Loves Greatest Gift
March 20, 2013
Ralph Daniels sat in his first period trigonometry class, Mr. Carson concluding the mid-week recap of assignments with his usual efficiency, one of the reasons the boy loved being in a gifted and talented math class was he could work at his own pace. Early on he'd felt as if he were being held back by the rigid plodding pace of standard classroom formats, deigned to insure that no student was left lacking in their core educational needs. He considered himself very lucky, his family had moved to Colorado when Daisy, his older sister, had been eight years old. Her brash openness regarding being a hermaphrodite was unacceptable to the Jonesborough school board, they had strongly recommended that she be home schooled. The move had provided his twin brother and himself a remarkable opportunity when, by the time they reached third grade, both boys had demonstrated exceptional abilities and potential in several areas of study. Ralph's strengths lay in academic aptitude and creative thinking, especially his abilities in visual arts and music. Mathematics, science, computers, and foreign languages were strong subjects for him. he excelled quickly. Easily out pacing his peers, becoming bored in traditional classes, he and his brother Paul had been recommended for testing and placement in the gifted / talented program. Opportunities opened up for the boys because of that move, Ralph for one was very grateful for them.
“Shall I assume that as usual Mr. Daniels, your seeming lack of attention is an indication that the intended block of assignments for this week has been completed?” the Lynx inquired glancing over the burnished steel rim of his spectacles.
“Yes sir Mr. Carson, completed and ready to turn in at any time. I apologize for any disruption, a few moments of introspection before continuing further sir,” the young moose replied.
“Quite alright Ralph, if you would come see me please for a moment. As for the rest of the class,” he said scanning the room, “I'm sure most of you have work to complete, I will let you get back to it.”
“Ralph I have had many students in this class since it's inception,” the lynx said, the youth of his voice all but hiding his early 40's age, “but far too few that consume mathematics as you do. Though from what I understand from Mrs. Thornton your science instructor, it should not surprise me at all. So tell me, just how far ahead of me are you this time Ralph?”
“Almost to the end of the textbook Mr. Carson, five chapters left. Probability and combinatorics is the next chapter, I was thinking I may hold off until after spring break before continuing though,” he said looking hopefully to the lynx.
“Well Ralph, it's not as if the delay would cause your grades to slip, your several weeks ahead of even this group as it is. Though I do wonder, what will keep you busy for three days in class, anything in particular that you have in mind?” he asked his student raising an eyebrow slightly. Ralph Daniels was the sort of student that was focused, driving himself harder then any instructor would consider doing themselves. His was a mind in constant motion, never one to back down from any mental challenge.
“With your permission Mr. Carson, I would like to use my time in your class to work on my project for comp sci,” he replied grinning slightly.
“If you were any other student I would be concerned that would be some fool video game or other such project. But knowing you I have to ask what that project is, I would be hard pressed to even hazard a guess,” the lynx looked over his spectacles at the young man before him.
“It would be easier to show you then to explain it, if I may,” he said gesturing to his Pawpad laying atop his backpack.
“By all means, please do,” the man replied his right eyebrow arched quizzically.
With in moments the young moose had the project open on the device, the screen displaying a vast amount of computer code before the boy entered several commands. The screen now displayed what at a glance appeared to be a fully rendered three dimensional representation of a jet engine, though unlike any he had ever seen.
Noticing the teachers puzzled look Ralph explained, “it a rendering of a theoretical Ion drive for space travel. The assignment Mr. Park gave was to design and render objects that do not exist, with a limitation barring fantasy and any type or form of anime. The design seems sound, and the rendering looks good, but I have a few details to work out and I have been thinking that I can do a better job on the overall design.” Ralph glanced up to his teacher and waited patiently for the mans reply.
“I see no harm in your working on this in my class, it will assuredly keep you busy. Permission granted Mr. Daniels,” he replied.
“Bon matin classe, comment allez-vous aujourd'hui?”, inquired the Cheetah french teacher of her second period students.
