I craned my neck to look up at my childhood friend who was grinning at me like a mule eating briars.
“Sorry for keeping you this late. I’ll be on time next week. I swear.” Dean handed me his paper.
“Of course.” I flashed him my sickeningly sweet smile as I placed his document at the bottom of piled-up papers on my table. “I’ll see you next week, Dean.”
I glanced out of the window. It was getting dark outside. If I could choose, I would opt for a morning job but all the experiment classes were scheduled after four in the afternoon. My graduation was drawing near, and I needed this laboratory assistant job for my future reference. The saying beggar can’t be chooser was right after all.
Dean was still standing in front of me with his gaze on me. I raised my eyebrows. “Yes?” I asked in a flat tone, trying to stay unaffected under his gaze.
His mouth was open for a couple of seconds before he pressed his lips together again and shook his head. “See you next week, Jen.” With that, he headed to the laboratory door.
Instead of replying, I followed him with my eyes, thinking of how he had changed to someone different after his six-month absence last year. I didn’t know how to find the exact words for it, but he was no longer that harsh, reckless, and playful boy I’d known in my life.
Dean halted before he reached the door and turned his head to me. “Need a lift? Your car is still in the garage, right?”
“Uh, um, I still have a few more things to do,” I lied, feeling my face burning from being caught staring. “It’s gonna take a while. Thanks for the offer, though.”
“Okay then.” He nodded before disappearing into the laboratory hall.
After making sure Dean had left the building, I took the documents from table and trudged to the laboratory door. I shouldn’t have lied to him. Maybe taking his offer to drive me home wasn’t a bad idea after all. The thing was, I wasn’t on good terms with his girlfriend at the moment. I just didn’t want to dig a deeper hole for him.
I glanced out of the laboratory window again. The violet streaks in the sky were getting even darker while the sun beamed lazily behind the horizon line. I never got tired of watching the evening sky changing its colors during sunset. It was always mesmerizing.
Sighing, I closed the door and pushed my key into the lock hole.
“Hold it.” A deep voice came from behind me, making me shriek in horror, 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.
“Fucking hell, Blake!” I hissed.
“Oops. Sorry,” Blake replied, not sounding sorry at all.
I bent down to collect the papers from the floor while letting my drumming heart ease up. “Sorry for cussing. I’m practically still your student,” I said as my eyes roamed over the laboratory hall. If anyone was here witnessing our encounter, it would raise some questions. I needed to keep reminding myself to call him Mr. Andrew on campus.
Blake squatted down to help me pick up the scattered documents. “Believe me, I’ve heard worse from you,” he retorted but I was too distracted by his familiar scents to reply. Yes, I was always this hopeless around him.
“You have the lab keys with you, right?” I asked as we were done collecting the papers from the ground. It was when I saw the keys dangling on his forefinger. “Alright then. Good evening, Mr. Andrew.”
I was turning on my heels when Blake asked, “You’re driving?”
“No. My car is still at the mechanic. I think it’s dead for real this time,” I whined.
“Ouch,” he replied before turning the laboratory door handle. “I’ll drive you home.”
I bit my lower lip, weighing my options. Oh well, fuck it. “Sure, thanks.”
The door swung open. “Be right back.” With that, he disappeared into the laboratory room, leaving me pondering about my decision.
What have I done? I shouldn’t have agreed to this. I should have taken some distance from him to clear my head. And if someone saw me and my hot professor walking to his car together, then I would have one more problem to deal with. I should have just stuck to my plan of taking a bus home.
This was such a mess.
How did I get myself into this again? Right, it started when I came to his office building a year ago.