HEYOKA: The Advent of Grace (2b/10) (ensemble)
- Continuing direction from part 2a/10....
NPR's Morning Edition on the radio dragged them out of sleep at
six-fifteen. After dressing, they arrived in the big dining room for
breakfast. Sun streamed in the bank of east windows, lighting long
wood tables with their complement of students eating cereal or bagels
or sausage and toast. Jubilee had her usual yogurt and even two
tables over, he could hear the racket from her headphones. *"Money
taking, heart breaking now you wonder why women hate men. The sneaky
silent men the punk domestic violence men. The quick to shoot the
semen stop acting like boys and be men. How you gon' win when you
ain't right within . . . ."*
"What is she listening to?" Jean muttered over her coffee. She never
"Old Lauryn Hill."
"Is that a person or a band?" Ororo asked, joining them at the
"teacher's" table, the one nearest the kitchen. They could hear the
clatter of Valeria working over breakfast, a sharp protest from one
of the boys who had kitchen duty, a squeal of laughter from another,
then Valeria's rebuke. "*Finisci in merda!* Straighten up!" One of
the boys yelped. Scott smiled to himself; good thing the kids didn't
know street Italian. He glanced over at Ororo.
"You haven't heard of Lauryn Hill?"
"Some of us do not know every band on the radio." She reached for the
honey, poured it on her toast. Ororo and honey.
"I don't know every band. And Lauryn Hill isn't exactly obscure."
"I have yet to find a band that you do not know." Ororo glanced
around the room. "Where is Grace? Didn't anyone show her the location
of the dining room?"
Summers could feel Jean stiffen. "Maybe she's not awake yet," Scott
said. "She doesn't have to teach."
But Ororo hadn't missed Jean's reaction. She glanced from Jean to
Summers, eyebrows raised. "How did the examination go yesterday?"
Innocent little question. "Discover anything new?"
Jean frowned and took a sip of coffee. "Her mutation is definitely
similar to Logan's. That's helpful." She'd apparently decided to
sidestep the true nature of Ororo's query. "Hank could probably tell
us more, but if we can find enough mutations of any given type, we
may be able to map the variations possible in the gene, so we can
anticipate what type of mutation might manifest in any given child.
At least some kids could escape a traumatic manifestation
experience." Jean's eyes slid in Summer's direction and she covered
it by sipping more coffee. Then she asked -- equally innocently, "How
was the flight back? I didn't see you much yesterday."
Ororo answered both the apparent question and the real. "It was fine.
Long, but fine. I like her. I found her easy to talk to."
Before she could say anything further, John Proudstar came up to the
table, a little hesitantly. "Mr. Summers?"
"What is it, John?"
"I can't find Gracie," he replied. "She wasn't in her room when I
stopped by a bit ago."
"Are you sure she isn't still asleep?"
"No. The door was unlocked. She wasn't there." Then he added,
"Indians don't lock their doors much." Smiled. "We don't usually got
nothing worth stealing."
Summers refrained from correcting his grammar and said, "Maybe she
went for a walk."
"She'll get lost."
Sighing, he pushed himself to his feet. "I'll go find her. Jean,
would you carry my plate in to the kitchen for me?"
Jean nodded. Ororo glanced up. "Want some help?"
"No. You've got a class earlier than mine. John, let's go." Proudstar
trotted along in his wake. Outside the door, he gestured down the
hall to the left. "Head towards the gym area; I'll check in the
direction of the chapel. We'll meet at the front door if we don't
find her in the building."
They had no luck, met at the door and went outside. Summers was
beginning to wonder if, after last night, she'd decided to ditch them
all and head back to South Dakota. But then Proudstar spotted her
across the main drive, out on the lawn, and pointed. She had her back
towards them, sitting to face the rising sun. "You go back to
breakfast," Summers told the boy. "I'll fetch her."
Nodding, Proudstar retreated into the mansion. Summers took off
across driveway and yard towards her. She looked up when she heard
him. "Good morning," he called.
She'd stood, wiped grass and fallen leaves from her behind. "Don't
tell me. I missed the 'please keep off the grass' signs."
He grinned, brief. "No signs."
"You seemed a little worried."
"We were afraid you'd gotten lost."
"For once, no. I just wanted to be outside."
"I'm not on speaking terms with directions; 'lost' is my middle
"I thought Indians never got lost."
"Bad Hollywood myth."
"Ah." He sat down cross-legged next to the spot she'd occupied and
leaned back on his hands, squinted into the sun. Even with his
glasses, it was bright. A flaming red ball in a wine sky. Not a cloud
crossed it. The line of oak, pine and cedar on the property edge was
fired with scarlet. "I don't get to watch the sunrise much."
"I'm usually getting ready for class. Or I'm asleep."
She sat down again. "Not a morning person, ain't it?"
