Rick smiled at Steven. The guy had guts, he had to give him that. To be able to debate the pros of ethnic cleansing on the spur of the moment, with no forewarning and only ten minutes of research time, was a testament to Steven's ability at debating. He stared at the paper a few moments before marking a vote in Weismuller's favor.

Sorry Dana, he thought, but Steven did a pretty good job. And, thankfully, the votes were always a secret ballot.

Mr. Cawdor gathered up the votes and counted them out.

"Three votes for pro, and six votes for con. Thank you both," he said, and the pair of them gathered their books and returned to their seats.

"I must say, Mr. Weismuller, that you were able to put up a good fight despite the relative difficulty of the assignment. Not many people would be able to say that ethnic cleansing is a good thing."

Steven accepted the praise graciously. "Thank you sir. I must admit that my heart wasn't into that topic, and it was difficult to come up with anything beyond what I had."

Mr. Cawdor shrugged, and Rick easily read what the gesture meant: tough, buddy, sometimes life ain't a box of chocolates.

"Good thing, too," Dana said, her musical voice cutting through Rick's musings. "I would have eaten you alive if I had realized what you said about the Native American thing." She smile goodnaturedly at Steven. It was no secret that the two of them were friendly rivals in everything, and debate was no different.

"So, class, any opinions?"

Jill Stafford raised her hand up. "What would you say about the murders of the Protestant by Queen Mary? Would that be ethnic cleansing?"

Rick smiled and went back to the poem on his paper. Jill always had questions.

"Yes, those would be ethnic cleansings," Dana said. "The Protestants were an 'undesired element,' and were treated as such. They were removed."

"Is that all?" Mr. Cawdor asked, needlessly. "Very well, then, tomorrow we will debate whether or not the US should have been in the Vietnam War. Miss Stafford, would you please debate on the side of Mr. Weismuller tomorrow? And Mr. Ginsburg, please side with Miss Sloan. Mr. Weismuller, since you were treated so badly today, I'll allow you to choose which side of the argument you are on tomorrow."

Steven conferred briefly with Jill, then looked up and said, "We'll debate pro."

Mr. Cawdor smiled. "Very well. You have your assignments, class dismissed."

Rick was still getting over the way he had been drafted as Dana's partner. Did she know about his feelings for her? Would he be able to keep them secret? How had he gotten into this mess?

Dana came up to him. "Hey Rick, want to come to the library with me so we can do some research on this?"

He looked up at Dana and was struck by her beauty for a moment. She was tall and always had her blond hair pulled back in a ponytail. She usually dressed conservatively and wore glasses, giving off the image of a brain, albeit a very attractive one. Rick didn't mind; he had thought she could always be pretty, no matter how she looked.

"Umm, sure thing. Can you drive?" he stammered, finally finding his voice.

She smiled at him. "Of course. Get your stuff and let's go."

Dana parked her Dynasty at the curb across from Rick's house. "Thanks for all the help, Dana," he said. "It was really nice of you to drive me home."

She smiled, provoking an instant and likewise response from Rick. "Anytime. We're partners."

Rick fumbled for the door handle and opened it without turning from her face. "Ok, see you tomorrow, then. Good luck." He then walked out and across the street.

Dana drove by and she held up her hand, fingers crossed and that wonderful smile still on her face. Rick raised his own hand and crossed his fingers as he waved her on her way before going inside.

Part 1   Part 3


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