Episode 121

Melinda’s Story

“So, what happened to your boyfriend?” Sarah asked when we got back to our room after study hours.

I shrugged. “He texted me something about doing DMH tonight. But he didn’t need me. I don’t know. I’m going to go meet with him. Is that okay? Or did you want me to stay?”

Sarah shook her head. “Nah. I’ll be okay. I’m going to get ready for bed and then read for English.”

I was torn. Part of me wanted to keep my roommate company so she wouldn’t be so miserable. I remembered how I felt when I broke up with Pat and I knew Sarah would probably cry herself to sleep. But I hadn’t seen Pat since lunch and really wanted to spend the last half hour of our day together. Since Sarah had given me permission, I opted to go find him.

I entered the rotunda to find him sitting alone, his math book in his lap. I sat beside him on the arm of the couch and played with his hair. “Where were you tonight?”

“Lindgren needed me to train someone for DMH tonight. I texted you.”

I kissed the top of his head. “Yeah, I saw it. I just didn’t realize you’d be gone the whole night.”

“Yeah. Neither did I.” Pat moved his books aside and pulled me into his lap. “I missed you this afternoon.”

“I know.” Smiling, I nuzzled close to him. “I wanted to come find you after the game. But I figured I should stay with Sarah.”

“I’m pretty sure that was among the top ten ways not to break up with someone.”

“Last time they were apart . . . I think it was 48 hours. I’m thinking this time it will be longer.”

Pat shook his head. “Not uh. My vote is shorter.”

I smiled. “How certain are you?”

“Why?” Pat’s wary look had me giggling.

“I was thinking of taking a page out of Bethany’s book. Bet you a milkshake they’re apart longer than 48 hours.”

“You’re on. We’ll go to the MAC before the dance on Saturday. Loser buys ice cream.”

He didn’t give me a chance to respond. His kiss was soft and deep. A warmth extended from my belly to my fingers and toes. When it was just enough, Pat pulled away and started playing with my hair.

“So, how was your new study partner?”

“He more or less invited Sarah down to the stacks. She almost went with him.”

Pat raised his eyebrows. “I wouldn’t mention that to Larry if I were you.”

I giggled. “Walter and I had to explain to Sarah that Alex didn’t want to go look for a book. She didn’t know.”

“Sweetheart, the only people who spend as much time in the library as you two are the people in the stacks.”

“Sounds like a horror movie. Zombies living in the library stacks.”

Pat wiggled his eyebrows. “You write it, I’ll star in it.”

“So, tell me about your new DMH partner.”

Pat gave me a quick squeeze. “He’s not my new partner. I was just training him for the night. Lindgren texted me this afternoon, saying she had a new volunteer that needed to do a drive-along tonight. When I got to the office, I met my new recruit. It was Brody.”

I raised my eyebrows. “Brody?”

Pat shrank back a little. “Yeah. I swear, I didn’t know. I mean, I knew he was thinking of volunteering, but I didn’t know he would be my partner tonight. Anyway, we picked up a fare, grabbed a quick bite because we had missed dinner, then I brought him back here to his car.”

I squirmed a little in Pat’s lap. “This is really weird. What do you guys talk about when you’re together?”


I groaned. “See, that’s what I was worried about. I’m like the only thing you have in common.”

Pat laughed. “Sweetheart, relax. First of all, Brody was asking me a bunch of questions about how DMH worked, so I was telling him what you and I do when we’re on duty. Do you want to know why he joined?”

I narrowed my eyes. “I don’t know. Do I?”

“Because he’s trying to get together with the guy that drives on Sunday nights.”

That made me feel a little better. But it was still weird to think of Pat and Brody hanging out together.

After a late basketball practice Friday, Sarah and I stopped for a quick bite at the MAC Attack before study hours. I was growing tired of fried foods and hadn’t had a milkshake since Wednesday, but I knew Sarah wanted to avoid Larry. I figured if this breakup lasted through the weekend, I would propose some sort of schedule that would force the guys to eat out at least some of the time. Maybe I would suggest it to Pat when we went to settle our ice cream bet. It looked like I was going to win. Although, I wouldn’t mind losing if it meant my friend would be happy.

Because Sarah was miserable. I understood how she felt, but my only advice fell along the lines of she needed to talk to Larry and was met with such derision, I eventually stopped giving advice and settled for being the supportive friend.

I followed Sarah back to the dorm and repacked my school bag for study hours. I invited Sarah to join me in the library, even explaining that we were going to work on our lab report with Erica, but Sarah declined and I headed off to the library alone. As soon as I arrived in my regular study room, I realized Sarah had made a wise decision.

Walter and Erica were sitting in one of the comfy chairs, their lips glued together. I snuck past them, dropping my bag on the table with a loud thud. I smirked as Erica gave a small squeak and Walter sent me a sheepish grin. They wordlessly joined me at the table to work on our lab reports.

As we headed out of the library later that evening, Erica looked between me and Walter. “So, are we still having our NeoGenesis night?”

Walter raised his eyebrows. “Why wouldn’t we?”

“I don’t think it’s on.”

“What makes you say that?”

I rolled my eyes. “Don’t you pay attention? At the end of last week, it showed clips for the next episode. In two weeks.”

“Why not tonight?”

Erica shrugged. “That reality show that’s on afterwards? I think it’s having a two-hour special. I was thinking of going to the MAC to see if there’s a basketball game on somewhere.”

