Chapter 48

Dean Blaine was surprised by the knock on his door Sunday afternoon. As a rule, he didn’t advertise that he came into the office on weekends to catch up on paperwork. That would have meant other people knew he was there, which would lead to interruptions and defeat the entire point of doing it on a Sunday. He wondered if he could pretend to not be there, and hope the person went away. After three more sets of knocks, however, it became apparent that they knew he was here and weren’t giving up easily. With a sigh of frustration he rose from his expansive desk and opened the door.

Standing on the other side, looking somewhat out of place since he wasn’t in uniform, was Chad Taylor.

“This is unexpected,” Dean Blaine commented, ushering him in then shutting the door behind him. “Is everything okay? Need additional healing from Friday’s match?”

“No, the injuries I incurred were well within my capacity to handle,” Chad said. “Though I am here about something as a result of that. Or, maybe a cause. The order is debatable.” He walked over and took a seat without needing to be told.

Dean Blaine sat back at his desk and slid away some of the paperwork. “Why don’t you start at the top?”

“It would be redundant, since you already know most of the circumstances I’d be recounting,” Chad explained. “Going right to the point would be more expedient.”

“By all means.”

“I want to move into Melbrook Hall,” Chad said flatly.

If Dean Blaine had thought someone knocking on his office door on a Sunday was a surprise, then this was a full-out flabbergaster.

“I know there is an empty room,” Chad continued. “One that you’ve by now either decided to repurpose or re-occupy. If it is the former, then so be it. However, if it is the latter, then I would like to be the room’s new occupant.”

Dean Blaine wished he could deny that they’d made a choice on the empty room so soon, but Chad knew him better than that. Besides, he didn’t really want to lie to the young man, and there was technically no reason to do so. The only inclination that told Blaine to fib was the one that wanted to keep Chad safe and away from the chaos that encircled the Melbrook students.

“It has been tentatively decided that, assuming we can find someone who meets criteria, we will put another HCP student in Nick Campbell’s old room,” Dean Blaine admitted.

“Then, as I’ve said, I would like to be that student,” Chad reiterated.

“I’ll need to ask why,” Dean Blaine said. “Aside from the waiver forms and general security precautions, you know those four are unique to the program. The motive for living with them needs to be evaluated as well.”

“Of course. The concise answer is that I think it will be mutually beneficial for both myself and for their group,” Chad said.

“Let me hear the less concise answer,” Dean Blaine requested.

Chad nodded. “I’ve recently become aware that there are aspects of my training that are lacking. My fight with Angela illustrated that quite well. I don’t think in terms of creativity or innovativeness. I am straightforward in my battles, however I’m beginning to see that such a tactic will not work against all opponents. I suspect that part of the reason this is an issue for me is that my life is so neat and well-ordered. I do not find myself in situations that require a non-linear approach because I’m careful and fore-thinking enough to avoid them. Those four seem quite the opposite; they are constantly embroiled in some sort of hoopla or shenanigans. Thus, I would hope that moving in with them will round me out, so to speak, making me a more complete Hero.”

“Eloquent, well-thought out, and perfectly logical,” Dean Blaine complimented. “I believe it too. But I also know you well enough to think there’s more.”

“Maybe there is,” Chad admitted. “But it is not something I would feel appropriate divulging to the Dean of the HCP.”

“Then let’s say this part is just for an old friend of the family,” Blaine said, offering Chad a sly smile.

“To him, I would say that my recent realization about my feelings for Angela has made me wonder how much else I’ve been missing. Our date Friday was awkward, strange, and frequently embarrassing, yet I loved it. I’m sure there are more things I’ve been avoiding, intentionally or not, but I don’t know enough to know what they are. I want to become more involved in life, however I require some guidance to do so. Roy Daniels has frequently aided me when emotions have bubbled up so far. I feel like he and his ilk would be good to have on hand for future incidents.”

“I understand. Now, back on the official record, can you tell me why you feel they would benefit from you moving in? Those students have lived together for two years now, they have a defined dynamic that a new tenant would likely upset,” Dean Blaine said.

“Aside from the obvious, that having a high-ranked Super to work and train with would help them overall, I believe I can offer exceptional value to one of them in particular,” Chad said. “Specifically, Vince Reynolds.”

“How so?”

“I’m aware he is under extra scrutiny following the Globe revelation. It seems to me that, if the dean were so inclined, the son of Intra willingly choosing to live next to the son of Globe could be used as an excellent mark of confidence in Vince’s integrity. No one here has more cause to hold a grudge at his paternity than I do, so if I instead show him friendship, it should speak great lengths to the quality of his character,” Chad explained.

“That it would,” Dean Blaine agreed. “But by the same token, it’s also possible there will be conflict between the two of you over that issue.”

“No, there won’t be,” Chad assured him. “Vince is himself, and I am myself. Neither of us are our fathers. We made peace with it last year.”

“You’d better be sure of that,” Dean Blaine said. “Because all the good you moving in might do would be negated, and then some, if you and Vince had any kind of public conflict.”

“I’m sure,” Chad reiterated.

“Okay then.” Dean Blaine reached into his desk and pulled out a slim stack of papers. “You’ll need to fill these out, and get your mother to fill out the last two.”

“I am not a minor, I am legally allowed to sign for myself,” Chad pointed out.

“Yes, but she’s the one paying the bills, so she still gets some say in how the money is allocated. Don’t worry, though; if anything I can probably swing having your housing cost lowered if we get you into Melbrook,” Dean Blaine said. “In the meantime, I’ll get the wheels in motion on my end. But no promises.”

“No need for promises,” Chad said, standing up. “I know you’ll come through.”