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Doug Bailey's Romance Lesson for the Day

Doug Bailey’s Romance Lesson for the Day “Alright Victor,” Doug sat on one of the gratified wooden tables in the shop, looking terribly disappointed, “what have we learned today?” “To not stick my dick in—“ “To not stick your dick in crazy, that’s right.” Even from the height provided by the tall surface, Victor was still taller than Doug, yet he somehow managed to appear smaller. Doug had always described him as a “5’4” dork with glasses stuck in the body of a bear. This was a much better way to put it than anything I could have come up with, so thank you Doug. “I mean, dude, you know I’ve got your back, right?” Doug continued, to which Victor nodded sheepishly. “If this was any other girl, any girl at all, I’d say go for it! Anything to take your mind off of, uh, whatever that is.” He took a brief peak beneath the tarp at the thing that Victor had been working on, and shuddered a little. “But this is Abigail “Four eyes” Hodge we’re talking about. She’s batshit bananas weird. I mean, the creepy rants about death and stuff, the pervy comments, and you can’t tell me you haven’t heard the crazy-ass laughter when she’s all alone in the library.” “It-it’s not so bad,” Victor insisted, shrugging. “It’s kind of cute.” Doug looked horrified. “Oh, you may think so now,” he recovered. “But what if things go south? What do you think would happen if you tried to break up with her, huh? Three words for you: Crazy. Bitch. Ex.” He counted on his fingers, and held them up for Victor to see. “Okay, okay, I got it.” “Do you want to be the next reality T.V. star?” “I got it!” “Douglas Bailey?” A new voice asked from behind them. The two boys turned towards the door, where a woman in a lab coat was waiting expectantly. She was one of the on-site psychiatrists, whose job was supposedly to keep an eye on students and monitor their “mental health”. No one who actually went to St. Adelaide’s believed that for a second. Doug’s right wrist twitched involuntarily. He sighed. “Already? Didn’t we just do this last week?” The woman just stared at him.

