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New Albion: Postie edition

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"David."

"Mn…" David groaned and pulled his blanket up to his ears, curling into a ball. Something persistently poked him in the side. Must've been Isabela, using the spare key he kept on the top of the door frame. He had an alarm clock for a reason damnit, there was no need to wake him up in person.

"David you said you were dropping me off today."

That wasn't Isabela's voice. It took about five seconds before David jolted up with a loud "shit!" His cousin stumbled back as he frantically began trying to make himself look somewhat presentable. David cursed again and kept trying to glance at his alarm clock while attempting to pull on socks and a sweater. Over his shoulder, he asked Kate, "How much time do we have?"

Kate glanced down at her phone."If we leave now we can make it."

"Did you eat?"

Kate shrugged. "Coffee counts, right?"

What?” David paused for a moment to glare at her. “You’re joking, right?”

“Uhh….yes?” David pinched the bridge of his nose and sharply exhaled. So no, Kate did not eat yet.

"Yeah, no, ugh. Just take my lunch for today, that'll be your breakfast." David didn't see Kate frown at him as he raced around the apartment in a slight panic.

David shoved his lunch in Kate's arms and quickly pushed her out the door, both nearly tripping over their own feet. They flung themselves into David's car and quickly sped off to the university.

-/-

David thanked whatever higher being existed for light traffic. The cousins pulled up to the university with time to spare. He glanced at his watch and was relieved to find he still had some time to spare before his shift at the university library. David looked at Kate through the rear view mirror.

“Nervous?”

“A little. Kind of a big transition from high school.” Kate could put on a front all she wanted but David picked up the waver in her tone. She had a habit of trying to come off as if nothing bothered or affected her and any other….guardian? She was his cousin but he was technically her guardian for the meantime- dorms are expensive and David honestly didn’t mind not really-

Oh. Right. Little cousin. Any other...person looking after a younger person would be worried about said younger person trying to come off as emotionless, oh screw this David could figure this out later.

He turned in his seat and reached over to ruffle Kate’s hair. Better annoyance than paralyzing anxiety. Not that she had it of course, his aunt and uncle did their best to make sure Kate grew up in a fairly stable environment and David babysat a few times and-

The car door slammed shut. Kate gave him a two-finger salute then went off to find her classes. The kid would be fine. At least that’s what David kept telling himself. He leaned back in his seat and pulled down the mirror. Yikes.

David’s hair stood up in numerous directions, the bags under his eyes made it look like he got socked in the face and his clothes were all rumpled. He couldn’t go into work looking like that.

David reached into the glove box of his car and pulled out a bottle of foundation. He quickly applied it then wrestled to get his hair under some sort of control. Finally, when he looked somewhat like a functional adult he put the car in drive and went to find a spot in staff parking.

-/-

Kate was in fact, incredibly nervous about navigating campus by herself. Sure she could act like it wasn't that big of a deal but the jitters travelling through her body said otherwise.

She really should have asked David for directions. It was too late though, from what her map showed her, David's section of the university ran in the opposite direction of her classes. She eyed the time display on the top of her phone screen. Kate had about ten minutes left until her first lecture. She couldn't locate the building.

She closed her eyes, took a deep breath, gripped the straps of her bag and began scanning her surroundings for anyone who looked like they'd have time to help a lost first year.

All the other students seemed like they were in a hurry. They'd either leave before Kate could approach them or they'd mumble an apology before speeding off to their classes. Kate supposed she shouldn't be too surprised, morning lectures were always a pain to make in time.

5 minutes. She didn't think she'd make it. Hopefully, the professor posted notes online, otherwise, she'd be in trouble.

"Uhh, ohh shoot."

"What is it?"

"Building is on the other side."

"Michael!"

"Relax, we can still make Mucklepuck's class if we run."

"Excuse me," Kate quickly jogged up to the pair, "are you two in professor Mucklepuck's class?"

"Yup and if you are too we need to run."

Michael checked the time again and swore. The three students broke out into a sprint.

-/-

Despite what David said, Asha could see he was clearly having an off day. Which was pretty much the standard for David but it still worried her. Dark eyebags faintly peeked through hastily applied make up, hunched posture, everything cracking just from sitting up. The man could be just as stubborn as Lloyd when it came to himself and that was saying something.

"Mornin David." Asha gave him a friendly smile as he sat down next to her. His joints loudly complained.

"Yeesh, you're not even 50 yet but your joints sound ancient." David rolled his eyes at her.

"Thank you, Asha I was very much aware of that," he grumbled. David dug through his bag for his laptop and booted it up. The wifi didn't connect. An exaggerated sigh escaped David.

"Oh, the staff password changed. It's Terryan now."

David gave Asha a nod in thanks then got to work. The library blog wasn't going to run itself and he promised Asha he'd help pick up the slack left behind from one of their co-workers going on maternity leave.

He was going to need a lot more coffee…

-/-

The trio miraculously made it to their lecture on time. They paused for a moment to catch their breaths then silently snuck into the classroom. The professor was still setting up. Unfortunately, all the seats were filled up leaving Kate and her companions sitting on the stairs near the door.

The professor gave the standard welcome, rules and expectations, the syllabus etc. Then it was time for the ice breaker exercises.

The task was to introduce yourself to at least two other people. Mucklepuck would call on people at random to introduce their partner/partners. Kate felt a tap on her shoulder. It was one of the students that ran to class with her.

"Hey, wanna partner up with us?"

"Sure. I'm Kate by the way." She stuck out her hand.

"Hi Kate, I'm Jill and this is Michael." Jill gave Kate's hand a firm shake.

"Howdy, " Michael said with a wave. "Nice sprinting there. So what brings you to this class?"

"Oh well I…"

Their conversation blended in with everyone else around them. It didn't bother them. The three had the feeling they'd be good friends.