Two Dorms Part 39

©01 The Media Desk

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****** DALE
      Ralph was shocked when he got out of Colleen car. They were in front of his old apartment building. He had expected to go to the Roz house. He was looking forward to one of Martha's 'heart healthy' meals.
      They got out, Colleen towed him up the stairs. "I think you' re going to like this." She stopped at the second floor landing. "I'm pretty sure you will." She smiled her lighthouse smile, and kissed him.
      Ralph stood and looked at the worn door. It looked the same from the outside. He took out his key.
      "I talked to your uncle," Colleen said. "He gave me complete freedom to redecorate the apartment, and access to a charge account, then, he said if he likes it, I can supervise the remodeling of the entire building."
      Ralph knew his uncle. He was a little surprised that he didn't just give the building to her.
      "There's still a few things to do, but a lot of it is done."
      She opened the door with a flourish.
      Ralph gasped. He could tell from there the place was something other than what it had been. The wood paneling was still there, but it had been refinished and now glowed. The new carpet was gone, Ralph and a couple of buddies had spent an entire day laying it, and now it was gone. The old hardwood was shining with varnish and accented by area rugs of Oriental design.
      Ralph walked in slowly and looked around. The place was clearly missing some things, like curtains, and a few pieces of furniture. But it was livable.
      He half expected something out of a magazine on 'artistic living' but it was furnished in excellent taste, stressing the period when the building was built, late nineteen thirties. The almost junk stove had been replaced by one that looked sixty years old, but cooked with high-efficiency gas burners.
      Ralph instinctively looked for the TV. He found it, built into an antique radio cabinet. She gave him the grand tour, ending in his room.

****** MARY
      Cindy looked up from loading a girls worldly possessions into the back of a small pickup truck. The last of the transferees was now gone. The ground floor was empty, as well as several higher rooms.
      "Well, you've been busy." Steve said from behind her.
      Cindy nodded to him catching her breath.
      "Come back to the house with me and I'll buy you a drink."
      She shook her head.
      "No..." She watched his expression fall, "How about a burger at the snack bar?" She asked.
      "I hate the snack bar's burgers.. I'll buy you a burger at Margie's."
      Cindy looked toward the campus. "Sure."
      She had to go back inside and get her purse. He followed her in, her phone was ringing, some maintenance man was wanting her signature on a stack of papers, a girl was complaining about not getting to move.
      Steve ended up talking to the building inspector on the phone.

****** DALE
      The butler showed Marlene some of the lessor known artworks of the Roz house. Including a portrait in his private sitting room in the basement just off his quarters. The picture was of the founder of the house in riding garb. He was holding a horse with one hand. His other arm was around the waist of a nearly nude young woman. She was holding a bottle of wine.
      The butler explained the work to Marlene. "The elder Rozbilski was never this handsome, but it is him, and his three great passions."
      "Wine, women, and horses?" She asked.
      "Yes. And money. But since he had plenty of money, he indulged in the other diversions almost constantly. The horse is 'Rackstellor' his champion show horse. The woman is unidentified."
      Marlene looked at the painting. "She's lovely."
      The butler smiled at the man in the painting.
      In a few minutes they went outside.
      The late supper was just being seated.
      Peggy was standing and smiling at everyone. She nodded at the butler and Marlene as they entered.
      The butler smiled warmly at her.
      "My parents are coming to Parents weekend. All four of them." She said.
      Everybody nodded.
      "I hope you will welcome them as you do other, ahh, normal families." She smiled and sat down.
      "We shall miss." The butler said with a slow nod.

****** MARY
      Jack tried to enjoy the children's production of the first Thanksgiving. He really tried. And some of the singing wasn't that bad. One of the Indians had a cartoon character T-shirt on under his leather vest....
      It lasted about half an hour, then there was refreshments. Jack ate enough sweets to make some of the children envious. Mary stuck to the fruit and vegetables, and the puffed rice bars with chocolate chips.
      Mary had one true weakness in this world. Chocolate.
      She loved anything chocolate except ice cream. Ice cream had to be vanilla. Vanilla with chocolate syrup was fine, and maybe chocolate sprinkles. She relished the flavor, and the texture of chocolate, but she also had to admit that she didn't love the calories that went from her mouth to her hips without even bothering going through her stomach first.
      So when she ate chocolate, she made up for it with rabbit food.
      A lot of the time it worked, and she hadn't overindulged in her passion for the stuff to the point of getting sick.. Recently.
      But now there was warm cider. With too much cinnamon. Mary couldn't get enough of it, and she tried the chilled cider too.
      A couple of the men smiled at Jack and offered him a mug of the cold version. He thought it was regular cider. It was, regular hard cider that is.
      "That ain't for the kids." Mr. Warner said.

****** DALE
      Ralph and Colleen tried their best to demolish Ralph's brand new bed.
      But it proved to be well made by the Amish craftsmen in Indiana, from real hardwood, and it withstood the best they could muster.
      Later Colleen decided she wanted something to eat.
      Ralph jumped out of bed, "I got something you have to try. It's low fat and salt and all that. I'll make it for you.
      He was out the door before she could say she had a taste for Chinese.
      Colleen got comfortable in the bed and listened to Ralph's adventure in the kitchen.
      The basic layout of the kitchen hadn't been changed a lot, limited by the existing plumbing and electrical services. But there had been changes.
      She listened to him banging in the cupboards, he cussed the stove until he figured it out, then he dropped something. Colleen covered up and imagined what he was going through. Then she felt the urge, she Had to draw this, without looking in the kitchen. She knew what the kitchen looked like and she knew Ralph's expressions and mannerisms well.
      She went to her room and got her pad.
      She listened in bed, and drew, the ideas came fast and detailed, just from listening to the sounds and comments from him. Finally everything got quiet.
      She kept drawing him with his final product, though she didn't have a clue as to what he had been fixing.
      Ralph came into the room, the bed was covered with sketches and half done drawings.
      "You've been busy." He said looking at them and laughing.
      She had captured most of them exactly, without seeing what he had been doing.
      "I made you a no fat stir-fry in a pita." Ralph said holding a plate out to her. "Its a recipe one of the technicians at the hospital gave me, he told me about how easy it was, and said it almost tasted like real food."
      Colleen smiled at him. She tasted the pita and the filling. "I had wanted Chinese. This tastes like Chinese. Thank you Ralph."

