Anthro 101

Debra Fran Baker

dfbaker@panix.com

*Come on, Sandburg. You've been teaching for years. Why do you still get first day jitters?*

Whatever the reason, his stomach was turning circles the way it did for every first day of classes since he'd started school. And Jim was absolutely no help.

"What is with you, man?"

Jim grinned over his coffee cup. "Why would something be up, sweetheart? It's just a normal day, isn't it?"

Blair rolled his eyes. "Normal for you." He picked up his own cup and grimaced at the contents. It wasn't coffee. He wanted coffee. *Jim* was drinking coffee. Instead, it was some herb tea mixture that was supposed to calm his jitters but just made his stomach feel weirder.

"Chief, we go through this every semester. I love you, but it's getting boring."

Blair considered throwing a piece of fruit at him, but figured that Jim would just snatch out of the air and eat it, grinning all the time.

Instead, he drained his tea and finished the toasted bagel that was all he could stomach. He fidgeted with his hair for a few minutes, and finally decided to pull it back, figuring he looked too young when he wore it down. He picked up his sport coat and even thought about a tie. Anything to look older. Dammit, he was almost thirty and he still looked like an undergrad. Never mind about the tie. He would be late if he didn't hurry. Why did they always schedule intro courses at 8AM?

Jim sat there leisurely finishing the colossal cholesterol meal he'd made for himself. He didn't need to go until 9:30 that morning, but Mr. Morning Person got up anyway. Blair fumed and gave him a kiss as he left.

He walked into the empty lecture hall. Some things were working out that morning. At least, traffic was with him, so he was ten minutes early.

This didn't happen all that often, between his other full time job and his tendency to get wrapped up in things, so he took full advantage of it.

He set his material on the podium and began to write the course outline on the board so he wouldn't have to do so when he taught. As he did, the students began to filter into the hall. He could hear their sleepy murmurs. The tension in his belly increased a hundredfold.

*You can do this, Blair. As soon as you turn to face them, you'll get into teaching space and everything will be fine.* Of course, his stomach didn't listen. It never did.

He took a deep breath, and turned around. God, they were all so young! Since when were kids allowed to go to college. Then again, they were pretty much all older than he'd been, but somehow it was different then.

There were a few older students in the room. Some had taken the time go back and start or complete a degree and some took advantage of the early morning and the University's community program, where locals could audit courses for free.

The room filled up rapidly. He looked for familiar faces - a few always popped up even in Anthro 101. As he did, he caught a pair of piercing blue eyes staring at him from the back row.

What was *he* doing there? Why was *Jim* taking one of his classes?

But there he was, between two girls who were blatantly staring at h