Quiet Before the Storm
By Francis’ standards, they had a nice, relaxing breakfast. Plank was the first to leave. She was full after that first quarter of a bagel, and didn’t want the rest. A bit rude, given Francis spent HARD money on it, but he put it in the fridge for when he woke later. Mordred took his time, but he was at least quiet company and understood when it was time to mosey off to the dusty trail. He was even kind enough to throw his bag away.
Francis stowed the two grand in the middle box of cards then settled in for the “night”. No Nicole to worry about, a full belly, one more day before the weekend; he slept like a log, sawing away as the sun outside rose then fell. He actually beat the beatings on his door, waking up bright-eyed and bushy-tailed around six. He took a shower, and decided it was a day of celebration. It had been a hot minute since he wore it, so he decided to slap on the muumuu.
He continued to straighten it as he stood in the kitchen, humming away as the food in the oven heated. The process of reheating fast food was a delicate art; one second too long, and the paper would burst into flame. So he kept opening it, checking it, venting some of the heat only to close for a minute and do so again.
“Almost,” he said, tapping the top of the English muffin sandwich- and groaned. “Screw it. It’s good enough.”
He pulled the tray out, the wrapped sandwiches hissing and crackling, deafened by the thundering on his door. All the soot and damage from the day before was gone, but it was soon returned as Penny stormed in, glaring at those wrapped prizes she forsworn.
“What are y-” She began, her staff crackling.
“Do you only have two modes: bitchy and rage?” Francis grumbled. He gestured to the entry. “You have any consideration for the fairies that will have to fix that? No wonder you didn’t know about them; they were purposely avoiding you... Want a bite?”
“Are those the-”
“Yes they are.”
“Then a hard pass.”
“Then you might as well get comfortable while I eat.”
“Can’t you do it in the car-”
She growled, and stomped into the kitchen. It was cute that she thought she could elbow-chuck him, but it at least widened his smile more as her shoulder cracked. And brighter as she winced and rubbed it as he sat across, with the tray. He plucked one of the wrapped delights free, unwrapping to find a pancake-sided sandwich, the bacon AND sausage in it crackling merrily away.
“There was an auction,” he clarified at last.
“Yeah. In detention.”
“You were in detention again! Already!!!”
“No need to shout. Good God... yeah. A certain pixie fluttered around and told everyone she partook in my dick. That threw them into a tizzy, they fought-”
“I know! I even told them I was a man-ho, but no... I learned a valuable lesson in detention, though: Capitalism is a beautiful thing. I made quite the pretty penny off simply showing someone my old rammer; if I had known that, I would be a trillionaire right now.”
“So how much did you make?”
“That doesn’t matter. Now, will you eat the meal in peace?”
“Well... now that I know it wasn’t because some poor woman was desperate enough to fuck you-”
“Oh. No. She tried that.”
“Are you shitting m- wait... Desiree.”
“Not even a minute to think about that.”
“Yeah, she’s the type to do that... with you, at least.”
“What do you mean?”
“That’s not important... But I’ll take one of them- HOT HOT HOT HOT HOT! WHY!”
“Lucky. They’re cold to me.”
“The surface of the sun would be cold to you!”
He shrugged, and gathered the rest of his sandwiches in his arms before following her down to the car at last. With any luck, today would be a rather dull day. A normal day, a day without anything exciting or break from the status quo... Francis felt like an old man. He could not handle all this excitement, all these episodes- and it was only his second week actually there! His drug-running days weren’t even this chaotic. At first, there was the thrill, the fear of getting caught... but... after a while, it became as simple as a brisk walk around town. The same old sights, the same old sounds, the same old people and repetition with dealing with them... If he had to gauge it, it would have been like that dumb, slow game Justin always played. The people in that game would simply stand around and wait to be talked to, always with the same dialogue, the same items for sale, the same beds open; what did they call them- NPC’s! It felt like he was in a world of nothing but NPC’s... and he was one of them.
Here, though? Here, every single person felt like the main character. And they believed they were. Including his plucky professor. He chortled as Francis strolled in, and only grew louder as Mordred, Olen, Lucas, and Ben came through.
“There’s my Lost Boys,” Johnny said. “Did you have fun in detention?”
“That’s where they were?” Kidd exclaimed. “What did you do?”
“Nothing! I swear,” Francis said.
“I wasn’t talking about you-”
“None of us did anything,” Lucas said.
“We simply ended up in the wrong place at the very right time,” Olen said, his bucket bubbling away. “And it was GLORIOUS.”
