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A TALE OF TWO DORMS (c)94-01 Levite [Manuscript Page Two Hundred]
SYNOPSIS: Dale now lives in an academic residence and has become heavily involved with a research project, he has a girlfriend in Peggy, but doesn't know it. He is just recovering from a brief but serious illness and Peggy is about to tell him the butler's secret.
Mary is engaged and has been drafted into the homecoming queen pageant. Mary is facing the interview for the queen contest more calmly than she expected. Her and Jack had finally made love after being interrupted many times by everything from a major fire to a marching band. The repercussions from the drug raid have turned out to be minor to those not indicted, with Jack actually coming out ahead.
We now rejoin the story…
They discussed how being twins would make one job easier they wondered how the brothers had worked out things like taxes and bills. Peggy said that maybe they only had one identity as far as the government was concerned.
"Maybe he's a war criminal hiding out." Dale said.
Peggy shook her head, she didn't think it was anything that dramatic.
Miss Alice knocked on the door. They told her to come in. The lady checked his IV, and smiled at him. "Almost there how do you feel?"
Dale thought about it. "I'm still a little tired I think, and I wasn't as hungry as I thought I was. But I feel better."
Miss Alice looked at Peggy, the girl shook her head slowly. The maid nodded to her, she understood that Dale was trying to be strong in his own way.
Miss Alice took the hypodermic out of her small bag. Dale shuddered. "We shall get this over with, then your parents will stop by before you go to sleep." Dale started to roll over. "That will not be required, your arm will do just fine." She was very good, it was over before Dale realized it.
"Why did you quit nursing Miss Alice?" Peggy asked, she remembered the security man Burrows telling the Fire Chief she was still a RN.
Miss Alice looked startled by the question, she smiled, "A misunderstanding its a long story, but I can be brief, would you like to hear it?"
The woman judged that by the end of her story Dale would be about ready to sleep again, so he could say goodnight to his parents and mean it.
"Miss Henderson." The panel called. Mary stood and walked slowly foreword. "Your address Miss."
"As the Campus Representative I will try to show the best face of the campus with discretion and style." Mary said clearly.
The panel murmured among themselves, "Miss do you consider the Queen's office a sexist institution that degrades women as objects and trophies." One of them asked her.
Mary did, she thought the pageants were silly and outdated showplaces for the statuesque but slowwitted. But… she said, "I think contests like this, properly used, can showcase the very best of my sex, and give a forum to us to prove that there is more to women than appearances, even if it is just a token scholarship or other prize made to encourage others to follow her into the pageants. But I respect those that do well in them."
The panel seemed to be carefully considering what she said.
Miss Alice sat on Dale's desk chair, Peggy was forced to sit on Dale's bed so she could she the woman's face, Miss Alice had always been something of a Cupid to the house residents as long as she approved of the suitors of 'Her Girls'.
"I was a surgical nurse at the old St. Luke's Hospital here in town several years ago. I was working the late shift for a friend of mine when a car accident victim came in. He needed emergency surgery and the only doctor on duty was a very old general practitioner who usually just assisted any more. But the victim would die if we didn't operate immediately so the old doctor scrubbed and I prepped the victim." She took a breath. "While he was scrubbing up he had a massive heart attack. He was dead in seconds. The rest of the team tried to revive him but he was gone. The victim was already being anesthetized so..." She paused.
"You did the operation." Dale said softly.
Miss Alice nodded. "The patient lived and I got fired."
Mary was asked a couple of other questions, then she was showed the side door.
Mary was lead to a waiting room. There were only seven other girls in the room, they were standing around sipping diet drinks and munching carrot and celery sticks. There was only one of the pin-up types, the others were all pretty, of course, but more or less normal looking. Mary found out this was the group of finalists. She took a drink and walked around the room, she knew one of the other girls from a class a year ago. They chatted about several meaningless things.
In about ten minutes another girl was showed into the room, one of the other girls squealed in recognition and they hugged. Just a few minutes later the group of girls was asked to come back to the conference room. The nine lined up where they were told.
"You are the finalists for Campus Queen. You will all be asked back here Thursday for our decision. Thank you all and good luck to each of you." The panel chair said.
They were sworn to secrecy and let back out the front door. The last girl in the room stopped Mary and congratulated her on her engagement to, "That really cute basketball player Foster." The other girls all joined in, wanting to see her ring and asking if she had picked the colors for her wedding yet.
Mary was amazed that they really acted like they were happy for her.
They were the most exclusive club on campus. Out of the nearly forty nominated, only nine remained.
For the first time since Steve had volunteered her she thought she might have a chance to win. Mary smiled and chatted, she let it slip that she was meeting Jack downstairs. They all wanted to see him. The nine Homecoming Queen Finalists ran downstairs to kiss the groom-to-be.
"How could they fire you. You saved the poor man's life?" Peggy asked.
"The administration had me up on charges. I got sued by the insurance company. It didn't seem to matter the man lived, and the surgical review board said that I did a good job, and the church sent me a medallion for acting beyond consideration for myself to save life. But I still ended up in court."
"That's terrible." Peggy said and Dale agreed.
"It worked out OK though. The charges were dropped as the case started to get media attention. My RN certificate was reinstated with the promise that I would find employment, with an excellent reference I might add, elsewhere. My family already had some interest in the house, and a position here was open, so here I have been, first as housekeeper and nurse, later as... well, what I am now. I feel I am much better off here." Miss Alice stood up. "I'll see if your parents are ready to come up." She walked out.
Peggy looked at Dale, "This place is just full of fascinating people."
"Wow." Dale's standard reaction. "I can't wait to hear the butler's story. This place is great. The secret passage, the garden, the people."
Peggy took his hands. "Do you realize how lucky we are to be here?"
"I hadn't thought about it." He really hadn't. "But I guess..."
Dale's IV monitor started beeping. He thought he was going to die and started to take the needle out. She stopped him and yelled out the door for Miss Alice.
The IV was removed, they convinced Dale that he wasn't dying. Then Peggy left him alone with his parents and went down to see about popcorn.
To say Jack was surprised would be an understatement.
All of the sudden he was the center of attention for the nine homecoming queen finalists.
A couple of the guys from the house were with him, and to say they were waiting to be struck dead by a thunderbolt from Zeus would not be an understatement.
