It was 9am on Thursday morning and the campus was mostly dead. Not a surprise really, very few of the non-freshmen had arrived yet and the freshmen didn’t have any need to come onto the campus proper. For them the event wouldn’t start until after noon anyways. There were a few exceptions like the sports teams, Nerissa could see one of them running around a track in the distance. She liked the peace and quiet of the morning, without all of the people who she assumed would appear once classes begin on Monday.
Nerissa’s destination was one of the fields surrounded by bleachers where Lisbeth had requested they meet. Lisbeth was an odd one; self-confidence personified until her dream walking came up, but then she would crumple under any kind of pressure. Nerissa was kind of pissed at whoever made her that way, but there wasn’t much she could do about it now. Lisbeth was insisting she give a proper apology for spying on her dream, and even though Nerissa had said it wasn’t necessary, Lisbeth insisted. Nerissa understood why Lisbeth did it, and wasn’t even all that upset. It was hard to be upset when Lisbeth kept her head open most of the time.
She was close enough now to feel the minds of those on the field and in the bleachers, which weren’t as empty as she assumed they would be. The first mind Nerissa felt was Lisbeth, all smooth edges with no way in and no thoughts escaping. The second person was a girl who was pretending to read, but was actually eavesdropping on Lisbeth’s phone call and admiring the two shirtless guys running suicide drills on the field. The two guys were apparently twins, and the girl had something of a crush on them. The guy’s minds were oddly fuzzy, like a T.V. with a bad signal. Nerissa recognized it from descriptions; they were wearing jammers. That didn’t make much sense, jammers were extremely expensive just like everything else enchanters made. Why two college students would have them Nerissa had no idea.
When she rounded the corner, Nerissa saw Lisbeth writing in a small black address book. Something about a meeting Saturday morning, according to the other girl’s mind. Nerissa was surprised that Lisbeth had an actual little black book, it seemed kind of cliché. There had been an entire series of action movies about the retrieval of one such book that had been taken from a dead dream walker. The joke went that a dream walker’s black book could win or lose any election. Nerissa concluded that Lisbeth liked the classics about the same time she arrived at Lisbeth’s side.
Lisbeth looked up and smiled at Nerissa, her mind slowly unfurled granting access to her thoughts as she did. Lisbeth had apparently been contemplating Nerissa’s breasts, but she stopped very quickly. It was actually kind of weird how Lisbeth could do that, most people who tried not to think about something failed, but not Lisbeth. When she wanted to stop thinking about something she just did. Since dream walkers very rarely let people into their minds there wasn’t much info online, but some people had given theories. The most likely seemed to be that since they could control dreams with thoughts, they had to learn not to think about things on command. It was kind of disconcerting to not get the usual background noise from Lisbeth’s mind, but also oddly refreshing.
“I got you a present.” Lisbeth said.
“I said that wasn’t necessary.”
“I deal in favors and goodwill, yes it was.”
Lisbeth handed Nerissa a small black address book, with a genie leather cover. The first page was already filled in with Lisbeth’s details, and the second page…
“Who are Seth and Lance?”
“Seth and Lance are the two shirtless guys running around on the field.”
“And why are you giving me their details?”
“Because you want to get into public relations, so you need to network. Those two can get you connections with every athlete on campus.”
“How could they possibly do that?”
Lisbeth hardly needed to answer, the eavesdropping girl’s mind supplied most of the answers.
“Those two are here on a cheerleading scholarships, there are very few male cheerleaders and the girls are very protective of the few they have. Those two can introduce you to everyone affiliated with the sports programs, and they will give you the time of day. Also they can get you into all of the parties.”
“Why would they do this for me?”
“We dated back in high school and now I have a few favors in reserve.”
“Which one, Seth or Lance?”
“Yes. They also do modeling on the side.”
Whatever that meant, Lisbeth’s mind wasn’t supplying any answers. But Nerissa did actually remember seeing the twins in a magazine somewhere. A full list of their appearances was supplied by the eavesdropper who was apparently slightly more than just a casual fan of the twins. The girl also supplied an explanation for the jammers, apparently their agency made them carry them.
“So what are you doing tomorrow night?”
“Not much, why?”
“Because the dwarves are throwing a party and it would be a good time to introduce you to the twins.”
“Are you setting me up on a date?”
“You no, purely business. Her, however, I am going to set up with Lance.”
At that Lisbeth pointed at the girl eavesdropping. The girl gave a jump and looked up from the book she hadn’t been reading. Lisbeth turned to look at her and changed, not visibly but mentally. Her thought patterns shifted, priorities changed. Nerissa wasn’t strong enough to get more than an impression, so she couldn’t see anything specific. What she did get was to watch Lisbeth’s mind go from something she found appealing and wanted to protect from others, to that of a hunter stalking prey. Nerissa had never seen someone change so quickly or drastically; it was kind of scary.
“Yes you, you have been watching them work out in the mornings since Tuesday. You keep following them around and at best nothing will change at worst things will end in tears and restraining orders. Now Lance thinks you’re cute, so I’m going to give you a chance. Meet me outside Mind hall at ten tomorrow night and wear something nice. I’m Lisbeth by the way, who are you?”
“Ah, I’m Charis.”
Charis didn’t stand a chance, Lisbeth had caught her prey. Now what Nerissa had to figure out was why Lisbeth had hunted her down in the first place. Lisbeth’s mind wasn’t supplying any answers.