Part Seventeen of You Will Find Your Way
Every student’s worst nightmare is waking up late for the first day of school.
Dallas has a nightmare before the first day of fall classes, because that’s how her life is now.
After so many years, she knows better than to try to go back to sleep, so she waits out the hours with her blade on her lap, cleaning every inch of the alien weapon until the smooth repetitions of her cloth on metal are the only thing on her mind.
“Oh god not today!”
She’s yanked from her near-trance by the echo of Giselle’s shriek, and it’s to the sight of the sun streaming through the window. A glance to the clock on the nightstand tells her they have forty-five minutes before Giselle’s first lecture.
“Well,” she places the blade back in its case and shoves it deep under the bed. “This is awesome.”
Her years on that alien world forged her into an expert at a great many things that are no longer relevant now that she’s back on Earth, save for her ability to dress as quickly as possible, wearing the least amount while still looking at least sort of appropriate out in public. She shucks her sleep shirt for the clean one in the pile of mostly-clean clothes on top of her dresser, pulls a pair of leggings under it, throws her leather jacket on top.
It’s not the most professional, but it’s not like she’s the one trying for tenure.
Idly, she wonders if it’s socially acceptable to wear pajamas to upper-level grad classes, like it was during her few short months in undergrad.
She braids her hair on her way downstairs where Giselle is running around like a headless chicken, hair a mess and last night’s clothes askew as she throws together all the materials she said she’d prep the night before.
“Distracted by the wonders of the universe again?” Dallas asks while starting the coffeemaker.
There is always time for coffee.
“I was looking into the specs we’re going to have to submit to the committee for the satellite mapping,” Giselle’s rushed words are muffled by the overflowing pile of papers resting haphazardly in her arms. “Just because I lost track of time doesn’t mean it wasn’t important.”
Her tone is sharp, biting because of her stress and nervousness—it’s been a while since they’ve had to be around so many people, so that’s understandable—and Dallas takes a step back, searches through the cabinets for their thermoses, “Not saying a word, lady. We can do lunch or whatever later at the campus cafe. The bagel place can’t be worse than it was back in my day.”
“Back in your day,” Giselle snorts. “It’s been twelve years. It has to be better than what it was.”
“Don’t overestimate it. I have had some bad sandwiches at that place.”
They’re out of the house with thirty minutes to spare, which—it’s not ideal, since the original plan was to get some stuff moved into Giselle’s office first, but shit happens.
The next obstacle comes when they’re halfway to the little quad all the science buildings are clustered around—fortunately it’s clear on the other side of campus from Greek Row, so no panic attacks for Dallas, today—and they get stalled on the path by a steady stream of men and women running by in matching, sweat-stained ROTC t-shirts and Tate College-branded gym shorts.
Each man and woman nods in their direction as the job by, a few toss out a respectful ‘Morning, ma’ams”, but another long minute that they don’t have time to waste passes before there is a long enough break int he ranks so they can sneak across.
“Can’t say that wasn’t a nice way to start the day,” Giselle says as they walk-jog on, and Dallas definitely sees her toss another glance over her shoulder that the runners’ retreating backs before they turn the corner.
Dallas snorts, “I didn’t think you were in a place to recognize your attraction to other people right now.”
“Some things are constant,” Giselle checks her watch. “Shit! We need to go!”
You Will Find Your Way continues with Part Eighteen
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