****** MARY
      Bonker wanted to know what was in the attic at the Catholic Dorm.
      Maggie wasn't sure she had the key to it, but they went up that last flight of stairs anyway. She fiddled with the lock for a few minutes, then hit the right key.
      "How about that?" Bonker said as they peered into the gloom.
      Maggie found the light switch and several bare light bulbs lit the area with about a three-quarter light. "Wow." Maggie said softly.
      They walked into the area, a treasure trove of forgotten objects of the life of the students of the religious side of the university. The first item that caught their attention was the namesake of the dorm, St. Callistus I, the slave who became Pope, his portrait with the Christ Child.

****** DALE
      It was popcorn time again, Peggy sat on the back of the couch and watched a dice game. Dale was standing behind her. She looked up at him, he still counted the spots on the cards and added it up in his head. She laughed at him.
      He finally answered her question while the players argued about the pot limit on a bet, "I don't think you made a fool out of yourself."
      She was surprised it was a straight answer. Usually when she talked to Dale, he would answer like he didn't even understand the question.
      Peggy looked Dale over slowly. He still had the same face, but his eyes seemed to have changed. His expressions seemed to carry more weight now. But watching him count the spots on the dice let Peggy know he was still Dale.

****** MARY
      Jack had been exposed to the hells broth punch of the independent house parties, and he had had more than a few sips of bourbon in his day, and he could tell stories about rum, but the hard cider was new to him.
      It didn't taste as powerful as Jack realized it was after about a cup and a half.
      Mr. Warner watched the reaction on the young man's face and smiled, the cider was his own personal concoction. He mixed it and put it up to stew for about a week before he served it. Jack complimented the man on his creation and begged for the recipe.
      Mary was chatting animatedly with several of the other women of the dorm.
      They were discussing everything from when Mary wanted to start a family to the women's track team indoor season. All more or less at the same time.
      The children were long gone. The older folks had divided into three groups. Jack, Mr. Warner and several of the other men were playing a seven card poker game that was the married dorm's house game. The women were around another table looking through a stack of catalogs and planning a Confirmation party for a couple of the children in the dorm, a smaller group was trying to prefect a fudge recipe to try out on the other two groups.
      Jack had never seen a card game like this before, but it was fun, the limit was a quarter so nobody would go broke, or get rich for that matter, and the draw limit depended on the dealer, plus there was a 'no bluff' rule, you had to have something, maybe just a pair, to bluff. Which was fine with Jack, he didn't have a real poker face, but he did OK in this game. Mr. Warner seemed to be the man to beat, and he also kept pouring the cider whenever your glass got below half.
      Mary smelled cooking chocolate and knew she was in trouble.
      The fudge had had an accident, so they had made brownies, not quite from scratch, they used the fudge in a cake mix and baked brownies that were chocolate overkill to the max.

****** DALE
      Kremin got some answers to some of his questions.
      His counsel, Sammy, had gotten ahold of an outline of the investigation from a friend of his downtown. His money had been withdrawn from a bank and several teller machines in Joliet and Aurora, just outside of Chicago.
      "Do you know anybody that hates you in that area?" He asked Kremin.
      "Not offhand. I need to think about it."
      "The envelope was sent by a courier right here in town."
      "Who gave it to the courier?" Kremin's face lit up.
      "Another courier. And it was mailed to that courier from the Main Post office in Chicago."
      He sagged. "Thee covered their tracks well."
      Sammy smiled and nodded. "That narrows it down a lot though."
      "Which of your old girlfriends is that smart?"
      Kremin nodded back. "I see. HHmmmm."

****** MARY
      By the time Cindy was done with all the people who wanted to annoy her they both felt like skipping supper. But Cindy still felt like she wanted something to eat besides pizza or a sandwich.
      "OK. So, what ya hungry
      asked her.
      "I don't know, maybe a chef salad."
      Steve's kicked his brain into gear. "They got a nice salad bar at the mall, if we leave now we can make it before they close."
      She agreed and they left.
      Cindy was relieved that Steve's car wasn't the sports car she had feared, but a fairly nice sport utility with a leather interior.
      "I figured you for a Corvette. Not this, this is nice."
      "I traded my IROC on it last year."
      She smiled to herself.
      "How loud do you like your music?" He asked.
      She smiled wickedly "Watchcha got? Good rock and roll?"
      "NATO: Live Fire Exercise." He held up a CD of a new group's latest release.
      She nodded. "Rattle my fillings."
      His stereo almost performed the dental work she had requested. He had a bass driver where the spare tire was supposed to be, and the back seat concealed a row of MegaPower co-ax speakers. He turned up the amp and watched the bass shake the muscles in her neck at a stoplight.
      Cindy enjoyed it for awhile, as dorm super she never got to crank her music like she wanted too. The music was excellent, she couldn't hear any distortion at all. See put her hand on the window. It was shivering to the music.

