Chapter Five: She stoops to conquer
She stood clutching the crimson curtains watching him shyly. He walked with purposeful jaunty strides and placing his black bag on a seat starting getting on about his work, taking out the papers. She still stood peeping not disturbing him or making him aware of her presence and just watching him with a smile that couldn’t be wiped off her lips and a blush that even reddened her huge, shapely eyes.
“Hasn’t your friend come yet?” asked he startling her. She gasped and walked out the front to face him.
He looked down at his watch and smiling said, “You’re early, Miss Brett”.
“Please, Jennifer” she said grinning back at him, lost in happiness and too overjoyed to display any other emotion.
With a show of surprise and with a slight raise of those never still brows, he threw her a glance. His eyes twinkled as if they were amused.
He sat himself down and crossed one leg on the other getting back to his work.
“Well, Jennifer, then”. And looking up at her again asked, “So, how are you finding the college and the drama club?”
“I hardly ever thought I’d see you here after that day” she said laughing unnecessarily and slightly hysterically.
He assumed his maddening half grin when you couldn’t make out if he was smiling approvingly or taunting you and his eyebrows remained as ever, dark and raised as if in mild surprise. She could almost hear every heartbeat as she crooned at him.
“Well, you’ve got fifteen minutes more, you can come in later if you want” he said.
“You’re early too, would you like some tea”.
“No, I wouldn’t” said he curtly starting to arrange his papers and looking down.
Well, maybe, it was a bit out of line, she thought to herself. That was the trouble with elderly people, they didn’t like you being too forward. She wondered if he knew she liked him or liked her back. Surely, he couldn’t be oblivious to it cause she’d been doing nothing but trying to flirt with him in play practise. She would doodle away dreamily in her notebooks in class, waiting for play practise. This was the third day of play practise. She watched him steadily without making any pretence of doing otherwise yet he remained unbothered, completely ignoring her until with a grumpy sigh, she noticed that it was time and people started coming in.
It was Meg with another one of their play friends, a senior. She gave a knowing wink and walked towards the stage.
“Dumb as a stone and blind as a bat” she said deprecatingly.
“Eeesh... can’t believe you like that fellow? He might almost be your grandfather”
“Oh stop it, you idiot. He’s just forty or something?”
“Just forty. If that’s your taste, there’s a senior’s home somewhere nearby the college where you can hang out Friday nights?” she said irritatingly.
“Phew... shut up” said Jen angrily.
“Okay okay. Cool down. If you’re that interested, you’re gonna have to stoop to conquer?”
“What.. any lower than this... I’d have to share the fate of Rumpelstiltzkin”.
“Use your brains dummy. How would you describe him.. oh heavens no.. let me rephrase that... critically analyze his character?”.
“Cold, reserved and annoying”.
“Not like that... oh... gosh. What do you think may be his taste in women, if indeed, he likes women?”
Jen gave her a hard stare.
“Oh alright... what kinda women do you think he likes?”
“Of course, women reasonably somewhat around his own age” said she sadly.
Meg gave a click with her tongue. “I’ve seen you trying to warm up to him. He doesn’t like to talk much, does he? He certainly wouldn’t like a gramophone like you, never stopping. Oh shut up. Let me think. I think he likes sophisticated, elegant and classic woman. Yeah, I know... he must be as old as Count Dracula and was in his sweet sixteen when the century got around Victorian England. Try being courteous, polite and short in your speeches. Let him know you like him but don’t stare drooling at him like that. He likes you a little but not in that way. So when he speaks to you, seize your opportunity and smile welcomingly at him but if you ever get a racy verse, address it to him. Be a little dramatic. He certainly does not like feisty Tomb Riders. You’ll have to take his own way. And if you ever find him looking at you, maintain poise and eloquence, not that you’ll find it easy and please don’t walk like a clumsy chicken. Around him, pretend as ifyou were some Victorian lad-ay.”
“Oh Meg. Do you think he likes someone else?” asked Jen devastatedly.
“Yuck no. Other women have senses, Jen. Okay, don’t look like that. I meant he’s all yours and if he doesn’t like you, it was worth trying anyway, isn’t it, you do like him?”
Jen nodded, still looking sad.
“Hey, come on, cheer up. I am with you in this darling. Wish you the very best” said Meg.
“Up on the stage, right now” yelled a voice around the corner and the angry drama director marched away.
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