She replayed this over and over in her mind. She was still perched on the marble bench. Liza checked the time on her phone. Why did she get to class this early? Bruce said in his note that he probably wouldn’t be here. I guess not. What would people think when the Dean of the College of Liberal Arts showed up looking like Rocky? What would he say? Pardon my appearance. I got beat up by a pack of homeless people last week?! She wondered how he was doing. Who was going to help him?
Liza bunched her lips together and shook her head. She didn’t care. She didn’t care. To hell with him. Liza jammed her hand into her bag and pulled out an energy drink, a cigarette, her sketch pad, and pen. It was a nice evening. She would sit out here and draw until class. Two cigarettes later, she was still staring down at a blank page. She sat back and looked around. Jim was smiling his way toward her in khakis and a blue polo shirt. Super. She’d never seen this guy before that day in the kitchen, and now here he was. “Hey, Jim…er…Professor?” said Liza.
Jim paused and smiled down at her. She broke out into a sweat. Did she just called a professor by his first name? Was he a professor? Why was he so tall and why did he have to stand so close? Liza involuntarily slid away from him. He continued to beam down at her. “Hello! It’s good to see you again…”
“Liza. It’s good to see you again, Liza.” Jim extended his hand, and Liza shook it. “How is Bruce? I haven’t seen him lately.”
“Oh. Um, Bruce is well. I saw him the other day. I think he said that he was going to take a little vacation,” said Liza. She was seriously annoyed with Bruce, but she certainly wasn’t going to cause problems for him at work. He’d never done anything to her except confuse her.
“Really!? That’s excellent! He deserves it after everything. Good for him,” smiled Jim. “Well, I have a class to teach tonight. And yes, to answer your question, I am a professor. Professor Crozier. But everyone calls me Jim. It was good seeing you, Liza.” He smiled off to class, leaving Liza with one word echoing in her head. Everything?