It was decided that Mary would go to the University. Ted was not happy at all, but even he realized that being with people who 'spoke Physics' would be best for Tessa. He hated having to give way to Mary, but she was an unstoppable force. Once she had decided what to do, she would not be deterred. Ted grumbled all the time while Mary made plans and packed bags, made food, cleaned house and arranged for Tessa to stay at the University. She would go and meet Professor Hector and make sure that Tessa's room was nice and neat and clean and that she would be close to other girls and her mentors.
Tessa was not so smart in understanding day-to-day things. He strength and logic failed her most of the time when it came to everyday applications involving interactions with people. But even she knew the decision had been made. Mary was rewarded at breakfast with a smile as she served up eggs and toast and cereal. Tessa ate slowly, her mind a million miles away.
Karl was speaking to Dr. Hector "We don't have too many women in the Physics department. There is only one from what I know. Tessa will need to share with her, I guess." Dr. Hector nodded absent-mindedly "Yes, of course." As far as the Professor was concerned, the daily living and boarding was something which never really entered his consciousness. Unless it concerned his own living quarters, and that too not very often. He continued to see some graphs showing particle energies which had been observed in a minor experiment. Something. He was missing something in this. Whatever it was, eluded him and he brought himself back to reality with some effort "So when is she coming in?" Karl was ticking off a checklist on his notepad "Today. Her mother will come in to ensure that everything is satisfactory for Tessa." The Professor turned back to his graphs, this conversation was over as far as he was concerned.
Tessa and Mary drove up in a grey SUV which had been booked through her Uber app. Her mother tipped the cab driver and they stepped out into the bright afternoon Sun. The steps which led to the hostel were stone. It gave the feeling of being another time and place. Tessa had a small smile. Karl greeted them and took them to the shared quarters where Jane Elgin was staying alone. Jane was a young woman with a cheery smile; she opened the door and welcomed them in. "Good to see you Tessa, Karl has briefed me about you." Tessa nodded, but it was politeness, not a response. Mary looked around, the room was neat and tidy; there was a study desk, but it was long enough for two people, there were two beds and a wide window which was fringed by bright curtains in checks. Mary nodded approvingly "These are good quarters." She surveyed the long line of books of the bookshelf mounted on the wall and the computers - there were three! Tessa had only eyes for the books, and she went up to them looking at the titles and the authors. This would take a fair amount of time to go through. She smiled some more.
Karl left with some lame excuse and Tessa was escorted by Jane to Dr.Hector's office. Mary tagged along. The Professor looked up from some papers "Good to see you here. Trust it's all to your liking?" Mary grinned "It's perfect Professor." She looked at Jane uncertainly. Jane grinned at her "Don't worry Mrs. Smith, I'll take care of her. And it will be a nice change having another girl on campus." Somehow that smile did not reassure Mary, but she decided to let it go.
When Mary left, Tessa sat and started reading. She almost missed dinner, and if not for Jane bugging her continuously, she well may have. The next day was much of the same, but she had to attend classes, and Jane dragged her along from particle physics to Schrödinger's cat to Nanotechnology to Light. At the end of it, Tessa was worn out. As evening approached, they had to visit the lab. Jane grinned "You're in for a surprise." Tessa walked into the lab- which was a very large building for a Physics lab. Part of it was underground. Jane looked at her "Are you ready?" Tessa just nodded and walked on. The door opened and she was in the lab with a particle accelerator. It was a small one, just a little bigger than a football field. But it was a particle accelerator! Tessa just said "Wow!" She had read theory for so long, it was fascinating to see the tools of the trade face to face. She just stared.
Jane was laughing at the look on Tessa's face, she was enamored with the machine. Jane took her hand and took her away "Hey roomie, we have an experiment to do with a tuning fork, remember?" Tessa looked abashed and they walked into a smaller room. This was going to be an adventure!