Walter smiled. “Sounds good to me.”

I smiled. “Yeah, I can think of better things to do. I’ll see you tomorrow.”

I headed straight to the Rotunda, where I spent so much time with Pat, I almost missed curfew. I made it to my room just as my prefect was wandering down the hall, announcing the resumption of study hours. Sarah wasn’t there. I honestly told the prefect I had just gotten in and thought my roommate might be in the restroom. But Sarah didn’t return for nearly half an hour.

“Where were you?” I hissed from my desk as Sarah closed the door behind her.

“It’s a long story. I promise I’ll tell you all about it tomorrow. But I really need to study for my German quiz, so I don’t fail tomorrow.”

I nodded and returned to my Latin workbook. Sarah wasn’t the only one with a quiz in the morning.

Sarah was still studying when I went to sleep that night, so it wasn’t until the two of us were walking to music Saturday morning that she could share her story.

“I’m on restriction. Two weeks. And Sunday D for two weeks, too.”

I gasped. “What happened? What did you do? Where were you last night?”

“Larry texted me just before study hours. He wanted to meet in the library to talk. We went down to the basement, and no one was there. We talked for a long time. He apologized for not trusting me. I apologized for being so angry about it. Then, we realized we were in the stacks, so . . . you know.” She shrugged.

I giggled. “So, what? You got caught? I didn’t think you’d get in that much trouble for making out in the stacks.”

“Probably not. But we didn’t get caught until second study hours.”

“The library closes like, half an hour before that!”

Sarah nodded. “Yup. That’s why we were in so much trouble. The librarian marched us to the deans’ office and Sally came to yell at us. Mr. Birkenhead showed up a little while later. They’ll probably email our parents later today.”

I winced. “Your parents are going to freak.”

“Yeah. Probably. So, how was your night?”

I shook my head. “Not uh. You’re not done. Does this mean I can eat with my boyfriend again? Are you guys back together?”

Sarah rolled her eyes. “No. We just made out for two hours as friends.” Her sarcasm turned into a giggling fit.

Pat’s Story

I was about halfway through my math assignment when Melinda sat beside me on the arm of my couch. She ran her fingers through my hair. “Where were you?”

I shrugged. “Lindgren needed me to train someone for DMH tonight. I texted you.”

She kissed the top of my head. “Yeah, I saw it. I just didn’t realize you’d be gone the whole night.”

“Yeah. Neither did I.” I shifted my books and pulled her into my lap. “I missed you this afternoon.”

She nuzzled herself against me. “I know. I wanted to come find you after the game. But I figured I should stay with Sarah.”

“I’m pretty sure that was among the top ten ways not to break up with someone.”

“Last time they were apart . . . I think it was 48 hours. I’m thinking this time it will be longer.”

“Not uh. My vote is shorter.” Despite their bickering, I knew Larry was crazy about Sarah. I didn’t think he could go two days without her.

“How certain are you?” Melinda sent me a mischievous smile.

It made me worried. “Why?”

She giggled. “I was thinking of taking a page out of Bethany’s book. Bet you an ice cream they’re apart longer than 48 hours.”

“You’re on. Loser buys ice cream.” I sealed the deal with a kiss.

Saturday morning, Melinda and I exited our physics classes at the same time. I loved that she glanced at my classroom, as if she were hoping I would be standing there.

Smiling, I put my arm around her as we headed up the spiral staircase at the end of the hall. “How was physics?”

I shrugged. “Not too bad. I think I’m the only one who understands what Mr. Wilson is talking about sometimes.” Instead of waiting by the rear doors, she started heading toward the opposite exit.

Raising my eyebrows, I pointed over my shoulder. “Aren’t you going to wait for your roommate?”

“She told me not to. She wanted to talk to her German teacher after class. How’d your morning go?”

Uneventful, but I gave her the highlights as we crossed to the dining hall building. Walter and Larry were already waiting for us in the common room. Since they were occupying the two chairs by the fireplace, Melinda and I curled up on the opposite couch.

Sarah joined us about ten minutes later, heading straight for Larry’s lap. “I am in so much trouble.”

Melinda nodded toward her. “You talked to your mom?”

“Not yet. I meant I think I just failed this quiz. I asked Frau Koch when I talked to her after class. Add that to last night, and my parents are going to flip out.”

Obviously, I had missed something. I glanced around. “What happened last night?”

Walter smirked. “You haven’t heard this story?”

No. Apparently, there was a big disadvantage to not living in the freshman dorm.

Across from me, Larry shrugged. “Sarah and I started talking last night, and we got back together.”

I pretended to sneer. “Yeah. I got that by the fact that you’re able to be in the same room again.”

Larry made a rude hand gesture. “Well, we were in the library, talking. Then, we weren’t talking. And we weren’t watching the clock. And, well . . .” He shrugged.

Melinda smirked. “The library closed with the zombies still there. They’re on restriction and you’ve got company for your next couple of Sunday D’s.”

Swearing, I nodded his head in Larry’s direction. “How’d your parents take it?” Mine would have flipped out.

He sighed. “Even though they’re living in different states, they’re both too busy fighting with each other to notice me. I really don’t care what either of them thinks right now. But Smith said he wants to talk to me after school, though. I got the impression he’s disappointed in me, and that kind of stings a little.”

Attention Hammerheads

Melinda is always trying to build her vocabulary. What were some words in this episode that were new to you? She will add them to her vocabulary journal.