Nine

Lisbeth, after her initial disgust at waking up before any sane human would ever get out of bed, had decided to make the best of it. “The best of it” involved a long hot shower in an empty communal bathroom. The water could get hot enough to make anyone but a pyro uncomfortable, but not enough to scald. However, the water pressure was shit, along with the shower heads. Lisbeth tried her best to enjoy the shower, but she just ended up missing her bathroom back home. Technically she could have just gone home for a shower, but violating the laws of causality for something so minor was something gods tended to frown upon.

After her shower Lisbeth could have simply gone to get food, but she didn’t really feel like eating alone. She could track down Devon or Hinrich, but she didn’t want to be associated with them incase she ever had to deny knowing them, or vice versa. The twins would already be up, but they were either doing something highly athletic or had already eaten, likely both. Lisbeth didn’t know the rooms, numbers or sleep patterns of Krista or Amy, making it impossible to ask them. As for Nerissa… well she didn’t really have a restful night and would probably be sleeping in.

So Lisbeth decided to kill time with bad T.V. The damn thing got over three hundred channels, and on a monday morning at 7:30am not one of them had anything mentally stimulating. She kept her mental barriers firmly down and hoped that someone else would be getting up soon and looking for company. It might not work anywhere else, but when half the people on the floor could read her mind and the other half her emotions someone would get the message. Which was why, when Lisbeth was approached, she was surprised to find it was the only non-telepath on the floor.

The surprise didn’t last long when she remembered that Shelby had wanted to talk to her. She was mildly surprised that Shelby hadn’t elected to sleep in, as she was certainly tired enough. A dream walker could always judge how tired someone was. Shelby was wearing that too-happy all-cheerful smile that Lisbeth had seen on one too many summer camp counselors. She briefly wondered if it was taught in training or if it just appeared when someone got that kind of job. Lisbeth also briefly considered asking, but Shelby looked like a girl on a mission; such a question might derail that and put her on the defensive.

“Good morning Lisbeth, you’re up early.”

“Couldn’t sleep, weird dreams kept me up.”

That caused Shelby to pause and gave her a look of concern. Lisbeth couldn’t have weird dreams unless she wanted to, even then it would be hard for her to have them. Shelby apparently decided to persevere and renewed her smile with slightly more determination.

“Was it about what happened last night? Because the others understand.”

“I know they do, that calmed me down significantly.”

Shelby had to take a moment to consider the implications of that statement, but decided ultimately to ignore it for the time being.

“Look, if you decide you need help I’m suppose to tell you about the resources campus has available.”

“’Suppose to’?”

“Yeah, you can always talk to me, and we also have a counseling center and a twenty-four hour crisis line. You shouldn’t bother with any of that to start with.”

Shelby pulled out her wallet and retrieved a business card and handed it to Lisbeth. It was all white except for an address, a phone number and the name “Lawrence Coldwell”.

“Lawrence is the current head of the dream walker fraternity here on campus. As far as they are concerned, you are already a member. Anything you need, they can help with. You should also probably call them in the next couple of days to introduce yourself.”

“What kind of person is this Lawrence?”

“Him, no idea, never met the guy, but he’s a grad student. Most of the current members are. There are forty-eight members right now, forty-nine with you.”

“Why would I want to join them?”

“Free housing for one thing, also a literal metric fuckton of connections to everywhere. Mostly they will look out for you better than anyone else on campus could. Most of them have gone through exactly what you are going through now. And they throw the best damn parties; invite only, real exclusive.”

There was a look in Shelby’s eye when she mentioned the party, a hunger. Lisbeth could tell Shelby wanted one of those invites and Lisbeth could provide one. Just one thing didn’t quite make sense.

“Where did you get this card?”

“Shane the RD, my supervisor.”

That was it; Shelby didn’t know any of the member of the frat, so Lisbeth was her only chance at an invite. The dreams the night before had been her trying to figure out the best way to ask for one. The thing about dreams was that the information they provided usually only made sense in the right context. Well Lisbeth wasn’t adverse to the idea of keeping Shelby happy, even if it did cost an invite. This also appeared to be all Shelby had needed to say for now, which meant Lisbeth could get onto more pressing matters.

“Have you eaten yet?”

 

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