By Thursday, Dan was growing weary of discussing all aspects of having sex but not having any himself. They’d spent the day before in his Amative Energies class going over the actual curriculum with the agreement that Dan would answer more questions Thursday and Friday.
He spent twenty minutes teaching from the curriculum and understood why his class had grown from seventy-five to over a hundred. The curriculum offered them no practical useful information. By the time you were a senior, everyone knew about the energy pass when Gifted people have sex, the storehouses of sexual energy, and where the Gifted DNA cells were held to create Gifted children. They’d heard that it was a beautiful, wonderful experience but shouldn’t be shared until they were older.
To Dan’s knowledge, most of the men in his class were already active and bees, and pollen, and rabbits in the Spring no longer cut it.
He found a huge stack of questions awaiting him when he approached his desk. Most of the students had already located seats though lunch wasn’t technically over for another five minutes.
He debated approaching Fionna again about doing a little more than talking via Facetime but she couldn’t shake the images of Mentor Bryant in a negligee sweet talking the Chancellor from her mind. Plus, she continually insisted that she was entirely too fat to ever feel comfortable doing something like that. He would then spend the rest of the conversation trying to make her understand how incredibly beautiful he thought she was.
The buzz of the bell shook him from his reverie.
“I really cannot believe that any of you still want to listen to me drone on, but if you’re certain that’s what you want to do today, bring them on up.” Much to his chagrin, the entire class stood to add additional questions to the already large pile on the desk beside him.
He sighed as he lifted the first folded piece of paper from the toppling pile spilling on his desk. “This one says…” Dan chuckled as he read the question. He had to force himself not to think about Fionna as he answered lest his crotch alert everyone to the fact that his baby liked to be marked. “I left a couple of hickeys on my girl and I tried to heal her, but I can’t get them to go away completely. What did I do wrong?” Dan was certain this was a question from a Vis Virres predilect. The Valeduto’s, who could heal most anything certainly wouldn’t struggle with a hickey and the Ioses predilects would have gone to any lengths not to have to ask a group at large this question, by their very nature they would seek to protect the girl they’d marked.
“Ok listen up, use soothing energy first. Then cool it off for a few seconds, drop it pretty low until the swelling is gone, and then add in heat to dilate the blood vessels you broke. After that, speed up her blood flow around the bruise to heal it.” Pencils moved succinctly over paper around the room.
Shaking his head, Dan shuddered as he read the next question. “I’m gonna lose my job.”
“None of us have told any of the other mentors or faculty about the class.” Ben Cobson vowed.
“We’d never sell you out like that, man,” Steve Bowers, a Vis Virres Junior, promised adamantly.
Dan didn’t let on that he didn’t particularly care. He went on with the question. “I suck at dirty talk. My girlfriend ends up laughing at me. It’s horrible and embarrassing. What am I supposed to say that won’t sound so stupid?”
“I would stay away from using scientific terms for body parts.” He wondered if this was a question from a Valeduto predilect that had trouble calling a penis something a little bit dirtier and therefore much sexier. Some of it depends on the woman, but I’d ramp it up slowly. If she shies away, back it off. Some girls like to be called names but I’d steer away from that unless that really pushes her over the edge. Try giving her an idea of what you’re planning on doing. Women usually like details so be specific. You could ask her if she likes it or tell her that she does if you’re absolutely certain that you’re correct. Pet names are good. Tell her what you feel or see happening to her, or what you want her to do or feel. Telling her how incredibly beautiful she is will always get you further. Telling her that you love any particular part of her might also serve you well.
“Think about it like this.” The entire class leaned forward eager for knowledge. “If you’re talking during a time when they’ve allowed you access to their primal being, then whatever you’re saying needs to let them know that you’re into it and you’re into them. It builds her confidence and we would all agree that a girl that’s confident in bed is pretty damn sexy. So, whatever you’re saying, and please if all you’re coming up with are random thoughts that occasionally involve the pizza you ate for lunch or what you got on an exam grade, just keep it shut fellows. Whatever comes out of your mouth should focus on making her think it’s the best sex you’ve ever had. If you do it right, it might just become the best sex you’ve ever had.” He lifted the next question from the stack.
“Moving on.” Dan demanded before he read the next question. “Got caught by my girl’s dad in her bedroom. I really love her we’ve been together for a while. He freaked and wants us to break up. Her mom said we could keep seeing each other as long as we stop sleeping together but we don’t want to stop. What do I do?
