Tor convinces the fairy, Zeph, to do him a favor.
A voice came in from the hall talking about hearing George's voice in there and calling them both quite a number of names. Faith jumped up to go to the door and George followed her. As he half expected, it was her ex-boyfriend. He didn't expect him to be a big and nasty-looking black man.
The language got worse, and the man started pounding on the door after they closed it again and put two deadbolts on. Most of his insults were racial. But he kept calling George a homosexual (in which case he wouldn't mind George being there, one would think). And the comments about Faith's sexual practices--well, he'd only know if he liked them also, if which case what's he complaining about?
The neighbors up and down the hall threw comments out their doors. A lot of the people were black and they were embarrassed by his ethnic comments. It seemed that they liked Faith and had never cared for him at all. One woman said she was calling the police, and sure enough they showed up for once. The cops just took the man outside and made him leave the area.
After all that, they didn't get much more done on the COBOL that night. George went home about ten. Faith asked him back the next evening.
On Tuesday they stopped at a hardware store after the class and George changed the lock on her door while she fixed dinner. The ex-boyfriend came by one more time while she was gone, but he gave up when his key wouldn't work.
George spent every evening that week studying with Faith except Friday, when he had other plans.
After Monday Faith wore short-sleeved blouses in the apartment and he could see the bruises fading fast. George also convinced her to take off the makeup, and she looked better for it.
George learned a lot more about Faith that week. He learned that Larry, that ex-boyfriend, was the fourth man she had lived with in the last year and a half. Always in this apartment, which was in her name only. Larry was the only married one, but one of the others had a child by another woman. Larry was a bus driver, another was a freight handler, another never worked at all in the time he lived with Faith. All of them were black, and three out of the four beat her.
George could understand, or let's say he knew of, the attraction that black men would feel for a blonde white (hell, pale) woman. That's one of those things you run into in this world. Why Faith would be attracted to them was harder to figure.
He in a way didn't understand inter-racial sex at all. He could sort of see Faith being involved with what were years later called buppies, black urban professionals, but the men she had picked were all losers or close to it.
George found a way to delicately ask if she felt any attraction to men of her own race. Faith said, yes, she had dated several. But that was back when she was still living at home.
They were in the seventh week of the classes now, and the work was still sometimes difficult, but they didn't need the sessions afterward nearly as much. However, both of them liked having them, so they kept on. They went to his place half the time now and George fixed the meals.
If the straight-out work on the programs was less now, they spent as much time together. Things work in the back of your mind, and they rethought the programs a couple of times an hour. But this meant they talked more about other things, and even watched a little television. This second week of spending evenings together began with him deciding to take a chance and kiss Faith goodnight when he left her apartment. She reacted well, even with enthusiasm.
That developed a little as the week went on, though not much. The next Sunday they spent the afternoon together, working ahead of where they were supposed to be. The last week of the nine was all lab-work, and if they finished it early they didn't have to come in at all. Or go back to work, even better.
For the eighth week they hit the books again in preparation for the final written test.