"You and directions aren't on speaking terms, I and mornings aren't
on speaking terms."
She laughed, tossed her hair back. They sat in silence a while until
she began to sing something, soft. It wasn't in English.
He glanced over when she was done. "What was that?"
"A prayer. For the morning."
Another silence. It was easy. Most of the time, when he was silent it
was because he was uncomfortable. Not now. He enjoyed the quiet. No
students. No Lauryn Hill. Just the wind whipping dry autumn leaves
and Canadian geese crying overhead as they made their way south. It
really was a beautiful sunrise.
But he had his responsibilities, and sighed. "You hungry? I meant to
show you to the dining room before Valeria stops cooking. Breakfast
hours end at eight. The kids are supposed to be in class by that
"Valeria is your cook?"
He nodded. "Valeria Placido. I think her mutation is making the best
pesto this side of Genoa. Not for breakfast, of course."
She laid her head across her drawn up knees, her face towards him.
"A basil-garlic sauce for pasta. Green. Looks weird, tastes good."
"Sounds very yuppie."
"Not in Italy."
"You have been to Italy?"
"A time or two."
"Is it as pretty as they say?"
"Prettier. The quality of the light is amazing -- and the sea. And
Florence. No one should go to Italy without visiting Florence. *Bella
"I have never seen the sea."
Startled, he glanced over at her. Early morning wind off the
Westchester hills blew her hair around her like a dark shawl. She had
an odd profile with high forehead and wide cheekbones narrowing to a
round chin, sharply angled jaw. Deep-set eyes, slanted but small.
Squint-eyed. Very full mouth. It was the kind of face better
described as pleasant, occasionally beautiful. Never something as
insipid as 'pretty.' "You've honestly never see the sea?"
"Only in pictures. When would I go to the sea? I grew up in the
"If you'd like, I'll drive you there before you go home. It's not
that far from Westchester."
"I'll take you up on that." She rolled to her feet then, one smooth
motion. "I am hungry." And she offered him a hand. He took it, let
her pull him upright. They walked back to the dining room. It was
mostly empty; he took her in to introduce her to Valeria, then left
them and headed to class. He was going to be late. Just outside his
classroom door, he found Jean waiting for him.
"What took you so long? John told me that you found her." Her long
dark cat eyes were cold and her cheek ticked with irritation.
He set both his hands on her shoulders, rubbed with thumbs over the
light sweater. "I was just talking to her. The professor asked us to
try to be her friend, remember?"
Her lips thinned. "She's not going to be here that long."
He tilted his head. "What is it, Jean? This isn't like you at all.
You're always the one telling me to try to understand people more.
Okay, I'm trying."
"She has a crush on you."
He actually laughed, glanced towards the door. "I need to go in. But
hon -- no, she doesn't."
"Yes, she does."
He shook his head slightly and stared down at the marble floor
between them. He'd dealt often enough with women and crushes to know
that wasn't a factor here. There was something between them, true
enough. But it wasn't a crush. Jean wasn't seeing things as they
truly were. After a moment, he glanced up again, couldn't keep the
grin off his face. "You're jealous."
"No, I'm annoyed -- "
" -- because you're jealous. And you ragged on me about Logan.
Remember what you said? 'Trust me'? Okay, hon. *Trust me.*"
She sighed in a gust. "I do trust you." The irritation faded and she
smiled at him. He did love her smile. "She's not your type anyway,
not any more than Logan was mine, really. I know that. I know it's
silly. It's just . . . .� She gets my back up."
He blinked to hear Jean echo Grace's words.
"It's like you and Logan," Jean added.
"I don't dislike Logan."
"I don't. I did, but I don't now."
"He took your bike."
"Who do you think left it for him?"
"Xavier's idea. My decision."
Her lips curved. "I'm proud of you." She closed the distance between
them, her breath puffed against his mouth. They were the same height,
or as close as made no difference. She stared at his lips, whispered,
"Sexy woman." And he leaned in to kiss her at the same moment Bobby
Drake pushed the door open to look out in the hall. "Woops," he said.
He actually seemed embarrassed to have caught his teachers necking in
the hallway. "I'll be in shortly," Summers told Bobby, who closed the
"You should go," Jean said.
"Yeah." He didn't move. She didn't move. They were still an inch
"You doing anything for lunch?" she asked.
"Meet me by the pasture pond?"
"It's a date, sexy woman. Bring a blanket and some food."
"Fine." She leaned even closer to whisper against his mouth, "You
bring a condom, sexy man." And she kissed him, light as butterfly
wings. Then she was gone down the hall in a click-click of heels. He
watched her hips sway a moment in her short skirt, then opened the
door to enter his classroom. Whistles and claps. He blushed. "Trig,"
he yelled over the din. "Books. Yours. Open to page thirty-five. Who
got through all seven proofs?"
End of Chapter 2, go on to Chapter 3 . . . .
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