Peter stood at the top of a small flight of stone steps, outside the lecture hall. He raised a hand to his eyes to block out the sun, below, the courtyard was flooded with students, from second to seventh years, all dashing about, getting ready for their final exams, the first years would be back at the dormatories, excitedly relaying plans for the summer while packing mound apon mound of dirty clothes for waiting parents.
He strolled down the steps and began making his way across the courtyard which seperated the science blocks of the campuss. The heat of the day was intense, even in shorts and a tee-shirt, Peter was sweating from head to toe. He checked his watch, 11:30am, he had half an hour to mark the papers Bennett had given him, not much time, in fact, looking at his new work load, he would have only that night to cram from his final, and that was probably what Bennett had wanted.
Bennett had despised Peter on sight, as it was said he did every fit, young student, on their way to doing well in the field. Gossip mungers would have it Bennett was a sadistic homosexual with an craving for younger men, that he frequented biker bars looking for someone to take home and abuse! The truth was, Bennett had been an incredible diver, strong, fast, a real 'shark' in the water, then, one day, he got sick, his lungs were losing their ability to hold any air for long periods of time, he was later diagnosed with lung cancer.
Since the day Bennett had accepted a teaching position as Berkeley, he had shown nothing but detest for the best and brightest, the fittest and most likely to do well. Although he would never out rightly pick on anyone, test results and examinations were often marked cruelly, the most ridiculous floors or mistakes being over exaggerated in the final mark, but Bennett was an unfortunate necessity, for without his final recommendation, Peter would find getting accepted to any serious institute very difficult, Bennett was well known, well liked and well respected.
Peter was just trying to decide where to mark the papers, his own place, a small apartment off campus was to far, it was probably to hot to go to the union,
"Maybe I should just stay out here in the sun, enjoy the weather and work on my tan, too?", a very attractive brunette girl in a tiny tee shirt and shorts walked past, smiling at him,
"yeah, I should probably go to the union!!"
Peter had bought himself a cool glass of lemonade and found a seat in union bar, spreading the papers out in front of him, and was readying himself to work, when,
Peter jumped so hard, he knocked his lemonade over and began desperately grabbing for papers before the acidic drink reached and ruined them,
A small blonde girl, with bright green eyes, a huge white smile and dimples leaned over the table and kissed him hard on the cheek,
"Sorry Pete,!", she giggled, "couldn't help myself!",
"TRY!", he snapped back at her, then more gently, "what are you doing here anyway? I thought you had a lecture with Munroe at half twelve?",
"I do, I just got asked to give you a message!", she was grinning broadly, Peter didn't trust this particular smile, it usually meant she was being mischiefous,
"W E L L!", she dragged out
"Oh come on!",
"OK, OK, Danny's manning the front desk today, and he got a call from your, Professor Bennett!",
"So!", she grinned again, "He's at the Chester building, waiting for you!". Peter's heart sank and stomach turned, the Chester building? That was across the campus!! And he had to meet Bennett with the finished papers in, he checked his watch, ten minutes!
Peter started shoving papers back into files as quickly as he could, only having managed to mark about three quarters if them! Marie was finding the scene to much to handle, after all this time, Peter was still fighting for the approval of a man who hated him, just for being him, even though everyone knew Peter would sail through his exams, and one day, his career would over take even Bennett's legacy, Peter turned back as he rushed for the door,
"I am going, to kill you!", and he ran for all he was worth!
He arrived at the newly constructed 'Chester' building, build in memory of Chester A. Arthur, the 21st American president, the building wasn't open to use yet, an opening ceremony involving the govenor to California some time next year, this prompted a question in Peter's head, what was Bennett doing here? The building was eventually going to be used to teach political studies, not marine biology.
Peter arrived at the large, orange, brick buildings main entrance, freshly painted white, the smell making him slightly sick, especially in the heat, as he took in lung fulls of air, trying to catch his breath. He pulled at the doors, and wasn't surprised when they didn't open, however, he was surprised when a solider approached the door from the inside, peered at him through the glass, then unlocked the door,
"Phelps?!", he asked, in an over exaggerated military fashion,
"Sorry?!", asked Peter, still very puzzled by that was going on,
"Are you Peter Phelps??!!", the solider had taken a step forward, into the doorway, what was really off putting was the way hewould not look Peter in the face, rather, he just stood there, staring over the top of Peter's head!
"Yes?!", he said nervously, the solider took two well places steps back and let Peter in.
The new building was stuffy, air conditioning wasn't running yet and the smell of fresh paint was overwhelming! Peter was attempting to keephead clear, to focus on something other than the smell, when he spotted Bennett, he was standing at the far end of the buildings main corridor, he was with two men, only one of which Peter knew, the Leuitenent from the local coast gaurd, Simon Brooks. Simon was forty years old, father of two, tall, well built with dark hair and eyes, he waved to Peter, beckoning him over to them. The second man was wearing a military uniform, standing very upright and regarding Peter as if to say,
"Your strong, fit and able, why aren't you in the army?!",
Peter reached the three men and decided to just be honest, and get out of there,
"Professor I'm really sorry, I only had time to do just over half the papers, I.....!!",
"Forget the papers, Phelps!", barked Bennett, he looked livid about something, beyond livid, enraged might have been a good description,
"Pete, got any Summer Break plans??!", Brooks asked happily slapping Peter on the back,
"Err, well yeah, me and the guys are taking my boat out on a cruise!", Brooks was grinning broadly and shaking his head,
"Not anymore your not!"