T. checked her wrist watch and was on the verge of a panic attack. Her classes at the university were about to begin in 30 minutes and she was still left with a shitload of drafting for her boss at the law firm. The offices were completely deserted at this hour before 8am and except the watchman, a single soul was not present at the office. This was her favourite time of the day, as the evenings were full of grumpy middle age men snorting and snoring or cribbing, whatever pleased their ego.
T typed as fast as her fingers allowed, trying not to let the panic freeze her brain as it usually did. It took her another 15 minutes to proofread the petition she had been working on, set her boss’ schedule, print his cases for the day and leave it at his desk, while briefing his clerk about the same, whom she met in the hallway while sprinting to her outdated Volkswagen. She had been working at the legal offices for almost a year now, although the anxiety of rushing to her early morning classes remained the same.
She prayed for no traffic blocks, speeding the entire way to the university, then sprinting up three flights of stairs, coughing furiously when she reached the top. She thought to herself how badly she needed to join a gym and cut down on her daily dose of cheese burgers at her college canteen. She almost skidded and hit her Jurisprudence Professor on the way, narrowly avoiding it and stood at the closed doors of her classroom for Constitution. She checked her watch; it was past 8:30am and she knew being allowed into the classroom was a miracle. Which is why she wasn’t allowed to enter, in addition to the dirty look shot at her by Mrs. S.
She slumped her way to the library, repenting another early class she had missed, the 3rd time this week. She was about to stow her bag in the locker when a text from A. buzzed her phone.
“Coffee.” It said.
“How did you know I missed class again?!” T texted back, picking up her bag and walking towards the college grounds.
“You rushed past me 10 minutes ago. I didn’t even bother going.”
“Why didn’t you stop me?!”
“Like you would have listened.”
T smiled despite of herself and walked into the canteen. She spotted A sitting at their usual spot, right next to the glass window that overlooked the overgrown college garden and broken fountain. She was reading a novel, bending its cover with one hand and sipping machine coffee with the other. The canteen was full of students stuffing breakfast or working on their overdue projects.
T threw her bag at A’s face and glared at her.
“What??!” A screamed back at T, although she was unable to control her laughter. “I felt you needed the exercise.”
“Thanks.” T croaked back.
“Why not.” A walked over to the counter and got T a cup.
“This job at the law firm is killing me.” T took a long swing of the too hot coffee, letting it burn her throat.
“Mrs S is going to kill you if your job doesn’t. This is the 3rd time this week you missed her class.” A got back to her book. She had the rare ability to carry on a conversation while reading.
“I know. I’ll talk to her. The murder trial is today. I had to finish proof reading the written statement from last week.”
“You should draft one from Mrs S’ side for when she is on a murder trial for killing you. There’s a chance she won’t fail you in her assessment, like she’s planning to.” A crumpled her empty paper cup with one hand and shot it across the room into the bin. She did not miss.
“And why are you not in your class?”
“Mrs F. is on maternity leave.”
“Yes, judgy. Didn’t know she needed your stamp of approval to have her 3rd child.” A rolled her eyes.
“Fine. What are we reading this week?”
“The Fountainhead.” A placed her yellow half torn copy on the table for her friend to see.
“Didn’t know I needed your stamp of approval for my reading choices. I’ll be careful next time, your highness.”
T shook her head. She pulled out a copy of her Intellectual Property assignment and began skimming the pages.
“I’ve got news.” A began. She tucked her book in her bag and folded her arms, her face expressionless.
“You’re scaring me, A.”
“My father’s boss, Mr X. Do you remember meeting him at my parent’s 25th Anniversary last month?”
“Do you remember the son he mentioned? The one who lives in New Jersey? Well, he’s visiting here next week, with a couple of his friends or workmates or something. They’re closing a deal on some acquisition of some kind, the details went over my head when dad explained it to me on the phone last night.”
“That doesn’t seem too bad.”
“He wants me to take him out, show him the city.” She frowned.
“And that’s a problem, because?”
“Because it’s awkward. And weird. And I don’t want to do it alone. Can you pretty please help me out?” A put on her best puppy dog face.
“As long as it doesn’t involve late nights. You know how paranoid my mother gets and I don’t want to get into another fight with her.”
“Please T. Help me out. You can stay at my flat at night when we plan that. I’ll talk to your mother, you know she loves me.”
“That’s because she thinks you’re some sort of good influence on me. Ugh. If only she knew.”
“Whatever it is, I can’t plan anything if you’re not on board. Could you please help me out? This is our last year together, we need to be making memories we can tell our kids about. I promise it’ll be fun.”
“Okay fine. You’re going to get me out of this thing with Mrs S. I don’t really get why everyone who hates me is so much in love with you.”
“T, your mother doesn’t hate you.”
“If you only knew.”
© That Girl in the Fray, 2019. All rights reserved.