Chapter 5:

Dreaming of a White Christmas

The Unwanted Virginity of a Genius


My favorite time of year. The lights. The snow. The presents. The food. Being surrounded by friends and family.

“And that’s the long and short of it, little bro.”

“What do you mean they can only afford one plane ticket?!”

“Look, next year, you’ll be able to come home after I’m done here… actually no because I’ll still need it for college. Should’ve been born sooner, little bro.”



“Where did you place this last quarter exam?” I have this in the bag. There’s no possible way with my placement she has a higher score.

She lifts her nose and pulls up a picture on her phone. “First place. Should’ve studied harder, little bro!”

“And that’s why I’m stuck here.”

I am laying on the bed in my dorm. A measly little plastic Christmas tree is set up on my desk and that is all I have to get in the Christmas spirit. I’m currently on the phone with Hope, who had left for home the day after exams finished along with most everyone else.

“I wish I knew sooner. I would’ve offered to let you spend the holidays with us.”

“It is what it is. I’d also hate to impose on you and your family.”

“No! No! You wouldn’t be imposing! Not at all! In fact I’d love for you to meet my parents!”


“I mean, y’know. Is there anyone else there that you know that’s still there?”

“Oh, right. I think Phoebe is still debating on going home and half expected Miss Genius to still be lurking around here but I haven’t seen her anywhere.”

“Haha, well, take care Ray and Merry Christmas.”

“Merry Christmas, Hope.”

I hang up and end up staring blankly at the ceiling. “I’m not doing anything productive lazing around in here all day.” I grab my winter clothes and my bag and head downstairs.

All of the facilities in the high school and the boardwalk are closed for the break starting today. So that means I need to make the thirty minute walk to the college campus if I want anything.

The campus is covered in a layer of white, powdery snow. The gray clouds seem to promise more is on the way. As I walk, the only sound to be heard is the snow crunching beneath my feet. The pathway is more or less still visible. It does help that it is a fairly wide road for carts and bikes. So long as you ignore the girl laying in the middle of the path that you nearly stepped on, you shouldn’t have any trouble getting to your destination.

“Are you just going to ignore me, I daresay!”

I glance back to see the source of the voice. I’m just asking for trouble getting involved with this person. “Sorry, didn’t hear you.” I extend my hand to help her up, but all she does is look at it.

“Are you getting up or…?”

“You need to extend your hand properly to a lady, I daresay.”

Feeling annoyed, I grab her wrist and pull her up. “Why-? That was no way to treat a lady, I daresay! But I will forgive you as I forgot that they allow commoners to attend here.”


“Need I hold a mirror for you?”

“Maybe it was better if I just left you.” I turn to walk away but she moves to stand in my way, almost slipping and falling down again, mind you.

“I may be able to forgive your rudeness once, but not twice, I daresay! Are you not familiar with who I am or are you wilfully feigning ignorance?”

“I don’t know who you are, nor do I really care. Now can I get going? It’s freezing out here.” I start moving past her but she moves in my way once again. She stares at me with her blue-gray eyes, standing eye to eye with me though making an effort to lift her nose to look down on me. Though it is hard to take her seriously with her very light blond hair still covered in the snow she fell in.

“Very well! Then I shall enlighten this ignorant one!”

“No, please-”

“I am Annaliese Katja Ottokar! Third daughter of the Ottokar Family! The greatest- Wait! Where are you going!”

I am already well on my way down the path. Behind me, I can hear the frantic crunching of snow followed by a thud. I turn around and she is flat on her face in the snow.

“Heeey! Raymond!” From a bit of a distance I hear Phoebe calling out to me. She comes trotting down the snowy path, almost too light on her feet to even worry about slipping.

“So you decided to stay, huh?”

“Yeah, I think it’s for the best.”

Her mood seemed to have improved since the last day of finals. She even got a haircut to deal with a lot of the hair in her face. While cleaner, it still covers half her face over her left eye. Making progress I suppose.