****** DALE
      Dale went back up to his room.
      He was trying to put some of his ideas about light into the mathematical script the others used. He was looking through some books trying to decide exactly which symbol for non-linear acceleration he wanted when he heard a knock on his door.
      "'Ello, yeah. Come in." He said without looking up.
      Peggy opened the door slowly.
      She saw him sitting at his desk looking in a book.
      He glanced up at her. "Oh, Hi."
      She came in and closed the door behind her. "I wanted your opinion on something."
      She turned around and opened her robe and took it off. Then she slowly turned back to face him.
      She was wearing the lingerie she had bought the other day. It wasn't overly revealing, but it let you know she was a girl...
      ...and no mistake.

****** MARY
      Jack gave up trying to get Mary to go upstairs. He had run out of change and owed Mr. Warner over a dollar fifty. Mary was still talking with the other women. Jack stood up and felt the hard cider squeeze the bridge of his nose. Jack said goodnight to everybody and headed upstairs, he heard the game continue, "OK, ante up boys." Somebody said from the table.
      Mary was deep in the conversation, they women were discussing the finer points of dressing up for a formal, since Mary was the second runner up in the homecoming court, they assumed she was an expert in fine dress.
      They had waxed poetic over the distress of panty lines under a silk dress, the pain of a girdle, and the fear and loathing of panty hose, and when to wear the magic push up bra.
      Mary confessed that she didn't even own a garter and stockings, for homecoming she had just worn regular panties and some knee-highs.
      "Under that gown? I would die." Mrs. Warner said
      "Then I won't tell you what I had on under the wedding dress."
      Mrs. Warner made a face.
      Betty grinned widely, "I'll bet you were naked."
      "I'm not telling." Mary sipped her cider. She smiled her 'cat that done had a canary snack' smile.
      Angelia and Cammey were conspiring on the other side of the table. Mary shook her head at Pat and Toni when they tried to get her to tell.
      "I wore full undergarments, it was proper back then. Girdle, hose, and all." Mrs. Warner said to defend tradition.
      Toni had a wicked smile that she used well, "I wore open crotch panties and garters. That way I didn't have to change for my honeymoon."
      The feminine laughter interrupted the card game.
      "OK ladies keep it down, I'm trying to bankrupt your men here." Mr. Warner said over his shoulder.
      The laughter didn't stop.

****** DALE
      Dale looked at Peggy. "Wow." He said.
      "Well?" She turned side to side, she didn't turn all the way around because she was intently watching his face. "What do you think?"
      "You look great." He said.
      "I've never had anything like this before, I thought maybe I'd like to have one."
      Dale couldn't take his eyes off her. "You really look pretty."
      "You think so..."
      Dale never got a chance to answer. The door flew open, almost hitting Peggy, Harrison walked in talking about a book he was carrying.
      "I thought you might need the symblolllol. .." He stuttered to a stop staring at Peggy.
      She squealed and threw her robe over herself and ran out of the room.
      Dale didn't move.
      Harrison watched her go then looked at him.
      "Damnit Dale! Go after her, tell her how sorry I am, tell her you like her and how nice she looked. Get moving." Harrison said to him urgently.
      Dale jumped up and ran out the door.
      When he was gone Harrison sat at his desk and studied the paper Dale had been working on. "She didn't look too skinny from where I was standing." He said to himself reading the notes.

****** MARY
      Maggie found lots of neat things in a huge trunk in the attic. Bonker went through the piles of discarded furniture, pictures, and other large items.
      "Mags. I got a serious question." Bonker had turned on an overhead bulb and stood in awe of something for a minute.
      "I wonder who brought this up here?" He gestured at something.
      Maggie walked over for a look. Bonker was holding a sheet that had been over something Maggie had never even heard of before.
      A player pump organ.
      It was huge. Shoulder high to Maggie, and several feet long, and maybe three feet deep, with attached bench.
      "I wonder how they even got it in the door, let alone up the stairs." She said. Maggie pushed at one side of the organ, it seemed to weigh more than her car.
      "I already tried to pick up one side of it. No way." Bonker said.
      Maggie scooted onto the seat. She put her feet on the pedals and tried to pump them. It started slow and stiff but began to limber up in just a second.
      Bonker looked at the music roll. It was too brittle to even try to rewind.
      Maggie flipped the lever off 'player' and pushed a key.
      The organ seemed to think about it for a second, then a note wavered out of it.
      They smiled wickedly at each other.

****** MARY
      Mary was still giggling when she climbed the stairs to their room as the party was breaking up. She tried to be quiet, she really did.
      After gently opening the door, she stopped to say goodnight to somebody, then forgot she was being quiet. She pushed the door shut and turned the light on.
      Jack sat up, "What? Who?" Then his eyes focused and he saw her. "Oh, hi."
      "Sorry, were you asleep?"
      Jack threw a pillow at her. She picked it up off the floor and held it in front of her, then she dived onto him trying to smother him with the pillow.
      They wrestled for awhile.
      Finally out of breath they laid together panting. "So did you guys have fun?" He glanced at the clock, "Three Thirty?"
      She didn't say anything, they had realized it was getting late, but time seemed to have gotten away from them.
      "You're lucky we don't have any classes this week."
      Mary sat up, she was fighting nausea from too much fun and drink.
      She got up and sat in the chair. "So what are we going to do?"
      "Hopefully get some sleep." He mumbled. "I got practice all week."

