Hurt & Comfort

Book 8: Seeking Comfort

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Chapter 5: The Race

We piled into the truck and began the ride back to the mansion in silence.

"Are you guys okay?" Mr. Summers asked with concern.

"Just deep in thought." John mumbled.

I nodded, realizing that I was thinking about Trey's smile.

"Did everyone get clothes for tomorrow?" Mr. Summers asked quietly.

"Yeah, William let me borrow a few things. He has some really cool clothes." Ronny said happily.

"Trey took care of us. He's a good guy." John said from beside me.

"I thought you were going to wear Clark's clothes." Mr. Summers said as he pulled the truck into the garage.

"I did too, until I saw them." John said with humor in his voice.

Mr. Summers gave a questioning look at us and I said, "My mommy dresses me funny."

Everyone laughed as we got out of the truck.

"Clark, we're going shopping after classes tomorrow, you're welcomed to come with us if you want." Mr. Summers said with a smile.

"Yeah, I think I need to." I said quietly.

"You look good wearing that." Ronny said as we walked as a group into the mansion.

"Thanks." I said shyly as I followed the group into the main entry hall.

I was surprised to find that Mr. Summers was walking upstairs with us.

"You guys have a good night, it's going to be a big day tomorrow... just meet me in the dining room after breakfast and I'll get you to your first classes." Mr. Summers said and stopped at a door across the hall and down one from mine.

"This is my room if any of you need me for anything." Mr. Summers said and looked at all of us before stepping inside.

"I'm ready to turn in. You guys have a good sleep." Bobby said and walked on to his room, followed by Ronny. Peter continued on to the next room and waited.

"Goodnight." I said as I went to my room and walked in, followed by John.

* * * * *

"Clark... I uh... don't usually wear anything to bed... but if it makes you uncomfortable... I could borrow something." John said shyly.

I looked at John's embarrassment and felt a smile come onto my face.

"Since we're sharing a room, I guess we'd better lay out the ground rules." I said and automatically began to unpack my clothes into the dresser.

"Yeah." John said as he moved his box off his bed and took a seat.

"How about this? Be comfortable. If you want to be naked, then be naked. If you do something that bothers me, I'll tell you... and you do the same for me." I said, feeling nervous and a little surprised by my suggestion.

"Yeah... you sure?" John asked with a wide-eyed expression.

I nodded and said, "Just understand if I'm a little awkward. I've never shared a room with anyone before."

"Never?" John asked seriously.

"Never... I grew up on a farm and I'm an only child. My friends from school weren't the type that would come over and visit me at the house..." I trailed off.

"Okay, but just remember, you gotta speak up if I do something that makes you uncomfortable." John said, then waited for my nod.

"Good, then I'm going to go get a shower while you finish unpacking. I still smell like smoke from camping last night." John said and began to take off his clothes.

I forced myself not to watch and went back to putting my clothes away... even though I probably wouldn't be wearing most of them again.

I turned in time to see John's bare butt walk into the bathroom as he closed the door.

[Well, what does this mean? Am I gay? I sure have been checking out John... and that thing with Trey was just weird. Something about Trey's smile just makes me feel... lighter.] I thought to myself as I started unpacking the second suitcase.

[But I thought Ms. Munroe was beautiful... I don't know. How can I find out?] I thought as I put things away.

"Clark?" I heard from the bathroom.

"Yeah?" I responded as I walked to the bathroom door.

"Do you have any shampoo with you? There's none in here." John asked.

"Yeah, just a minute." I said and pulled some from the plastic bag in my backpack.

I hesitantly opened the bathroom door and walked to the shower stall.

"Here it is." I said.

John opened the door and took it from my nerveless hand as I looked at his wet naked form.

"Thanks Clark." He said and closed the door.

"Yeah." I said and walked back into the bedroom.

[I'm so confused... I want to look at him, but I shouldn't want to look at him. I like him as a friend, but I don't know if I like him as something more.] I thought in frustration as I went back to unpacking my clothes.

An undetermined amount of time later John walked out of the bathroom and said, "Shower's free."