“Wow,” Dan tried to envision this question coming from Aida’s boyfriend and then recalling his parent’s reaction when his mother had walked in on he and Amelia in his bed when they were eighteen. “My best advice is to shoot straight with them. Try to make them understand that you’re a serious guy and that you love her,” he held up the paper indicating the vow made in the question. “Other than that, you could get a job and move in together, I suppose, but that isn’t easy while you’re still in school.”
Dan rolled his eyes as he read the next one. “If I buy my girl a diamond necklace, will she let me give her a pearl one? If not, what do I have to do? First of all, stop watching so freaking much porn,” he demanded. “Let me tell you all something, if she says no, that means no. I don’t care what you’re asking. I don’t care if you’re in the middle of having sex with her if the word no comes out of her mouth, you immediately stop whatever the hell it is you’re doing and apologize. Do not pressure her into anything. Do not tell her how hot you think it would be. Do not tell her that other girls are doing whatever it is you want to do. Be a man,” he spat.
He answered questions for two hours straight. Everything from how hard to bite if you’re going to take a nip to what happens when the Receiver you’ve been with for a while cries after sex but tells you that it was a good thing. That one had Dan laughing without meaning to but he’d tried his best to answer honestly just like he’d been doing for days.
At the end of class he was approached by two Valeduto seniors. “Hey, Mentor Vindico could we talk to you for a second?” a tall muscular guy with a dark face and kind eyes quizzed. “I’m Mike. This is Alex,” he gestured his head to the student beside him.
“Go for it,” Dan agreed.
“Well… I mean… we all know you’re only here because of all of the crazy stuff going on. You’re like undercover for Iodex or whatever.”
Dan did not correct him.
“We were just thinking you might want to know that we overheard a couple of kids talking about the test vault today and we also might know something about those faked drug tests.
“I’m listening.” Dan studied the students before him. Their expression said they weren’t lying.
Mike glanced around the classroom making certain it was empty. “That kid, Kellan Morris, was talking with a few girls at lunch. He seemed kind of worried about the test vault,” he explained. “Kept talking about it. And I don’t know much about the drug test thing, but I can tell you that Mindy Langer and a few of her friends have been using Veneque whenever they hook up for a while but she’s still here,” Alex added hopefully. “I went out with her last year and she kept talking about how good it was when she used the stuff but she hasn’t gotten suspended or expelled. And she only dates Valeduto preds so I guess what I’m saying is it’s probably one of us,” he lamented.
“Why are you telling me this?” Dan showed no surprise over what he was being told.
“Because, you’ve actually taught us stuff all week and you haven’t freaked because we have sex or want to know more about it. You’re really cool. We want to help you if we can.”
“Thanks. But now that you’ve opened this line of communication do you intend to let me know if you hear anything else?”
“Yes, sir. No problem. We’re still gonna be able to ask questions tomorrow right?” Alex quizzed.
Chuckling, Dan nodded. If that’s what it took to get the students to turn on each other, he’d answer questions all damned day.
But as Dan approached his office, his stomach churned. Governor Haydenshire was standing with his father along with Governor Willow and Portwood. They hadn’t noted Dan’s approach.
“I’m begging you Stephen wait until Fionna gets back,” Governor Vindico pled.
“He’s right, Governor Haydenshire. I really think we should wait. Fi will soften the blow. She makes him tick.” Portwood urged.
“When is she due back?” Governor Haydenshire was morose.
“I just called her. She can’t get a flight out until tomorrow morning. The closest Senate jet is at LAX,” Governor Vindico supplied. “I didn’t mean to upset her. She’s supposed to be relaxing for the baby but if she thinks something is wrong with my son she comes unglued. She already knew something was wrong.”
“I don’t think it would matter if there was a flight in LiHue right this moment, Arthur. I’m telling you, they’re casting him constantly to keep him alive until Clarence gets here. He’s got hours not days,” Governor Haydenshire explained hesitantly.
“What the helli s going on?” Dan demanded.
“Dan,” Governor Haydenshire gasped. Nervous glances shot quickly through the group of men. “Why did you call Fionna? What is going on?”
“Come in here,” Governor Vindico gestured everyone into his office. Governor Willow offered Dan a condoling smile only furthering his terror.
“Dan.” Governor Haydenshire drew a deep breath and paced in front of the large desk in the office. “Candor Pendergrath was taken from Coriolis Prison to Georgetown yesterday.”
