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Varscroft read over their position paper on several of the ideas the class had investigated. When taken as a package it wasn't all that far out in left field. They were trying to explain the concentration of most of a stars radiation in the spectrum from just below visible light to just above. Of course there were stars that radiated almost everything in radio frequencies, or burned far down in the spectrum, little more than a dull red foot warmer in space.
They dealt with only those that fit in the main sequence. And the radiation they looked at was only the photons of visible light. By so limiting their pursuit they felt they were able to deal fully with the subject.
He flipped to the last page. He groaned at Ralph insisting his name be listed as a PhD-abd. Dale was there too. With full credit as a member of the team.
It looked good. The report didn't mention Dale's angels, but it did address the prospect of limited infinity and the prospect that not all photon's are created equal.
The professor wondered how much more there was for them to do. He knew Canney and the others could discuss, probe, and model the theory until they were all old and gray.
But he wanted to get back to some sort of regular schedule.
Beginning next week, he decided, they would meet back at the regular class hour and everybody could go back to normal schedules.
But he would see about getting Dale into a slightly more advanced class than freshman intro to physics with Ralph.
Cindy walked into the Independent house. The downstairs was deserted. She went and got a big plastic cup of the blush wine from the back refrigerator. Steve had taken a quick shower after his French tutor left. He dressed and was heading downstairs when his phone rang again.
It was a friend of his in a frat looking for a date for his girlfriends older sister. Steve had been out with her once before when she visited campus. She wasn't super good looking, but she made up for it in other ways. They wanted to go out Friday night. Steve said sure.
"YES!" He shouted to the ceiling. Then he ran downstairs smiling.
Cindy heard him shout and come tearing down the stairs.
"What's up?" She asked him.
"Just." He looked her over carefully. She was easy on the eyes even in slacks and a polo shirt. "So what did you want to talk about?"
She shrugged. "Bonker seems to really have hit it off with Maggie."
Steve nodded. He was trying to decide if he wanted a drink. "Yeah. I never thought of him much as a ladies man."
Cindy grinned at him. "And you are?"
Steve wanted that drink.
Miss Amberjoyce was basically ignoring the table full of school brass.
They were talking about her, not to her.
"But what she covers has to be testable to evaluate what the student are learning." The chair of the committee of professors that oversaw the grading practices.
"So every class in this university takes tests for grades?" Her department chair defended her.
"No. But those are unusual circumstances."
"So is this."
"Please. Let's do this like civilized people." The Dean of Academics patted the air. "There must be a compromise."
"She has to stick to an scheduled syllabus and test from that agenda as the class was laid out in the syllabus."
She had inspected her fingernails, then looked at the faces around the table.
They were still arguing. Finally the grade chair looked at her.
"I am not convinced she knows everything there is to know like she has claimed. We should evaluate her credentials then decide wh..."
The lady cut him off with her quiet voice. "I have been teaching, reading, researching, and evaluating history since before your mother had graduated grade school. I have the blessing of the University Senate and the President of this University to teach my classes as I see fit and that includes establishing criteria for final grades. If you doubt my ability, then test me. If you are not capable of presenting me with a history test that will objectively evaluate my ability, then you may at your earliest convenience take a flying leap at a rolling donut."
She got up and bowed slightly to the dean, then walked out.
Applause from several of those gathered in the room followed her.
Ellen was pleasantly surprised when they got to the next stage of their heavy petting in her car. That phase lasted all of about forty-five seconds. The Sam Jules had her out of her split skirt and was working his fingers like he was playing a saxophone. For her part Ellen had his pants undone and was surprised to find him uncircumcised.
Then she discovered there was quite a bit of him there.
As things moved foreward she was amazed, then even more amazed.
She had to sit up and look.
"You can handle it can't you? I've heard you were an exceptional girl." He said to her.
She smiled. "I'm sure I can." She said and rubbed him tenderly. "But maybe not here. Let's go back to my room and get more comfortable."
He had to struggle to get things back together.
She headed back to McQuin Dorm. They had barely closed the door behind when they were they were all over each other.
Jack stuck to his tradition. The night before the Canada game he did not make love to Mary.
He ate a huge breakfast and took his bag to the gym that morning.
The rest of the team was there along with the coaches and others to board the bus for the fairly short ride to Springfield.
Mary had heard that several from the married dorm were going over later to watch the game. In fact, some of them already had tickets reserved.
Jack was glad they were taking the coach instead of one of the aging school buses. They left on time and met little traffic on their way to the convention center.
Once there they got situated in their locker room and had a brief meeting.
Then they ran through a light practice.
If Jack hadn't known better he'd thought this was the pre-game to any game during any regular season he'd been through.
Dale was once again sitting in Peggy's desk chair. He was very likely as uncomfortable as he could be. Peggy smiled at him as she sipped a root beer.
"I liked what we did earlier." Dale said softly.
She locked her door and hung up her jacket. "That's nice. I liked it too."
Dale finally figured out she was wearing the teddy he had seen before and a very frilly silk thing over it he hadn't. She looked something between very cute and drop dead gorgeous. She smiled at him.
Dale stood up and then wondered why.
"Let's play a game." She said. Dale relaxed and nodded. "We'll just kiss each other without touching anything but our lips." He nodded again.
They did this for a few minutes. Dale thought it was OK, but something was missing. "I like to touch you when I kiss you." Peggy smiled.
The next game they did was kiss and touch with their eyes closed.
Dale touched her back through the silk and nearly died.
For her part Peggy thought she was going to loose control right there.
But they didn't. Dale kept his eyes tightly shut and felt her through the garment. He felt her hands come up under his shirt on his back.
"Wow." He said when they finished that. He blinked several times.
"Now we see how close we can get." She said.
She was sweating.
"But it's not fair. You're just wearing that, ...and..."
She smiled warmly. "And you are wearing too much."
Dale panted, and fidgeted and shivered and... "I need to go to the bathroom." He said.
Peggy grinned. "Ok, and when you come back you have to undress a little."
Dale swallowed hard and nodded. He fought Peggy's lock and fled.
Carla sat and smiled at Jimbo. He scowled at her and took a long pull at the pint of Scotch Carl had suggested she bring to break the ice with him.