“Bon matin Mademoiselle Thornton,” came their response in unison.
“Today Monsieur Daniels will be taking ze part of Paul, and Mademoiselle Kinnison will be portraying Jada, we will be reading scene deux of act deux of ze play.”
Paul knew there would be days like this when he signed up for french 103, the course syllabus listed several of William Shakespeare's works and he was far from surprised that Paul and Jada had been amongst them. What he had not counted on however was being paired up with Jada Kinnison for a reading of the balcony scene from Paul and Jada. Was Ms. Thornton trying to kill him from embarrassment? Of the half dozen girls in his G/T french class she just had to pick the hottest, most out of his league girl in class, in the entire school, to pair him up with for this?
Striding to the make shift 'stage' area he and several other visual arts students assembled earlier in the school year, appearing more confident than he felt at the moment, Paul tried vainly to suppress the blush he felt warming his ears and cheeks. He may have felt relieved when a slight blush tinged her cheeks a pale pink as Jada approached him, if it had not served to make her prettier than she already was. The quiet, giggling, oohs and aahs of their classmates only making matters worse as they nodded to each other shyly.
“And here are your scripts, in English of course, for your scene. It is up to you to translate your lines into french, and I will be paying close attention to pronunciation and diction jeune dame, ni ne vous jeune homme, being lionceaux will not gain you any dérive. Begin when you are ready please.
“Oui Mademoiselle Thornton,” they replied in unison, taking the proffered papers in paw and glancing over them.
“Pardonnez-moi M me Thornton, qu'en est-il les lignes de l'infirmière dans la scène?”, Paul inquired.
“I will be the nurse for this scene, I take it you know this scene quite well Paul, to have remembered those few lines.
The room fell quiet moments later as the two barely teenaged thespians began to reenact the well known and very memorable scene, reciting their lines, improvising paw gestures and poses.
Paul. - "Il se rit des plaies, celui qui n'a jamais reçu de blessures ! (Apercevant Jada qui apparaît à une fenêtre. ) Mais doucement ! Quelle lumière jaillit par cette fenêtre ?
Voilà l'Orient, et Jada est le soleil ! Lève-toi, belle aurore, et tue la lune jalouse, qui déjà languit et pâlit de douleur parce que toi, sa prêtresse, tu es plus belle qu'elle-même ! Ne sois plus sa prêtresse, puisqu'elle est jalouse de toi ; sa livrée de vestale est maladive et blême, et les folles seules la portent : rejette-la !... Voilà ma dame ! Oh ! voilà mon amour ! Oh ! si elle pouvait le savoir !... Que dit-elle ? Rien... Elle se tait...
Mais non ; son regard parle, et je veux lui répondre... Ce n'est pas à moi qu'elle s'adresse. Deux des plus. belles étoiles du ciel, ayant affaire ailleurs, adjurent ses yeux de vouloir bien resplendir dans leur sphère jusqu'à ce qu'elles reviennent.
Ah ! si les étoiles se substituaient à ses yeux, en même temps que ses yeux aux étoiles, le seul éclat de ses joues ferait pâlir la clarté des astres, comme le grand jour, une lampe ; et ses yeux, du haut du ciel, darderaient une telle lumière à travers les régions aériennes, que les oiseaux chanteraient, croyant que la nuit n'est plus. Voyez comme elle appuie sa joue sur sa main ! Oh ! que ne suis-je le gant de cette main ! Je toucherais sa joue !"
Jada. - "Hélas !"
Paul. - "Elle parle ! Oh ! parle encore, ange resplendissant !"
Car tu rayonnes dans cette nuit, au-dessus de ma tête, comme le messager ailé du ciel, quand, aux yeux bouleversés des mortels qui se rejettent en amère pour le contempler, il devance les nuées paresseuses et vogue sur le sein des airs !"
