I must have been daydreaming for a while. I had no idea how long he’d been standing in front of me.
“Uh, hey. Done?” I asked.
“Yup. Sorry for keeping you this late.”
“I’ll be on time next week. Promise.” Dean handed me his paper.
“I believe you.” I gave him my sickeningly sweet smile as I placed it at the bottom of piled up papers from other laboratory students.
I quickly glanced out of the window. It was getting dark outside. If I’d never heard about the silly story of ghosts roaming around the laboratory building, I wouldn’t be bothered about leaving before dark.
If I could choose, I would prefer a morning job. Too bad, all the laboratory activities were scheduled after four in the afternoon. I was writing my thesis now while making some hours as a laboratory assistant. It would be beneficial for my future reference during job applications.
I grabbed the lab keys and was about to get up to do the last check when I realized Dean was still standing there, hands in his pockets, eyes on me.
“What?” I raised my eyebrow. I always got this tingly feeling every time he did that. Old habits die hard.
“Nothing,” he mumbled, still staring at me for two seconds longer before heading to the door. “I’m going home.”
Instead of saying something back, I followed him with my eyes, thinking of how he had changed to someone different lately after his six-month terrifying absence last year. I didn’t know how to find an exact words for it, but he was no longer that harsh, reckless, and playful boy I’d known in my life.
Suddenly Dean stopped walking and turned his head to me, “Need a lift? I can wait in the parking lot. Your car is still in the garage, right?”
“Uh, I-I still have a few more things to do,” I stammered, feeling my face burning from being caught staring, “It’s gonna take a while. You go ahead. Uh, thanks though.”
He nodded then grinned, “Have fun, then.” Suddenly he gasped, his eyes widened while staring at the direction behind me, “Jen, whatever you’re doing now, try not to look behind your back, okay?”
I froze. Before I could gather my nerves to turn my head to where Dean was looking at, he burst into laughter.
“Dean! Get out!” I grabbed a small ball of paper from my table and threw it at him. He dodged it easily, still laughing like a maniac before disappearing into the laboratories hall. Some nerves he had!
I shook my head trying to erase Dean’s stupid remark from my mind and forced myself to focus on my job. After making sure all the papers were arranged in proper order, I stood up and strode quickly into every cubicle where the psycho-diagnostic students conducted their experiment. Relieved that no one had left any tools behind, I headed to the last stop, the testing instruments room. I closed the door and locked it behind me once I saw everything was neatly put back in.
Once again, I looked out of the window and saw the violet line in the sky was getting even darker. I never got tired of watching the evening sky changing its colors during sunset. It was always mesmerizing.
Grabbing the documents and my bag, I made my way out of the laboratory room. I should have said yes when Dean offered to drive me home. I would’ve had enough time to cook a proper dinner instead of being stuck with a microwave heat-up meal, again.
The thing was, I wasn’t on good terms with his girlfriend at the moment. So it was wise not to stir a deeper problem than it already was. I was just going to order a cab or Uber once I reach the lobby.
It was dead quiet that I could hear a pin drop. I was pushing my key into the lock hole when I heard a deep voice behind me, “Hold it.”
I jumped and before I knew it, the papers in my hand flew into the air and landed on the floor, scattered. So much for arranging them in proper order.
“Damn it, Blake! You scared the hell out of me!” I hissed in shock after my brain registered the person who was standing in front of me.
“Oops, sorry, didn’t mean to.” Blake winced.
“Do. Not. Do. That. Again.” I glared at him, still gathering myself before bending down to pick up the papers. “Sorry, I shouldn’t have sworn. I’m practically still your student.” I apologized once I regained my senses. If anyone was here witnessing our encounter, it would have raised some questions. I needed to keep reminding myself to call him Mr. Andrew at campus.
“Don’t worry about it.” He squatted down to help me pick up some papers. His masculine scent hit my nostrils because of the proximity. Secretly, I inhaled it giddily. Gosh, I was always this hopeless around him. “Nearly scared you to death, did I?” he winked at me and my heart somersaulted.
“What are you doing here anyway? Thought you’d be home by now?” I asked, trying to sound as normal as I could.
“I left some stuff on my lab desk. I need to work on it tonight.”
Once we were done picking up the papers, we both stood up. I couldn’t help but take in the figure in front of me. Unlike his formal outfit during classes or laboratory activities, he was now wearing a black buttoned shirt with pulled-up sleeves and skinny washed jeans which shaped his figure perfectly.
“You have the lab keys with you right?” I asked, ready to lend him mine when he showed me his keys dangling on his forefinger. “Alright then. I’m gonna head home now.”
I was turning around to leave when Blake asked, “You’re driving?”
“No. My car is still at the mechanic. Seems like it’s the end of it. For real this time,” I whined.
“Too bad for you,” he chuckled and turned the laboratory door handle. “Lucky for me because I am driving you home.”
I bit my lower lip weighing my options. Oh well, fuck it, “Sure, thanks.”
The door swung open, “I’ll be right back.”
I knew I shouldn’t have agreed to this. But at this point, I chose to ignore my conscience. I didn’t want to be that girl anymore. I just wanted to feel what I felt.
Rules and consequences be damned. Remind me, how did I get myself into this mess again? Right, it started when I came to his office building a year ago.