He leans back in his chair and eyes me for a moment. “I suppose there’s no harm in it,” he finally says. “Ms. Gregory has been expelled from Fairchild. With her father’s ample cred and her own natural aptitude some other school will no doubt take her on. She’s not my problem any more, or yours. I suggest you banish her from your thoughts, study, it does you no good to dwell on her.” He turns and begins to tap at his keypad. “See yourself out if you would. I’ll have your records sent over to southwing. Headman Grigson will be awaiting you there to lift your senses.”
“Thank you again for the chance, sir.”
“Make it count this time and you won’t be at twos-and-two for long. Every good stud comes to their senses eventually, Fynch.”
“I know they do, sir.”
“How’s it feel to be out of sensory confines?” Alfa catches me in the hallway between courses.
“Twos-and-two isn’t much,” I tell him while we walk, “But it’s better than being in the hole, that’s for sure.”
“You’ll fit in just fine with me and my bestbros, none of us pull high marks either. You should feel right at home. And they’ve already taken a liking to you.”
“Pooch won’t hold any grudges if I tell him you’re with us,” he says. “We’re getting together in my quarters around nineteen hundred tonight. You should come, it’ll be funtimes.”
“Yeah, sure, sounds golden,” I tell him.
“Great,” he says and smacks my arm. “You’re clan now. Remember, tonight, my quarters, number eleven oh four. We’ll rowdy until nightlocks, o-kee-dee? See you when I see you.”
“See you when I see you,” I tell him. He pushes through the studs ahead of me and ducks into his class.
A smile crawls across my face.
That night we rowdied at Alfa’s and his bestbros all welcomed me with the openest arms. Even Pooch. I have to admit they’re not a bad bunch of studs. They’re dull like me, but they’ve got hungry ears so they love to hear my tales about that night in the city. In a few years, if they stay on the straight, they’ll all graduate to full sense and get the know for themselves. I keep telling them that, but it’s almost like they don’t believe me. I’ll get there too, in time. It’s autumn and things are changing all around me.
The semester rolls on like some kind of unstoppable machinery. Sensor Cull is a non-entity in my life so it seems as if he’s staying true to his word to let me go on with my studies without having eyes on me every second. That fall I half-hoped that some word about Cheza would leak down to southwing, but I didn’t hear a squeak. It’s probably better for me that way anyhow. The bitch is gone for good—so what if I never get the chance to tell her off to her lying face. She’s erased to me.
The calendar hits December and midwinter lacuna is upon us. Every stud is thankful for the break, but mostly we’re looking forward to the upcoming sense boosts that accompany the handing out of last cycle’s marks. I did o-kee-dee. I’ll get my usual—a minimal number jump.
Every stud’s fulls get to visit Fairchild during lacuna, too. We aren’t ever allowed to leave the institute’s sense-protective care so my fulls, like a lot of other studs, come to visit whenever they can. I haven’t really spoken to them much since the incident with Cheza. Fairchild contacted them about it (shocker) and set up a window for us to have a private face chat, but I downplayed the whole thing. I know this time it won’t be so easy to brush it off though.
Get this, my new quartersmate’s name is Ferdobern Taicin. Is that a name or what? He’s a swarthy little stud a couple years younger than me and because of it we don’t have a whole lot in common but, all things considered, he’s a good pup. So respectful. Maybe a little too respectful actually. He insists on me having the place to myself all afternoon to entertain my fulls after his own leave that morning.
Thanks a lot, Ferdy.