Jada. - "ô Romeo ! Romeo ! pourquoi es-tu Paul ?
Renie ton père et abdique ton nom ; ou, si tu ne le veux pas, jure de m'aimer, et je ne serai plus une Capulet".
Paul, à part. - "Dois-je l'écouter encore ou lui répondre ?"
Jada. - "Ton nom seul est mon ennemi. Tu n'es pas un Montague, tu es toi-même. Qu'est-ce qu'un Montague ? Ce n'est ni une main, ni un pied, ni un bras, ni un visage, ni rien qui fasse partie d'un homme... Oh ! sois quelque autre nom !
Qu'y a-t-il dans un nom ? Ce que nous appelons une rose embaumerait autant sous un autre nom. Ainsi, quand Paul ne s'appellerait plus Paul, il conserverait encore les chères perfections qu'il possède... Paul, renonce à ton nom ; et, à la place de ce nom qui ne fait pas partie de toi, prends-moi tout entière."
Paul. - "Je te prends au mot ! Appelle-moi seulement ton amour et je reçois un nouveau baptême : désormais je ne suis plus Romeo."
Jada. - "Quel homme es-tu, toi qui, ainsi caché par la nuit, viens de te heurter à mon secret ?"
Paul Daniels struggled to keep himself in check, being this close to Jada was thrilling to the moose boy. He'd had an emormous on the beautiful Cheetah girl since fifth grade, though he was never really sure how she felt towards him. During their reinactment of what many considered the most romantic scene the immortal bard ever wrote the girl gazed into his eyes deeply sending small shivers of arousal up and down his spine. Jada saw the boy shuddering slightly as their performance progressed smiling sweetly at him as she teased him mercilessly. She liked Paul, more than she would let on, she had been teasing him off and on since fifth grade and enjoyed watching the boy squirm.
'Maybe I'll finally let him know I like him', she thought to herself as they read through the lines of the plays scene.
Paul. - "Je voudrais être ton oiseau !"
Jada. - "Ami, Je le voudrais aussi ( mais je te tuerais à force de caresses. Bonne nuit ! bonne nuit ! Si douce est la tristesse de nos adieux que je te dirais : bonne nuit ! jusqu'à ce qu'il soit jour (Elle se retire. )
Paul, seul. - Que le sommeil se fixe sur tes yeux et la paix dans ton coeur ! Je voudrais être le sommeil et la paix, pour reposer si délicieusement ! Je vais de ce pas à la cellule de mon père spirituel, pour implorer son aide et lui conter mon bonheur. (Il sort. )"
As the cubs spoke the final lines to each other the class room erupted in thunderous applause, many of the females in the room dabbing at their moist eyes. As the cacophony began to die down Jada leaned in pressing her lips to his in a short soft kiss, the sounds of clapping increasing again accompanied by ooos and aaahs.
Ralph smiled as he gathered the required files into a new folder, preparing to send his latest projects bits and bytes to the designated DVD drive to burn them onto the disk he would hand in for grading. With only one project left to complete for the school year he rose as he pressed the enter key and strode to stand before the desk of Mr. Howard, the older fox raising an eyebrow at the moose boy as he spoke, “Mr. Daniels, I assume you have completed the course work and are here to pester me regarding what your final project is to be, yet again.”
“Yes sir, the disk with my project is writing now. But I doubt you're going to give me any hints as to the nature of the final project yet.” Ralph waited patiently, fairly certain of the instructors reply.
“You are correct Mr. Daniels, with two months left in the school year perhaps you should not have been in such a rush to complete the course work. Now you will just have to find some way to amuse yourself while the rest of your classmates catch up, I only ask that you not disrupt the class, or blow anything up,” he replied chuckling quietly as the youth turned and walked back to his work station.
