Part Twenty Two

You Will Find Your Way

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Part Twenty Two of You Will Find Your Way
It’s okay, Giselle didn’t REALLY need to finish that lecture, or anything.

Giselle is attempting to explain the third section of the day’s powerpoint for one of her upper-level lectures when the doors to the hall bang open, startling her right out of her thoughts, which—rude.

The fact that everyone turns around in near-unison would be hilarious if it weren’t for the fact that this interloper is interrupting her class, and Giselle is about to rip them a new one when she realizes it’s Dallas, pale and drenched and gasping for breath as she drips on the carpet.

“Jesus Christ,” she snaps under her breath—not that it matters since the microphone picks up everything. “Dallas, this is a really bad time.”

“I need to talk to you.”

Giselle knows shat she’s hyper-focused on whatever it is she needs to talk to her about, and therefore has absolutely not noticed the eight other students in the room.

She pinches the bridge of her nose and takes a deep breath, tries to stop her hands from shaking from all the caffeine, “Go to my office,” she grits through her teeth. “I”ll be there in a second.”

With a tilt of her head, Dallas looks at Giselle for a long minute, like she’s taking the time to parse out what those simple words mean, and Giselle is pretty sure she hasn’t had anything to eat since her two and a half bites of orange chicken last night, “All right,” she finally says, stalks down the stairs to cut through the back exit that leads to a shortcut to Giselle’s office.

The door slams behind her and Giselle sighs, counts to ten before she makes herself turn back to the questioning looks on her students’ faces, “Well,” she chirps and claps her hands, the sound loud in the deafening silence that fell over the room. “What do you guys think of wrapping up a little early today?”

An hour early, to be specific, but whatever.

“Go over the last slides from today’s presentation and email me with questions. I’ll see you all next week.”

Her students are just as distracted as she is, so she doubts they even process words even as she immediately forgets what she just said.

Good thing she didn’t try to figure out what assignment she originally planned to hand out.

She waits for them to leave, and once the last is gone, Giselle darts out of the lecture hall.

With her paperwork and notes and a few books that she doesn’t even know why she’s carrying in a haphazard pile in her arms, Giselle follows Dallas’ muddy footsteps down the hall and around the corner. The door to her office is half-open and she sees the flicker of Dallas pacing back and forth as she shoulders her way in.

Giselle kicks the door shut behind her, and the sound startles Dallas out of whatever stupor she’s in.

And here she thought her own work-induced dazes were problematic.

“Good lord woman, what happened?”

Finally, Dallas stops pacing, looks at Giselle—really sees her— and pulls that curved blade off her back, “This glowed last night.”

Giselle frowns, “You said it wasn’t possible for that to happen here. You promised that those weird things did not exist on Earth.”

“Because that’s what I was told,” Dallas mutters under her breath, and Giselle thinks she hear her curse that Maris woman for the millionth time since they met. “Like I said last night, something’s really, really wrong.”

Her frown deepens, and Giselle finally drops her things on her desk, frowns at a battered copy of a weather almanac for the area before she rubs her eyes.

It’s like she went on a bender and hasn’t slept all week.

“So what do we do about it?” She sighs again. “Did you find any of those—what are those things called again?”

“I never really paid attention to what Maris called them,” Dallas shrugs, uncaring that she is being remarkably unhelpful. “They weren’t natural, not to any world they know. All I remember is that they showed up when the lightning did and somehow the blade knows it too.”

“And they’re here.”

Dallas bites her lip, “Somehow.”

Rubbing her eyes again, Giselle squeezes them shut, but it doesn’t help stave off the headache building behind her eyeballs, “Is there any way to get in touch with Maris? Let them know that something’s gone weird and we need help?”

“Of course not,” Dallas mutters, suddenly dark. “The woman never thinks things through. She always insisted that the problem had long since passed through and out of this world.”

“Wait,” Giselle holds a hand up. “Those things were here before?”

“A very long time ago,” Dallas frowns, tries to think back. “Back during the-”

The echoing boom of a knock on the office door sends them both to the ceiling for an agonizing second.

Giselle waves a hand in the direction of the tiny powder room attached to her office—a perk of having three or four PhDs, or something, “Go clean up,” she hisses. “I’ll get them out of here as soon as I can and then we’ll figure this out.”

With a nod, Dallas rushes out of the room and Giselle shakes out her hands, runs them through her tousled hair, which probably doesn’t help matters much, but whatever, Doctor Sweeney is out at a conference so the likelihood that it’ll get back to him is pretty low.

“It’s open,” she calls, moves around to the other side of her desk so she looks at least somewhat respectable in case it’s someone else form the department or another one of her students looking to kiss ass for a better grade.

The door swings open, and it takes Giselle a second to recognize the dark-haired man who is definitely neither student nor faculty, “Can I help you?” And then it hits her. “Wait, you’re that guy.”

His ears go a little dark and he rubs the back of hie neck, “I have a name,” he says, but doesn’t sound offended as far as Giselle can tell. “And uh, I was hoping to get your housemate’s. I wanted to see if she was interested in getting coffee.”

Giselle resists the urge to roll her eyes because what is this timing, “Just a second,” she turns toward the powder room. “Hey! That hot guy you picked up at the bar is here to see you!”

You Will Find Your Way continues with Part Twenty Three

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A life-long college sports fan and forever bitter about the country’s east coast biases, Kathryn, the Fake Redhead, graduated from the University of Arizona with a BA in Creative Writing, emphasis in poetry because she felt the fiction studies emphasis was too pretentious. She is currently helping other writers hone their craft while she pursues her dreams of becoming a published novelist.

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