Carl had made a plate of nachos for them and sat between the other two.
"So? He asked her, "What do you want to know?"
Carla had a note pad and turned to the middle of the book.
"I'm not answering a bunch of questions." Jimbo said and crammed a handful of the nacho's in his face.
Carla turned to Carl. "So you think we should skip the background for now and just go on?"
"Background?" Jimbo said after a big drink of the Scotch.
"Nevermind." Carl said and got up.
Carl began an on and off commentary about how he felt and why he did certain things, and what he liked and didn't.
After Jimbo polished off the bottle of Scotch and got water glass full of bourbon he added a few comments and even answered a question or two.
Carla wasn't shy about telling them she would like to watch them, take notes, and even offer a suggestion or two.
"So did you get what you wanted?" Jimbo asked her.
Carla shrugged. "There are a few things I still don't understand."
"Buy me more of that Scotch and I'll tell you everything you want to know. And maybe the rest of it too."
Kim sat and felt miserable. She had told Janet she had loved their times together but she wasn't cut out to be a lesbian.
She held Janet and they held each other tightly.
"But we can still be together sometimes." Kim said.
Kim had decided she didn't want to give up everything they had together.
"If you don't mind my keeping Ramsey, we can spend time together now and then."
"We can be friends?" Janet smiled, tears still in her eyes. "And sometimes lovers too?"
Kim nodded. "I think that would be good for both of us." She wiped the tears off the girls cheeks. Then she felt a sudden urge to make love to her. She kissed her tenderly.
"I'm supposed to be doing homework." Janet said.
"So am I, I got a pile of it sitting on my desk waiting."
It was some time before they worried about homework again.
Driving back to the Independent house Kim tried to decide if she felt guilty. She had called Janet and went to her house to tell the girl face to face she didn't feel right doing what they did together. Then when faced with her.
She couldn't stand by that. Kim smiled. No guilt. Sal would hit the ceiling if and when he found out she was bi-sexual.
Sam Jules lay on Ellen's bed and grinned.
So far she hadn't been able to meet his challenge of 'taking all of him'.
She had given it a masterful shot. But there was more of him than there was of her. She had tried her mouth and nearly choked herself to death. But she wasn't gain to give up.
Sam laid back and cracked his neck, another Superwoman down.
Ellen went down the hall in her bathrobe and came back a few minutes later. She grinned at him like she had just eaten several canaries.
Then she rummaged through her dresser drawer and found a tube of some 'personal lubricant'.
"I'm going to do it yet." She said more to herself than him.
The next sequence of events would best be related in an Adult Chat area of an on-line service but the gist of it is, she took him.
Afterwards Ellen's insides felt like she had had abdominal surgery, but she was satisfied.
He was in shock. From his point of view, she had violated some law of science or another. She had stretched until he was afraid they'd need paramedics, and then, she'd get more grease and just kept going. All the way, until she was sitting on his lap with all of it in her.
She smiled broadly, past pain and discomfort now, she took a deep breath, looked him in the eye, and said. "Got it."
She would have bent down to kiss him but with that massive hardness inside her she wasn't sure she could.
Sam Jules was amazed. She stayed on him until he was done, then she climbed off and relaxed.
"I've never had a steady girlfriend in college." Sam said matter of factly.
Ellen nodded. "I've never had a steady boyfriend."
They shook hands on it. "We do now."
They all rushed around to go to the game. Tip off was set for seven ten to meet the Canadian TV requirement. They had to leave by five to get there, set a bite to eat, and make it in time to deal with what they thought would be a parking nightmare outside the convention center.
Guy had a big passenger van from the high school with a couple of his players that wanted to go. Jerry and the Warrens were going. John had planned on both of them going but at the last Minute Betty had something come up. Mary got a call from Larkin at the Indy house, him and Barry needed a ride.
By the time five o'clock rolled around they were all in the van heading to Springfield.
"We left ON TIME!" Guy kept saying in disbelief.
They only met a little rush hour traffic and got into the Convention Center area without major headaches. They were in their seats before quarter to seven all fed and ready for the ball game, watching the Canadian team warm up.
Even though it was only an hour from campus, they were the cheering section for the Prairie Dogs.
The preps went well, the coaches speech was up to par, they did a cheer they had done last year to get themselves up, then they ran out to the floor to do battle with the Canadian National Team.
There on the far side was a sizable assortment of Canadian fans. The Maple Leaf was everywhere. Everybody with any interest in Canada at all for a hundred miles around, including a delegation from the Trade Ministry in Chicago was there. Jack looked behind them for anybody from their camp.
Mary was leading the cheers for their group. The Prairie Dog cheerleaders hadn't made the trip. Due to a schedule conflict they were in a competition elsewhere.
She was almost too disappointed in the turnout of their fans to scream and yell when Jack and them ran out. She got to her seat and lead the people that were there in enough of a noisefest for the team to know somebody had come for them.
At best they had maybe fifty people all told, sitting in one bunch on their side of the huge convention center.
The team's spirits were sinking fast. There was a great shot on Canadian TV of the American College kids looking lost and helpless around their coach with the empty grandstand behind them.
Then, just as the PA began to announce 'O Canada' All Hell Broke Loose.
The college TV station found a loophole in the Canadian contract and the agreement with the conference. Live broadcast by the University's station was allowed in the interest of the student body.
But they hadn't found this out until basically the last minute. Through the radio station, which had permission from go to carry the game, they got word out, and a huge chunk of free tickets the administration had, but held due to a misunderstanding until then. And they put together one of those road trips that can only happen at a University.
Three busses rolled up outside and the fans poured out.
Jack heard the pep band playing the Prairie Dog fight song as they walked in and the JV cheerleaders ran onto the floor. Suddenly the stands behind Mary began to fill with a couple of hundred partisans.
The team jumped and cheered.
The PA announcer waited until order was restored to some degree to announce the national anthems.
Finally Jack looked at the enemy as they stood and saluted the flag.
This wasn't their Olympic team, but an amateur squad of similar proportions.
The Dogs were giving up an average of two to three inches and thirty pounds per position to the Canadians.
The Pep band joined in the taped playing of the Star Spangled Banner with all their well known enthusiasm, which is the most diplomatic thing you could say about it.