“Mind me asking who this is?” Phoebe points down towards Annaliese.

A headache.

Is what I almost say. “I found her like this and then she ended up like this again.”

“Is she okay?”

“In the head?”

Phoebe glares at me.

“Fine. I guess we should find out.” My sigh becomes vapor in the cold air. Feeling somewhat responsible, I walk over and help her to her knees.

She has tears in the corners of her eyes and her nose is red. “I-I am- Anna-liese- Kat-Kat-”

“Yeah, yeah.” I start brushing the snow off her head and coat, “Let’s get you cleaned off, Your Highness.”

I expect her to retort after my sarcasm but all she does is stare up at me. I didn’t go too far, did I?

“Wh-what did call me?”

“‘Your Highness?’”

Her eyes widen and her face glows with joy. “Ah-! Yes! I mean-!” She jumps to her feet, “I give thee high praise, Commoner, for realizing my brilliance! You will do well as the servant of I, Annaliese Katja Ottokar! She, who is entrusted with the grand task of expanding our family’s influence across the seas!”

I got myself into even more trouble, didn’t I?

“Now then, Commoner- no, oh Servant of Mine! Tell me your name!”

I let out a long sigh, “Raymond.”

“So it is true that commoners only have a single name.” I pick up her mutters and I speak before she continues on that misunderstanding.

“Raymond Baker.”

“Not even a middle name… how sad, I daresay.”

“Raymond Leon Baker! You happy now?!” My face is turning red in frustration.

“Very well, My Servant.”

Oh for the love of-!

“I am expecting great things from you!” She looks at Phoebe who’s now trying to stifle her laugh. “And what may I call you, Good Lady?”

“Phoebe is fine.”

“Madam Phoebe it is. I do hope to get along with you, I daresay.” Her Highness curtsies to Phoebe who nods in return.

I rub my eyes and pinch the bridge of my nose. I feel like there is constantly some elaborate ruse to mess with me at every turn. As if my Christmas wasn’t already ruined. Now I have to deal with Her Highness! Maybe I should’ve swallowed my pride to just impose on Hope.

“Are both of you headed to the library, I daresay?” Her Highness’ question snaps me out of my thoughts.

“Yeah. Nothing better to do other than prepare for next quarter.”

“Same.” Phoebe chimes in.

“Where were you off to?” Her Highness looks at me and tilts her nose up, “Where were you off to, Your Highness.” She smiles happily.

“To the library of course! I mustn’t let myself fall behind, I daresay. Come now, My Servant!” She practically shoves her bag into my arms, “Let us make haste!”

I’ve met more than my fill of characters at this school. Ah, whatever. As annoying as it is, at least things won’t be too boring. Besides, Phoebe is still here to keep me grounded to normality.

I pat Phoebe on the head and ruffle her hair. “Let’s go before we freeze to death out here.”

She nods without a word. I look down and her face is red. Poor girl’s been stuck out here; she might already have a cold.

We arrive at the college library, just beating the next snowfall. The librarian is out for the holidays, but the school has kept it open while having it be staffed by any of the college students looking to make an extra dime. Similar to the resident advisors in the dorms.

The same girl has been there at the front desk since the break started, although she is sleeping on the job as always.

More power to me. I basically have the whole place to myself. I sign in at the front desk, scribbling my name on the sign-in sheet. Phoebe goes right after me, pretty much doing the same. I walk a few steps before turning around to see Her Highness signing her name as if it were some grand war treaty and not some piece of 8.5” x 11” sheet of paper that will be shoved into a filing cabinet to collect dust for eternity at best or balled up and tossed in the trash at worst.

We walk over to the tables by the floor-to-ceiling windows that overlook the ocean. Heavy snow begins to fall. With the wind picking up, the ocean waves become very choppy. Even from up here it’s noticeable.