****** DALE
      Marlene was on the phone to New York.
      Her editor was upset that the photos of the art she had written up weren't there yet.
      "They were transmitted to the art department when the article was faxed." She said.
      "They are not on my desk. Where are they?" The editor said.
      "I'm a thousand miles away. How should I know?"
      "I can't work on this copy without the art."
      "Walk down the blinkin hall and find my pictures."
      "That is not my job young woman. I should have the complete file on my desk when I want it. NOT down the hall."
      Marlene could not believe that this day in age this editor wanted paper on his desk instead of editing by computer. "So what am I supposed to do about it from here?" She asked him.
      "Perhaps you could send me new photos by air mail." He said stiffly.
      The butler took the phone from her. "Young man." The butler said without emotion. "I am arranging that new photos and text will be hand delivered to you within the hour. Thank you for your concern."
      Marlene knew the editor was on the high side of sixty, but the butler's voice held such authority the man in New York said nothing. After a few more words the butler hung up with his tight smile.
      "You enjoyed that Neeman." She said.
      "Ahem, I believe the correct phrase would be, 'Damn Straight'."

****** MARY
      Cindy fell asleep in the main room at the Independent house. Steve let her sleep for awhile, then he took her by the hand and gently roused her and led her upstairs.
      Steve crashed in Jack's old room. She slept soundly the entire night.
      Down the road in the old Catholic Dorm Bonker and Maggie were plotting something. All the girls in the old dorm were on edge. Many had left Friday to go home for Thanksgiving week. Most classes had been canceled Friday for upperclassmen, and the campus had been emptying at a fairly steady rate ever since. But a lot of the students didn't leave or stayed on until the day before the holiday.
      Maggie was planning a theme party for Monday night, in the attic.
      She wanted to get somebody to play the old organ, and have punch and finger foods in the attic. Bonker volunteered some help from the house to get it set up. She wanted to do it early in the week because she was leaving Wednesday morning for the holiday at home.
      "Your coming with me..." She told Bonker when he looked surprised that she was going home.
      "Won't that be awkward? I mean, we're just ahh, good friends."
      "My family wouldn't even notice. Just nod and smile a lot."

****** DALE
      Peggy was just closing the to her room when Dale came charging down the hall. He slipped on her throw rug and slid into her dresser.
      "Dale! Are you all right?"
      He looked up at her. From the floor her legs seemed to go on forever until they met the lace of her lingerie up towards her waist.
      "Ahhh. I'm ah, fine."
      Peggy closed the door and tightened the robe around her. She sat on her bed and watched him get off the floor.
      "Peggy. I thought you looked wonderful. Harrison said he was sorry he walked in on you like that. He thought you looked great too."
      She smiled a little smile at him, "I just want to be pretty."
      Dale didn't think about the answer, he just opened his mouth and the right thing came out. "But You Are Pretty."
      DALE'S SCORE: Something Dumb- 937, The Right Thing- 1.
      She blushed and smiled. "You really think so. Like Colleen and Yyavonne, they are really beautiful."
      Dale nodded.
      "I know I don't look like them, but I want to be pretty."
      "Peggy. I think you are beautiful."
      OK, add another one to his score.
      "You're just saying that." She stared at his face, she could tell when he was lying. He didn't seem to be lying this time.
      "Ahhh, no, I said it. But I mean it, I think you're beautiful."
      Now don't get carried away with the points for Dale here.

****** DALE
      Monday Morning started slowly all over campus. The bathrooms were not crowded with people getting ready at the last minute. The Cafeteria wasn't even half full of groggy eyed diners sipping coffee and finishing up assignments or reading the paper. The paper itself came out late and was only half its usual bulk.
      Colleen was up fixing Ralph a low fat and cholesterol breakfast. She decided to not tell him the bacon was low salt turkey bacon, but she planned on telling him the eggs were 'fake me out' eggs.
      Colleen had a tray out to take him breakfast in bed, but he staggered out in a few minutes to the smell of the cooking bacon.
      He stood back and looked at her, she was wearing one of his older T-shirts that almost covered her. She brought him a cup of coffee and pointed to a chair.
      "These are low cholesterol and no fat eggs, with some low fat cheese." She told him stirring the skillet. He lowered his brow and scowled at the cook top.
      "That's a cup of real coffee. You get one a day, then its decaf, and if you want cream, I bought some no fat creamer."
      "So I will live, but I won't enjoy it."
      "But you're going to get bacon. So shut up and enjoy." She ordered.
      Ralph shut up and sipped his coffee. In a few minutes she set a plate in front of him with sizable portions of bacon and eggs, with toast and jelly, and a few slices of orange to act as garnish and part of his meal.
      Her plate had a small mound of eggs, with more orange and toast as well. She even had one slice of bacon.
      If Ralph had been more awake he would have thought it strange that she had any bacon. Colleen wasn't a total vegetarian, she did have some meat from time to time to maintain nutritional balance, but NEVER pork and certainly nothing so loaded with everything bad from saturated fats to nitrites and evil spirits as real bacon.
      Ralph didn't notice, he munched happily away confident that anything that tasted good was pure arterial mud and the bacon tasted good. Especially the way she had intentionally burned the edges to give it that smoky crunchy real bacon taste.

****** MARY
      Cindy woke up to a tapping on the door. "Hello?" A voice called.
      "Hello." She answered, looking around the room, searching her memory for a clue. "Come in."
      Steve opened the door and peeked in. "Hi sleepyhead."
      "What time is it?"
      "Almost nine."
      Cindy had noticed she was still fully dressed except for her shoes, and she didn't seem to have a hangover. The last clear memory she had was stopping by the house for a drink after they had dinner at the mall.