Mary was delighted.
The Canadian team looked outstanding in their Maple Leaf red and white uniforms. The Prairie Dogs wore their home colors since technically they were the home team. The referees were from the Continental league but they were playing under NCAA rules.
After the introductions and other formalities Jack went to center court to do the jump ball against the center from Canada.
At the jump he was six inches short of controlling the ball. The visitors passed the ball so much it never seemed to hit the floor.
By the time the Dogs knew what was going on they were twelve points down wondering what happened. At the first TV time out the coach waved them over for a quick word.
"WHAT IN THE HELL ARE YOU [handsome young men] DOINGOUTTHERE [blasphemy]?!?! " The coach said calmly and with great reverence. "THIS IS THE NEXT [biological function] LEVEL THEY'RE PLAYING AT AND YOU BUNCH OF [many explicatives deleted] ARE FLATFOOTED NINNIES!!!!"
The ref blew his whistle indicating they were going to go again. Jack got into his floor leader gear. The next time they got the ball they forced their rhythm into the game and set up the three-point ball. It sank when Blackthrawn let it go. They had cracked the scoreboard. On the Canadian possession Leon surprised them with one of his windmill steals and got the ball to Jack. He didn't think about it, he just jammed it.
"And that was Jack Foster for the Prairie Dogs on the Slam Dunk!" the PA said.
Jack pointed at Mary in the stands and blew her a kiss as he ran to his defensive position.
The game was never in doubt. But the Dogs made the team from the Great White North earn it. They found their lead whittled down to only four points just after the half.
All in all the team that played the second half wasn't the same flatfooted ninnies that had opened the game. If they could keep that intensity and ball handling up, they would have a decent showing in the conference.
As for the cheering sections. The Dogs had that won hands down.
And it is a safe bet that thousands of Canadian's at home had never heard anything like the Dogs pep band.
When the deal was done the Dogs had lost, but at least it was close.
"And your final from the Prairie Capitol Convention Center. 91 to 85."
The team got the congratulations from the Canadian team and fans and Jack even had to do a post-game interview for Canadian TV.
Mary was waiting for them when they came out of the locker room.
She rode back to campus on the team bus with Jack.
The others in the van stopped for a late snack. The University's buses convoyed back behind the team bus with much cheering and honking. Even though it was a loss it was a victory of sorts. They had played like a team, and had stayed in the game.
Peggy had a feeling about Dale.
OK, she had a couple of feelings about Dale, but one made sense.
She knew he wasn't coming back. He had told her about when he had escaped from Ellen using the bathroom as an excuse.
She felt for sure this was that strategy revisited.
Just to make sure she put her coat over her outfit again and went down to his room. She opened his door and went in. She put her coat on his rack and sat in his desk chair looking at some notes in his handwriting from the Greek Math Class.
Dale opened the door a minute later. He looked down the hallway an closed it behind him turning the lock quietly. Then he sighed and shook his head. When he saw Peggy sitting at his desk he almost screamed.
"I ah, I was, ah, going, your room, back after I ah...." He stammered to a stop.
She smiled. "It's ok. If you don't want to do any more I understand."
He shook his head. "No. I do. I mean ....I ... ah, love you... ah... and I want to....but... er.."
"What did you say?"
Dale came to a full stop. His brain locked up. His central nervous system ceased functioning. All the cells of the lining of his stomach lining died spontaneously.
She put her arms around him. "Say it again."
After six months of darkness light dawned across the frozen tundra of the Antarctic wasteland.
Well, Dale couldn't remember what had just come out of his mouth.
He swallowed hard and said it again. He realized what the words meant in English as they came out the second time.
"Errr, I ahhh, well, I oh, love you, yeah. wow."
Well, that's what he said, what she heard was, "I love you."
Peggy threw her arms around him and squeezed him until she was worried he'd have trouble breathing. She had never had a man that wasn't related to her say those words to her before. Even her old boyfriend never said he loved her.
Dale looked at her with wide eyes. "Now what?"
Miss Amberjoyce was rather pleased with the consensus the committee had come to. She would be given a test. But then she disagreed with the way they would test her. Instead she proposed something totally different.
They were now going to ask her some questions, and she would answer them, and they would research the resulting answers for correctness, and that would be the determination of her credentials.
"Very well." The lady said sitting at her desk in her classroom. The dean and the others were rather stunned by her calmness. "Ask away."
"I'm not prepared to ask you today." The chair said.
"But I am prepared to answer today. You pick some topic right now sense you are qualified to judge my ability. And I will answer it."
The chair was not going to be cowed by this little old lady. He said the first thing that came to his mind. Which was what he had for lunch that day.
"China. The early dynasties."
The assembled bureaucrats looked at the calm matron with her hands folded neatly in front of her. "The Han, Chin, or maybe you mean the Zhou dynasty that ruled before China was more unified."
She looked at the chairman with a raised eyebrow and a smile.
Cindy and Steve had given up talking in the house.
They had chatted for awhile in the kitchen. Then ordered a pizza, ended up ordering another one when the guys came in and volunteered to help eat it.
Then things went from bad to worse.
Finally she whispered into his ear to meet her tomorrow after classes in the Union and they could pick up where they had left off in her room.
"Where we can have some privacy." She added.
Steve grinned and imagined what privacy with Cindy could entail.
Cindy had felt strange with Steve. And it was more than just her lonely hormones as Maggie would say. Today he wasn't trying to undress her, or making suggestive motions or licking his lips at her.
They had just talked. And she liked that.
What she didn't know of course, was that Steve had just gotten done working over his French tutor and would have had trouble holding his own in a romantic clinch until the beer and pizza had re-stoked the fire.
Cindy wondered how he would perform in what she jokingly called 'sheet-wrestling'.
She was not one for 101 positions, or experimentation involving circus equipment. She liked basic simple love-making and did really consider leaving the lights on as kinky. The fact she was pondering this in the shower that night convinced her it had been too long.
Thursday morning Dale was again confused in the Greek Math class.
Except this time he wasn't the only one.
"WHA'I'AYAMEAN?" Ralph demanded from the door when he came in after his freshman class.
