Grayson Wright
Not as bad as it could have been.
Mon Jan 22, 2018 14:41

One of the things Gray liked about working at a school was how well-organized everything was. With scheduled meetings and classes, he knew any time he got to sit down and write was precious and his output had increased substantially from what it had been when he was unemployed as a result. He’d even gotten back on the radio briefly, guest-writing an episode of a friend’s show, and hoped he might get more of that sort of work – if he wrote episodes here and there as a freelancer, and kept publishing stories, and kept this job, he might actually be able to save enough money to someday do the stuff people tended to think writers did, like sit in a big house (not mansion, but still) by the beach and drink wine far too early in the morning while listening to chamber music. Gray didn’t think wine tasted nice and had not, to the best of his knowledge, ever heard any chamber music, but he thought it was one of the things writers were supposed to listen to, along with a lot of violin stuff, so he would give it a shot if he ever got that big beach house.

When his furtive pre-Feast scribbling was interrupted by the notice that there was to be an emergency staff meeting, then, he thought terror was a logical response. They were supposed to have already had all the pre-term meetings and gotten everything organized and…everything. They weren’t supposed to have a meeting right now. What had happened that they needed to have a meeting right now?

A parent, it turned out. Cleo James’ parent. Gray frowned slightly in concern – had she had some sort of magical accident over the summer and hurt herself? He felt responsible if so – he was the Charms teacher, and Charms and Defense were the two classes he thought were most in charge of teaching the kids to control their powers. He glanced at Daniel, but then his eyes went back to Selina abruptly, widening behind his glasses, when his boss said the word veela.

He supposed terror was the appropriate reaction now, too, but he was mostly just shocked. Veela appeared in stories from time to time, usually as villains or plot devices to break up happy marriages or distract heroes at critical moments. Cleo was a sweet kid who called her father ‘daddy’ and had Gray’s old shows on record at home. Listening to records, working in a garden – that was the stuff of literary fiction, not bad bad melodrama. He winced as Selina elaborated that Cleo was also horribly disturbed by the idea of being in a bad, bad melodrama – God, as if being a kid wasn’t hard enough for most people. Gray hadn’t found it that bad, really, but he was reliably informed he was a freak of nature and that normal people found it all rather horrible even without all this….

Poor, poor kid. Of course the things Selina was saying made sense – Gray had no idea what it was like in practice even with fully human women, he just wasn’t wired that way, but he had read about how veela affected men who were wired properly and he had to admit that he was not particularly eager to test whether his wiring was really non-existent or just kinked up at some point – but they just made him feel worse and worse for Cleo, even after Selina said that while they all did have to have some kind of Discussion with her, they did not have to discuss their sex lives with her. Gray assumed he would be totally on the same page as the other professors in finding the thought of chatting about that with his boss, despite the fact that his didn’t exist. He’d had to deal with rumors that he was gay a lot in his old life, and people tended to assume he was lying when he told them he just wasn’t interested in anyone, especially if he mentioned in exasperation that he had actually gone to gay bars a couple of times in his twenties just to be sure he wasn’t. He’d gotten drunk enough at one of them that Anne had yet to let him live it down, but even that hadn’t made him want to touch anyone, or have anyone touch him. He could not even imagine what sort of reaction he’d get if he tried explaining that to his boss….Didn’t really fit the image of a proper professor, getting drunk in gay bars to establish that he in fact had no sexuality at all. Or for any other reason, actually. Professors were not supposed to get drunk, period, and never mind that he hadn’t been one at the time.

Deeply uncomfortable, he scribbled a bit more while other members of staff were interviewed, trying to figure out why they were being called up in the order they were. His best guess of what these interviews were about would involve Daniel being an unambiguous first – there was nothing wrong with his ability to perceive beauty, including in the human form, and he sometimes even thought he might do a better job of it than normal people because he wasn’t distracted with all that stuff they were apparently always distracted with. Instead, though, it was Nathan who went first, and Nathan was…not exactly an Adonis. Neither was Gray – it was just a fact, not a judgment on the man. Perhaps it was reverse-alphabetical? No – Gray himself would have been first if that had been the case. He was still puzzling this out when Daniel emerged and it was his turn to be interviewed.

He was not naturally a particularly serious person, but Selina’s manner reminded him enough of the one time he’d gone to watch a case in open court for research that he found himself sitting up very straight and trying to feel more like he was in trouble with a teacher than like he was under arrest, even knowing perfectly well that he hadn’t actually done anything.

Thankfully, the questions were fairly easy. “No and no,” he said, very slowly and carefully so his childhood stutter didn’t recur, as it sometimes did under stress. “She did really surprise me one time – she’s, er, apparently a fan of my wireless series, you know, I used to write those – but I knew what time it was. It was right after class, so I wouldn’t call that disoriented – “ Oh, no. He was rambling. “No physical contact with anyone, though. I tried to give her some encouragement about her – fire problem. She was doing a little better with it in my class, I thought.”

  • Andrew James was waiting in her office. Cleo was in the third year dormitory crying. It was a hideous start to the year and it was about to get a whole lot worse. There was telling the staff - that... more
    • Not as bad as it could have been. - Grayson Wright, Mon Jan 22 14:41
    • Emergency indeed - Daniel Nash, Sat Jan 20 09:50
      This was only his second year as staff at Sonora on opening day, so he wasn't thinking the unscheduled meeting was anything too unusual. Maybe Professor Tarnasay had called in with a creature... more
      • There might be about to be a second one - DH Skies, Sat Jan 20 11:11
        Her third interview was Daniel. She had decided to do these in the order in which they were most likely to have something awful to tell her. Nathan had been an obvious first, and she felt a huge... more
        • Oh yeah? - Daniel, Sat Jan 20 12:29
          For a second Daniel just stared at her uncomprehendingly. Then the penny dropped. "Oh. Oh! Oh no. No." He shook his head quickly in denial. "No. I've never even seen her in office hours, never mind - ... more
          • Had her desperation for a Defence professor blinded her, she wondered, or had Daniel simply not been anywhere near this weird or vapid when she had interviewed him? Dear. Merlin. She really wished he ... more
            • Can we avoid both those outcomes? - Daniel, Sat Jan 20 23:05
              Daniel nodded in understanding as she confirmed elves or ghosts would be sitting in on his intermediate classes this year. "Yeah, they're in the sentient creature unit, with werewolves and vampires,... more
              • Seems to be moving that way - Selina, Sun Jan 21 18:53
                “That sounds like a good plan, thank you,” she nodded, as Daniel explained that he’d leave them off this year, and they’d work out an action plan for the future. He was still very… Defence Professor... more
    • Oh this is not good at all - Nathan Xavier, Fri Jan 19 18:14
      Nathan was surprised to be summoned away from the orientation shortly after he finished his speech. The new students didn't seem to need him much at this point, and it would still be over an hour... more
      • Selina waited, letting Nathan let it all out. It was no thankfully. In spite of his panicking, she was pretty sure of that. She felt lost in spite of it. She had had no idea how Nathan was going to... more
        • Couldn't agree more - Nathan, Fri Jan 19 22:36
          "Okay, that's good. Then nothing's happened." Nathan said after Selina clarified that he'd know it if something had. "Not with me, anyway," he added with a grimace. "Not that I think or have reason... more
          • Right. Well then. - Selina, Sat Jan 20 10:26
            He got it. That, surely, was half the battle. There was a whole barrage of issues to deal with here… Some people might not take it seriously - or rather, wouldn’t be able to see the danger they... more
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