.
Jack got bored and was looking over the synopsis from their history class. There was a test Friday, over two weeks of lectures and three chapters in two different books. He watched the TV a little and listened to Mary talk on the phone for awhile. Then he walked over and sat next to her on the bed.
He kissed her cheek while she listened to her friend on the other end. Mary smiled broadly. Jack kissed her neck, and pushed her back on the bed. Mary was enjoying this immensely. But she stopped his rambling hands, "What was that Sherel?" She asked. "That sounds like fun. We'll be over in a few."
"Now where are we going?" Jack wondered out loud.
"I'm going to change and then we are going to Phi Omega Gamma. Sheral is having an unveiling ceremony for her new art project."
"Art... What is it."
"She said it's a cross section of the world." *
Sheral unveiled her new work with a great deal of pomp and circumstance. "A cross section of the world." She announced,
Mary and Jack expected anything but what they saw.
'A Cross Section of the World' was nothing more than a huge globe of heavy wire containing junk from around the world suspended on string inside.
A minute of silence prevailed in the room, then a smattering of clapping started, and everyone joined in.
Everybody congratulated her on her brilliance. And filtered out slowly. "It's dumb isn't it?" Shenal whispered to Mary.
Mary nodded slowly. "I think Dr. Summers will love it."
"Let me put it this way, I got an 'A' for a portrait of a nude hamster."
"I should clean up with this, is it really as stupid as it looks."
Jack smiled at her. "Worse."
Dale met Peggy back in her room. He tried to talk his way out of it. Peggy was just as insecure, but once she made up her mind, she usually followed through.
Since it was so late, and they had class tomorrow, they agreed to put it on ice, and talk tomorrow after class. Dale started in about how he didn't want to miss supper. Peggy shook her head.
"Dale, don't you want to know more about sex?" She asked plainly.
"Yes, and I want to know what a guy thinks too."
"I, ahhh, kinda do too."
"To know what a guy thinks?"
"Yes.. ..no, I know kinda what, ah, guys think, I think, I..." He stuttered.
"You want to know what girls think."
"No, I want to know what girls think."
"That's what I just said."
"I guess that's where I heard it."
Peggy laughed and threw popcorn at him.
Dale floated through his classes. He was glad the Greek math class was cancelled. He poked at his lunch and flipped through the paper. Everything was either about the fire or the drug bust. He read the funnies, and looked at the pictures of the fire.
The fire was old news, but the non-investigation as the paper called it was going full blast. The university was up against the wall. They had disclaimed any responsibility, but there was a catch. The Fire Marshal had stated that the sprinkler system showed corrosion and rust, and was non-functional or so bad to be ineffective. There was also evidence that the smoke and heat detectors were non-functional. The Police-Fire Arson unit stated flatly that it was arson, but the damage would have been minimal, even given arson, if the systems had been working. The university board clamed-up, and said "see you in court."
Fine, lawyers for some of the students families said. There were now several different lawsuits for a grand total of over twelve million dollars and counting, including a class action suit by of the student body for a total renovation of all security systems on campus.
Dale walked back to the mansion, he was totally unsure of what Peggy expected tonight. He liked her well enough, but she seemed a little eager. He knew that back home her parents never even kissed in front of her. She said her mother had never really given her 'the in mother daughter talk', she just told her not to do anything until she was married. Peggy didn't know what not to do.
They were split up after the unveiling. Jack was waylaid by the D.A. who wouldn't listen to any reasons or excuses. Mary was left behind. She walked back to her room, taking her time, she stopped at the student union, read the bulletin board, used the direct line to the radio station to request a song, and generally tried to avoid going back to her room. She stopped by the Catholic dorm to see Maggie she wasn't there. She couldn't find Cindy either.
It was geting late, and Mary had had a full day.
She opened her door to hear the TV going, Jack was on the phone.
"What are you doing here?"
He was startled. "I was waiting on you. Listen Bud, Mary is here. I gotta go." He hung up.
"I'm tired. I just want to sleep."
"That figures. I thought we could review for the test in Western History tomorrow."
"Test." she said weakly.
"Name two important events of 1901" Jack asked. Mary seemed to think about it, then she turned on the radio. "I'll give you a hint, A Queen and a President." He added.
Mary just looked at him.
"McKinnley." Jack prompted.
"OK, I'll bite, is that the queen or the President?"
"Queen McKinnley. I don't think so." Jack put down the book. "We're going to blow the test aren't we?"
"Was there ever any doubt? I reckon we need to decide which we want worse. To graduate or to make love?"
"Some choice." Jack looked out the window. "I do need to graduate, I've messed up everything else." He reached for the book. "What year did Victoria die?"
"Ahhh, in 1901?" Mary guessed. "I'll bet President McKinley did something too." She sat down by Jack.
"Yeah, he died. Who succeeded him?" While she searched for the answer, he kissed her. Slowly he dropped the book. The fire alarm did not go off, no earthquakes happened, the phone did not ring. They fell asleep kissing, fully clothed.
Dale got detoured outside the mansion by Dr. Harrison and a skinny guy Dale had seen around the house but hadn't spoke to more than 'good morning'. They were peering into the muck of the fish pond, arguing about toxic wastes.
"Dale, my boy, didn't you say you saw a catfish in here the other day?" The fat man asked.
"Yes sir doctor Harrison."
"Did this fish exhibit any unusual behaviors or bodily growths." The skinny guy asked him.
"Ahhh, no, it looked like a fish, it swam, that's about it."
They nearly shouted at each other about genetic changes brought on by prolonged exposure to something or other.
"Ahm. Bilbo, what's wrong with the fish pond, can you swim in it?"
"Ah, sure, no problem, just don't live in it."
They proceeded to discuss the chemicals in the water as related to available light for the plants and the capacity of the circulating pump.
Dale looked at the two of them in deep discussion at the edge of the pond. He decided the only thing to do was push them in. So he did. Then he ran into the house.
Cont in Two Dorms Part 16
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