We danced on the subway back to the school, laughing most of the way and not caring what the few other riders might have thought.  Lil collapsed against my chest, gasping for air as we fought against the surges and turns of the train.

“So I guess that you’re not a student.”  I said.

“No.”

“I figured.  You said you knew Glendon and the pub, which implied you didn’t actually go there.  And you don’t seem like most university girls.”

“I’m older.” She winked.  “But not too old, I hope.”

“Not that I’ve noticed.” I grinned.

“Good.  Next Friday?”  She asked.

“I start work again, actually.  Back home.” I told her.

“Do you have to?”  She said, pouting sexily.

“Actually, yes.  It’s how I pay for my education.”

“Maybe I could get you a better job in the city.” She suggested.  “Then you would still be around on weekends.”

“I’ll think about it.”  I said, uncertain about how serious her offer was.  “I like to visit my family.”

“You have to leave the nest sometime.”  She urged.  “Come on, we’re having so much fun.”

“I said that I would think about it.”  I said coldly.

“Maybe you had better think about whether you want to keep seeing me at all.”  She said.  “Ask yourself how any college guys get hot, rich girls chasing them and offering the world.”

She timed this speech to coincide perfectly with her station stop.  She stepped off the train dramatically, and I was too dumbfounded to do anything but watch as the doors closed and the subway train rolled away.

***

“You should apologize.”  Teri said as we sat in the bustling cafeteria.  “She likes you and wants to spend time with you.”

“But I didn’t do anything.  I just said I’d think about it, and she gave me an ultimatum.”

“Yeah, that’s bad.”  Dan said around a big tuna sandwich.  “America doesn’t negotiate with terrorists and you can’t give in to ultimatums.”

“We’re Canadian, duh.  And it’s not that serious.”  Teri laughed, swatting his arm.  “Just find a compromise.”

“Like what?  I need this job, and I’ll still need it this summer when school is done.  If I quit now, I won’t get it back and there’s nothing else in my town that pays as well.”

“Well, try to tell her that.” Teri said.

“Tell her you can go out Thursdays.”  Dan said.  “That’s pub night for most students anyway.”

“Yeah, but I have class Friday morning.”

“So you sleep through it once in awhile.  You’re a big boy.  You’re allowed to miss class, nobody’s going to care.”

I shook my head.  Skipping class, drinking, slacking off:  I was acting like those students I had mocked last semester.  And it didn’t go unnoticed.

“What’s with you lately?”  Angelina asked after our class the next day.

“What do you mean?”  I said gruffly.

“You’re spaced out in class, you barely talk to anyone, and I’ve seen you snapping at people.”

“I have not!”  I said sharply.

“You just did!”  She said with concern.  “I heard about the drinking you’ve been doing from Evan.  He’s a little worried.”

“He came with me.”

“To be a good friend!  And you’re not noticing things like that, you’re goofing off with Dan or going out with this mystery girl.  What is going on with you?”

I shrugged and tried to walk down the hall, but she wasn’t willing to let it go.

“You’ve been progressively out of it since the beginning of the year.  I thought you’d pull out of it, but it’s just getting worse.”

“I don’t know.” I lied.  And then I remembered what Lil had said.  Everybody lied.  “I’ll be fine.  I’ll figure it out.”

“You’d better.”  Ange said.  “Before you become someone you’d hate.”

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