Suzaku nervously rubbed his arms as he looked all around the office. He wasn’t quite sure what he had expected in the private space of a history professor, but he sure as hell hadn’t expected all of the flowers. They surrounded her and took up every available space that books or papers hadn’t reserved for themselves. She nudged a vase of peonies aside to peer at him from the other side.
“I don’t have your paper graded if that’s what you’re here for.”
“Um, no, actually, I-I came here because-”
The door suddenly swung open, ruffling the flowers. Student and teacher swiveled around to see who it was.
“Oh, I’m sorry I didn’t know you were seeing someone.”
Suzaku flushed. Seeing someone? They weren’t dating. He had just come in to ask her to lunch. But not like in the romantic sense, more like in the academic sense. They weren’t- he hadn’t meant to create misunderstanding. While he admired his professor he would never have so much as dreamed that they could – or would – breach that sacred student-teacher barrier that separated them. The last thing he had wanted to do was damage her reputation, and by God was he going to do all he could to fix it.
“W-we’re not-” he started, but she cut him off.
“I’ll be out in a few seconds. I just needed to check some emails.”
“I’ll wait in the hall until you two finish.”
The other student – or what Suzaku perceived to be another student – nodded and closed the door behind himself. Once the door had clicked shut, she turned back to him.
“What did you want?”
“I was, uh, I was wondering if anyone had asked you to the faculty luncheon yet.”
“They have not.”
There was a lull in the conversation as he picked at his nails. So…then…
“Is there any particular reason you wanted to know if anyone had asked me?”
He noticed the hard edge just starting to appear in her voice. Doing his best to swallow his fear, he glanced up at her from his lap.
“Do you have any interest in going?”
“That would depend on the student.”
“I’m really quite late for my lunch appointment, Suzaku. If you’re not willing to tell me now, you can always email me or-”
“Would you like to go with me?” he blurted. Furiously blushing, he couldn’t bring himself to look at her. “Please?”
There was a slight pause before she shrugged. “Okay. Now shoo.” Gathering up her coat and bag, she opened the door and held it for him. “You’re making me late.”
Profusely thanking her and excusing himself, he ducked his head as he ran out. The other visitor stepped aside as he recoiled from where he had been curiously peering into the open doorway. As she locked the door behind herself, she heard him say, “Who was that?”
“Just a kid from 101.”
“What did he want?”
“He wanted to see if I would go to the faculty luncheon with him.”
“And you said yes?”
She nodded as he held the door for her. Slipping her coat on, she breathed in the familiar scent of the urban wilderness.
“Isn’t that next Saturday?”
Shouldering her purse, she took his hand as they crunched through the leaves on the sidewalk.
“We were going to go to the park next Saturday.”
“We could do it on Sunday.” Did he really think she had forgotten about their little date?
“It’s going to rain on Sunday.”
“It’s not going to rain on Sunday. There’s a 60% chance of rain, which is scarcely a good reason to cancel the picnic.”
Even with her reassurance, he frowned all the way to the restaurant. Peeking over her menu, she tapped his hand.
“I promise we’ll have the picnic before you leave.”
“You’re sure? Because Saturday was our only free day before I leave.”
“Have some faith in your dear, old wife. I promise we’ll have the picnic this weekend; you weren’t the only one looking forward to it, you know.”
He sighed before nodding glumly. Squeezing his hand, she smiled at him.
“Now. I was thinking about getting some pizza. What do you think?”