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Smart People

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“Just so I know,” said Rodney, as they pulled into the parking lot of John’s high school, “How many ex-girlfriends are we likely to see at this reunion?”


“Seriously, Sheppard,” he said, getting out of the car. “We’re married, now, so there’s not much they can actually do, but I’d like to be prepared. Give me an estimate— five? Ten? Twenty?”

John laughed and came around the front of the car to catch Rodney’s hand. “I’ll introduce you to all of them,” he promised.

‘All’ turned out to be three— Phoebe Walker, debate team vice-president and captain of the lacros team; Savannah Copeland, star of the junior spring musical and the girls’ basketball team; and Veronica Rosenkowski, first seat violin and all-state soccer champion. John hadn’t broken any hearts, apparently, because they all hugged him and asked how he was. John pulled away as soon as he could each time, and quickly introduced Rodney, still grinning whenever he said, “My husband.”

“Rumor was you’d never settle down, Johnny,” Veronica teased.

“It wasn’t exactly settling,” said Rodney— John grinned and squeezed his hand, and Veronica excused herself to catch up with someone else.

“Never change, McKay,” John said, still grinning.

Rodney snorted. “Any more ex-girlfriends I should meet?”

“I didn’t actually date that much in high school, you know,” said John. “I had school work, and track team practice, and a part-time job.”

“I thought your family was obnoxiously wealthy.”

“They were. And I wanted no part of it. Which didn’t leave a lot of time for— hey, I’m hungry, we should check out the buffet.”

John hooked a hand under Rodney’s elbow, but he didn’t move.

“What?” he hissed. “Sheppard, what’s wrong?”

“I—” John began, his ears flushing pink. “The woman who just came in— that’s Emily Hernandez. I, well, I had such a crush on her senior year.”

Rodney glanced over to the doorway, at the woman in the sleek black dress, brunette hair just beginning to gray in an attractive-and-dignified way, smiling at the people around her.

“Let me guess,” said Rodney. “She was the head cheerleader.”

“No, actually, she was valedictorian,” said John. “She couldn’t have cared less about the cheerleaders. Emily aced every test, was president of the debate team… and she’d never have given me the time of day.”

Rodney blinked at him for a moment, then ran the things he now knew about John’s ex-girlfriends (and ex-wife) through the filter of this new information.

“Oh, my god,” he said, softly, “you dated them because they were smart!”

“What?” said John.

“Them.” Rodney waved a vague hand at the assembled reunion-goers. “Nobody would have thought twice about it, because they were athletes, but you always went for the girls who were smart. Including the queen of the nerds.”

“Yes, well,” said John. “Smart is very sexy. And since you’re the smartest man in two galaxies…”

“Maybe I have a thing for smart people, too,” said Rodney.

John laughed and kissed him. “Lucky me.”