"Mal returned to Diaval and ordered another beer.
"That went well then?" He snorted.
"What did she say?"
"That she's fine."
"And she wanted to dance."
"No... yes... what does it matter?"
"Well it matters if she has a crush on you."
"She called us friends Di. She doesn't want anything from me but that."
Mal's beer arrived and she took a large swig.
"Well then. I guess that's good news?"
"Except you don't seem happy." Mal shrugged and Di's eyebrows rose. "You actually like her don't you?"
"Di I don't want to talk about it."
"You do! Mal she's a student! She's your student."
"I know Di. I'm not an idiot. I don't know how it... it just happened. Okay? But nothing will happen."
"Don't make a big thing out of it. I can control my feelings."
"Oh yeah, because you've had a great track record with that."
Mal glared at Di.
"Too far Di."
Di sighed and shook his head.
"I'm sorry. I just don't want to see you hurt again. And I don't want to see you throw your career away either."
"Di I'm not a child. I have this totally under contr-"
"-Another round?" Aurora had appeared.
"I think she's had enough for now thank you dear." Di smiled.
"I'm fine thank you." Mal said, shooting a glare at Di for his reply.
"You know I thought you were quite fun but you're just sitting here, not dancing. Bad first day?" Aurora asked.
"Much like any other first day. With one exception of course." She flashed Aurora a small smile.
"I am sorry about that. I really am. I didn't know or else I would've warned you. I know you all have rules. If you'd rather I didn't visit again I will listen. And I'm sorry for earlier. I was giddy. I don't get to stay in the city too much, but Stephan's sister is staying tonight so Phillip doesn't need my help. I just... I was enjoying myself." She shrugged.
"I understand Aurora." Mal nodded her head. Aurora smiled and bit her lip. "Don't worry about it."
"Thank you Ma- Professor Moore." She smiled and then left.
"Well... where did that come from?" Diaval asked.
"I'm getting whiplash from her mood swings."
"Maybe she's bipolar."
"Di don't joke about things like that." Mal put her head in her hands and ran her fingers through her long hair. "Maybe we should just go."
"Good idea. I'll go pay the tab."
Mal woke the next morning with a headache and a general hatred of the world and the noise of everything. She missed the silence of her new home; the city was loud and metallic.
"Morning!" Di said cheerily as she appeared downstairs.
"No. Coffee. Black."
"Like your soul?"
She glared at him until he relented and gave her a steaming mug of coffee, along with some toast.
"So, what's the plan for today? Full Mistress of all Evil? Or just a little scary?"
"Diaval," Mal said in a rasping growl of a tone, "if you say one more thing before I have finished this coffee and had a shower, I will shove my hand in to your chest and rip your heart out with my nails."
"Mistress of Evil it is then." Diaval hummed, and went upstairs to change. Mal rubbed her temples and finished her coffee. Aurora had puzzled her last night. No longer sweet and innocent; the girl switched from lovely to tease to seductress in a second, flipping to angry and then back to sweet again. The speed of her mood swings had Mal reeling still, and she didn't know if she would cope with another meeting quite like that.
After a shower she changed in to her work clothes and went downstairs. Diaval stared.
"Erm... so I'd just like to point out that you look both terrifying and sexy at the same time."
"I was going for evil."
"Well... sure. I mean, all the black, and the heels but..."
"Diaval I have no interest in being late on my second day."
"Sure." Diaval smirked. "Just erm... don't come crying to me when all the students can't concentrate on what you're actually saying."
"I'm sure they'll be able to concentrate fully."
"Shut up Di. It is not that sexy."
"Mal if I didn't know you, I'd be straight over to offer you a drink."
"Like when we first met?"
"Yes. But then I got to know you."
"Charming." She snorted and frowned at him. "I need my evil exterior to get through today Di."
"She really got you good huh?" He said, frowning and patting her arm comfortingly.
"No. I am an adult and I have far too much to do than worry if one silly little girl might like me." She scowled and put on her sunglasses. "I'm going to take my car so I can head home after work."
"Sure okay. I'll see you in the car park then."
She nodded curtly and left the house, carrying her bag behind her.
Diaval let out a whistle of air and shook his head. Students would have to get out of her way fast today.
