George Tavlakis is attending college part time so that his Rovani, Yeraki, can actually earn a degree (in music, of course, but also in physics). They meet a girl who isn’t after fame and fortune and unexpectedly fall in love with her. George proposes—with Yeraki’s urging—and a traditional Greek wedding ensues.
Yeraki was crossing the quad—an open area of grass and trees—with an armful of books and a bouzouki slung over his shoulder. George wasn’t with him for a change; Ellie supposed that George was in a different class right then. Yeri appeared to be heading away from the science building and generally toward the music building.
“Yeri,” she called out, quickening her pace on a course to intercept the Rovani.
He heard her. His head turned toward her, and his step first slowed then stopped. He turned toward her but waited for her to come to him. Once she was at a comfortable distance, he inclined his head. “Mistress. I trust you are well?”
“Oh, I’m great. And you?” Ellie took a moment to settle herself. She needed Yeri on her side if she was going to have any luck with George. The Rovani had been with his human for years now. She didn’t want him to see her as an interloper, a threat. And besides, she liked the Rovani for himself and wanted him to view her as a friend.
“I am well.” Yeri appeared to be studying her; she could see the green of his eyes from beneath his thick black eyelashes. “Did you need something, mistress?”
It just so happened that she did. “Yes, Yeri. I need your help if you’re willing.” She offered a smile and hoped her sincerity was evident to his sensitive nose.
Yeri appeared taken aback. He blinked at her then shrugged a shoulder. “If it is within my power, mistress, and so long as it does not conflict with my duties to my master, I would be honored to help you. What is it that you wish of me?”
“What?” Yeri was so surprised he made eye contact and held her gaze for several seconds before glancing down with a delicate shudder. “What subject could I possibly help you with, mistress?”
“Math. Specifically, algebra.” Ellie sighed heavily. “I’m just not very good at it. Algebra confuses me. I have to pass this class for my degree, and right now, I’m failing. There’s still time to bring my grade up, but I need help. I need someone who gets it, and I thought, since you’re in physics, which requires a lot of advanced mathematics, you might be able to help me with algebra?”
Yeri nodded once. “Come, mistress, walk with me. I must ask my master’s permission for this, and we will have to find times in our schedules.” He smiled abruptly. “And he will be happy to see you, so I think it’s likely he’ll allow this.”
She fell into step beside him. As they walked, she glanced over at him, her gaze catching on the instrument case. “Do you take a bouzouki with you everywhere?”
“No, mistress. I don’t take one to the bathroom with me.” The light tone of voice and the twitching corner of his lip let her know he wasn’t being entirely serious.
She laughed. “But you take one to physics classes?”
Yeri inclined his head gravely. “Only occasionally, mistress.” They rounded a corner and approached the Student Hall. George had claimed an outside table, one with an umbrella to provide shade, and had lunch, books, and papers spread over at least two-thirds of the available surface area. “Chaos follows him like a shadow,” the Rovani muttered under his breath. “And expresses itself in the total disarray of the space around him. I could write a thesis on the subject—The Entropic Effect of George.”