The guys decided that Jack was probably the luckiest guy on earth. The groom-to-be was being kissed, hugged, and molested by the excited young women, in public, while Mary stood there and laughed.
Mary let it go on for a minute or three, then she started calling them off, saying he was taken and they had to find their own. The two guys from the house, Larkin and Barry, offered to pick up the spares. Their gallant offer was declined by the girls.
The eight other girls left. Barry and Larkin kidded Mary about having to do a swimsuit walk in high heels. After a while, they got tired of being ignored and Barry and Larkin went to find a pool table.
Mary looked deep into Jack's eyes, "I thought they would never leave."
Dale's mom loved the house, she loved his room, she loved Colleen and all those 'very smart people' she had met. Dale had never seen his mother happy about anything that wasn't her idea before. She had not liked his old dorm room, she didn't like the cafeteria, she didn't like his old roommate, and so on. Dale wanted to get up and take a shower and get out of his hospital gown. His dad went down the hall with him, leaving his mom to 'tidy up' the immaculate room.
Once in the bathroom his dad steadied Dale while he got undressed and got in the stall. Dale played with the water handles.
"You know your mom is jealous of you, she went to two years of junior college and lived at home the whole time. This is what she always wanted but it never happened. She never went further in school, and then we got married and that was that."
Dale tried to wash his hair, but got dizzy.
The next thing he knew his dad was holding him up and the butler was drying him off. The butler saw him open his eyes.
"Young sir, the shower is not an appropriate place to try to nap while you are still standing." The butler said with a perfectly straight face in spite of his wet trouser legs and sleeves.
Dale nodded weakly. They helped him back to his bed and he was asleep almost immediately. His mom and dad stayed with him a couple of minutes then they were ushered out of the room by the perfectly dry butler who gave Dale a big smile as he slept.
They sat a while longer, Mary told Jack about the interview.
"Oh, I forgot. Your car is done. Barry drove it over here. It runs great. Come on." They nearly ran over to the lot. Mary couldn't wait to test drive it. "Easy now, he told me to warn you that it has a little more pickup than it used to." Jack said as she turned the key. The engine roared to life.
Mary put the car in gear and eased out of the parking lot. She stopped at the stop sign and looked both ways, then she pulled slowly out onto the street, she gave the car a little gas. It perked up a little, she gave it a little more, the engine sprang to life.
She laid twin strips of rubber halfway down the block.
"Steve said with the timing advance and something about the high speed choke you have a lot more pep in it when you give it some gas."
Mary was still shaking from the burnout. "Yeah, I noticed."
She drove out to the shopping mall.
"What are we doing here?" Jack asked.
"Oh, I just wanted to walk around, I hadn't been out here for awhile."
Jack knew she knew this was where the ring had come from. He was worried she might want him to exchange it or something, or even change her mind.
Dale's parents basically crashed without ceremony after the butler promised to wake them if Dale had any difficulty in the night. His parents didn't seem to understand, "I will look in on him from time to time."
"But you've been up all day, how will you look in on him? You have to be exhausted." His mother said, she didn't seem to notice that the butler was just as crisp and fresh as ever. His jacket sleeves weren't even wet from helping Dale and his dad in the shower.
"I am fine Mrs. Hinerick. I will check on him shortly. Have a good night, if you need anything, just ring the intercom." He gestured to the small oldish box on the wall.
They gave up. Within a few minutes, they were dead to the world. It had been a very long day.
The butler looked in on Dale, then he took Harrison's beer out of his arms and left the man asleep in the old chair in the music room, he gently placed a cover over Kremin on the couch, and closed the door to Peggy's room. He made his rounds quietly and efficiently, then sat in the kitchen and had a cup of tea while watching the late news show. Later he made another circuit of the house, Dale hadn't stirred, but Harrison had left, taking his beer with him, Kremin was still out.
He did this about every half-hour, all night.
Mary never went near the jeweler, but she hit every clothing store in the place. She finally found what she wanted in three different stores.
A blouse, a long skirt that could pass for formal, and a scarf that would tie it all together nicely. She pulled out a charge card with the house name on it and told Jack to counter sign the receipts. Only one store questioned it, she showed them the letter from Steve that gave her and Jack limited use of the card for this purpose. Then came the shoes.
Mary gingerly drove downtown to a shoe store she liked. She found a pair that went with her new outfit. Then it was back to the house to try it all on. While she changed in Jacks room, after much kissing and hugging, and feeling, and nearly losing control of the situation, Jack rounded up the guys for the fashion show.
They all sat in the big room and made noise and demanded beer, then Jack called for their attention and introduced Mary as both their finalist in the homecoming court, and his fiance. He had said the word aloud in public for the first time. He was proud of himself.
Mary walked in, she had brushed out her hair, now nearly shoulder length. The blouse and skirt had turned into enough of a gown for this crowd, she smiled radiantly.
The men in the room stared for a minute, then applauded. And whistled and catcalled after a minute.
She was beautiful.
The house never started the day with a shout of joy and a springing to life with enthusiasm and vigor. Especially after a night and day as long as the last several were. Martha was up first, she started coffee and let some of the early risers know that a continental breakfast was ready, rolls and donuts had been delivered to the back door, and then the flowers arrived. The butler took them to the dining room and then set the fresh arrangements in the meditation room. A few of the studious typed showed up for the early breakfast, the butler brought in the newspapers, then he went upstairs to check on Dale. The boy was awake, and seemed fine, the butler asked him if he felt like putting on a robe and coming downstairs for a light meal.
"Sure." He said getting slowly out of bed. He seemed almost back to normal.
Downstairs the main breakfast was in the works. Kremin had washed his face and was drinking coffee looking at the paper. "Hey Dale! You trying to get more attention? It won't work any more, we know you were faking."
Dale looked guilty, like maybe he worried that he had been faking.
"Jack, now I know why you're getting married. She is gorgeous. Have you two consummated this relationship yet?" Hairy asked trying to sound proper.
"Consummated?" Jack replied.
"You know what I mean, ..." He was interrupted by music and an order from Steve for Jack to dance with her. Jack did as he was told. The lights in the room were shut off except for the ball in the middle of the dance floor.
"This is your spotlight dance, Mary. You are so beautiful. I am so lucky. I think I'll shut up and dance." Jack said softly. After a while they noticed that they were not alone, a few other couples had joined them, though they did not know where the two other girls had come from.
