I couldn't help but jump a little every time someone came in to the shop the next day, in case it was her. Not that I knew how I would react. I kept switching between wanting to ask what the hell happened and wanting to kiss her again. The way kissing her had felt for those few moments had haunted my dreams the previous night, and apparently would not go away in the day time either.
But by Monday morning, I'd decided that I was going to pretend nothing had happened. Well, that wasn't strictly true. I was going to pretend like we'd not even seen each other on the Saturday night, in full expectation that she was going to resume ignoring me. I hadn't told Beth or Raph what had happened, because they wouldn't have let that drop. And while it technically wasn't against policy for a PhD student to date a professor, it might be frowned on to date one who actually taught you. DATE. My brain kept making the leap it hadn't made for years. I don't date. I ditch. Pull yourself together.
I was right though. Not that it's easy to tell in a large lecture hall, but there aren't really that many of us and she never even went near to looking at me. I contemplated pulling her aside at the end, but decided eventually to stick to my guns, and go back to normal. So I didn't even glance at her as I left with Beth and Raph. The same behaviour carried on for another three weeks.
"Seriously though, she hasn't been the same since that night you broke that guys nose at your club." Raph murmured as we listened to a particularly boring lecture on language and communication. "Are you sure you just left? Didn't go back to hers and do your usual?"
"Shut up." I shot at him. "I don't sleep with everyone I meet."
He frowned at me, but I didn't have time to apologise for my tone. She swapped the slide and I had to start writing again.
"Did something happen? Seriously, I'm worried about you." Beth asked me as we were walking back to the flat. It was threatening to rain, or snow, and I was marching as fast as possible.
"Nothing happened. She's just being professional."
"Yeah but I thought you guys were all, flirty with nothing expected?"
"Guess she realised it might be frowned on or something."
"So she hasn't said anything?"
"Beth, I'm not an expert on her okay?? I don't know why she's being normal, instead of the old normal which wasn't normal." I reached the door and fumbled with my keys. "I don't want to talk about it anyway, because I don't care."
"It kind of seems like you do. You've been really grumpy."
I sighed and paused in the hallway.
"I'm sorry. I've just been stressing. It doesn't help that you guys keep acting like it has something to do with me."
"It just seems that way."
"I know. Look I'll be in a better mood. Sorry."
"It's alright. I just want you to be able to tell me if something is wrong."
"Nothing is wrong."
"Alright, I believe you."
"Thanks. I'm going to throw some chips in; do you want some?"
"When have I ever turned down chips?"
I laughed and nodded, before heading in to the kitchen. I had to be better. It was still bothering me after over three weeks, and that was just ridiculous.
"She's asking for an update on our final report." Beth said over the top of her laptop.
"Private meetings again. Yours is at... oh christ, she really does hate you."
"Eight. In the morning. Day after tomorrow."
"I've got work the night before," I groaned.
"Well, screw her."
"Do you want to swap?"
"End of day, tomorrow. Five-fifty."
"I'll email her."
"Don't bother. She can be surprised."
"Are you sure?" She frowned.
"Yeah. She'll be fine."
"Come in!" She cried from the other side of the door. I braced myself, and went in. She was working at her desk, her back to me. "Sorry Beth, just a second."
"Not Beth." She jumped and looked around at me, surprised.
"What...? This is supposed to be Beth's appointment. Yours is early tomorrow."
"We swapped. I have work tonight; it was easier. Hope you don't mind." I sat down, and started taking out my notes. I was trying to act natural, but the slightly flustered look on her face was making my heart beat faster.
"Did you email me to approve the change?" She raised an eyebrow, straightening her shirt and attempting to compose herself. "I didn't see it."
"We didn't think it would be a problem. I can go if it is?" I put my bag back on my knee, ready to pack everything away.
"No... I suppose it's fine." She managed to pull herself together, and flicked through a notebook. "So I have all my notes from our last meeting-"
"-Are we really not going to talk about this?"
"Talk about what?" She had frozen in place, poised over the notebook. I sighed. She didn't want to discuss it; that was clear. I'd already known that. But some part of my brain seemed to want to rebel against reason and quiz her. I had to get it in check.
"Just about how cold it is in here. I'd have thought you'd have the heating on." I saw her let out a relieved breath.
"Well concentrate and you can be out of here quicker."
So I went through everything that had changed, every new avenue, and we'd done in just over five minutes. She glanced over at me, with the smallest remnant of that smile on her face.
"I think you've got a great report in the works."
"Thanks," I replied briskly, shoving things in my bag, trying to get out of there as fast as possible.
"Look I get that you don't want to talk about... it, but could you do me a favour and try to be normal around me? My friends are asking me why you hate me all of a sudden. It's kind of hard to explain away when I can't tell them the real reason."
I started towards the door.
"I don't hate you."