Ralph was one of only 5 students that Mr. Howard trusted well enough to allow them to use the larger more powerful computers in the computer sciences lab. Not due to the expense of the equipment, but because of their location. Those work stations were mostly enclosed in cubicles in the rear of the room, closed off from supervision. Far too tempting for most young teen boys to be left alone in such an environment. Truth was that if he had caught Ralph surfing the internet watching pornographic material he would have let it pass as long as it was nothing too risque or illegal. The young moose applied himself to a task with such unbridled vigor, assignments turned in well ahead of schedule, always complete and accurate. More often than not far more than what would be required to 'officially' complete the assignments. Early on Mr. Howard had concerns that perhaps he was letting the boy have too much freedom in his class. But Ralph had not even once given the fox cause for any concern.
“Forty minutes left in class, what will I do to 'amuse' myself for that amount of time?” Ralph said to himself as he walked into the cubical of his workstation. Typing in the user name and password for his school email account Ralph quickly scanned the messages that popped up on the screen before him. The usual mix of silly or snarky remarks from classmates, school newsletter, cafeteria menu (vegetarian tacos in the B line today). One message caught his attention, from his sister Daisy, 'Hey little bro, when you get this, sent it to your face-book and regular email too, check for a friends suggestion from me. Marshal's little sister Sharon seems to think you may find her interesting or something I don't know, just give it a glance so I can shut him up about it already.”
With time to kill and little else to do he logged out of the school email system and logged into his facebook account. Listed there in notifications was the message from daisy, checking the people you may know list he found the girl Daisy had mentioned and clicked the link that took him to her profile page.
“She's cute,” he said, blushing slightly realizing he had said it aloud. “But what's with the green hair on a Red Panda?”
Gleaning information form her profile, making mental notes of important facts as he read. Her name was Zoe Bell, 13 years old, attending school at Aurora Hills Middle School, only child of an Air Force Lieutenant Colonel stationed at Myers Air Force Base in Aurora. His eyes bugged out at the location of the base, it was only a two or three hour drive from Winter Creek. He'd have to be nice to his sister, but it was doable if anything came out of this. Figuring he had little to nothing to lose he sent a friends request with a short note introducing himself and explaining the involvement of the local middle school match maker. Other details from her profile were slightly mysterious, hints at things she liked that she was less open about admitting, he was intrigued by this girl and wanted to know more.
“The 1777 Siege of Fort Ticonderoga occurred between July second and July sixth in 1777 at Fort Ticonderoga, near the southern end of Lake Champlain in the state of New York. Lieutenant General John Burgoyne's 8,000-man army occupied high ground above the fort, and nearly surrounded the defenses. These movements precipitated the occupying Continental Army, an under-strength force of 3,000 under the command of General Arthur St. Clair, to withdraw from Ticonderoga and the surrounding defenses. Some gunfire was exchanged, and there were some casualties, but there was no formal siege and no pitched battle. Burgoyne's army occupied Fort Ticonderoga and Fort Independence without opposition on July sixth and advance units pursued the retreating Americans.
The uncontested surrender of Ticonderoga caused an uproar in the American public and in its military circles, as Ticonderoga was widely believed to be virtually impregnable, and a vital point of defense. General St. Clair and his superior, General Philip Schuyler, were vilified by Congress. Both were eventually exonerated in courts martial, but their careers were adversely affected. Schuyler had already lost his command to Horatio Gates by the time of the court martial, and St. Clair held no more field commands for the remainder of the war.”
“Hold it, no ones moves until I dismiss you,” continued Mrs. Hamilton as the final bell of the day rang out drawing a hearty round of groans from her students, “we will continue this discussion tomorrow, be prepared to reasonably discuss the pros and cons of the retreat from the fort, as well as possible options they would have had, and the potential outcomes of those options. Class dismissed,” the older lemur concluded, having safely positioned herself out of the path of the door.
Most of the class bolted towards the door practically before the statement was out of her mouth.
One young moose boy sat idly putting his books and other items into his back pack as his classmates
scrambled to exit the room.
