S. trifasciata (or The Cure for a Black Thumb)

Note: This takes place about a month after the conclusion of Back to School, Ring the Bell, but contains no spoilers.

Seb wiggled to get out of my arms. Assuming he was embarrassed by being held for so long on the sidewalk, with other mids passing us by to start their own liberty, I hugged him tighter. I don’t like him worrying about what people think of us. Plus, it usually makes him squirm against me more, which is not unpleasant.

He huffed. “Z, I just need to get your gift from the car.”

“Gift?” I let go immediately. “What’d you bring me?”

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Back to School, Ring the Bell – Ch. 14


Friday simultaneously flew and crawled by. Every minute of it was filled with schoolwork, thanks to my classes and assignments. I didn’t want to have to crack a textbook all weekend, so I had to finish a couple of things early and make enough progress on others to be able not to worry about them. No Skype call took place that night, since Seb, Quint, and Theo were in the car on their way down already. I did call Seb on the phone just to hear his voice, though.

I also didn’t see Platt except for our PoliSci class and in the few minutes before meal formations. I was glad. A secretive smile kept coming over my face, so often that JJ asked, “Why do you look like the cat who got the cream?” I didn’t want the kid to be suspicious. His reply to my emailed invite—the last piece of the puzzle—was an unwitting, Sure, see you tomorrow.

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Back to School, Ring the Bell – Ch. 13


I hung up with Seb and Quint just as JJ was coming through the door from the Spectrum meeting. He climbed onto his rack with a long, drawn-out moan. “My life has gotten way too interesting since I met you,” he said. “Myrick wanted to go after Platypus the moment you left. I almost had to physically block him while I convinced him to give the kid some space. I didn’t see exactly what happened between you three, but it seemed like it wasn’t good.”

Linking my hands together on top of my head, I considered that. Five minutes earlier, I would’ve agreed. Now, with Seb’s reassurance Platt was at least a little open to the idea of polyamory, I’d revised my opinion. “I think it was a step in the right direction,” I said.

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Back to School, Ring the Bell – Ch. 12


Platt showed up at my door on Wednesday night five minutes before Spectrum. Given that we had to walk to Chauvenet Hall for the meeting still, that was practically late. I didn’t mention it, though. I was glad he’d come at all.

He stood staring blank-faced at the window while JJ finished tying his shoe. I’d seen that look before. It was the does-not-compute one he got when he was doing his absolute best job at blocking out anything beyond his own head. Trying to shake him free of it, I asked, “How was the pool lesson after I left last night?” I’d decided to raise the training wheels a bit and let him and Myrick talk alone.

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Back to School, Ring the Bell – Ch. 11


I went to get a snack from Drydock, mostly to distract myself from wanting to call Seb again. I had to let him work this out with Quint and Theo, hard as it was when I knew he was feeling miserable and might be headed into a diabetes rollercoaster. My poor boy just couldn’t catch a break. I was glad, though, that we’d already been working on improving his morale. He was much better positioned to deal with it today than he would’ve been a few weeks back.

As I carried the bag of chips I’d bought out of Dahlgren Hall, I heard a shout. “Mohyeldin! I need to talk to you.”

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Back to School, Ring the Bell – Ch. 10


The Botanic Gardens were an oasis of calm and green, growing things. Songbirds flew among the trees while rabbits hopped in the rosebeds. I lay on soft grass with my head close to Quint’s and Theo’s, listening to them point out clouds that looked like bicycles and guitars, and I breathed deep. I didn’t even notice how much time was passing until Zain’s phone call.

When I came back to them from the bench where I’d moved during the call, Quint sat up. “Everything alright, mon chaton?

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Back to School, Ring the Bell – Ch. 9


Platt showed up at my door after dinner on Friday. It was propped open, and he hovered in the passageway just on outside the room, looking between me and JJ, who was reading something on his computer. I waved the kid in from my rack. “Sup, Platypus?” Pointing to the chair at the desk below the rack, I said, “Sit.”

He did. JJ grinned over his shoulder and said, “Yo.”

“Hi,” Platt said, before craning his head to look up at me. “I wanted to talk to you about the… the meeting we discussed attending.”

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