Dawn was relieved to be finished with her shift at the library. It had been a weird evening, what with the girl asking about Elrath and then him running away from her. It surprised her, now that she thought about it, that she or anyone else had even seen or noticed him. When she and her friends had been looking for him before, he’d had no trouble hiding. What was he doing differently now?
The rest of the shift had gone smoothly, except for the three books she’d found mis-shelved and had to put back on the cart, and the pile of books under one table, some of which were dog-eared or otherwise mistreated—but unfortunately, there was nothing unusual about either of those. She just had to pick them up, get them into the best shape she could, and get them back to where they belonged.
She did end up spending the whole shift shelving, which also wasn’t unusual, especially for her Sunday evening shifts. It seemed that a lot of people tended to use the library in a hurry on Sundays, so more books than usual were checked out or taken off the shelf (certainly more than on Saturdays), and people tended to leave the books in disarray more often.
But now she was done, and she had a study date with Rico. Her stomach growled as she pulled on her jacket—she’d only had a light, early dinner, like usual on Sundays—but that just made her move faster, since she knew Rico would have snacks.
She waved to the library worker manning the front desk, then hurried through the dark evening back to Gilkey and up the three flights of steps, saying hi to Charlie when she passed him on the way. Finally, she reached Rico’s door, knocked, and pushed it open without waiting for a response, like she usually did.
“I’ll be out of here in a minute,” Duncan, his roommate, was saying hastily, picking up a backpack as she entered.
“Don’t worry about it,” Rico told him, turning around in his desk chair. “We’re really just studying, so unless you were planning to play loud music or something, you’re welcome to stay.”
Dawn sat down on Rico’s bed, taking off her own bag and reaching down to pull out her sociology notes. “You probably have midterms this week, too, right, Duncan? We can all study together, it’s fine. This is not a romantic study date.”
“No, I’m going to the library,” Duncan said, throwing things into his backpack and avoiding their eyes. “I’ll be back, uh, late.” He grabbed a jacket and was out the door before the other two could say anything.
Rico leaned over and kissed Dawn. “He won’t say it, but he’s always afraid he’s going to accidentally encounter us having sex, or block us, I think.”
Dawn laughed. “And he doesn’t believe you when you tell him not to worry about it?”
“Well, I don’t discourage him too hard. After all, maybe one of these days he’ll be right.” Rico gave her his best impish grin.
Dawn gave him a poke, then kissed him to show that she wasn’t actually mad. “One of these days, he probably will. But not today. We have midterms to study for.”
“I know,” he said with a sigh, turning off his monitor and picking up a book from his top shelf. “Let’s get comfortable. Oh, and here.” He handed her a large bag of cheesy popcorn.
Study dates with Rico were very nice because not only did it mean spending time with her boyfriend, it also meant being extra comfortable and warm while she studied. They sat together on the bed, and Dawn got to lean against Rico. She kicked her shoes off, wiggled her toes, and sat back against him, sighing with contentment.
While she studied sociology, he was studying history; they only had two classes together, and since both were practical magic classes, neither had midterms. Dawn had an essay for Academic Writing, but she had finished it and just planned to do a proofreading run-through on Wednesday evening right before turning it in, so tonight she was studying for her sociology and history of psychology midterms.
The night seemed to pass slowly as she went through her notes, occasionally highlighting something or writing another note in the margins. Both classes were really interesting—her only concern was trying to make sure she learned all the terminology enough to answer whatever questions might be on the test, plus the dates for history of psych.
Occasionally, one of them would make a comment on what they were studying and they would chat about it for a few minutes, or they’d just spend a little while cuddling and kissing, unable to focus on their studying for hours straight. But by the time Dawn reluctantly packed up and went back to her own dorm room, she felt that she was better prepared for her midterms and happier, as well.