Trying to determine what Candor Pendergrath’s imminent death would have to do with either Fionna or himself Dan ground his teeth.
“Coriolis took its toll. He wasn’t exactly young when he went in back in March, and I’m certain the fifty or so years of smoking unfiltered cigarettes didn’t help.” Hesitance rode in Governor Haydenshire’s explanation. “He’s not going to make it through the night. I just went out to Georgetown.”
Trying to process the fact that Candor Pendergrath would be no longer be polluting the earth by drawing breath, Dan nodded. Pendergrath was the last of Wretchkinside’s top men to meet their demise. He was the man who’d help Cascavel take Amelia. He’d disappeared right after Wretchkinsides had killed her.
“He has a death bed plea.” Governor Haydenshire cringed.
“Of course he does,” Dan huffed. “He’d use his dying breath to take advantage of a nun.”
Dan’s father’s eyes closed.
Governor Haydenshire pressed onward. “He asked that I clear Clarence’s record. He wants him out of prison and he wants him to finish school,” the Crown Governor paused and Dan suddenly understood the obvious conclusion.
He needed Fionna. He needed her to come home. His soul and his mind pled for his precious saving grace while his lungs begged for air.
“He asked that Clarence be educated here at Venton,” Governor Haydenshire said the words Dan knew were coming but his voice sounded distant and echoed.
“You understand he tried to kill both Logan and Rainer last March at the take down?” Dan narrowed his eyes at the Crown Governor.
“He took a swing at Rainer,” Governor Haydenshire reminded him gently. “Clarence is barely eighteen. He never knew anything but what his father taught him. Candor killed his wife, Clarence’s mother, when he was just a few months old.”
“You don’t think I know that,” Dan exploded from his seat.
“Dan, calm down, son,” Governor Vindico pled.
“He helped Pravus murder Cal. He helped Cascavel take Amelia. He was right beside Pravus and Wretchkinsides when they killed my daughter and damn near killed the love of my life.” His shouting echoed off of the walls of the office. His shield pressed from his skin forcing all of the Governors back.
“No, Daniel,” Governor Haydenshire eased. “His father did all of those things. He hasn’t really done much of anything except try to prove himself to his father. And I’m sorry for what this is going to put you through but I feel like he deserves the opportunity to turn his life around. To be so much more than his old man.”
“Fine.” Dan turned a savage glare on the men staring back at him. “He comes near me, or my wife, or near my girls, I’ll make damn sure he gets to rot in the cell his old man just left. I won’t be here next year so I sincerely hope you’re right, Governor, and that he does turn his life around, because if he doesn’t, I won’t be here to clean up your mess.”
“Hey there,” Fionna’s voice soothed him. He didn’t want to speak he just wanted to listen to her talk. “I’m flying out first thing in the morning.”
“You are not coming home early because of him.”
“I’d really like to if it’s ok with you.” She knew perfectly well he would never turn her down.
“You need to stay there and rest,” he tried but he wanted her in his arms so desperately his plea held no substance.
“I need to be there with you. I’ve been resting and relaxing and spending time with my girls and now I need to come home. When you aren’t here, it just isn’t my home. I want to come home now. Aida wants to come home and so does our little Halia. When the time is right, we’ll make this our home.”
Unable to continue the futile argument, knowing perfectly well that she was the more powerful force, he let the feeling that she would be in his arms in less than twenty-four hours sate his soul.
“If you’re certain you’re better.”
Words poured from his lips without his permission. “God, I miss you, baby, so fucking much. I need you.”
“I’ll be there as fast as I can. You wanna talk about this?”
“No. Not right now,” Dan still wasn’t certain why he was so furious that Clarence Pendergrath had been given an out. He hadn’t sorted through his own emotions enough to try and discuss them.
“Maybe when I get home,” was her patient reply.
“Yeah, maybe,” Dan choked. “I’m gonna get out of here okay, baby?” If he couldn’t be with her, couldn’t hold her, and let her make everything in his world right, he wanted to be all alone.
“I love you so much.”
“Me too,” Dan gave her the only response he’d been able to give her for so long, even though he’d been in love with her from the very beginning. “I’ll call you later,” he promised.
“I’ll be right here.”
He let the fiery hot water from the shower beat against his aching muscles. He’d been out on his bike for hours, flying down everything from interstates to dirt roads.
Stepping out, he ran a towel through his hair and haphazardly dried his body. He shrugged into a torn pair of jeans and an undershirt and headed to the kitchen to grab a beer.
