“It’s been so busy I almost forgot about the challenge!” she screeched.
“Just do it. What do you have to lose?” Barbara asked Petra. “Either he says yes or he doesn’t. At least you’ll know and can move on.”
Petra nodded. Excellent advice for most people, but most people were not Petra. They didn’t worry over every little word or every little look or what would happen if he said no and then all of the dreamy possibilities that she’d molded in her fantasies would go splat. Was holding on to a dream better than facing reality?
When Geoff entered the teacher’s lounge, Petra felt herself flush. Barbara nodded fiercely at her then picked up her things and left.
“It’s been a long week,” Geoff said. “Glad today’s a short day.”
Petra nodded and smiled. Words. One was supposed to respond with words. Why couldn’t she think of any?
He sat opposite her, unwrapped his usual peanut butter, no jelly, sandwich, and bit into it. He washed down bites with black coffee, no sugar.
“Geoff, I’ve been thinking . . .” she began.
After a moment he raised his eyebrow. “Yes?”
“Well, it’s like this . . .” She felt her face flame and looked down at the table.
“Is everything okay, Petra. You look like you might have a fever.”
“I do?” she asked vaguely, wondering about that. She felt fine though. She shook away those thoughts.
“I wondered if you might like to get a cup of coffee sometime?” Her voice rushed through the words, even tripping over some.
He held up his mug. “I am having a cup of coffee.”
She nodded. “Er. Maybe you’d like to go out for Chinese?”
He leaned back in his chair and wiped his lips with the back of his hand. “Are you asking me out?”
She squeezed her eyes shut tightly and then bounced her head up and down. “Yes.”
“That’s really nice,” he said and then paused.
She felt hope swell in her chest.
“No offense but I don’t date girls like you,” he said.
Splat. She felt it, heard it, and almost couldn’t believe it. “Oh?”
“And the fact that we work together. Yeah, just not a good idea.”
She nodded as if she agreed while all she could think about was escaping. Not his type.
“Right well, no harm, no foul. Right? I have my first parent meeting in ten. I should go. Have a good weekend, Geoff,” she said.
He nodded as he took another bite. “You too,” he said around the crust of bread, crumbs escaping from his mouth.
Strangely she felt like she was really seeing him for the first time.