“No doubt,” Carl muttered. An automatic response. His “nose” was already down in his notebook, working on the most recent piece of art –rather, the remake of the piece Francis ruined the day before.
“In any case,” Johnny said, “you guys didn’t miss too much, and today is review day.”
“Review?” Francis said.
“Yup. Review. There’s a test Tuesday, so we’ll be spending the next two days looking over the last three weeks of work –or two in Francis’ sake.”
“No! You test me just like them.”
“But... I am. You didn’t get week one’s work until you came back, so it would be the next w-”
“Don’t get technical with me!”
“But you’re so cute when flustered,” Desiree said- DESIREE SAID.
“Crazy snake lady! CRAZY SNAKE LADY!” Francis shrieked.
“That’s not nice,” the lamia said, eyes pouting. She was wearing a sequin blue ensemble this day, which matched the tears shimmering to the top of her lids. “Is that anyway to treat your fiancee?”
“Whoa!” Johnny, Carl, and Kidd exclaimed. Kidd huffed, and slapped his desk. “When did this happen?”
“It didn’t,” Francis stated, making the lamia sob.
“That’s not very nice, boo. I looked it up, and, did you know, the usual engagement ring is between 2000-to-5000 dollars?”
“Isn’t it usually how much you make in two months-” Lucas began.
“In other words... I spent enough on you for it to be considered our engagement.”
“I... don’t remember agreeing to that,” Francis said. He looked to Johnny. “Bro, can you help me out here? You know my memory isn’t the best; can you recall if I ever agreed?”
“Can see anything up there, no,” he said, and sighed as he rolled his wrist to the lamia. “Desiree, I know you and Junior have some issues to work out, but can it wait until after class? This is meant to be a sanctuary for my students, a place away from all the drama-”
“I know. It’s why I’m here.” She fanned her arms to Francis, cooing. “I want to take all his troubles away-”
“I know you do.” Johnny walked around the desk, standing between Francis and that lamia... and placed his hands on her shoulders. “But this isn’t the way... You are trying too hard, Des.”
“B...but if I don’t-”
“You’ll lose him? Another girl will take him away? Take it from experience: It’s the girl that doesn’t have to try hard that ends up getting the guy... The same is true the other way around. No matter how much he screws up or diverts, if you truly love him, if you really care about him... you will let him go down that road. Once he hits rock bottom, and sees you are still there, maybe he will understand... now, be a good girl and go off to class.”
“Y...yes, sir... Thank you, sir.”
“Don’t mention it, and make sure to tell Professor Deckard I’m thinking the best of her.”
“Will do! Thank you.”
She slithered off... and Johnny waited for her scales to stop hissing back to shut the door. He took a deep breath, and slowly turned around, showing the golden flames in his eyes. Aimed at Francis.
“You really should be more careful with the girls around here,” he said, blinking the flames away. “Trust me when I say they are thirstier than someone trapped in the center of the arctic.”
“At least Missus Claus has an army of elves to keep her satisfied,” Lucas said.
“Which is what makes it so much worse... Trust me on this, guys: Do NOT give any girl false hope here. It will not end well... You, Junior, and the rest of the detention gang from yesterday saw what happened when one saw a part the others were dreaming of. That was before any actual relationship –and that date you have Sunday? Keep it tepid.”
“Date?” Mordred said.
“Yeah, I got roped into a date with a harpy,” Francis grumbled, pinching his brow. “All I ask is for one normal day... Is that too much? Just one?”
“It should be now... She’s going to give it a lot of thought.”
“Great. Then start this review already.”
True to his word, the rest of the day was nothing but study, study, study. There was a speed bump for lunch, a bit of tension as he walked with Penny down to her car, but not from the usual suspect this time. It seemed their day of debauchery was enough to sate Mordred... for now. He left with Kidd and Carl, while Ben carried Olen off with Lucas. Guess the “bad boys” needed to make their scene in the cafeteria again. Penny was surprisingly quiet, too, her cheeks red, her eyes yards away.
Which meant, of course, Francis needed to bother her.
“Earth to Plank,” he said, pinching her shoulder. Her tan jacket was surprisingly thick for a cosplay, with a thick ring of fur around the to. She had a mesh shirt under it, which she covered up her “naughty bits” with a white sports bra, which made more of a dent in it. Her legs were in matching tan khakis, ending in strange, blue sandals. They looked more akin to clogs, but even that wasn’t right. She had some strange, curly-Q-metal embossed blue sash on her left shoulder, and “belt gloves” on her hands. “Hello! Earth. To. Plank. We need you to come back from the middle school you are orbiting.”