I turned to see him walking out, naked as a babe. I watched as he walked to the dresser to comb his hair.

"Um yeah." I said and walked to the bathroom as quickly as I could and hopefully maintain a calm facade.

* * * * *

The shower felt good. I kept thinking about my feelings toward John and Trey. I had showered completely on autopilot while I was deep in thought. I was drying myself when I realized that I didn't bring my pajamas with me to change into... not even a robe.

I looked at the clothes that I'd worn into the bathroom and thought briefly about putting them back on, then realized how silly that would be.

There's no way I could walk out in front of John completely naked so I wrapped the towel around my waist and walked out of the bathroom.

* * * * *

I walked into the bedroom at a deliberate, slow pace, trying not to look as completely nervous as I felt.

"Clark?" John asked quietly from his bed.

"Hmmm?" I responded as casually as I could manage with rampaging fear-monsters trying to chew through my stomach.

"Will you tell me why you're so afraid? Do you think I'm going to try to force you to do something?" John asked timidly.

I turned to look at him, lying on his bed, turned on his side, looking at me with apprehension on his face.

A large chunk of my fear left as I realized that he thought I was afraid of him.

"No... It's not you. I've never... been around anyone who was naked. I really don't know why I'm scared... I just am." I said shyly as I tried to look him in the eyes.

"What about gym class? Shower rooms?" John asked quietly.

"We never got completely naked in our gym classes, not past the underwear, and didn't take showers. I don't know why, we just never did." I said as I sat on my bed.

"Clark, I don't know if this will help, but if you want, you can look at me. I mean, take a real, up close look. That way you don't have to be shy about me being naked because you've seen it all." John said with a look of concern, then continued, "Or if you want, I can put on some shorts or something. I just don't want you to feel so uncomfortable."

"Okay." I whispered and got up off my bed to look at John's naked body.

John also stood and hesitantly said, "If you wouldn't mind, I'd like to look at you too."

I looked into John's eyes and saw the genuine curiosity there.

I nodded and stood before John, maybe a foot away.

John reached out hesitantly and put his hand on the twist that held my towel in place. He stopped and look me in the eyes, silently asking for permission.

I nodded and tried to convey my trust through my look.

John gently tugged on the towel and let it fall to the floor.

I felt his eyes on me and could feel my arousal increasing. Slowly, I became erect as he silently watched. I looked down to see that he was also becoming excited.

"Can I touch it?" He asked in a whisper.

I'm sure that there were a thousand possible answers to that question, but the most I could manage at that moment was a nod.

John gently and reverently took hold of my erection and pulled the foreskin back to reveal the head, I was already leaking precum. I can't recall ever being this aroused before and the excitement made me feel as if I would hyperventilate or just pass out.

"It's a beauty Clark." John said and rubbed the precum around the head with his thumb.

A shiver of excitement went through me and I reached down to touch his raging hard-on.

"Clark, it's best if you don't until the test comes back." John said with regret.

"I won't do anything dangerous." I said with assurance and waited for him to tell me it was okay.

John nodded and I took his erection into my hand. For the first time I felt another man's erect penis and realized how different the sensation was.

Then I realized... John and I were standing there, in the middle of the room, naked, holding each other's erect cocks... and it was... okay.

"May I kiss you?" I heard myself ask, the autopilot was getting a little more adventuresome.

John's response was to release my cock and put both arms around me and pull me close. Then he put a hand on the back of my head and guided me into a kiss.

As I felt his tongue trying to work it's way into my mouth, I opened and received a shy but determined intruder.

As I was overwhelmed by the sensations in my mouth, I felt John's erect cock collide with my own as we simultaneously thrust against each other.

My hand drifted to John's butt to try and guide him, to coordinate him with my own thrusts.

Suddenly John broke the kiss and said, "Wait, wait Clark. We need to hold off on this until after the test... if we... went any further... then I came back positive... I couldn't stand it..." John said with extreme effort.

My body was vibrating with tension, feeling the need for more, for release. With great effort I was able to pull away from John and say, "Okay, but what about?... " And I stroked his erect cock.