Dale thought it was something he had done. He wondered if he had violated some law last night when he kissed Peggy again and she smiled at him and said she loved him too, but she had better be going.
She went out in her next to nothing lingerie. He saw her coat hanging there and took it to her just as she reached her room. She kissed him again telling him how sweet he was. Then she closed her door behind her and he was left standing in the hallway.
Today he was in the same fix. Sitting in the classroom being told he had to go back to being a freshman again. Canney sat and cursed Varscroft, the administration, and the St Louis Blues hockey team.
"Our first paper is ready for publication." Varscroft started.
"Publication?" Dale said.
"By who's authority?" Blumn wanted to know.
"This was a class project and we should decide as a class what to publish. Who knows what crock of swamp water you'll put together." Ralph said.
Dale wondered how serous this was.
Then Ralph pulled a half-pint of something brown out of his briefcase and made himself a drink.
It was real serious Dale decided.
Peggy was grinning so much Thursday her girlfriends thought for sure she had been up to something naughty.
"Nope. But something good." Was all she'd say.
No amount of questioning by Cammey or Julie could get any more out of her.
She smiled in freshman seminar. She gleamed in Spanish. She beamed in Earth Science. Even at lunch she seemed happy as anybody could be eating noodle surprise in the cafeteria.
Later in the theater watching a movie for communications she laughed and giggled even when the comedy in the movie was so lame it prompted groans from everybody else.
Then she didn't take the limmo back to the house but instead walked up to the classroom in Abe where the Greek Math Class was almost coming to blows over the suspension of their operating as a research unit.
"NOTHING is official yet. I was just considering..." Varscroft was saying. He smiled as Peggy walked in but Harrison cut him off.
"Have you maybe considered Suicide?" Dr Harrison's face was bright red.
Ralph sputtered about somebody plotting to take credit for their work.
Peggy sat next to Dale and asked him what was all the excitement about.
He didn't answer her question but instead smiled at her and whispered to her, "I love you."
You did hear Harrison's heart pounding.
"What?" Varscroft finally said into the quiet.
Even though it was a loss. Jack felt like he had just won the NIT Championship.
"We scored eighty five points against a World Class team." He said about three times as they walked from the gym to the married dorm.
"Jack." Mary said nearly running to keep up with him. "YOU scored twenty four points yourself against them."
He had led the Prairie Dog offense. Next was Blackthrawn with eighteen.
He took her by the hands and twirled her around in front of the dorm.
Inside they were greeted by some of the residents with cheers and backslaps, and a bottle of 'Vino de Sarigua'. It was ten minutes of well wishers to go twenty feet. Then there was more on the stairs.
An hour after they got back to the gym, they were in their room. Mary was in high as a kite. Jack wanted to take another shower and relax. Mary smiled and said she'd join him, in the other bathroom. They were both wrinkled and exhausted when they got done.
They hadn't been back in the room ten minutes when a banging on the door followed by a child yelling, "Mr Jack, You're on the TV show!"
They found a rebroadcast of the game on the school station.
Colleen unlocked the room and let Jimbo in before the class started. As soon as he was in he parked what he called a 'kit bag' on a table and started looking through the supplies in the room.
"You have something in mind?"
He nodded and picked up a large irregular sheet of galvanized steel.
"Something I had wanted to do at the beginning of the year but didn't have the material or time to do it right.
She smiled. "That's what I was hoping to hear."
"Now either give me head or go away and let me work." He said fingering some used lumber. She stood there for a second and then nodded and turned to leave.
"Oh, can I use this room anytime I want?" He asked.
"As long as nobody else needs it, sure.
"Get me a key made." He spotted an ancient clock radio on the shelf. He fiddled with it and it crackled to life.
"I've got a spare. I'll stop by with it."
He grunted and started clearing the worktable. Colleen shook her head and walked out, closing the door softly behind her.
Maggie was loosing another girl from the Catholic Dorm.
As others dropped out, or sometimes one of them would, and other attrition, rooms in regular dorms opened up.
Slowly, the population of the Old Catholic Dorm was thinning. She had moved out thirty some students since they had moved in.
Tonight a girl was moving into an off campus apartment she was sharing with another girl that was just starting school.
"I hate trying to inspect these rooms." She confessed to the girl as she finished packing what belongings she had. In the last couple of months she had gotten a new desk lamp, a laptop computer, and some other odds and ends. "Did you make any of the holes in the wall over there?"
"No, but if you look that's where a cross must have hung for a long time." The girl said.
Maggie looked at the wall. Slowly her eye picked out the outline of a cross in the faded paint. "I don't have that in my room." Maggie said.
The room was in what passed for good shape in this building. Maggie signed off on the report and took the girl's key. She got a hug along with the other girls that were there. Then the girl took her carry-on bag and the small box of other stuff and walked down the hall.
"When she got here it took a day and a half to move in, now she moves out in one trip." Her former roommate from Westin said sadly.
Maggie nodded thinking of all the things she lost, and she had been luckier than some.
Dale had wished he could redirect light waves with a massive gravitational field so he could vanish. He looked at Peggy. She smiled at him.
Ralph huffed. "Change the subject why don't you." He glared from Varscroft to Dale then back to the professor.
He was ignored. "Well?" The professor said looking inquisitively at Dale.
"I ahh... well..." Dale stammered. (Good at it ain't he?)
Peggy's smile answered the question for him.
"Good for you!"
"WHAT!!?!?!??" Ralph demanded.
"Clue the rest of us in." Harrison said with a little more tact.
"Oh, yes please." Blumn added with as much sarcasm as he could muster.
"I think we have a first true love in our midst." Varscroft smiled gently. "I wonder if it's mutual?"
Peggy blushed nineteen Technicolor shades of red, then nodded timidly.
"Excellent!" Varscroft cheered.
Ralph immediately changed his tone. He jerked open his dilapidated briefcase. "This calls for a drink!"
The committee was subjected to several hundred years of Chinese history in a running commentary covering political, military, and religious aspects of life in the ancient country that at some times were so entangled they wondered how anybody kept it all straight.
A couple of them tried to take notes. The others just sat or stood fascinated.