They kept dancing, Jack wouldn't let anyone cut in, then later they were gone.
Mary changed her clothes in Jack's room. They were tempted to kill some time together there, but Jack was afraid of interruption. They snuck out of the back door and left her car behind the house. They walked back to her dorm to hang up her outfit.
Her door had been defaced with ribbons and notes and flowers. It was also a tradition the finalists identity, although a carefully guarded secret, was common knowledge almost immediately.
Jack flopped on her bed and laughed softly.
"What's so funny? I think this afternoon was wonderful."
"Jack, have you two consummated the relationship yet?" He repeated Hairy's question. "I can't believe they couldn't tell."
"Why? Does it show?" She asked, she walked to the bed and held his hand.
"You were glowing." He pulled her down to him. "I love you."
Martha came out of the kitchen with a plate for Dale, poached eggs, real hominy cream-style light toast and medium tea. She sat it for him at the head of the table and said something about he needed a real breakfast to get his strength back. Dale looked at it and decided that he was hungry for something besides a donut.
He sat and ate in silence. Kremin gave up giving him a hard time and proceeded to suck the filling out of a jelly filled Bismarck.
Dale's parents came out a few minutes later and told him to go ahead and finish his breakfast. They drank coffee and begged Martha to not go to any trouble for them. Which Martha did anyway. The cook brought them scrambled eggs with a light cheese sauce, bagels, and an unsweetened fruit salad.
Soon most of the house showed up. Breakfast for most of the house was what Dale's parents got. A few had a special order, Keith got a high protein high-calorie deal for his training in track and field, as assistant coach he stayed in shape. Yyavonne got all fruit and a dish of yogurt.
Dale was informed that if he was up to it, the Greek math class (the butler gave the complete title of the class), would be meeting in the music hall that morning.
Dr. Harrison rolled into the room. The first thing he did was want to know why Dale's mom was in his chair drinking his coffee.
Harrison muttered something and glared at her.
"Oh, I'm sorry sir, I..." The lady began to apologize and move.
She was stopped by Martha who steered the
groggy physicist to another chair and handed him oversize coffee mug of extra strong java.
"Mrs. Hinerick I'm sorry. I forgot. He's not very with it in the mornings, if he can't find his pants he comes down here in his skivvies, some mornings he gets lost on his floor and screams until we take him his morning coffee. You just watch, in a minute he'll look for the nut-rolls, then he'll want a newspaper. It doesn't matter which one, as long as its today's." The cook was patting Dale's mom on the shoulder talking to her like she was a little girl.
Harrison had one eye focusing on command, so he looked around for a roll. He saw one on the plate in the middle of the table, and retrieved it on his second try. In another minute, his mouth working the nuts from between his teeth. Somebody handed him a front section to the St. Louis paper. Now all was right with his world for awhile. Mr. Blumn stopped by. He was unannounced and early. He just wandered in, looking for Harrison. Martha fed him breakfast too. Then Bill Crowley came in and got the same treatment. Dale introduced them, then he realized that he hadn't introduced his parents. He said something to Martha.
"Oh my child, don't worry about it. I know them." She said.
Dale didn't understand. Martha had just met them, but to her they were just another part of this large, strange family she loved.
Mary was still glowing.
Jack was almost, not quite, glowing too.
Mary knew the stages of a relationship from her interpersonal class. They were in the stage called, 'infatuation', described in the class by a rather vulgar young man with terrible acne as, "The stage of love, 'cough', when the other person farts and you don't smell it."
The class laughed, but the professor said that was basically the case, you were so entranced by the other person, you didn't care they were a wanted ax murderer, you were in love.
Mary never thought she would feel like that, but she did. And she liked it.
Jack couldn't put a name to it, but he liked it too.
Since their first time, they were averaging the intimate act, once every twelve hours. And then they both felt like they had been without the other for at least an eight month hitch at sea on submarine under the Arctic ice cap.
Mary couldn't get enough of him, she wanted to hold him close forever, even when they both gave in to sleep, she clung to him, and he didn't mind.
Wednesday on campus closed with a sense of foreboding. Thursday, everybody knew, brought the SPIRIT COMPETITION!
'SOMETHING WEIRD THIS WAY COMES' as it was paraphrased across the front page of the campus paper.
Dr. Varscroft declined breakfast; but Martha persisted, so he agreed to a sweet roll and a cup of coffee. Now most of the class was around the table.
Colleen walked into the room, everybody at the table looked at Ralph Cook, certain he would drop his partial uppers into his cereal.
Well, Ralph, being Ralph, noticed the beautiful young woman immediately.
But Ralph even surprised himself. When she got to the table, he stood, the rest of the men did so slowly, remembering something of etiquette.
Ralph said something tasteful for perhaps the first time in his life. "Miss, you are, without a doubt the most beautiful woman I have ever seen in my life."
Colleen smiled a smile that could light up Carlsbad Caverns from end to end for a week. "Thank you sir." She said softly. She nodded as Martha brought her her cup of green tea, then she took the financial section of the paper.
Ralph finally sat down. He couldn't believe this creature had escaped his notice after all these years on campus. Ralph sat and watched her read and eat.
Canney couldn't wait, "If other particles do not react with light outside the photosphere how is it they can react with it inside once away from the atomic fusion that produced it?"
Blumn was still gnawing a bagel. "Simple you ninny. Outside they are not inside. Inside they have to conform to the relative laws of the process or they will be destroyed or blown out of the star as background radiation or drop out or reality altogether. Unless that reaction is what causes the photon to break down to begin with. Ma'am these are excellent, I complement your bakery." He told Martha, she blushed slightly.
Dale said something that stunned everybody but the class, well, OK, it stunned the class as well. All of them but Dr. Varscroft, that is. "But you've said before that the inside of the photon is outside of our spatial-temporal relativistic universe. It doesn't answer to our laws, not like we do. So if something left our universe and went into its, what would that do to it?"
They awoke in the dead middle of the night, somewhere around midnight.
Jack came back into the room, he had to answer nature's call and had to go clear to the first floor to do it, then Mary stepped down the hall too.
In a few minutes, the room still dark, they looked out her window at the sleeping campus.