“Huh?” She uttered... then scoffed. “Oh, fuck you!”
“I’m not your type, remember? Though I bet you’re not that boy’s, either. What was his name again?”
“It doesn’t matter... He found a girl.”
“Hey! That’s good, isn’t it? That means he’s done simp’ing for that harpy.”
“I suppose!” She declared, hitting the roof with both of her hands... only for them to fall back on the steering wheel. “He decided to go out with a fucking furry.”
“No no. I mean what kind of furry. Not what he was actually after.”
“It’s a fucking beaver!”
“I know what he’s fucking, but what kind of animal is it!”
“Asshole!” She growled, slapping the wheel again, and sat back. “Why is it so hard for boys to pick up on signals? I was doing everything in my power to give off that I liked him, dammit, and, instead, he goes after the bimbo beaver in the back.”
“Hey... hey. Here’s a thought. Come close.”
“I don’t trust you.”
“That is wise... okay. Ever think that... he WAS picking up on them?”
“Okay? Then why didn’t h-”
“Take your pick! You’re his teacher, you’re not his type, you’re his teacher, he is interested in younger women, you’re his teacher, he doesn’t see you that way, YOU’RE HIS TEACHER-”
“I get it!” She slammed her head back into the rest... chortling. “Dammit... They make it seem so easy in the eroges. All boys want a piece of their hot, older teacher-”
“Oh, like you wouldn’t jump on the chance to fuck me!”
“I’m a really bad example. I fucked a sixty-year-old on several occasions. And she looked it. Then there’s Nicole-”
“I get it! I’m not pretty... I’m flat as a board... The only bit of wood I can get is my staff and that’s because it can’t run.”
“Hey... don’t be so hard on yourself. I didn’t say you weren’t pretty-”
“Comparing me to a sixty-year-old sort of did-”
“No. I said I was a bad example for someone who would want to fuck you because I did fuck a sixty-year-old. This sword doesn’t judge; it just slays.”
She huffed... but smiled as she shook her head.
“You are such an ass...”
“But still. I’m getting up there in years. No one wants an older lady... People once said ‘thirty was the new twenty’, but I don’t think the same holds true for forty-”
“Forty-two to be specific.”
“Damn! You aged well.”
“You’re just saying that-”
“Like hell! I thought you were in your late twenties, early thirties. You know, only a bit older than me... Though, now that you mention it, I can see the bags under your eyes-”
“Say another word and I will shove my staff someplace you REALLY don’t want it to be.”
“How many times are you going to threaten my ass?”
“Oh no... it won’t go up your ass.”
Francis finished his meal. He climbed out of the car. It and its keeper were left FAR behind as he returned to the classroom. He resumed his studies, resumed learning and understanding what he should have already known. Even as the final hour rolled in, he wanted to keep going. Who cared if Penny was standing there? Who cared if everyone already left? He needed to get the work in... He... needed to... It was such a lovely day. Why did he need to go home? He knew what was waiting him... who was waiting for him. But it beat present company –and that’s how sad things had become.
He said his sounding- resounding goodbye to his favorite chauffeur and booked it up to his apartment, fearing for his life. As he entered his apartment, slamming the door behind, he looked down, down along the floor of the entry... but there wasn’t a green mite waiting for him. In fact, it seemed he was home alone... Enough to bring a tear to his eye- oh, why one? Let there be a wave, a cascade of joy-
“Why are ye crying, mah wee barra?”
His heart dropped. A chill ran down his spine. He looked around, at the ground; the voice was so close, but he could not-
He felt a tug on his rod, and his heart sank to his feet.
“Dinnae see me when ye entered, did ye?” She said, tittering as he felt her hands on his leg... then her feet on his waist. “Thas okay. Ah wanted te surprise ye with something new. Ah was hoping you wore that today.”
“What are y-”
He hissed, feeling a familiar warmth snare his rod, and her hands left his legs, resting on floor just on the outside of the hem of the muumuu.
“Start walking,” she said, panting, her legs holding firm to his middle. “Turn back around and go to ye card shop.”
“C-can I g-grab my dick-decks first?”
“That’s what ah meant. Ah set them by the door.”
Every part of him screamed it was a bad idea. Every part of him simply wanted a normal day... Guess just like the rest of his life he might as well toss that notion aside. His dick now had legs, or would have had a stump. He was screwed either way that day... TGIFF.