Once the professor ends for the day, the classroom immediately becomes active again, with students picking up with their idle chatter that was cut short when class began. Jenny begins to pack up her things, eager to get back to the dorm as quickly as possible.
Roman sees this and afraid that he’ll lose his chance, he strikes up a conversation to break the ice. “Sociology 101, kind of a snooze fest don’t you think? Even worse than that, it’s 3 hours, that’s way too long if you ask me, even if it is only once a week. How did you feel?” He waits for her response, but gets nothing, so he looks at her only to see her again glaring at that man, who is talking to a group of students, quite animatedly. She didn’t even appear to hear him, making him scrunch his face in annoyance, but he calms himself and calls out to her. “Jenny?”
She snaps out of her daze and looks now to Roman as she responds. “What? Oh, I’m sorry, I don’t think I heard you.”
“Yeah, it seems that way,” he laughs. “Where’d you go?”
She laughs it off as she says, “I’m not even sure myself, but I think you were saying something about the class, right?”
“Yeah, I was asking if you liked the class.” He repeats his question.
She answers nonchalantly with, “Oh, right, I think I vaguely remember that. I guess its ok, though it’s not all that interesting the second time around.”
“The second time around?” He asks this with interested curiosity.
She loses her smile for a second, shit, she thinks, wishing she never said that. She had hoped to avoid telling anyone about how she was repeating some classes from last term because it would naturally cause them to question why.
Roman, seeing her hesitation, realizes it must be a sensitive topic and tries to smooth it over. “Oh, well, it doesn’t really matter. You don’t have to talk about your reasons.”
After a second more of hesitation, Jenny decides she will answer, but not go into specifics. “No, it’s ok; it’s not that big of a deal really. I just had some trouble at home happen unexpectedly, so I had to take a leave of absence a few weeks into the second term.”
“I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to pry.” He says this as he looks down.
“No, it’s fine,” she says. “I won’t even be behind or anything because I was already going to finish a semester early because of AP credits, so now I’m on track with everyone else.”
“Oh, I see, that’s a good thing then,” he says awkwardly. A moment of awkward silence between them persists, making both very uncomfortable. Attempting to recover the conversation, Roman decides to ask her about meeting somewhere. “Hey, so maybe, if you’re not busy or whatever, we could, maybe get coffee sometime? Or tea! Or whatever you want!” He realized how intense he just sounded and turns red in embarrassment.
Jenny couldn’t help but laugh, that was such a Kenny-like reaction. She immediately feels down, mentally scolding herself for thinking it. Roman sees this, again regretting what he said. He wonders, will I ever be able to say something right?
Jenny sees the regret on his face and it makes her feel ashamed of her behavior. She’s been so hard on him, the least she could do is go get some coffee. “Ok, sure,” she says. “I’ll Facebook you my availabilities ok? Oh, you do have Facebook, right?”
“Yeah, I do! Please Facebook me, I’ll try and find you too.” His voice is enthusiastic.
“Sounds good, see ya,” she responds. Jenny packs up her stuff and quickly descends the stairs. As she’s leaving the classroom, she takes one final glance at that man, but his attention is elsewhere. Good riddance, I hope this means I won’t have to see him or those irritatingly blue eyes again,” she thinks to herself.
That blue-eyed nuisance watches her as she walks out, again knowing she thought he hadn’t noticed her looking at him. He smirks and starts to follow her out, but just as he makes his move, he hears someone call out from behind.
“Hey! What do you think you’re doing? What business do you have with her?” Roman shouts this as he stands watching the man and becomes furious when he sees that man look back at him smugly.
The man turns around to face him and says, “What are you, her keeper? What business is it of yours; what business I have with her? Are you her boyfriend? If so, I’ll back off because I’m not into being a home wrecker. If you’re not though, then mind you’re fucking business and get the hell out of my way.” The man attempts to shove him aside, but Roman doesn’t budge.
Roman fumes and quickly loses his composure. “I may not be her boyfriend, yet, but I will be. My name’s Roman Griswald. Remember it, it won’t be the last time you hear it. I’ll win her over simply by my consideration and kindness. I won’t need to resort to my pretty boy charm and seduction as you do. She’s not the kind of girl to just fall to her knees, I know for sure.”
The man chuckles and says, “Griswald huh? Don’t worry, I’ll remember it. I’ll remember it as the name of the loser who thought he could beat me, the pro. Don’t step into the ring if you don’t know the game man.” He walks out, saying nothing more, leaving Roman to feel his burn.
As Jenny makes her way towards her dorm, she reprimands herself for being so forthcoming with Roman. She just doesn’t understand why she was so open with him, or maybe, she didn’t want to admit the reason; since she probably already knew. He reminded her of Kenny, a thought which was terrifying and comforting all at once and she hated it. He looks nothing like Kenny of course, but his personality, mannerisms, awkwardness and shyness are like a carbon copy and it makes her blush.