Among the committee members was one of the instructors in a specialty class in Far Eastern history. She had studied the Confucian volumes and other aspects of the country when the course came up every other year. But Miss Amberjoyce went through it so easily and with fairly good pronunciation of names such as Han Fei-Tze, Hsiung-Nu, and Shih Chi the royal historian, she felt that the older lady had more of an understanding than she had.
"Somebody should be taping this." She said to the chair.
Lightening struck. The chair lit up.
"Exactly!" He said bringing the lecture to a halt. "We will sit up video equipment and tape her just EXPLAINING history. Just like this. With maps and pictures when possible and put her on TV. This is GREAT!"
"I would love too." Miss Amberjoyce said although he hadn't exactly asked her permission.
The objections of the grading supervisor were forgotten.
He was dismissed as a crackpot when he admitted he wouldn't know a Taoist from a Zenist or an Acupuncturist.
"So when do we begin?" Miss Amberjoyce said. "And I would like to do this in front of the classes."
"Tomorrow." The chair answered. "I'll make the calls."
One block from campus, up in a fairly new building, Lin showed Kremin her apartment. She had the larger bedroom, a freshmen girl who's parents knew Lin from the city was moving into the middle bedroom.
She showed him the smallest room. "It's still open." She grinned, "Wanna move in?"
Kremin almost wished she was serious.
The apartment was 'partially furnished'. Which meant it came with some built in dressers and the appliances.
"You need a bed." He said to her. "Or do you intend to make out on the floor?"
Kremin was looking in the cabinets in the kitchen. "You always want to make love don't you?"
He grinned and closed the cabinet door.
She smiled at him, "That way you will keep me young."
"You are young." Kremin touched her face gently.
"But I can't right now. My room mate is on her way over."
Kremin shrugged, "Then I'll make love to you on the floor."
"Our furniture should be delivered soon." She grinned. "I used some our fathers credit card." She smiled innocently.
Kremin laughed. Lin was truly one of the family.
Cindy sat and stared at the blackboard.
QUIZ. It said in large letters. There was an empty test book in front of her, and a question sheet in her hand.
Chemical formulas to identify, reactions to predict. The last one was the hardest. A large compound was shown, with enzymes and other chemicals. She had to list the resulting products, including released energy and waste from the reaction.
Cindy calmed down and looked around the room. Some of the class was already working.
She took out her mechanical pencil and played with it for awhile. Then she wrote her name and number on the cover of the test booklet and opened it to the first page.
The first few answers came to her and she wrote them down.
But the others required thought and concentration. She worked her way through to the last problem. Then she saw a bug in it.
As written the problem looked ok, but there was something missing.
She wrote out the answer as she saw it. 'Without an outside heat source raising the ambient temperature to in excess of 150 degrees Celsius, the compounds would sit in the flask and look pretty.'
She was sure it was a trick question to see if they paid attention and that she was right.
She closed her book and turned it in.
"Did you get the last one?" A friend asked her in the hall.
"Sure did." Cindy smiled, at her friends look she grinned, "As written... It wouldn't work."
"Damn...." Her face collapsed. "You're right."
Jack found the loss on TV had more of an effect on campus moral than win against a conference rival usually did.
The local TV station was at the gym rolling tape and chatting with anybody involved. It was there Jack found out by listening in on an interview with the coach that their game had a viewership in Canada higher than most of the last Olympics.
Jack was next. He was relieved the reporter did most of the talking. He smiled and nodded as he heard the man spout his numbers from the game, then he commented briefly about his opening score against the tight man defense and then his slam dunk that brought the dog fans to their feet.
"We had to get them to loosen up. So we moved around a lot. And I don't think they'd even seen something like Leon before."
"That would be Leon Matthews, starting forward."
That evening on TV his piece of the interview lead into a bio of the gangly player. With the side fact that although Leon was only six foot ten and change, his arm span belonged to a player at least four or five inches taller.
Mary and Jack sat and watched it in the TV lounge, amid the congratulations and catcalls.
Jack hadn't realized what an asset Leon was to the team until they went over his stats from last year. The blocked shots and rebounds he had were almost professional caliber.
"Between him and you, you guys are going to be awesome this year." somebody said.
Jack nodded thoughtfully.
Jimbo was working on something. He kept it under wraps and in some cases locked up in an old supply cabinet.
He went to his other classes and enjoyed them, and was doing better in a couple of them, but on weekends Carl brought him his meals and stuff to the workroom.
Colleen had checked on him a few times. Then she gave up. He wouldn't talk, or show her his work. When she pushed he'd clam up or start telling her to get naked and bend over the table. She decided to let him work and judge the final result.
But in peeking in she saw him using everything from the welder to wood carving tools. Fresh paint fumes often drifted out of the room. Once he asked her where the plaster mix was.
"Whatever he's doing. He's doing a lot of it." She told a colleague.
Jimbo knew exactly what he was doing. And he was having a ball doing it.
The tantalizing sound of feminine laughter floated down the hall in the Rozbilski Memorial Trust House for Exceptional Students.
Peggy finally stopped laughing, tears ran down her cheeks.
"But I thought that's what you were supposed to do." Dale said to her with so much seriousness on his face and in his voice she almost started laughing again.
She looked down at him and patted his head. "I know. How about this, I'll tell you what to do next." She said gently.
Dale's head hung down and he sighed, "I never realized it was so complicated."
She helped him to his feet. "First, wait until we've graduated before you propose to me again."
He nodded. "Now what?"
She looked around her room. "Maybe you should start getting ready to go back to seminar and your other classes."
"But they all said our thing wasn't over yet."
Peggy nodded. "But Doctor Varscroft is the final authority. And I think he wants to move on to something else."
"I've been reading some of my other books when I get tired of thinking about light and stars and stuff."
Peggy thought that was great. "Did you read that one book? 'Buddenbrooks'?"
"Yeah." He said still trying to get over not being either accepted or rejected. "But I didn't understand why that one girl was so obsessed with getting 'Von' added to their name, that nearly destroyed her life."
Peggy picked up the thick book off his desk. "How much of this did you read?"
"All of it."
Betty showed the maintenance man the door that would not open.
He seemed to think it was her fault or something. He made a great show out of pulling out his master key and putting it in the lock. He turned the key and the handle.
Betty half expected the door to open.