A knock sounded on the door. With a dramatic eye roll, Dan stomped to the front door prepared to tell off his new neighbor.
“How bout we go out for one of those?” Garrett Haydenshire gestured to the bottle of beer in his hand.
“Been a while, man.” Will offered Dan his hand. “We even dragged this loser along.” He elbowed Wes Willow.
A smile Dan couldn’t halt spread across his face as he nodded his agreement.
Fifteen minutes later, he joined his childhood best friends at a table in the middle of a dive bar not far from his house.
“My God, how is it that I am the only one of us that was smart enough not to get married?” Garrett chastised.
“I’d say that means you’re the only one of us not getting laid but you’ll bang anything that’ll lay still long enough so....” Wes’s chide brought on derisive laughter.
“So not true.” Garrett waggled his eyebrows. “I have standards.”
“Yeah, over eighteen, blonde, big tits, lacking morals, and clothing,” Will goaded.
“Right...standards. That’s what I just said” Garrett feigned confusion. “So, Fi’s coming home tomorrow meaning Danny boy won’t be surfacing until sometime around Christmas.”
“Good we went out now,” Will harassed.
“He’ll have to get his head out of there long enough for his kid to be born,” Wes pointed out. Dan made an effort not to laugh but failed miserably.
“Says the guy who boned his wife on the delivery table,” he came right back bringing on raucous laughter.
“Hey, if Lauren says you wanna, I do not turn her down. I’m not an idiot,” Wes assured them.
“Yeah, I’m sure that was all Lauren,” Will chanted. Wes tried very hard not to blush.
“What you mean Brooke didn’t jump you two seconds after LilyAna was born?” Wes sneered.
“Uh, my girl, doesn’t have to say you wanna, man. She shakes those hips and I’m all over that,” Will waggled his eyebrows with a cocky smile.
“Okay, okay, I still haven’t heard how Danny boy hooked up with Fionna Styler,” Wes reminded them offering the floor to Dan.
Dan refilled his beer from the pitcher on the table.
“You’ve seen her right?” He grinned. “She walked in the bar. I started drooling and was unable to formulate coherent sentences. I did manage to buy her a drink. We talked. We danced. She walked out of the bar. I followed her home and held on tight.”
“That is all basically true,” Garrett pledged.
“And I’m never letting go.” Dan glanced at his watch willing the next day to come quickly.
“That was made abundantly clear when you knocked her up on your honeymoon.” Will laughed.
“I get the job done,” Dan bragged to groans from his friends.
“Fi’s great though,” Will pledged to Wes. “She sure as hell keeps him smiling.”
“Fi is amazing,” Dan vowed. “Oh, but you would know that wouldn’t you?”
Will grimaced.“ She told you about that did she?” He shuddered slightly.
“She did.” Dan still hated the fact that Will Haydenshire had his hands down Fionna’s jeans when she was sixteen years old, even if she hadn’t belonged to him them.
“Wait, what?” Garrett’s face lit.
“It was forever ago. I’m fairly certain we would both agree that it meant nothing. She was trying to get to Dan and I was pretty much just horny, and, like you just said, she’s freaking gorgeous.”
Rolling his eyes, Dan shook his head.
“What exactly happened forever ago?” Garrett quoted looking like the cat that caught the canary.
“We made out nothing more,” Will lied and Dan deeply appreciated that he hadn’t gone into more detail.
“How old were you?” Garrett demanded.
“Eighteen,” Will huffed in effort to prove how long ago the event had occurred.
“You had Fionna Styler in our room when she was sixteen and I did not know about this?” Garrett gasped.
“Talk about something else. Dan’s been without for a week. He may combust or something,” Will urged.
“Whatever, man.” Garrett lifted his phone from his pocket to answer a text.
All traces of laughter dissolved from his features. He glanced at Dan. “They just took Pendergrath off life support. He’s gone.”
Dan nursed a long sip of his beer. He’d been consumed with taking them all down for so long. He wasn’t certain what to feel.
Garrett lifted his beer mug. “Long hard fight but it’s finally over, officially. So, how about to the future?”
Dan accepted the toast. He needed that. He needed his life, his love, his soul, his future but they wouldn’t be returning until the next day. He’d have to settle for the present in a bar with men who’d stood by him through all of the hell he’d put himself through, the ones who’d never lost faith that he’d find his way back to the life he’d left behind.