“Got here just in time, I guess.” I mutter under my breath and take my seat, leaving the storm to do what it pleases outside. Phoebe sits down across from me and Her Highness takes the head of the table on the other side of the table from us. “So, what’s on today’s menu, Phoebe?”

“Menu? Oh, right. English for me.”

“Cool, hate that subject. Good luck with that.”

“You’re as useful as always. Thanks.”

“You’re very welcome.”

“And don’t you hate every subject?”

“Oh, you know me so well.”

“Excuse me, My Servant, Madam Phoebe…” Both Phoebe and I look up from our work to Her Highness. She has a confused look on her face. “Is there some sort of discourse between you two? Not that I mean to pry, I daresay.”

Phoebe and I look at each other and title our heads before looking back at Her Highness. “Nope.” I shake my head. Since our talk the other day, I feel like I can talk to Phoebe more easily. Turns out, we have the same sense of dry humor so it has been nice to talk to someone on the same wavelength. Especially since I have to deal with Miss Genius every day.

She is just on a different plane of existence. How can she have all that energy and only direct it towards making me suffer? I don’t get it! She is so annoying-! Gah! Why am I even thinking about her?! She is gone for the break! So now is my time to have a break from her! Get out of my head, Ms. Genius!

Thankfully, Phoebe snaps me out of my head with a question to Her Highness. “Why do you ask?”

“Well. How do I put this? It sounds like you are… Both of your dry deliveries… It sounds like there is a rift between the two of you.”

“This is just how we normally talk to each other.”

“So rudely, I daresay?”

“Well, rude is…” I look at Phoebe who shrugs her shoulders. “A way to put it. But we are both in on it so neither of our feelings are hurt.”

“I am not sure I follow, I daresay.”

“It’s like if Raymond were to say, ‘Phoebe, you are sooo talkative today.’ Which really means-”

“No, I say it like I mean it. She just won’t shut up sometimes- OW!” A swift kick to my shin is delivered from across the table.

“What I was trying to say, was that oftentimes what is said, the opposite is meant.”

“I believe I follow.” Her Highness turns to me and stares me down. She blushes a little bit before opening her mouth, “My S-Servant, you look as if you had been out late, drinking at the bar last night only to wake up in a puddle of rain, mud, and your own filth. I implore you to take better care of your hygiene lest the unsightly image of yourself will tarnish my good name, I daresay.”

Both Phoebe’s and mine mouths are open in shock.

“H-How did I do?” Her Highness blushes shyly, almost looking cute. And yet…

“That was so mean! Phoebe, I don’t look that bad do I? I know I’m about as bland as they come, but-! But-!” My voice squeaks out. I want to break down into tears.

“Alright, Ms. Annaliese, that was too far. Like, I think you actually just insulted him.”

“I see. I guess I still need more practice, I daresay.”

I take a deep breath to collect myself and wipe the tears from the corners of my eyes. “I think you are confusing ‘sarcasm’ with ‘opposite.’”


“What Phoebe and I were doing. Haven’t you ever been sarcastic with your friends?”


Oh no.

“Good going, Raymond. Way to step on a landmine.”

“Now you see that was a good example of sarcasm-! OW!” Another, harder kick to my shin is delivered again to the same spot.


It’s been four days since finals finished and two since I ran over- ehem, ran into Her Highness. It’s Christmas Eve today and I find myself still sitting in the library. Alas, it’s the only place that’s open.

Even then, it’s dimly lit with only the section we are sitting in illuminated. Snow is falling heavily outside, trapping any sensible person inside.

We couldn’t get permission to celebrate at one of our dorms anyways, given the strict policies forbidding people of the opposite sex to enter the other’s dorm. The college doesn’t have that rule! What gives?!

The volunteer librarian had her friends come pick her up and she just up and ditched her job. And so, it is just us three all alone.

I stand from the table and walk over to one of the big windows, placing my hand on the cold glass.