Most of the lights were out, except the tower on Ol' Abe. It was beautiful. The ruins of Westin dark, other lights like stars, a streak of lights far off on Naval street, the union a dimly lit hulk in the middle of the campus.
Jack held her close as they looked out.
"It's wonderful. I never looked at it like this before honey."
"Mary, I love you. I want to marry you. Right now. I want you to be my wife. I can't wait. Let's go find a judge. I want to marry you now." He said urgently. Pulling her around to stare at her face in the dark.
"Jack. Jack, calm down." Mary coaxed. "We will get married soon. I told my mom we'd do it right after Thanksgiving, maybe that weekend. Everybody is off work and can come. Come here, let's pretend this is our honeymoon. I want you to make mad passionate love to me. NOW, this minute. I am the judge. Get to it boy." She ordered.
It worked, Jack forgot about Justice of the Peace's, and concentrated on her.
She almost regretted it. He was very strong, and had good endurance from years of basketball wind sprints and two-a-day practices.
What became known as the 'great breakfast table debate' shaped up. Other house people became involved, Colleen took to sketching the various debaters in the heat of passion, she was used drawing people who were still, naked, posed, and rather dull. But these people were frantic, discussing something that, to her, was science fiction.
She first drew Ralph, who stared at her with unbridled lust, while talking of minute variations in the internal harmonics of the non-reality of the photon.
He was unshaven, dark circles under his eyes, yellowish teeth. But with precision in his voice and intensity in his facial expression she found remarkable.
Next Colleen did several drawing of
Crowley as he tried to put into words his idea about the harmonics of each photon being dictated by the other particles around it as it formed in a fraction of an instant during the reactions inside the star. His face appeared older in the drawings, lines around his eyes and mouth more pronounced, his eyes deeper, he almost looked like a Biblical Prophet pronouncing doom on an unrepentant city. Then she worked on Varscroft, he sat back, taking it all in, trying to bring the competing ideas together. Deep furrows over the eyes, his cheeks sucked in, lips pursed.
She had a problem with Dale, his words were almost on the level with the others, but his face and eyes were still very young.
Peggy had been watching over her shoulder, she loved watching Colleen bring a sheet of paper to life like this. "That's him Colleen." Peggy said after her third attempt to harmonize Dale's face with the ideas.
Finally they were done. Jack was lying exhausted on her bed. She had to go take a shower to calm her violently quaking nerves.
Mary had thought she had done everything, been as far as she could go.
Until now. When Jack had kissed her his last kiss, and fell asleep stroking her hair and breasts. She heard his half-asleep whisper, "I can't believe how much I love her." Then he was fully asleep.
She worked out from under his arm and put on her robe.
She was alone in the bathroom while she brushed her teeth, then she started the shower, a seven head group shower, she turned them all on as hot as they would go to create a steam bath, then she turned two of them down to tolerable levels to bathe in. She had learned this nearly four years ago as the only way to take a late-night, all the hot water you want, shower.
She was singing "The wedding song" when she realized somebody else was in the bathroom with her.
"Don't stop, I love that song." A female voice called.
"Judith? That you?"
"Yes Mary. Everybody knows you're in love. What are you doing up this time of night?"
"You don't want to know."
Judith got in the shower and adjusted a nozzle to non-scalding levels. "I want to know. I'll tell you, I was out. And had a wonderful time."
Mary knew Judith's idea of a wonderful time usually involved her boyfriend from the football team and several joints of high quality illegal smoke. "I was with Jack."
"I know that look, you were more than just with Jack."
"Mary, Mary quiet contrary..." She sang. "Yes" she cooed.
"You did the nasty with the roundballer. Damn, I should have bet on homecoming instead of Halloween. Mary you cost me money." Judith said.
"Judith, I made it to the top. I ain't ever had it so good." Mary confided. She smiled up at the nozzle and felt every nerve tingle.
Colleen had sketched at least one view of the entire class. She had Dr. Canney down pat, his chins and jowls merging his mouth open in a sneer or a put down of somebody's idea, his eyes full of loathing.
But her favorite was the one she was most familiar with, Simmons Harrison PhD. He was a study of detail, every blemish on his skin, his finger jabbing the air, his eyes focused far away, an intensity about him that said he knew what he was talking about.
Colleen started to draw another this time she was trying to picture what they were talking about, light itself, as it was formed. The soul of a star.
The others kept debating. Rob offered his two cents worth, Lauren had dismissed them all as insane and left, Poi Kareem sat and listened, fascinated. Yyavonne was watching their faces with professional interest.
Judith wanted to know if Mary had had an orgasm. Mary thought that was none of her business. "I shared something very special with Jack. It has nothing to do with anybody else. I'm sharing a shower with you, but I'm not going to tell the Channel Seven news about it."
Judith wasn't going to give up that easily. "I just want to know if you let him take charge of the situation, and you live with second best."
Mary wondered a little about that, she hadn't been aggressive with him, but for right now she was certainly satisfied. "I'll get back to you on that." Mary told her showermate, and got out to dry off.
Back in her room, Jack was snoring softly in deep sleep, her clock said it was just before three in the morning. Mary crawled in bed beside him and rubbed his bare chest. She was in love with him, she was certain of that now. She caught a glance of the forgotten protection they had used in lovemaking, it was discarded in a tissue, he had tried to get it in the wastebasket, but he was distracted and the shot went wide.
Mary laughed silently about the memory. She was tired but not sleepy, she planned her wedding looking at the dark ceiling, she could get a dress, and Jack was supposed to have talked to the chaplain, Bishop Frakes, but she didn't know if he had had time.
Now, thinking about her honeymoon, she fell into an uneasy sleep.
The butler had offered a suggestion that light could behave differently depending on which star it had originated from.
This brought a renewed argument as it was thought about.
"Each source has different parameters in action at any singular time. Radiation is a variable in each circumstance but there are other factors, so light formed in a dozen stars at any frame in time would have more than a dozen factors of infinity. Each photon born in the universe could have any number of variables in operation at any given instant." Blumn said, then he sat down and reached for another donut.
Ralph nodded, "Different isotopes of hydrogen or whatever combining in the star at different rates, more gravity now, less heat then, yeah. I could see that."
