When she returned to Professor Bauer’s class, she couldn’t help but feel exposed and a little nervous, wondering what he must think? For some reason, she seemed overly concerned about his opinion of her. She both feared and anticipated the thought that he may call for her to stay behind after class, again. There was so much she wanted to explain. There was so much she wanted to hear him say. From his first class, Anna always felt a sense of calm in hearing him talk.
The lecture was coming to an end. Anna’s heart raced, but this time, he did not ask her to remain. She felt somewhat disappointed. But she was soon to discover that he had not forgotten about her.
A few days later whilst dining at the Bridge Hotel, Professor Bauer noticed Barnaby, laughing and joking with a group of young men and women. He again had the urge to punch Barnaby, but restrained himself, and kept to his business. But Barnaby had noticed him too.
“Hey Professor Hun. All alone with nobody to shoot, huh?”
He continued with his meal, but Barnaby was not done.
“I know you can hear me. You sprechen de English, don’t you?”
The group tried to subdue him, but he would not relent. The more Professor Bauer ignored him, the more determined he became, continuing with his taunts. Professor Bauer finished his meal and stood up.
“Yeah, that’s right, get out of here, Coward Krout and stay away from my girl”.
It was one comment too many. Instinct took over, and now that Anna was not present to be compromised, he walked calmly over to Barnaby and the group. Barnaby smirked that dirty pompous smirk;
“Well, if it isn’t the Nazi Professor…Coming to impart your commi wisdom on us all?”
“No, just you” he replied, grabbing Barnaby by the scruff of his shirt and forcing him up against the wall like a mounted deer.
“You think you’re a big man? Go near her again, and everyone will know just how little and insignificant you really are”.
He put Barnaby down and released his grip. Barnaby straightened himself out. His fear was evident. Professor Bauer stared him down, and satisfied that he had made his point, he calmly walked away. The others stood staring at Barnaby. A stare to say he deserved what he got. But they would not say it aloud. He felt hurt that none of them had come to his aid, and was obviously ruffled, but he tried desperately to hide the fact.
“I’ll have your square head” Barnaby threatened, when the professor was far enough away to satisfy his false bravado.
He looked around for support from the group. But they still offered none. They headed back to the table and continued with their meeting. Barnaby was too humiliated to join them. This was the second time he had suffered such humiliation at the hands of this German invader, and he would find a way to have his revenge.
The next morning Eleanor arrived home with great adulation. She looked around for Anna, anxious to share her news. Finding her in her room, she stood by her door,
“You won’t believe what I just heard?”
Anna assumed it was good news, considering her demeanour. She hadn’t had a lot of good news recently, so she waited in anticipation.
“Yeah. Handsome. German accent. Does any of it ring a bell?”
She could only be talking about one person.
His name stirred in her emotions she had never experienced before. But why would Eleanor have news about him?
“He was at the Bridge last night. Apparently, he gave Barnaby a pounding”.
“He did what?”
“Yeah. For you. He grabbed him by the shirt and lifted him right up against the wall. Told him if he ever touched you again, he’d be sorry”.
Anna couldn’t believe it.
“How do you know?”
“Sam, the bartender. He saw it all. Barnaby started in on him. Sam was going to stop him, but your professor didn’t need it. He was pretty impressive, apparently.”
“What happened? What did Barnaby do?”
“Nothing. He was scared to death. Probably wet his pants” Eleanor laughed.
“Serves the little rat right”.
Anna looked concerned.
“You don’t actually feel sorry for him, do you? I thought you two were over?”
“We are. It’s not that. Barnaby won’t let this go. You know that”.
“Oh, I see. You’re worried about your professor”.
Anna made her way into the living room.
“Stop calling him that”
Eleanor followed her out, with a rather jocose grin on her face.
“He is your professor?”
“Not the way you say it”.
“Well, he sure seems to know how to take care of himself. And other people, for that matter.”
Anna shook her head.
“Doesn’t it make you feel good that someone is willing to defend your honour? It would make me feel good”.
Anna seemed anxious. Things were getting out of hand and she just wanted it to stop.
“I suppose so. I mean, of course it does. But I don’t want anyone else involved in this mess”.
“It’s a bit late for that now”.
“Exactly my point”.
“You didn’t force him. He’s an intelligent man, and I’ve no doubt he knows what he’s doing.”
Anna didn’t know what to make of it all.
“Why would he do it?”
Eleanor shrugged. She didn’t really have too much experience with men of such chilvares calibre.
“Maybe you need to ask him?”
Eleanor was right. If she wanted answers, she needed to go straight to the source. But doing so would prove harder than she thought.