He caught her goodbye wave in the rear-view mirror as he sped away from the spot he had dropped her at. Just before he took a left turn, the friend she had been with earlier in The Pan joined her. That one looked like a mouthy one, if he knew anything about women, not that he was sure he was these days. It had probably been her who had encouraged Vivian to come and chat to him in the first place, so he could not really be too hard on her.
Vivian, Viv as she had insisted on him calling her, had seemed different though. She certainly did not come across as the type of girl who would normally jump on to the back of a motorcycle with a relative stranger. Even if that stranger was in the public eye as much as he was. She was also a far cry from the girls who usually approached him. They all knew who he was, even if they tried to feign otherwise. He would be stupid to think that Viv’s friend had not recognised him; she was most likely spilling all the juicy details of his latest epic fail of a relationship with Viv right now. God bless Google. He found, for the first time in a long while that he actually cared what someone else thought of him.
Moments later he pulled up outside the Neuroscience block, he realised he had rode the twenty minute journey here in what felt more like five minutes flat; a certain lady had occupied him so much he must have ridden here on autopilot. Right now though, he had a meeting with another lady, and standing in front of the entrance with her hands placed on her hips, Professor Gregory looked far from happy at his late arrival.
“So, I gather you think I have nothing else better to do on a Thursday night than to wait around for one of my students? A student, who has, I might add, had a more than generous extension on his assignment already”
Great, not even a hello. This was going to be worse than he thought. It would get worse in about five minutes when she realised that the sheepish look on his face meant that he did not actually have a finished assignment to hand to her now either. Without pause for further pleasantries, she turned and swiped open the door immediately behind her. He followed her in to the fluorescent glare within leaving the darkening sky behind them.
By contrast, to the labs and lecture hall contained within the block, Professor Gregory’s personal office space was a cluttered mess. Everything about her indicated that her personal space would be as fastidiously kept as her appearance; books lined shelves, spilled over onto nearby tables and chairs and took up a great deal of floor real estate in precariously balanced towers. The desk looked to be groaning under the weight of paper on it. She had once remarked that people, who said, a tidy desk means a tidy mind, did not have anything important on their minds.
With the door closed behind them, she turned to close the blinds that hung along the window down one side of the office. No witnesses, it must be serious. Shifting his weight to his other foot, and mentally bracing for the lecture that was coming. It was a familiar one, heard from his parents many times, he almost knew it by heart; he had not expected to hear it from Professor Gregory. Her class was the only one that engaged his attention anymore; all the others lecturers had given up on him so he had given up on them.
“Sit down and relax, this isn’t an execution you’re facing, though I would be well within my rights if you really don’t have that assignment finished for me.” She paused as if waiting for a response, the faint twitch of the lips the only thing to indicate that this had been a poorly executed joke. Professor Gregory was a renowned neuroscience lecturer; she never quite had mastered the finer details of social niceties. Apparently, now though she was trying hard so he indulged her with a smile of his own.
“So how much trouble am I actually in?” No point in dancing around the subject, he believed her when she said she had far more important things to be doing on a Thursday night. He for one had things he would rather be doing, but he also had things he should be doing, and that was the reason he had turned up to face the wrath of Gregory.
“Well that depends actually. You could be in a great deal of trouble, by rights you should be. I have given you two extensions on an assignment that you need to complete your course; I can already tell from your face that you do not have anything to show me. Now, whilst I simply cannot wait to hear the excuse you came up with on the way here, I do not have the time to waste on hearing it now.” She paused for a moment, then turned and took a file from a stack to her left. “I want you to take this home and read it, and then I want you to come back in here to see me tomorrow evening. If you fail to show up on time you will find out just how much trouble you would be in if you were not in actual fact the brightest most intelligent student it has ever been my pleasure to teach.”
He almost fumbled the file that she tossed across the desk, catching it and only narrowly avoiding sending another stack of paper falling to an untimely demise on the floor. Professor Gregory was up and on her feet and escorting him back out in to the now dark evening, before he knew it, the outer door had closed once more and he was standing in the car park contemplating the slim file in his hands. Checking his watch after a moment, he weighed up going back to The Pan to see if Viv and her feisty friend were still around, but something about the look on her face had said the Professor was serious so he started up his bike and headed for home.
Back in her office, on the security monitors arrayed in a compartment behind one of the less cluttered bookshelves, Professor Gregory watched as Darrion turned the file over in his hands. He did not open it, but stowed it in his pack after a moment. She watched him check his watch and wondered as he paused whether he really was ready for what lay ahead. A moment after, he mounted his motorcycle and started the engine she turned the monitors off.
Outside, a van that had been parked out of view of the cameras started its engine. It waited until the bike was halfway down the block before it pulled out in to the light evening traffic. If the rider of the bike spotted them he did not pay them any heed, they were just another utility vehicle heading back to the depot for the night.