The others sat around arguing, the table was beginning to collect scrap notepaper and other refuse of academic endeavor. Martha had long since stopped serving breakfast and Dale's parents wandered in and out. The butler had taken them on a full tour of the house, they had walked through the garden, his mom and dad hand in hand, with a running commentary by the three gardeners. They had listened to an impromptu recital on the baby grand by Sandy, Peggy's next door neighbor, in the music hall. And the debate still continued.
Poi Kareem wanted to know something. "Does that mean that some light when it reaches Earth from these sources is less perfect than other light?"
This fired them up again. It seemed perfection was relative as well.
Jack woke up first, and his first waking thought was of Mary.
He didn't realize she had been up in the night running around, and it didn't matter. He found her wrapped in her robe, which he undid gently, he began a slow exploration of her with fingers and lips and tongue. She slept through it at first, then murmured in her sleep with waves of pleasure entering her dream of her days at church camp. Her dream had her in the church camp bunkhouse, in her bed, doing something that would get her into trouble with the counselors. She couldn't stop the feelings. Her dream grew more vivid, she felt the lips on her, kissing her as she slept, she was afraid she would cry out and waken the other campers. Mary's dream was becoming intense.
Jack felt her body tighten as he worked on her. Her hand reached down and grabbed his hair. He almost reacted with a heartfelt 'ouch' but didn't, he continued his mission. His hands slowly worked on moving her left leg.
Mary felt her legs spreading as she lay in her bunk, in her dream she was sure the counselor had went to get the nun in charge of the girl's bunkhouse.
She thought she had called out once, but maybe not. Then an electric charge shot through her body. The dream broke in a flash. Her eyes snapped open, she knew instantly what was going on.
"Jack!" She said sharply. "No Jack! My love! No! Don't stop. Please!"
Jack was startled by her cry of his name, but then her body language and her words reassured him that she was all right and in the right frame of mind. Mary relaxed in a hurry, waves of pleasure set her body on fire.
Mary felt herself letting go to him, and she liked it.
The breakfast table debate would never had made it to the music room except the butler announced they would not be fed lunch unless they cleared out and allowed Martha and her helpers to clean up and t set up lunch.
Martha had already decided to have a buffet, she knew these people would never organize themselves for a real meal. The debate was carried on as they moved to the music hall, Blumn shouting and calling Harrison names. Harrison taking the donuts with him and shouting his reply to the other. Rob thought the whole thing was funny and blew off his classes to watch. Colleen had been working on a 'Last Supper' type of picture of the theoretical debate. She moved without protest to the large table in the music hall.
Peggy had taken to helping Dale's mom get ready to leave. His parents told him to go help with the debate, they could not believe that he really seemed to understand all this, and what's more, he seemed to be helping them go forward in this pursuit.
"Dale has changed. He is growing broader" His mom said.
They laid with each other a long time again. Finally, around seven, Jack decided he had to get up. The new and improved basketball team was going to play a breakfast scrimmage in the main dining hall this morning at seven-thirty, they were going to set up a portable backboard and play half court three on three, in full uniform to show solidarity and promote school spirit.
Jack felt drained, but Mary was recharged, she encouraged him and promised to be there to support him. He dragged himself out and over to the gym. The other players were straggling in.
Mary was sure she had experienced the very best physical love possible, so she was ready for anything homecoming could throw her way. Namely, today's judging panel decision for homecoming queen. Mary dressed in a nice dress and went out to greet the day.
Peggy asked his mom what she meant by Dale growing broader.
"He was always a homebody, maybe a bit over protected. But he was always a good student. But sometimes his grades weren't all that good. But he always was eager to please. And a little innocent."
Peggy blushed. "I was too, I guess I still am. But Dale is very nice."
"He never had a date in high school." His mom said with a smile.
Peggy defended him. "We went on a picnic date in the garden. We watched three guys try to trim a tree, they were really funny."
"We got to meet them. Martha said she thought they were knuckleheads. They couldn't agree on anything while they took us on the tour. They were very funny."
Dale's dad came in, "They're still at it. Peggy, how long can they go like that? That one man, ahhh, the slob, Ralph, he asked me if I ever took Dale's mom skinny dipping, then asked the professor if he thought anti-light particles could do something. He's a real piece of work."
Peggy just laughed. "They went for nearly twelve hours Monday. I think that's what made Dale sick. You heard them at the hospital, and now here. Valerie says they can go for weeks, she saw it last year, she helped Dr. Harrison write a textbook."
Dale's mom and dad looked at each other. "This is for real?"
"Yes, Mrs. Hinerick." The butler said from the door. Peggy noticed he was very tight-lipped. "Mr. Ralph Cook was considered for a Nobel Prize. Dr. Canney worked until recently at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Mr. Blumn is a nationally recognized lecturer on quantum mechanics and special relativity. Mr. Crowley recently retired from NASA. And Dr. Varscroft is a leading authority on high- energy physics. Yes ma'am, they are very 'for real'. Master Hinerick is in the very best of scientific company."
The bleary-eyed breakfast crowd may not have even noticed the breakfast interrupting basketball practice in the middle of the dining room. Jack, Josh Dearing, and Sam Madderson, were the gold team with green shorts, the green over gold team was Leon Matthews, Kiel Winston, and Paul Cooper. The three on three got pretty intense. The other player that showed up, James Blackthrawn acted as ref. There was only two other players on the new basketball team, Jack was the only starter from last year that hadn't been arrested or suspended pending and eligible to play.
They had taped off a half court, sat up the backboard, with the twelve foot ceiling and fluorescent, it was interesting playing basketball, let alone having tables around with people siting at them eating pancakes and cereal.
Mary sat near the far boundary. Jack saw her come in, and realized that he didn't want to loose this stupid game with her watching. Leon had the ball and was pressing around the top of the key to do one of his 'runaway windmill' slams. Jack took two steps and leaped. Jack grabbed the ball in mid-slam, he broke around the timeline and hit from three-point land. Mary jumped up clapping and screaming. In a few minutes Jack's Gold team were keeping even with the towering Leon, and Paul Cooper, the man with flypaper hands. Cooper was known for never giving up the ball, never miscuing a pass or shot, he wasn't a scoring machine, but he was the ball-control specialist.
After the lunch buffet Dale's parents started saying goodbye to everybody, Ralph grabbed Dale's mom and gave her a goodbye kiss. She would have been insulted and slapped the man, but the rest of the class was laughing and the prince bowed slightly to her as soon as Ralph turned her loose.