****** DALE
      At breakfast Monday, Dale was informed that the Greek math class would be having an informal session in one of the conference rooms of the Union.
      Harrison had already heard the news and was fuming.
      Dale on the other hand was excited.
      He had something he wanted to ask them about his newest idea about the maximum energy load a photon could carry.
      Peggy ran back upstairs, she had been wearing jeans and a blouse, but she wanted to go to the session, and changed into a nice dress and a pretty hair band.
      Breakfast was wrapping up, Peggy was surprised to learn that most of the house people were leaving that morning for home, others had already left.
      A couple of the girls from the fire had left on Sunday.
      Peggy had thought about going home until her parents had all become one big happy family.
      Now get this straight, she still loved them, and wanted to see them. And she would, here, on her turf, where it was safe.
      She knew if she ran screaming and crying to her room and locked the door, the butler would kindly ask them all to tea while she calmed down and composed herself.
      The van only had four people in it for the trip to campus. Benjamin was going to the Union on an errand for Miss Alice, and the three going to the Greek Math Class, usually this time of the morning it would have nearly a dozen people in it coming or going.

****** MARY
      Bonker had big plans, most of the guys in the house stayed on campus except for actual holidays, due to sports schedules or other obligations, and with most of the campus pretty much closed down for the week, there was little to do.
      He practically dragged Maggie to the house to get things lined up.
      They were in the kitchen sipping coffee and talking to some of the guys when Cindy came down the stairs followed by Steve.
      "Well, hello stranger." Maggie said grinning at her.
      Cindy didn't blush, but she did throw a dirty look at her friend, Bonker was exuberant. "We're planning a dorm party."
      Steve looked at him, "Who's dorm party?"
      "The Callistus Dorm is having its first dorm party in years, and we are helping out."
      Steve knew better than to ask Bonker any more questions, so he looked at Maggie. "Your dorm right?"
      She nodded.
      "Who authorized using our labor and supplies for this party?" Steve looked around.
      "We did." Bud said, the others in the room all nodded.
      "Its gonna be great, we're having it in the attic of the building, its huge, and it won't take a lot of decoration, just moving some stuff to make room to dance, and set up our portable sound system, and have a party." Bonker was nearly dancing with Maggie while he talked.
      Steve looked helplessly at Cindy.
      "Sounds great." She nodded to him.

****** DALE
      Colleen took the call from Varscroft about the class while Ralph was eating, she promised they'd be there on time.
      "I ain't been on time to that class yet, and I ain't starting now," He grumbled.
      She lightly touched the side of his face with her nails.
      "I'm going to get ready now. Then I'm going to go to your class, maybe Dr. Canney will help me with my sketches."
      This sank into Ralph's head. He finished off his breakfast in two huge bites and went to dress for class.
      He was sneaking another cup of real coffee when he heard her blowing a style into her hair.
      Ralph's dressing for class consisted of throwing on a flannel shirt, finding a pair of pants in his closet that looked clean, and stuffing his feet into sneakers that any self respecting dog would refuse to chew up.
      Colleen Dressed.
      A tasteful skirt and blouse, low heeled shoes, a doing her hair, and just a touch of makeup.
      She looked ravishing, he looked one step this side of an unemployed lumberjack.

****** MARY
      Mary showered, well, actually she was letting warm water run off her face. She was not good at hangovers, and didn't like having this one. She didn't think she had gotten drunk, but the pounding in her temples made her wonder otherwise.
      Jack woke up and came looking for her. Her robe on the hook gave him an idea. He put the towel over the sign and stepped into the shower with her. He softly touched her shoulders and whispered her name.
      "I don't feel good Jack." She said softly.
      "Then just stand there and let me make you feel better." He started kissing her down her back. Working down from her shoulders.
      They were at it for some time. Others came and went in the bathroom, they heard some of them, and the people coming and going heard some stray noises from the shower, but nobody said anything.
      Mary closed her eyes and enjoyed, Jack worked at turns of relaxing her, then giving her something to be a little more tense about.
      Mary's toes were starting to shrivel up when they finally turned the water off and went back to the room.
      Jack collapsed in the chair, exhausted from his efforts.
      Mary felt recharged. She was just warming up. Mary took Jack's hand, leaned over and kissed him. Then she sank to her knees and started to relax him.
      It was time for lunch before they managed to get and stay dressed.
      The dorm was on it's own this week, the Warners had pulled out early that morning. Mrs. Warner had made sure the kitchen was provisioned, and they would be back before the weekend. She had made a menu of complete meals for those that were staying, including where everything was stored for the next several days.
      Lunch was pizza from downtown.

****** DALE
      At breakfast Monday, Dale was informed that the Greek math class would be having an informal session in one of the conference rooms of the Union.
      Harrison had already heard the news and was fuming.
      Dale on the other hand was excited.
      He had something he wanted to ask them about his newest idea about the maximum energy load a photon could carry.
      Peggy ran back upstairs, she had been wearing jeans and a blouse, but she wanted to go to the session, and changed into a nice dress and a pretty hair band.
      Breakfast was wrapping up, Peggy was surprised to learn that most of the house people were leaving that morning for home, others had already left.
      A couple of the girls from the fire had left on Sunday.
      Peggy had thought about going home until her parents had all become one big happy family.
      Now get this straight, she still loved them, and wanted to see them. And she would, here, on her turf, where it was safe.
      She knew if she ran screaming and crying to her room and locked the door, the butler would kindly ask them all to tea while she calmed down and composed herself.
      The van only had four people in it for the trip to campus. Benjamin was going to the Union on an errand for Miss Alice, and the three going to the Greek Math Class, usually this time of the morning it would have nearly a dozen people in it coming or going.