"We'll need to take care of those... I got an idea." John said and walked over and sat on his bed, then patted the spot next to him.

I hesitantly sat beside him and waited for his idea.

"Race ya." John said and began stroking himself quickly.

I had the urge to laugh at the sheer silliness of the suggestion, then decided, 'what the hell' and began to stroke myself as quickly as I could to try and bring my self to orgasm before him.

The race was fast and furious and only lasted about two minutes. John was the winner, but only by about a second.

We both laid back on his bed, panting from the exertion, with semen cooling on our bellies and began to laugh.

"We'll have to do that again sometime." John said through his chuckles.

"Yeah, it was fun." I said, realizing that what we just did was... I don't know what it was. It was two guys getting off, but not like if we had been kissing or rubbing each other. This was more... fun. It wasn't serious sex, it was fun sex.

"Let's get cleaned up and get some sleep, we've got school in the morning." John said and forced himself up from his laying position.

"Okay... and thanks." I said seriously.

"For what?" John asked, genuinely puzzled.

I thought about it for a second before saying, "I don't know, for making me not afraid, I guess." I said and got up off the bed to follow him.

"You don't feel weird about us being naked now?" John asked curiously.

"No, but if I do start feeling weird again, I'll just ask for a rematch." I said with a smile.

"Anytime bud, anytime." John said with a smile.

* * * * *

After a quick encounter with a washcloth and a few minutes to put away my empty suitcases, I was ready for bed.

I turned out the light and lay in my bed, feeling for the first time the sensation of my entirely naked body between cool sheets.

"Clark?" John called from his bed.


"Do you think you'll stay with us?"

I thought about the question seriously and finally answered, "I don't know."

There was a long minute of silence, then he said, "I hope you decide to stay."

"Part of me wants to stay, but another part is scared of all the changes... so much has happened since Friday... it's like my whole world fell apart." I said desperately.

There was another long minute of silence, then I could see John walking toward me in the moonlight from the window.

He sat on the edge of my bed and said, "Tell me what happened."

I scooted back and said, "You'll get cold, get under the covers and I'll tell you."

John seemed hesitant, but got under the covers without comment.

"It was Friday. The last class just let out and we were all leaving school, about to head our own ways for the weekend. I was standing there, talking to Lana and Terry when someone hit me from behind... I mean really hit me, in the back, just below my ribcage." I said and noticed that John had kind of snuggled against my side.

I shifted to put my arm around him and continued, "Then this blast of power shot out of my eyes. Thankfully, I wasn't looking at anyone when it did. It shot out of my eyes and hit the brick wall of the auditorium and made the bricks burn and start to explode. When I realized that I was doing it, I had to fight to reign in the power and get it under control."

I felt John put his head on my chest as he said, "Go on."

"So I was able to make it stop, but half the people in the school saw me do it. That's when I had to leave. I went home and told my parents and my mom and dad had us on the road to my aunt Lucie's house in less than a half an hour. Yesterday mom called some people she knows and they told her about a new school for mutants. She got in touch with a Mr. Romanov who told us to come here today." I said, then noticed John's even breathing against my chest.

I lay there quietly for a long time with John sleeping on my chest, thinking about my life to date until I drifted off to sleep.

* * * * *

"Clark?" I heard a voice say.

"Huh?" I asked, without opening my eyes.

"It's time to get up. " The voice said quietly.

"Bobby?" I asked in confusion.

"Close, it's Ronny." The voice said.

"Oh, why are you waking me up?" I asked and snuggled closer to John.

"Because you need to get ready for breakfast, it'll start in about twenty minutes." Ronny said seriously.

I cracked one bleary eye open and looked into Ronny's concerned face.

His serious look made me come fully awake. "What's the matter?"

"You two... If John has AIDS... you shouldn't have." Ronny rambled.

"We just slept. No body fluids were exchanged." I said honestly.

"Oh, okay. It just looked..." Ronny said helplessly.

"I know." I whispered, not wanting to wake John.

"I'll let you two get ready... twenty minutes." He said and walked toward the door.