"Mrs. Hinerick." Poi Kareem said in a respectful strong voice, "I have enjoyed meeting you and your husband. I have been most impressed by your son, he has reminded me that there is more to life than government and agricultural science."
She was speechless. She had been told about the reception they had with the charge deaffairs and the former governor. She didn't know what to do or say to a real live prince, so she just smiled and nodded to him as he bent in a graceful bow again. Dale's father and the butler came in from the driveway.
"They had our car washed and waxed, and filled it up with gas." His father told the room. "They even had the oil changed.' I thought when the chauffeur said he wanted keys to 'take care' of the car' when we got here, I thought he was going to park it."
The chauffeur had told the story about that trip in the limmo often and well to everyone he knew. So he thought that was the least he could do for his folks.
The three on three game wound down, Jack played inspired ball, but Leon and Paul Cooper used their specialties to stay just a few points ahead. Mary cheered again, the crowd eating breakfast was now getting into the game.
Many rooted for the underdog gold team. But Leon's greens were not going to give up without a fight. They had meant to play only one quarter, but the twelve minutes expired and the crowd was screaming for more action.
Mary played coach for her side, some of the others did the same for the greens. Blackthrawn whistled them back to the floor and started another quarter.
Breakfast had almost come to a stop. The crowd was into it in a big way.
Jack as the center opposing the beanpole Leon had a few advantages. Leon was tall, and fast, but the quick start speed advantage went to Jack. He could usually get a step on the big man, and that was almost enough. Jack thought if they could get ahead, they could stay there.
The fact is that Dale had effect on nearly everyone in the house in way one way or another. Colleen had seen Dale's enthusiasm and she found there were still some things in life that could be new, that was why she had taken such care drawing him in the debate. The butler had become frustrated with Dale's inability to keep his room 'tidy'. But watching him try under his sternest gaze to make his bed correctly and get his dresser drawers shut before the reception had almost made the tight-lipped butler laugh out loud. Rob had found himself whistling in the shower now and then. Even Miss Alice had taken to thinking of the awkward young man as an adopted grandson like she did the girls.
When Dale got sick, the house realized just how stuffy and stayed they had become in this shelter. It would be claiming too much to say they had all seen the light and were now living each day to its fullest with the joy of life flowing from every pore. But they did notice they hadn't been having much fun any more. Peggy reminded them of a love for everybody and everything, Dale reminded them that at one time, they had all been freshmen. So Miss Alice's plan had worked.
Dale's parents left. All the good-byes were said, and they promised to be back for parents weekend. Watching them drive off made Dale homesick. The debate raged in the music room, and he still felt a little weak, so Peggy guided him into an easy chair, somebody gave him a cup of tea. The debate, set to the music of the baby grand as Sandy played some improvisational jazz continued.
Dale woke up in bed later. It was night, the house was quiet. Dale fell back to sleep thinking about the music and Dr Canney jabbering about negative realms of anti-energy on the surface of stars.
They had managed to knock the plastic out of a light fixture on a rejected shot. Broke some dishes when a rebound got away from Kiel, and Sam ended up in the crowd after a lay-up. But Jacks gold squad was still four points behind at the half. Josh scraped himself off the floor.
Mary poured coffee into the gold team. She saw Leon eating a waffle. Jack was trying to whip up a strategy. Sam came back from the restroom with an idea. "Leon is their leading scorer. We need to slow him down."
"I'm not going to hurt one of OUR players to win this stupid game "
"No Jack, not like that, we distract him. He didn't eat breakfast before we came over here." Sam saw Jack's face light up.
"Mary, get some sweet rolls and hot chocolate and sausage, set up a breakfast table for us, then tell Leon as soon as the games over we'll eat." Jack kissed her. "I love you.
"Go get'em, next is the Canadian's. Then the NBA!" She told him.
The game started back up. Mary started setting a table for the team for breakfast. Every time she brought out a plate full of food, Leon stopped and looked. When she brought out a plate of sausage, Leon gave up two points. The big stack of pancakes were good for a defensive rebound by Sam that turned into two more. Leon missed a shot when the bowl of boiled eggs appeared. The food was cold when the game ended with Jacks gold team up by five points, but it didn't matter to the loosing center.
Leon bounded over the table and started eating before he got sat own. The cheers erupted and Jack had his doubled fists raised in triumph.
Sam and Josh lead the cheers, Jack had turned out to be a real leader on the court. Leon joined the cheers between mouthfulls of chow.
Mary had only seen Jack happier once, or maybe twice. Jack almost melted when he saw the love on her face.
Of course they kissed.
And Leon ate.
Thursday morning brought disappointment to the Rozbilski house.
They had a large 'Honorable Mention' banner across the gate. But the banner also had a star attached, 'best original idea' for the theater set up.
Dale felt almost back to full power. He ate a good breakfast, and joked a little with Harrison as he tried to focus his eyes on a newspaper. The house was a little upset, they had no plans to try to win the spirit award. Building levitation and a rumored twenty-one human cannonball salute from Mairnorm Dorm, and the suspected multiple coed nude repelling off McQuin towers was out of their league. And they knew it.
Unfortunately Dale and Harrison didn't.
Even now they were plotting something to get the campus's attention and maybe win the Spirit Prize for the house. But it would be tough to top twenty-one human cannonballs.
Mary had nerves again. She was due to go upstairs with the rest of the contestants to find out who would be fitted for the queen's gown. Mary had her outfit ready, she didn't want to get her hopes up, so she had her new dress and things ready to wear to the pep rally and spirit judging just in case.
Jack walked her to the stairs, he was going to the gym to change back into a human. She told him he 'didn't smell that bad', which was a lie, 'she liked him all sweaty', which was true, well, she liked him all sweaty when she was the reason he was all sweaty.
Jack watched her walk up the stairs.
"Damn you got it bad." Sam told him.
"Jack, she's gonna kill you." Kiel said.
Jack pushed him. They chased Jack back to the gym, Leon was still looking for more melon pieces. His caloric intake could easily feed a medium-sized high school basketball TEAM. But Leon never gained weight, unless he had a lot of change in his pocket, the team doctor was forever testing him for hypoglycemia, hyperactive whateveritmaybe, and a dozen other ailments. The fact is, Leon was a space alien posing as a tall skinny basketball player that could eat a major fast food franchise dry in one day and look for more...
