“I’m sorry, Instructor Terra,” you say. “I’m sorry I made you uncomfortable yesterday. I’m sorry I was late this morning. I couldn’t sleep last night. I was so… nervous about everything. I’m sorry I’ve let you down and made you punish me.”
She looks at you and you see her wavering.
“I think I’m going to regret this, cadet,” she says, putting the paddle back down on the desk. “But you’re free to go. You’re still on report, so check in with me after lunch, understand?”
“Yes ma’am, thank you ma’am!” You don’t have to fake enthusiasm and gratitude, you’re filled with both. You could practically hug her, except after everything she’s said, you don’t dare.
“I don’t want to hear of you being late to any of your other classes,” Terra says firmly. “I’ve got my eye on you, cadet. One more slip up, and I won’t be letting you off, understand?”
“Yes ma’am,” you nod, practically bowing and scraping your way out the door.
You have just enough time to grab something to eat before your next class. It isn’t with Terra. It’s with Instructor Morsey, or Instructor Mouse, as your friends call her. She’s a short woman in her late twenties and she looks too young to be in charge. She has bright copper red hair cut in a bob that ends at her chin, hazel eyes and a lot of freckles across the bridge of her nose which don’t help her look any older.
“Ugh,” your dorm-mate Suki says, slipping into the seat next to you. “I am so not in the mood for one of Mouse’s lectures. You think we could slip her some cheese and get out of here?”
You shake your head. Heck no. You are not getting into any more trouble. Not today at least.
Instructor Morsey is at the head of the class, answering questions from some of the other cadets. You sit patiently waiting for your lecture to begin. Morsey isn’t very good at keeping order in her classes and they rarely start on time.
“Do you think she’s pretty?” Suki interjects suddenly.
“What? Who? Morsey? I guess,” you shrug. You’ve not really thought about it much.
“Cece said that Morsey is dating one of the other instructors.”
“Oh yeah?” You don’t have much time for gossip, but Suki doesn’t seem to notice your lack of interest in her prattling.
“Yeah. Get this. You’re not going to believe it.” Suki leaves a small pause, before announcing dramatically. “She’s dating Nina Terra.”
That gets your attention. You swivel and stare at Suki. “What?”
“I know, right!?” Suki wrinkles her nose. “Terra is like, a hundred years old.”
“She’s not that old,” you mutter.
“She’s old enough to be Morsey’s mother,” Suki points out.
“If she had Morsey at, what, fourteen, maybe,” you reply in a grumble. You never minded Instructor Mouse before, but now you’re looking at her in a whole new way.
It’s not fair. She didn’t do anything wrong. She’s cute and she seems sweet and she rarely, if ever writes anyone up. She has a nice body too. You can see what Terra would see in her, but that doesn’t change your feelings…