"Have you got Bobby up yet?" I asked quickly.

"He's been up and gone for a while now. He went to run the track with Peter and Robert." Ronny said from the doorway.

"Oh, okay. Should I meet you in the dining room?" I asked as John snuffled against my chest.

"I'll come back by here in twenty minutes and walk down with you." Ronny said in thought.

"Sounds good, see you then." I said as Ronny walked away.

"Breakfast?" John mumbled into my side.

"Yeah, in twenty minutes." I said and snuggled against John again.

"I was afraid you were going to go all freaky and regretful on me this morning." John said as he looked into my face with worried eyes.

"No. Not regretful, but not ready to put a down payment on a vine covered cottage either. I'm still not sure about some things." I said in thought.

"You think you might be straight?" John asked as he laid his head against my chest again.

"Maybe a little, definitely not completely. What we did last night was fun, and I wouldn't mind if we raced again sometime soon." I said with a smile.

John chuckled and said, "Yeah, I've become a big racing fan."

"I've got all these choices weighing down on me and I don't want to make a mistake. I've got to decide what I'm going to do about where I'm going to live, go to school, who are my friends, my orientation... my wardrobe." I finished with a smile.

"You've definitely got some serious choices to make on that last one." John said with a teasing smile.

"We need to get ready for school." I said with regret.

"Can I have a kiss?" John asked shyly.

I moved down and pulled John close to share a deep tender kiss.

Just as it was getting hot, there was a knock on the door.

"Breakfast will be served in fifteen minutes." Mr. Summers said from the doorway, then stopped with an expression of shock.

"We're coming." John mumbled.

"I can see that." Mr. Summers said in a stunned voice.

"Let's get ready." I said and nudged John.

"Yeah." John said and slid out from under the covers.

Mr. Summers was frozen in place as John walked naked from the bed to the bathroom.

"Clark. You know about the blood test..." Mr. Summers asked with worry.

"Yes Mr. Summers. We were talking and fell asleep in the same bed." I said as I got out of bed and pulled on the boxer briefs that John had lent me.

"Clark, your mother is trusting me to keep you safe..." Mr. Summers began with concern.

"Please Mr. Summers, John and I aren't getting in too deep and we haven't done anything unsafe. I don't know where this thing between us is going, but I know that what we have so far feels right... John needs this, and so do I." I said in a pleading voice.

"Okay Clark. I'll trust you to know what you're doing, go ahead and get ready for breakfast." Mr. Summers said gravely.

"Thanks Mr. Summers. I'll see you downstairs." I said and began to pull on the clothes that Trey loaned me last night.

Mr. Summers nodded and walked out the door.

"You handled that good Clark." John said from the bathroom door.

"Now you'll just have to help me not be a liar." I said sincerely.

"I'll do my best." John said as he began dressing.

* * * * *

We had had a delicious breakfast of French toast and sausages and were told by Mr. Summers to wait in the dining room to be assigned to our classes. It was a few minutes before nine when Icheb, Trey, Robert, William, Jimmy and Janine walked into the room through what I thought was a solid wall.

"Good. Now that everyone is here we can begin." Mr. Summers said to the group.

"Janine, here is your class schedule. If you'll follow Rachel, she'll take you to Ms. Munroe's science class. Your class schedule will be the same as hers the rest of the day.

"Jimmy, William and Chris, if you'll follow Artie, he'll take you to Andrew's computer class. You'll be on the same schedule as Artie so you can continue to follow him." Mr. Summers said and handed each of them a schedule.

"Robert, Trini, and Ronny, you'll be following Bobby to Ms. Summers home sciences class, then through the rest of his day." He said, handing each of them a paper.

"Clark, John and Trey, you'll be following Marie to Mr. O'Rourke's Legends and Lore class and continue to follow her." Mr. Summers said and handed us our schedules.

I followed Marie and heard Mr. Summers saying behind me, "Icheb, you'll be starting in my class this morning and following Peter through his day."

Marie led us into the hallway then to the room next to the dining room.

* * * * *

"Good morning, please take a seat. We're about to begin. Those of you who are new, you can relax, so am I. This is our first class." The man said with formality.