Mal was in her third seminar of the day and had already began to be annoyed by her students. Some of them were out right staring at her, others were sneaking glances at her over their notes and others were running for the hills. Some were doing a combination of the first and last. She had wanted only the last. When she walked down the corridors, eyes blazing, people were moving as fast as possible, as though they thought being near her would seriously injure them. In her current mood it was possible.
One boy was outright staring at her from across the room as she read from a book. She was sitting on her desk and had her legs crossed. Her skirt was under the knee for goodness sake; there was nothing to be staring at. But he was, and she suddenly began to feel as though she would like to slap him for staring so obviously. The end of the period saved him and she gave him a special glare as he walked near her. He froze and then ran out of the door as fast as his slimy legs could take him. She smirked and hopped off the desk. Making her way in to her back office she sighed. She finally had a break to get some food, and then she would be doing a lecture on Romanticism; something she really did not want to talk about. She was glaring at her schedule when she heard a knock on her door, which was still open.
"What?" She span with a glare.
She watched as the girl gulped, her wide eyes trailing over Mal quickly before coming to rest on her face.
"What is it Aurora?" Mal said in a softer tone, going to lean on her desk. She gripped the wood hard to reassure herself that she was okay.
"I just wanted to apologise again, for last night. You were right; I'd had a drink and I really wanted to let loose and-"
"Aurora you have already apologised to me. I accepted. There really is nothing more to say on the matter dear."
Aurora gripped her bag strap and looked about her, obviously unsure.
"I... I heard about a scary new lecturer from one of my society friends today. I didn't... I mean I knew it probably was but... you've really stepped it up a notch."
Mal's grin couldn't exactly have been called comforting, but it was delighted.
"Excellent. I'd rather felt that some people were getting an entirely different impression."
"I may have heard that one too." Aurora muttered, but too loud for Mal to miss it.
"And what would that be?" She murmured, almost daring the girl to say it.
Aurora's eyes flicked over Mal again before she shook her head.
"Just... compliments I guess."
"Ah." Mal stood and went to sit behind her desk, giving herself a little more distance and a barrier from the girl, who was now biting her lip again. Mal couldn't tell if it was a nervous habit or not. "Was there anything else dear?"
"I... well that is... you're my tutor."
"I was under the impression that third years didn't have tutors." Mal frowned.
"No... I mean my dissertation tutor."
Mal stared at the girl as her brain short circuited. No. No this was not good. One to one basis...
"I haven't seen my list. Just a moment." She managed to say, and quickly checked her email. Aurora's name was there. Oh god. "Ah yes. I see." She glanced up at Aurora with a raised eyebrow. "So?"
"I just wanted to schedule a meeting to discuss my idea." Aurora gripped her bag tighter.
"No need to look so nervous Miss Rose." Mal smirked, hiding her own nerves. "I don't bite."
There was a flash of something in Aurora's eyes and then she smirked as well.
"If you're wanting to keep that scary lecturer image you might have to rethink that."
Mal pursed her lips and frowned.
"Miss Rose." She warned sternly.
"Sorry." Aurora blushed a little. "I just meant... well you obviously want them to think you're scary so don't admit you're not..."
Mal stood up and placed her hands on the desk. She stared at Aurora with a smirk.
"Miss Rose, your observation is noted. But as I'm sure your friends are aware, I do not need any help being scary or intimidating. I will have a schedule up on my door for my students to add their names to for meetings by the end of the day. Now if there is nothing else I have to get back to plotting to take over the world."
Aurora raised an eyebrow during the speech and took a deep breath.
"Yes Ms Moore. Thank you Ms Moore." Mal could sense the hint of sarcasm in Aurora's voice but it was overwhelmed by the young woman's amusement.
"If there's nothing else Miss Rose?" She finished, sitting down again.
"You look good in black." Mal's head snapped up and she saw Aurora smiling. "I'll be sure to pretend to be scared next time I see you. Can't have the illusion breaking can we?"
"I assure you, it's no illusion Miss Rose."
"Mal," Aurora rolled her eyes as Mal glared at her. "I've seen you with Phillip. I saw you last night. You care too much to be evil."
"Aurora..." Mal warned.
"Alright." Aurora raised her hands in surrender. "Don't burn me to a crisp. Just... thank you. For caring." She turned and left, and Mal was left feeling like Aurora had just removed her mask in one conversation.