Chapter Seventy-Two

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Returning to Minnesota was a concussion, Meredith went back to work into the cold and snow. Her old job of playing the piano had passed, and now she did her best to sell people books at Barnes and Nobel. At least she had a discount on the books she bought. For the rest of the month she was off from university, she worked.

When the month was up, Meredith headed back to the University of Wisconsin- Superior. It was a new semester at university, and it was a new semester working as a RA. There weren't many turn over with residents, so they stayed in their rooms.

Tuesday night hit of the first week back. Outside, it was another blizzard, the seventh already this winter. The cold snuck into the building through cracks, and the heaters were on high, which made the building feel like a sauna. Meredith just went outside to cool off for one damn moment. Coming back inside, Meredith slipped on the wet floor and screeched, "Fuck!" Her concussion left her on edge, and her stumble wasn't helpful.

"There are better ways to describe yourself than using swear words," said an annoying coworker of hers.

Looking over, Meredith responded, "I don't give a fuck to use them." Grabbing her vest, she zipped it up and went on her round. With some residents gone, she had hope that it would be a quiet semester. It wasn't.

Not even five minutes into the round, the fire alarm screeched. With a blizzard blazing outside, Meredith grabbed her coat from her room as residents left. She only needed to look down the hallway to see that it was her lounge again. Shuffling outside, people started to head to the union. Meredith stood in the ankle-high blowing snow of the sidewalk, with the ground beside her up to her thighs.

"Well, this is great," Wyatt said, standing next to her.

"Isn't it your job to do something?" Meredith asked. The fire department was on the way, but she didn't hear them.

"Do you want me to fight a fire?"

"It's not a real fire. Burnt popcorn on second floor."

"Why is it always your floor?"

"Because people are dumbasses and they hate me."

"You know," said her co-worker coming up behind her, "there are better ways to express yourself." He liked to repeat himself, like he was important enough.

Meredith looked at him and was definitely ready to push him into the street when the firetrucks came.

"Hey," Wyatt said to the worker, "can you go check on the residents inside the union? Thanks."

The co-worker didn't argue.

"He's got a stick up his ass," Meredith muttered.

"You once had a stick up your ass."

"I still do. It's just not that far up." Meredith looked toward the sky, and even through the heavy clouds, a full moon shone. "They're going to go crazy tonight, aren't they?"

Wyatt looked up too. "You don't actually believe that crap, do you?"

"You don't?" Meredith had many stories to tell of Crownhart going crazy when a full moon hit, and it was always on her duty night.

The lights lit up the coming down snow. However, with the heavy wind, there wasn't a way to hear the high-pitched sirens. Wearing her heavy green winter jacket, Meredith was a match against the blizzard. For everyone else who didn't think about it when they were leaving Crownhart, they shoveled through the snow. After ten minutes, they were allowed back in.

"Meredith," Wyatt said, "please be nice to him."

Walking over, she smiled and looked her boss straight in the eyes. "I can only be so nice if he's not a moron. If he acts stupid, I'm going to teach him." Meredith continued on her round.

Second floor smelt like burnt popcorn and two firefighters still in full gear spoke to the Campus Safety officer on duty. Meredith stopped into the lounge and took a look around. She was well aware of the smell of burnt popcorn, since it was the first thing to set the sensitive Crownhart fire alarms off. Next was girls straightening their hair and then people forgetting to put water in their mac and cheese bowls. All the windows were open in the lounge, and snow started to accumulate in.

"They can only be kept open for so long," Meredith said, but the officer knew. "I'll close them on my next round." Walking out of the lounge, she went down the hallway.

"Hey, RA," called one of the residents.

"I have a name." Meredith turned around and clutched her clipboard.

"I don't care. What was with the fire alarm?"

Alarmingly, he wasn't even the rudest to her. "It went off. We left the building."

"I don't think we should have to leave the building when it's below freezing outside and there's a blizzard."

"There was a fire alarm, and for your safety, you leave the building. Do it within a minute. You will do it because you care to live, as well as, if you don't leave the building during a fire alarm, you could get in trouble," Meredith stated. "And that's the usual weather in Superior, so you might want to get used to it."

"Whoa, I don't need the sass, lady. You should be kind to me, I'm your resident."

"I'm kind to people who are kind to me, and you're stepping out of line," Meredith warned. "Now, why don't you go back into your room and warm up?"

"You can't tell me what to do!" he yelled.

"Is there a problem?" asked Larry, the Campus Safety officer on duty, coming down the hallway.

"No, no," said the resident, but Larry on looked to the RA, Meredith. She watched the resident too, measuring him. How much did he want to challenge her? She was willing to challenge him, when she was in the right. "What, bitch?" the resident demanded.

Larry put his body between the resident and the RA. "You need to calm down and go back to your room now."

"What, you work for the cunt?" The resident turned his attention to Meredith. "You don't run this place just because you fuck some prince or whatever. You're not even that pretty. You're stupid and a bitch. You have no real power." It only infuriated him as Meredith wrote down everything the resident said. "What the actual fuck, lady?" he screamed at the top of his lungs. "Why are you a cunt, huh? Cunt!"

"Okay." Larry blocked the resident's view of Meredith as she wrote, taking care of the situation. "If you don't go back to your room now, I'm going to call the police and they will arrest you."

"For what? Freedom of speech!"

"For harassment."

"Like the bitch isn't used to it."

Meredith rolled her eyes.

"You--" The resident yelled and threw his short arm toward Meredith's face. She had been here before, and she quickly moved out of the way. The arm wasn't going to make it to her face whether or not Larry was there. Thankfully Larry was there and held back the resident. Larry glanced over his shoulder, but Meredith was already dialing nine-one-one for the police.

"You got this?" she asked Larry, but of course Larry did, having his full weight on the resident, who was pushed up against the wall. "You're a pro."

"And you?" he asked.

"Not paid enough for this shit," Meredith muttered.

"Nine-one-one, what's your emergency?" asked the operator. Meredith was too used to this.

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