****** MARY
      Kim had no intention of going anywhere for the holiday. She didn't want to face her family, and answer a lot of questions about why Sal had left her.
      And as far as she was concerned, Sals family had ceased to exist in her life at the same moment he did.
      Ramsey was chilled out a little bit. He had seemed to pass through his jealous phase and was now giving her more space to be herself.
      Kim had even considered joining Connie on a practical joke spree before the holiday. She wanted to have some more fun, and spent her free time plotting what she could do.
      She heard excitement in the kitchen when she came downstairs.
      Kim stood in the background and listened to the plans. Then she got included in the discussion and volunteered to help, without saying a word.
      "Wait a minute!" Kim protested.
      "Its gonna be a great time." Bonker said to her.
      "That'll teach you to stick around when they're discussing work."
      "Thanks a lot Steve." She said to him.
      Kim didn't mind, she'd have a great time at the party, working or not, with or without Ramsey.

****** DALE
      At breakfast Monday, Dale was informed that the Greek math class would be having an informal session in one of the conference rooms of the Union.
      Harrison had already heard the news and was fuming.
      Dale on the other hand was excited.
      He had something he wanted to ask them about his newest idea about the maximum energy load a photon could carry.
      Peggy ran back upstairs, she had been wearing jeans and a blouse, but she wanted to go to the session, and changed into a nice dress and a pretty hair band.
      Breakfast was wrapping up, Peggy was surprised to learn that most of the house people were leaving that morning for home, others had already left.
      A couple of the girls from the fire had left on Sunday.
      Peggy had thought about going home until her parents had all become one big happy family.
      Now get this straight, she still loved them, and wanted to see them. And she would, here, on her turf, where it was safe.
      She knew if she ran screaming and crying to her room and locked the door, the butler would kindly ask them all to tea while she calmed down and composed herself.
      The van only had four people in it for the trip to campus. Benjamin was going to the Union on an errand for Miss Alice, and the three going to the Greek Math Class, usually this time of the morning it would have nearly a dozen people in it coming or going.

****** MARY
      Jack wanted to go to the gym for some practice on his own before the rest of the team showed up.
      Mary wanted to go shopping.
      Before they knew it, several of the men volunteered to help Jack practice and the women were all going to go shopping.
      And so it went.
      Jack and them walked to the gym. He changed into his warm-up suit, and the others put on what gym clothes they had. Then they went upstairs to warm up.
      They ran a few laps, and did some stretches, then started some basic ball handling drills.
      One of the Dog's assistant coaches happened by. He liked what he saw.
      Raw enthusiasm, of course Jack and Guy, the high school assistant coach, had the edge on the others in ball handling and control. But the non-basketball men had fun trying to look like they knew what they were doing. And the real round-ballers had plenty of advice to give.
      Before long there was a pick up game in progress. Jack, Al, and a couple of guys that happened to be there, against Guy, Jerry and company. The college coach was ref.
      It was still going strong when the real basketball team showed up. Jerry pulled up lame and Leon took his place. Guy was learning the finer points of offense when you have somebody like Leon on your team. He was impossible to block, so he got the ball.
      Milo the dentist was the next to dropout, claiming cramps. A JV player stepped in for him. The game was really getting heated.
      The Prairie Dogs head coach watched from the sidelines, shouting instructions to any and all.

****** DALE
      Colleen had always been better at drawing men than women, She found the lines of the female face too soft for her to get just right. But now she saw a chance to try it.
      She had set up her sketchpads and stuff in one corner of the conference room. And after the class had settled in, she looked for scenes to draw.
      Peggy sitting in one corner reading some crumpled papers caught her eye.
      Colleen started drawing quickly and expertly.
      Peggy's face had soft jaw line to it, and her hair falling back neatly made a nice contrast.
      Colleen ran into the same problem with definition she always did, she could do Canney's folds of fat, or Blumn's subtle jaw line with its sharp angle, or even Dales sharply pointed chin. But the softness of Peggy's face gave her a pause. She wanted it just right, and she was having trouble doing it.
      Finally she hit it. And she was thrilled. The tone, the line, the shade all came out right. She quickly did another. She did a full sketch of the girl sitting with her legs crossed intently reading. Colleen was delighted with the result. She took a break and then started drawing Varscroft with his plaster arm, waving his immobilized hand's middle finger at Ralph.

****** MARY
      The party committee split up. Several of them went to gather up supplies for the party, the other group set off for the old Catholic dorm to ready the attic for the surprise party for the girls that didn't go home for the holiday.
      Kim was a little shocked by the house's enthusiasm to actually work for somebody else's benefit. She had gotten the impression that most of the guys were into beer, sports, and NOT working as much as possible. Only a couple of them had outside jobs, and they weren't really work type work, just stocking shelves and doing paperwork.
      Maggie seemed a little hesitant about turning over her dorm's attic to them, but once the work started she seemed to relax a little.
      They hung the portrait of the Pope in one corner and moved several of the huge boxes around, and threw out some stuff that had seen better days. It didn't take long to get the attic into usable condition.
      Soon Steve and the others showed up with the portable stereo, and some lights. Within a few minutes they had it set up. Then the team left for the refreshments. Maggie made a big speech about how many of the girls in the dorm were under the drinking age so she didn't want a lot of hard booze at the party.
      The guys promised, Kim went along to ensure they didn't buy anything too potent.

****** DALE
      Kremin thought about going to see some of his family over the holiday. But he wasn't sure he wanted to be away from the investigation.
      Sammy kept telling him there was nothing he could do, the FBI agent working out of Joliet had a few leads, and there was a good picture from one of the ATM machines that could give them a lead once it was enhanced.
      The villain had approached the machine with a scarf over half her face.
      But they had a picture of her outside the place putting the scarf over her face from the night depository's surveillance camera. It wasn't much, but it was a lead.
      It was hope. Kremin was sure he'd never see his money again, but he wanted whichever of his former girlfriends that had done this to go to jail.
      Then he'd go visit her.
      He smiled at the thought.
      His new account was open, but his Magic Money Card wasn't activated yet, so he was writing checks, but it was good to be solvent again.
      Kremin walked down to the Union to check his mail.
      He got another shock.
      In his box was a letter from the City of Chicago, it seems he had fifty outstanding parking tickets, and the city wanted its money or they would try to throw him in jail.
      He called Sammy from the phone bank in the union, "I ain't ever gotten a ticket, and I haven't been to Chicago in years."