Mary stood around with the other finalists, they were all telling each other good luck and holding hands, they all had bad nerves.
"Come in ladies." The voice could have been a shotgun blast by the effect it had on them. They recovered and walked in.
"All of you are to be congratulated, you are all fine young women and a credit to this university and the organizations which nominated you. But I suppose you are interested in knowing who won? OK...."
Dale's coconspirator was meditating over breakfast. "Bilbo." He said to Dr. Harrison after the man had gotten some coffee into him and his hands were sticky with butterscotch icing. "What can we do to win the spirit prize tommorrow for the house?"
The man licked his fingers and reached for another donut. "Well, you heard the Sigma Upsilon sorority has hired a helicopter for something, but nobody knows what. So we need to do something really different. Maybe, something small. I don't know kid. Let's think about it." He stuffed his mouth with puff pastry and thought.
Peggy came in, she looked like an ad for school spirit clothes, she twirled then gestured to the doorway, Kalley came in, basically the same, then Saleeta, Julie, Sandy and the rest.
Harrison smiled, an idea was taking shape. "I NEED A PHONE!" He shouted. "I got an idea. YES! An idea. I want a phone!" But he wouldn't tell anybody what his idea was.
"The consolation prizes will be announced at the luncheon presentation later, each of you will receive some gifts and certificates and all that." He smiled, they were dying from the slow torture. He turned to the chairman of the committee.
"Well now, the top three finishers will come up here to receive their certificates and sash." The chair said. He stood, as did the rest of the board. "Miss Mary Henderson, nominated by the Independent house, Second runner up."
Mary couldn't believe it, she had placed. She accepted the hugs of her fellow finalists and walked up to the panel. A woman handed her some flowers and put a sash around her. The older man shook her hand and handed her an envelope and a certificate. She was almost sobbing, and laughing, at the same time. She staggered back to the other girls.
The chair waited a minute, "First runner up. Miss Holidae Carman, nominated by the Phi Beta Kappa Academic organization." The girl stood in shock, they almost had to force her to walk up to receive her award.
"Now the Campus Homecoming Queen." The man paused for drama, the remaining girls clutched hands, Mary and Holidae stood off to one side biting their lips. "Miss Pamela Chase, the new Campus Queen!" He said, but nobody heard anything past Pamela. The squealing and chatter from all nine girls drowned out everything else.
Dr. Simmons Harrison spent quite a while on the telephone. He would not let anyone eavesdrop, but when he was done he made an announcement.
"Friday morning we will win the spirit competition!" He said flatly.
Everybody wanted to know how. "I will not set myself on fire and try to hang-glide through a car wash again." Rob said. "It hurts."
Harrison sat back and smirked. "I am going to get us some publicity."
"Local TV is full of this place already." Sandy said.
"Who said anything about local TV?"
"WHAT? You got somebody from Chicago?" Sandy exclaimed.
"Who said anything about Chicago? I called a friend of Dr. Varscroft's that is a science correspondent for 'Sunrise USA' that morning show from New York on all the independent TV stations... We'll get pretty good National Coverage."
"We?" Somebody said.
"The 'breakfast table debate'
was here. He's going to do a Spotlight story on it."
After order was restored, the chair swore the girls to secrecy. They were to return to the dining room at noon, through the side door, to be presented at the lunch rally.
Mary knew their being asked to not say anything was a tradition. 'The Captain' had bugged the room, the announcement was heard all over this part of the state.
Jack was being pounded into the ground by guys from the team in the locker room as his fiance was announced as a runner up.
Jack fought them off and hurried to catch Mary on her way out.
The others couldn't believe it. "I've heard about him, and if there is a bunch of pretty girls around, in school colors, maybe singing, he'll put them on before the weather. Maybe we can get them to do a couple of segments from here." He nodded, "I think that should do it." Harrison tried to light a cigar.
Most of the house was telling him what a wonderful idea it was.
In about twenty minutes Dr. Varscroft ran into the room, he was excited and breathless. He grabbed the back of a chair and panted for a couple of minutes while everybody else talked past him.
"Bilbo you raving lunatic, what was that nonsense about you and TV Don Cramer just called me about? It didn't make any sense." The prof finally said. "Then again anything to do with you never makes any sense."
Harrison sat back and puffed, then he sipped his coffee, he was enjoying being the center of attention. "I thought we had gone quite a ways into the theoretical final frontier, and it was time to break the news before somebody caught us, or maybe got ahead of us."
Varscroft accepted the cup of tea from Martha gratefully. "Thank you ma'am. What did Ralph tell you about Northwestern?"
Harrison didn't have to fake surprise. "Nothing. What's Kinsey and her bunch of delinquents doing? Are they onto us?"
Varscroft blew across his steaming cup. "No, they are on a different path, but they are heading toward the same goal. I think we can get to the Promised Land before they do. They are trying to identify each quantum particle inside the photon and its relationship to it. We are going from the photon to the particle, and I think we are ahead."
"So let's get the exposure before they take it. That way they will look like the copycats. Besides, we might just get a little notice from the school that we are really doing something besides leaving bottles of vodka in the trash." Harrison said with a grin.
Jack ambushed Mary as she walked to the dorm. She had just an hour to put on her new outfit and get back to the dining room. Jack had every intention of making her late. But Mary wouldn't hear of it.
In her room she had to admit the offer was tempting. She drew up her willpower and made Jack sit at her desk and watch as she got dressed for the lunch rally. The Spirit Rally was tomorrow, they would be on the stage that night, then the parade Saturday. But this thing at lunch was for the average student. It had started informally, and stayed that way, even though they would all be dressed to kill, and it was carefully staged, it had become just another item on the long list of strange things about this homecoming. The dining hall was organized into cheering sections, Many of the girls had several, Mary had two, the girls from her dorm, the dorm candidate had lost out and the house, rooted for her like they were supposed to.
They had to get the house ready for the TV people, and they spent the rest of the day doing it. The Greek math class showed up, and argued about who should be the spokesman for the class.
They decided before supper that Varscroft should do it, but each of the others would answer a question in turn. They also plotted that before the segment was over they would run the girls in for an impromptu pep rally and sing along.