We took our seats and turned our attention to the front.

"My name is Liam O'Rourke, but I'm also known as Angel. During class time, I expect you to address me as Mr. O'Rourke but anytime outside class, you may call me Angel if you like." He said seriously. I recognized him as Chris' father.

"I will give you a written syllabus before the end of the class, but for now I'd prefer to explain what this class is about and what we hope to achieve." He said, then moved to sit on the edge of his desk.

"The class is called Legends and Lore. I'm here to tell you the truth about demons, witches, ghosts, ghouls and vampires." He said seriously.

There were a few laughs from behind me. I couldn't find it funny because he sounded a little too serious.

"You, what's your name?" Mr. O'Rourke asked a guy two seats behind me.

"Evan." He said in a clear, confident voice.

"And what do you find so funny Evan?" Mr. O'Rourke asked seriously.

"All those things, they're just stories you tell kids to scare them. None of that stuff is real." Evan said with a chuckle.

"What would it take for you to believe that it was real?" Mr. O'Rourke asked simply.

"I guess I'd have to see it for myself." Evan said plainly.

"And that's the problem with what I'm about to teach you." Mr. O'Rourke said and walked to the white board at the front of the room.

"If you end up facing one of these things without knowing the truth about them, you'll be dead moments after you've become a true believer." He said and started writing on the board.

He wrote the word 'Vampire' in big letters.

"Tell me what you know about vampires. Strengths, weaknesses and so on." He said as he turned to face the class.

"Crosses." Marie said quickly.

He wrote it down on the board.

"Garlic." John said from beside me.

"Holy Water." Trey said, obviously knowing something.

"Wooden Stake." I said, getting into the game.

"Mirrors." Marie said quickly.

"Bats." Evan said, getting into it too.

"Bug Eaters." A boy I didn't know said from the back of the room.

"You're missing a big one." Mr. O'Rourke said to all of us.

Silence fell over the room, then Marie said, "Sunlight."

"Right." Mr. O'Rourke said and wrote it quickly on the board.

"Now the problem with this list is that it's about half right." Mr. O'Rourke said as he took a seat on the edge of the desk again.

"Mr. O'Rourke, I still can't get past the part where there are no such things as vampires." Evan said seriously.

"Okay." Mr. O'Rourke said, then his face morphed into a hideous bumpy, demonic face with fangs and yellow eyes.

"How about now? You are sitting in the presence of Angelus, Master of the House of Aurelius, the Scourge of Europe." He said with a demonic growl in his voice.

My heart was racing and I turned to see how John was doing when I noticed that Trey was sitting calmly, not even slightly afraid. I forced myself to calm down and looked to see what was going to happen next.

Evan produced a small spear... apparently from his body and threw it toward Mr. O'Rourke. I wasn't fast enough to see Mr. O'Rourke catch the spear, but he was holding it in his hand as he said, "You'll have to do better than that to defeat a master."

Marie leapt forward and took hold of his hand.

"I'm dead little girl, you can't drain me." Mr. O'Rourke said with a dark chuckle.

I stood up and walked calmly to Mr. O'Rourke. I stood a yard away from him and said with as much strength as I could, "Stop this or I'll burn you."

He looked at me with inhuman eyes, then winked at me.

"Enough. Clark is right, I've made my point."

I nodded and sat down.

When I looked back to Mr. O'Rourke, he looked human again.

"Now you can see that Vampires do exist. And that without knowing what their vulnerabilities are, you could be killed trying to fight one with methods that are completely ineffective." Mr. O'Rourke said and walked back to the white board.

He took the marker and crossed out bats, garlic, and bug eaters.

"The garlic is a myth that is perpetuated because vampires have an enhanced sense of smell. The smell of garlic can be offensive, but isn't necessarily harmful." He said as he looked around the room.

"The myth about bats and bug eaters is spread because some vampires choose to augment their vamperic abilities with gypsy magic. They are rare and seldom see their first century because they show off too much and take too many unnecessary risks." He said seriously.

"So you're really a vampire?" Evan asked from behind me.

