Ralph didn’t intervene as I tried to recover. I was glad of it, too—I was embarrassed enough I needed to be alone. By the time I’d calmed down, wiped my face, and felt I could face the world again—or at least try—dinner had already ended.

Fair enough; maybe I could face the world, but I didn’t really feel like facing campus again today.

I missed Ralph. Stupid evening shifts.

I headed back to his place, and I was so distracted by my own thoughts about my future that I didn’t notice Ralph had taken over my body again till we were walking through the front door. He went to his weight room, sat me down on a bench, and we started pumping iron.