****** MARY
      The practice was over and Jack had the rest of the day to kill.
      Mary had a plan, she wanted to go to a movie matinee, with popcorn and a cold drink and even a box of those little chewy things she used to love as a kid.
      But other things had changed since she had been a kid.
      The mall multi-plex had twelve screens, and rotating starting times, and everything from a film full of senseless violence and sex and profanity, to a cartoon loaded with cute little fuzzy critters.
      Jack had agreed in no time flat to go to the movies. And he didn't really want to see the guns and gore sex picture. But he emphatically said no to the cutesy film. Mary now had to make the decision of something in the middle.
      They stood and read the paper about the movies now showing.
      "This one is in Swedish with subtitles." Jack said. "No."
      Mary made a face, "A period romantic triangle of star crossed lovers." She had even heard of one of the stars. "I don't like Gothic stories."
      They had eliminated half the list. There was a re-release of a classic that had been colorized, Mary was considering it, and Jack wanted to see a film about a sports legend. They had about twenty minutes before some of the second matinees started.
      It was down to either a film neither had heard of before, or going to separate theaters.

****** DALE
      Ralph started badgering Dale about his idea and passed his box around the room. They had stopped by a small deli on the way to campus and Colleen had bought it for the class. She threatened Ralph until he had tried a couple of samples of the stuff, and decided that, yes, even though it was actually good for you, he liked it.
      "What is this stuff?" Harrison asked, after he had taken a piece, tried it, then took two more.
      Ralph ignored them, "Well Dale, what's this idea Harrison said you had?"
      Peggy looked up from the outline. She could see Dale's face clearly across the room.
      This was the same Dale that had blushed fire engine red when she had kissed him last night after he had said he thought she was beautiful. He had stammered a few things about getting back to his figures and nearly flew out of her room.
      But now Dale seemed more comfortable, even though he was still the shy kid, he was at ease, in a room full of men with heavy scientific credentials and he was being talked to as a near equal. He was more at home with them, than he was alone with Peggy.
      She smiled at the memory and listened as he cleared his throat and tried to get the words in the right order.
      "We've been assuming all photons are created with the same minimal energy load. That when they get just enough to go, they go." He paused.

****** MARY
      Maggie sat down at the old organ, "Its been a long time, but... Here goes..." She started pumping and pushed and pulled a few knobs. In a minute the organ started wheezing and she touched a few keys.
      Everybody in the building heard the result this time.
      Maggie kept playing, it wasn't exactly Liberace, but it was music.
      The others fanned out through the dorm, beating on doors and rousting out those in the dorm for the party. The dorm was less than half full since many had gone home early for the holiday, but there was still a lot of girls there.
      The guys from the house acted the part of the charming hosts.
      In a few minutes the refreshment crew arrived. Then the portable sound system was fired up, and the party began in earnest.
      Before long there was dancing and carousing, and storytelling and laughing. Maggie and Bonker were kissing in a corner. Her girls were having a wonderful time.

****** DALE
      The class was now in full argument mode. Dale had gotten up and pushed the portable blackboard over. He drew a line and wrote, 'viable energy load' across it. His point being that a photon of light didn't necessarily leave the star when it made it to the line.
      "Yes all light is the same to us, but what if light particulates are different to each other? This one carrying more light than the next."
      "All traveling at the same speed." Canney muttered while chewing. "Every photon with a different energy level, some minimal, some bursting at the seams, all traveling as a wave, behaving as a particle, and not appearing any different to us?"
      "Well no and yes." Dale said.
      "Different wavelengths do appear to have a different energy level, but only when white light is split." Blumn said quietly.
      Dale didn't want to get off his point. "All I was saying was how do we know that when a photon is completed during the fusion reaction it goes ahead and leaves. Maybe some can't get out and more energy comes on board."
      Peggy still had trouble listening to Dale, her Dale, talk like that.
      "The weak ones are the ones with the limited infinity?" Harrison mused. "Or maybe its the overcharged ones that die and become background static in different wavelengths." He stuffed the rest of one of the chewies in his face and thought about it.
      "Ralph what are these?" Varscroft asked.
      "Well.... Colleen, you tell them."
      She smiled like the stars they were talking about, "Tofu."

****** MARY
      Jack had heard a beeper go off somewhere up towards the concession stand.
      Suddenly they heard somebody calling their names. A guy Mary knew was one of the trainers in the walking their way waving with a woman behind him, she was obviously angry.
      "Hey guys, I just got a call, I got to go. Here. Go see the show."
      "Gee, thanks Mister Durandee." Jack said to him.
      The woman handed Mary a box of candy and mumbled something about how this always seemed to happen.
      They left just like that, Jack holding the tickets.
      "So, what are we going to see?" Mary asked after the couple was gone.
      "All it says is Hope, Crosby, Lamour. And theater seven."
      Mary smiled at him. "I know which picture that is. I love it, let's go."
      Jack was trying to look at the billboards to see what was playing in theater seven.
      They bought a cold drink and walked down the hall.
      Mary held her hand over his eyes when she saw the marquee over the door so he had no idea what the movie was.
      The theater was nearly empty, there were only a few other couples in it, and a few single's sitting scattered around. Jack wondered if they were going to see the Swedish movie anyway.
      They sat and held hands and nibbled at the candy. Then the screen lit up and the commercials started.
      Much Time Passed.
      Music started and the movie began.
      "The Road to Morocco?" Jack asked Mary, she giggled.

