He’d seen those teenager flicks before. It wasn’t hard to pick up the hints. Did it matter that it was usually the girl who did the attention-seeking things? He sure hoped it didn’t, because all other options had been exhausted. There had been last week’s incident where he’d hid behind the screen, waiting for her to turn the corner. The pots in her arms jumped from her grasp, spraying black and red paint everywhere. He immediately regretted his plan. As he stood there speechless Jess took out a cloth and began mopping up the mess on his face. Bad, bad move. Unhindered by his lack of words, she then transferred the cloth to her wet cheeks. It was only then that he got the courage to tell her she was only spreading the paint over her face, like a messy palette.
No, there would be no eye contact, and certainly no touching. A difficult situation as they were assigned partners in a collaborative, mixed media project. A new approach was required. He wasn’t one for the oblivious-dropped-pencil trick, not after the last time. Perhaps conversation? But Jude, called Judy affectionately by his friends, was not a smooth talker. He felt a nudge, followed by a series of half-muffled giggles from behind. A stolen glance at the other side of the desk showed no movement, no change.
He returned to his rudimentary sketch without enthusiasm. He couldn’t let her do all the work. It wouldn’t help his cause if she thought he was lazy and uncooperative.
Jude was about to restart when there was a touch. He froze. She was reaching over from across the table, eyes fixed on his. His heart leapt. Was this it?
A moment, then she spoke.
“Um, I think you’re doing the wrong template.”