August 26

Jeanne held her breath. Please not Deacon, she thought. Please not Deacon. Please not Deacon…
“Deacon Flay,” Mr. Walsh said. “Twelve votes, to Gene and Fran’s eleven each. It’s really awesome that we were split so closely.”
The class clapped politely, but Jeanne made only a token effort even at that. She glanced up at Gene, who was crestfallen but dealing with it. Fran was devastated; she had believed that she had an advantage, obviously. But Deacon wasn’t grinning in his usual default gloating anti-smile. That’s probably scarier than if he was happy, she thought.
“Deacon, would you like to say anything to the class?” Mr. Walsh said.
“Yeah, thanks,” Deacon mumbled. “I knew I was gonna win, but, well, this was really close.”
“Indeed,” Mr. Walsh said, smiling. “You’re our President of the world, now, and that means you’re going to be in the presence of power from here on out. All right, we’ll be playing tag tomorrow,” he added, “so make sure you all dress warmly for it. Now, about this quiz…”
And class went on as normally, if somewhat truncated. Jeanne couldn’t shake the feeling that there was something she was expecting to happen, but it wasn’t going to; the same disappointment was on the face of most of the rest of the class, even Deacon. She was especially unnerved at that, but again, couldn’t figure out why. The letdown shifted gradually to frustration, and by the time the bell rang, releasing the class, she was in full-blown irritability.

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