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By D. W. St. John

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Solange looked up to see O’Connel flat on his back and Chelsea, a grinning, teary-eyed sprite kneeling on his chest. O’Connel smiled, reaching up to touch her forehead gently with a finger. “Not bad, now get out of here and get a shower. ” When they had gone, Solange came around the front of the bleachers to sit on the bottom bench. O’Connel lay where he was, arms wide, palms up. ” She couldn’t help smiling. ” He shrugged. “Oh, yeah. I knew she could. She’s just a little hesitant. ” He looked over his shoulder at the locker room doors.

Out in the hall, students tromped up the stairs. That couldn’t be right. She must have misunderstood. “That’s it? ” Several juniors came in wearing pajamas, long underwear, flannel nightgowns, carrying teddy bears, stuffed animals and pillows as they continued shouted conversations. O’Connel gave her a look that said they would pick it up later and went to take roll. Now she really didn’t get it. Still confused, she sat at a desk in the back, opened her laptop. The sooner she got started, the sooner it would be over.

Impatiently she turned away from the window to glance at her watch. ” He went on writing on the board. “Nutrition break, new thing. Board member’s kid wasn’t eating breakfast, so they started giving them ten minutes between second and third to buy doughnuts and sodas. ” He came to the front of the lab table to fold his arms. ” She looked around the room. ” She shrugged. ” He smiled. ” Was she so easy to read? ” He shrugged. “That’s the way I’d feel about it. ” He was going to say something more; she could feel it.

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A Terrible Beauty by D. W. St. John

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