The First Day

Toby woke with a start, sitting bolt upright in bed. His face and chest were covered in a cold sweat. He had to… had to… had to do something he was sure, Had he been dreaming? The memories were wispy, and when he tried to grasp them they fled. The alarm by his bed blared into life and he jumped, slapping it silent in irritation. He dragged himself to his feet and headed for the shower. Monday morning. He had a class to get to.

The lecturer was late. Again. Toby picked a seat at random, wishing he had stayed at home in bed like most of the class clearly had. His bag made a halfway decent pillow on the desk, and he was just getting comfortable when he heard someone sit down next to him.
“You can bet if he was here on time and we were late he’d kick up a fuss,” a female voice said.
He assumed it was talking to someone else, maybe even itself, and didn’t open his eyes.
“Second week and already people are giving up on Monday morning classes. It’s just us left,” it continued.
Toby opened his eyes and looked around. The voice was right, the few stragglers who had been here just a few minutes ago had clearly given up and gone off to seek greener pastures. Or at least softer ones.

He turned to his left to see a girl sitting on the desk of the row behind, her legs dangling over the edge. She looked familiar.
“Have we met?” he asked.
She smiled a private smile. “Doubt it,” she said. “I only just started here. I’m Ashlyn.”
“Toby,” he replied, and shook the hand she offered.
“I thought someone should tell you it doesn’t look like he’s coming before you fell asleep.”
“I think I could have used the sleep,” he laughed. “You too, if you don’t mind me saying.”
“Rough night,” she said. “Anyway, if you go back to sleep who’s going to come and get a cup of coffee with me?”

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