“Yeah. How many other guys you work with knock themselves out for you?” He assumed a smug look as if he already knew the answer.
Only Mitch.. Del and Noah practically spit on her since she jumped over them in seniority. Technically, it was their fault since they often arrived late and left the staff office looking like a war zone. They spent most of their time gaming since the LAN network was incredibly fast to avoid the supervisor. The man found out anyhow. The assumption was she ratted them out after Noah invited her to the game session. Less hours and no longer working together served as their only consequence.
She shook her head at the idea of them being nice to her. “You’d be wrong.” Did he seriously think those two had interest in her? Not unless she suddenly morphed into animine character.
Cam’s eyes rolled up as if considering a cloud formation. “What about Simon, that foreign guy, and Lauren? Lauren is that a guy or a girl?”
A duck waddled up to her feet and announced his arrival with a few earnest quacks. Normally, it earned him a few chips, some bread or pizza crust, or a French fry. Stella opened her purse to search for something to feed the opportunistic bird. She located a package of crumpled crackers. Using her teeth, she tore open the cellophane wondering about Cam’s sudden outburst of chattiness. This may have been as much as they talked since their first encounter.
Scattering the crumbs on the ground, she smiled as the duck thanked his appreciation, scooping up the crumbs before the other birds reached his bounty. Why would Cam suddenly be interested in who she worked with and why? Something felt wrong.
Instead of answering, she looked toward the lake where the ducks were joining in a type of caravan heading their way. In a few seconds, hungry ducks would surround them. Pointing to the feathered mass, she stood. “We need to go.”
Cam jumped to his feet immediately and turned to walk up the path they’d came down. Stella had to make a few long legged strides to catch up. Once they passed under the covered walkway, the birds stopped following. It was almost like there was some invisible fence blocking the creatures from the halls of learning.
Guilt stabbed at her when she thought of the birds hurrying after her sure they’d get something to eat. On the upside, they could use the exercise. The bell tower clock banged out the hour, hurrying students to their destination. Hard to believe, it was that late already. All that time wasted on hiking across the campus and nothing to show for it. “Cam, I have to get to my work study job.”
Resting her hand on her messenger bag, she turned to speed walk to the technical science building. Cam’s voice stopped her.
Could this be it? Finally, the grand gesture. .
It only took Cam two steps to reach her side. He flashed his trademark smile and touched her elbow. “Hey, you never answered my question?”
Dear Sweet Goddess. She was tempted to say what question, but she was tired of the entire conversation, and her tone showed it too. “No, Simon is not hot for me. I never see him. Prashant doesn’t say much, and when he does, it’s something about everything coming out all right in the end. Lauren is a shy girl with thick glasses and inferiority complex who barely says two words to anyone. No, she’s not hot for me, but she might have something for Mitch. Anything else?”
Cam held up his hands as if defending himself? “Whoa. Sounds like someone needs to go take a chill pill.” He turned and jogged away without a goodbye or even a wave. Stella watched as a trio of girls stopped and watched him pass. Yeah, he did look good running, and he knew it.
The charm of dating one of hottest guys on campus had its downside. All the other girls lusting after him was part of it, but on the upside that made him more of a prize Any time with Cam served as an emotional workout. The man picked up her insecurities, her need for affection, and confidence and juggled all of them throwing them high in the air as in balls. Often her confidence would wing upward when she was him, but when she wasn’t her insecurities came crashing down making her wonder if his interest had already moved elsewhere. Unfortunately, she could already feel his interest moving elsewhere. Without him, she’d be alone on the campus as before. Sure, she kept busy with her homework and work study job, but then there were those long weekend hours when almost no one came to visit.