Jason frowned at a couple of freshmen snickering unkindly at the front right lab table. Not only because they weren’t paying attention and had already unwittingly botched the experiment by doing the one thing he’d told them not to do – they were making fun of someone.
“You’re talking about the student that makes the snowmen,” he interjected quietly, politely, conversationally.
“Yeah,” the rightmost freshman grinned – not nicely. He laughed, pudgy cheeks seeming to shake with the effort. “Have you ever seen anything so freakin’ crazy? Freezing to death to make a bunch of snowmen that someone’s just going to knock down.”
Jason lifted one brow, keeping his irritation at bay. “He made those last year as a finals project. Wound up winning six different awards. He’s a grad student now, with three undergrad degrees and a half year away from a teaching certificate. He’s working on two Masters and already has schools eager to give him the money for his PhDs. He was specifically commissioned to build those snowmen again this year for a charity function. Only freshmen wouldn’t have heard about it.”
The second freshman rolled his eyes. “What are you, his fan?”
“Ever watch him work?” Jason ignored the question. “It takes him a day to do one snowman with ideal conditions. Even at a distance you should be able to appreciate the detail that goes into them. He’s arranged to do twelve of them – two weeks of work for something that could melt if this weather doesn’t hold. And will melt eventually no matter what. Plus he does it all barehanded – gloves are useless for molding the snow the way he needs. Think about that the next time you start to make fun of him. When was the last time you put that much effort into anything? You couldn’t even do a basic chemistry lab correctly.” Jason pointed to their beaker, the contents of which looked notably different from those of the rest of the class.
The first freshman grimaced. “Let me guess – you’re his biggest fan.”
Jason finally let his ire show. He wasn’t by nature intimidating, but he had been raised by his mother and had grown up with Paige. So while intimidation wasn’t a natural skill, it was a well-learned one. “The next time you decide to be thoughtless jerks and make fun of someone within my hearing, make sure it’s not my boyfriend you’re discussing.” He flipped open his teacher’s manual, enjoying the mixed expression on the faces of his students. “Now let’s go to part two of this experiment, except for Mr. Thomas and Mr. Bradley – you will have to clean your equipment and redo number one.”