The maintenance man leaned on it, then he kicked it. Then he shoved it with his shoulder. The door wasn't impressed.
"How long has it been like this?"
"Couple of years." She answered.
"Did you put in work orders on it?"
Betty nodded. "And the President's group got a copy of them. I turned a new one in when we did our inspection at the end of every semester."
"Hm." He said looking at the door. "I wonder if it is barricaded from the inside." He pulled out his two way radio and talked into it for awhile.
"I've got to get to class. I'll be back later." Betty said.
Later a long ladder was brought around and after some confusion about which room it was they found it and verified that the door was not barred from the inside.
The debate was now what to do next.
"Now James. You know the rules. A 'C' average and no grades below 'D' for more than one term, and a full class load."
"Coach. Perhaps we could extend his academic probation until the end of this semester if he gets a tutor for his two low classes and he understands he will be off the team if January finds him still in trouble."
"Yeah! I'll do extra studies and maybe some extra credit and all."
"I don't know. He has been on academic probation more than he's been off in the last two years."
"But I've always gotten my grades up."
"There are only two full weeks of classes left in the semester."
"He will have to really pull it together to get himself in good shape before finals. That is what will tell the tale."
"Two weeks before finals.
"OK. We'll do it that way. But I'm going to get a copy of your grades and see. If you don't make the cut. I WILL!"
"James. We'll get your tutors lined up this afternoon. But the hard part is yours. You have to do the work."
"Yes ma' am."
"S i r."
"Good luck. The team needs you."
Friday night was spent sitting around the music room for yet another recital. Dale put in his time, then when he got a chance he beat it to the computer room to check and see if anybody was playing 'Underrealm'.
"Just started." Keith said, "Our turn comes up in a few minutes, we'll have about five moves before we got to hibernate."
Dale looked at the status screen. They had had some turns since he had played over the weekend. Martin had cleaned out a deserted castle and found 'Merlin's Sword'.
"We can have the sword and still be invisible? Wow!" Dale said. "And we've got super genius intelligence points."
"When we go in hiding for the night we've been meditating instead of sleeping. You had a great idea with that."
"Where are we going when our turn comes up?"
Keith pointed to a hand drawn map. "The Cave of Richolau."
"But there is Shiva-Mongrels in there. We're gonna have trouble with them if we run low on Ice spells."
"I've got a gross of Frostbite Rocks to throw at them, but when we pick them up we're visible." Keith watched as the screen flashed, "Two minutes."
Maggie had another bout of morning sickness.
She hated her stomach. It was unpredictable, and irregular.
She was only a month or so along, and so far everything had gone wonderfully. The doctor in the infirmary was very pleased with her, and told her that this was to be expected to some degree, her body was just getting used to the idea of being pregnant. That coupled with the stress she had as Super, and classes, and dealing with the aftermath of the fire, things were bound to be a little off base.
Maggie took a small swig of pink medicine to calm her stomach. Since she found out she was pregnant she had been very careful. She took the vitamins the nurse practitioner gave her and ate extra fruit and drank more milk in a day than she did in a week before.
But on mornings like this, she wondered if going back to bed and getting up at two in the afternoon would change her stomachs mind about mornings.
Ralph and Colleen sat very close together on the couch in their apartment.
They were both wearing very little, alternating grading papers and grading each other.
Colleen had been trying to teach him the pleasure of being together, even engaged in intercourse, but without moving or using other stimulation.
Ralph had resisted at first. Then he tried it, and he liked it.
The intimacy was incredible. He could feel her pulse, even her stomach rumbling.
Tonight they were so entangled he was almost unsure of where he stopped and she began. And they had been like this for nearly an hour now.
He couldn't believe the papers he was grading. Some of the students seemed to have the general idea of the subject at hand, others had either left lines blank or wrote everything from common vulgarity, some misspelled, up instead of even guessing.
He decided that Monday he was going to lecture them about trying. Even a wild guess was better than a blank. They might get lucky with a half-baked answer, but an empty space was always wrong. If they learned that as freshmen by the time they were upperclassmen it might have sunk in.
Colleen shifted her position. The movement sent incredible sensation through him. He responded with a small but awesome move of his own.
They set the papers aside without a word and she leaned to him for a long intense kiss. Then they moved together to a nearly simultaneous conclusion.
Then Colleen jumped up and ran to the bathroom.
"Sorry, but I have had to go for the last twenty minutes." She called back to him.
"Good idea." He said and walked to his own bathroom. Then he tried to pop a kink out of his back. His next thought was for a cold drink.
"I'll take one of whatever you're getting to drink." She said.
Varscroft's arm was finally his again. Well. Mostly.
He was down to an elastic bandage and a hard nylon splint he was supposed to wear to protect the still tender outside area where the stitches had been,
The university hospital sent copies of everything to his doctor in St. Louis and various lawyers and bureaucrats.
He almost didn't know how to act. And the first thing he did was wince and cuss as he tried to shut his car door with it and felt pain running up his arm from fingers to shoulder.
"Slowly." The doctor had told him as he flexed his elbow and wrist when they freed it from its plaster prison.
"Slowly." He said as the fire faded.
Varscroft called his wife and told her the good news. She told him all about how she'd be home before Christmas, her sabbatical nearly over.
"So now that it's about done, can you tell me what it was?"
She laughed, "Sure, why not. I've been doing nothing."
There was no response from his end of the phone.
"I have been sitting watching those that watch other people study. Verifying that they were indeed doing the study."
"You got a government grant for this right?"
She laughed at the question.
"I thought so. I understand. Good for you."
"Thank you. I'll be home in a week or so." She kissed him over the phone. "Love you. See you soon, take care of your arm."
Jack was in practice was that night. They were supposed to be getting ready to play one more exhibition game and the University of Chicago next week.
But instead the coaches had them running plays that could have been used earlier in the game against Canada.
Then they went in and watched some film of Chicago's first couple of games. Assigning responsibility and fielding ideas about what should work.
The coach's usual practice was to listen to some ideas from everybody, players, other coaches, even a sports reporter for the university paper that was as good as another scout. Then he'd make the final decisions on plays and drills for upcoming games.
"It won Bobby Bowden a National Championship, it's good enough for me." He'd say when criticized about his system.
