Funny how a day or two changes things.
I did call Mr. Ethan after breakfast and left a message for him. But the more I thought about it, the less it seemed likely that Jack could be the emerging slayer. I kept waffling on the subject as I rode across town to my campus. I was still mulling it over when I sat down for my ten o’clock class.
Algebra commanded my attention for the next hour. My parents have always been super supportive and had insisted on supporting me at least my first couple years in college. I wasn’t about to let them down by not paying attention in the class they paid for. I also had no intention of flunking out which meant I had to really hunker down in my math classes – a math wiz, I ain’t.
I met Jessica outside class and we found Sally on the lawn south of the building as planned. Sally had already been asked out by a guy in her chem class. As her new best friends we had to have all the details, of course. Jessica had an oddly scheduled lab at eleven thirty and had to leave so Sally and I hit the cafeteria without her. By the end of lunch we’d managed to meet three more girls, Kimberly, Monica and Kagome.
Kagome and I had the same one o’clock class, Intro to Logic. We chatted on the way there about our respective homes, me about Mississippi and her about Japan.
An hour later, I was convinced I was doomed to flunk Intro to Logic. Kagome laughed at me in her polite, reserved Japanese way. I think that made it worse, actually, but she was also encouraging, assuring me that I could do it. We met up with Kimberly, who had been Kagome’s pen-pal since fifth grade and Sally who had found Jessica again. Monica had a two o’clock class so the five of us hit the library to theoretically study.
We did study – we were just more interested in studying boys, was all. My three o’clock was English, which at least I had some hope of passing. At four o’clock, that hope was dashed – somehow I’d managed to get the hardest English teacher on the planet. I had a four page paper due tomorrow on only my first day. Yep, doomed…
I met up with the girls after my four o’clock class, gymnastics. We hadn’t even dressed out, just gotten a syllabus and had talked about our various back grounds. Well, at least I’d pass one class this semester, I told the gals as we headed for the cafeteria.
I wrote my essay on the bus ride home. I’d have to type it when I got home but at least the worst was over, I was working on my algebra on the final bus when Mr. Jenkins’ son, John, got on and sat by me. He was kind enough to help me with one problem – he’s an engineer – and I put it away to finish later. I asked about their plans and he told me that Mr. Jenkins’ kids were in the process of dividing up his things and getting the apartment cleaned out. As I result, he expected to be there the rest of the week.
He asked me what I thought Jack might like of his father’s things. I’m not sure why – maybe because of his sister Mary he had the idea I knew Jack better than I did or maybe he was just making small talk. I told him I’d gone with Jack and he said he’d known that. Had I noticed anything that Jack might like?
I chose my next words carefully, "I don’t know if Jack would like it or not, but there was one thing I noticed. I imagine it meant something to your dad since it was hanging on the wall…"
"His bayonet?" John asked immediately.
I nodded, wondering how he’d guessed.
He sat back in thought for a moment. "If anyone outside the family were to get it, it would be Jack or Kevin. Dad would have been okay with that. Those guys were like sons to him."
He turned to me and grinned, "At least they were both as much pains in the neck as we Jenkins boys."
I smiled and laughed politely. He was trying to lighten the mood.
"Isn’t that true of just boys in general?" I winked.
He chuckled, "I think the bunch of us abused the privilege." He paused, "Oops, we’re about to miss our stop…"
John walked me to my house. Jack and John’s sister Elaine were coming out of Jack’s building. Jack nodded, his hand full of boxes and Elaine waved a small bag at us, her other hand toting a huge suitcase. We crossed the street to join them and the guys spent several minutes trying to cram the things into Elaine’s car as Elaine and I chatted. Jack and I had only a moment to chat as he still had work to do helping his family and a ton of homework still awaited me.
Once home, I tossed my books on the kitchen table and my backside into a chair. Mama was frying chicken and Daddy was annoying her playfully. I pretended to ignore my flirting parents as I cracked open my logic book.
As Mama finished whipping the potatoes, she turned to me, "Oh, Honey, you had a call earlier. I put the message by the phone in the study."
I nodded and dutifully trotted off to get it. As expected, Mr Ethan had called. He would call back tomorrow when I was expected to be home. I sighed as I headed for the dining room. I had forgotten again.
Dinner eaten, homework done and prayers said, I curled up in bed, unable to sleep. I had nearly forgotten my promise to Arnie and I didn’t know if I would be able to keep it now. Maybe if he was given to Jack or Kevin but not if one of Mr Jenkins’ children decided to keep him. Maybe not even if he was left here – I mean, how do you borrow a bayonet?
It had seemed so obvious two nights ago that Jack was the new slayer – it seemed absurd now. Was it wishful thinking on my part? No, that didn’t make sense. I actually dreaded the idea that Jack might be a slayer, too. I’ve never heard of two slayers becoming a couple. I already had hopes of that with Jack – but if he was a slayer then would it be right?
There are many more slayers than you might imagine – but there are also a whole lot more creatures than you would ever believe. There aren’t enough of us for us to be congregating – the Mistress had said so a long time ago. She probably wouldn’t approve…
Not that we needed her approval, at least I didn’t think we would. But the idea of the Mistress’ disapproval actually hurt. I’d never given her reason to disapprove before.
It occurred to me that I might be trying to reason myself out of thinking Jack could be a slayer because of all that. I sighed and tossed myself over. Enough already, I need to sleep. I promised myself to talk to Mr. Ethan about the whole thing. I had enough to worry about without worrying about something I didn’t even know was something. Jack and I weren’t a couple; he might or might now be a slayer; the Mistress might or might not disapprove and the whole crazy thing might just be in my head. With a quick apology to God for being such a nitwit, I snapped off the light and forced myself to stop thinking about it.
The clock hadn’t ticked five times before I was asleep.