The butler approved of this plan, after all, he did get into the homecoming spirit.
All week he had been wearing a green and gold pin and flower on his jacket lapel. There was even a rumor that when the house went to see the parade he would wave a small school flag when the queen went by.
Miss Alice had gone all out, she was wearing a sweater with a prairie dog on it, and had green and gold ribbons in her hair. Martha was famous for concocting strange and colorful dishes for homecoming. Her striped lemon lime pie was very good.
The 'girls' were practicing. They were trying to stay in time, and sing the same verse at the same time.
Supper was called, and the class proved they could eat just as well as they could explore high-energy relative eternity.
As each girl was announced there was wild cheers, whistles, and general hubbub. Each girl was introduced with some sort of title, there was no 'miss congeniality' . There was a Miss Good Attitude, a tie for 'Best self Presentation', there was also a girl named 'Best Outlook'
The top three were introduced after the consolation prizes.
There was a long pause while the jazz ensemble played the number that had ran her and Jack out of the music annex one morning. They were much better at noon than at six thirty in the morning.
"The second Runner Up. Miss Mary Henderson representing the Independent House." The chair announced. The guys from the house began raising considerable hell. The dorm cheered and chanted her name. Mary walked out like Cindy and Maggie had coached her. Slowly, sedately.
The second runner ups stand-in from last year put the small tiara on her head, and gave her a batch of flowers.
The first runner up got a larger tiara and a bigger bunch of flowers.
Then the queen was introduced. The place went totally wild. Pamela was radiant in a real live homecoming queen type gown. She was given a bouquet of spring flowers, and her tiara was almost, but not quite, a crown.
She bowed to the room full of people. There was no flowery acceptance speech, this was simply a presentation, and they had been presented. There was some more music. Then the committee left, and the girls were free to mingle.
The house sat and watched the TV news and talked about what to do if they actually won the spirit award.
"We have to be in the homecoming parade." Rob said simply. "And I think we are going to look pretty silly walking the parade route carrying the spirit banner."
They decided that if they actually won, they'd just go with the flow and see if they could bum a ride in the parade.
The group started a round of mutual congratulations and general good feelings and dessert.
Dale had long since gone to bed, but Peggy started up the popcorn machine.
They had all just had another slice of the green and yellow pie but the popcorn was warmly received.
It was very late when they all called it a night.
Jack and Mary escaped back to the music annex, to their room. It still hadn't been touched. Jack wondered about that, he knew Mary hadn't paid any more, but the room seems to have been forgotten. Jack knew as well that every courtesy room on the campus had been booked for homecoming for months. Why didn't somebody want this one?
The truth was, it had been forgotten. The clerk that rented it to them had forgotten to enter the rental in the computer waiting of them to come back and tell him if it was in Jack's sister's name. And since the room numbers on the key board had long since been worn off, nobody actually noticed. The maid assigned to that building just cleaned it once a week and didn't worry about it.
Mary had gotten out of her outfit and was sitting in the bathtub soaking in warm water and fizzy bubbles.
"This is my reward for not passing out on stage." She told him when he came looking for her.
"You didn't look nervous."
"You should have been up there, with all those people looking at you, and that old man in the race car shirt licking his lips at every girl up there."
"Who was doing that? A frat guy?" Jack demanded.
"No." She thought about, "He was a little heavy, he hadn't shaved for about a week, with a broken cigar sticking out of his mouth, his hair needed washed and cut, and his shirt had a big hole in the armpit that showed when he clapped. He was really disgusting." She sank into the suds.
"That doesn't sound like anybody I know." Jack made a face, "Well, no body I really know. But several of the football players might fit that description, but you said this guy was older than us."
"I don't want to talk about it anymore, wash my back." She leaned forward.
Jack reached for the washcloth, he had to lean over her, and...
In a flurry of suds and water on the floor Jack tried to get out of his soaking wet clothes. Mary wasn't making it easy, she kept splashing him and pulling at his underwear.
Jack dunked her in the water, making more of a mess.
But they did get clean.
Peggy was in her room. She had gone to bed filled with excitement about being on TV in the morning. They were supposed to be downstairs ready for a practice at six in the morning. But now it was almost midnight and Peggy still couldn't sleep. She looked out the window.
The huge round window of the cathedral was brilliantly lit from inside.
Peggy looked at the shapes and colors of the window and wondered what the inside of the huge old structure looked like.
She fell asleep. She dreamed about being on the TV, naked, and everybody else knew it, but they didn't tell her, and she couldn't help it.
They realized an important lesson. If you flood the bathroom messing around in the tub. When you get done, you have to clean it up.
It wasn't that bad, because they did it together, and they messed with each other while they mopped up the water. But then they were out of clean towels, there had been no room service for a couple of days. So they had to rinse out their now wet clothes, and the towels, and rig a clothes line over the tub for the things to drip dry. They laughed and ordered a pizza, Jack had nothing to wear, so Mary put her gown back on and went up to meet the delivery at the front door.
Sitting alone in the quiet room Jack realized how silly all this was.
He heard one lone musician somewhere in the building practicing the piano.
Whoever it was, was pretty good, he recognized the song, but couldn't think of the name of it. He was getting cold sitting there naked, so he got in the bed. Mary seemed to be taking forever. Jack listened to the music, he decided to leave the TV off.
Mary finally returned carrying the steaming pizza and a six pack of beer.
"I ordered a six pack, but I meant diet cola, I guess I forgot to tell them I wanted soda pop, maybe they just assumed I wanted beer."
"I'm sure we can take care of it."
"Sweetheart, why are you in bed." Mary looked at him.
"I was cold, so I laid hear listening to that piano. They were good."
They had to eat the pizza out of the box, they didn't have plates, and only a few napkins. They spent a lot of time just staring at each other. Finally the pizza got cold. But they didn't worry about it.
Across campus, there was a party at a private residence rented to students. Jimbo arrived several hours late, and about half tanked. He got out of his car and saw a fight.
"BEG FAGGOT!" An angry voice was shouting at a figure on the ground. He kicked the prone body. "Beg for your life queer." The kicker said.
"Jim help me." The victim said weakly, looking toward Jimbo. "Please."
Jimbo had a sense this was a major turning point in his life.
Cont in Two Dorms Part 26
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