He had seen something during their run at Canada at the end of the first half he liked, and now he wanted to build on it. And he intended to.
With good reason. Although none of the players knew it, and only two or three others on campus knew it. The conference had agreed that if the school cleaned house, and the team was clean, and their record was OK, they could see post-season play. Which meant they had to basically go undefeated the rest of the way.
The Canada game did not count on their record at all. Sunday, they went to Chicago 0 - 0, but already behind a several key games.
He smiled thinking of his team. They were going to do it.
Mary ran into Cindy in the Union mailroom. They chatted for awhile then went up to Cindy's room to catch up on news.
Cindy couldn't keep several secrets.
"When is she due?" Mary asked.
"In the summer."
"And Bonker is the father?"
Cindy nodded. "Of course. Well, she says he's it. But she had been going out with that Beta for awhile."
"But if she's not due until then that's too long. It has to be Bonker."
Cindy nodded. "But you have to swear not to tell anybody, I wasn't supposed to tell you even. She swore me to secrecy but I mean you are you and everything." She grinned.
"OK. I won't tell anybody." She was still smiling over the news.
Cindy looked at the clock. "Oh, I've got to get changed, Steve will be here anytime." She paused. "Oh, hell."
"You're going out with Steve, Boy Jerk?"
Cindy flapped her hands. "This just isn't my day for keeping my mouth shut is it?"
"I thought you hated him."
"I did. But......"
"But you can't turn down a pretty face." Mary grinned.
"Well. That too."
"And you get less than some nuns."
"I'm going. You get changed."
"No. Stay until he gets here and keep me company."
Mary age~d~~ "Maybe that way you will have some clothes on when he gets here."
"You think I'd be spread out on the couch with a rose in my teeth?"
Mary nodded. "And a smile on your lips."
Cindy threw her blouse at her and stalked into her bedroom.
They were lucky to get out of the cave alive.
Three Shiva-Mongrals were dancing at the entrance of the cave shouting down at them as their Wizard recited a healing spell so he had enough life left to go hide someplace. One of the creatures lay in pieces, dead.
"Please come back. We do so want to kill you some more." Dale read off the screen.
"Sheeesh." Keith said. "What now?"
"We've got two moves left. I want to hit them again." Dale said looking over the vitals of the Wizard.
It had been a long two weeks. But they had seen nearly every building on campus. Including a maintenance shed that hadn't been used for anything for years but storing a tractor that hadn't run for years.
He found a message from Betty at the married dorm.
He laughed heatedly and called Yyavonne at the Roz Mansion. She laughed as well when he played the message for her. He was going to pick her up but she told him the married dorm was next door and she's meet him in the parking lot.
In spite of his years of social skills being honed to a fine art, he felt butterflies in his stomach, he popped a mint into his mouth and went to his car.
True to her word she met him at the back of the dorm. "This is Rob, he's the best photographer on campus." She said as a young man with too many cameras around his neck jogged up. "If what you said is true I thought we should have it recorded."
"Of course." They walked in and found Betty and John waiting on them.
"It's on the second floor." John said. They went up stairs.
"They damaged the door and wall getting it open." John told them as they turned a corner and saw a door leaning against the wall. "It's a little musty. Nothing's been touched."
The room had been lived in. And hadn't been used in ages.
As Rob's camera flashed Dr Myersong and Yyavone felt as if they had walked into a time warp. The primary clue was a newspaper lying on the desk with markings where it had been used for research. Another paper, the campus edition, laid nearby, both dated April 1980. The Iranian hostages were the headline on both papers. The room was a time capsule. A rotary phone hung on the wall, the desk light was an old fluorescent push button affair. A manual typewriter sat on the desk.
"As near as we can tell this room belonged to one Hyman Solomon, during the 1979-80 school year." Betty said. "We've looked around, but didn't disturb anything."
"We need to find out what ever happened to Mr. Solomon." The president said peering at the bookshelf. "He was evidently a Classics major."
"And a good student." YYavonne said pointing at an 'A' paper.
"He evidently left in a hurry, his suitcase is still here, as is his passport." John said.
"He was a student from Isreal." Betty added. "But there is no record of his ever living here. But our records back that far are a little thin."
Dr. Myersong nodded. "The Administration keeps better records. We'll see what we can find out about our missing Mister Solomon."
"So what do we do in the meantime?"
The president looked out the window. "We'll fix the window they broke to get in here and put the door back on with a lock that works. Then...."
"We'll see..." Yyavonne said with him. Rob took more pictures.
As soon as his last duty was done, namely cashing his check and tracking down Valerie, Harrison was out of town. After one stop.
"I can't go this weekend." Valerie said and had a list of excuses.
Harrison shrugged and drove to the tractor supply store. They were having a close out sale on hand tools. It hadn't been well advertised and he knew nobody from the ranch would be there. He went through and basically bought one or two of everything. Then towards the back of the store he found an old steel tub of damaged and rejected merchandise. He could tell by looking that it was the kind of thing they would go nuts over.
Harrison found the manager, "Hey buddy, how much for the tub of seconds?"
"They are all marked."
"I want the tub and all."
The manager dug through it for a second and quoted a price. Harrison offered him ten dollars less they split the difference and had a deal. Before it was done he also added a shop manual for small engines. The total at the cash register was less than he expected and he smiled the whole time they loaded his car full of junk.
Mary talked with Steve in Cindy's living room for awhile. He was sorry he had missed the game in Springfield when Mary told him about it.
"I've played against Leon in intramural games, when he gets those arms going in that windmill I don't think there's anything you can do."
"The Canadians sure didn't know what to do."
They kept hearing Cindy making noise about how she'd be ready in a couple of minutes. But it was half an hour before she came out. "Look at you." Mary said to her.
Cindy was dressed to the nines. Looking like she was on her way to a formal or something.
"Did I overdo it?" She asked.
Steve and Mary looked at each other.
"Ahhh, well. Where are you going?" Mary asked.
"Just out to dinner."
Steve shrugged. "OK. I'll stop and get a tie and we'll go to the Gourmet Room."
Cindy held out her hand. She was holding a tie.
Mary grinned. "Well, you guys have fun."
Mary walked back to the Union.