"Yes, I really am. But I'm no threat to you. I've been hired to teach history and to tell you the truth about the supernatural." Mr. O'Rourke said frankly.

"How old are you?" John asked from beside me.

"I turned two hundred and fifty in May." He said calmly.

"I guess you're view of history is going to be different from the textbook." John said with a smile.

"Slightly. History books tend to tell you in very general terms what it was like, and they omit some of the less pleasant facts. What I tell you may not always be pretty, but it will be the truth." He said with sincerity.

I felt that I was going to enjoy this class. I really wanted to learn about all this stuff, and now I had the chance to learn from one of the things that I didn't believe in before today.

* * * * *

We walked to our next class chattering with excitement about how cool it was to have a vampire as a teacher.

"What's our next class about?" I asked Marie carefully.

"Um, oh... another new one. Creative Writing." She said with a queasy look.

"Maybe it won't be so bad." I said with little hope as we entered the next classroom.

"You lot take your seats, we've got us a load of things to get done and you wagging your tongues ain't gonna get it." The bleached blonde man said from the front of the room. I remembered him from the day before. He was helping Alex make lunch at the boathouse.

We took our seats at the long tables in the room and watched as this very casual looking teacher began to hand out stacks of papers to each table.

"Pass those around. You... Marie, read this aloud to us." He said, then sat down in a chair at our table.

I watched as she walked in,
She walked with grace and beauty,
A goddess of gothic elegance,
The personification of human perfection.
I listened when she spoke,
Her voice was decadent and knowing,
Her accent suggested rebellion,
Her tone was silky, each word an invitation.
She touched me,
Her kiss was tender and electric,
Her skin was ivory and steel,
My body trembled under her touch.
She is beauty to my eyes,
She speaks to my heart,
She touches my soul,
My Rogue.

My eyes went wide when I understood who wrote that poem. I looked around to see everyone else in varying states of surprise.

"For those of you what ain't noticed. That was written for Marie by a bloke who's smitten with her." the man said.

"Here's another stack for you lot. Trey, will you hand these out?" He said and handed a stack of papers to Trey.

I received a paper and began reading. It was long and flowery, and very difficult, almost painful to read.

"What you have in front of you is the work of an inexperienced writer who fancied himself a poet. People would line up to insult him, but no one helped him improve. That's what I'm here to do for you lot. You need to be able to express yourselves in writing. In a business setting you'll use a particular style of writing which Alan Summers will be teaching you. I'm going to teach you about creative writing which is generally more casual... and more expressive." He said seriously.

"In this class you may call me Mr. Burroughs, outside of class I am known as Spike." He said to all of us.

"You sound a lot like Professor Vampire." Evan said in a joking voice.

Mr. Burroughs looked at Evan with such an icy glare that I expected the furnace to kick on. Finally he said, "You will speak of the teachers and other students properly with the same level of respect that you expect others to give you."

Evan looked down, with the proper penitent expression.

"Besides that," Mr. Burroughs said as he walked back to Evan's table and stood right before him. His face melted and became demonic and bumpy, just like Mr. O'Rourke had done.

"He ain't the only vampire in the building."

I don't know if Evan peed his pants but from the look on his face, it was a very near thing.

"Right then. You lot, get out some paper and tell me about yourselves. Nothing you write will be read to the class without your permission so feel free to let 'er rip." Mr. Burroughs said as he walked back to the front of the room, looking fully human.

"Mr. Burroughs?" Marie asked hesitantly.

"Yes?" He responded.

"Was this written by you?" She asked, holding up the second paper.

"That was nearly a hundred and twenty years ago. I've changed some since then, but yes." He said with a smile.

Trey handed John and I each a piece of paper and a pencil and I began to write.

I'm Clark Kent but before that I was known as Kal-El. I'm originally from the planet Krypton but was sent to Earth in a spaceship when my planet's sun went nova. I was discovered by a farmer and his wife and adopted by them. I've been raised as their son until now, and have always been pretty happy. Now I'm here and making new friends. It's like a new beginning for me.