She shakes her head, snapping out of it, what the hell am I doing? She realizes she has stopped, getting her dirty looks from the students walking behind her and so she quickly starts walking again, picking up her pace. She starts to think that maybe it would be best to avoid Roman. That’d be a pretty shitty thing to do though, she thinks to herself. How could she punish Roman, who was just being a nice guy, for her own discomfort? It was selfish, and she realized if Kenny were here, he’d be very disappointed in her. He may have been a shy guy, but he was always super sweet and considerate to everyone; it was something she always loved about him. She finally decided that she would keep her promise and go for coffee with Roman.
Thinking about it now, she kind of wishes she’d asked him about going now that class was over. She was done for the day and had kind of been craving a tuna melt from Lazaro’s, she and Kenny’s favorite spot. It would have been the perfect spot to have coffee. She thinks about walking back to the classroom and asking him, but just as she finishes this thought, she feels someone take hold of her hand. She stops dead in her tracks and whips her head to the side, with a look of disgust. As she does, her eyes again meet with those irritatingly blue ones from before.
They look back into hers, unwavering as their owner says, “Hey baby, we’re hitting up Lazaro’s, now right? I could really use a bacon club sandwich right now, how about it?”
She continues to look in those eyes, blood boiling as she does. She also can’t help but notice he said he wanted a Bacon Club, Kenny’s favorite. She momentarily drifts, thinking the chances he’d like it too are a bit uncanny. Then again, lots of people like that sandwich, as it’s the most popular spot on campus. Surely that must be it, right? She wonders this to herself, until she remembers a stranger is holding her hand. She quickly snatches her hand from his and yells, “Who the hell do you think you are!” The students in the surrounding area stop and stare at the commotion. “Are you a rapist or something? What respectable man does that to a random girl?!”
The man however, does not pay it any mind, smiling as he sees the fire burning in those auburn eyes. He can see she’s visibly shaken and uncomfortable at his continued gaze, but she is refusing to be the first to look away. Still keeping his gaze, he extends his arm as before, while he says, “I’m Argent, Kale Argent.” Caught off guard by his extremely relaxed introduction, she finally breaks the connection, averting her eyes down. His previously wide smile shrinks to a narrow one, he didn’t expect her to yield so quickly. “Damn, I’m really disappointed that you backed down so easily, I thought you were more stubborn than that,” he says as he wears a contemplative frown. “Well, I guess I’ll still have plenty to see as we go along,” he grins.
Jenny’s mouth drops in disbelief that he may have just said exactly what he was thinking. Does he have no filter? Just as soon as it came, the frown dissolved, and his smile returned.
Did you like my intro? Pretty suave, wasn’t it? I love James bond movies; do you know about James Bond? So, what’s up with Lazaro’s, are we going or what?” He asks again.
Still in a state of shock, Jenny steps back thinking, how can he be so nonchalant about everything? He’s acting as if he has the right to touch her or say these things. She’s never met someone so arrogant and direct before and it pissed her off. Jenny begins to walk away as fast as possible without seriously running, but despite her efforts, Kale was easily always a step behind her. They continued this game until they were in a densely-populated area outside her dorm, where at this point Jenny spun around and angrily confronted him. “Why the hell are you following me? I don’t think it’s funny and if you don’t leave me alone right now I’ll report you for harassment!” She faces him directly, her fearlessness shining through, which excites him.
He smiles as he says, “You didn’t answer my question, no respectable person would ever leave a conversation unfinished in such a way. It was something I just couldn’t ignore.”
She scoffed in disbelief as she said, “Oh, I’m sorry your highness, I didn’t realize you were the king. Please allow me to respond to your question accordingly…no fucking way! Is that a respectable enough response for you?” She’s reached her limit and is no longer being refined.
He laughs, obviously quite satisfied with her response. “Yes, that’s what I’m talking about! That’s the type of response I’d expect from you. You really are an interesting girl.”
She looks at him in complete exhaustion, she realizes that he’s completely serious about this and isn’t going to let up unless she indulges him. “Ok, why do you want to go to Lazaro’s with me? Don’t you have friends or something that would be happy to go with you and would probably be more fun? I’m not much of a socialite and frankly, I don’t like going out much.”
He says, “Sure, I have loads of friends, but that’s irrelevant, I want to go with you.”
Her face becomes flushed at his words, she somehow found herself wanting to know more about him too and so says, “Fine, but let me drop off my bag first and you’re paying.” She leaves quickly, before she succumbs to his charm. She thinks he’ll even follow up to her dorm, but thankfully he stays outside. She takes a moment to reflect and thinks, just what am I doing?