Cindy and Steve went to see if they could get a table.
But the place was booked solid all night. They ended up getting Chinese food and then walking around the mall. But they had a great time.
Steve was smooth. Before Cindy actually realized what was going on they were well involved in her car. She felt his hand wandering on her leg and decided she was going to let him lead all the way, before she stopped him.
James Blackthrawn sat and stewed. His English Lit tutor was some sort of prodigy. A kid that had skipped a couple of years in high school. But it was clear to James that he knew everything there was to know about English Literature.
"But I thought Shakespeare only wrote plays."
The tutor shook his head, "Oh no. There are many sonnets."
"What's a sonnet?"
"Poetry that is really more of a song than a spoken poem."
James decided that sounded about as dumb as it possibly could.
James took notes and tried to remember. Then they went on to some other things they had to cover in two weeks. The class seemed to focus on what the instructor called 'Socially Significant' works. James thought that was like 'Politically Correct' and had skipped most of it. But his tutor told him that Abraham Lincoln at least jokingly believed that 'Uncle Tom's Cabin' was partially responsible for causing the Civil War.
"I must have missed that in high school." James said.
He had also missed books like 'The Jungle' that raised such a ruckus over meat packing that it resulted in federal inspection of the plants.
Dale typed in a spell that threw all their Frostbite Rocks at the dancing Shiva-Mongals at once. All three of the enemy went down, frozen solid.
"GREAT!" Keith shouted. "Quick, get their Third Eyes. They are magic, and without them they turn back to stone."
As soon as Dale typed in the message a string of glowing words appeared on the screen that they had won two extra turns per gem and a bonus of full life points. "Wow." Dale said.
"Yeah." Keith agreed. "Wow."
Kalley was standing behind them. "Can we make it through the cave?"
"We can try. We have one escape spell if it gets close." Keith said.
"OK. We're going in." Dale typed furiously. The screen showed a graphic of the cave interior and a paragraph of text about runes on the wall and small items on the floor.
"We can't even use a rapier." Keith said as they looked around the cave. "But the vials of potions need a look-see."
Dale had their wizard pick them up and examine them. "All level one magic. No good for us." The only one he kept was a health vial.
"The runes say to go right, bear left." Kalley had translated.
"That means we take the left tunnel to go through. OK. You want to see what's down the right passage?" Dale asked.
"Sure. Go invisible and take a look."
"OK. Here goes." Dale started typing.
It was the wee small hours of the morning. Peggy yawned and looked at the clock. She thought about having just one more slice of the pizza on the table in the corner.
Julie sighed. "I haven't stayed up this late in ages."
Sandy smiled and sipped her lite beer. "You get used to it if you stay here long enough."
"If you don't have any morning classes that is." Peggy added. Juile laughed.
"Switch majors." Sandy said matter of factly.
"So what are you going to do with him?" Julie asked Peggy.
Peggy shook her head. That's where this all began. She wanted some friendly advice about her relationship with Dale.
"Try it and see if you like it." Saleeta had said hours ago.
Peggy didn't think that was the way to approach something like that.
"Love and sex are not like rhubarb pie." Sandy said in agreement.
Saleeta said something about white chicks being too tight-assed for their own good. She left laughing when Peggy asked her when she had first done it.
After the girl was gone Julie told her that she was pretty sure Saleeta was still a virgin. They all laughed.
Mary had it in her head that she wanted to go on a date.
And Jack was it.
She made him get dressed up and get the car washed and pick her up in front of the dorm.
Then they went out to eat and stopped at the Hunter's Lounge then they went to a late movie.
It was one in the morning when they got in. Jack was tired but excited about Sunday, the game against University of Chicago.
He put his arm around Mary and kissed her neck hungrily.
"You've got a game tomorrow." She said.
"Sunday. Not Tomorrow."
"Its Saturday." Mary grinned at him.
"Doesn't count. I've got two nights sleep before the game."
She pointed to the calendar and tried to tell him it didn't work that way. But he took her arm and pushed her onto the bed.
Mary didn't fight back. Much.
Finally she clung tightly to Jack, feeling his strength, working to move with him as they loved each other.
Later, both exhausted, they whispered together and fell asleep still snuggling together.
"I loved our date tonight." She muttered as she heard his breathing slow as he fell asleep. Jack smiled and slept.
Saturday morning Mary was up long before her husband.
She went downstairs with their travel mugs and found the coffee pot still half full. She took a handful of doughnut holes somebody had bought and went back upstairs. Sitting chewing on the sweet things and sipping coffee she realized this year had been very different from the last three. She looked foreward to every day, and enjoyed her life as it was. Jack stirred in the bed and slowly sat up.
"Coffee and doughnuts?" She asked him.
"HHmmmm, bathroom first." He muttered and went creaking into the hall.
Mary realized she had eaten most of the little round dough balls.
She quickly ran downstairs and got more. She was back before he was and had it ready for him when he got back.
"Aaaahhh. Life itself." Jack said as he sipped his coffee.
"So are you happy with me?"
He swallowed a doughnut hole whole and smiled, "Yes ma'am."
"I mean with being married."
"Well. I thought we were supposed to fight more and only make love once a month, but yeah. I'm happy." He grinned.
"That comes later." She thought about telling him about Bonk and Maggie but decided to hold it until later.
"Oh, did you hear about Bonker and Maggie?" Jack asked.
"It's supposed to be a secret, how did you find out?"
"Hairy overheard something, he told Josh, Josh told everybody."
Mary grinned. "So much for her secret."
Dale and Peggy stole looks at each other over breakfast.
They had planned on taking a trip with some others from the house to go see a Winter Life Expo at the Convention Center in Peoria.
The van was leaving just after breakfast.
At the last minute Dale was having second thoughts. The others wanted to continue to explore the caves in the Underrealm game.
"I wish you would come with me to see the expo." Peggy said to him.
Dale muttered he would.
"Another one bites the dust." Keith and some of the others began to sing.
Dale ignored them and listened as some of the others talked about all the really neat stuff they were going to see at the show. The more they talked, the better he felt about it. Especially when they described the food booths that would be there.
"Free samples." He grinned. "Wow."
Cont in Two Dorms Part 44
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