Claude and Bambi were waiting in the reception area outside of Baron’s office for Aurelia when she came out. There was concern upon their faces.
“Are you all right?” Bambi asked.
“Yeah, you were in there a long time,” Claude said, just as Professor Griffey sauntered by without even bothering to speak. But then again, Rhoda seldom spoke to students outside of the classroom unless she absolutely had to.
Aurelia smiled at their concern. “I’m fine. Never better, in fact. Professor Weaver agreed to let me take his final early so I can go home and be there for my family.”
“Cool. I’m glad the Professor was so accommodating. For a minute there I thought he was going to kick you out of class or something. You made him pretty mad today,” Bambi replied.
“The Professor and I worked everything out,” Aurelia said with fresh tingles coursing through her body. She glanced back at Baron’s open office door and smiled. “We’re fine now.”
“That’s good,” Claude replied, unaware of just how much had been worked out between Baron and Aurelia today.
“Yes, that is good,” Bambi agreed. “In any case, do you want to go grab an early lunch? I still owe you a meal for helping us with that routine, remember?”
“No, thanks,” Aurelia declined. “I have to talk to my other professors to see about taking early finals from them, too.”
“Want us to come with?” Claude offered.
Aurelia shook her head. “No. I’ll see you both in class tomorrow.”
“You’ll hear from me before then. I plan to call and check on you tonight when you get off from work,” Claude said to Bambi’s secret dismay. “By the way, I’m really sorry to hear about your little brother.”
“Thanks for your concern, Claude. As for calling me tonight, I don’t think that would be a good idea. I plan on doing a lot of studying. Plus, a guy that I’ve been seriously interested in for quite some time is finally available to date. He’s coming over tonight to keep me company and in comfort on account of my brother’s illness. I’m sure he wouldn’t appreciate another man calling me while he’s there or at all for that matter. Not even males who are just friends,” Aurelia replied, letting him down as easy as she could. She also lingered in the reception area so that Baron could ‘overhear’ her break social ties with Claude. She hoped that her words made Bambi’s day, too.
Although disappointment shrouded Claude’s face, those words brought Bambi great joy. Yet she could not show it right now for obvious reasons. “Is it that gorgeous Latino you told me about? Barry something or other?” Bambi prompted.
“Yes, him.” Aurelia smiled, still refusing to give up Baron’s real name. “I really hope our relationship turns into something special. I can’t wait to see him tonight, to kiss him again, to just be in his arms again. And if I get a good report about my brother, there might even be a bit of etcetera, etcetera tonight.” She chuckled, finally heading towards the exterior door that led to the hallway. She’d done what she needed to do here.
“And etcetera.” Bambi giggled, egging Aurelia on as she followed her out of the reception area with the help of her handy cane. “Don’t forget to wear your new perfume, girl.”
“Good idea,” Aurelia replied.
Claude remained silent as he followed the ladies into the hallway and prepared to go his own separate way. It wasn’t until that very moment that his remaining hopes of ever being with Aurelia were thoroughly and finally dashed. It was time to go his separate way in every way.