“Not in a big hurry to leave Mr. Daniels? I doubt you have so much love of early American history, perhaps there is another reason then?” she asked patiently waiting for his response.
“Yes Ms. Hamilton, my sister will be a little late picking my brother and myself up today, have some time to kill and waiting for my brother to get to our meting place. I'm closer to it than he is and he takes his time getting there,” came the moose boys reply as he rose from his seat shouldering the heavy pack.
“Have a good evening,” the teacher said ushering him from the room.
Paul walked out the doors at the end of the hall turning left towards the huge Live Oak tree near the northeast corner of the grounds of Pine Grove Academy to meet his brother.
“Hey Ralph,” he greeted his brother as he drew near their meeting place. Just in time to be cut off by the tell-tail sound of screeching tires and bluish white smoke cloud heralding the arrival of their sister Daisy's bright orange Dodge Charger in the parking area.
“Come on boys, I don't have all day to wait on your slow asses, have things to do you know?” she quipped as the car came to a stop in front of the tree. “hop in the back, have to swing by Mel's and pick Samantha up before I drop you too off at home, we're going shopping. Just wish mom and dad would give us more details about this vacation trip they keep talking about.”
Ralph grinned broadly as he settled into the seat behind his sister, from the little information their parents had provided about the planned family vacation he had a reasonable guess what the destination was. When he had 'accidentally' let his thoughts slip to his mother last week she had confirmed his suspicions and sworn him to secrecy. Keeping it from his older sister and his twin gave him a thrill, he had figured out their parents plans first and could plan accordingly.
Peeling out of the parking area Daisy headed for the nearest on ramp to the highway that would take them towards home, intent to stay ahead of the early start of rush hour traffic.
“So you guys get the message I sent you and check that girl out yet?” she asked, tires chirping as she whipped around the corner.
“Yea, I got it. Had some free time in comp sci so I sent a message, see what happens,” Ralph said grinning to himself as he waited to hear his brothers answer.
“Saw it, deleted it, not interested. Got bigger fish to fry,” Paul responded putting his paws behind his head as he leaned comfortably back in the rear seat.
Glancing in the rear view mirror their sister giggled at her youngest (though only younger than Ralph by 18 minutes) brother. “Still got a thing for Jada Kinnison do you little brother?” she chided him jokingly.
“She's so out of your league little brother, you should be more realistic,” Ralph jibbed his younger brother.
“Maybe I do, maybe I don't, either way both of you can bite me,” Paul answered his siblings grinning broadly, letting his mind replay the events of his french class again.
Samantha Thompson was waiting on the bench in front of Mel's Diner in Winter Creek, when the Orange Charger pulled up to the curb. She quickly gathered her blue denim jacket and purse from the bench as her friend rolled down the window, “ready to go Sam? I'll drop the sibs by the house then we can head for Prairie Flats Mall, which reminds me, wanna grab dinner while were in the Flats?”
“Sure, still haven't found a swimsuit I like that fits right, maybe today will be the day, and dinner sounds like a great idea.” She said giggling at the moose boys in the back seat blushing as she closed the car door.
Ralph and Paul both knew all about Samantha, they thought it slightly odd that their outgoing, flamboyant hermaphrodite 'sister' could be friends with the gender assigned Samantha. The two girls were so different from each other.
“Great, my sister the slut has a date and I get to go home and beat off to internet porn,” Paul said under his breath. Not as quietly as he had intended though as the car erupted in laughter from the other three teenagers.
“Jealouse beaucoup petit frčre?” Daisy quipped happily, glancing in the rear view mirror at her blushing brother, his face and ears a deep crimson.
Ralph Daniels sat transfixed, staring at the screen before him in disbelief. The Red Panda girl had actually returned his message, even more she had sent a friends request as well.
“Well no time like the present,” he said clicking the accept button. Once the request was accepted he quickly navigated to her profile which now gave him even more detail about the girl that Sharon Crandell had felt he would find interesting.