“Yeah, I’m coming.” Victor wondered why they always came for Doug. He had wondered for a long time. Sometimes they came for others, a select few. But it seemed like they were always coming for Doug. Victor had long since stopped trying to ask him about it, because he either wouldn’t or couldn’t say anything. But still, he wondered. And worried. “Don’t forget the lesson, alright?” Doug pointed back to Victor. “A-and don’t do anything I’d do.” Victor nodded. “You got it.” He glanced warily at the psychiatrist. “And let me know when you’re back at the dorm, yeah?” “I’ll text you.” Doug smiled and waved as he turned and allowed the psychiatrist to lead him away, but there was something terribly pained and hesitant about it. Victor didn’t like it, whatever it was. The shop door closed, and Victor stood frozen in his thoughts for a moment, confusion and worry pressed into his features. Doug wasn’t the most subtle person, if he had something to say, you were definitely going to hear about it. So the fact that he had never let a single word out about what happened during his “sessions” with the psychiatrists was highly concerning. Victor wished there was something he could do to help him. But there was nothing he could do if he didn’t know what he was helping him with. And besides, Doug wasn’t the only one who had shit to deal with. Victor stole a glance towards one of the security cameras hidden in the shop. He had the suspicion that he wasn’t supposed to know about them, but when you worked with machines as much as he did, they were kind of hard not to spot. This probably wouldn’t have concerned him, except that he was almost positive that they had been placed to watch Victor specifically. They hadn’t been there until a few weeks after Victor had first come to St. Adelaide’s, and even when there were plenty of other people in the room, they always followed him. Hence the tarp. Contrary to what Doug told most people, it wasn't for dramatic effect. He was sure that they—the psychiatrists or whoever was watching him—knew what he was working on; there was no way that they didn’t. But it made him feel better anyway. Let’s just say that Victor’s “project” might not have been exactly legal. He lifted the tarp an inch, catching a glimpse of the tangle of machinery and other things that made up the slightly eldritch monstrosity beneath. Another failure. He’d have to dispose of it somehow, the organic parts at least. That would be a project for tonight, when chances of running into anyone on his way to the garbage incinerator would be slim. That would be awkward. Victor didn’t know exactly how he had come up with the idea. Maybe it was after someone had jokingly called him “Frankenstein” for the umpteenth time. But if he was honest it was probably in large part because he was bored. He had won nearly every robotics contest he’d ever entered; his dorm room was filled with enough machines that if he got them all working could probably take over the school. Victor needed something new, something interesting, something to challenge him. And challenge him it did. This thing was positively kicking his butt. The problem wasn’t the robotics or the code, it was the... organic portions. He’d actually had to go read several books on biology in order to get an idea of how to conceivably build such a thing. In addition, some of his methods had to be a little unconventional by design. He’d read as much on Aleister Crowley as he had on respiratory systems. That was how he had met Abby. He had never really been in the library. No one had, if they could avoid it. But he needed more information that a simple internet search could provide, so he had gone, and so he had in turn become acquainted with Abigail “Four eyes” Hodge. Most people found her strange or unarming, but Victor thought she was brilliant, and positively shone with burning questions. He’d come in for biology, and had come out with an armful of book on the occult that he didn’t particularly want, and a broad smile on his face. The books ended up coming in handy, of course they did. Abby had known what he’d needed even before he did. Don’t do it, said Doug’s voice in his head. Don’t stick your dick in crazy. Victor’s cheeks flushed red. He knew he shouldn’t, he knew that it would probably end badly, but... his dick kinda wanted the crazy. He glanced up at the clock. It was now 5:30, almost time for dinner. He’d been dicking around in the lab for about twenty minutes since Doug had left. You know what? Maybe he would go down to the library. Maybe he would go down to the library, sweep Abby off her feet, and insist she accompany him to the cafeteria. Yeah! He should do that right now. Victor almost walked to the door right then— Oh god he couldn’t do it. No way. He wasn’t one of those guys who could just go talk to girls. He’d just embarrass himself. And she probably didn’t even like him in that way anyway. Jesus it was just a walk down the hall like thirty feet stop overthinking it. Just do it. He was gonna do it, right? Well.... He eventually found himself rather abruptly in front of the library door, trying to work up the courage to open it. Alright, this was ridiculous. It was just a door. A door with a pretty girl on the other side of it, but a door nonetheless. Victor took a deep breath, and finally managed to open it. Beyond the door, the library was dusty and dark. The sun had already set, and the only light came from the flickering bare bulbs hanging from the ceiling. The room was dead-silent, and seemed abandoned. “Abby?” Victor called, his voice sounding small against the tide of books. There was silence for a moment, and Victor almost lost his nerve and turned to leave, but then a face appeared over the railing on the second story above. “Oh, hello Victor.” Abigail smiled broadly, her braids falling over the metal beam. “Are you back for more books?” Her boots tapped down the spiral staircase to the main level, before she meandered through the maze towards him. “Actually, I was kinda—“ “Oh, I’ve been reading this great book about the importance of death in ancient mythology,” the words seemed to bubble out of her mouth of their own accord, and she practically jumped up and down in excitement. “It’s actually very fascinating. Did you know that...?” Victor didn’t mind in the slightest that she had cut him off. In fact, it was rather a relief. As his eyes began to glaze over, a blissful smile passed over his face. He could listen to her talk all day. She seemed so excited, so full of passion and a drive for answers. There just wasn’t anyone quite like her. “Oh, but you were saying something, weren’t you?” She abruptly brought the subject back to him. “I’m terribly sorry. I just get so carried away sometimes.” And there went Victor’s heart. Down, down, down to his knees. “I, um, was just, uh, you know it’s... i-it’s 5:30,” he said dumbly. Ah stupid, stupid, that’s not how words work, why would you do that? “Yes, it is,” she nodded, waiting for him to go on. “I was, uh, I was wondering if maybe, uh, you... wanted to...” he sighed. “Wanted to walk down to the dining hall with me?” He cringed, waiting for the inevitable rejection. “Hmm, I’ve got time,” she muttered to herself. “Alright. I’d like that.” Victor briefly wondered where she could possibly have to be, but shrugged the thought off. Maybe it was a club or something. All that mattered was that she said yes. Holy crap what a development! But wait, did this mean that she like-liked him, or was this just a friendship sort of walk? Oh no, he thought the uncertainty would be all over after this, but now it was just that much worse. Argh!!! Okay, calm down. Baby steps, yeah, that’s right. “After you.” He held the door open and she smiled. As they walked the thirty feet down the hall, Abigail tittered on about her books and Victor felt very proud of himself. He’d talked to a girl. He’d offered something to a girl and she’d said yes. This was officially the best day ever. Screw you, Doug. Victor did what he wanted.

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