****** DALE
      Colleen grinned at the class.
      Canney had a mouthful of the chewy spicy stuff, and another piece in his hand.
      Varscroft was examining a piece of it with a frown on his face. Dale stuck his tongue out and licked his piece.
      Ralph sat back and smiled wickedly.
      Mr. Blumn looked at Colleen. "Is this what I think it is?"
      "Flavored tofu candy squares." She said sweetly. "No fat, no Sugar, no salt."
      "Health food." Canney said. "Oh well. I'll eat it anyway." He bit his remaining piece in half and chewed.
      "I thought tofu was bland, this stuff has a lot of different flavors." Dale said.
      "All natural flavors, and some kelp added for consistency."
      "Kelp?" Dale asked.
      "Seaweed." Ralph said roughly. "But it ain't bad, and if eating this stuff will keep the medico's away from me. I'll do it."
      The class chewed for awhile, considering tofu and light at once.

****** MARY
      Maggie was sitting on an old box, tired, but happy.
      The party was winding down.
      Bonker was using tweezers trying to pull tape out of one of the cassette players on the stereo while another guy was trying to squeeze in a few more songs before everybody left.
      It was nearly two in the morning.
      Maggie was just sitting listening to the music, she had felt warm on and off all day, but she had brushed it off, maybe she was tired, or it was something she had eaten that didn't like her.
      But now sitting here, she had the feeling in the back of her mind that something wasn't right.
      The first thought through her mind was that she had cancer. She had just gotten news from the family grapevine that a good friend of her older sister had been diagnosed with skin cancer.
      Maggie shrugged that off as silly, but she resolved to go to the campus clinic the next day just to get a once over. With the holiday break, it shouldn't be too busy.
      She was so absorbed in her plans she didn't see Bonk come up to her.
      He leaned over and kissed her head. She came back to Earth.
      "Where were you?" He asked.
      "Just thinking." She smiled.
      "It was a great party Maggie, thanks a lot. See you guys!" A freshman girl bounced away after her speech. Bonker and Maggie smiled at each other.
      The disc jockey started what was supposed to be a slow dance. Maggie stood and towed Bonker to the dance floor. There was three couples left, the house guys were mostly gone. The DJ was chewing on a girl's ear and getting another CD ready to play.
      Maggie and Bonker left when the song was over. They crashed in her room.
      Daylight came way too early for Maggie. But she couldn't go back to sleep.
      And in a few minutes she was in the bathroom with a first rate case of the heaves.
      Bonker was right there with her. Not sure what to do.
      In a few hours Maggie was in the clinic listening to a doctor explain why she should take a pregnancy test.
      Now she was sorry she hadn't let Bonk come with her. Maggie had to admit to the doctor that things had happened and she hadn't had her pills since the fire, and she had forgotten to make Bonker wear a 'thing'.
      She took the test. Then sat in the room to wait for the results.
      She had told the doctor Ashe would keep the baby without really thinking about it. Now she thought about it. It would be Bonker's. She would keep it. Even if she couldn't keep him.
      "Miss Carmicheal." The nurse said coming in with a smile. "You're going to be a mother."
      Maggie must have looked like hell after the news, because the nurse made her lay down and covered her up.
      In a few minutes the doctor was back, she told Maggie about drinking and smoking while pregnant, then told her to make an appointment with the obstetrician on her way out. Maggie nodded obediently.

****** DALE
      The house was being decorated for yet another social 'do'.
      This time one of the great-grandchildren of the original Rozbilski was coming in to see the house.
      For some reason Dale expected the grandson to be a kid. He was a little surprised when he heard a discussion of the heir's age and they said he was at least in his seventies, if not older.
      Dale had trouble thinking of a man that old as a GREAT GRANDCHILD.
      His concept of family relations was based on his experience. He was a grandchild and he was young, he had to sit in the music room and think about it for awhile.
      Peggy was excited as soon as she was told she ran upstairs to get ready.
      Emory Rozbilski Hayes arrived right on schedule. The house received him, and he took his tour.
      Mr. Hayes was an old man, without a doubt.
      But he still held his head upright and had clear attentive eyes. He was introduced to each of the residents, and asked a question of each of them.
      "I hear you are doing high energy research Mr. Dale." The old man said to Dale. "Very good field to be in."
      "Thank you sir." Was all he managed to reply.
      Then the man was smiling at Sandy, he asked her if she still played his piano.
      She nodded.
      "After my tour I'd love to her you play something." He smiled.
      Sandy replied she'd be happy to.
      The butler nodded.

****** MARY
      Jack hadn't laughed so hard in years. He held his ribs and moaned.
      The movie was funny in ways Jack hadn't even thought about. He couldn't believe how sultry Dorothy Lamour was and she never got naked.
      Mary just fell in love with Bing Crosby's voice like millions of women had for decades before her.
      Jack really didn't mind watching the picture that was older than both of them put together. He had never seen one of the famous 'Road' movies before. But he had heard of Bob and Bing. And he didn't know it but he had seen Dorothy Lamour before.
      In the house, years ago one of the guys had been a movie buff. He had a poster of Lamour in a slinky gown on his wall. And it was still there to this day.
      After the show they walked around the mall for a bit before returning to the dorm.
      They were planning on leaving in the morning for the holiday.
      Mary had been packing for two days off and on. Jack hadn't unpacked from the honeymoon yet. So he had to get started.
      Mary was going to help him, for his own good.
      "How many pairs of dress socks do you have?" She asked.
      "Dress socks?"

Cont in Two Dorms Part 40


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