All I can think about is sitting around, having warm food and chatting with my friends back home. All our friends and their families would cram into our tiny house on Christmas Eve. The smell of food and wine hanging in the air. Christmas music, just barely able to be heard in the background. Playing White Elephant with all the stupid gifts like the random cheap home appliances I throw in.

I think for the first time since arriving here, I feel homesick. But I do what I do best and let out a long sigh. My breath fogs up the window. I turn back around and it seems the feelings are shared between the three of us.


Both of them look up at me. “I’m not gonna sit around wishing I was doing something I can’t do! So let’s make the most of our situation! Take matters into our own hands! And enjoy a blinding white Christmas together!”

My rousing speech does little at first, but after a second to register, both Phoebe’s and Her Highness’ eyes light up.

Phoebe and I, as if our minds were connected, both raise our fists and yell out.

“Snowball fight!”

“Snowball fight!”

We leave all our stuff at the table, grab our coats and make a break for the blizzard that awaits us outside.

The wind is howling. The snow is pelting us. The cold is piercing our heavy winter coats. But none of that matters. I scoop up a ball of powdery snow in my hands, spin on my heel, and pitch a fastball directly towards Phoebe.

Using her height to her advantage, she ducks with ease and returns fire. I narrowly dodge both and use that time to reload another two snowballs.

“You’ll certainly pay for ignoring me, I daresay!”

From our right, Her Highness declares with her high and mighty tone. Her hair and skirt billow in the wind. At her feet is a neatly stacked pile of ammunition and Her Highness wastes no time expending her resources. She is almost perfectly camouflaged for the snow, with her light blond hair now speckled with snowflakes, her porcelain skin, and her white outfit.

Both Phoebe and I are pinned down. From the cover behind snow-buried benches and thick trees, Her Highness gives the air of royalty she thinks she always has. Nonetheless, Phoebe and I aren’t dissuaded.

We give each other a nod to seal a truce and dash off to flank Her Highness on each side.

“Splitting your ranks to surround your enemy! A good strategy, however, you’ll need more than strategy to defeat me, I daresay!” She lets out a haughty laugh and suddenly the rate at which she is throwing increases and the precision as well. I scramble to get myself behind a tree and two snowballs slam against the trunk, shaking the snow down from the leaves.

“You aren’t one of our grade’s top athletes for nothing!” Phoebe yells from behind her cover.

“That’s news to me!” No seriously! How is this clumsy wannabe noble a top athlete?! “Whatever, we have numbers on her! Let’s just attack at the same time!” I yell out over the torrent of wind.

I lean out from my cover and I barely have any time to react to dodge. I end up falling on my rear and I crawl back to safety behind the tree. From across the courtyard, I hear a cute “Gweh-!” As Phoebe is hit square in the nose.

“Now then, My Servant! It is just you and I! But fret not, for I am benevolent! And so, if you lick my boot, I shall grant you mercy!” She lets out another haughty laugh.

As if on command, the wind picks up and the snow blows harder, further obscuring my vision. No way in hell I’m taking her “mercy!” Come on, Raymond Baker! She might outperform you athletically, but you can certainly outsmart her.

I take my coat off. Immediately, my body starts to numb to a point where it burns. But I need to get close for my plan to work.

I ball up my coat under my right arm and pick a snowball in my left. The cold is blistering through my flannel shirt. After three seconds of hyping myself up, I sprint out with my head low. A few snowballs fly past, narrowly missing me, but I keep my straight path. Just as we can make each other out through the wall of ice and snow, I throw my coat forward and it gets caught by the wind, unfurling it from the ball it was into the big coat it is. It takes three consecutive hits before a strong gust of wind carries it away.

I do not waste that precious opportunity and I pull back my arm to throw with no time for Her Highness to dodge, but in a storm like this, the wind cares not for what it blows.

White lace panties. Silvery-blue lace garter belt. What a sight to behold before a snowball hits me square in the face.

Lonk of Hyrool