I looked up from my writing and Mr. Burroughs walked over to me and began to read what I'd written. I think I'm getting past the expectation for people to be surprised that I'm not human.

"That's good Clark, but what I'm asking is who are *you*. Tell me about Clark the person, what you love, what you hate. Tell me about right and wrong and what is beauty. Do you get what I'm saying?" He asked hopefully.

"I think so." I whispered and started writing again.

You want to know about my love? I love my parents, my Mom and Dad. They've always loved and cherished me. I had the happiest childhood that anyone could have asked for and it was thanks to them. They aren't rich and didn't spoil me with endless attention, but they provided everything I needed, always listened when I wanted to ask a question and told me honestly what they thought.

You want to know about hate? I'm not so good with that one. I feel some hatred, but I know I shouldn't. I hate my real parents for not keeping me with them, even though I would have died. I hate my adoptive parents for not being my real, birth parents. I hate myself for not being able to let go of my hatred toward my four parents who loved me so much.

Right and Wrong? Last week I could have told you in great detail what was right and what was wrong... now? I don't know anymore. I guess there are more than two colors in the rainbow. There are places in between where right and wrong aren't absolute. What's right? Having John hold me through the night when I was feeling lost, that was very right. What's wrong? Knowing that it might be taken away at any time. That's very wrong.

What is beauty? That's simple, I only just found out. Trey's smile. Look for yourself, you'll see.

I looked up and felt content with my writing. It was like unburdening my soul.

Mr. Burroughs walked over and read my writing. When he finished, he whispered to me, "I've seen his smile. I'm with you mate, it's like sunrise in the springtime." Then he patted me on the shoulder and walked to another student.

"You lot, I've got an assignment for tomorrow's class. Give me one to two pages about someone who is gone. It can be someone who died, or someone you left when you moved away. Be creative and when you know who you want it to be about, call me over. Keep in mind that we will be reading these to the class. I want to approve your ideas. I don't want to sit and listen to fifteen stories about your mothers.

I thought carefully about it. I could write about my real parents, or my Earth parents... or my friends.

I raised my hand and waited for Mr. Burroughs to come to me.

"What've you got mate?" Mr. Burroughs asked pleasantly.

"I think I'd like to write about my friends back home." I said quietly.

"You missing them pretty bad?" He asked with a note of concern.

"No, it's not that. Being around John and Trey and the guys made me see some stuff that I didn't notice before. I think I'd like to put it down on paper and sort it out." I said in thought.

"Are you coming to the boathouse for family time tonight?" He asked seriously.

"Maybe... probably." I said hesitantly.

"Bring it along so I can have a look see. Besides, there's something I'd like to talk to you about." Mr. Burroughs said cryptically before walking away.

* * * * *

Marie led us out of the room and John asked, "What's next?"

"Computer Science with Andrew Summers." Marie said and led the way down the hall.

We entered the room and Marie stopped abruptly in front of us. Icheb was in the room, talking to Peter.

"Icheb." She said, drawing his attention.

"Did you like the poem?" Icheb asked hopefully.

Marie walked up to him and pulled him into a full, deep kiss. 

"Okay you two. Break it up." Andrew said with a smile as he walked into the room.

Marie and Icheb separated, but they were still lost in each other's eyes.

"Take your seats. This class is computer science and is a two semester class. I'm Andrew Summers. Since we have so many Mr. Summers running around here, you can call me Andrew. Before we start the class, does anyone have any questions?" He asked us.

"Are you a vampire?" Evan asked from the back of the room.

I couldn't help it. I laughed. When I looked up I saw an amused look in Andrew's eyes.

"No, I'm just a plain old mutant. I take it your last class was with Angel or Spike." He said with a smile.

"They were our last two classes." I said with a chuckle.

"I suggest you be thankful for what you've got. How many people get to learn history from those who lived it or get to learn the real truth about supernatural things? Angel and Spike are dedicated to teaching you the things necessary for your success and survival." Andrew said passionately.

"Now down to business, computer science. We're going to do a brief overview then start right into our first program... 'Hello World'.

To Be Continued...