Up the stairs to the library, and look in. She’s not there. Not that I can see. I’m meant to be meeting her. Secret, like, no-one should know. None of her friends. Or her boyfriend. I don’t know why she asked me here. I have to pretend – what – I guess that we’re just off to lunch or something.

Carry on looking round. By the window, far left. Yes. She sees me, packs her books into her bag, grabs a bunch of pencils and her keys, and walks over.

“Hi Andy.” She stepped towards me. “Oh, have you met,” turning her head to the girl sat at the table. I shook my head. “Helen, this is, er, Andy. Andy, Helen.” I said hello. “Lets go.”

The department was equidistant from the main campus, my house, and her own. We headed away from hers, to the relative safety of where I lived, and the pub opposite. Less chance of seeing anyone she knew. Not that I’d be able to show any affection in public. That was strictly off charter, until she’s sorted out things at home. Always in hand.

Before I’d arrived at the city, I’d been told, the pub had been a place for bikers, and had a reputation as being unfriendly towards the tidal influx of new residents. Although it retained a general gloom, I found the cheap beer, pool table, and generally a few faces that I knew to be quite welcoming.

We hit the pool table.

I was never a great player, although I had occasional beer-induced boughts of inspiration. Nic was about the same. we had a couple of games, winning one each, and laughing all the way.

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